The Galaxy, May, 1877 Vol. XXIII.—May, 1877.—No. 5. by Various


VOL. XXIII.--MAY, 1877.--No. 5.

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1877, by SHELDON & CO., in the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.


OBER LAHNSTEIN, Jan. 16, 1875.

So much, Susie dear, for our small miseries between Blackwall and Rotterdam. Nurse's sickness and the crowd of Cook's tourists (Cook-oos!) aggravated matters; but it is always a tedious bit of way, though I never minded it in my solitary artist days, when either Dresden and happy work or home and happy rest were at end of the hard journey. What it is to be young, gay, and heart-free! For then I went always second class--when I didn't go third!--(except of course on the steamers, where the cheaper accommodation is too rude, and rough companionship too intimate)--and once managed the entire distance from Dresden to London for fifty thalers!--taking it leisurely too; stopping en route to "do" Frankfort, Weimar, Heidelberg, Lourain, Bruges, and Antwerp, and to pay two or three visits at grand houses, where they didn't dream I was fresh from the peasants' compartments!

And I'd no shillings and sixpences then to fee guards and porters, so had to dodge them, look at them as if I didn't see them, lug about my own parcels, and freeze without a foot-warmer!

Now the way is all padded. I always go first-class if Ronayne's along, haven't to lift so much as a hand satchel, am fairly smothered in comforts, as beseems the true English Philistine I'm become. I've the delightfullest husband and baby the round world can show; a nurse fit to command the channel fleet (if that meant wisdom in babies, and she weren't such an outrageously bad sailor!); and I've about as much vim as a syllabub; am so nervous that I weep if Ronayne gets out of my sight when we go for a stroll, if too little toast comes up for my breakfast, or the chocolate isn't frothed, or the trunk won't lock, and have aphasia to that degree that I say cancel when I mean endorse, hair-brush when I want a biscuit, and go stumping down to dinner in a boot and a slipper, being incapable of the connected effort of memory and will that would get both feet into fellow shoes.

But I'm blissfully happy all the same, and we've beheld a spectacle lately that reconciles me perfectly with my own absurdity, and my awkwardness with my precious tot.

Coming up the Rhine we had a pair of fellow voyagers, circumstanced somewhat like ourselves: first baby, not over young (the couple, not the baby, which was only six weeks old!), but travelling without a nurse. This mighty functionary had struck almost at the moment of their departure from London, and a charitable but inexperienced friend came to their aid and set forth with them in charge of the baby.

We missed them on the Batavier, which wasn't strange, and first had our attention drawn to them by the slow Dutch landlord's asking Ronayne, as we stood looking idly out into the formal little garden of the new Bath hotel at Rotterdam, if that was _his_ baby a young woman seated on one of the garden benches was jerking up and down so violently? "Because it was shaken about too much. Young babies couldn't be kept too quiet." This young woman was the benevolent friend, and I suppose the parents were off sight-seeing in the town; for every now and then the whole day through one or another of us reported encountering the young woman alone somewhere, always tossing the baby more or less about.

But next day, after we had embarked on the Rhine boat, and I had helped nurse turn our tiny state-room into a tolerable nursery (that folding bassinnette is just _invaluable_, and lulled by the motion and the breezy air, my lammie slept better in it than in her own quarters at home), I went upon deck to find Ronayne, and on the way came upon a most piteous, persistent wail, and the wail's father and mother in abject, helpless tendance upon it.

Of course my newly-found mother's heart took me straight to the miserable group; and after a few sympathetic inquiries, I sat down beside the mother, and took the querulous little creature in my arms, where presently it hushed off to sleep. How proud I felt! for that's more than my own baby often condescends to do for my clumsy soothing! The father skulked away with an immensely relieved look, soon after I sat down, and the mother grew quite confidential. She told me of the perfidious nurse's behavior, of the friend's heroic offer, and that they had not had a wink of sleep the night before at the hotel, for nursing the baby had made the friend so ill that they had had to send her back to London that morning. She didn't know but it would have been better if she and baby had turned back with the overdone friend; but it was her husband's holiday--six weeks he had--and he worked so hard the rest of the year--her husband was an author, a journalist (at sight I had guessed him a literary cus--tomer!--hair parted in the middle, crease--y clothes, spectacles, a sparse, pointed beard, and narrow, sloping shoulders, with a stoop in 'em)--and she thought his vacation oughtn't to be spoiled or deferred by the child; and as he would enjoy it all a great deal more with her than alone, she had "trusted to luck," and was going off up the Rhine with him to make a long excursion, before proceeding to some quiet little town on the Moselle, where another nurse was in waiting for her. It was their first baby--yes; they had not been married much over a year. She was fond of it, poor baby! but it was such a pity it had come! They had not wanted children--children would utterly interfere with their plan of life. Both its father and herself were busy people. Oh, there was so much work to be done! and they had married to help each other in toil for the world, and babies were a sad hindrance.

I suggested that the work of moulding an immortal soul, fashioning the character and destinies of a little human creature, seemed to me labor mighty enough for any one's energies and ambition. But she answered me a little sharply, that there were souls enough in the world already; she wanted to be responsible for no more mistakes and wretchedness. However, she fortunately was well and strong, and if she got a good nurse, she would be able to devote herself to work, and to help her husband as she had done before the child came. Was I interested in the woman question? I answered somewhat tamely, that I was very much interested in whatever made women better; that I believed in women, and that this rather wearisome planet wouldn't even be worth condemning without them.

Ah! Then she supposed I had attended the suffrage meetings in London? Her marriage had brought her to London. Before that she had lived in B----, and was secretary of the Woman's Suffrage Association there. Perhaps I had seen her name--Alice Thorpe? Now it was Malise. Her husband was Clement Malise of "The Aurora."

This was said a little proudly, but with the pretty pride a wife has a right to show when she believes she has a clever husband. And a good woman I am sure she was beside whom I sat--kindly, conscientious, earnest, spirited, full of aspiration and zeal gone astray. Pleasant to look upon, too, when I came to separate her from her disfiguring and thoroughly British travelling costume--a hat like an inverted basin, with a long white ostrich feather, dingy, uncurled, and forlornly drooping; a violet stuff gown all bunchy and tormented with woollen ruffles, ruches, and knobby rosettes, and a dark blue bag of a waterproof garment which I took to be the feminine correspondent of that masculine wrap, the Ulster coat--a covering that would turn Apollo himself into a bagman. Not very tall, solidly rather than gracefully made, with a rather driven-together face, the excessively bulging forehead crowding down upon a nose curved like a bird's beak, and a pair of deep-set eyes of wonderful beauty--clear, gray, intense, brilliant, and shaded by long dark lashes. Add a delicate, rather sarcastic mouth, a complexion of exquisite fairness, dark brown hair without any warmth in its color, hanging in slender short curls down her neck, and that is Mrs. Malise.

We had a great many conversations after this initial one, and I believe I have promised to look them up this winter in London. They're not so very far from us--going by the underground; Notting Hill Gate's their station, and I really feel a call to look after that baby. He's a fine child, but was generally so miserable and cross that almost nobody took other than offensive notice of him. At first I pitied his poor mother when passengers and crew, even, made much of my baby when she came up all placid, white as a snowdrop, daintily fresh, and feathery, and soft, with her lace frills, like a little queen in nurse's arms; but my pity was thrown away, for Mrs. Malise only said, "I cannot spare the time to keep my baby in white, so made that gray flannel dressing gown for him to travel in. It's capital, and not showing the dirt, will last the whole journey." And the little thing was so untidy! For he was treated exactly like a parcel; his parents handled him like one, a rather dangerous one, at arm's length, and like a parcel he was deposited about, sometimes among rolls of carpeting on the deck, or on beer casks, while his father and mother were hanging over the boat's rail staring at castles and ruins, or reading up in the guide-book; sometimes happed up in a shawl on the floor, or on a bed made up on chairs, his head on the lowest one, his mother craning her head out at window to lose no bit of river scenery. One day I nearly sat down upon him, as he was left, quite by himself, lying across a camp-chair; wherever, in unexpected, impossible corners, one stumbled upon a solitary gray object, it was sure to be this poor mite, bemoaning himself for having come into a place so full of cold, wet, sour smells and stomach-ache--a place where he wasn't wanted, and nobody had time to look after him.

"Name's Malise, eh?" said Ronayne. "_Malaise_, if that poor little beggar knows anything about it"; and "little Malaise" we always call the child.

"Cries? What's he to do but cry?" burst out nurse one day in high indignation. "There's that silly woman as thinks a young baby must only have three meals a day like grown folks; and so she's off a-tramping about the deck, and leaving him here a-sucking at an empty bottle, and filling himself as full of wind as he can hold! And there's _them things_ (nurse's favorite euphuism for an article of attire she detests) as is hardly ever changed, and him sopping wet most of the time! I should like to whip her!"

I think Mrs. Malise is a good deal drawn toward me for two or three reasons. She has found out that I've been an artist--lived by myself, had my studio, paid my way--and she accordingly respects me as a member of the sisterhood who's at least tried to do something. Then I agree far too closely with St. Paul, and she "don't altogether hold with Paul," and wants to convert me to whatever form of kaleidoscopic non-belief she cherishes. Then I'm too luke-warm about the suffrage. I admit that I see no reason why I shouldn't have it, but I don't and can't see in my having it the panacea for all social ills. I'm asked what I think of Hodge in England, and Terence and Scip in the United States getting rights withheld educated women citizens; and I can only plead pitifully that while Hodge and Terence and Scip are ignorant and boorish, I, having already roughed it a good deal, would rather individually not contest anything very closely with them--a plea which is most justly scouted as a mere get-off--a bit of heartless fine-ladyism. Have I read Mill? No. From the time my school days ended, at seventeen, for ten--no, twelve years, until I married, two years ago, I had neither time nor eyes for reading. Why, I could almost count upon my fingers the books I had read--"after school-books, of course, and then some anatomical reading which don't count; there's--let me see--'The Improvisatore,' Vasari's 'Lives of Painters,' 'Charles Auchester,' Rio's 'Lectures on Christian Art,' 'Christie Johnstone,' 'La Mare au Diable,' two or three of Balzac's novels, and all of poetry and of Ruskin I could ever lay hands on!"

She looked astonished for a moment; then her face brightened. "Here's richness!" I'm sure her thought might have been translated. "Here's a virgin soil with nothing to dispute the growth of good seed." And I feel I'm to be taken in hand. I'm quite ready. It is even something to look forward to in the horrible London winter. She told me "little Malaise" is to be brought up after the most recently approved scientific manner, by weight, measure, and clockwork. His birth, even, was a triumph of principle, for on that occasion Mrs. Malise was attended by a young woman who had been unsuccessful in her medical studies, and failed to obtain her degree--"Because I believed it jealousy, you know, and I wished to encourage her!"

When he is three or four years old (certainly as early as they take them!) he is to be put in the kindergarten at Geneva, and left there for some years. It's a consolation to think that he can't be anywhere more desolate than he's sure to be at home.

Meanwhile, work for papa and mamma, and bouts of colic for him, poor little chap!

Last night I assisted at a distance at his nightly bath. The combined forces of father and mother were required for this process, and the ceremony was so utterly whimsical that I should have enjoyed it without a pang if the small object most concerned had only been a dog. The pair had stationed themselves in a strong draught, and the child, cold, unhappy, lay stripped and squirming on his mother's lap, while from a cup full of water in a tiny basin she _dabbed_ him with a bit of flannel precisely as if he were an ink splash which she was essaying to soak up with blotting paper before it should spread about much!

The father's part was to try and present an available surface for the dabbing, which he did by drawing out first an arm, then a leg of the child at full length, just as one pulls an elastic cord to find how far it will stretch, letting it go with a snap when at full tension--as he dropped arm or leg when little Malaise resented such unwarrantable experiments on his ductility by a sudden, louder-than-usual roar. It was piteous! But to see that father and mother--he lanky, spectacled, grave as an owl, she serious, abstracted, revolving doubtless some scheme of work, mechanically getting through this piece of business, recognized as necessary by their conscientiousness, but perplexing in its nature, and unaccountable as having fallen to their lot--no propriety, no indignant sympathy for the baby, could quite withstand the drollery of the scene.

But nothing could pacify nurse! "The idiots!" she almost screamed. "The child will die, and I hope it will, for she's not fit to have it. I hope it will die!"


I have kept this open, thinking I could tell you definitely when we shall get into our quarters at Schwalbach, but nothing is settled yet, and we've been pottering about in these river towns. As Schlangenbad and Wiesbaden are very full, I counsel my lord to stop here where we are well off; for this is a very comfortable hotel, and I don't want to do any more unpacking till we are finally bestowed in our rooms at the Villa Authës.

There is an abandoned palace of the Grand Duke of Nassau here--one of the ruins in King William's track of '66. It is so melancholy to see these ruined principalities. Union's a very nice word, but forced union, matrimonial or political, is not comfortable either to see or endure. However, here's the palace, with its lovely neglected gardens, grass uncut, wild flowers flaunting where should be trim velvet turf only, fountains plashing in weedy ponds--and an admirable resort we find the shaded avenues and deserted parterres for ourselves and our small queen. We could scarce be better provided for.

To-day, watching from our windows the steamer coming down the river, we spied, on its deck, our travelling companions again--Mr. and Mrs. Malise--and, sure enough, the little gray parcel on the bench not far from mamma! Going at last, I hope, toward that nurse on the Moselle. Poor little Malaise!

Address your next as last year. And with fond love to the whole household,

Your Lil.

* * * * *


At last I've seen my "poor little Malaise" again. Your questions would have kept him in my memory if there had been a chance of my forgetting the woful baby; and so soon as we were warmly settled into house, home habits, and friendly circle again (and O how charming even London in winter is after seven mortal weeks in Ireland, where scarce anybody has two pence, and everybody is lazy, and everything above the peasant rank is saturated with conventionality and the poorest pride! For the Great Mogul approves of his grandchild, and was pleased to insist on the prolongation of our visit till I was nearly wild with having to behave myself, and during the last week was a dozen times on the very brink of "breaking out." Oh, that horrid life of buckram, inanity, and do-nothing-ism! Even Ronayne, who knows pretty much the worst of me, thought I had gone crazy when we were once fairly off in the train--a carriage all to ourselves. I sang, I whistled, I gnawed chicken-bones, I talked all the slang I could remember, I smoked a cigarette--I went generally to the mischief. And when we had really got back to dear No. 18, and were cosy in the dining-room over our dessert, no speering servant by, I put my elbows on the table; I made a tipsy after-dinner speech, Ronayne applauding, and calling, "Hear! hear!" I rushed around to his end of the table and hugged him, making a "cheese" on my way back--in short, the Bohemian Lil Graham avenged liberally the suffocations the Great Mogul's daughter-in-law had nearly died of. If ever I stop one hour over a fortnight in the home of my husband's fathers again! A fortnight is just supportable)--and to go back to my first-page sentence, I set forth one morning to hunt up the little man. I found my people easily enough--a good house in a good street--"A large house, that must require much thought and care," I said to Mrs. Malise; whereupon she told me the care did not fall upon her, as the house was, after an imperfect fashion, conducted as a coöperative boarding-house--a germ, she hoped, of a coöperative hotel or family club. Half a dozen or so of their friends occupied the house with them, and they paid an admirable housekeeper to manage for them. It was only a make-shift--not what one liked to mention when speaking of future possibilities of confederated homes--had I read the article in a late number of the "Victoria Magazine" containing a magnificent picture of coöperative living?--but better than dreary lodgings or isolated homes, especially when a woman devoted her life to other than household duties. I replied that I believed every ardent spirit at some time or another was discontented with the beaten way, and dreamed of glorious possibilities of associate life and labor, wherein all selfishness should be suppressed, justice and all the beatitudes reign, and souls develop all their capabilities scarce conscious of even the body's hampering; but that practically the only successful lay experiment in communism I had ever heard of was that early one of the Indians in Paraguay under the care of the Jesuit missionaries--Phalansterians who wore their rosaries around their necks because they had no pockets in which to carry them!

And I thought that people without bonds of kinship or close sympathy would not happily bear being forced into incessant, intimate companionship unless they were either saints or prodigies of imperturbable courtesy.

Well, life was a choice of evils, she answered me, and their experiment had so far succeeded very well. But I might judge for myself a little: would I, with my husband, dine with them on either one of such and such days the next week, to meet this confederate household assembled? This was an advance I had not counted on. My especial interest was in the child, and though I liked well enough for myself accepting an invitation that promised to be something out of the common way in dinners, I was hardly prepared to pledge Ronayne. He not only likes a good dinner, and feels injured when he doesn't get it, but he is very particular as to the society in which he eats it. He can be gloriously jolly and informal when he likes; but he wouldn't be his father's son if he weren't what I call just a bit snobbish about the people he will know in England--London especially.

But if he was going in for the correct thing, why on earth did he insist upon marrying me? Because I never was the correct thing, and he fell it love with me when he was quite old enough to know better; and after his friends had for years reckoned him as a fastidious, foreordained bachelor; _he_ says because I was so wholly unlike the young ladies of his generation that he was surprised out of himself. And mamma told him all my faults that he didn't know already, and how people had insisted before upon marrying me, and two or three times I had been silly enough to half think I would let them, and then backed out and vowed I would have no husband but Art--and was generally so impressed with the risks he ran that I believe she even wept over his prospective unhappiness. But he would have his way; he didn't want a housekeeper; he didn't want a well informed young lady; his shirt-buttons and stocking-darning weren't likely to depend upon his wife; he should hate a patient Grizzle; he didn't marry for his friends--you can imagine the rash arguments. But I gave him a last chance of escape, for the night before we were married; when I'd given away all my old clothes, and the license was bought, the ring in his breast-pocket, and the wedding breakfast being laid in the next room, I said to him before all of them in papa's study:

"Ronayne, don't you want one more chance of freedom? Are you frightened about to-morrow morning, and the pell-mell household mamma promises you? Because if you are, I'll let you off now. You may run away in the night. I'll be a forsaken maiden, and papa shan't have the loch dragged, or advertise a 'Mysterious and Heart-Rending Disappearance.'"

"Too late. It's a hopeless case. I'm much too far gone for that. And I'm not going to help you to get rid of me, Mistress Lil."

I _was_ frightened rather, and then and there I made papa give me a five-pound note to run away from Ronayne with in case I found, during our wedding journey, that I'd made a mistake and Art was my only true husband after all. Ronayne added five pounds more so that I could run away first-class, and have something with which to bribe accomplices! And that ten pounds is in my jewel-case now, and I think I shall keep it for my daughter, and give it her on her wedding-day as a reserve fund, in case she needs it as her mother once pretended to fear she herself might do.

However, for once I was discreet, and answered Mrs. Malise that I should like to come, but must see my husband before promising ourselves. Then I asked to see my small friend; but his mother, consulting her watch, begged me to excuse his non-appearance to-day, for this was just the moment when his nurse would be laying him down for his nap; and though often he would not sleep at all, yet system was everything, and he had to lie in his little bed two hours, though his eyes were broad open all the while.

"But will he lie there so long without crying?"

"Oh, two or three times he nearly cried himself into spasms because he was not taken up; but once he found he could not conquer Johanna he gave up trying, and now lies peaceably enough. He had to learn early that there are things more important in the world than his little self. Nothing do I object to more than a household revolving around children as a centre. Marriage _ought_ to double powers--make people unselfish; while, as a rule, it only enlarges the sphere of egotistic concentration and absorption. If I gave up my time and thoughts to Mill (we've named him for this generation's great English apostle of liberty), as ordinary mothers do, it would seem to me a wickedness. But I scarcely find him the least hindrance. I have begun to speak a little in our suffrage meetings this winter, and have been away a good deal from home for that purpose--once for three weeks at Liverpool and in the north of Ireland."

"But you do not mean without your baby?"

"Oh, certainly. He is only a little animal as yet, requiring animal cares which I can provide without making the sacrifice of ability for higher work. Johanna attends to him far better than I could, and is not above such uses. I believe in economizing forces. By and by, when his intellect begins to develop, he will be far more interesting to me, and I shall be of use to him."

"You weaned him, then, very early?"

"Oh, dear, yes. Since he was three months old, he's been brought up as Pip was. But perhaps 'Great Expectations' was not among your books read."

"No; but I suppose you mean your baby's brought up by hand? But I can't think how you could bear to put him away from you if it wasn't actually needful. Why, my heart's broken only to think that in a month or so more my baby will not depend upon me, humanly, for all her little life."

"Ah, plainly you have a vocation to be a mother. I haven't; and if I had to care for Mill in all things, it would be simple slavery to me. But it must be a great step from art to the nursery too."

"That means a step _down_. I suppose I should have thought so once, but never since I held my baby in my arms, and she's a far more wonderful creation to me than any old master's cherub I ever copied. And not my baby alone, but all babies. I never pass one in the street now, ever so ugly or dirty, without a warm feeling for it, and no charity opens my purse so quickly as a _crêche_, or a foundling, or orphan asylum. I could have been very happy as an artist always. Art is full of the noblest strength and compensations, and I own that the ordinary life of the English Philistine is irksome to me to the last degree; but what should I do now without a husband and child? And what would I not give up or bear for them? You see I'm only a very humdrum woman, Mrs. Malise."

"Whatever I see, I don't despair of winning you over to our side. I think it only needs that this great movement for woman's freedom and enlightenment, all that underlies it, all it implies, be fairly brought before you, to receive your assent and coöperation. And, to be unwisely frank, perhaps, it is such women as you we ought to gain, must gain--women of sentiment, tenderness, tact, suave manner--sympathetic women, to bring a gracious element into the contest. The workers already in the field have fought so long, against such odds and obloquy, that it is no wonder all the softness, conciliation are gone out of them, and that their aspect and address suggest only warfare, aggressive and unsparing."

And so on during the call. I wish I could photograph for you Mrs. Malise's drawing-room. You will not suppose it cumbered with the ordinary pretty feminine litter; but I can tell you Aunt Janet's sewing-room couldn't begin to rival it in grim dead-in-earnestness: straight up and down chairs that mean work; a writing-table big enough for a board-room, and fitted with suitably mighty writing implements; a slippery green leather couch upon which no laziness could be so desperate as to court repose; books lining one wall, and papers, stacks of papers everywhere--manuscripts and newspapers; no ornaments, unless a clock, a Cleopatra's needle in black marble, a skull, a wild-eyed, shock-headed oil portrait of a man I guessed to be the father of my hostess, and photographs of Mill, Mazzini, and Swinbourne be considered decorative.

Once at home again, I flew up stairs to Ronayne's dressing-room to run over his engagement tablet. One of the days named by Mrs. Malise was clear, so I said quietly at dinner, "Oh, Ronayne, don't make any engagement for Friday, for we are to dine at the Coming Events New Era Peep o'Day Associate Club."

"_Plaît-il, madame?_"

So I told him all about it. He groaned, made two or three pathetic observations about grocer's wine, raw meat, greasy, peppered _entrées_, and the cantankerous woman who would fall to his share at dinner, but resigned himself like a lamb--or a well-trained husband, which is much the same thing.

And once I had fairly sent off our acceptance to Mrs. Malise, I didn't spare him one bit. I told him that for once in his life he was to part company with his fossil world, and find himself in the vanguard of civilization, breathing another atmosphere in the high fellowship of the evangels of religious and social liberty. I besought him not to mortify me by any expression of his limited ideas and convictions upon the topics we should probably hear discussed, and above all not to betray horror at any enunciation that seemed to his feeble apprehension to strike at the root of all possible or endurable tarrying on this planet. "Don't let it be known," I entreated, "what a clog you are upon my soarings after the illimitable. I _am_ a victim, but the anguish and humiliation of my lot are too recent and painful for publicity--as yet!

"Let them think you idiotic, dear--that goes without saying because you're a man--but not that you're a tyrant to whom a poor-spirited wife must succumb.

"And you'll see Americans, dear, who've come over to find out why these effete regions and peoples still linger on the earth, and to them you'll only be a 'blarsted Britisher,' and you're not to resent it if they treat you accordin'. And there'll be Internationalists, to whom you're a 'bloated aristocrat,' and they won't have, to say nice manners. Then if you don't take Mrs. Malise down, you'll may be squire some grand new light. I can't tell you how to behave, for I don't know if the men of the future are to be deferential, or free and easy; but you must take a hint from the behavior of the other men. She'll wear a garnet-silk gown trimmed with white Yak lace, a pea-green ostrich feather, and ribbons in her hair, and a profusion of jingling Berlin steel ornaments, and she'll either trample you under foot and heap you over with wisdom, or she'll find you're her affinity. And if that happens, never mind me, love. If you _wish_ to go after affinities, go! _I_ shall always be the same--the meek, forgiving woman who knows that a wife's duty is to smile always--to upbraid never. Leave me and your poor angel child if you will! We both believed in indissoluble marriage once, but that needn't hinder you. Renounce----"

And about here, I think it was, my eloquence and pathos were suddenly checked in their flow. Men, husbands especially, take such mean advantages! And reasoning, and calm, intellectual conversation have, somehow, so little charm for them! I tell you painful truths, my Susie, but they're for your good and guidance. I know that long-legged, yellow-haired laddie out in New Zealand is a demi-god. Of course he is--they all are--but it's best not to marry 'em--if one can help it!

But the dinner. I was dreadfully puzzled what to wear--whether to get myself up as a severe matron, or appear in the costume suited to me--a frivolous woman, _jeune encore_, and with a mind not above millinery--when a little note from Mrs. Malise, felicitating herself and me that the day of our dinner was also their reception evening, turned the scale against the brown silk in favor of a quite celestial palest green-blue Irish poplin I got in Dublin this last visit. The tint suits my pale dark face admirably, and with rather a profusion of white lace, and pink coral ornaments that Ronayne's brother Gus, the major, just home from India, gave me at Christmas--exquisite swinging fuchsias, with golden stamens and leaves--the toilette was so effective that I was quite ready to hear Ronayne's, "Oh, what a gorgeous swell!" when I exhibited myself just before starting. And, "Ould Ireland for ever!" as his eye fell on the gown he helped me to choose. "And are these the laces my father gave you?" taking hold of one of my frills. "Do they look like antimacassars? Because if they don't, they never were fabricated in your tight little island, my Paddy. I'd do a deal for you. You couldn't help being born there, poor boy; _mais toute chose a son terme_, and even my devotion won't stretch to the wearing Irish lace."

Our host and hostess received us in the confederate drawing-room, where were three or four other guests already, and the greater number of the associate household and the lacking members presented themselves before dinner was announced. Fourteen or fifteen people in all, and not, to the casual glance, differing strikingly from unassociate dwellers in "isolate homes and dreary lodgings."

There were, first, a brusque-mannered but uncommonly handsome Lady ---- ----. If there's a lord, or plain mister ---- ----, I don't know, but certainly he's not _en evidence_. Lady ---- ---- is an authoress on the woman question and on marriage, and is generally given to the most forward of "advanced" opinions and ideas. Ronayne insultingly says they won't harm me, for I should never get a notion of what they really are--a speech which I treated with the oblivious contempt it deserved, though inwardly tickled at the lucky shot; for it's quite true that, attracted by her great beauty--the most singular combination you can fancy--boldly cut features, softened by babyish roundness of curves, and enchanting dimples, not a wrinkle or crow-foot to be traced, an infantine complexion, all transparent and softly pink, and this grownup baby's face surmounted by a mass of crisp-waved, snowy, but glitteringly snowy hair!--I hovered around her for awhile during the evening, and could make nothing whatsoever of the oracular sentences she let fall. With her her son, a man of twenty-six to thirty, priggish, argumentative, contrary-minded--altogether the most cub-like young Briton I have lately encountered. Next, a widow with two daughters--the mother what, of all things, but a Plymouth sister!--given to hospital and prison work, tract distribution, and mothers' meetings--a tall, spare, gentle-faced woman, dressed with almost Quakerish simplicity. And run over and away with by her daughters, no question--two monstrous girls of thirty, if a day; real grenadiers, nearly six feet high; one painfully thin and large-eyed, the other as stout as tall, and both overpowering in spirits and flippant or cynic smartness of talk. One, the thin one, whom I liked best, amused me during the evening by telling me how she got rid of bores--young, feeble little society men, brief of stature and of wit. "I endure the little creature as long as I can, and when he has buzzed all his little buzzes about the weather, and subjects suited to his size, there comes a pause--a long pause, for I don't help him. Then, if he is too young to know that he should take himself off, and he begins desperately upon some other threadbare topic, then I act. I am seated on a low lounge or ottoman; I begin to rise as if I caught sight of some one I knew at a distance; and I rise, rise, slowly, slowly, but up, up, up I go, till sometimes I stand on tiptoe, or on a hassock, my long skirts hiding all that, and the little man, who has watched me first idly, then curiously, gradually gets horror-struck, and finally bursts desperately away, absolutely tongue-tied with fright."

"And no wonder!" I couldn't help saying, for she had mounted and mounted as she described the scene, until there really was something supernatural and alarming in the slim, white-draped length of lady, and the height from which the big blue eyes in their hollow orbits shone down upon me.

Then an editor and his wife--the editor of "The Food Regenerator," if you please--and a dark, unwholesome looking, wizened little man, who I am sure would have been the better for a good rubbing with sand-paper and emery powder. His wife was a plaintive, helpless, hapless, washed-out woman, who, sidling apologetically about in a frowsy costume of some yellow-white woollen stuff, made me think of a dirty white cat--a likeness I was sorry to have forced on me when I had heard a bit of her history; for the only wonder is how she's kept courage enough to go on dressing or living at all. It seems that _M. le mari_ is by way of being a social as well as dietetic regenerator, and is as full of uncomfortable fads as man can be. They have no fortune, unless you reckon as such seven small children, and over and over again he's thrown up a good appointment or salary because he "must be free to write his convictions--great truths the world needs." And to lighten matters still further, he believes that service should be bartered, not paid for in coin; so they could almost never have a servant, and when they did get one it was of course some poor wretch who was glad to shelter herself on any terms for the moment, but who could be trusted no more than puss in the dairy. Besides carrying her own fardel, this poor wife was expected to fold and direct wrappers for her husband's precious journal, he finding "mechanical writing too exhausting and stultifying."

Next--let me see--two gentlemen, bachelors, one a pugnacious fellow-countryman to whose tremendous r-r's my heart warmed in this lisping land of Cockaigne--a proof-reader at one of the great publishing houses; the other as curious a specimen as I've encountered--a man of sixty or so, of courtly manners, an ex-Anglican parson, an ex-Catholic convert, a present "seeker after truth"--a man who knows something about everything and believes the last thing--but sure of nothing save that this world's a comfortable place, and loving nothing, one would swear, but his pug dog, a superb creature, fairly uncanny for wisdom, but a vilely ill-tempered beast, gurr-ing if one but looked at it.

And three ladies make up, I believe, the tale of the household: a rather young widow, charming in an unearthly, seeress-like fashion--finest porcelain to her finger-tips, but frail as a breath; a handsome, solid blonde girl, with cold blue eyes, and no gold in her fair hair, studying to be what she calls "a healer"--an earnest advocate of the food-regenerating editor's views upon diet, but quite out-Heroding Herod in her practice, for her fare seems only to lag a pace behind Nebuchadnezzar's in simplicity; and last a witty _Americaine_, an art student at the South Kensington school, with whom I fraternized directly, and from whom I had all the information my own eyes didn't glean. A girl twenty-four or five years old, I fancy, and oh, so satisfyingly handsome--not tall, but majestic in proportions and pose: a beautifully shaped head whose outlines were only revealed by closely-pinned braids of fine dark hair, and a face like a lily for calm and purity--too pale, indeed, for brilliant health, but the faint shadows under the eyes, about the temples and mouth that she owes to months in dimly-lighted rooms are really most effective aids to her peculiar beauty. She captivated me quite; Ronayne, too, who is a great conquest, for usually he dislikes Americans, finding them, he says, so shallow and yet so cockahoop. And the other guests at dinner were a lady lecturer, American, too, young, decidedly pretty, but pert as a pigeon, an Englishwoman who's doing something very notable in reformatories and kindergartens, a Liberal M.P. dancing attendance on the young lady lecturer, and a grand old white-headed lion of a man, a famous literary M.D.--heterodox to a frightful degree, I'm told, but certainly one of the most delightful neighbors I ever had at a dinner table.

And a very enjoyable dinner-party it was, altogether: a simple but carefully arranged menu, the dishes thoroughly well cooked--two or three foreign touches, _maccaroni aux tomates_, American-trimmed peaches with cream, and little fairy cakes--cat tongues--do you know them?--and roasted almonds in Spanish fashion, and as good claret Sauterne and sparkling Mosel (for I know a good glass of wine when I get it) as one need wish for.

The food-regenerator and his wife and the blonde "healer" had seats together, and were helped only to vegetables and fruits--the girl, indeed, taking only unbolted bread, of which an enormous supply in the shape of hard little cakes was placed before her, together with a large vegetable-dish full of stewed prunes; and the two mountains of bread and fruit had disappeared when the meal was ended--how many pounds I don't know, but then dinner is her sole meal in the twenty-four hours.

"Did you see that young woman's dinner?" burst out my liege that night when we were discussing our late experiences. "Disgusting! It ought to have been served in a trough! I looked every instant to see her fall from her chair and have to be carried out. If one is to gorge oneself like an anaconda once a day upon fruit and chopped straw in order to live to a good old age, I think we'll elect to be cut off in our youthful bloom."

But the talk at table was clever and gay, and thoroughly un-English in that it was general instead of being broken up into a dozen depressing _sotto-voce_ dialogues. The "healer," indeed, was too busy eating to open her mouth much uselessly, and the white cat was too timid for speech. But her editor made amends. He talked for three; not ill, but with a flavor of bitterness, and not enough in the third person.

"Oh, women are the stronghold of superstition," he exclaimed apropos of some passage between himself and the American art-student--"fettered hard and fast by hoary prejudices," he went on with rather a confusion of metaphors, "else the world might move."

"But we bind you, upon a man's testimony, but by a single hair," answered his opponent: "why not burst so slight a shackle?"

"And you to talk of freedom!" he went on as if unhearing. "Why do you wear that emblem at your throat?" (A plain gold cross which came into bold relief against her black velvet bodice.)

"Possibly because I'm a Christian." She answered without change of voice, but stopping the conversation by addressing some one nearer her. But the little porcelain widow, with a pretty upward movement, like the flutter of a bird on her nest, caught at a floating thread, and said in her tiny flute voice.

"But, Mr. Ridley, if he is interested in symbolism, will remember that the cross is a very ancient symbol, typifying the active and passive forces in nature--good and evil, light and darkness. And is it not very curious how everywhere the sign is impressed on external nature--in the heavens, in crystals, in flowers, in a bird's flight? In the arts too."

"And the legends, fables, and touching or droll superstitions concerning it are endless," said the white-headed doctor beside me. "And yet I'm often struck with the comparative newness of what may be termed literature of the cross. This dwelling on apparition in so many forms of the Story of the Cross is quite modern, and I fancy that a Good Friday service, a following through the Three Hours' Agony with a colloquial soliloquy, if one may use such an expression, upon the Seven Last Words, would have seemed as novel to the early Christians as it does now to the Low Church portion of our beautifully consistent Establishment."

"Though the symbol was always probably in private use among the early Christians," struck in the truth-seeker, "I believe its first public appearance would not date further back than its triumphant one upon the Roman eagles. In the Catacombs, I'm told, the Virgin and Child appear in the oldest work, or symbolism--the Cross never save as executed by late hands."

"May there not be subjective reasons for that?" asked my porcelain widow. "I mean for the modern adoration of the Cross? Do you not think we are much softer hearted, much more keenly susceptible of all the finer emotions than were those old Greek, Roman, and Jewish converts? One feels the same thing, it seems to me, in mystic reading. The old visions were triumphant, simple, or, so to say, material--the very A B C of mysticism; while the visions of later mystics are complicated, involved, like the soul-life of this time, often agonizing beyond natural power of endurance. And the stigmatized saints are of these later times."

"And then," said the art-student, "I think they didn't realize in those early days how long time was going to be, and how tough and many-headed, evil. The faith was but young then. Perhaps they couldn't have borne to know the length and fluctuations of the fight--and they felt so sure of speedy victory, that our Lord's resurrection and ascension appealed to them more keenly than His passion."

"All reasonable theories," replied my neighbor. "But, apropos of some of the legends concerning the Tragedy of the Cross, the weeping willow, the trembling aspen, the robin redbreast, the red crossbill, the passion flower, and so many more, I hardly know a more naïve example of the way in which our forefathers pressed the exterior world into testimony for their belief than occurs in an old picture in an Augustinian monastery in Sussex.

"It is a fresco on the wall of a chamber--subject, the Nativity--and the animals therein are made to publish the event in words supposed to resemble their characteristic sounds and cries. A cock, crowing, is perched at the top, and a label from out his mouth has the words, 'Christus natus est!' 'Quando, quando?' quacks the duck. Hoarsely the raven, 'In hæ nocte.' 'Ubi? ubi?' inquires the cow. And, 'Bethlehem,' bleats out the lamb."

"Oh, Mrs. Stainton, I beg your pardon," suddenly called out the ex-Anglican parson from the foot of the table, and despatching a servant with a plate to the little widow. "I quite forgot your predilection."

"But somebody else may like the _inner consciousness_ too," returned she, transferring to her own plate the fowl's gizzard sent. "You make me feel like a terrible old French aunt of mine--a _gourmande_ who spent two or three hours every day in consultation with her cook, a man, concerning her for the most part solitary dinner, and who was at the last found dead with her cook-book lying open on her knee! My oldest brother, when a little fellow, dined with her one day. In his helping of fowl was included the inner consciousness. Childlike, he put this tid-bit carefully aside as a delicious last morsel. But the old lady eyed his plate with great discontent, growing every moment more grim. Finally she could bear it no longer, and, poising her fork, she dexterously harpooned the _bonne-bouche_, and triumphantly transferred it to her own plate, remarking to the dreadfully disappointed child, 'I see, my nephew, that you don't love this little portion. Now _I_ do, so it is best I should have it.' We none of us could tolerate this aunt, but my brother's feeling toward her ever after was really venomous in its spitefulness."

"That reminds me," said the Scotchman, "that I saw a photograph of Dixblanc to-day, and was astonished to find her not at all an evil-looking person. I quite believe now that she murdered her mistress in a fit of passion, as she says, and not at all for robbery. And there must have been awful provocation. Fancy living with a disreputable, avaricious, nagging old Frenchwoman!"

"But how worse than with an old Englishwoman of like characteristics?" asked somebody.

"Oh, because the _Française_ is more _fine_, exasperating, and utterly unrestrained by terrors of Mrs. Grundy and the _decent_," replied the ex-Anglican, ex-things-in-general truth-seeker.

You will easily imagine that the talk, as it ran from one thing to another, was now and then upon topics of which I haven't the faintest gleam of knowledge--the doctrines of Swedenborg, the philosophizings of Spinoza and Vaurenargues. (Ronayne as usual spells the hard names for me, but you, as a wise and much-reading damsel, will know who was meant and all about it.)

After the ladies had returned to the drawing-room (for even in this New Light house the stupid fashion remains of gentlemen lingering alone, or together, or however you like it--you know what I mean--over their wine) I made a little tour of inspection of the public parts of the establishment with Mrs. Malise. They've a common library and reading-room, and most of the associates have their individual sitting-rooms. Dinner is a fixed meal, and all the members meet thereat, but breakfast and lunch may be taken at any time within certain hours, to suit the convenience of each member. "We are too small in number to make it possible to order our meals _à la carte_, or to economize in general living expenses as it might suit us individually to do. We can only reduce household costs in the mass, and then share these pretty equally. But this is only a beginning. By and by we shall have splendid confederate homes, under whose roofs the simplest and the costliest fashions of living may go on side by side. But to prove so much as we have done is a gain, and in separate homes the same amount of comfort we have here would cost us at least double, and would be, for some of us who have neither time nor talent for domesticity, quite unattainable at any price. What, under my administration, a little home would be upon our income of £500 a year, I shouldn't like to experience. And Mrs. Stainton! (The little widow.) Why, she comes of one of the oldest of the county families in Somerset; was reared like an exotic, lived chiefly upon cream and forced fruit, though now and then she trifled with something solid--an almond soup, a clear jelly, a bit of game, or an intricate _entrée_! Never dreamed of going beyond their pleasure gardens on her own feet, and knew how to do no earthly thing save to read, write, talk. She read 'Alton Locke,' and by way of comment married a national schoolmaster, the son of a brickmaker on her father's estate! There was a grand hubbub, and before she'd had time to be too much disgusted with her martyr rôle--martyrdom to break down the barriers of caste--her husband left her a penniless widow, and since then her father allows her a small income, but sentences her to banishment from that decorous household whose proprieties she outraged. She can endure nothing, knows nothing of any practical matters. What would she do with £150 a year, in a dingy parlor 'let,' with a flock bed, a burnt chop, a long-brewed cup of tea, and a frowsy-haired, smutty-faced 'slavey' to open the door and attend grudgingly and slatternly upon her?

"But we are not all chiefly moved by economic considerations. Some of our members have very considerable incomes, and might live where and how they pleased, but they seem not less satisfied with our experiment than are the poorer associates. There is such relief from care, and we may see as much or as little society as we choose without offence or burden."

Something interrupted Mrs. Malise's argument here, and I asked to see baby.

"Mill? Oh, certainly, if you like; but we shall find him asleep."

And asleep he was in one of those dreary back rooms that are sure to be sunless--a room that is both day and night nursery, I suppose, for there was a hot fire, a close smell, and the German nurse sat making lace under a gas jet flaming away unshaded.

He was very pale, poor little man! and has grown very fat--a soft, sagging flesh! I remarked upon his pallor to his mother, and she answered that he had measles about the time he was weaned, and that he had never had much color since. But he seemed well, and was he not a great stout fellow?

What treatment had he in measles? I asked. Oh, none! They didn't believe in doctors over much, and thought nature managed best unhindered. Mill was scrubbed with carbolic soap, and that was all the special treatment he had.

Returning to the drawing-rooms, we found them rapidly filling with the evening guests, and a busy hum of conversation going on. A slender, graceful, feeble-looking young man entered just before us. "That is Dodge, the famous medium," whispered my companion; but the words were hardly uttered before the young man gave a sharp cry, flung his arms wildly out, then sank as if prostrated on a near-by lounge. "Oh, what is it? what is it, Mr. Dodge?" cried several persons, rushing to him.

"She! she!" was the answer, with difficulty, and then he languidly pointed to a group of eager talkers under the chandelier. At the moment Lady ----, one of the group, her white hair startlingly gleaming under the full blaze of light, turned, with some sense of the commotion, and as she did so called out, "Why, Dodge! Is it my old friend Dodge?" and came toward him. The young man rallied, rose, and gave her his hand. "It was so sudden," he explained. "Four years ago Lady ----'s hair had not a white thread in it; and when I first caught sight of her, crowned by that mass of snow, I quite believed it was her spirit I saw."

"A great deal may happen in four years," answered Lady ----. "But how are you in these days, Mr. Dodge?"

"Oh, wretchedly ill, as usual," he replied. "The Duc de ---- insisted upon it that I must come over to England and try cold water again, and the Emperor, when I left, engaged me to meet him next season at Ems on condition that I had a more respectable body for my spirit to travel about in. Here's a little souvenir he gave me at parting," showing a magnificent diamond on his finger; and I moved on and lost the gorgeous reminiscences. There was a crowd before the evening was over, and I was introduced to a score or so of notables in the unorthodox world. But I seemed destined to funny little dramatic surprises. I had drawn near the piano to listen to Miss Hedges's "Drink to Me Only," etc., and was sitting quietly when the song was ended, speaking to no one, not consciously looking at any one, when a voice near me said, "That is my wife!" and I woke up to find a roly-poly, little old fellow, all smiles, insinuation, and plausibility, with a fringe of venerable white hair around a head round as an apple, bald and shining, smooth, evidently addressing himself to me. "Yes, that is my wife," he went on, and I looked with some bewilderment at a young woman his gaze indicated--a very young woman in a brilliant pink evening dress, the young woman brilliantly colored herself in solid white and red, with black eyes, black hair in rebellious tight curls, and a face with about as much expression as a plate. "Looks rather young for me, don't she? But it's all right, for the spirits give her to me!"

"And pray, Mr. Wardle, what did the spirits do for the old wife you left in Terre Haute?" inquired Miss Hedges, wheeling about toward us. "I am Anna Hedges, and two years ago I painted a portrait of your grandchild, Benny Davis, for Mrs. Wardle in New York."

"Er--er--I was not aware--er--I remember, that is--er--I think I have seen--er, er--yes! yes! A very worthy woman, the first Mrs. Wardle--very worthy. But narrer, narrer! too undeveloped, in fact, to--er--receive the new gospel, or to--er--make any use of the freedom I gave her to find a more harmonious partner, as I have done," and the old creature having floundered into a little more self-possession, smiled amiably, and retreated in tolerable order.

"I _do_ beg your pardon," went on Miss Hedges to me impulsively; "but that sleek old villain! I really couldn't help my outburst. His real wife is one of the nicest, gentlest of simple old women, and dying of shame, I heard the other day, for what has befallen herself and her children through the delusions and misconduct of an infatuated man who has grandchildren older than this 'harmonious partner' he introduces as his wife here abroad. The 'first Mrs. Wardle!' It made me think of one of our Jerseymen who begged that a certain hymn might be sung at his wife's funeral 'because the corpse was particular fond of that hymn!'"

When I could speak for laughter, I inquired, "But is this then a spiritualistic headquarters? Because Mrs. Malise pointed out Dodge, the medium, to me early in the evening?"

"No, not more than of all other insanities, crudities, and unconventionalities--conventionalities too; for with perhaps one exception, all the members of the household, whatever their opinions, are to the last degree rigid as to the proprieties. But at one time or another one meets here all shades of belief and non-belief--much of the orthodox and I should say all the heterodox London. Very curious I find it, and though sometimes outraged, as to-night, I'm oftener amused with my 'proper study of mankind.' But you, as an Englishwoman, would hardly conceive how droll to me was my first experience of one of these receptions. You know, of course, at once, as everybody does, that I'm a Yankee? I came in rather late one evening with an English artist friend, and found, enthroned in the other room, the centre of a throng of bowing gentlemen, a woman as black as the chimney back, her neck and arms bare, white gloves, a gilt comb and white ostrich feather in her woolly hair--a genuine darkey! and Mme. V.--the artist, Mme. V.--hurried up to me. 'Oh, do you know your accomplished countrywoman, Miss Symonds? No? Then pray let me introduce you to her, we find her so charming!' And I dare say she was charming, only it was very queer at first to encounter Chloe _en reme_!"

Then we had a long talk, getting speedily away from persons and things to the old familiar subject--art. How the girl is working! And how happy and absorbed in her work she is.

"Oh, Ronayne," I said, as we settled back in the carriage for our drive home, "do I smell of turpentine and paint rags? I had such a good time! Miss Hedges and I talked shop for a whole hour."

And then, and later, we compared notes. He was critical, but had been amused, and, trust me, I had the wit to hold my tongue about "the first Mrs. Wardle!"

For over and above my interest in that poor baby, several things draw me toward this associate household, and I should not like to pursue an acquaintance there if Ronayne manifested any decided contempt or hostility. He bursts out about the food-reforming trio, and the young lady-lecturer's manners are not to his fancy--too free and easy. She boasts of her superiority to hampered Englishwomen. _She_ lives here by herself in lodgings, and has gentlemen visiting and dining with her alone, or goes alone, in full dress, to dine, at 7 or 8 o'clock, with a gentleman friend stopping at the Langham Hotel. These are American fashions--innocent permitted freedoms of our republican sisters, she says. She is a pretty little boaster, with ready wit and a sharp tongue; but there are Americans and Americans, and I hardly think it would occur to an English gentleman to stand flicking a heavy curtain-tassel playfully into Miss Hedges's face while chatting with her at a public reception, even if he were an _épris_ Liberal, M.P.--as Ronayne says Mr. Vane did in the little orator's the other night.

* * * * *

But there! there! With love from each to all, not another word this time of my little New Light baby or his expansive household, from

Your own Lil.

(To be continued.)


Climb, oh! climb the golden ladder, Song of mine: Climb till thou dost reach her heart For whom I pine.

Cease not, lest thou lose the bliss For which I sigh: Climb till thou dost touch her heart-- Ah! why not I?

D. N. R.





Victor Heron did not leave Mrs. Money's quite as soon as he had intended. He had made a sort of engagement to meet some men in the smoking-room of his club; men with whom he was to have had some talk about the St. Xavier's Settlements. But he remained talking with Minola for some time; and he talked with Lucy and with other women, young and old, and asked many questions, and made himself very agreeable, and, as was his wont, thought every one delightful, and enjoyed himself very much. Then Mr. Money chanced to look in, and seeing Heron, bore him away for a while to his study, to talk with him about something very, very particular. Mr. Money saw Herbert Blanchet, and only performed with him the ceremony which Hajja Baba describes as "the shake-elbows and the fine weather," and then made no further account of him. Mr. Blanchet, seeing Heron invited to the study, and knowing from his acquaintance with the household what that meant, conceived himself slighted, and was angry. Mr. Money always looked upon Blanchet as a sort of young man whom only women were ever supposed to care about, and who would be as much out of place in the private study of a politician and man of business as a trimmed petticoat.

There was, however, some consolation for the poet in the fact that he had Minola Grey nearly all to himself. He secured this advantage by a dexterous stroke of policy, for he attached himself to his sister and did his best to show and describe to her all the celebrities; and Minola, only too glad, came and sat by Mary, and they made a very happy trio. Herbert was inclined to look down upon his sister as a harmless, old-fashioned little spinster, who would be much better if she did not try to write poetry. He felt convinced for a while that Minola must have the same opinion of her in her secret heart, and would not think the less of him for showing it just a little. But when he found that Miss Grey took the poetess quite seriously, and had a genuine affection for her, his sister's value rose immensely in his eyes; he paid her great attention, and, as has been said, he had his reward.

It grew late; the rooms were rapidly thinning. Minola and Miss Blanchet were to remain at Mrs. Money's for the night. Blanchet could not stay much longer, and had risen to go away, when Victor Heron entered. He came up to speak to Minola, and Minola introduced him to her particular friend and _camarade_, Miss Blanchet; and he sat beside Miss Blanchet and talked to her for a few moments, while Blanchet took advantage of the opportunity to talk again with Minola. Then Mr. Heron rose, and Herbert rose, and Mary Blanchet, growing courageous, told Heron that that was her brother and a great poet, and in a very formal, old-fashioned way, begged permission to make them acquainted. Mr. Heron was a passionate admirer of poetry, and occasionally, perhaps, tried the patience of his friends by too lengthened citations from Shakespeare and Milton; but in modern poetry he had not got much later than "The Arab physician Karshish," which he could recite from end to end; and "In Memoriam," of which he knew the greater part. He was, however, modestly conscious that his administrative engagements in the colonies had kept him a little behind the rest of the world in the matter of poetry, and it did not surprise him in the least that a very great poet, whose name had never before reached his ears, should be there beside him in Mrs. Money's drawing-room. He felt delighted and proud at meeting a poet and a poet's sister.

It so happened that after saying his friendly good night to his hostess--a ceremony which, even had the rooms been crowded, Mr. Heron would have thought it highly rude and unbecoming to omit--our fallen ruler of men found himself in Victoria street with Mr. Blanchet.

"Are you going my way?" Heron asked him with irrepressible sociability. "I am going up Pall Mall and into Piccadilly, and I shall be glad if you are coming the same way. Are you going to walk? I always walk when I can. May I offer you a cigar? I think you will find these good."

Herbert took a cigar, and agreed to walk Heron's way; which was, indeed, so far as it went, his own. Heron was very proud to walk with a poet.

"Yours is a delightful calling, sir," he said. "Excuse me if I speak of it. I remember reading somewhere that one should never talk to an author about his works. But I couldn't help it; we don't meet poets in some of our colonies; and your sister was kind enough to enlighten my ignorance, and tell me that you were a poet. I always thought that a charming anecdote of Wolfe reciting Gray's 'Elegy,' and telling his officers he would rather have written that than take Quebec. Ay, by Jove, and so would I!"

Mr. Blanchet had never heard of the anecdote, and had by no means any clear idea as to the identity or exploits of Wolfe. But he was anxious to know something about Heron, and therefore he was determined to be as companionable as possible.

"You must not believe all my sister says about me. She has an extravagant notion of my merits in every way."

"It must be delightful to have a sister!" Victor Heron said enthusiastically. "Do you know that I can't imagine any greater happiness for a man than to have a sister? I envy you, Mr. Blanchet."

Heron was in the peculiar position of one to whom all the family relationships present themselves in idealized form. He had never had sister or brother; and a sister now rose up in his imagination as a sort of creature compounded of a simplified Flora MacIvor and a glorified Ruth Pinch. His novel-reading in the colonies was a little old-fashioned, like many of his ideas, and his habit of frequently using the word "sir" in talking with men whom he did not know very familiarly.

Mr. Blanchet was not disposed, from his knowledge of Mary Blanchet, to hold the possession of a sister as a gift of romantic or inestimable value. To say the truth, when Victor spoke so warmly of the delight of having a sister, he too was not setting up the poetess as an ideal. He was thinking rather of Miss Grey, and what a sister she would be for a man to confide in and have always with him.

Meanwhile Herbert, with all his self-conceit, had common sense enough to know that it would not do to leave Heron to find out from others that the great poet Blanchet had yet to make his fame.

"My sister and I have been a long time separated," he said. "She lived in the country for the most part, and I had to come to London."

"Of course--the only place for a man of genius. A grand stage, Mr. Blanchet--a grand stage."

"So of course Mary is all the more inclined to make a sort of hero of me. You must not take her estimate of me, Mr. Heron. She fancies the outer world must think just as she does of everything I do. I am not a famous poet, Mr. Heron, and probably never shall be. I belong to a school which does not cultivate fame, or even popularity."

"I admire you all the more for that. It always seems to me that the poet degrades his art who hunts for popularity--the poet or anybody else for that matter," added Victor, thinking of his own unpopular performances in St. Xavier's Settlements. "I am delighted to meet you, Mr. Blanchet. I have seen so much hunting after popularity in England that I honor any man of genius who has the courage to set his face against it."

"My latest volume of poems," Blanchet said firmly, "I do not even mean to publish. They shall be printed, I hope, and got out in a manner becoming of them--becoming, at least, of what I think of them; but they shall not be hawked about book shops and reviewed by self-conceited, ignorant prigs."

"Quite right, Mr. Blanchet; just what I should like to do myself if I could possibly imagine myself gifted like you. But still you must admit that it is little to the credit of the age that a poet should be forced thus to keep his treasures from the public eye. Besides, it may be all very well, you know, in your case or mine; but think of a man of genius who has to live by his poems! It's easy talking for men who have enough--my enough, I confess, is a pretty modest sort of thing--but you must know better than I that there are young men of genius--ay, of real genius--trying to make a living in London by writings that perhaps their own generation will never understand. There is what seems to me the hard thing." Mr. Heron grew quite animated.

The words sent a keen pang through Blanchet's heart. His new acquaintance, whom Blanchet assumed to be confoundedly wealthy, evidently regarded him as a person equally favored by fortune, and therefore only writing poetry to indulge the whim of his genius. Herbert Blanchet had heard from the Money women, in a vague sort of way, that Mr. Heron had been a governor of some place; it might have been Canada or India for aught he knew to the contrary; and he assumed that he must be a very aristocratic and self-conceited person. Blanchet would not for the world have admitted at that moment that he was poor; and he shuddered at the idea that Heron might somehow learn all about Mary Blanchet's official position in the court-house of Duke's Keeton. For all the dignity of poetry and high art, Mr. Blanchet was impressed with a painful consciousness of being small somehow in the company of Mr. Heron. It was not merely because he supposed Heron to be wealthy, for he knew Mrs. Money was rich, and that Lucy would be an heiress; and yet he was always quite at his ease with them, and accustomed to give himself airs and to be made much of; but it occurred to him that Mr. Heron's family, friends, and familiar surroundings would probably be very different from his; and he always found himself at home in the society of women, whom he knew that he could impress and impose on by his handsome presence. Yes, he felt himself rather small in the society of this pleasant, simple, unpretending young man, who was all the time looking up to him as a poet and a child of genius.

Greatly pleased was the poet and child of genius when Victor Heron asked him to come into his rooms and smoke a cigar before going to bed.

"You don't sleep much or keep early hours, I dare say, Mr. Blanchet; literary men don't, I suppose; and I only sleep when I can't help it. Let us smoke and have a talk for an hour or two."

"Night is my day," said Blanchet. "I don't think people who have minds can talk well in the hours before midnight. When I have to work in the day I sometimes close my shutters, light my gas, and fancy I am under the influences of night."

"I got the way of sitting up half the night," said Victor simply, "from living in places where one had best sleep in the day; but I am sure if I were a poet, I should delight in the night for its own sake."

There was something curious in the feeling of deference with which Heron regarded the young poet. He considered Blanchet as something not quite mortal, or at all events, masculine; something entitled to the homage one gives to a woman and the enthusiasm we feel to a spiritual teacher. Blanchet did not seem to him exactly like a man; rather like one of those creatures compounded of fire and dew whom we read of in legend and mythology. The feeling was not that of awe, because Blanchet was young and good-looking, and wore a dress coat and white tie, and it is impossible to have a feeling of awe for a man with a white tie. It was a feeling of delicate consideration and devotion. Had some rude person jostled against or otherwise insulted the poet as they passed along, Victor would have felt it his duty to interpose and resent the affront as promptly as if Minola Grey or Lucy Money were the object of the insult. To his unsophisticated colonial mind the poet was the sweet feminine voice of the literary grammar.

Heron occupied two or three rooms on the drawing-room floor of one of the streets running out of Piccadilly. He paid, perhaps, more for his accommodation than a prudent young man beginning the world all over again would have thought necessary; but Heron could not come down all at one step from his dignity as a sort of colonial governor, and he considered it, in a manner, due to the honor of England's administrative system, that he should maintain a gentlemanlike appearance in London while still engaged in fighting his battle--the battle which had not begun yet. Besides, as he had himself told Minola Grey, his troubles thus far were not money troubles. He had means enough to live like a modest gentleman even in London, provided he did not run into extravagant tastes of any kind, and he had saved, because he had had no means of spending it, a good deal of his salary while in the St. Xavier's his lodgings; and his condition seemed to Blanchet, when they entered the drawing-room together, and the servant was seen to be quietly busy in anticipating his master's wants, to be that of an easy opulence whereof, in the case of young bachelors, he had little personal knowledge. It was very impressive for the moment. Genius, and originality, and the school quailed at first before respectability, West End rooms, and a man servant.

The adornments of the rooms were, to Mr. Blanchet's thinking, atrocious. They were, indeed, only of the better class London lodgings style: mirrors, and gilt, and white, and damask. There were doors where there ought to have been curtains, carpets where artistic feeling would have prescribed mats or rugs; there were no fans, not to say on the ceiling, but even on the walls. The only suggestion of art in the place was a plaster cast of the Venus of the Louvre which Heron himself had bought, and which in all simplicity he adored. Mr. Blanchet held, first, that all casts were nefarious, and next, that the Venus of Milo as a work of art was beneath contempt. One of the divinities of his school had done the only Venus which art could acknowledge as her own. This was, to be sure, a picture, not a statue; but in Mr. Blanchet's mind it had settled the Venus question for ever. The Lady Venus was draped from chin to toes in a snuff-colored gown, and was represented as seated on a rock biting the nails of a lank, greenish hand; and she had sunken cheeks, livid eyes, and a complexion like that of the prairie sage grass. Any other Venus made Herbert Blanchet shudder.

The books scattered about were dispiriting. There were Shakespeare, Byron, and Browning. Mr. Blanchet had never read Shakespeare, considered Byron below criticism, and could hardly restrain himself on the subject of Browning. There were histories, and Mr. Blanchet scorned history; there were blue books, and the very shade of blue which their covers displayed would have made his soul sicken. It will be seen, therefore, how awful is the impressiveness of respectability when, with all these evidences of the lack of artistic taste around him, Mr. Blanchet still felt himself dwarfed somehow in the presence of the occupier of the rooms. It ought to be said in vindication of Mr. Heron, that that poor youth was in nowise responsible for the adornments of the rooms, except in so far as his plaster cast and his books were concerned. He had never, up to this moment, noticed anything about the lodgings, except that the rooms were pretty large, and that the locality was convenient for his purposes and pursuits.

The two young men had some soda and brandy, and smoked and talked. Blanchet was the poorest hand possible at smoking and drinking; but he swallowed soda and brandy in repeated doses, while his host's glass lay still hardly touched before him. One consequence was that his humbled feeling soon wore off, and he became eloquent on his own account, and patronizing to Heron. He set our hero right upon every point connected with modern literature and art, whereon it appeared that Heron had hitherto possessed the crudest and most old-fashioned notions. Then he declaimed some of his own shorter poems, and explained to Heron that there was a conspiracy among all the popular and successful poets of the day to shut him out from public notice, until Heron felt compelled, by a sheer sense of fellow-feeling in grievance, to start up and grasp his hand, and vow that his position was enviable in comparison with that of those who had leagued themselves against him.

"But you must hear my last poem--you _shall_ hear it," Herbert said magnanimously.

"I shall be delighted; I shall feel truly honored," murmured Victor in perfect sincerity. "Only tell me when."

"The first reading--let me see; yes, the _first_ reading is pledged to Miss Grey. No one," the poet grandly went on, "can hear it before she hears it."

"Of course not--certainly not; I shouldn't think of it," the dethroned ruler of St. Xavier's Settlements hastened to interpose. "What a noble girl Miss Grey is! You know her very well, I suppose?"

"I look upon her," said the poet gravely, "as my patron saint." He threw himself back in his chair, raised his eyes to the ceiling, murmured to himself some words which sounded like a poetic prayer, and swallowed his brandy and soda.

Victor thought he understood, and remained silent. His heart swelled with admiration, sympathy, and an entirely innocent, unselfish envy.

"Still," the poet said, rising in his chair again, "there is no reason why you should not hear the poem at the same time. I am going to-morrow to read the poem to Minola--to Miss Grey and Mary. I am sure they will both be delighted if you will come with me and hear it."

"I should like it of all things, of course; but I don't know whether I ought to intrude on Miss Grey. I understood from her that she rather prefers to live to herself--with her friends of course--and that she does not desire to have visitors."

"You may safely come with me," the poet proudly said. "I'll call for you to-morrow, if you like."

Victor assumed that he safely might accept the introduction of his new acquaintance, and the appointment was made.

If Mr. Heron could, under any possible circumstances, be brought to admit to himself that the society of a poet was a little tiresome, he might perhaps have acknowledged it in the present instance. The good-natured young man was quite content for the present to sink and even to forget his own grievance in presence of the grievances of his new acquaintance. His own trouble seemed to him but small in comparison. What, after all, was the misprizing of the political services of an individual in the face of a malign or stupid lack of appreciation, which might deprive the world and all time of the outcome of a poet's genius? Heron began now to infer that his new friend was poor, and the conviction made him more and more devotedly sympathetic. He was already dimly revolving in his mind a project for the publication of Blanchet's poems at the risk or expense of a few private friends, of whom he was to be the foremost. Some persons have a genius, a heaven-bestowed faculty, for the transfer of their own responsibilities and cares to other minds and shoulders. Already two sympathetic friends of a few hours' standing are separately taking thought about the publication of Mr. Blanchet's poems without risk or loss to Mr. Blanchet. Still, it must be owned that Mr. Blanchet's company was growing a little of a strain on the attention of his present host. Blanchet knew absolutely nothing of politics or passing events of any kind in the outer world, and did not affect or pretend to care anything about them. Indeed, had he been a man of large and liberal information in contemporary history, he would in all probability have concealed his treasures of knowledge, and affected an absolute and complacent ignorance. Outside the realms of what he called art, Mr. Blanchet thought it utterly beneath him to know anything; and within his own realm he knew so much, and bore down with such a terrible dogmatism, that the ordinary listener sank oppressed beneath it. Warmed and animated by his own discourse, the poet poured out the streams of his dogmatic eloquence over the patient Heron, who strained every nerve in the effort to appreciate, and in the honest desire to acquire, exalted information.

At last the talk came to an end, and even Blanchet got somehow the idea that it was time to be going away. Victor accompanied him as far as the doorway, and they stood for a moment looking into the silent street.

"You haven't far to go, I hope?"

"No, not far; not exactly far," the poet answered. "I'll find a cab, I dare say. To-morrow, then, you'll come with me to Miss Grey's. You needn't have any hesitation; you will be quite welcome, I assure you. I'll call for you."

"Come to breakfast then at twelve."

"All right," the complacent Blanchet answered, his earlier awe having given place to an easy familiarity; "I'll come."

He nodded and went his way. Victor Heron looked for a while after his tall, slender, and graceful figure.

"He's a handsome fellow," Heron said to himself, "and a poet, and I can easily imagine a girl being in love with him, or any number of girls. She is a very fine girl, quite out of the common track. She must be very happy. I almost envy him. No, I don't. What on earth have I to do with such nonsense?"

He returned to his room and sat thinking for a while. All his political worrying and grievance-mongering seemed to have lost character somehow, and become prosaic, and unsatisfying, and vapid. It did not seem much to look forward to, that sort of thing going on for ever.



Mary Blanchet was, for the time, one of the happiest women on the earth when she had to bestir herself, on their returning home next day, to make preparations for the test-reading of her brother's poems. To hear Herbert's poems read was a delight which could only be excelled by the pride and joy of having them read to such an audience. She had so long looked up to Minola as a leader and a princess that she at last came to regard her as the natural arbitress of the destiny of any one belonging to the Blanchet family. In some vague way she had made up her mind that if Miss Grey only gave the word of command, the young poet's works must go forth to the world, and going forth must of course be estimated at their proper worth. Her pride was double-edged. On this side there was the poet-brother to show to her friends; on that side the friend who was to be the poet-brother's patroness. Her "animula vagula, blandula" floated all that day on the saffron and rose clouds of rising joy and fame.

Nor was her gratification at all diminished when Herbert Blanchet called very early to crave permission to bring Mr. Heron with him, and when he obtained it Blanchet had thought it prudent not to rely merely on the close friendship with Miss Grey, of which he had spoken a little too vauntingly to Victor the night before, and it seemed to him a very necessary precaution to call and ask permission to introduce his friend. He was fortunate enough to find Minola not only willing, but even what Mary might have thought, if she had considered the matter, suspiciously willing, to receive Mr. Heron. In truth, Minola had in her mind a little plot to do a service to Mary Blanchet and her brother in the matter of the poems, and she had thought of Mr. Heron as the kindliest and likeliest person she knew to give her a helping hand in the carrying out of her project. Mary, not thinking anything of this, was yet made more happy than before by the prospect of having a handsome young man for one of the audience. As has been said already, she had the kindliest feelings to handsome young men. Then the presence of another listener would make the thing quite an assembly; almost, as she observed in gentle ecstasy more than once to Minola, as if it were one of the poetic contests of the middle ages, in which minstrels sang and peerless ladies awarded the prize of song.

So she busied herself all the morning to adorn the rooms and make them fit for the scene of a poet's triumph. She started away to Covent Garden, and got pots of growing flowers and handfuls of "cut flowers," to scatter here and there. She had an old guitar which she disposed on the sofa with a delightfully artistic carelessness, having tried it in all manner of positions before she decided on the final one, in which the forgetful hand of the musician was supposed to have heedlessly dropped it. All the books in the prettiest bindings--especially poems--she laid about in conspicuous places. Any articles of apparel--bonnets, wraps, and such like, that might upon an ordinary occasion have been seen on tables or chairs--were carefully stowed away in their proper receptacles--except, indeed, for a bright-colored shawl, which, thrown gracefully across an arm of the sofa, made, in conjunction with the guitar, quite an artistic picture in itself. Near the guitar, too, in a moment of sudden inspiration, she arranged a glove of Nola's--a glove only once worn, and therefore for all pictorial effect as good as new, while having still the pretty shape of the owner's hand expressed in it. What can there be, Mary Blanchet thought, more winsome to look at, more suggestive of all poetic thought, than the carelessly-lying glove of a beautiful girl? But she took good care not to consult the owner of the glove on any such point, dreading with good reason Minola's ruthless scorn of all shams and prearranged affectations.

Mary was a little puzzled about the art fixtures, if such an expression may be used, of the room--the framed engravings, which belonged to the owner of the house and were let with the lodgings, of which they were understood to count among the special attractions. She had a strong conviction that her brother would not admire them--would think meanly of them, and say so; and although Minola herself now and then made fun of them, yet it did not by any means follow that she should be pleased to hear them disparaged by a stranger. About the wall paper she was also a little timorous, not feeling sure as to the expression which its study might call into her brother's critical eye. She could not, however, remove the engravings, and doing anything with the paper was still more completely out of the question. There was nothing for it, therefore, but to hope that his poetry and his audience would so engross the poet as to deprive his eyes of perception for cheap art and ill-disciplined colors.

There was to be tea, delightfully served in dainty little cups, and Mary could already form in her mind an idea of the graceful figure which Minola would make as she offered her hospitality to the poet. An alarm, however, began to possess her as the day went on, about the possibility of Minola not being home in time for the reception of the strangers. In order that she might have the place quite to herself to carry out her little schemes of decoration, the artful poetess had persuaded Minola not to give up her usual walk in the park, and now suppose Minola forgot the hour, or lost her way, or was late from any cause, and had not time to make any change in her walking dress, or actually did not come in until long after the visitors had arrived! What on earth was she, Mary, to do with them?

This alarm, however, proved unfounded. Minola came back in very good time, looking healthy and bright, with some raindrops on her hair, and putting away with good-humored contempt all suggestions about an elaborate change of dress. Miss Blanchet would have liked her leader to array herself in some sort of way that should suggest a queen of beauty, or princess of culture, or other such imposing creature. At all events she would have liked trailing skirts and much perfume. She only sighed when Minola persisted in showing herself in very quiet costume.

The rattle of a hansom cab was heard at last--at last, Mary thought--in reality a few minutes before the time appointed; and the poet and Mr. Heron entered. The poet was somewhat pale, and a little preoccupied. He had a considerable bulk of manuscript in his hand. The manuscript was in itself a work of art, as he had already explained to Victor. Each page was a large leaf of elaborately rough and expensive paper, and the lines of poetry, written out with exquisitely careful penmanship, occupied but a small central plot, so to speak, of the field of white. The margins were rich in quaint fantasies of drawing, by the poet himself, and various artists of his brotherhood. Sometimes a thought, or incident, or phrase of the text was illustrated on the margin, in a few odd, rapid strokes. Sometimes the artist, without having read the text, contributed some fancy or whimsy of his own; sometimes it was a mere monogram, sometimes a curious, perplexed, pictorial conceit; now merely the face of a pretty woman, and again some bewildering piece of eccentric symbolism, about the meaning whereof all observers differed. It must be owned that as Minola looked at these ornaments of the manuscript, she could not help feeling a secret throb of satisfaction at the evidence they gave that the reading would not be quite so long as the first sight of the mass of paper had led her to expect.

Mr. Blanchet did not do much in the way of preliminary conversation. He left all that to Minola and Victor; and the latter was seldom wanting in talk when he believed himself to have sympathetic listeners. It should be said that the well-ordered guitar effect proved a failure; for Mr. Blanchet soon after entering the room flung himself into what was to have been a poetic attitude on the sofa, and came rather awkwardly on the guitar, and was a little vexed at the thought of being made to seem ridiculous.

Every one was anxious that a beginning of the reading should be made, and no one seemed to know exactly how to start it. Suddenly Mr. Blanchet arose, as one awakened from a dream.

"May I beg, Miss Grey, for three favors?"

Minola bowed and waited.

"First, I cannot read by daylight. My poems are not made for day. They need a peculiar setting. May I ask that the windows be closed and the lamps lighted? I see you have lamps."

"Certainly, if you wish," and Minola promptly rang the bell.

"Thank you very much. In the second place I would ask that no sign of approval or otherwise be given as I read. The whole must be the impression, not any part. It must be felt as a whole, or it is not felt at all. Until the last line is read no judgment can be formed."

This was discouraging and even depressing, but everybody promised. Minola in particular began to fear that poets were not so much less objectionable than other men as she had hoped. She could not tell why, but as she listened to the child of genius she was filled with a strange memory of Mr. Augustus Sheppard. Everything that seemed formal and egotistic reminded her of Mr. Augustus Sheppard.

"Then," continued Herbert, "when I have finished the last line, you will perhaps allow me to leave you at once, without formality, and without even speaking? I ask for no sudden judgment; that I shall hear another time; too soon, perhaps," and he indulged in a faint smile. "But I prefer to go at once, when I have read a poem; it is a peculiarity of mine," and he passed his hand through his hair. "Reading excites me, and I am overwrought. It may not be so with others, but it is so with me."

"I can quite understand," the good-natured Victor hastened to say. "Quite natural--quite so. I have often worked myself into such a state of excitement, thinking of things--not poetry, of course, but colonial affairs, and such dry stuff--that I have to go out at night, perhaps, and walk in the cool air, and recover myself. Don't you feel so sometimes, Miss Grey?"

"Oh, no; I am neither poet nor politician, and I have nothing to think about." At the moment she thought Blanchet a sham, and Heron rather a weak and foolish person for encouraging him. What would you have of men?

"I have felt so often," Mary Blanchet said with a gentle sigh.

Miss Grey did not doubt that people felt so; that everybody might feel so under appropriate conditions. It was the deliberate arranging of preliminaries by Mr. Blanchet that vexed her; it seemed so like affectation and play-acting. She was prepared to think his poetry rubbish.

It was not rubbish, however; not mere rubbish, by any means. Mr. Blanchet had a considerable mastery of the art of arranging together melodious and penetrating words, and he caught up cleverly and adopted the prevailing idea and purpose of the small new group of yet hardly known artists in verse and color, to whom it was his pride to belong. His poems belonged to what might be called the literature of disease. In principle, they said to corruption, "Thou art my father," and to the worm, "Thou art my mother and my sister." They dealt largely in graves and corpses, and the loves of skeletons, and the sweet virtues of sin, and the joys of despair and dyspepsia. They taught that there is no truth but paradox. Mr. Blanchet read his contributions with great effect: in a voice now wailing, now threatening, now storming fiercely, now creeping along in tones of the lowest hoarseness. What amazed Minola was, to find that any man could have so little sense of the ridiculous as to be able to go through such a performance in a small room before three people. In a crowd there might be courage; but before three! It was wonderful. She felt horribly inclined to laugh; but the gleaming eyes of the poet alighted on hers and fastened them every now and then; and poor Mary too, she knew, was watching her.

It was very trying to her. She endeavored to fill her mind with serious and sad thoughts; and she could not keep herself from thinking of the scene in Richter's "Flegeljahre" where the kin of the eccentric testator are trying in fierce rivalry who shall be the first to shed a tear for his loss, in presence of the notary and the witnesses, and thereby earn the legacy to which that exasperating condition was attached. After all it is probably easier to restrain a laugh than to pump up a tear, especially when the coming of the tear must bring the drying glow of a glad success with it. Minola's condition was bearable; and indeed, when she saw the genuine earnestness of the poet, her inclination to laugh all died away, and she became filled with pity and pain. Then she tried hard to admire the verses, and could not. At first the conceits and paradoxes were a little startling, and even shocking, and they made one listen. But the mind soon became attuned to them and settled down, and was stirred no more. Once you knew that Mr. Blanchet liked corpses, his peculiarity became of no greater interest than if his liking had been for babies. When it was made clear that what other people called hideousness he called beauty, it did not seem to matter much more than honest Faulconbridge's determination, if a man's name be John, to call him Peter.

The poet sometimes closed his eyes for a minute together, and pressed his hand upon his brow, while drops of perspiration stood distinctly on his livid forehead. But he took breath again, and went on. He evidently thought his audience could not have enough of it. The poem was, in fact, a chaplet of short poem-beads. Many of its passages had the peculiarity that they came to a sudden end exactly when the listeners supposed that the interest of the thing was only going to begin. When a page was ended the poet lifted it, so to speak, with the sudden effort of one hand and arm, as though it were something heavy like a shield, and then flung it from him, looking fixedly into the eyes of some one of the three listeners the while. This formality impressed Mary Blanchet immediately. It seemed the very passion and wrestling of poetic inspiration; the prophetic fury rushing into action through the prophet.

Minola once or twice glanced at the face of Victor Heron. At first it was full of respectful and anxious attention, animated now and then by a sudden flicker of surprise. Of late these feelings and moods had gradually changed, and after a while the settling-down condition had clearly arrived. At length Miss Grey could see that while Mr. Heron still maintained an attitude of the most courteous attention, his ears were decidedly with his heart, and that was far away--with his own grievance and the St. Xavier's Settlements.

At last it was over. The close, for all their previous preparation, took the small audience by surprise. It came thus:

I asked of my soul--What is death? I asked of my love--What is hate? I asked of decay--Art thou life? And of night--Art thou day? Did they answer?

The poet looked up with eyes of keen and almost fierce inquiry. The audience quailed a little, but, not feeling the burden of response thrown upon them, resumed their expectant attitudes, waiting to hear what the various oracles had said to their poetic questioner. But they were taken in, if one might use so homely an expression. The poem was all over. That was the beginning and the end of it. The poet flung away his last page, and sank dreamy, exhausted, back into his chair. A moment of awful silence succeeded. Then he gathered up his illuminated scrolls, rose from his chair, bowed gravely, and left the room, Mary Blanchet hurried after him.

Minola was perplexed, depressed, and remorseful. She thought there must be something in the productions which made their author so much in earnest, and she was afraid she had not seemed attentive enough, or that Blanchet had detected her in her early inclination to smile. There was an embarrassed pause when Victor and she were left together.

"He reads very well," Heron said at last. "A capital reader, I think. Don't you? He throws his soul into it. That's the great thing."

"It is," said Minola, "if it's much to throw--oh, I don't know what I mean by that. But how do you like the poems?"

"Well, I am sure they must be very fine. I should rather hear the judgment of some one else. I should like to hear you speak first. You tell me what you think of them and then I'll tell you, as the children say."

"I don't care about them," said Minola, shaking her head sadly. "I have tried, Mr. Heron; but I can't admire them. I can't see any originality, or poetry, or anything in them. I could not admire them--unless a command came express from the Queen to tell me to think them good."

"So you read the 'Misanthrope'--Molière's 'Misanthrope?'" Victor said eagerly, and having caught in a moment Minola's whimsical allusion to the duty of a loyal critic when under royal command.

"Yes, I used to pass half my time reading it; I have almost grown into thinking that I have a sort of copyright in it. Alceste is my chief hero, Mr. Heron."

"I wish I were like him," said Mr. Heron.

"I wish you were," she answered gravely.

"But I am not--unfortunately."

"Unfortunately," she repeated, determined to pay no compliment.

"You must let me come some day and have a long talk with you about Molière," Victor said, nothing discouraged, having wanted no compliment, nor thought of any.

"I shall be delighted; you shall talk and I will listen. I am so glad to find a companion in Molière. But I wish I could have admired Mr. Blanchet's poems. I prefer my own ever so much."

"Your own!" The audacious self-complacency of the announcement astonished him, and seemed out of keeping with Miss Grey's character and ways. Do you write poems?"

"Oh, no; if I did, I don't think I could admire them."

"But how then--what do you mean?"

"Well--one can feel such poetry in every blink of sunshine even in this West Centre, and every breath of wind, and every stray recollection of some great book that one has read, when we were young, you know. That poetry never is brought to the awful test of being written down and read out. I do so feel for Mr. Blanchet; I suppose his poems seemed glorious before they were written out."

"But I think they seem glorious to him even still."

"They do--and to Mary. Mr. Heron, tell me honestly and without affectation--are you really a judge of poetry?"

"Not I," said Heron. "I adore a few old poets and one or two new ones, but I couldn't tell why--and those that I admire everybody else admires too, so that I can't pretend to myself that I have any original judgment. My opinion, Miss Grey, isn't worth a rush."

"I am very glad to hear it--very. Neither is mine. So you see we may be both of us quite mistaken about Mr. Blanchet's poems."

"Of course we may--I dare say we are; in fact I am quite sure we are," said Heron, growing enthusiastic.

"Anyhow it is possible. Now I have been thinking----"

"Yes, you have been thinking?"

"I don't know whether I am only going to prove myself a busybody; but I am so fond of Mary Blanchet."

"Yes: quite right; so am I--I mean I like her very much. But what do you think of doing?"

"Well, if one could do anything to get these poems published, or brought out in some way--if it could be done without Mr. Blanchet's knowledge, or if he could be got to approve of it, and was not too proud."

"All that I have been thinking of already," Victor said. "I do think it's a shame that a fellow shouldn't have a chance of fighting his battle for the want of a few wretched pounds."

"How glad I am now that I spoke of this to you! Then if I get up a little plot, you'll help me in it."

"I'll do everything--delighted."

"But first you must understand me. This is for my dear old friend, Mary Blanchet--not for Mr. Blanchet; I don't particularly care about him, in that sort of way, and I fancy that men generally can take care of themselves; but I can't bear to have Mary Blanchet disappointed, and that is why I want to do something. Now will you help me? I mean will you help me in my way?"

"I will help in anyway you like, so long as I am allowed to help at all. But I don't quite understand what you mean."

"Don't you? I wish you did without being told so very, very clearly. Well, my Mary Blanchet is proud; and though she might accept for her brother a helping hand from me, it would be quite a different thing where a stranger was concerned. In plain English, Mr. Heron, whatever money is to be paid must be paid by me; or there shall be no plot. Now you understand."

"Yes, certainly; I quite understand your feelings. I should have liked----"

"No doubt; but there are so many things one could have liked. The thing is now, will you help me--on my conditions?"

"Of course I will; but what help can I give, as you have ordered things?"

"There are ever so many things to do which I couldn't do, and shouldn't even know how to go about: seeing publishers and printers, and all that kind of work."

"All that I'll do with pleasure; and I am only sorry that you limit me to that. May I ask, Miss Grey, how old are you?"

"What on earth has that to do with the matter? Shall you have to give the publishers a certificate of my birth?"

"No, it's not for that. But you seem to me a very young woman, and yet you order people and things as if you were a matron."

Minola smiled and colored a little. "I have lived an odd and lonely sort of life," she said, "and never learned manners; perhaps that is the reason. If I don't please you, Mr. Heron--frankly, I shan't try."

There was something at once constrained and sharp in her manner, such as Heron had not observed before. She seemed changed somehow as she spoke these unpropitiatory words.

"Oh, you do please me," he said; "sincere people always please me. Remember that I too admire the 'Misanthrope.'"

"Yes, very well; I am glad that you agree to my terms--and we are fellow-conspirators?"

"We are--and----"

"Stop! Here comes Mary."

Mary Blanchet came back. Her face had a curiously deprecating expression. She herself had been filled with wonder and delight by the reading of her brother's poems; but she had known Minola long enough to be as sensitive to her moods and half-implied meanings as the dog who catches from one glance at his master's face the knowledge of whether the master is or is not in a temper suited for play. Mary had done her very best to reassure her brother; but she had not herself felt quite satisfied about Minola's admiration.

"Well?" Mary said, looking beseechingly at Minola, and then appealingly at Victor, as if to ask whether he would not come to the rescue. "Well?"

"We have been talking," Minola said, with a resolute effort--"we have been talking--Mr. Heron and I--about your brother's poems, Mary; and we think that the public ought to have a chance of judging of them."

"Oh, thank you!" Mary exclaimed, and she clasped her hands fervently.

"Yes, Mr. Heron says he is clear about that."

"I was sure Mr. Heron would be," said Mary with becoming pride in her brother. She was not eager to ask any more questions, for she felt convinced that when Minola Grey said the poems ought to go before the public, they would somehow go; and she saw fame for her brother in the near distance. She thought she saw something else, too, as well as fame. The interest which Minola took in Herbert's poems must surely betoken some interest in Herbert himself. She knew well enough, too, that there is nothing which so disposes some women to love men as the knowledge that they are serving and helping the men. This subject of love the little poetess had long and quaintly studied. She had followed it through no end of poems and romances, and lain awake through long hours of many nights considering it. She had subjected it to severe analysis, bringing to the aid of the analyzing process that gift of imagination which it is rarely permitted to the hard scientific inquirer to employ to any purpose. She had pictured herself as the object of all manner of wooings, under every conceivable variety of circumstances. Love by surprise; love by the slow degrees of steady growth; love pressed upon her by ardent youth; gravely tendered by a dignified maturity which, until her coming, had never known such passion; love bending down to her from a castle, looking up to her from the cottage of the peasant--love in every form had tried her in fancy, and she had pleased and vexed herself into conjuring up its various effects upon her susceptibility. But the general result of the poetess's self-examination was to show that the love which would most keenly touch her heart would be that which was born of passion and compassion united. He, that is to say, whom she had helped and patronized, and saved, would be the man she best could love. Perhaps Mary Blanchet's years had something to do with this turn of feeling. The unused emotions of the maternal went, in her breast, to blend with and make up the equally unsatisfied sentiments of love; and her vague idea of a lover was that of somebody who should be husband and child in one.

Anyhow the result of all this, in the present instance, was that Mary felt a sudden and strong conviction that to allow Minola Grey to do Herbert a kindly service was a grand thing gained toward inducing Minola to fall in love with him.

So the three conspirators fell to making their arrangements. The parts were easily divided. Mr. Heron was to undertake the business of the affair, to see publishers, and printers, and so forth; Mary Blanchet was to undertake, or at least endeavor, to obtain the consent of her brother, whose proud spirit might perhaps revolt against such patronage, even from friendly hands. Miss Grey was to bear the cost. It was soon a very gratifying thing to the conspirators to know that no objection whatever was likely to come from Mr. Blanchet. The poet accepted the proffered favor not only with readiness, but with joy, and was particularly delighted and flattered when he learned from Mary--what Mary was specially ordered not to tell him--that Miss Grey was his lady-patroness. He was to have been allowed vaguely to understand that friends and admirers--whose name might have been legion--were combined to secure justice for him. But Mary, in the pride of her heart, told him all the truth, and her brother was greatly pleased and very proud. The only stipulation he made was that the poems should be brought out in a certain style, with such paper, such margins, such binding, and so on; according to the pattern of another poet's works, whereof he was to furnish a copy.

"She will be rich one day, Mary," he said, "and she can afford to do something for art."

"Will she be rich?" Mary asked, eagerly. "Oh, I am so glad! She ought to be a princess; she should be, if I were a queen."

"Yes, she'll be rich--what you and I would call rich," he said carelessly. "Everything is to be hers when the stepmother dies; and I believe she is in a galloping consumption."

"How do you know, Herbert?"

"You asked me to inquire, you know," he said, "and I did inquire. It was easily done. Her father left his money and things to his second wife only for her life. When she dies everything comes to your friend; and I hear the woman can't live long. Keep all that to yourself, Mary."

"I am sure Minola doesn't know anything about it. I know she never asked nor thought of it."

"Very likely, and the old people would not tell her. But it's true for all that. So you see, Mary, we can afford to have justice done to these poems of mine. If they are stones of any value, let them be put in proper setting or not set at all. I am entitled to ask that much."



Victor Heron seemed to Minola about this time in a fair way to let his great grievance go by altogether. He was filled with it personally when he had time to think about it, but the grievances of somebody else were always coming across his path, and drawing away his attention from his own affairs. Minola very soon noticed this peculiarity in him, and at first could hardly believe in its genuineness; it so conflicted with all her accepted theories about the ingrained selfishness of man. But by watching and studying his ways, which she did with some interest, she found that he really had that unusual weakness; and she was partly amused and partly annoyed by it. She felt angry with him now and then for neglecting his own task, like another Hylas, to pick up every little blossom of alien grievance flung in his way. She pressed on him with an earnestness which their growing friendship seemed to warrant the necessity of his doing something to set his cause right, or ceasing to tell himself that he had a cause which called for justice.

It would not be easy to find a more singular friendship than that which was growing up between Miss Grey and Victor. She received him whenever he chose to come and see her. Many a night, when Mary Blanchet and she sat together, he would look in upon them as he went to some dinner-party, or even as he came home from one, if he had got away early, and have a few minutes' talk with them. He came often in the afternoon, and if Minola did not happen to be at home, he would nevertheless remain and have a long chat with Mary Blanchet. He seemed always in good humor with himself and everybody else, except in so far as his grievance was concerned, and always perfectly happy. It has been already shown that although quite a young man, he considered himself, by virtue of his experience and his public career, ever so much older than Minola. Once or twice he sent a throb of keen delight through Mary Blanchet's heart by speaking of something that "I can remember, Miss Blanchet, and perhaps you may remember it--but Miss Grey couldn't of course." To be put on anything like equal ground with him as to years was a delightful experience to the poetess. It was all the more delicious because there was such an evident genuineness in his suggestion. Of course, if he had meant to pay her a compliment--such as a foolish person might be pleased with, but not she, thank goodness--he would have pretended to think her as young as Minola. But he had done nothing of the kind; and he evidently thought that she was about the same age as himself.

At all events, and it was more to the purpose, he set down Miss Grey as belonging to quite a different stage of growth from that to which he had attained. He thought her a handsome and very clever girl, who had the additional advantage over most other girls that she was rather tall, and that he therefore was not compelled to stoop much when speaking to her. He liked women and girls generally. He hardly ever saw the woman or girl he did not like. If he knew that a woman was insincere or affected, he would not have liked her; but then he never knew it; he never saw it; it never occurred to him. Anybody could have seen that he was a man who had no sisters or girl-cousins. The most innocent and natural affectations of womanhood were too deep for him to see. There really was a great deal of truth in what he had said to Minola about his goddess theory as regarded women. He made no secret about his greatly admiring her--thinking her very clever and fresh and handsome. He would without any hesitation have told her that he liked her best of all the women he knew, but then he had often told her that he liked other women very much. He seemed, therefore, the man whom a pure and fearless woman, even though living in Minola's odd condition of semi-isolation, might frankly accept as a friend without the slightest fear for the tranquillity of his heart or of hers. Minola, too, had always in her own breast resented with anger and contempt the idea that a man and woman can never be brought together and allowed to walk in the beaten way of friendship without their forthwith wandering off into the thickets and thorny places of love. All such ideas she looked upon as imbecility, and scorned. "I don't like men," she used to say to herself and even to others pretty freely. "I never saw a man fit to hold a candle to my Alceste. I never saw the man who seemed to me worth a woman's troubling her heart about." She began to say this of late more than ever--and to say it to herself, especially when the day and the evening had closed and she was alone in her own room. She said it over almost as if it were a sort of charm.

The business of the poems now gave him many occasions to call, and one particular afternoon Victor called when, by a rare chance, Mary Blanchet happened to be out of doors. Minola had had it on her mind that he was not pushing his cause very earnestly, and was glad of the opportunity of telling him so. He listened with great good humor. It is nearly as agreeable to be lectured as to be praised by a handsome young woman who is unaffectedly interested in one's welfare.

"I shall lose my good opinion of you if you don't keep more steadily to your purpose."

"But I do keep steadily to it. I am always thinking of it."

"No; you allow anything and everything to interfere with you. Anybody's affairs seem more to you than your own."

Victor shook his head.

"That isn't the reason," he said. "I wish it were, or anything half so good. No; the truth is that I get ashamed of the cursed work of trying to interest people in my affairs who don't want to take any interest in them. I am a restless sort of person and must be doing something, and my own business is now in that awful stage when there is nothing practical or active to be done with it. I find it easier to get up an appearance of prodigious activity about some other person's affairs. And then, Miss Grey, I don't mind confessing that I am rather sensitive and morbid--egotistic, I suppose--and if any one looks coldly on me when I endeavor to interest him in my own affairs, I take it to heart more than if it were the business of somebody else I had in hand."

"But you talked at one time of appealing to the public. Why don't you do that?"

"Get people to bring my case on in the House of Commons?"

"Yes; why not?"

"It looks like being patronized and protected and made a client of."

"Well, why don't you try and get the chance of doing it yourself?"

He smiled.

"I still do hold to that idea--or that dream. I should like it very much if one only had a chance. But no chance seems to turn up; and one loses heart sometimes."

"Oh, no," Minola said earnestly, "don't do that."

"Don't do what?"

He had hardly been thinking of his own words, and he seemed a little surprised at the earnestness of her tone.

"Don't lose heart. Don't give way. Don't fall into the track of the commonplace, and become like every one else. Keep to your purpose, Mr. Heron, and don't be beaten out of it."

"No; I haven't the least idea of that, I can assure you. Quite the contrary. But it is so hard to get a chance, or to do anything all at once. Everything moves so slowly in England. But I have a plan--we are doing something."

"I am very glad. You seem to me to be doing nothing for yourself."

"Do I? I can assure you I am much less Quixotic than you imagine. Now, I am so glad to hear that you still like the Parliamentary scheme, because that is the idea that I have particularly at heart; and if the idea comes to anything, there are some reasons why you should take a special interest in it."

"Are there really? May I be told what they are?"

"Well, the whole thing is only in prospect and uncertainty just yet. The idea is Money's, not mine; he has found out that there is going to be a vacancy in a certain borough," and Victor smiled and looked at her, "before long; and his idea is that I should become a candidate, and tell the people my whole story right out, and ask them to give me a chance of defending myself in the House. But the thing is not yet in shape enough to talk much about it. Only I thought you would be glad to know that I haven't thrown up the sponge all at once."

Minola did not very clearly follow all that he had been saying; partly because she was beginning to be afraid that to put herself into the position of adviser and confidante to this young man was a scarcely becoming performance on her part. Her mind was a little perturbed, and she was not a very good listener then. Some people say that women seldom are good listeners; that while they are playing the part of audience they are still thinking how they look as performers. Anyhow, Minola was now growing anxious to escape from her position.

"I am so glad," she said vaguely, "that you are doing something, and that you don't mean to allow yourself to be beaten."

"I don't mean to be, I assure you," he said, a little surprised at her sudden coolness. "I shouldn't like to be. That isn't my way, I hope."

"I hope not too, and I think not; I wish I had such a purpose. Life seems to me such a pitiful thing--and in a man especially--when there is no great clear purpose in it."

"But is a man's trying to get himself a new appointment a great clear purpose?" he asked with a smile. He was now trying to draw her out again on the subject, having been much pleased with the interest she seemed to take in him, and a little amused by the gravity with which she tendered her advice.

"No, but yours is not merely trying to get an appointment. You are trying to have justice done to your past career and to get an opportunity of being useful again in the same sort of way. You don't want to lead an idle life lounging about London. Mr. Blanchet has his poems; Mr. Money has--well, he has his business, whatever it is, and he is in Parliament."

At this moment the servant entered and handed a card to Minola. A gentleman, she said, particularly wished to see Miss Grey, but he would call any time she pleased to name if she could not see him at present. Minola's cheek grew red as she glanced at the card, for it bore the name of Mr. Augustus Sheppard, and it had the words pencilled on it, "Wishes particularly to see you--has important business." Her lips trembled. Nothing could be more embarrassing and painful than such a visitation. The disagreeable memory of Mr. Sheppard and of the part of her life to which he belonged had been banished from her thoughts, at least except for occasional returning glimpses, and now here was Mr. Sheppard himself in London and asserting a right to see her. She could not refuse him, for he did, perhaps, come to her with some message from those in Keeton who still would have called themselves her family. Mary Blanchet had only just gone out, and Minola was left to talk with Mr. Sheppard alone. For a moment she had a wild idea of begging Victor Heron to stay and bear her company during the interview. But she put this thought away instantly, and made up her mind that she had better hear what Mr. Sheppard had to say alone.

"Show the gentleman in, Jane," she said, as composedly as she could. "A friend--at least a friend of my people, from my old place, Mr. Heron."

Heron was looking at her, she thought, in a manner that showed he had noticed her embarrassment.

"Well, I must wish you a good morning," Mr. Heron said. "Be sure I shan't forget what you were saying."

"Thank you--yes; what was I saying?"

"Oh, the very good advice you were giving me; and I propose to hear it all out another time. Good morning."

"Don't go for a moment--pray don't?" she asked, with an earnestness which surprised Victor. "Only a moment--I would rather you didn't go just yet."

The thought suddenly went through her that Mr. Sheppard was the very man to put an exaggerated meaning on the slightest thing that seemed to hint at secrecy of any kind, and that she had better take care to let him see, face to face, what sort of visitor was with her when he came. Victor was glad in any case of the chance of remaining a few moments longer, and was in no particular hurry to go so long as he could think he was not in anybody's way.

Victor Heron stood, hat in hand, on the hearth-rug near the chimney-piece. As Mr. Sheppard entered, Heron was the first person he happened to see, and the entirely unexpected sight surprised him. He glanced confusedly from Heron to Minola before he spoke a word, and his manner, always stiff and formal, seemed to acquire in a moment an additional incubus of constraint. Victor Heron had something about him which did not seem exactly English, and which, to a provincial mind, might well suggest the appearance of a foreigner--a Frenchman. Mr. Sheppard had never felt quite satisfied in his own mind about that mysterious rival of whom Minola spoke to him on the memorable day when he saw her last. She had told him that her Alceste was only "a man who lived in a book, Mr. Sheppard--in what you would call a play." How well he remembered the very words she used, and the expression of contempt on her lips as she used them. And he had got the book--the play--and read it--toiled through it--and found that there was an Alceste in it. So far she had told the truth, no doubt; but might not the Alceste have a living embodiment, or might she not have found since that time a supposed realization of her Alceste, and might not this be he--this handsome, foreign-looking young man, who was lounging there as coolly and easily as if the place belonged to him? For a moment an awful doubt filled his mind. Could she be married? Was that her husband?

"Miss Grey?" he said in hesitating and questioning tone, as that of one who is not quite clear about the identity of the person he is addressing; but Mr. Sheppard was only giving form unconsciously to the doubt in his own mind, Are you still Miss Grey?

The words and their tone were rather fortunate for Minola. They amused her and seemed ridiculous, although she did not guess at Mr. Sheppard's real meaning, and they enabled her to get back at once to her easy contempt for him.

"You must have forgotten my appearance very soon, Mr. Sheppard," she said in a tone which carried the contempt so lightly and easily that he probably did not perceive it, "or I must have changed very much, if you are not quite certain whether I am Miss Grey. You have not changed at all. I should have known you anywhere."

"It is not that," Mr. Sheppard said with a little renewal of cheerfulness. "I should have known you anywhere, Miss Grey. You have not changed, except indeed that you have, if that were possible, improved. Indeed, I would venture to say that you have decidedly improved."

"Thank you: you are very kind."

"It would be less surprising, if you, Miss Grey, had had some difficulty in recognizing me. Fortune, perhaps, has withdrawn some of her blessings from others only to pour them more lavishly on you."

"I feel very well, thank you; but I hope fortune has not been robbing any Peter to pay Paul in my case. You, at least, don't seem to have been cheated out of any of your good health, Mr. Sheppard."

While he made his little formal speeches Mr. Sheppard continued to glance sidelong at Victor Heron. Mr. Heron now left his place at the chimney-piece and came forward to take his leave.

"Must you go?" Minola asked, with as easy a manner as she could assume. She dreaded a _téte-à-téte_ with Sheppard, and she also dreaded to let it be seen that she dreaded it. If Mary Blanchet would only come!

An expedient occurred to her for putting off the dreaded conversation yet a moment, and giving Mary Blanchet another chance.

"I should like my friends to know each other," Minola said, with a gayety of manner which was hardly in keeping with her natural ways. "People are not introduced to each other now, I believe, when they meet by chance in London, but we are none of us Londoners. Mr. Sheppard comes from Keeton, Mr. Heron, and is one of the oldest friends of my family."

Mr. Heron held out his hand with eyes of beaming friendliness.

"Mr. Heron?" Sheppard asked slowly. "Mr. Victor Heron?"

"Victor Heron, indeed!"

"Mr. Victor Heron, formerly of the St. Xavier's Settlements?"

Heron only nodded this time, finding Mr. Sheppard's manner not agreeable. Minola wondered what her townsman was thinking of, and how he came to know Heron's name and history.

"Then my name must surely be known to you, Mr. Heron. The name of Augustus Sheppard, of Duke's-Keeton?"

"No, sir," Heron replied. "I am sorry to say that I don't remember to have heard the name before."

"Indeed," Mr. Sheppard said with a formal smile, intended to be incredulous and yet not to seem too plainly so. "Yet we are rivals, Mr. Heron."

Minola started and colored.

"At least we are to be," Mr. Sheppard went on--"if rumor in Duke's-Keeton speaks the truth. I am not wrong in assuming that I have the honor of addressing the future Radical--I mean Liberal--candidate for that borough?"

"Oh, that's it," Heron said carelessly. "Yes, yes: I didn't know that rumor had yet troubled herself about the matter so much as to speak of it truly or falsely. But of course, since you have heard it, Mr. Sheppard, it's no secret. I have some ideas that way, Miss Grey. I intend to try whether I can impress your townspeople. This gentleman, I suppose, is on the other side."

"I am the other side," Mr. Sheppard said gravely. "I am to be the Conservative candidate--I was accepted by the party as the Conservative candidate, no matter who the Radical may be."

"Well, Mr. Sheppard, we shall not be the less good friends I hope," Heron said cheerily. "I can't be expected to wish that the best man may win, for that would be to wish failure for myself; but I wish the better cause may win, and in that you will join me. Good morning, Miss Grey!"

The room seemed to grow very chilly to Minola when his bright smile and sweet courteous tones were withdrawn and she was left with her old lover.

There was not much in Sheppard's appearance to win her back to any interest in him. He did not compare advantageously with Victor Heron. When Heron left the room, the light seemed to have gone out; Heron was so fresh, so free, so sweet, and yet so strong, full of youth, and spirit, and manhood--a natural gentleman without the insipidity of the manners of society. Poor Augustus Sheppard was formal, constrained, and prosaic; he had not even the dignity of austerity. He was not self-sufficing: he was only self-sufficient. As he stood there he was awkward, and almost cowed. He seemed as if he were afraid of the girl, and Minola was woman enough to be angry with him because he seemed afraid of her. He was handsome, but in that commonplace sort of way which in a woman's eye is often worse than being ugly. Minola felt almost pitiless toward him, although the girl's whole nature was usually full of pity, for, as has already been said, she did not believe in his affection, and thought him a thorough sham. He stood awkwardly there, and she would not relieve him from his embarrassment by saying a word.

"Well, Miss Grey," he began at last, "I suppose you hardly expected to see me."

"I did not know you were in town, Mr. Sheppard."

"I fear I am not very welcome," he said, with an uncomfortable smile; "but your mother particularly wished me to see you."

"My mother, Mr. Sheppard?" Minola grew red with pain and anger.

"I mean your stepmother, of course--the wife of your father."

"Once the wife of my father; now the wife of somebody else."

"Well, well, at all events the person who might be naturally supposed to have the best claim to some authority--or influence--influence let us say--over you."

"Has Mrs. Saulsbury sent you to say that she thinks she ought to have some influence over me?"

"Oh, no," he answered with that gentle deprecation of anger which is usually such fuel to anger's fire. "Mrs. Saulsbury has given up any idea of the kind long since--quite long since, I assure you. I think, if you will permit me to say it, that you were always a little unjust in your judgment of Mrs. Saulsbury. She is a true-hearted and excellent woman."

Minola said nothing. Perhaps she felt that she never had been quite in a position to do impartial justice to the excellence and the true-heartedness of Mrs. Saulsbury.

"But," Mr. Sheppard resumed, with a gentle motion of his hands, as if he would wave away now all superfluous and hopeless controversy, "that was not what I came to say."

Minola bowed slightly to signify that she was glad to know he was coming to the point at last.

"Mrs. Saulsbury is in very weak health, Miss Grey; something wrong with the lungs, I fear."

Minola was not much impressed at first. It was one of Mrs. Saulsbury's ways to cry "wolf" very often, as regarded the condition of her lungs, and up to the time of Minola's leaving, people had not been in serious expectation of the wolf's really putting his head in at the door.

Mr. Sheppard saw in Minola's face what she did not say.

"It is something really serious," he said. "Mr. Saulsbury knows it and every one. You have not been in correspondence with them for some time, Miss Grey."

"No," said Miss Grey. "I wrote, and nobody answered my letter."

"I am afraid it was regarded as--as----"

"Undutiful perhaps?"

"Well--unfriendly. But Mrs. Saulsbury now fears--or rather knows, for she is too good a woman to fear--that the end is nigh, and she wishes to be in fullest reconciliation with every one."

"Oh, has she sent for me?" Minola said, with something like a cry, all her coldness and formality vanishing with her contempt. "I'll go, Mr. Sheppard--oh, yes, at once! I did not know--I never thought that she was really in any danger."

Poor Minola! With all her wild-bird freedom and her pride in her lonely independence and her love of London, there yet remained in her that instinct of home, that devotion to the principle of family and authority, that she would have done homage at such a moment, and with something like enthusiasm, to even such a simulacrum of the genius of home as she had lately known. Something had passed through her mind that very day as she talked with Heron, and feared she had talked too freely: something that had made her think with vague pain of yearning on the sweetness of a sheltered home. Her heart beat as she thought, "I will go to her--I will go home; I will try to love her."

Mr. Sheppard dispelled her enthusiasm. "Mrs. Saulsbury did not exactly express a wish to see you."


"In fact, when that was suggested to her--I am sure I need hardly say that I at once suggested it--she thought, and perhaps wisely, that it would be better you should not meet."

Minola drew back, and stood as Mr. Heron had been standing near the chimney-piece. She did not speak.

"But Mrs. Saulsbury begged me to convey to you the assurance of her entire and cordial forgiveness."

Minola bowed gravely.

"And her hope that you will be happy in life and be guided toward true ends, and find that peace which it has been her privilege to find."

Minola bore all this without a word.

"What shall I say to her from you?" he asked. "Miss Grey, remember that she is dying."

The caution was not needed.

"Say that I thank her," said Minola in a low, subdued tone. "Say that, after what flourish your nature will, Mr. Sheppard. I suppose I was wrong as much as she. I suppose it was often my fault that we did not get on better. Say that I am deeply grieved to hear that she is so dangerously ill, but that I hope--oh, so sincerely!--that she may yet recover."

Mr. Sheppard looked into her eyes with puzzled wonder. Was she speaking in affected meekness, or in irony, as was her wont? Was the proud, rebellious girl really so gentle and subdued? Could it be that she took thus humbly Mrs. Saulsbury's pardon? Yes, it seemed all genuine. There was no constraint on the lines of her lips; no scorn in her eyes. In truth, the sympathetic and generous heart of the girl was touched to the quick. The prospect of death sanctified the woman who had been so hard to her, and turned her cold, self-complacent pardon into a blessing. If the dying are often the most egotistic and self-complacent of all human creatures, and are apt to make of their very condition a fresh title to lord it for the moment over the living--as if none had ever died before, and none would die after them, and therefore the world must pay special attention and homage to them--if this is so, Minola did not then know it or think about it.

The one thing on earth which Mr. Sheppard most loved to see was woman amenable to authority. He longed more passionately than ever to make Minola his wife.

"There is something else on which I should like to have your permission to speak," he said; and his thin lips grew a little tremulous. "But I could come another time, if you preferred."

"I would rather you said now, Mr. Sheppard, whatever you wish to say to me."

"It is only the old story. Have you reconsidered your determination--you remember that last day--in Keeton? I am still the same."

"So am I, Mr. Sheppard."

"But things have changed--many things; and you may want a home; and you may grow tired of this kind of life--and I shan't be a person to be ashamed of, Minola! I am going to be in Parliament, and you shall hear me speak--and I know I shall get on. I have great patience. I succeed in everything--I really do."

She smiled sadly and shook her head.

"In everything else I do assure you, so far--and I may even in that; I must, for I have set my heart upon it."

She turned to him with a glance of scorn and anger. But his face was so full of genuine emotion, of anxiety and passion and pain, that its handsome commonplace character became almost poetic. His lips were quivering; and she could see drops of moisture on his shining forehead, and his eyes were positively glittering as if in tears.

"Don't speak harshly to me," he pleaded; "for I don't deserve it. I love you with all my heart, and today more than ever--a thousand times more--for you have shown yourself so generous and forgiving--and--and like a Christian."

Then for the first time the thought came, a conviction, into her mind--"He really is sincere!" A great wave of new compassion swept away all other emotions.

"Mr. Sheppard," she said in softened tones, "I do ask of you not to say any more of this. I couldn't love you even if I tried, and why should you wish me to try? I am not worth all this--I tell you with all my heart that I am not worth it, and that you would think so one day if I were foolish enough to--to listen to you. Oh! indeed you are better without me! I wish you every success and happiness. I don't want to marry."

"Once," he said, "you told me there was no one you cared for but a man in a book. I wonder is that so now?"

In spite of herself the color rushed into Minola's face. It was a lucky question for her, however unlucky for him, because it recalled her from her softer mood to natural anger.

"You can believe me in love with any one you please to select in or out of a book, Mr. Sheppard, so long as it gives you a reason for not persecuting me with your own attentions. I like a man in a book better than one out of it; it is so easy to close the book and be free of his company when he grows disagreeable."

She did not look particularly like a Christian then, probably, in his eyes. He left her, his heart bursting with love and anger. When Mary Blanchet returned she found Minola pale and haggard, her eyes wasted with tears.



Several days passed away, and Minola heard no more from Mr. Sheppard. She continued in a state of much agitation; her nerves, highly strung, were sharply jarred by the news of the approaching death of Mrs. Saulsbury. It was almost like watching outside a door, and counting the slow, painful hours of some lingering life within, while yet one may not enter and look upon the pale face, and mingle with the friends or the mourners, but is shut out and left to ask and wait; it was like this, the time of suspense which Minola passed, not knowing whether the wife of her father was alive or dead. As is the way of all generous natures, it was now Minola's impulse to accuse and blame herself because there had been so little of mutual forbearance in her old home at Keeton. She kept wondering whether things might not have gone better, if she had said and done this or that; or, if she had not said and done something else. Full of this feeling, she wrote a long emotional letter to Mr. Saulsbury, which, she begged of him to read to his wife, if she were in a condition to hear it. The letter was suffused with generous penitence and self-humiliation. It was a letter which perhaps no impartial person could have read without becoming convinced that its writer must have been in the right in most of the controversies of the past.

The letter did not reach the eyes or ears for which it was particularly intended. Minola received a coldly forgiving answer from Mr. Saulsbury--forgiving her upon his own account, which was more than Minola had sought--but adding, that he had not thought it desirable to withdraw, for a moment, by the memory of earthly controversies, the mind of his wife from the contemplation of that well-merited heaven which was opening upon her. Great goodness has one other advantage in addition to all the rest over unconverted error; it can, out of its own beatification, find a means of rebuking those with whom it is not on terms of friendship. The expected ascent of Mrs. Saulsbury into heaven became another means of showing poor Minola her own unworthiness. Mr. Saulsbury closed by saying that Mrs. Saulsbury might linger yet a little, but that her apotheosis (this, however, was not his word) was only a question of days.

There was nothing left for Minola but to wait, and now accuse and now try to justify herself. Many a time there came back to her mind the three faces on the mausoleum in Keeton, the symbols of life, death, and eternity; and she could not help wondering whether the mere passing through the portal of death could all at once transfigure a cold, narrow-minded, peevish, egotistical human creature into the soul of lofty calmness and ineffable sweetness, all peace and love, which the sculptor had set out in his illustration of humanity's closing state.

Meantime, she kept generally at home, except for her familiar walks in the park and her now less frequent visits to the British Museum and to South Kensington. Lucy Money, surprised at her absence, hunted her up, to use Lucy's own expression, and declared that she was looking pale and wretched, and that she must come over to Victoria street, and pass a day or two there, for companionship and change. Mary Blanchet, too, pressed Minola to go; and at last she consented, not unwilling to be taken forcibly out of her self-inquisition and her anxieties for the moment. She had made no other acquaintances, and seemed resolute not to make any, but there was always something peculiarly friendly and genial to her in the atmosphere of the Moneys' home. The whole family had been singularly kind to her, and their kindness was absolutely disinterested. Minola could not but love Mrs. Money, and could not but be a little amused by her; and there was something very pleasing to her in Mr. Money's strong common sense and blunt originality. Minola liked, too, the curious little peeps at odd groupings of human life which she could obtain by sitting for a few hours in Mrs. Money's drawing-room. All the _schwärmerei_ of letters, politics, art, and social life seemed to illustrate itself "in little" there.

Minola, when she accompanied Lucy to her home, was taken by the girl up and down to this room and that to see various new things that had been bought, and the two young women entered Mrs. Money's drawing-room a little after the hour when she usually began to receive visitors. A large lady, who spoke with a very deep voice, was seated in earnest conversation with Mrs. Money.

"This is my darling, sweet Lucy, I perceive," the lady said in tones of soft rolling thunder as the young women came in.

"Oh--Lady Limpenny!"

"Come here, child, and embrace me! But this is not your sister? My sight begins to fail me so terribly; we must expect it, Mrs. Money, at our time of life."

Lucy tossed her head at this, and could hardly be civil. She was always putting in little protests, more or less distinctly expressed, against Lady Limpenny's classification of Mrs. Money and herself as on the same platform in the matter of age, and talking so openly of "their time of life." In truth, Mrs. Money was still quite a young-looking woman, while Lady Limpenny herself was a remarkably well-preserved and even handsome matron; a little perhaps too full-blown, and who might at the worst have sat fairly enough for a portrait of Hamlet's mother, according to the popular dramatic rendering of Queen Gertrude.

"No; this young lady is taller than Theresa. I can see that, although I have forgotten my glass. I always forget or mislay my glass."

"This is Miss Grey--Miss Minola Grey," said Mrs. Money. "Lady Limpenny, allow me to introduce my dear young friend, Miss Minola Grey."

"Dear child, what a sweet, pretty name! Now tell me, dearest, where did your people find out that name? I should so like to know."

"I think it was found in Shakespeare," Minola answered. "It was my mother's choice, I believe."

"A name in the family, no doubt. Some names run in families. I dare say you have had a--what is it?--Minola in your family in every generation. One cannot tell the origin of these things. I have often thought of making a study of family names. Now my name--Laura. There never was a generation of our family--we are the Atomleys--there never was a generation of the Atomleys without a Laura. Now, how curious, in my husband's family--Sir James Limpenny--in every generation one of the girls was always called by the pet name of Chat. Up to the days of the Conquest, I do believe--or is it the Confessor perhaps?--you would find a Chat Limpenny."

"There is a Chat Moss somewhere near Manchester," said Lucy saucily, still not forgiving the remark about the time of life. "We crossed it once in a railway."

"Oh, but that has nothing to do with it, Lucy darling--nothing at all. I am speaking of girls, you know--girls called by a pet name. I dare say that name was in my husband's family--oh, long before the place you speak of was ever discovered. But now, Miss Grey, do pray excuse me again--such a very charming name--Minola! But pray do excuse me: may I ask is that hair all your own? One is curious, you know, when one sees such wonderful hair."

"Yes, Lady Limpenny," Minola said imperturbably. "My hair is all my own."

"I should think Nola's hair was all her own indeed," Lucy struck in. "I have seen her doing it a dozen times. Not likely that she would put on false hair."

"But, my sweet child, I do assure you that's nothing now," the indomitable Lady Limpenny went on. "Almost everybody wears it now--it's hardly any pretence any more. That's why I asked Miss Grey--because I thought she perhaps wouldn't mind, seeing that we are only women, we here. And it is such wonderful hair--and it is all her own!"

"Yes," murmured Lucy, "all her own; and her teeth are her own too; and even her eyes."

"She has beautiful eyes indeed. You have, my dear," the good-natured Lady Limpenny went on, having only caught the last part of Lucy's interjected sentence. "But that does not surprise one--at least, I mean, when we see lovely eyes, we don't fancy that the wearer of them has bought them in a shop. But hair is very different--and that is why I took the liberty of asking this young lady. But now, my darling Theresa Money, may I ask again about your husband? Do you know that it was to see him particularly I came to-day--not you. Yes indeed! But you are not angry with me--I know you don't mind. I do so want to have his advice on this very, very important matter."

"Lucy, dear, will you ask your papa if he will come down for a few moments--I know he will--to see Lady Limpenny?"

Mr. Money's ways were well known to Lady Limpenny. He grumbled if disturbed by a servant, unless there was the most satisfactory and sufficient reason, but he would put up with a great deal of intrusion from Lucelet. The very worst that could happen to Lucelet was to have one of her pretty ears gently pulled. So Lucy went to disturb him unabashed, although she knew he was always disposed to chaff Lady Limpenny.

"But you really don't mean to say that you are going to part with all your china--with your uncle's wonderful china?" Mrs. Money asked with eyes of almost tearful sympathy, resuming the talk which Minola's entrance had disturbed.

"My darling, yes! I must do it! It is unavoidable."

Minola assumed that this was some story of sudden impoverishment, and she could not help looking up at the lady with wondering and regretful eyes, although not knowing whether she ought to have heard the remark, or whether she was not a little in the way.

Lady Limpenny caught the look.

"This dear young lady is sympathetic, I know, and I am sure she loves china, and can appreciate my sacrifice. But it ought not to be a sacrifice. It is a duty--a sacred duty."

"But is it?" Mrs. Money pleaded.

"Dearest, yes! My soul was in danger. I was in danger every hour of breaking the first Commandment! My china was becoming my idolatry! There was a blue set which was coming between me and heaven. I was in danger of going on my knees to it every day. I found that my whole heart was becoming absorbed in it! One day it was borne in upon me; it came on me like a flash. It was the day I had been to hear Christie and Manson----"

"To hear what?" Mrs. Money asked in utter amazement.

"Oh, what have I been saying? Christie and Manson! My dear, that only shows you the turn one's wandering sinful thoughts will take! I mean, of course, Moody and Sankey. What a shame to confuse such names!"

"Oh, Moody and Sankey," Mrs. Money said again, becoming clear in her mind.

"Well, it flashed upon me there that I was in danger; and I saw where the danger lay. Darling, I made up my mind that moment! When I came home I rushed--positively rushed--into Sir James's study. 'James,' I said, 'don't remonstrate--pray don't. My mind is made up; I'll part with all my china.'"

"Dear me!" Mrs. Money gently observed. "And Sir James--what did he say?"

"Well," Lady Limpenny went on, with an air of disappointment, "he only said, 'All right,' or something of that kind. He was writing, and he hardly looked up. He doesn't care." And she sighed.

"But how good he is not to make any objection!"

"Yes--oh, yes; he is the best of men. But he thinks I won't do it after all."

Mrs. Money smiled.

"Now, Theresa Money, I wonder at you! I do really. Of course I know what you are smiling at. You too believe I won't do it. Do you think I would sacrifice my soul--deliberately sacrifice my soul--even for china? You, dearest, might have known me better."

"But would one sacrifice one's soul?"

"Darling, with my temperament, yes! Alas, yes! I know it; and therefore I am resolved. Oh, here is Mr. Money. But not alone!"

Mr. Money entered the room, but not alone indeed, for there came with him a very tall man, whom Minola did not know; and then, a little behind them, Lucy Money and Victor Heron. Mr. Money spoke to Lady Limpenny, and then, with his usual friendly warmth, to Minola; and then he presented the new-comer, Mr. St. Paul, to his wife.

Mr. St. Paul attracted Minola's attention from the first. He was very tall, as has been said, but somewhat stooped in the shoulders. He had a perfectly bloodless face, with keen, bold blue eyes; his square, rather receding forehead showed deep horizontal lines when he talked as if he were an old man; and he was nearly bald. His square chin and his full, firm lips were bare of beard or moustache. He might at times have seemed an elderly man, and yet one soon came to the conclusion that he was a young man looking prematurely old. There was a curious hardihood about him, which was not swagger, and which had little of carelessness, or at all events of joyousness, about it. He was evidently what would be called a gentleman, but the gentleman seemed somehow to have got mixed up with the rowdy. Minola promptly decided that she did not like him. She could hear Mr. St. Paul talking in a loud, rapid, and strident voice to Mrs. Money, apparently telling her, offhand, of travel and adventure.

Lady Limpenny had seized possession of Mr. Money, and was endeavoring to get his advice about the sale of her china, and impress him with a sense of the importance of saving her soul. Minola was near Mrs. Money, and had just bowed to Victor Heron, when Mr. St. Paul turned his blue eyes upon her.

"This is your elder daughter, I presume," he said. "May I be introduced, Mrs. Money? Your husband told me she was not so handsome as her sister, but I really can't admit that."

Mrs. Money was not certain for a moment whether her daughter Theresa might not have come into the room; but when she saw that he was looking at Miss Grey, she said, in her deep tone of melancholy kindness--

"No, this is not my daughter, Mr. St. Paul; and even with all a mother's partiality, I have to own that Theresa is not nearly so handsome as this young lady. Miss Grey, may I introduce Mr. St. Paul? Miss Grey comes from Duke's-Keeton. Mr. St. Paul and you ought to be acquaintances."

"Oh, you come from Duke's-Keeton, Miss Grey"; and he dropped Mrs. Money, and drew himself a chair next to Minola. "So do I--I believe I was born there. Do you like the old place?"

"No; I don't think I like it."

"Nor I; in fact I hate it. Do you live there now?"

She explained that she had now left Keeton for good, and was living in London. He laughed.

"I left it for good long ago, or for bad. I have been about the world for ever so many years; I've only just got back to town. I've been hunting in Texas, and rearing cattle in Kansas--that sort of thing. I left Keeton because I didn't get on with my people."

Minola could not help smiling at what seemed the odd similarity in their history.

"You smile because you think it was no wonder they didn't get on with me, I suppose? I left long ago--cut and run long before you were born. My brother and I don't get on; never shall, I dare say. I am generally considered to have disgraced the family. He's going back to Keeton, where he hasn't been for years; and so am I, for a while. He's been travelling in the East and living in Italy, and all that sort of thing, while I've been hunting buffaloes and growing cattle out West."

"Are you going to settle in Keeton now?" Miss Grey asked, for lack of anything else to say.

"Not I; oh, no! I don't suppose I could settle anywhere now. You can't, I think, when you've got into the way of knocking about the world. I don't know a soul down there now, I suppose. I'm going to Keeton now chiefly to annoy my brother." And he laughed a laugh of half-cynical good humor, and thrust his hands deep into his pockets.

"A Christian purpose," Miss Grey said.

"Yes, isn't it? We were always like that, I assure you; the elders and the youngers never could hit off--always quarrelling. I'm one of the youngers, though you wouldn't think so to look at me, Miss Grey? Do look at me."

Miss Grey looked at him very composedly. He gazed into her bright eyes with undisguised admiration.

"Well, I'm going to thwart my good brother in Keeton. He's coming home, and going to do all his duties awfully regular and well, don't you know; and first of all, he's going to have a regular, good, obedient Conservative member--a warming-pan. Do you understand that sort of thing? I believe the son of some honest poor-rate collector, or something of that sort--a fellow named Sheppard. Did you ever hear of any fellow in Keeton named Sheppard?--Jack Sheppard, I shouldn't wonder."

"I know Mr. Augustus Sheppard, and he is a very respectable man."

"Deuce he is; but not a lively sort of man, I should think."

"No; not exactly lively."

"No; he wouldn't suit my brother if he was. Hope he isn't a friend of yours? Well, we're going to oppose him for the fun of the thing. How very glad my brother will be to see me. I am afraid I pass for a regular scamp in the memories of you Keeton people. You must have heard of me, Miss Grey. No? Before your time, I suppose. Besides, I didn't call myself St. Paul then; I took on that name in America; it's my mother's family name; that's how you wouldn't remember about me, even if you had heard. You know the mausoleum in the park, I dare say?"

"Very well indeed. It used to be a favorite place with me."

"Ah, yes. My last offence was shooting off pistols there--aiming at the heads over the entrance, you know. One of them will carry my mark to his last day, I believe."

"Yes; I remember noticing that the face of Death has a mark on it--a small hole."

He laughed again.

"Just so. That's my mark. Poor father! It was the great whim of his life to build that confounded thing, and he didn't enjoy it after all. My brother, I am told, proposes to occupy part of it in good time. They won't put me there, you may be sure."

"Your brother is the Duke?" Minola said, a faint memory returning to her about a wild youth of the family who had had to leave the army in some disgrace, and went away somewhere beyond seas.

"Yes; I thought I told you, or that Money had mentioned it. Yes; I was the good-for-nothing of the family. You can't imagine, though, what a number of good-for-nothings are doing well out Denver City way, out in Colorado. When I was there, there were three fellows from the Guards, and some fellows I knew at Eton, all growing cattle, and making money, and hunting buffalo, and potting Indians, and making themselves generally as happy as sandboys. I've made money myself, and might have made a lot more, I dare say."

Mr. St. Paul evidently delighted to hear himself talk.

"It must be a very dangerous place to live in," Minola said, wishing he would talk to somebody else.

"Well, there's the chance of getting your hair raised by the Indians. Do you know what that means--having your hair raised?"

"I suppose being scalped."

"Exactly. Well, that's a danger. But it isn't so much a danger if you don't go about in gangs. That's the mistake fellows make; they think it's the safe thing to do, but it isn't. Go about in parties of two, and the Indians never will see you--never will notice you."

Minola's eyes happened at this moment to meet those of Heron.

"You know Heron?"

"Oh, yes; very well."

"A good fellow--very good fellow, though he has such odd philanthropic fads about niggers and man and a brother, and all that sort of thing. Got into a nice mess out there in St. Xavier's, didn't he?"

"I heard that his conduct did him great honor," Minola said warmly.

"Yes, yes--of course, yes; if you look at it in that sort of way. But these black fellows, you know--it really isn't worth a man's while bothering about them. They're just as well off in slavery as not--deuced deal better, I think; I dare say some of their kings and chiefs think they have a right to sell them if they like. I told Heron at the time I wouldn't bother if I was he. Where's the use, you know?"

"Were you there at the time?" Minola asked, with some curiosity.

"Yes, I was there. I'd been in the Oregon country, and I met with an accident, and got a fever, and all that; and I wanted a little rest and a mild climate, you know; and I made for San Francisco, and some fellows there told me to go to these Settlements of ours in the Pacific, and I went. I saw a good deal of Heron--he was very hospitable and that, and then this row came on. He behaved like a deuced young fool, and that's a fact."

"He was not understood," said Minola, "and he has been treated very badly by the Government."

"Of course he has. I told him they would treat him badly. They wouldn't understand all his concern about black fellows--how could they understand it? Why didn't he let it alone? The fellow who's out there now--you won't find him bothering about such things, you bet--as we say out West, if you will excuse such a rough expression, Miss Grey. But of course Heron has been treated very badly, and we are going to run him for Duke's-Keeton."

Several visitors had now come in, and Mr. Heron contrived to change his position and cross over to the part of the room where Minola was.

"Look here, Heron," Mr. St. Paul said; "you have got a staunch ally here already. Miss Grey means to wear your colors, I dare say--do they wear colors at elections now in England?--I don't know--and you had better canvass for her influence in Keeton. If I were an elector of Keeton, I'd vote for the Pope or the Sultan if Miss Grey asked me."

Meanwhile Lady Limpenny was pleading her cause with Mr. Money. It may be said that Lady Limpenny was the wife of a physician who had been knighted, and who had no children. Her husband was wholly absorbed in his professional occupations, and never even thought of going anywhere with his wife, or concerning himself about what she did. He knew the Money women professionally, and except professionally, he could not be said to know anybody. Lady Limpenny, therefore, indulged all her whims freely. Her most abiding or most often recurring whim was an anxiety for the salvation of her soul; but she had passionate flirtations meanwhile with china, poetry, flowers, private theatricals, lady-helps, and other pastimes and questions of the hour.

"You'll never part with that china," Mr. Money said--"you know you can't."

"Oh, but my dear Money, you don't understand my feelings. You are not, you know--an old friend may say so--you are not a religious man. You have not been penetrated by what I call religion--not yet, I mean."

"Not yet, certainly. Well, why don't you send to Christie and Manson's at once?"

"But, my dear Money, to part with my china in _that_ way--to have it sent all about the world perhaps. Oh, no! I want to part with it to some friend who will let me come and see it now and again."

"Have you thought of this, Lady Limpenny? Suppose, when you have sold it, you go to see it now and then, and covet it--covet your neighbor's goods--perhaps long even to steal it. Where is the spiritual improvement then?"

"Money! You shock me! You horrify me! Could that be possible? Is there such weakness in human nature?"

"Quite possible, I assure you. You have been yourself describing the influence of these unregulated likings. How do you know that they may not get the better of you in another way? Take my advice, and keep your china. It will do you less harm in your own possession than in that of anybody else."

"If I could think so, my dear Money."

"Think it over, my dear Lady Limpenny; look at it from this point of view, and let me know your decision--then we can talk about it again."

Lady Limpenny relapsed for a while into reflection, with a doubtful and melancholy expression upon her face. Money, however, had gained his point, or, as he would himself have expressed it, "choked her off" for the moment.

"I don't like your new friend," said Minola to Victor.

"My new friend? Who's he?"

"Your friend Mr. St. Paul."

"Oh, he isn't a new friend, or a friend at all. He is rather an old acquaintance, if anything."

"Well, I don't like him."

"Nor I. Don't let yourself be drawn into much talk with him."

"No? Then there _is_ somebody you don't like, Mr. Heron. That's a healthy sign. I really thought you liked all men and all women, without exception."

"Well, I am not good at disliking people, but I don't like _him_, and I didn't like to see him talking to you."

"Indeed? Yet he is a political ally of yours and of Mr. Money now."

"That's a different thing; and I don't know anything very bad of him, only I had rather you didn't have too much to say to him. He's a rowdy--that's all. If I had a sister, I shouldn't care to have him for an acquaintance of hers."

"Is it a vice to know him?"

"Almost, for women," Heron said abruptly; and presently, having left Minola, interposed, as if without thinking of it, between Lucy Money and St. Paul, who was engaging her in conversation.



Mr. St. Paul stayed to dinner that day, being invited by Money without ceremony, and accepting the invitation in the easiest way. Victor Heron declined to remain. The family and Minola, with Mr. St. Paul, made up the party. St. Paul was very attentive to Mrs. Money, who appeared to be delighted with him. He talked all through the dinner--he hardly ever stopped; he had an adventure in Texas, or in Mexico, or in the South Sea Islands, _apropos_ of everything; he seemed equally pleased whether his listeners believed or disbelieved his stories, and he talked of his own affairs with a cool frankness, as if he was satisfied that all the world must know everything about him, and that he might as well speak bluntly out. He could not be called cynical in manner, for cynicism presupposes a sort of affectation, a defiance, or a deliberate _pose_ of some kind, and St. Paul seemed absolutely without affectation--completely self-satisfied and easy. Victor had spoken of him as "a rowdy--that's all." But that was not all. He was--if such a phrase could be tolerated--a "gentleman rowdy." His morals and his code of honor seemed to be those of a Mexican horse-stealer, and yet anybody must have known that he was by birth and early education an English gentleman.

"I don't think I know a soul about town," he said. "I looked in at the club once or twice--always kept up my subscription there during my worst of times--and I didn't see a creature I could recollect. I dare say the people who know my brother won't care to know me. I did leave such a deuce of a reputation behind me; and they'll all be sure to think I haven't got a red cent--a penny, I mean. There they are mistaken. Somehow the money-making gift grows on you out West."

"Why don't you settle down?" Money asked. "Get into Parliament, marry, range yourself, and all that--make up with your brother and be all right. You have plenty of time before you yet."

"My good fellow, what do you call plenty of time? Look at me--I'm as bald as if I were a judge."

"Oh, bald! that's nothing. Everybody is bald nowadays."

"But I'm thirty-five! Thirty-five--think of that, young ladies! a grizzled, grim old fogey--what is it Thackeray says?--all girls know Thackeray--who on earth would marry me? My brother and his wife have given me such a shockingly bad character. Some of it I deserved, perhaps; some of it I didn't. They think I have disgraced the family name, I dare say. What did the family name do for me I should like to know? Out in Texas we didn't care much about family names."

"I entirely agree with your view of things, Mr. St. Paul," Mrs. Money said in her soft melancholy tone. "England is destroyed by caste and class. I honor a man of family who has the spirit to put away such ideas."

"Oh, it would be all well enough if one were the eldest brother, and had the money, and all that. I should like to be the Duke, I dare say, well enough. But I can't be that, and I've been very happy hunting buffaloes for months together, and no one but an old Indian to speak to. I don't disgrace the Duke's family name, for I've dropped it, nor any courtesy title, for I don't use any. I believe they have forgotten me altogether in Keeton. Miss Grey tells me so."

"Excuse me," Minola said. "I didn't say that, for I didn't know. I only said I didn't remember hearing of you by your present name; but I didn't know any of the family at the Castle. We belonged to the townspeople, and were not likely to have much acquaintance with the Castle."

"Except at election time--I know," St. Paul said with a laugh. "Well, I'm worse off now, for they won't know _me_ even at election time."

Then the talk went off again under St. Paul's leadership, and almost by his sole effort, to his adventurous life, and he told many stories of fights with Indians, of vigilance committees, of men hanged for horse-stealing, and of broken-down English scamps, who either got killed or made their fortune out West. A cool contempt for human life was made specially evident. "I like a place," the narrator more than once observed, "where you can kill a man if you want to and no bother about it." Perhaps still more evident was the contempt for every principle but that of comradeship.

After dinner Mr. St. Paul only showed himself in the drawing-room for a moment or two, and then took his leave.

"Papa," Lucy said instantly, "do tell us all about Mr. St. Paul."

"Are you curious to know something about him, Miss Grey?" Money asked.

"Well, he certainly seems to be an odd sort of person. He is so little like what I should imagine a pirate of romance."

"Not a bad hit. He is a sort of pirate out of date. But he represents, with a little exaggeration, a certain tendency among younger sons to-day. Some younger sons, you know, are going into trade; some are working at the bar, or becoming professional journalists; some are rearing sheep in Australia, and cattle in Kansas and Texas. It's a phase of civilization worth observing, Miss Grey, to you who go in for being a sort of little philosopher."

"Dear papa, how can you say so? Nola does not go in for being anything so dry and dreadful."

"The tendencies of an aristocracy must always interest a thoughtful mind like Miss Grey's, Lucy," Mrs. Money said gravely. "There is at least something hopeful in the mingling of classes."

"In young swells becoming drovers and rowdies?" Money observed. "Hum! Well, as to that----" and he stopped.

"I think I am a little interested in him," Minola said; "but only personally, not philosophically."

"Well, that's nearly all about him. He was a scamp, and he knocked about the world, and settled, if that can be called settling, out West for a while; and he has made money, and I hope he has sown his wild oats; and he has come home for variety, and, I think, to annoy his brother. I met him in Egypt, and I knew him in England too; and so he came to see me, and he found a sort of old acquaintance in Heron. That's all. He's a clever fellow, and not a bad fellow in his way. I dare say he would have made a very decent follower of Drake or Raleigh if he had been born at the right time."

Minola's attention was drawn away somewhat from the character, adventures, and philosophical interest of Mr. St. Paul to observe some peculiarity in the manner of Lucy Money. Although Lucy had set out by declaring herself wildly eager to know something about St. Paul, she very soon dropped out of the conversation, and drew listlessly away. After a while she sat at the piano, and began slowly playing some soft and melancholy chords. Minola had been observing something of a change in Lucy this present visit, something that she had not seen before. Mr. Money presently went to his study; the women all dispersed, and Minola sat in her bedroom, and wondered within herself whether anything was disturbing Lucy's bright little mind.

It was curious to note how Lucy Money's soft ways had won upon Minola. Lucy twined herself round the affections of the stronger girl, and clung to her. Mrs. Money was pleased, amused, and touched by the sight. The calm Theresa was a little annoyed, considering Lucy to show thereby a lack of the composure and dignity befitting a woman; and Mary Blanchet was sometimes disposed to be jealous. Minola herself was filled with affectionate kindness for the overgrown child, not untempered with a dash of pity and wonder. She was sometimes inclined to address the girl in certain lines from Joanna Baillie, forgotten now even of most readers of poetry, and ask her, "Thou sweetest thing that e'er didst fix its lightly-fibred spray on the rude rock, ah! wouldst thou cling to _me_?" For whatever the outer world and its lookers-on may have thought of her, it is certain that Minola did still believe herself to be cold, unloving, hard to warm toward her fellow-beings. The unrestrained, unaffected love of Lucy filled her at once with surprise and a sweeter, softer feeling.

So when she heard the patter of feet at her door she hardly had to wait for the familiar tap and the familiar voice to know that Lucelet was there. Minola opened the door, and Lucelet came in with her hair all loosely around her, and her eyes sparkling.

"May I sit a little and talk?" and without waiting for an answer she coiled herself on the hearthrug near the chair on which Minola had been sitting. "You sit there again, Nola. Are you glad to see me?"

"Very, very glad, Lucy dear."

"Do you love me, master? no?" For Minola had, among other things, been teaching Lucy to read Shakespeare, and Lucy had just become enamored of Ariel's tender question, and was delighted to turn it to her own account.

"Dearly, my delicate Ariel," said Minola, carrying on the quotation; and Lucy positively crimsoned with a double delight, having her quotation understood and answered, and an assurance of affection given.

"Why don't you let down your hair, Nola? Do let me see it now completely down. I'll do it--allow me." And she sprang up, came behind Minola, and "undid" all her hair, so that it fell around her back and shoulders. Minola could hardly keep from blushing to be thus made a picture of and openly admired. "There, that is perfectly beautiful! You look like Lady Godiva, or like the Fair One with Locks of Gold, if you prefer that. Did you ever read the story of 'The Fair One with Locks of Gold,' when you were a little girl? Oh, please leave your hair just as it is, and let me look at it for awhile. Do you remember Lady Limpenny's nonsense to-day?"

Minola allowed her to please herself, and they began to talk; but after the first joy of coming in, Lucy seemed a little _distraite_, and not quite like herself. She fell into little moments of silence every now and then, and sometimes looked up into Minola's face as if she were going to say something, and then stopped.

Minola saw that her friend had something on her mind, but thought it best not to ask her any questions, feeling sure that if Lucy had anything she wished to say, Lucy would not keep it long unsaid.

After a moment's pause, "Nola!"

"Yes, dear."

"You don't much like men in general?"

"Well, Lucy dear, I don't know that anybody much likes men in general, or women either. Good Christians say that they love all their brothers and sisters, but I don't suppose it's with a very ardent love."

"But you rather go in for not liking men as a rule, don't you?"

Minola was a little amused by the words, "go in for not liking men." They seemed to be what she knew Lucy never meant them for--a sort of rebuke to the affectation which would formally pose itself as misanthropic. Minola had of late begun to entertain doubts as to whether a certain amount of half-conscious egotism and affectation did not mingle in her old-time proclamations of a dislike to men.

"I think I rather did go in for not liking men, Lucy; but I think I am beginning to be a little penitent. Perhaps I was rather general in my ideas; perhaps the men I knew best were not very fair specimens of the human race; perhaps men in general don't very much care what I think of them."

"Any man would care if he knew you, especially if he saw you with your hair down like that. But, anyhow, you don't dislike _all_ men?"

"Oh, no, dear. How could I dislike your father, Lucelet?"

"No," Lucy said, looking round with earnest eyes; "who could dislike him, Nola? I am so fond of him; I could say almost anything to him. If you knew what I have lately been talking to him about, you would wonder. Well, but he is not the only man you don't dislike; I am sure you don't dislike Mr. Heron." Her eyes grew more inquiring and eager than before.

"No, indeed, Lucy; I don't think any one could dislike him either."

"I am delighted to hear you say so; but I want you to say some more. Tell me what you think of Mr. Heron; I am curious to know. You are so much more clever than I, and you can understand people and see into them. Tell me exactly what you see in Mr. Heron."

"Why do you want to know all this, Lucy?"

"Because I want to hear your opinion very particularly, for you are not a hero-worshipper, and you don't admire men in general. Some girls are such enthusiastic fools that they make a hero out of every good-looking young man they meet. But you are not like that, Nola."

"Oh, no! I am not like that," Nola echoed, not without a thought that now, perhaps, there were moments when she almost wished she were.

"Well, then, tell me. First, do you think Mr. Heron handsome?"

"Yes, Lucy, I think he is handsome."

"Then do you like him? Do tell me what you think of him."

"In the name of heaven," Minola asked herself, "why should I not speak the truth in answer to so plain and innocent a question?" She answered quietly, and looking straightforward at the fire:

"I like Mr. Heron very much, Lucy. I don't know many men--young men especially--but I like him better than any young man I have met as yet."

"As yet. Yes, yes. I am glad to hear you say that," Lucy said with beaming eyes, and growing good-humoredly saucy in her very delight. "As yet. Yes, you put that in well, Nola."

"How so, dear?"

"Oh, you know. Because of the one yet to present himself; the not impossible He--nearly impossible though--who is to be fit for my Nola. I tell you I shall scrutinize him before I allow his pretensions to pass. Well, now, about Mr. Heron?"

"I think him a very brave, generous, and noble-hearted young man. I think he has not a selfish thought or a mean purpose about him, and I think he has spirit and talent; and I hope one day to hear that he has made himself an honorable name."

Lucy turned now to Minola a pair of eyes that were moist with tears.

"Tell me, Nola"--and her voice grew a little tremulous--"don't you think he's a man a woman might fall in love with?"

There was a moment's silence, and Lucy leaned upon Nola's knees, eagerly looking into her face. Then Nola answered, in a quiet, measured undertone,

"Oh, yes, Lucy; I do indeed. I think he is a man a woman might fall in love with."

"Thank you, Nola. That is all I wanted to ask you."

There was another pause.


"Yes, Lucy."

"You don't ask me anything."

"Perhaps, dear, because there is nothing I want to know."

"Then you _do_ guess?"

"Oh, yes, dear, I do guess."

"Well--but what?"

"I suppose--that you are--engaged to Mr. Heron."

Lucy started up with her face all on fire.

"Oh, no, Nola, dear darling! you have guessed too much. I wish I had told you, and not asked you to guess at all. We're not engaged. Oh, no. It's only--well, it's only--it's only that I am in love with him, Nola--oh, yes, so much in love with him that I should not like to live if he didn't care about me--no, not one day!" Then Lucy hid her head in Minola's lap and sobbed like a little child.

Perhaps the breakdown was of service to both the girls. It allowed poor Lucy to relieve her long pent-up feelings, and it gave Minola time to consider the meaning of the revelation as composedly as she could, and to think of what she ought to say and do.

Lucy presently looked up, with a gleam of April brightness in her eyes.

"Do you think me foolish, Nola, for telling you this?"

"Well, dear, I don't know whether you ought to have told it to me."

"I couldn't do without telling it to somebody, Nola. I think I must be like that king I read about somewhere--I forget his name; no, I believe it was not the king, but his servant--who had to tell the secret to some listener, and so told it to the reeds on the seashore. If I had not told this to somebody, I must have told it to the reeds."

Minola almost wished she had told it to the reeds. There were reeds enough beneath the little bridge which Nola loved in Regent's Park, and had they been possessed of the secret she might have looked over the bridge for ever, and dreamed dreams as the lazy water flowed on beneath, and even noted and admired the whispering reeds, and they would never have whispered that secret to her.

"I think papa guesses it," Lucy said. "I am sure he does, because he talked to me of--oh, well, of a different person, and asked me if I cared about him, and I told him that I didn't. He said he was glad, for he didn't much like him; but that I should marry any one I liked--always provided, Nola, that he happened to like me, which doesn't at all follow. I know papa likes Mr. Heron."

"Then, Lucy, would it not be better to tell Mr. Money?"

"Oh, Nola! I couldn't tell him that--I could tell him almost anything, but I couldn't tell him that. Are you not sorry for me, Nola? Oh, say you are sorry for me! The other day--it only seems the other day--I was just as happy as a bird. Do say you are sorry for me."

"But, my dear, I don't know why there should be any sorrow about it. Why should not everything prove to be perfectly happy?"

"Do you think so, Nola?"

She looked up to Nola with an expression of childlike anxiety.

"Why should it not be so, Lucy? If I were a man, I should be very much in love with you, dear. You are the girl that men ought to be in love with."

There was a certain tone of coldness or constraint in Minola's voice which could not escape even Lucy's observation.

"You think me weak and foolish, I know very well, Nola, because I have made such a confession as this. For all your kindness and your good heart, I know that you despise any girl who allows herself to fall in love with a man. You don't care about men, and you think we ought to have more dignity, and not to prostrate ourselves before them; and you are quite right. Only some of us can't help it."

"No," said Minola sadly; "I suppose not."

"There! You look all manner of contempt at me. I should like to have you painted as the Queen of the Amazons--you would look splendid. But I may trust to your friendly heart and your sympathy all the same, I know. You will pity us weaker girls, and you won't be too hard on us. I want you to help me."

"Can I help you, Lucy? Shall I ask Mr. Heron if he is in love with you? I will if you like."

"Oh, Nola, what nonsense! That only shows how ridiculous you think me. No, I only mean that you should give me your sympathy, and let me talk to you. And--you observe things so well--just to use your eyes for my sake. Oh, there is so much a friend may do! And he thinks so much of you, and always talks to you so freely."

Yes, Minola thought to herself; he always talks to me very freely--we are good friends. If he were in love with Lucy, I dare say he would tell me. Why should he not? She tells me that she is in love with him--that is a proof of her friendship.

We can think in irony as well as speak in it, and Minola was disposed at present to be a little sarcastic. She did not love such disclosures as Lucy had been making. There seemed to be a lack of that instinctive delicacy in them, which, as she fancied, might be the possession of a girl were she brought up naked in a south sea islet. Fresh and innocent as Lucy was, yet this revelation seemed wanting in pure self-respect. Perhaps, too, it was in keeping with Minola's old creed to believe that this was just the sort of girl whom most men would be sure to love. At any rate, she was for the moment in a somewhat bitter mood. Something of this must have shown itself in her expression, for Lucy said, in a tone of frightened remonstrance--

"Now, Nola, I have told you all. I have betrayed myself to you, and if you only despise me and feel angry with me, oh, what shall I do? Isn't it strange--you both came the same day here--you and he, for the first time--I mean the first time since I saw you at school. Am I to lose you too?"

There was something so simple and helpless in this piteous appeal, with its implied dread of a love proving hopeless, that no irony or anger could have prevailed against it in Minola's breast. She threw her arm round the child's neck and petted and soothed her.

"Why should you lose both--why should you lose either?" Minola said. "I can promise you for one, Lucy dear; and if I could promise you for the other too, you might be sure of him. He must be a very insensible person, Lucy, who fails to appreciate you. Only don't make it too plain, dear, to any one but me. They say that men like to do the love-making for themselves--and you have not the slightest need to go out of your way. Tell me--does he know anything of this?"

"Oh, no, Nola."

"Nor guess anything at all?"

"Oh, no--I am sure not--I don't think so. You didn't guess anything--now, did you?--and how could he?"

Minola felt a little glad to hear of this--for the dignity of womanhood, she said to herself. But she did not know how long it would last, for Lucy was not a person likely to accomplish great efforts of self-control, for the mere sake of the abstract dignity of womanhood. For the moment, all Minola could do was to express full sympathy with her friend, and at the same time to counsel her gently not to betray her secret. Lucy went to her bedroom at last, much fluttering and quivering, but also relieved and encouraged, and she fell asleep, for all her love pains, long before Minola did.

"She will be very happy," Minola sat thinking, when she was alone. "She has a great deal already: a loving father, and mother, and sister; a happy home, where she is sheltered against everything; a future all full of brightness. He will love her--I suppose. She's very pretty, and sweet, and obliging; and he is simple and manly, and would be drawn by her pure, winning ways; and men like him are fond of women who don't profess to be strong. Well, if I can help her, I will do so--it will be something to see her completely happy, and him too."

Whereupon, for no apparent reason, the tears sprang into Minola's eyes, and she found a vain wish arising in her heart that she had never renewed her acquaintance with Lucy Money, never been persuaded by Mary Blanchet to visit her, never stood upon her threshold and met Victor Heron there.

"Why not wish at once that I had never been born?" she said, half tearful, half scornful of her tears. "One thing is as easy now as the other, and as useful, and not to have been born would have saved many idle hours and much heartache."



Minola rose next morning with a bewildering and oppressed sense of disappointment and defeat. The whole of her scheme of life had broken down. Her little bubble world had burst. All her plans of bold independence and of contented life, of isolation from social trammels, and freedom from woman's weaknesses, had broken down. She had always thought scorn of those who said that women could not feel friendship for men without danger of feeling love--and now, what was she but a cruel, mocking evidence of the folly of her confidence? Alas, no romantic schoolgirl could have fallen more suddenly into love than Minola had done. There was but one man whom she had ever seen with whom she had coveted a friendship, and she now knew, only too well, that in her breast the friendship had already caught fire and blazed into love. Where was Alceste now, and the Alceste standard by which she had proposed to test all men and women, well convinced beforehand that she would find them wanting? She could not even flatter herself that she had been faithful to her faith, and that if she had succumbed at the very outset, it was because the first comer actually proved to be an Alceste. No, she could not cram this complacent conviction into her mind. Victor Heron was a generous and noble-hearted young man, she felt assured; but she had not fallen in love with him because of any assurance that he was like the hero of her girlhood. She made no attempt to deceive herself in this way. In her proud resentment of her weakness she even trampled upon it with undeserved scorn. "I fell in love with him," she said to herself, "just as the silliest girl falls in love--because he was there, and I couldn't help it."

It was not merely Lucy's revelation which had forced upon Minola a knowledge of her own feelings. This had perhaps so sent conviction home as to render illusion or self-deception impossible any longer, but it was not that which first told her of her weakness. That had long been more and more making itself known to her. It was plain to her now that since the first day when she stood upon the bridge with him in the park, and looked into the canal, she had loved him. "Oh, why did I not know it then?" she asked wearily of herself. "I could have avoided him--have never seen him again--and it might so have come to nothing, and at least we should not have to meet."

Amid all her pain of the night and the morning, one question was ever repeating itself, "Will this last?" That the fever which burned her was love--genuine love--the regular old love of the romances and the poets--she could not doubt. She knew it because it was so new a feeling. Had she walked among a fever-stricken population, refusing to believe in the danger of infection, and satisfied that the fearless and the wise were safe, and had she suddenly felt the strange pains and unfamiliar heats, and found the senses beginning to wander, she would have known that this was fever. The pangs of death are new to all alike when they come, but those who are about to die are conscious--even in their last moments of consciousness--that this new summons has the one awful meaning. So did Minola know only too well what the meaning was of this new pain. "Will it last?" was her cry to herself. "Shall I have to go through life with this torture always to bear? Is it true that women have to bear this for years and years--that some of them never get over it? Oh, I shall never get over it--never, never!" she cried out in bitterness. She was very bitter now against herself and fate. She did not feel that it is better to love vainly than not at all. Indeed, such consoling conviction belongs to the poet who philosophizes on love, or to the disappointed lover who is already beginning to be consoled. It does not do much good to any one in the actual hour of pain. Minola cordially and passionately wished that she had not loved, or seen any one whom she could love. She was full of wrath and scorn for herself, and believed herself humbled and shamed. Her whole life was crossed; her quiet was all gone; she was now doomed to an existence of perpetual self-constraint and renunciation, and even deception. She had a secret which she must conceal from the world as if it was a murder. She must watch her words, her movements, her very glances, lest any sudden utterance, or gesture, or blush should betray her. She would wake in the night in terror, lest in some dream she might have called out some word or name which had roused Mary Blanchet in the next room, and betrayed her. She must meet Victor Heron, heaven knows how often, and talk with him as a friend, and never let one gleam of the truth appear. She must hear Lucy Money tell of her love, and be the _confidante_ of her childlike emotions. Not often, perhaps, has a proud and sensitive girl been tried so strangely. "I thought I hated men before," she kept saying to herself. "I _do_ hate them now; and women and all. I hate him most of all because I know that I so love him."

All this poor Minola kept saying or thinking to herself that morning as she listlessly dressed. It is not too much to say that the very air seemed changed for her. She had only one resolve to sustain her, but that was at least as strong as her love, or as death--the resolve that, come what would, she must keep her secret. Victor Heron believed himself her friend, and desired to be nothing more. No human soul but her own must know that her feeling to him was not the same. She would have known the need of that resolve even if she had never been entrusted with poor dear little Lucy's secret. But the more calmly she thought over that little story the more she thought it likely that Lucy's dream might come to be fulfilled.

The world--that is to say, the breakfast room and the Money family--had to be faced. The family were as pleasant as ever, except Lucy, who looked pale and troubled, and at whom her father looked once or twice keenly, but without making any remark.

"I have had a letter from Lady Limpenny already this morning," Mr. Money observed.

All professed an interest in the contents of the letter, even Theresa.

Mr. Money began to read:

"Thank you a thousand times, my dear Money----"

"We are very friendly, you see, Miss Grey," he said, breaking off. "But it's not any peculiar friendship for me. She always calls men by their names after the first interview."

"She generally addressed papa as 'my dear,' without any proper name appended," said Lucy, who did not much like Lady Limpenny. "She always likes the men of a family and always hates the women."

"Lucy, my dear," her mother pleaded, "how can you say so? Laura Limpenny and I are true friends."

"She is giving us good help with our schools and our church," Theresa Money said; "and Reginald" (Theresa's engaged lover) "thinks very highly of her."

"She always praises men, and they all think highly of her," Lucy persisted; "and it is something to be Lady Anything."

"I assure you, Miss Grey," Mrs. Money said, "that Lady Limpenny is the most sincere and unpretending creature. She is not an aristocrat--she has nothing to do with aristocracy; if she had, there could be little sympathy, as you may well believe, between her and me, for you know my convictions. The aristocracies of this country are its ruin! When England falls--and the hour of her fall is near--it will not be due to beings like Laura Limpenny."

"There I agree with you, dear," Mr. Money gravely said. "Shall I go on?"

He went on:

"Thank you a thousand times, my dear Money, for your wise and Christianlike advice. I will keep my china. I am convinced now that my ideas of yesterday were wrong, and even sinful. I had a charming talk with a dear æsthetic man last evening, after I saw you, and he assures me that my china is a collection absolutely unique; and that, if I were to part with it, Mrs. De Vallancey would manage, at any cost, or by any contrivance, to get hold of it; and your darling wife knows how I hate Mrs. De Vallancey. I now feel that it is my duty to keep the china, and that a love for the treasures of art is in itself an act of homage to the Great Creator of all.

"My sweetest love to your darling wife and angel girls. Kind regards to the young lady with the hair; and when you see our dear friend Heron do tell him that I expect him to call on me _very soon_.

"Ever yours,


"'Our dear friend Heron,'" exclaimed Lucy in surprise and anger. "Does she know Mr. Heron so well as that?"

"She met him here yesterday for the first time," Mr. Money said; "but that's quite enough for Lady Limpenny. She has taken a violent liking to him already, and enrolls him among her dear friends. Seriously, she would be rather a useful person for Heron to know. She knows every one, and will do anything. Her husband attends all the old women of quality, and a good many of the young women too. I shouldn't be surprised if Sir James Limpenny--or his wife--could get Heron a hearing from some great personage."

"I am sure he won't do that," said Lucy warmly. "I don't believe Mr. Heron would condescend to be helped on in that sort of way."

"Why not?" Minola asked. "I think Lady Limpenny is a more creditable ally than a person like Mr. St. Paul. If a man wants to succeed in life, I suppose he must try all the usual arts."

"I didn't think you would have said that of Mr. Heron, Nola," said Lucy, hurt and wondering.

Nola did not think she would have said it herself twelve hours ago. Why she said it now she could not tell. Perhaps she was womanish enough to feel annoyed at the manner in which Lucy seemed to appropriate Victor Heron's cause, and womanish enough too to relieve her mind by saying disparaging things of him.

Mr. Money's eyes twinkled with an amused smile.

"See how you wrong a man sometimes, you ladies--even the most reasonable among you. Heron is more Quixotic than you think, Miss Grey. I have had a letter from him this very morning about St. Paul. I'll read it if you like--it need not be kept secret from anybody here."

Mrs. Money and Lucy earnestly asked to have the letter read, and Mr. Money read it accordingly:

"MY DEAR MONEY: I don't like St. Paul, and I won't march through Coventry with him. I think he is unprincipled and discreditable, and if I can't get in for Keeton without his helping hand, I'll stay out of Keeton, and that's all about _that_. I know you will agree with me when you think this over. Excuse haste and abruptness. I want to make my position clear to you without any loss of time.

"Yours faithfully,


"Now, Nola, you see you were wrong," the triumphant Lucy exclaimed.

"I do not like Mr. St. Paul," the quiet Theresa observed. "He seems to me godless and demoralized. He spake in the lightest and most scoffing way of the labors of the Church among the heathen populations."

"I liked him," Mrs. Money sighed. "I liked him because he had the spirit to resign his rank and fling away his title."

"I think his rank rather resigned him," Mr. Money observed. "Anyhow, one must in the ordinary world consent to take up with a scamp now and then. Heron says he won't have anything to do with St. Paul, and Lucy undertakes to say for him that he won't be patronized by Lady Limpenny. I ask you all calmly, as civilized and Christian beings, how is a young fellow to get on in London who won't consent to be helped by scamps and old women."

"Mr. Heron represents a political cause," the eager Lucy began.

Her father looked quietly round at her.

"Why, Lucelet, my dear, when did you come to know anything about political causes, or to care about them? I thought you only cared for the renascence of art--isn't it renascence you call it? I understood that politics were entirely beneath the notice of all your school. Pray tell me, Mistress Politician, to which side of politics your father belongs?"

"Oh, papa, for shame! What nonsense! As if I didn't know. Of course you are a Liberal--an advanced Liberal."

"Good; and our friend Heron?"

"An advanced Liberal too. Of course I know that you are on his side."

"That I am on his side? That he is on my side wouldn't do, I suppose, although I am somewhat the elder, and I am in Parliament while he is not in, and is not particularly likely to be if he continues to be so squeamish. What are the political views of our young friend the artist, the poet, the bard, or whatever you please to call him?"

"Mr. Blanchet?" Lucy slightly colored.

"Mr. Blanchet, yes. Am I on his side?"

"Oh, he has no side. He knows nothing of politics," Lucy said contemptuously.

"Stupid of him, isn't it?"

"Very stupid. At least, I suppose so; I don't know. Oh, yes; I think every man ought to understand politics."

Mr. Money smiled, and let the subject drop.

When breakfast was over, Mr. Money suddenly said,

"Miss Grey, you always profess to know something about politics. Anyhow, you know something about Keeton folks, and you can give me some useful hints about their ways with which I can instruct our dear friend Heron, as Lady Limpenny calls him. Would you mind coming to my study for a quarter of an hour, away from all this womankind, and answering me a few questions?"

Minola was a little surprised, but showed no surprise, and only said that she would be delighted, of course. Mr. Money offered her his arm with a somewhat old-fashioned courtesy which contrasted not unbecomingly with his usual cheery bluntness of manner to women and men alike.

"Not many ladies come here, Miss Grey," Money said, offering her a chair when they were in the study. "Lucelet looks in very often, to be sure, but only as a messenger; she doesn't come into council."

"Do I come into council?" Minola asked with a smile and a little of heightened color. "I shall feel myself of great importance."

"Well, yes, into council. First about yourself. I have been looking into your affairs a little, Miss Grey--don't be angry; we are all fond of you in this house, and you don't seem to have any one in particular to look after your interests."

"It was very kind and good of you. I have not many friends, Mr. Money; but I am afraid the word 'interests' is rather too large for any affairs of mine. Have I any interests? Mary Blanchet understands all my affairs much better than I do."

"Yes, they may be called interests, I think. You know that anybody who likes can find out everything about people's wills, and all that. Do you know anything about your father's will?"

"No," Minola said, with a start, and feeling the tears coming to her eyes. "I don't, Mr. Money. At least, not much. I know that he left me some money--so much every year; not much--it would not be much for Lucy--but enough for me and Mary Blanchet. Mary Blanchet manages it for me, and makes it go twice as far as I could. We never spend it all--I mean, we haven't spent it all this year. I should never be able to manage or to get on at all only for her."

Minola spoke with eagerness now, for she was afraid that she was about to receive some of the advice which worldly people call wise, and to be admonished of the improvidence of sharing her little purse with Mary Blanchet.

"And, indeed, I ought to do something for her--something particular," she hastened to add, for she was seized with a sudden fear that Mr. Money might have heard somewhere of her resolve to have Mr. Blanchet's poems printed at her own expense, and might proceed to remonstrate with her.

Mr. Money smiled, seeing completely through her, and only thinking to himself that she was a remarkably good girl, and that he much wished he had a son to marry her.

"Do you know what I was thinking of?" he asked bluntly.

"I am sure you were thinking about me, for you laughed--at my ignorance of business ways, I suppose?"

"Not at all; I was thinking that I should like to have a son, and that I should like you to marry him."

Minola laughed and colored, but took his words as they were meant, in all good humor and kindness.

"If you had a son, Mr. Money, I am sure I would marry him if you asked me, and he----"

"Thank you. Well, I am only sorry I can't take you at your word. But that wasn't exactly what I brought you here to tell you. What I want to tell you is this. You are likely to have a good deal of property of one kind and another, Miss Grey. Your father, I find, made a good deal of money in his time, and saved it; bought houses and built houses; bought up annuities, insurances, shares in companies--all manner of things. He only left his property to his present wife for her use of what it brings every year during her life. At her death it all comes to you, and I'm told she can't live long."

"Oh, but she may. I hope and pray that she may," Minola exclaimed. "It seems shocking to watch for a woman's death, especially when we were not very friendly to each other. I don't want the money; I have enough--quite enough. I shouldn't know what to do with it. I don't care much about new dresses, and bonnets, and the fashions, and all that; and what could I do with money, living alone in my quiet way? I think a girl of my age, living all to herself, and having much money, would be perfectly ridiculous. Why could not her husband get it, if the poor creature dies? That would be only right. I am sure he may have it for me."

"He mayn't have it for me though," Mr. Money said. "You have no one, it seems to me, to look after your interests, and I'll take the liberty to do so, for lack of a better, whether you like it or not. However, we can talk about that when the time comes."

Minola gave a sort of shudder.

"When the time comes. That seems so dreadful; as if we were only waiting for the poor woman to be dead to snatch at whatever she left behind her. Mr. Money, is there really no other way? must I have this property?"

"If she dies before you, yes--it will come to you. Of course you know that it isn't great wealth in the London sense. It won't constitute you an heiress in the Berkeley Square sense, but it will give you a good deal of miscellaneous property for a young woman. Well, as to that, I'll see that you get your rights; and the only thing I have to ask is just that you will not do anything decided, or anything at all, in this business, without consulting me."

"Oh, indeed, I can faithfully promise you that. I have no other friend whom I could possibly consult, or who would take any interest in me."

"Come, now, I can't believe that. If you wish, you can be like the young lady in Sheridan's song--friends in all the aged you'll meet, and lovers in the young."

"I don't want to be like her in that."

"In having friends in all the aged?"

"Oh, I don't know; in anything. I am well content with the friends I have."

"Well, some of them, at least, are well content with you. Now, Miss Grey, I want to speak to you of something that concerns me. You and my daughter Lucy are great friends?"

Minola almost started.

"I am very fond of Lucy."

"And she is very fond of you. We all are for that matter. Did you ever hear of an old Scottish saying about a person having a face like a fiddle--not in shape, you know, but in power of attracting people, and rousing sympathy?"

"Yes. I think I remember it in some of Scott's novels."

"Very well. I think you have a face like a fiddle; all our sympathies are drawn to you. Now that is why I speak to you of something which I wouldn't talk about to any other woman of your age--not even to my own daughter Theresa, an excellent creature, but not over sympathetic. I am very fond of my Lucelet. She isn't strong; she hasn't great intelligence. I know my little goose is not a swan, but she is very sweet, and sensitive, and loving: the most affectionate little creature that ever was made happy or unhappy by a man. I am morbidly anxious about her happiness. Now, you are her friend, and a thousand times cleverer and stronger than she, and she looks up to you. She would tell you anything. _Has_ she told you anything lately?"

Minola hesitated.

"Oh, you needn't hesitate, or think of any breach of confidence. You may tell me. I could get it all from herself in a moment. It isn't about that I want to ask you. Well, I'll save you all trouble. She has told you something."

"She has."

"She is in love!"

Minola assented.

Mr. Money ran his hand through his hair, got up and walked a turn or two up and down the study.

"The other day she was a child, and cared for nobody in the world but her mother and me! Now a young fellow comes along, and, like the Earl of Lowgave's lassie in the old song, she does not love her mammy nor she does not love her daddy."

"Oh, but I don't think that at all," Miss Grey said earnestly. "No girl could be fonder of her father and mother."

Mr. Money smiled good-humoredly, but with a look of pity, as one who corrects an odd mistake.

"I know that very well, Miss Grey, and I was not speaking seriously, or grumbling at my little lassie. But it does astonish us elderly parents, when we find out all of a sudden that there are other persons more important than we in the eyes of our little maidens, and we may as well relieve our minds by putting the feeling into words. Well, you know the hero of this little romance?"

Minola was looking steadily at the fire, and away from Mr. Money. She did not answer at once, and there was a pause. The suddenness of the silence aroused her.

"Oh, yes, Mr. Money. I know who he is," she said, without looking round.

"Very well. Now comes the delicate part of my questioning. Of course you can't be expected to read the secrets of other people's hearts, and I suppose you are not in _his_ confidence."

"No, indeed," she said very quietly.

"No--you couldn't tell how he feels toward my Lucelet?"

Minola shook her head.

"If I were a man, I am sure I should be in love with her," she said.

"You think so? Yes, perhaps so; but in this case, somehow----. Well, Miss Grey, another question, and then I'll release you, and speak to me frankly, like a true girl to a plain man, who treats her as such. Is there any woman, as far as you know, who is more to him than Lucelet?"

Mr. Money had now come near to where Minola was sitting. He stood leaning against the chimney-piece, and looking fixedly into her face. At first she did not even understand the meaning of his question. Then suddenly she felt that her cheeks began to burn and her heart to beat. She looked up in wonder and pain, but she saw so much of earnestness and anxiety in Mr. Money's face that it would have been impossible not to understand and respect his purpose. In his anxiety for his daughter's happiness his whole soul was absorbed. Minola's heart forgot its own pain for the moment. Her own memory of a father was not of one thus unselfishly absorbed. She answered without hesitation, and with quiet self-possession.

"Oh, no, Mr. Money. I know of no such woman. So far as I can guess, none such exists."

Mr. Money drew a deep breath, and his eyes brightened.

"Miss Grey," he said, "I think any other woman in the world would have told me she wasn't in Mr.--in _his_ secrets, or given me some evasive or petulant answer. I thank you a thousand times. We may then--I may--pursue without compunction my matchmaking schemes. They are not very selfish; they are only for Lucelet's happiness. I would ask one of my office clerks to marry her if she loved him and he was likely to make her happy; and I would set them up in life. You may guess, then, whether this idea pleases me. But I confess I didn't think--well, of course, your assurance is enough, but I began to think of something different."

Minola rose to go away.

"One word, Miss Grey. Pray don't say anything to my wife about this. She is the truest and kindest of women, as you know, but she can't understand keeping anything a secret, and she always begs of us to leave her out of the smallest plot of the most innocent kind, because she must let it all out prematurely. Now I'll release you, and you have, at all events, one friend in life to be going on with--friend among the aged I mean; the rest will come fast enough."

With a bewildered head and a bursting heart, Minola found her way to her own room.


Where the northern forest flings Its shadows over weeping hills, Rivulets rise in myriad springs And run to meet in roaring kills. Soon from these a great stream grows; Grows--and grows more strong and free, Till a noble river flows; Flows majestic to the sea.

Born of Adirondac tears, Nursed by storms of Katterskill, Yet a smiling face it wears, Rolls in tranquil silence still. Gliding first o'er sands of glass, Then 'midst grassy meads estray, Now it shoots the highland pass, Hurrying southward on its way.

River, but the sea as well; Steady drift and changing tide; Here may float a cockle-shell, Or the ocean navies ride. 'T is the sea in landscape set; 'T is the sea, by limits bound; But it is the river yet, Flowing through enchanted ground.

Countless wealth its currents bear, Wrought from forest, field, and mine; Giant steamships o'er it fare, Clouds of sails in sunlight shine. Through the darkness, as in light, Sail the constant fleets the same; While along the shores at night Furnace fires perpetual flame.

In the bright October days, While I float upon the stream, Mellowed by transfiguring haze, All is like a fairy dream: Groves and gardens, towns and towers, Mountain tops and vales between, As the gods had builded bowers Scarce concealed and scarcely seen.

Thine no borrowed glories! thine, Matchless river! are thy own! O'er thy scenes no false lights shine From the ages dead and gone. Round no castles' crumbling walls Troops of knightly spectres throng, And within no ruined halls Thrills the spectre maiden's song;

Save when dusky phantoms glide, Still intent on savage rites, Or when he of Sunnyside Marshals his fantastic sprites: Then we seem again to hear War-whoops echoing 'midst the hills, And old Hendrick's lusty cheer As the wind his canvas fills.

As Mohegan, ages old, Though for ever self-renewed, Through unbroken forests rolled All thy floods in solitude: But as Hudson, now and ever, Distant lands repeat thy name, And the world, O glorious river! Stands the guardian of thy fame.



Many a mickle makes a muckle, says the proverb, and whoever looks into the operations of society on the great scale will find how true the saying is. A national debt, a national crop, the cattle feeding on the hills of a broad continent, the school-going children of a populous commonwealth, the number of its vagabonds and criminals at large or in jail, all need such an array of figures for their expression that the amounts really convey no impression to the mind. The number of books collected in public libraries does not reach such unwieldy proportions as these, but it is still very large. The information gathered by the Bureau of Education for the purpose of exhibiting the condition of American society at the end of the first century of our independence shows that the libraries which are classed as "public" number 3,682 in the United States, and contain 12,276,964 volumes and 1,500,000 pamphlets.

Of our private libraries little is known. In 1870 the census-takers reported 107,673 collections of this class, containing in all 25,571,503 volumes, but these numbers are known to be much below the truth. The acute and practical superintendent of the ninth census declared that this part of his work had no value, and even said that "the statistics of private libraries are not, from any proper point of view, among the desirable inquiries of the census." What a commentary upon the progress of society is contained in this opinion of the most accomplished statistician ever engaged in studying our social movements! It is but a short time since the owning of books was a mark of superior station in the world. What has produced the change?

We can perhaps learn the cause of it better by a comparison than by direct study of bibliographical history. In Voltaire's time thermometers were so great a rarity that the owner of one of them was considered to be a savant. Time and social progress have so completely altered this state of things that thermometers are now made in factories, are owned by all classes, and applied to the commonest uses. The thermometers hanging on our walls no longer indicate familiarity with science, but merely that a new tool has been added to household appliances. So in book-making. The art which once served chiefly to record discoveries in knowledge, conduct controversies in polemics, philosophy, and politics, and for other grave and important purposes now adds to these a multitude of common uses. A library may contain scores and even hundreds of volumes, and yet have nothing but those books which have served in the education and amusement of the children in an ordinary family. Or it may be the result of a chance aggregation of "railway literature," bought to relieve the tediousness of travel. Or it may consist, as is sometimes the case, of the small and precious collections in frontier log huts, of the gratuitous contributions of the patent medicine vender, the plough-maker, and the lightning-rod man, mingled with the dear-bought subscription books of the wandering peddler! Books are so common that the possession of them is no longer an indication of the intellectual tendency of their possessors.

With libraries open to the public the case is different. Their condition affords one standard by which the character and tastes of the people may be measured.

The United States are considered to be far behind foreign countries in their book collections. We have nothing to compare with Dresden, Berlin, and Paris, with their 500,000, 700,000, and 2,000,000 volumes. We do not reach the wealth of even such second-rate places as Wolfenbüttel, Breslau, and Göttingen, if their collections are correctly reported at 300,000, 340,000, and 400,000 volumes. And yet each year witnesses the purchase of more than 400,000 volumes for our public libraries, taken collectively, a number that is larger than any one collection in this country! The permanent fund of our libraries, so far as known, amounts to $6,105,581 and their annual income to $1,398,756. These figures do not, in fact, represent anything like the truth, for not half the libraries reported their permanent fund, or their yearly purchases, and only one-quarter reported their yearly income. About one-fifth of the whole number (769 exactly) report their expenditures for new books at $562,407, and in 742 libraries the use of books amounts to 8,879,869 volumes yearly. In these figures Sunday-school libraries, one of the most constantly used kinds, are not included. Looking at the magnitude of the numbers reported, and considering all that is omitted, we obtain an inkling of the immense exchange of books among the people from these public distribution points.

The existing public libraries, excluding all under 300 volumes, and all in Sunday-schools of whatever size, may be considered as belonging to six principal divisions. These, with the number of libraries and the volumes in each, are as follows:

_Class._ _No. libraries._ _No. Volumes._

Educational 1,577 3,442,799 Professional 360 1,406,759 Historical 51 421,794 Government 122 1,562,597 Proprietary Public 1,109 3,228,555 Free Public 342 1,909,444 Miscellaneous 121 305,016 ----- ---------- 3,682 12,276,964

The "miscellaneous" class contains the libraries of secret and benevolent societies, and some others difficult to arrange. On the whole it might be better to class them with the proprietary public libraries.

Educational libraries are the oldest in the country, and the most venerable of them is naturally that of the oldest educational institution, Harvard University, which dates from 1638. Before the end of that century three others had been started, and singularly enough, all at about the same time: King William school at Annapolis, 1697, King's Chapel Library at Boston, 1698, and Christ church at Philadelphia, 1698. Yale and William and Mary Colleges began their collections in 1700, and then proprietary libraries began their existence. The Proprietors' Library in Pomfret, Conn., was founded in 1737, Redwood, in Newport, 1747, and the Library Society, Charleston, S. C, 1748. Philadelphia was especially active at that early period, establishing no less than five, the Library Company in 1731, Carpenters', 1736, Four Monthly Meetings of Friends, 1742, Philosophical Society, 1743, and Loganian, 1745. Fifty-one of these enterprises were begun in the second half of the eighteenth century, but failure and consolidation brought the number of living libraries in 1800 down to forty-nine. In 1776 twenty-nine were in existence, and from that time the growth has been as follows:

_Libraries formed._ _Number._ _Present size._

From 1775 to 1800 30 242,171 vols. " 1800 to 1825 179 2,056,113 " " 1825 to 1850 551 2,807,218 " " 1850 to 1876 2,240 5,481,068 "

This little table brings out very strikingly the distinctive peculiarity of libraries in this country. Their strength does not lie so much in the importance of individual collections as in the existence of a large number of young, active, and growing institutions which are unitedly advancing to a future that must evidently be tremendous. More than seventy per cent. of our existing libraries have been formed within the last twenty-five years, and contain about 2,500 volumes each. Of the older libraries those which were founded in the last quarter of last century have an average of about 8,000 volumes, those of the following quarter about 11,500 volumes, and those of the third quarter about 5,000 volumes each. It is plain that library work has been remarkably active since 1850. In fact it has been so active as to open a new profession to the educated classes of this country. A large number of highly trained men are engaged in library work, and the discussion of library science is carried on with energy. It is quite probable that a few more years will see the introduction of this study into American colleges, as a preparation for a promising branch of industry. But let us return to our classification, which covers some interesting points.

_Educational_ libraries are of three kinds:

1. Academy and school 1,059, with 1,270,497 vols. 2. College 312 " 1,949,105 " 3. Asylum and Reformatory 206 " 223,197 "

District school libraries form a very modern part of the general system, having been first suggested by Governor Clinton of New York in 1827, and introduced by law in 1835. Since then twenty other States have adopted the plan, but some, like Massachusetts, have abandoned it for that of town libraries. The greatest difficulties it labors under are found in country districts, where the funds are applied to other purposes, and the books are recklessly lent out and lost, both evils being due to the fact that few persons can be found who are able and willing to keep the work in good order. In cities the success of these district libraries is much greater. They now report an aggregate of 1,270,497 books, but their statistics are very incomplete. College libraries are among the most important in the country, that of Harvard being the largest we have, after the Congressional library in Washington. As to asylum and reformatory libraries, it would be hard to find circumstances under which books could be more usefully collected than in those institutions, where in 1870 32,901 prisoners were confined, and 116,102 paupers housed habitually or at times. If we consider that only one-fifth of the criminals are in jail, and allow for the natural increase of criminals and paupers, it will be apparent that the population which may derive benefit from these libraries must now number at least 300,000 persons. To meet their wants there are 206 libraries, with 223,197 volumes. The Pennsylvania State Penitentiary has the largest collection, 9,000 volumes, besides 1,000 school books. The other end of the line is occupied by Florida, which maintains 40 volumes in its Penitentiary.

Some interesting information has been gathered concerning the literary taste of convicts. Story books, magazines, and light literature generally are the favorite choice, but history, biography, and travels are also well patronized. In the Massachusetts State prison Humboldt's "Cosmos" and other philosophical works are called for. In fact the value of prison libraries is vouched for by all authorities, and one says that no convicts, except those really idiotic, leave a prison where there is a library without having gained some advantage. The greatest defects in the system are the lack of books and of light to read them by at night. There are but forty prison libraries, with 61,095 volumes, and in American prisons the cells are not lighted. Lights are placed in the corridors so that only a small number of the inmates have light enough to read by. The Joliet (Ill.) prison is a cheering exception to this gloomy state of things. Each cell has its own catalogue, and lights are allowed up to nine o'clock. Public charities of several kinds have lately suffered from exposures that prevent charitably disposed persons from giving aid which they would otherwise gladly contribute. It may be useful to suggest that money sent to any prison for the benefit of its library could hardly fail to be helpful.

In reformatories, where the effort is to cultivate the moral faculties, the library is an essential part of the system. Forty-nine of them have collections containing 51,466 books. In these institutions we have an indication of what the library, and other moral forces like it, is worth as an educator. Mr. Sanborn thinks that the proportion "of worthy citizens trained up among the whole 24,000 in preventive and reformatory schools would be as high as seventy-five per cent."

_Professional_ libraries are--

1. Law 135, with 330,353 volumes 2. Medical 64 " 159,045 " 3. Theological 86 " 633,369 " 4. Scientific 75 " 283,992 "

Here we have two surprises. One is that lawyers, with their interminable "reports" falling from nearly every court in the country, and never becoming really obsolete (a peculiarity that hardly any other professional works enjoy), should have so few and such small libraries. The reason probably lies in the assiduity with which each lawyer collects the works needed in his line of practice. The other surprise is that a profession so old and active as that of medicine should be so poorly represented in books. The lawyers have an average of about 2,400 books in their libraries, and the largest collections in the list are that of the Law Institute in New York, 20,000 volumes; Harvard School, 15,000; Social Law Library, Boston, 13,000; and Law Association of San Francisco, 12,500. No other reaches 10,000 volumes, and in fact the above deductions leave the others with about 2,000 volumes each. The medical gentlemen are still worse off. There are in the Surgeon General's office 40,000 volumes; Philadelphia College of Physicians, 18,753; Pennsylvania College of Physicians, 12,500; and New York Hospital, 10,000; leaving an average of 1,300 volumes to each of the other institutions. In these figures we have an indication of the excellent work done by the Army Bureau at Washington. Its 40,000 bound volumes are supplemented by 40,000 pamphlets, making a collection which the profession greatly needed. The theologians seem to have attended as energetically to the collection as to the making of books. In the last division of this class belong the engineering, agricultural, mining, botanical, military, and naval schools and societies, and they appear to give considerable importance to their libraries. Though they are mostly young institutions, the average number of books is 3,800. In addition to the bound volumes mentioned above, the societies own 218,852 pamphlets and 2,169 manuscripts, the proportion of these two kinds of literary works being naturally large in scientific collections. The largest libraries are those of the Essex Institute, Salem, Mass., 30,655 volumes, and 105,408 pamphlets, and "many" MSS.; Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, 30,000 volumes and 35,000 pamphlets; Wagner Free Institution of Science, Philadelphia, 15,000 volumes; Museum of Comparative Zoölogy (Harvard), 13,000; Illinois Industrial University, 10,000; School of Mines, New York, 7,000; Sheffield Scientific School, 5,000.

_Historical societies_ have been much more actively employed in collecting than the table we have given indicates. Since the adoption of the Constitution in 1789 no less than one hundred and sixty societies have been formed, and Dr. Homes of the New York State Library reports their collections to aggregate more than 482,000 volumes and 568,000 pamphlets. The number of MSS. is 88,771, besides 1,361 bound volumes of them. The largest accumulations are:

_Volumes._ _Pamphlets._ _MSS._

Am. Antiq. Soc., Worcester 60,497

New York Historical 60,000 12,000 15,000

Wisconsin Historical 33,347 31,653 300

Long Island Historical 26,000 25,000

Massachusetts Historical 23,000 45,000 1,000 v.

Congregational Library, Boston 22,895 95,000 550

Connecticut Historical 16,000 20,000

Amer. Philosoph., Philadelphia 20,000 15,000 100 v.

German Society, Philadelphia 16,000

Pennsylvania Historical 16,000 30,000 25,000

It is among these societies that we find the largest average of any class, excepting the Government. Historical libraries contain about 8,400 bound volumes, 7,000 pamphlets, and 1,000 MSS. to each collection. In spite of this the public collections are often surpassed in completeness in special branches by private ones. In this country a public institution can rarely compete successfully with an eager and determined private buyer.

_Government_ libraries include others than those for the use of officials, as the following list shows:

_Libraries._ _Volumes._

1. Government 35 695,633 2. State and Territorial 47 834,219 3. Garrison 40 32,745

The official libraries are of several kinds, and as many of them are of prime importance, we may be permitted to specify them more minutely than those of any other class:


Library of Congress 300,000 " House of Representatives 125,000 " Surgeon General 40,000 " State Department 29,000 " Senate 25,000 " Patent Office 23,000 " War Department 13,000 " Attorney General 12,000 " Treasury 8,440 " Solicitor of Treasury 6,000 " Post Office 6,301 " Hydrographer's Office 7,000 " Dep't. Agriculture 7,000 " Bureau Statistics 6,000 " Naval Observatory 7,000 " Coast Survey 6,000

Many of these are scientific collections and the only large ones of their kind in the country. Their presence, in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution, has made Washington one of the most active scientific centres in the country. Government publications are sometimes referred to as mere trash, but aside from the remarkably thorough and admirable reports which the several public surveys have produced within a few years, and aside from such notable publications as the reports of Wilkes, Perry, and Kane, the ordinary issues of the Government printing office are anything but undeserving documents. They are in most cases necessary, useful, and interesting to some one. As special reports, made to cover some field that is narrow, however necessary it may be, and limited to that range by the law which authorizes them, they cannot possibly often be publications of general interest. In fact it is their extremely special character that gives them value. We are sometimes told that a government may be obliged to publish its State papers as matter of record, but it is noticeable that these volumes of documentary history are less inquired for than almost any others. The surveying, engineering, geological, astronomical, and other scientific reports published by the Government are in much greater request, and bring the highest prices in old bookstores. The explanation is, of course, that the scientific reports are useful to a larger class than the others. They appeal to "bread-winners" in several important professions, to students of pure science the world over, and to the already large and increasing body of teachers. For the "Smithsonian Contributions" one hundred and fifty dollars, or more than first cost, is demanded, and the first volume brings twenty dollars, or two and a half times its original price. The Mining Industry volume of the Fortieth Parallel Report brought forty dollars in the shops (whenever it could be found) even while the Engineer Corps was still gingerly distributing its limited edition _gratis_. Many more examples could be adduced, but these are sufficient to show that the Government does bring out works that are sorely wanted. We wish its method of distribution were better. At present the workers in a profession have great difficulty in obtaining the most needed publications of Government, while Congressmen, who are politicians and nothing else, are flooded with books they cannot understand, and only sneer at. The distribution of professional reports through members of Congress, who are not professional men, has never produced anything but dissatisfaction. There is no part of the country where Government publications can be found. Even New York city cannot produce them. This is all wrong. The Government should maintain a collection of all its publications in at least four States. They could be established either in connection with existing libraries or with the army headquarters that are maintained permanently in such places as New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Such documentary libraries would not be deserted, as some may suppose. The Patent Room of the Boston Public Library was visited last year by 1,765 persons, and a collection of the engineering, scientific, and official publications of the Government in New York would be a centre for professional study, and be visited by thousands yearly. To house the Government publications would require so much space that an ordinary library could hardly be expected to undertake the task without aid. The patent specifications alone of three countries, Great Britain, France, and the United States, with their increase for ten years to come, require an apartment at least thirty feet square.

_Proprietary_ public libraries are the second of the six kinds in size, and would be the first if the "miscellaneous" were counted among them, as they probably should be. Under this head we have grouped all public collections the access to which is in any way limited, as by a yearly payment, by membership in a society, or otherwise. The large total in the table is made up of:

_Number._ _Volumes._

1. College Society L. 299 474,642 2. Mercantile 15 543,930 3. Social 708 2,052,423 4. Y. M. Christian A. 87 157,557

In this class we first reach the libraries that deal directly with the "people"; that is, adults of moderate means. These collections have been well styled the "colleges of the poor," and in them all persons who are industrious enough to be able to spare a dollar or two yearly may obtain useful knowledge or innocent amusement. Classes for study of languages, literature, and the arts, and lectures by prominent persons are frequently added to the library system, the whole forming one of the most potent of modern social forces. It seems quite natural that this democratic system of intellectual improvement should owe its origin to the people's philosopher, Poor Richard. Benjamin Franklin founded the first proprietary library in Philadelphia, in 1731, and his plan included not merely coöperation for the sake of pecuniary strength, but also discussion and mutual improvement.

_Free_ public libraries are in character much like the last class, but are maintained usually by State or town grants, or by private gifts. It is probably in connection with these institutions that the dream of some enthusiasts for uniting art museums to the collections of books will be realized.

Only twelve States have a quarter of a million volumes in their public libraries, taken together. They are:

_Libraries._ _Volumes._

Massachusetts 454 2,208,304 New York 615 2,131,377 Pennsylvania 364 1,291,665 District of Columbia 63 761,133 Ohio 237 634,939 Illinois 177 463,826 Connecticut 121 414,396 Maryland 79 382,250 California 85 306,978 New Jersey 91 280,931 Missouri 85 260,102 Virginia 65 248,156

This order will, no doubt, rapidly and constantly change. It will be observed that in respect to number of libraries the succession is not the same as for the number of volumes. It can hardly be doubted that such States as Ohio, Illinois, California, and Missouri will advance up the line, while others that now do not possess a quarter of a million volumes, as Indiana, with 137 public libraries, Michigan, with 94, Iowa, with 80, Tennessee, with 74, and Kentucky, with 71, will soon be in the list. As a matter of State "rivalry," such summaries are valueless, even if any rivalry of the kind could be proved. But they do have some interest and value as social statistics.

More significant, perhaps, are the libraries of ten principal cities, in which one-quarter of all the books in the country within public reach are gathered:

_Libraries._ _Volumes._ _Pop'tion 1870._

New York 122 878,665 942,292 Boston 68 735,900 250,526 Philadelphia 101 706,447 674,022 Baltimore 38 237,934 53,180 Cincinnati 30 200,890 216,239 St. Louis 32 172,875 310,864 Brooklyn 21 165,192 396,099 San Francisco 28 162,716 149,473 Chicago 24 144,680 298,979 Charleston 6 26,600 48,956 --- --------- --------- 500 3,431,899 3,340,628

In these ten cities, therefore, are collected 7.3 per cent. of the public libraries, 28 per cent. of the books, and 8.66 per cent. of the population in this country. If Washington had been included instead of Charleston, the concentration of books in cities would have been more strikingly marked.

A proper conception of American libraries cannot be obtained without assorting them according to size, which is done in the following table:

_Number._ _Volumes_.

500- 1,000 Volumes 925 592,510 1,000- 2,000 " 762 983,953 2,000- 3,000 " 362 816,928 3,000- 4,000 " 236 765,010 4,000- 5,000 " 156 667,874 5,000- 10,000 " 264 1,703,271 10,000- 20,000 " 152 2,013,660 20,000- 50,000 " 82 2,329,305 50,000-100,000 " 10 640,617 100,000-200,000 " 7 926,727 Over 200,000 " 2 599,869

What is to be the future of American libraries? The most obvious discernible facts are that the popular energies are likely to be given to the support of free town libraries, and that the aggregate of book accumulations will be enormous, though no individual collection now presents the likelihood of rising to extreme proportions; the increase will come by the growth of the numerous small libraries. The mercantile institutions have done and are continuing a good work, but they have prepared the way for a step beyond. Free town libraries are quite in sympathy with American ideas, and will be supported. They are capable of being made good means of disseminating information. It is fortunate that in this country novels belong to the cheapest publications, most of the good ones appearing in fifty-cent and dollar editions. More solid works are also costlier, so that a popular library can with good reason give its energies to the collection of really good works, leaving the people to supply themselves with the cheaper novels.

Numerous as are the views which have been expressed upon the proper scope and quality of the library of the future, we propose to add one to the list of suggestions. It is that the next founder of a library should confine it entirely to _periodicals_. It is through current literature that every kind of science and every tendency of thought now finds expression. The profoundest discussions in philosophy, discoveries in knowledge, keenest studies of life and character, are now made through the world's weekly and monthly publications. Books are often no more than summaries of what has been printed before in separate magazines. We have in fact heard of one gentleman who broke up the library he had spent years in collecting, and gave his attention to periodicals, because they were the original sources of knowledge in his profession. The libraries which we have styled "professional" are compelled to spend large sums on these issues, which were once styled "ephemeral," but are now found to be of lasting value.

Under these circumstances, why not have a library of this periodical literature? Just as some men refuse to read translations, learning a new language if a book they need is printed in a tongue unknown to them, so let us reject summaries and accumulate original materials. As to the cost of such a library, the five thousand important periodicals which are said to be published will require probably $30,000 a year for their purchase, and if as much more is added for rent, binding, salaries, etc., we have an income required which demands a capital of more than a million dollars, to say nothing of half a million for back numbers!

Some readers may be curious to know what chance there is of making a collection that shall be fairly representative of the world's literature. We can safely answer, _none_. Herr Hottinger, who has issued the prospectus of a universal catalogue of all books published, thinks there are about three million titles, and his critics say this estimate is too low. Twenty-five thousand new works are said to be added each year to this number. Now the largest number of _volumes_ (and therefore a less number of titles) added to libraries in this country yearly, is: Boston Public Library, 18,000; Philadelphia Mercantile, 17,004; Congressional, 15,400; Chicago Public, 11,331; Cincinnati Public, 11,398; New York Mercantile, 8,000; and Harvard, 7,000. The numbers reported by the Mercantile and public libraries are of little value, since these institutions often buy a dozen or a score copies of a popular work. It is therefore evident that no library in this country is even attempting to keep up with the current issue of books.

It has been found impossible to estimate, with any degree of accuracy, the amount of money spent on new books by the libraries, as more than half of them fail to make any report on this point. Permanent funds, amounting to $6,105,581, are held by 358 libraries, and 1,364 have none; 1,960 make no report. The endowments are divided very unevenly among the classes, as this table shows:

_Number Reporting._ _Amount._

Educational 54 $775,801 Professional 54 695,610 Historical 26 742,572 Government none Proprietary Public 124 1,079,359 Free Public 93 2,804,964 Miscellaneous 7 7,275

This, however, does not show what is spent yearly in buying books, an item which only one in about twenty-three of the libraries report. The amount is $562,407, and at $1.25 per volume, which is Mr. Winsor's estimate of the average cost of books, the yearly acquisitions by purchase are limited to about 450,000 volumes.

Figures such as we have presented are really no guide to the worth of an individual library, or of a library system, to the people. That can be learned only by the comparison of experiences by the men who have charge of the books and their distribution, but the elements for such an analysis are wanting. The yearly use of books in 742 libraries in 1875 was 8,879,869 volumes, or from two to two and a half times the number of volumes on the shelves of the reporting libraries. Great differences exist in this respect. Few libraries are so eagerly sought as the military post library on Angel Island, California, which distributed its 772 books so often that its yearly circulation was 4,500! The Chicago Public Library, with 48,100 volumes, circulated 403,356; Boston Athenæum, with 105,000 volumes, circulated 33,000; Boston Public Library, with 299,869 volumes, circulated 758,493.

These statistics are sufficient. It is probable that the libraries of the country, costing say $16,000,000 for books, and spending more than $1,400,000 yearly, afford to the people the use of from twenty-four to thirty million volumes every year. It cannot be doubted that they form a very important factor in our social and national economy.

More than a thousand librarians are engaged in the conduct of the public libraries, many of them men of great ability and culture. There can be no doubt that their study of this important problem will result in the establishing of an intelligent and harmonious system of supplying a nation with the reading matter it requires.



There are few divisions in the Treasury department of the United States at Washington less known to the public, and more interesting to visitors, than that over the entrance to which is displayed the legend "National Bank Redemption Agency." It is a matter of the most common knowledge throughout the country, that the various forms of national currency and securities are by some process, popularly esteemed more or less miraculous, printed at the Treasury, and that greenbacks are by some method, presumably more within the laws of nature, redeemed there. The ordinary money-holder, who has in his pocket his tens or hundreds of legal tenders, is passably familiar with the history, past and to come, of each note. But to his national bank notes the average financier is more of a stranger. Each note, if he can read as well as reckon cash, tells him whence it cometh, but ten to one he has only the vaguest notion of whither it goeth. Hence it is that of the thousands of ejaculatory comments delivered, during the centennial summer and autumn, through the wire gate opposite to the second assortment teller's desk, at the agency, so many were of a nature tending to make that industrious clerk smile with amusement or stare in amazement.

The throngs of centennial visitors who daily passed through the halls of the Treasury saw various things at the agency to attract their notice. They saw their entrance barred by the gate above alluded to, put there for the double purpose of securing ventilation and excluding "the great unwashed"; they saw a small-sized room converted into a perfect labyrinth by means of wirework partitions; they saw in each of the apartments so set off hundreds of thousands, and even millions of dollars, in the various processes of handling in bulk, piled upon counters and tables, constructed evidently with a view to use rather than ornament; and they saw through the entrance to an adjoining room national bank notes of all denominations, passing with wonderful rapidity under the deft fingers of counters of both sexes. But what chiefly imposed upon the imagination of the country visitor were two massive safes, reaching from the floor to the ceiling. In the interests of truth, let a revelation be made to a public too prone to believe their eyes. Those safes, for at least the upper third of their ponderous height, are of inch pine boards. The crowded condition of the Treasury building renders space very valuable. A place of storage was needed for the various forms of stationery in use at the agency. The floor was already covered with desks, tables, and counters, the intricate passages between which would have defied the attempts of the Minotaur to escape; but there were at least a hundred cubic feet of space above each of the iron safes, absolutely going to waste. The genius of the officials and the skill of the departmental cabinet makers triumphed over the difficulties of the situation. As for the inconvenient height, is it not annihilated by a ladder?

By act of Congress, the Treasurer of the United States is constituted the agent of the national banks for the redemption of their notes. The agency, since July 1, 1875, is one of the divisions in his office. Regular provision is made by Congress in the appropriation bills for the salaries of the force of this division. Careful accounts are kept of every item of expense incurred during the year, and at the end of the twelvemonth the sum disbursed is apportioned among the banks according to the number of the notes of each that have been handled, and assessments are made for the several amounts. The circulation of national banks being redeemable in greenbacks, each bank is required by law to keep on deposit with the Treasurer legal tenders to the amount of five per cent. of its outstanding issue as a fund for the redemption of its notes.

The present law provides for ninety-eight clerks in the agency, ranging in grade from the messenger to the superintendent. Of this number, those employed in handling money are divided into two forces, under the direction, respectively, of the receiving teller and the assorting teller. The business of the former force is to receive the shipments coming from the various banks and sub-treasuries for redemption, count the money, and report the amounts for return remittances; that of the latter force is to assort the notes and prepare them for delivery to the Comptroller of the Currency for destruction or to the banks for reissue. This double process may seem at first sight very simple and easy; but in fact it is extremely complex and difficult; and the division in which it is carried on may fairly be counted among the most thoroughly organized and systematically conducted parts of all the machinery devised by the Government for the transaction of the manifold public business. And no wonder, when it is recollected that there are now in circulation nine denominations of national bank notes, the issue of twenty-three hundred and forty individual institutions, amounting in the aggregate to three hundred and twenty millions of dollars; and that every one of these notes, and every dollar of this total, must ultimately, by those ninety-eight clerks and their successors, be separated from the mass, and assigned, under the proper description, with unerring precision, each to the bank by which that particular unit of this vast volume was emitted and must be redeemed.

The bulk of the currency sent in for redemption comes through the Adams Express Company, who have a contract for making all shipments of money for the Government, and who for convenience have an office in the basement of the Treasury. The agency occupies four rooms on the main floor along the west wall, and one on the opposite side of the passage. Early visitors to that part of the building may have noticed a wooden box, much resembling a carpenter's tool chest, trundled along upon a cart by a porter, and followed by a man with a book under his arm. The box contains the day's delivery of national bank currency for redemption, ranging ordinarily from half a million to a million and a half of dollars, and the book contains a receipt for the amount, to be signed by the receiving clerk of the agency. The money comes in perhaps a hundred or as high as two hundred and fifty packages, from as many places throughout the country. On being opened these packages display a miscellaneous aggregation, of which the following items may be mentioned: Thousands of notes of all the denominations and all the banks, perhaps a little soiled, but perfectly sound, and for all the purposes of currency in as good a condition as when they left the printers' hands; a somewhat smaller bulk of others in every state of mutilation and uncleanliness; hundreds, clean, crisp, and unwrinkled, that have not been counted three times outside of the division of issues; scores torn, cut, ground, burned, charred, boiled, soaked, chewed, and digested, until a skilful eye is required to recognize that they have ever been intended for money; and scattered singly through this mass, counterfeits, stolen notes, "split" notes, "raised" notes, and now and then a stray greenback.

The packages, after an entry of them has been made on the books, are distributed singly among women counters, each of whom gives her receipt. A counter, upon receiving a package, takes it to her desk, breaks the seals, and first takes an inventory of the money to see whether the aggregate of the sums called for by the straps around the various parcels of notes corresponds with the amount claimed for the whole. Should she find a discrepancy, she makes a certificate of the difference for return to the sender. Next she proceeds to count the money, carefully keeping the notes and straps of each parcel separate. If she discovers an error of count, she notes upon the strap, over her initials and the date, the sum which she finds the package to be "over" or "short." Spurious or other notes, for any reason excluded by the rules, are thrown out, pinned to the straps in which they came, and returned. After finishing her count she makes a statement of the amounts of "overs," "shorts," counterfeits, and other rejected notes, and of the amount for the credit of the sender, and from this statement return remittance is made. The next duty of the counter is to assort the notes into the two classes of such as are unfit for circulation and such as are fit, and into the various denominations. When a hundred notes of one denomination and class are counted she surrounds them with a white strap, on which she pencils her initials and the date. Straps printed for full packages of a hundred notes of the different denominations are provided. Less than a hundred notes make a package of "odds." The "odds" arising from a day's count are delivered to "odd" counters, who mass them into full packages. Each counter, having finished this portion of her work, enters, in duplicate, upon a leaf of the blank book furnished her for this purpose, the various items into which she has divided her cash, and delivers this with the money to the teller. He takes an inventory of the amount by straps, and finding the counter's statement to be correct, tears off the half leaf on which the duplicate account is made, and signs the original as a receipt. After all the full packages resulting from the day's count have been delivered in this manner, the teller makes them up into bundles of ten, or one thousand notes, keeping each denomination and class separate, and in this shape, on the evening of the day on which the money was received, they are ready for delivery to the assorting teller's room. Here the amount is inventoried and receipted for, and the money is locked up for the night in the iron portion of one of those wonder-waking safes.

None but the most experienced and skilful counters are employed in this first process, the responsibility both to the Government and the employee being too great to be imposed upon any but experts. It will readily be seen not only that correctness of count is of vital importance, but also that the knowledge and skill necessary to detect irredeemable notes are indispensable. A counter, when she puts her initials upon a package of notes, assumes the responsibility for the correctness of the amount as shown upon the strap; and any differences, if against her, will be made good at the end of the month out of her salary. The degree of accuracy reached by the present force is surprising considering the bulk of money handled daily. Counterfeits which, like the fives on the Traders' National Bank of Chicago, the Hampden of Westfield, Massachusetts, and the Merchants' of New Bedford, Massachusetts, have passed current all over the country, and become so worn that some unsuspecting village banker thinks proper to have them redeemed, are laid aside without a second glance. All the tricks practised by operators in "queer" are discovered instantly.

Among the means known to these gentry for expanding illegally the value of genuine currency, that most frequently resorted to is known as "splitting." Nine notes, for example, of a single denomination, are taken, and of the first one-tenth is cut off from the upper portion with a sharp knife by a line parallel to the margin. From the second two-tenths are cut, and so on, the divisions being made successively lower by tenths of the width, until from the last note the lower tenth is cut. The upper portion of the first note is then joined, by pasting, to the lower portion of the second, the upper portion of the second to the lower portion of the third, and this plan being carried out with all the others, the result is the production of ten notes, each of which lacks one-tenth of its face, but which will pass with little question, among the inexperienced, at full value. The original notes being, however, very likely of different banks in several States, one effect of this operation, in the cases where the lines of division pass through the titles, is the creation of banks not found on the lists of the Treasury. When a note of this composition is presented for redemption the joined portions are separated, and being genuine are treated as parts of notes, and redeemed accordingly. The rules of the department applying to national bank currency are that notes lacking less than two-fifths are redeemed at their face. When more than two-fifths are missing the amount allowed for is proportionally reduced. The only exception to this rule is in cases where there is satisfactory evidence that the missing portion has been destroyed and can never be presented for redemption.

Another trick of counterfeiters is that of "raising." The original numerals and letters denoting the value of the note are carefully scraped off with a sharp instrument. By this means the paper is made thin, and over the places are pasted the figures and words of a higher denomination, often so neatly as to defy detection except on critical examination. Fives are in this way often converted into fifties, and ones into hundreds. Of course the alteration will readily be discovered by any one in the habit of handling money. Such notes are redeemed at the original face value.

But of all irredeemable notes those which appeal most strongly to the ill feelings of counters are of the description known as "stolen." Readers of newspapers will doubtless recollect accounts of a heavy robbery perpetrated not many months ago upon the Northampton National Bank of Northampton, Massachusetts. Among the booty there secured by the burglars were one hundred and forty-five new five-dollar notes, of the issue of that bank, unsigned, which had never been paid over the counter. The cashier had taken the precaution to make a memorandum of the numbers printed on the faces, and was therefore enabled to describe each note as he would his watch taken from his fob by a pickpocket. Notice was given to the department, and though the notes came in shortly after by the dozen, it is safe to say that not one has been charged to the account of the bank. The notes are perfectly genuine, excepting the signatures; the most skilful expert would hardly discover anything suspicious in their appearance; the only irregularity connected with them is the way they were put in circulation. The fact of their existence renders necessary to every counter who would secure herself against loss an examination of the numbers printed on every five-dollar note of that bank passing through her hands; for the bank, never having issued those stolen, cannot be made to redeem them. Other banks have currency in circulation upon a similar basis, the number of notes varying in different instances from one upward. Occasionally a straggler of this description makes its way some distance into the agency, but it is sure to be detected sooner or later by some of the many vigilant eyes under which it must pass--eyes perhaps made all the more vigilant by costly experience of the consequences of carelessness. Such notes when discovered to have been redeemed become the property, in exchange for a like amount in greenbacks, of the person last concerned in their redemption.

It has been seen that the greater portion of the currency received is fit for circulation. Out of an aggregate of $176,121,855, assorted during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1876, $97,478,700 was of this description, and was returned to the banks for reissue. Originally it was the expectation that none but worn and mutilated notes would be offered for redemption, and for a long while all redeemed currency, in whatever condition, was destroyed, and new issued instead. But the proportion of sound notes became at length so great that the new plan was adopted as an evident measure of economy, and now no piece of paper money is withdrawn from circulation until worn out, unless at the desire of the bank. Many financial institutions within easy reach of the capital make a custom of forwarding for redemption all their receipts of currency for the day, getting in return new notes just from the printers. This method is pursued as an accommodation to the business public, who prefer clean and crisp notes; and while a day's deposits of any large bank must include much currency perhaps just out of the Treasury, the whole bulk is often shipped off to avoid the labor of assorting. Besides, remittances for redeemed notes of national banks being made, if desired, in greenbacks, the agency furnishes a convenient means to city banks for keeping up their legal tender reserves. Under the effect of heavy redemptions the condition of the currency of the country is constantly improving, and the proportion of "fit" notes received at the agency is gradually increasing.

The next process which the redeemed currency undergoes is that of assorting, and is carried on in a large room extending through about one-fourth of the length of the building. Along the walls, on both sides of an aisle, are arranged three rows of assorters' tills, by means of which the labor is carried on. These tills are rectangular in shape, and are divided into fifty-two compartments or "boxes," in four rows of thirteen each. These boxes are four inches in depth, and a little larger in length and width than the surface of a note. The tills are mounted at an inclined angle upon stands, very much like a printer's case. At one end, attached by a hinged support, is a small table at which the assorter, seated upon a stool, does his counting and writing, and which, when not needed for this purpose, is swung underneath the till. A woven-wire folding screen is fastened to the upper portion of the stand, and may be locked down over the boxes, or thrown back out of the way. Padlocks of improved construction are part of the equipment, no two keys being interchangeable. Below the till is a shelf of the width of the stand, for the convenience to the assorter next in front. Each till is supplied with a blank book in duplicate forms for the assorter's accounts, an array of different colored printed straps, a box of bank pins, and all the appliances necessary for handling money with ease and rapidity.

For convenience in assorting, the twenty-three hundred and forty banks are arranged alphabetically, according to the name of their location, into forty-four groups, which are distinguished numerically, there being from forty to upward of sixty banks in each group. The operation of assorting notes into these groups is known as the first assortment; that of assorting the notes of the groups by individual banks, as the second assortment. The bundles of redeemed currency, having been passed to the assorting room, are delivered to the first assortment teller, who distributes them among the twelve or fifteen first assorters, taking receipts. Each of these persons carries his money to his till, and after making an inventory by straps, proceeds to count the notes. He unpins a package and lays the strap flat on the table before him. If the contents of that package are found to be correct, he lays the money upon the strap. The next strap is laid on top of this pile, and so on. By this method the several packages are kept distinct, and if he afterward finds an irredeemable note in his money, he may know from whom it comes. All errors discovered, not only in this process, but in all others, are required to be reported immediately. Should a package be found "over," the assorter makes a memorandum, over his initials and the date, upon the strap, and returns this with the superfluous note to the teller. The note is put in the "cash till" to the credit of the counter whose signature is on the strap. "Short" packages are returned for verification to the counter, and the deficiency is made good out of the "cash till" and charged to the counter. Spurious and stolen notes are in like manner exchanged for genuine. An account is kept of all the "overs," "shorts," etc., of each person, and on pay day the clerk who has a preponderance against him will find in the envelope enclosing his month's salary the superintendent's certificate of the balance "short," and any counterfeit or stolen notes found in his straps, reckoned as so much legal tender. This system is rigidly enforced not only in the agency, but throughout the department. It seems hard that the penalty of accident or inexperience should be so summary; but no other means has yet been devised to secure the Treasury from loss. And after all, the rule is the same as that enforced in some manner in the outside world of business, where every one must trust to his own knowledge and skill for security against loss.

The first assorter having satisfied himself that his money is correct in amount and passible in character, next proceeds to assort the notes. He rises from his stool, swings his table out of the way, folds back the cover of his till, takes up a package and deposits the notes one by one in the box whose number corresponds to that of the group to which they severally belong. We will say that long practice has made him familiar not only with the scheme of the assortment, so that he need not refer to the printed lists, but also with the face of the notes of every bank in the country, and that the briefest glance is all that he requires to recognize a note and determine where it belongs. The rapidity of some of these assorters is remarkable, being limited only by the rate at which it is possible to move the hand over the rather large area of a till. Much, however, depends on the natural aptitudes of the person. Many who have had no previous experience in handling money never become expert. They are tried for six months or a year, and then dismissed as incompetent. Even those by nature well qualified may hope to attain moderate rapidity only after months of persevering effort.

The manipulations of the beginner often cause much merriment among the older employees. He has too many fingers, or too few, to fix a secure grasp upon the "bills." He seizes a note with one or both hands, and stretching it before him proceeds to read over the face. Then he resolves himself into a committee of the whole on the state of his till, to consider where the note is to be put. He refers from the note to the printed schedule before him, and from the schedule to the note again, hunts from one side of his till to the other for the box he wants, but is now uncertain of the number, and recurs once more to the note and the schedule. At length he cautiously deposits the money in a box. Presently, after going through this process once or twice more, he is convinced that he has been wrong. He institutes search throughout his till to find his note again, and at last this cause of all his perplexity settles in a box not to be again disturbed until that remote hour of the day when he shall be ready to "count out." In the evening, when he is expected to "turn in" his cash, he finds himself from one to eighty or a hundred notes "over" or "short." His knuckles are more or less raw from collision with the partitions of his till, his face is flushed, and his hand trembles. In high excitement, seeing himself waited for, he takes up a package which he put up for a hundred notes, but which in his opinion may possibly contain a hundred and eleven or only ninety-nine. He counts it through with an attempt at aptness, and as he lays down the last note he whispers "fifty-five." In the end two or three experts are set to help him, and in a few moments the inconsiderable number of notes which formed his chaos are reduced to order. In the later experience of the agency, however, instances of this extreme bewilderment are rare. Every consideration is shown the beginner, and the perfect organization of the office enables him to be led up by the slowest and easiest gradations to the more difficult labor. Besides, in appointments, which latterly are of infrequent occurrence, a decided preference is given to bank clerks and others whose previous training serves in some sort as an education.

When a clerk has finished assorting his cash, he next proceeds to count out the contents of each box, putting up the notes in packages of even hundreds of dollars, and pinning round them yellow straps, if he has unfit money, and pink if fit. On the strap of each package he writes in pencil the amount, the group number, his initials, and the date. The notes of all the groups in excess of even hundreds of dollars are thrown together and finally counted and put up as "odds." This process complete, the full packages are done up, by means of cardboards and rubber bands, into bundles of a thousand notes each. The aggregate being found to correspond with the sum received in the morning, the assorter enters on his book in duplicate the amount of full packages and of "odds," and delivers his cash with the book to the first assortment teller. That clerk makes an inventory of the money by straps, and finding it to agree with the book, tears off the duplicate entry to guide him in his own accounts, and puts his initials to the original as a receipt to the assorter. When all the money put in the hands of the assorters has been returned in this manner, the total cash is balanced and locked up until next day. The "odds" arising from the day's work are kept separate for redistribution among the assorters on the following morning.

An expert will handle ten thousand notes between the hours of nine and three, in the manner here described--no light task, for besides the labor of assorting, every note must be counted twice. Persons of both sexes are employed at this work, but the physical endurance required makes it too heavy for women of weak frame.

It will be understood that after passing through the first assorters' hands the notes are in two lots of "fit" and "unfit," each lot being in bundles of one thousand notes of one denomination, and each bundle composed of packages of notes of single groups. The next operation is to mass all the packages of all denominations composing the day's assortment by groups. This is done by the first assortment teller, who distributes the packages on a low table, according to the marks of the assorters, and straps the packages of each group into a bundle on which he marks the number of the group and the amount. The distinctions of "fit" and "unfit" are still maintained. There are then forty-four bundles of "fit" notes and a like number of "unfit," each bundle containing all denominations of notes of the banks composing a single group. In this shape the money is on the day following put in the vault of the agency. This receptacle is a room whose massive iron walls would not be likely to tempt burglars even in the most inviting surroundings. It is situated in the basement of the north wing of the Treasury. The ponderous double doors are secured by two combination locks of the most approved construction, one of which is set and can be opened only by the superintendent and the chief bookkeeper, and the other only by the assorting teller and his assistant. There is, besides, on the outer door a chronometer lock which would defy the efforts of all those officials together, and of all other persons whatsoever until the appointed hour when the vault is to be opened in the ordinary course of business. Along the interior of the walls are compartments in which are stored redeemed notes, those of each group by themselves, until they shall be removed for assortment by individual banks. The vault usually contains about ten millions of dollars. The money which we have followed thus far is packed into a cart and hauled into this place, where it is deposited group by group with the rest.

It is customary to assort the currency of from one to four groups by banks each day. Let us follow rapidly one of these groups through the remainder of the processes. The money of a group accumulated from day to day in the vault is in the morning transported to the assorting room, where it is delivered to the second assortment teller. By him the bundles are opened, the inventory verified, and the packages separated by denominations, reference being had in this process to the upper note of each package. The packages of each denomination are then strapped together by means of cardboards and rubber bands, and the group number, the denomination, and the amount marked upon each bundle. Next morning the money is delivered in this shape to the second assorters.

It will be understood that each of these persons thus receives notes of a single denomination issued by from forty to sixty banks. The second assorter first counts his money to be sure of the amount, and then assorts the notes into his till in the manner already described, putting, however, only the notes of one bank into a box. For his guidance each assorter is provided with a printed list of the banks composing his group, the number of the box assigned to each being set opposite to the title. For convenience of handling about the tills, these lists are mounted upon thick cardboards. The existence of stolen notes or counterfeits on a bank is noted upon these lists, and special directions for assortment are conveyed in the same manner. When a bank is in liquidation or is withdrawing part of its circulation, an "I," denoting "inactive," is set opposite the title. The notes of such banks are thrown together into box 52, and from this circumstance are known in the nomenclature of the office as "52's." These are counted together and put up in packages by means of orange-colored straps, properly marked for delivery, through a regular channel, to another division of the Treasurer's office, where the money is assorted and destroyed and the amount retired from circulation. At present more than half the banks of some groups are on the inactive list, and notwithstanding the clamor from the West for more paper currency, that part of the country is in the lead in the contraction which is rapidly going on. Of the Chicago banks, the notes of all but three have been ordered to be destroyed and withdrawn as they are redeemed, and in St. Louis and St. Paul only a few banks remain on the active list. Of the eastern cities, New York alone is pursuing the same line of policy to any considerable extent, more than half the banks there being either liquidating or reducing their circulation. The motives which induce this step in the case of solvent and unembarrassed institutions are diverse; but the effect is always the same. The amount of currency retired in this manner ranges ordinarily from twenty thousand to a hundred thousand dollars a day.

The labor of assorting finished, the clerk's next duty is to count up the money of each bank. In doing this he examines each note to be sure that they all bear the same title. In some groups great care is required to ensure correctness in this process. For instance, a clerk will tell you that there are Springfield banks in every State in the Union. He exaggerates a little, but group 38 is nevertheless the _bête noir_ of the assorting room. In the second assortment, as in the first, even hundreds of dollars make a full package. Notes of active banks are pinned up, the "fit" in blue straps and the "unfit" in green, each package marked with the group number, the bank number, the amount, the assorter's signature, and the date. Notes wrongly grouped are thrown together and put up in white straps, for return next day to the first assorter. "Odds" are enveloped in yellow or pink straps, accordingly as they are "unfit" or "fit," and are ultimately put in the vault until the group is next brought up for assortment. When the contents of a till have all been counted out, the assorter's cash is in the four items of full packages of notes of active banks, "52's," "errors" of first assortment, and "odds." The money of each of these items is strapped up in a bundle properly marked, and the amounts entered in the book. Delivery is made to the second assortment teller in a manner similar to that already described.

Of course, in a room where one or two millions of dollars are handled daily, rigid discipline is required to prevent loss through carelessness or peculation. A clerk on leaving his till must lock up his money. No assorter is allowed to leave the room during business hours except on a pass, to be taken up by the doorkeeper. This is obtained from the superintendent of assorters, who, before issuing it, examines the till of the applicant to see that everything is in shape. Slips of paper, perforated by a punch, are the sops which placate the Cerberus of the agency. Each assorter is provided with a card on which are printed two sets of numbers, from one to thirty-one, and a certificate that the holder's cash was properly balanced and his till in order at the close of business on the day of the month last punched. On this card the teller, after examining the assorter's money, makes one punch, and the superintendent of assorters another, after a minute inspection of the till and its surroundings. Thus the assorter receives the only passport on which he may leave the office for the day. In the afternoon, when all the money handled has been deposited in the safes, the superintendent of the agency makes a tour of all the rooms. The safes are then closed, and finally the Treasurer tries all the locks.

The work of the second assortment is by most clerks pretty easily learned, and upon this beginners are usually placed. The mechanical difficulties are, however, the same as those already noticed in connection with the first assortment; and speed can be acquired only by long and diligent practice. The agency offers few attractive positions to a clerk, whatever his grade. Currency long in circulation becomes so mutilated as to be difficult to handle. It is soiled and dusty, and often emits the most disgusting smells. One memorable shipment of several millions from San Francisco still lingers in the recollection of the unfortunate clerks, who spit and sneezed over the filthy mass. The notes were begrimed with every soil of the Pacific slope, and made odorous by association with every species of vice and uncleanliness to which human flesh is subject. The labor of the assorter and counter, even at the best, is severe and unpleasant; while from motives of economy the task is heaped up to the maximum and the pay cut down to the minimum.

The next process after assortment is to "make up" all the packages of all denominations into bundles, each containing only notes of a single bank. For this purpose the currency of active banks is delivered from the assorters through the teller to a "maker-up" who takes an inventory. Next day he assorts the packages of a group in a till similar to those already described, except that it is laid flat upon a low counter. Then he takes the contents of a box, ascertains, by examining the upper note of each package, that the money is all the issue of a single bank, and writes in ink upon a blank label the title of the bank, the amount of each denomination, and the total of all, signs and dates this, and straps it upon the bundle. Having emptied all the boxes of his till in this manner, he prepares a list of the amount of each bank's money made up, and verifies his work by comparing the footing with the total charged to him on the previous evening. This list is delivered to the bookkeepers, and upon it the accounts of the agency are based. From motives of saving in express charges, when the total of a bank's currency in the till is less than five hundred dollars, the money is not made up, but thrown aside as "odds," together with all excess over even thousands of dollars, when such excess is less than five hundred. These "odds" are returned, after account, to the vault. The work of making up employs from two to four persons constantly. Absolute correctness is of high importance, and great painstaking is required. Even a moment's relaxation of attention is likely to produce an error which, if not discovered, would involve the misplacement of hundreds or thousands of dollars. Fortunately, the system of checks and proofs is so thorough that all errors are discovered unfailingly, and the consequences confined to the agency. The different colored straps noticed in use for packages are but one feature of a general scheme by which currency in the office is made to indicate, at a glance, its description, proper place, and future course. The possibility of error or confusion in large amounts is thus reduced to the last degree. And minute precautions will hardly be deemed superfluous, when it is considered that all the processes described in this article are going on simultaneously every day at the heaped-up tills and counters.

On leaving the hands of the maker-up, the money is taken to the proving-room. Here the bundles are distributed among a force of women, who recount all the notes for the purpose of verifying the amount, the description, and the assortment. If, among the notes of a bank, is found one of another, the estray is exchanged, through the superintendent of assorters, for a note of the proper description. The prover, having ascertained that her money is correct according to the accompanying label, puts her initials to the latter, as well as upon each package of notes, wraps and ties the bundle, and carries it to a table, where, in her presence, the knots are sealed. First, however, the unfit notes are cancelled by removing a triangular piece from each of the lower corners. This is done by means of a knife, which is moved by hand with a lever, which easily cuts through two hundred notes at a time. The sealed packages are then put in the hands of the delivery clerk. At his counter the fit parcels are enveloped in a stout outside wrapper and directed to the various banks whose notes are contained in each. In this shape these parcels are taken to the office of the Adams Express Company for shipment. The unfit notes are delivered to the Comptroller of the Currency, by whose clerks they are again counted. When there is no longer any possibility of incorrectness either in the amount or the description, orders are made out for the issue of new currency, and the redeemed notes are carried to the basement of the Treasury, where they are put in a machine and reduced to pulp. This product is sold to paper makers, who, in consideration of its quality, are willing to buy it at a good price. There is a possibility, therefore, that the banker who several months ago forwarded his shipment of currency for redemption, may have the substance of his note return to him in these pages, bearing this account of the experiences of the journey.



I was wandering through the Uffizi gallery in Florence one day, with my guide-book open in my hand, when I met the subjects of this story. They were by a large window, nine of them, framed in a little gilt frame a foot or so square. I looked at them, and then, by force of habit, I looked at the guide-book. "Portraits of nine unknown persons," it said. I went nearer and looked at them again, and after that I saw the guide-book no more. They were not portraits or unknown persons, but nine new friends who told me the story of their lives as I stood by the window gazing.

There were eight brothers of them, of a noble family, and dwelling in happy Tuscany. They lived in the country. Their mother was dead--died when Barnaba first opened his wondering eyes at her. Their father was a student, and loved his boys, and his books, and nature, and determined to keep them all together. "If we live in town," he said, "I can't do this; I am not very rich, so I will remain in my country home, and my boys and I will have a life of our own." Such a merry, merry life as the boys had together. Everything was turned to play for them, even their studies. Their principal delight was acting, and in their little plays, queer compounds of Grecian dramas and childish dreams, each one had his regular part. It was Pietro who was always the main figure, made the grandest speeches, and prayed the longest prayers--for they had religious dramas sometimes--and strutted around the most. They made Giuseppe their hero for all that, carried him in on their shoulders from battle, and crowned him with laurel at the end of the fourth act regularly. Domenico played the scholar: he had so grave an air, so learned a mien. Guido was the soldier boy. Let him but throw his cap on his wavy hair, or toss his coat over his shoulder and strut upon the mimic stage, and you would have sworn he was armed to the teeth, and that you could hear the click of his spurs.

How Barnaba loved Guido! How he would twirl his long hair over his finger secretly, hoping 'twould wave, and try to strut in on the stage heroically too. But he was sure to blunder a bit, poor Barnaba. He was the youngest, you see, and had poor parts given him that he didn't suit. He was not meant for a page, and sometimes, while Pietro would strut around and puff and declaim, little Barnaba was clenching his nervous hands tightly behind him, and longing that he might speak out like a man too. But no one ever dreamed that the stiff little page, with the long hair and the wondering eyes, had any wishes other than to make a good page. For Barnaba had a firm mouth, spite of the tremble at the corners, and it was always readier to shut than to open.

The other three boys, Luigi, Leonardo, and Leone, were good boys and happy boys, but they were by nature "the populace." They were always ready to come in on the stage as "the excited crowd" or "the hooting rabble." They threw up their hats and cried, "Si, si" splendidly, but then they would cry, "Nò, nò" just as well if it was their part to do so. So you can see they made a capital populace. Very near them, in a beautiful villa, there lived for a while in the summer time, once a little girl. Henrighetta she was called by her friends, but the boys' father bade them call her la signorina, "because," said he, "it is well to respect women." "But Henrighetta is only a little girl," said Barnaba. "Pshaw, she'll be a woman some day," laughed Guido, and twirled on his toes, "and I'll be a man." And he pulled away at some very make-believe moustaches, and raised his eyebrows until even his grave father laughed. For at this time Guido was only eleven and Barnaba seven. Pietro, the eldest--he was seventeen--very aged indeed, the lads thought. So Henrighetta became their playmate.

Shortly before she left the villa they had a great play. It was the best they had ever had. There was a prologue and an epilogue, written and spoken by Pietro, and ever so much shouting, and a very bloody scene in which Guido rescued Henrighetta from the ruffians, who were being led by a traitor page (Barnaba, of course) to kill her for her jewels. "Luigi," said Barnaba, "I hate to be mean, even in a play. I wish you would be the page and let me be a ruffian." Then Luigi laughed hard, and told his brothers. And they said, "Fancy Barnaba a ruffian," and laughed until poor Barnaba looked sadder than ever. "Oh, you'll make a real good page, and you know you have to kiss Henrighetta's long dress," said Guido, as he whittled a little gun. "So I will," said Barnaba, and was quite happy.

Now, really Henrighetta was a good deal like other girls, not very pretty or very wise, but fresh and happy. But with the eight boys she was a queen indeed--dared even to speak threateningly to Pietro, though she was but ten years old, and stamped her foot one day at Guido. Oh, how vexed he was! Yet she was always kind to Barnaba, and on the night of the play bade him kiss her hand instead of her dress, if he wished. It was very inappropriate, but Barnaba thought it angelic, and imprinted just the most serious and tender kiss on Henrighetta's chubby fingers at the moment when Guido carried her off from her terrible fate. They had quite an audience that night. Henrighetta's friends were many, and they all said how beautifully she looked when she was married to Guido at the close of the play, as she was, of course, with Pietro for a cardinal and Barnaba as page, to hold up my lady's train.

Well, the boys grew up, and though they wandered off to see the world and study, they found their way home often and often. Barnaba alone stayed there all the while. He grew of use to his father in writing, became his private secretary, and seemed to be as much a part of the home as the olive grove near by, or the long, shaded walks he loved so well. Barnaba's hair was as straight as ever, and his white collar grew crumpled sooner than it ought, and he looked as if he belonged somewhere else. Observing people wondered sometimes, but only a little, and Barnaba's brothers would have told you he was a shy, good boy, and his father would have said the same, and I dare say Barnaba himself might have replied a little in like manner, had he replied at all. But Barnaba did not talk much. He read, and dreamed, and walked in the woods. Sometimes at evening he would take off his cap, and the wind would blow his hair, and a light would burn in his eyes, and you would have thought, "Barnaba will do something surely." But he never did.

It was in the summer time, twelve years later than the play time, that Henrighetta came again to the villa. It was a little dull for her, for all the boys were away from home but Giuseppe and Barnaba. Giuseppe was older and angelic. He went to see the poor, and he had written a beautiful book about the Cross, and he slept in a little room on a hard bed, and said his prayers a great deal. His brothers would cross themselves often in speaking of him. "Giuseppe is a holy man," they would say. There was a verse in Giuseppe's book that Barnaba loved. He said it often to himself. It was this: "There is a road, and the name of it is Patience; the flowers that grow by it are few, but they are very sweet; and if you pluck them and weave them into a crown, the fragrance shall last for ever."

Barnaba was in the woods one day, saying these words softly to himself, when the lady Henrighetta approached. She was dressed all in white, and Barnaba thought her very beautiful and proud. Yet she spoke so sweetly to him. "Are you not my old friend Barnaba?" she asked. Had he been patient, and had he plucked one of the rare sweet flowers? It seemed so, truly. She spoke so sweetly, and she smiled at him, and she seated herself by him. "I am going to make a wreath for myself," she said, "while my father talks to your brother near by, and you shall get me flowers and tell me about your brothers--where you all are and what you are doing." Such dainty commands! How Barnaba flew for the flowers! How oddly he looked with his long hair flowing, and his eager hands clutching up the sweetest herbs, and grasses, and blossoms, all for her. "May I make your wreath?" he said, for Barnaba knew well what flowers loved each other.

What a happy Barnaba! How the sun shone, and the trees whispered that day, and how she talked to him, told him of all the years, of her travels, for she had seen much, and he sat and listened, and wove the flowers together, and watched her white hands and her full, soft throat. And after the lady Henrighetta talked she sang a little. It was such a fair day, so dreamy, and shady, and restful. She sang scraps of old Italian songs. When Barnaba had finished the wreath he handed it to her to place upon her head. "What shall I give you for this?" she said, and held out her hand. It was only a moment, yet it was a long enough moment to have placed a kiss upon it, and Barnaba was a man, and Barnaba longed to do it, but did he dare? While he wondered Giuseppe and her father joined them, and they all walked home to Henrighetta's together, talking of the olden times. Then they bade her good-by. She lingered at the doorway to watch them go. Barnaba looked back once and saw her standing there, all in white, with the wreath he had made crowning her dark hair. "And the fragrance shall last for ever," he whispered so softly that Giuseppe did not hear.

The next day Guido came home. He was a real soldier now, with spurs and a jaunty cloak, and such a twinkle in his eye and swing in his walk and laugh in his voice that you longed to see him enter the room, and wished for him to speak--not that he said so much, but he said it so well. The quiet home was always changed when Guido arrived. Merry songs were heard all over the house, horns, and racings, and laughter. And this time Guido was more than ever gay. He and the lady Henrighetta grew to be great friends. They would ride and walk, and although there were always people with them, they seemed to talk for each other all the time, and to smile for each other all the time. Every one saw it and smiled too--every one but Barnaba. He was very busy during this while with his father, correcting proofs for a new book on archæology.

It was not until twelve long days had gone by that he again saw the lady Henrighetta. Then he went over one evening to her father's villa, "where we are to have some plays as we used to do," said Guido. Barnaba's heart beat hard, and he longed to see the lady Henrighetta again. She was getting ready for the play. "Barnaba, you are to be page, please," said Guido, "and hold my lady's train." So Barnaba was page, and the play began. There were many strange faces and voices in it, and it was a studied play, each part learned by rote. It did not seem like old times at all. Barnaba began to feel very far away, when suddenly he was called to where the lady Henrighetta was, and bidden to follow her as her page. She greeted him kindly. "All you have to do is to stand by my side," she said. To stand by her side! And then the curtain rose again, and the lady Henrighetta, clad in regal robes, sailed forward, and Barnaba, clad as a page, followed her meekly and stood at her side.

What a little hum there was when she appeared! and when Guido strode rapidly in toward her and pressed her passionately, how the applause rang! It was an intense scene, and Guido seemed intensely in earnest. "How well he plays," thought Barnaba. Then, as Guido looked at Henrighetta and Henrighetta really blushed a little and dropped her eyelids, Barnaba's soul rose. It was a strong soul; it was a man's soul; and it was in a white heat of rage now. If he, the page, had but a sword to kill him, the lover! Just then he heard a little whisper which the others did not hear. It was too low. Guido had said, not "Leonora, mia cara," as the play said, but "Henrighetta, mia cara." There was a sudden movement on the stage. It was the page who had turned quickly, frantically. He had nearly reached the door when he turned again and came back, white but firm, with a strange smile on his lip, and resumed his place. Guido swore. The pretty tableau was spoiled. I am afraid even my lady sighed softly, but Barnaba did not know that. She had told him to stand by her side, and her command must be obeyed.

The scene over, however, Barnaba rushed from the house, out into the fresh air. He turned and gazed back through the window. There they stood together, side by side, smiling, happy, Guido and Henrighetta, and here was poor Barnaba, still in the trappings of livery, with his heart all torn in his hands. Out in the darkness he dropped his head toward the earth. Giuseppe saw the face, and came toward him. "What is it, brother?" asked he softly. "What have you lost?" Barnaba looked up at him. His brave, firm lips trembled once. "My life," he said; "I have lost my life." There was a silence. "He that loseth his life shall find it," said Giuseppe. "These are the words of the Lord." And the two brothers crossed themselves and walked homeward together in silence.

It was six months after, at the time of the wedding, that the portrait was painted. Giuseppe is in the centre. The brothers all said 'twas his place. Pietro has his cowl over his head, you see, but he is fat and hearty for all that. Domenico leans on a book, as ever, and the populace smile pleasantly and in a well-bred manner. Guido and his wife are side by side--the daring, jaunty, happy man and his high-born, full-throated, soft-eyed wife. And where is Barnaba? Just over her. Below her, even in the picture, he should have been, he thinks, and beside her, never, but once, in a play. Dear, poor, brave Barnaba! He has changed in the six months. His collar is as twisted, his hair as long and straight, and his eyes as full of wonder; but there are two new turns to his lips--smiling turns. "I've lost," they seem to say, "and I might have won. Life has treated me poorly, but I owe her no grudge. Guido and his wife have gone away. Giuseppe is visiting the poor. Pietro is at his priestly work--what is it? The others are back in their lives." Barnaba walks in the grove alone, and repeats to himself: "There is a road, and the name of it is Patience. The flowers that grow by it are few, but they are very sweet; and if you pluck them and weave them into a crown, the fragrance shall last forever." And Barnaba smiles.



Yonder in empty dark Wanders, somewhere, a wasted sun, whose light, Erst breathed abroad with life-creating spark, Made hanging gardens of the circling night.

Through Time's dark emptiness Some soul, that genius lit, goes, withered, wan, Its flame to blackness fallen, purposeless-- The dead star wanders with the fire-spent man!



A person taking up his residence in a foreign city is apt, I think, to become something of a playgoer. In the first place he is usually more or less isolated, and in the absence of complex social ties the theatres help him to pass his evenings. But more than this, they offer him a good deal of interesting evidence upon the manners and customs of the people among whom he has come to dwell. They testify to the civilization around him, and throw a great deal of light upon the ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving of the community. If this exotic spectator to whom I allude is a person of a really attentive observation, he may extract such evidence in very large quantities. It is furnished not by the stage alone, but by the _theatre_ in a larger sense of the word: by the audience, the attendants, the arrangements, the very process of getting to the playhouse. The English stage of to-day, of which I more particularly speak, certainly holds the mirror as little as possible up to nature--to any nature, at least, usually recognized in the British islands. Nine-tenths of the plays performed upon it are French originals, subjected to the mysterious process of "adaptation"; marred as French pieces and certainly not mended as English; transplanted from the Gothic soil into a chill and neutral region where they bloom hardly longer than a handful of cut flowers stuck into moist sand. They cease to have any representative value as regards French manners, and they acquire none as regards English; they belong to an order of things which has not even the merit of being "conventional," but in which barbarism, chaos, and crudity hold undisputed sway. The English drama of the last century deserved the praise, in default of any higher, of being "conventional"; for there was at least a certain method in its madness; it had its own ideal, its own foolish logic and consistency. But he would be wise who should be able to indicate the ideal, artistic and intellectual, of the English drama of today. It is violently and hopelessly irresponsible. When one says "English drama" one uses the term for convenience' sake; one means simply the plays that are acted at the London theatres and transferred thence to the American. They are neither English nor a drama; they have not that minimum of ponderable identity at which appreciation finds a starting-point. As the metaphysicians say, they are simply not cognizable. And yet in spite of all this, the writer of these lines has ventured to believe that the London theatres are highly characteristic of English civilization. The plays testify indirectly if not directly to the national manners, and the whole system on which play-going is conducted completes the impression which the pieces make upon the observer. One can imagine, indeed, nothing more characteristic than such a fact as that a theatre-going people is hopelessly destitute of a drama.

I ventured a month ago to record in these pages a few reminiscences of the Comédie Française; and I have a sort of feeling that my readers may, in the light of my present undertaking, feel prompted to accuse me of a certain levity. There is a want of delicacy, they may say, in speaking of the first theatre in the world one day and of the London stage the next. You must choose, and if you talk about one, you forfeit the right to talk about the other. But I think there is something to be done in the way of talking about both, and at all events there are few things it is not fair to talk about if one does so with a serious desire to understand. Removing lately from Paris to the British metropolis, I received a great many impressions--a sort of unbroken chain, in which the reflections passing through my fancy as I tried the different orchestra-stalls were the concluding link. The impressions of which I speak were impressions of outside things--the things with which in a great city one comes first into contact. I supposed that I had gathered them once for all in earlier years; but I found that the edge of one's observation, unlike that of other trenchant instruments, grows again if one leaves it alone. Remain a long time in any country, and you come to accept the manners and customs of that country as the standard of civilization--the normal type. Other manners and customs, even if they spring from the same soil from which you yourself have sprung, acquire by contrast an unreasonable, a violent, but often a picturesque relief. To what one may call a continentalized vision the aspect of English life seems strange and entertaining; while an Anglicized perception finds, beyond the narrow channel, even greater matter for wonderment.

The writer of these lines brought with him, at the outset of a dusky London winter, a continentalized, and perhaps more particularly a Parisianized, fancy. It was wonderful how many things that I should have supposed familiar and commonplace seemed strikingly salient and typical, and how I found, if not sermons in stones and good in everything, at least examples in porter-pots and reflections in coal-scuttles. In writing the other day of the Théatre Français, I spoke of M. Francisque Sarcey, the esteemed dramatic critic; of the serious and deliberate way in which he goes to work--of the distance from which he makes his approaches. During the first weeks I was in London, especially when I had been to the play the night before, I kept saying to myself that M. Francisque Sarcey ought to come over and "do" the English theatres. There are of course excellent reasons why he should not. In the first place, it is safe to assume that he comprehends not a word of English; and in the second, it is obligatory to believe that he would, in the vulgar phrase, not be able to "stand" it. He would probably pronounce the English stage hopelessly and unmitigably bad and beneath criticism, and hasten back to Delaunay and Sarah Bernhardt. But if we could suppose him to fight it out, and give the case a hearing, what a solid dissertation we should have upon it afterward at the bottom of the "Temps" newspaper! How he would go into the causes of the badness, and trace its connections with English civilization! How earnestly he would expatiate and how minutely he would explain; how fervently he would point the moral and entreat his fellow countrymen not to be as the English are lest they should lapse into histrionic barbarism!

I felt, to myself, during these days, in a small way, very much like a Francisque Sarcey; I don't mean as to the gloominess of my conclusions, but as to the diffusiveness of my method. A spectator with his senses attuned to all those easy Parisian harmonies feels himself, in London, to be in a place in which the drama cannot, in the nature of things, have a vigorous life. Before he has put his feet into a theatre he is willing to bet his little all that the stage will turn out to be weak. If he is challenged for the reasons of this precipitate skepticism, he will perhaps be at loss to give them; he will only say, "Oh, I don't know, _cela se seut_. Everything I see is a reason. I don't look out of the window, I don't ring the bell for some coals, I don't go into an eating-house to dine, without seeing a reason." And then he will begin to talk about the duskiness and oppressiveness of London; about the ugliness of everything that one sees; about beauty and grace being never attempted, or attempted here and there only to be wofully missed; about the visible, palpable Protestantism; about the want of expression in people's faces; about the plainness and dreariness of everything that is public and the inaccessibility of everything that is private; about the lower classes being too miserable to know the theatre, and the upper classes too "respectable" to understand it.

And here, if the audacious person we are conceiving is very far gone, he will probably begin to talk about English "hypocrisy" and prudery, and to say that these are the great reason of the feebleness of the stage. When he approaches the question of English "hypocrisy" you may know that he is hopelessly Gallicized, or Romanized, or Germanized, or something of that sort; and indeed his state of mind at this point strikes me myself with a certain awe. I don't venture to follow him, and I discreetly give up the attempt. But up to this point I can see what he may have meant, in the midst of his flippancy, and I remember how to my own imagination at first everything seemed to hang together, and theatres to be what they were because somehow the streets, and shops, and hotels, and eating-houses were what they were. I remember something I said to myself after once witnessing a little drama of real life at a restaurant. The restaurant in question is in Piccadilly, and I am trying to think under which of the categories of our Gallicized observer it would come. The remarkable façade, covered with gilded mosaics and lamps, is certainly a concession to the idea of beauty; though whether it is a successful one is another question. Within it has, besides various other resources, one of those peculiar refectories which are known in England as grill-rooms, and which possess the picturesque feature of a colossal gridiron, astride of a corresponding fire, on which your chops and steaks are toasted before your eyes. A grill-room is a bad place to dine, but it is a convenient place to lunch. It always contains a number of tables, which accommodate not less than half a dozen persons; small tables of the proper dimensions for a _tête-â-tête_ being, for inscrutable reasons, wholly absent from English eating-houses.

The grill-room in question is decorated in that style of which the animus is to be agreeable to Mr. William Morris, though I suspect that in the present application of his charming principles he would find a good deal of base alloy. At any rate, the apartment contains a number of large medallions in blue pottery, pieced together, representing the heathen gods and goddesses, whose names are inscribed in crooked letters in an unexpected part of the picture. This is quite the thing that one would expect to find in one of those cloisters or pleasances, or "pleached gardens," in which Mr. Morris's Gothic heroines drag their embroidered petticoats up and down, as slow-pacedly as their poet sings. Only, in these pretty, dilettantish cloisters there would probably be no large tickets suspended alongside of the pictorial pottery, inscribed with the monstrous words, _Tripe! Suppers!_ This is one of those queer eruptions of plainness and homeliness which one encounters at every turn in the midst of the massive luxury and general expensiveness of England--like the big, staring announcement, _Beds_, in the coffee-house windows, or _Well-aired Beds_ painted on the side walls of taverns; or like a list of labels which I noticed the other day on a series of japanned boxes in a pastry-cook's shop. They seemed to me so characteristic that I made a note of them.

The reason of my being in the pastry-cook's shop was my having contracted in Paris the harmless habit of resorting to one of these establishments at the luncheon hour, for the purpose of consuming a little _gateau_. Resuming this innocent practice on English soil, I found it attended with serious difficulties--the chief of which was that there were no _gateaux_ to consume. An appreciative memory of those brightly mirrored little shops on the Paris boulevards, in which tender little tarts, in bewildering variety, are dispensed to you by a neat-waisted _patissière_, cast a dusky shadow over the big buns and "digestive biscuits" which adorn the counter of an English bakery. But it takes a good while to eat a bun, and while you stand there solemnly disintegrating your own, you may look about you in search of the characteristic. In Paris the pastry-cooks' shops are, as the French say, coquettish--as coquettish as the elegant simplicity of plate glass, discreet gilding, polished brass, and a demonstrative _dame de comptoir_ can make them. In London they are not coquettish--witness the grim nomenclature alluded to above; it was distributed over a series of green tin cases, ranged behind the counters: Tops and bottoms--royal digestives--arrow-root--oat-cake--rice biscuit--ratafias.

I took my seat in the grill-room at a table at which three gentlemen were sitting: two of them sleek British merchants, of a familiar and highly respectable type, the other a merchant too, presumably, but neither sleek nor British. He was evidently an American. He was a good-looking fellow and a man of business, but I inferred from the tentative, experimental, and even mistrustful manner with which he addressed himself to the operation of lunching, and observed the idiosyncrasies of the grill-room, that he found himself for the first time in England. His experiment, however, if experiment it was, was highly successful; he made a copious lunch and departed. He had not had time to reach the door when I perceived one of the British merchants of whom I just now spoke beginning to knock the table violently with his knife-handle, and to clamor, "Waiter, waiter! Manager, manager!" The manager and the waiter hastened to respond, while I endeavored to guess the motive of his agitation, without connecting it with our late companion. As I then saw him pointing eagerly to the latter, however, who was just getting out of the door, I was seized with a mortifying apprehension that my innocent compatriot was a dissembler and a pickpocket, and that the English gentleman, next whom he had been sitting, had missed his watch or his purse. "He has taken one of these--one of these!" said the British merchant. "I saw him put it into his pocket." And he held up a bill of fare of the establishment, a printed card, bearing on its back a colored lithograph of the emblazoned façade that I have mentioned. I was reassured; the poor American had pocketed this light document with the innocent design of illustrating his day's adventures to a sympathetic wife awaiting his return in some musty London lodging. But the manager and the waiter seemed to think the case grave, and their informant continued to impress upon them that he had caught the retiring visitor in the very act. They were at a loss to decide upon a course of action; they thought the case was bad, but they questioned whether it was bad enough to warrant them in pursuing the criminal. While this weighty point was being discussed the criminal escaped, little suspecting, I imagine, the perturbation he had caused. But the British merchant continued to argue, speaking in the name of outraged morality. "You know he oughtn't to have done that--it was very wrong in him to do it. That mustn't be done, you know, and you know I ought to tell you--it was my duty to tell you--I couldn't _but_ tell you. He oughtn't to have done it, you know. I thought I _must_ tell you." It is not easy to point out definitely the connection between this little episode, for the triviality of which I apologize, and the present condition of the English stage; but--it may have been whimsical--I thought I perceived a connection. These people are too highly moral to be histrionic, I said; they have too stern a sense of duty.

The first step in the rather arduous enterprise of going to the theatre in London is, I think, another reminder that the arts of the stage are not really in the temperament and the manners of the people. This first step is to go to an agency in an expensive street out of Piccadilly, and there purchase a stall for the sum of eleven shillings. You receive your ticket from the hands of a smooth, sleek, bottle-nosed clerk, who seems for all the world as if he had stepped straight out of a volume of Dickens or of Thackeray. There is almost always an old lady taking seats for the play, with a heavy carriage in waiting at the door; the number of old ladies whom one has to squeeze past in the stalls is in fact very striking. "Is it good?" asks the old lady of the gentleman I have described, with a very sweet voice and a perfectly expressionless face. (She means the play, not the seat.) "It is thought very good, my lady," says the clerk, as if he were uttering a "response" at church; and my lady being served, I approach with my humbler petition. The dearness of places at the London theatres is a sufficient indication that play-going is not a popular amusement; three dollars is a high price to pay for the privilege of witnessing any London performance that I have seen. (One goes into the stalls of the Théâtre Français for eight francs.) In the house itself everything seems to contribute to the impression which I have tried to indicate--the impression that the theatre in England is a social luxury and not an artistic necessity. The white-cravatted young man who inducts you into your stall, and having put you into possession of a programme, extracts from you, masterly but effectually, the sixpence which, as a stranger, you have wondered whether you might venture to give him, and which has seemed a mockery of his grandeur--this excellent young man is somehow the keynote of the whole affair. An English audience is as different as possible from a French, though the difference is altogether by no means to its disadvantage. It is much more "genteel"; it is less Bohemian, less _blasé_, more _naïf_, and more respectful--to say nothing of being made up of handsomer people. It is well dressed, tranquil, motionless; it suggests domestic virtue and comfortable homes; it looks as if it had come to the play in its own carriage, after a dinner of beef and pudding. The ladies are mild, fresh colored English mothers; they all wear caps; they are wrapped in knitted shawls. There are many rosy young girls, with dull eyes and quiet cheeks--an element wholly absent from Parisian audiences. The men are handsome and honorable looking; they are in evening dress; they come with the ladies--usually with several ladies--and remain with them; they sit still in their places, and don't go herding out between the acts with their hats askew. Altogether they are much more the sort of people to spend a quiet evening with than the clever, cynical, democratic multitude that surges nightly out of the brilliant Boulevards into those temples of the drama in which MM. Dumas, _fils_, and Sardou are the high priests. But you might spend your evening with them better almost anywhere than at the theatre.

As I said just now, they are much more _naïf_ than Parisian spectators--at least as regards being amused. They cry with much less facility, but they laugh more freely and heartily. I remember nothing in Paris that corresponds with the laugh of the English gallery and pit--with its continuity and simplicity, its deep-lunged jollity and its individual guffaws. But you feel that an English audience is intellectually much less appreciative. A Paris audience, as regards many of its factors, is cynical, skeptical, indifferent; it is so intimately used to the theatre that it doesn't stand on ceremony; it yawns, and looks away and turns its back; it has seen too much, and it knows too much. But it has the critical and the artistic sense, when the occasion appeals to them; it can judge and discriminate. It has the sense of form and of manner; it heeds and cares how things are done, even when it cares little for the things themselves. Bohemians, artists, critics, connoisseurs--all Frenchmen come more or less under these heads, which give the tone to a body of Parisian spectators. These do not strike one as "nice people" in the same degree as a collection of English patrons of the drama--though doubtless they have their own virtues and attractions; but they form a natural, sympathetic public, while the English audience forms only a conventional, accidental one. It may be that the drama and other works of art are best appreciated by people who are not "nice"; it may be that a lively interest in such matters tends to undermine niceness; it may be that, as the world grows nicer, various forms of art will grow feebler. All this _may_ be; I don't pretend to say it is; the idea strikes me _en passant_.

In speaking of what is actually going on at the London theatres I suppose the place of honor, beyond comparison, belongs to Mr. Henry Irving. This gentleman enjoys an esteem and consideration which, I believe, has been the lot of no English actor since Macready left the stage, and he may at the present moment claim the dignity of being a bone of contention in London society second only in magnitude to the rights of the Turks and the wrongs of the Bulgarians. I am told that London is divided, on the subject of his merits, into two fiercely hostile camps; that he has sown dissension in families, and made old friends cease to "speak." His appearance in a new part is a great event; and if one has the courage of one's opinion, at dinner tables and elsewhere, a conversational godsend. Mr. Irving has "created," as the French say, but four Shakespearian parts; his Richard III. has just been given to the world. Before attempting Hamlet, which up to this moment has been his great success, he had attracted much attention as a picturesque actor of melodrama, which he rendered with a refinement of effect not common upon the English stage. Mr. Irving's critics may, I suppose, be divided into three categories: those who justify him in whatever he attempts, and consider him an artist of unprecedented brilliancy; those who hold that he did very well in melodrama, but that he flies too high when he attempts Shakespeare; and those who, in vulgar parlance, can see nothing in him at all.

I shrink from ranging myself in either of these divisions, and indeed I am not qualified to speak of Mr. Irving's acting in general. I have seen none of his melodramatic parts; I do not know him as a comedian--a capacity in which some people think him at his best; and in his Shakespearian repertory I have seen only his Macbeth and his Richard. But judging him on the evidence of these two parts, I fall hopelessly among the skeptics. Mr. Henry Irving is a very convenient illustration. To a stranger desiring to know how the London stage stands, I should say, "Go and see this gentleman; then tell me what you think of him." And I should expect the stranger to come back and say, "I see what you mean. The London stage has reached that pitch of mediocrity at which Mr. Henry Irving overtops his fellows--Mr. Henry Irving figuring as a great man--_c'est tout dire_." I hold that there is an essential truth in the proverb that there is no smoke without fire. No reputations are altogether hollow, and no valuable prizes have been easily won. Of course Mr. Irving has a good deal of intelligence and cleverness; of course he has mastered a good many of the mysteries of his art. But I must nevertheless declare that for myself I have not mastered the mystery of his success. His defects seem to me in excess of his qualities and the lessons he has not learned more striking than the lessons he has learned.

That an actor so handicapped, as they say in London, by nature and culture should have enjoyed such prosperity, is a striking proof of the absence of a standard, of the chaotic condition of taste. Mr. Irving's Macbeth, which I saw more than a year ago and view under the mitigations of time, was not pronounced one of his great successes; but it was acted, nevertheless, for many months, and it does not appear to have injured his reputation. Passing through London, and curious to make the acquaintance of the great English actor of the day, I went with alacrity to see it; but my alacrity was more than equalled by the vivacity of my disappointment. I sat through the performance in a sort of melancholy amazement. There are barren failures and there are interesting failures, and this performance seemed to me to deserve the less complimentary of these classifications. It inspired me, however, with no ill will toward the artist, for it must be said of Mr. Irving that his aberrations are not of a vulgar quality, and that one likes him, somehow, in spite of them. But one's liking takes the form of making one wish that really he had selected some other profession than the histrionic. Nature has done very little to make an actor of him. His face is not dramatic; it is the face of a sedentary man, a clergyman, a lawyer, an author, an amiable gentleman--of anything other than a possible Hamlet or Othello. His figure is of the same cast, and his voice completes the want of illusion. His voice is apparently wholly unavailable for purposes of declamation. To say that he speaks badly is to go too far; to my sense he simply does not speak at all--in any way that, in an actor, can be called speaking. He does not pretend to declaim or dream of declaiming. Shakespeare's finest lines pass from his lips without his paying the scantiest tribute to their quality. Of what the French call _diction_--of the art of delivery--he has apparently not a suspicion. This forms three-fourths of an actor's obligations, and in Mr. Irving's acting these three-fourths are simply cancelled. What is left to him with the remaining fourth is to be "picturesque"; and this even his partisans admit he has made his specialty. This concession darkens Mr. Irving's prospects as a Shakespearian actor. You can play hop-scotch on one foot, but you cannot cut with one blade of a pair of scissors, and you cannot play Shakespeare by being simply picturesque. Above all, before all, for this purpose you must have the art of utterance; you must be able to give value to the divine Shakespearian line--to make it charm our ears as it charms our mind. It is of course by his picturesqueness that Mr. Irving has made his place; by small ingenuities of "business" and subtleties of action; by doing as a painter does who "goes in" for color when he cannot depend upon his drawing. Mr. Irving's color is sometimes pretty enough; his ingenuities and subtleties are often felicitous; but his picturesqueness, on the whole, strikes me as dry and awkward, and, at the best, where certain essentials are so strikingly absent, these secondary devices lose much of their power.

Mr. Fechter in Hamlet was preponderantly a "picturesque" actor; but he had a certain sacred spark, a heat, a lightness and suppleness, which Mr. Irving lacks; and though, with his incurable foreign accent, he could hardly be said to _declaim_ Shakespeare in any worthy sense, yet on the whole he spoke his part with much more of the positively agreeable than can possibly belong to the utterance of Mr. Irving. His speech, with all its fantastic Gallicisms of sound, was less foreign and more comprehensible than that strange tissue of arbitrary pronunciations which floats in the thankless medium of Mr. Irving's harsh, monotonous voice. Richard III. is of all Shakespeare's parts the one that can perhaps best dispense with declamation, and in which the clever inventions of manner and movement in which Mr. Irving is proficient will carry the actor furthest. Accordingly, I doubt not, Mr. Irving is seen to peculiar advantage in this play; it is certainly a much better fit for him than Macbeth. He has had the good taste to discard the vulgar adaptation of Cibber, by which the stage has so long been haunted, and which, I believe, is played in America to the complete exclusion of the original drama. I believe that some of the tenderest Shakespearians refuse to admit the authenticity of "Richard III."; they declare that the play has, with all its energy, a sort of intellectual grossness, of which the author of "Hamlet" and "Othello" was incapable. This same intellectual grossness is certainly very striking; the scene of Richard's wooing of Lady Ann is a capital specimen of it. But here and there occur passages which, when one hears the play acted, have all the vast Shakespearian sense of effect.

----To hear the piteous moans that Edward made When black-faced Clifford shook his sword at him.

It is hard to believe that Shakespeare did not write that. And when Richard, after putting an end to Clarence, comes into Edward IV.'s presence, with the courtiers ranged about, and announces hypocritically that Providence has seen fit to remove him, the situation is marked by one or two speeches which are dramatic as Shakespeare alone is dramatic. The immediate exclamation of the Queen--

All-seeing heaven, what a world is this!

--followed by that of one of the gentlemen--

Look _I_ so pale, Lord Dorset, as the rest?

--such touches as these, with their inspired vividness, seem to belong to the brushwork of the master. Mr. Irving gives the note of his performance in his first speech--the famous soliloquy upon "the winter of our discontent." His delivery of these lines possesses little but hopeless staginess and mannerism. It seems indeed like staginess gone mad. The spectator rubs his eyes and asks himself whether he has not mistaken his theatre, and stumbled by accident upon some prosperous burlesque. It is fair to add that Mr. Irving is here at his worst, the scene offering him his most sustained and exacting piece of declamation. But the way he renders it is the way he renders the whole part--slowly, draggingly, diffusively, with innumerable pauses and lapses, and without a hint of the rapidity, the intensity and _entrain_ which are needful for carrying off the improbabilities of so explicit and confidential a villain and so melodramatic a hero.

Just now, when a stranger in London asks where the best acting is to be seen, he receives one of two answers. He is told either at the Prince of Wales's theatre or at the Court. Some people think that the last perfection is to be found at the former of these establishments, others at the latter. I went first to the Prince of Wales's, of which I had a very pleasant memory from former years, and I was not disappointed. The acting is very pretty indeed, and this little theatre doubtless deserves the praise which is claimed for it, of being the best conducted English stage in the world. It is, of course, not the Comédie Française; but, equally of course, it is absurd talking or thinking of the Comédie Française in London. The company at the Prince of Wales's play with a finish, a sense of detail, what the French call an _ensemble_, and a general good grace, which deserve explicit recognition. The theatre is extremely small, elegant, and expensive, the company is very carefully composed, and the scenery and stage furniture lavishly complete. It is a point of honor with the Prince of Wales's to have nothing that is not "real." In the piece now running at this establishment there is a representation of a boudoir very delicately appointed, the ceiling of which is formed by festoons of old lace suspended tent fashion or pavilion fashion. This lace, I am told, has been ascertained, whether by strong opera glasses or other modes of inquiry I know not, to be genuine, ancient, and costly. This is the very pedantry of perfection, and makes the scenery somewhat better than the actors. If the tendency is logically followed out, we shall soon be having Romeo drink real poison and Medea murder a fresh pair of babes every night.

The Prince of Wales's theatre, when it has once carefully mounted a play, "calculates," I believe, to keep it on the stage a year. The play of the present year is an adaptation of one of Victorien Sardou's cleverest comedies--"Nos Intimes"--upon which the title of "Peril" has been conferred. Of the piece itself there is nothing to be said; it is the usual hybrid drama of the contemporary English stage--a firm, neat French skeleton, around which the drapery of English conversation has been adjusted in awkward and inharmonious folds. The usual feat has been attempted--to extirpate "impropriety" and at the same time to save interest. In the extraordinary manipulation and readjustment of French immoralities which goes on in the interest of Anglo-Saxon virtue, I have never known this feat to succeed. Propriety may have been saved, in an awkward, floundering, in-spite-of-herself fashion, which seems to do to something in the mind a violence much greater than the violence it has been sought to avert; but interest has certainly been lost. The only immorality I know on the stage is the production of an ill-made play; and a play is certainly ill made when the pointedness of the framework strikes the spectator as a perpetual mockery upon the flatness of the "developments." M. Sardou's perfectly improper but thoroughly homogeneous comedy has been flattened and vulgarized in the usual way; the pivot of naughtiness on which the piece turns has been "whittled" down to the requisite tenuity; the wicked little Jack-in-the-Box has popped up his head only just in time to pull it back again. The interest, from being intense, has become light, and the play, from being a serious comedy, with a flavor of the tragic, has become an elaborate farce, salted with a few coarse grains of gravity. It is probable, however, that if "Peril" were more serious, it would be much less adequately played.

The Prince of Wales's company contains in the person of Miss Madge Robertson (or Mrs. Kendal, as I believe she is nowadays called) the most agreeable actress on the London stage. This lady is always pleasing, and often charming; but she is more effective in gentle gayety than in melancholy or in passion. Another actor at the Prince of Wales's--Mr. Arthur Cecil--strikes me as an altogether superior comedian. He plays in "Peril" (though I believe he is a young man) the part of a selfish, cantankerous, querulous, jaundiced old East Indian officer, who has come down to a country house to stay, under protest, accompanied by his only son, a stripling in roundabouts, whom he is bringing up in ignorance of the world's wickedness, and who, finding himself in a mansion well supplied with those books which no gentleman's library should be without, loses no time in taking down Bocaccio's "Decameron." Mr. Arthur Cecil represents this character to the life, with a completeness, an extreme comicality, and at the same time a sobriety and absence of violence which recalls the best French acting. Especially inimitable is the tone with which he tells his host, on his arrival, how he made up his mind to accept his invitation: "So at last I said to Percy, 'Well, Percy, my child, we'll go down and have done with it!'"

At the Court theatre, where they are playing, also apparently by the year, a "revived" drama of Mr. Tom Taylor--"New Men and Old Acres"--the acting, though very good indeed, struck me as less finished and, as a whole, less artistic. The company contains, however, two exceptionally good actors. One of them is Mr. Hare, who leads it, and who, although nature has endowed him with an almost fatally meagre stage presence, has a considerable claim to be called an artist. Mr. Hare's special line is the quiet natural, in high life, and I imagine he prides himself upon the propriety and good taste with which he acquits himself of those ordinary phrases and light modulations which the usual English actor finds it impossible to utter with any degree of verisimilitude. Mr. Hare's companion is Miss Ellen Terry, who is usually spoken of by the "refined" portion of the public as the most interesting actress in London. Miss Terry is picturesque; she looks like a pre-Raphaelitish drawing in a magazine--the portrait of the crop-haired heroine in the illustration to the serial novel. She is intelligent and vivacious, and she is indeed, in a certain measure, interesting. With great frankness and spontaneity, she is at the same time singularly delicate and lady-like, and it seems almost impertinent to criticise her harshly. But the favor which Miss Terry enjoys strikes me, like that under which Mr. Henry Irving has expanded, as a sort of measure of the English critical sense in things theatrical. Miss Terry has all the pleasing qualities I have enumerated, but she has, with them, the defect that she is simply _not_ an actress. One sees it sufficiently in her face--the face of a clever young Englishwoman, with a hundred merits, but not of a dramatic artist. These things are indefinable; I can only give my impression.

Broadly comic acting, in England, is businesslike, and high tragedy is businesslike; each of these extremes appears to constitute a trade--a _métier_, as the French say--which may be properly and adequately learned. But the acting which covers the middle ground, the acting of serious or sentimental comedy and of scenes that may take place in modern drawing-rooms--the acting that corresponds to the contemporary novel of manners--seems by an inexorable necessity given over to amateurishness. Most of the actors at the Prince of Wales's--the young lovers, the walking and talking gentlemen, the housekeeper and young ladies--struck me as essentially amateurish, and this is the impression produced by Miss Ellen Terry, as well as (in an even higher degree) by her pretty and sweet-voiced sister, who plays at the Haymarket. The art of these young ladies is awkward and experimental; their very speech lacks smoothness and firmness.

I am not sorry to be relieved, by having reached the limits of my space, from the necessity of expatiating upon one of the more recent theatrical events in London--the presentation, at the St. James's theatre, of an English version of "Les Danicheff." This extremely picturesque and effective play was the great Parisian success of last winter, and during the London season the company of the Odéon crossed the channel and presented it with an added brilliancy. But what the piece has been reduced to in its present form is a theme for the philosopher. Horribly translated and badly played, it retains hardly a ray of its original effectiveness. There can hardly have been a better example of the possible infelicities of "adaptation." Nor have I the opportunity of alluding to what is going on at the other London theatres, though to all of them I have made a conscientious pilgrimage. But I conclude my very desultory remarks without an oppressive sense of the injustice of omission. In thinking over the plays I have listened to, my memory arrests itself with more kindness, perhaps, than elsewhere, at the great, gorgeous pantomime given at Drury Lane, which I went religiously to see in Christmas week. They manage this matter of the pantomime very well in England, and I have always thought Harlequin and Columbine the prettiest invention in the world. (This is an "adaptation" of an Italian original, but it is a case in which the process has been completely successful.) But the best of the entertainment at Drury Lane was seeing the lines of rosy child faces in the boxes, all turned toward the stage in one round-eyed fascination. English children, however, and their round-eyed rosiness, would demand a chapter apart.




"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity"--which is love--"I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal."

It was Sergeant Wright who repeated the words thoughtfully to himself, nearly two hundred years ago, while his gaze was riveted upon the glowing rim and cavernous hollow of a ponderous brazen object. It was not a bell, though there was metal enough in it to have formed a very respectable one for the village church.

At that early day bells were not common in New England; in the seaport towns, that formed the colony of Plymouth, the faithful were summoned to church by the blowing of a conch shell; at other towns there are records of a "_peece_" being fired, or of a drummer being paid to beat a reveille for sleepy souls. In Deerfield, where the events we are about to chronicle took place, the practice seems to have been to simply hoist a flag at the time appointed for public service. Any of these means, except the drum, appears on some accounts preferable to the modern church bell. To any one who has resided in a Catholic country, where the ringing of bells, from matins to vespers, is incessant, to one with recent memories of college days, of being rung up in the morning before having his sleep out, rung to prayers before he had finished his breakfast, rung to recitation before he had mastered his lesson, and rung to bed before reaching the "Yours _truly_" of his love letter, the Sabbath bell is not likely to suggest ideas of a devotional character. After all, is it not essentially a relic of barbarism, a pagan institution like the beating of gongs in the Chinese ceremony of chinchinning the moon? The blowing of the conch shell is not open to the objection of degrading association; it must have called to mind the trumpets and rams' horns in the awe-inspiring Hebrew ceremonial. Fancy instead of the ding-dong of sounding brass in most village churches, that can sometimes hardly be distinguished from the locomotive bell, the clear liquid notes of a silver bugle, similar in character to one of the musical infantry calls, flung by the echoes from hill to hill, and dying faintly away over the meadows and along the river. Even the custom of firing a cannon, one great noise, heard at the furthest boundaries of the parish, and then done with, would be better than the continual repetition of the strokes of a bell, now violent and quick, as though calling out all the hose and hook and ladder companies of the fire department, now slowly dying away, tantalizing the listener with the expectation that now at last they are really going to cease, only to bitterly disappoint him by breaking out again with renewed clamor. Most beautiful of all must have been the silent lifting of the flag, a symbol which evangelist Bliss has taken from the signal service in "Hold the Fort":

Wave the answer back to heaven, By Thy grace we will.

And how popular such a summons would be with the ungodly--leaving them in peace to enjoy their Sunday morning nap!

But we are wandering from our subject. Suffice it to say that the object of sounding brass into which Sergeant Wright was looking was not a bell. Neither was it a cannon, for a howitzer of that calibre, or a few smaller pieces of sounding brass, would have prevented the sad tragedy of the Indian captivity, and in that case the events herein chronicled would never have transpired. Sergeant Judah Wright was looking at Mr. Hoyt's brass kettle. He was billetted upon the family, and had so won the hearts of all but the mother, by his ready helpfulness and kindliness of manner, that they had come to consider him as one of their own number, and had almost forgotten the arbitrary way in which their acquaintance had begun. His frequent presence in the kitchen, and assistance in the labors of the family, was not, however, altogether of a disinterested nature, being prompted by the same feeling that caused Jacob's fourteen years of servitude for Rachel to seem but a day--"the love he bore her."

If Jean Ingelow had lived and written at that time, the Sergeant might have borrowed a verse or two to explain his love for Goodman Hoyt's kitchen:

For there his oldest daughter stands, With downcast eyes and skilful hands, Before her ironing board.

She comforts all her mother's days, And with her sweet, obedient ways She makes her labor light:

So sweet to hear, so fair to see! Oh, she is much too good for me, That lovely Mary Hoyt.

She has my heart, sweet Mary Hoyt: I'll e'en go sit again to-night Beside her ironing board!

Ah, that flat-iron! It was while beneath her deft fingers it passed swiftly over the smoking linen, that "the iron entered his soul"; iron, we mean, of the nature from which Cupid forges his arrow-heads.

Matters came to a crisis in the spring of 1703. The family had "gone a-sugaring" in Mr. Hoyt's "plantation" of maples, and the Sergeant and Mary had been left to watch the great kettle of sap as it seethed and boiled over the coals. The text which heads our story was one from which the Rev. John Williams had preached on the preceding Sunday, and the sermon had been the subject of conversation that day.

"I fear me much that thou art but as that kettle, Judah," was the remark of Goodwife Hoyt as she moved away after another bucket of sap--"mere sounding brass and a tinkling cowbell!"

Roguish Sally Hoyt, the younger sister of modest Mary, could not forbear a saucy fling at the lovers.

"Yea, Judah, art thou like the kettle," she said, striking it a rap with the paddle with which she was stirring its contents. But the kettle, full to the brim of syrup, failed to respond with its usual resonant ring. "Hearest thou, Sergeant? It is no more 'sounding brass,' the reason thereof being that it is so filled with fire and sweetness that it can hold no more. The same being a token, brethren, as our godly pastor would say, that the heart of our beloved brother Sergeant Wright is so filled with that charity which is love, that he hath lost his proper and natural brazen-facedness, and can no more convey the knowledge of his condition to the lady of his choice than can this kettle utter the clamor which is natural unto it."

"Go thy ways for a saucy hussy," exclaimed Mary, with sudden consciousness, and with a mocking laugh the merry girl was gone. But the fat was in the fire, and when Goodwife Hoyt returned with more sap, she found the syrup there too, and the Sergeant kissing the unresisting Mary behind a neighboring maple. For which wanton proceeding the good woman, since she could not banish him from her family, sent away her daughter to dwell with a distant relative, saying ere she went:

"I do prophesy that this silly affection will presently fail; so long as I have a tongue in my mouth I will speak against it, for the knowledge that I have of Sergeant Wright tendeth not to edifying."

The Sergeant did not reply verbally; but when Mary in her exile opened her Bible to the chapter containing the text which had led to a declaration, she was attracted by another which bore marginal notes in a well known hand and which seemed to answer for him:

"Charity," which is love, "_never_ faileth; but whether there be _prophecies_, they shall fail; whether there be _tongues_, they shall cease; whether there be _knowledge_, it shall vanish away."

Time passed on, and one winter's night the French and Indians burst upon the little town of Deerfield, and carried it away captive. The last sight that the Sergeant caught through the open kitchen door was of the great brass kettle which he and Mr. Hoyt had the night before filled with wort or new beer, standing by the side of Mary's ironing-board; then the blazing timbers fell over both with a deafening crash, and he was marched away with pinioned arms.

The horrors of that captivity are too well known to need repetition. Through them all Sergeant Wright, by his manly heroism and patient endurance, his care for Sally, and filial devotion to Mrs. Hoyt, at last so won her unwilling heart that she was constrained to admit that the old prejudicial knowledge which she had of him had vanished away.

The efforts put forth by the French to induce the captives to remain in Canada are notorious. A young French officer having fallen in love with Sally Hoyt, a Jesuit priest endeavored to persuade her to the marriage. After a sermon from the texts Deuteronomy xxi., 10-13: "When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the Lord thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, and seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire that thou wouldest have her to thy wife, then she ... shall remain in thine house, and thou shalt be her husband and she shall be thy wife," and 1 Timothy v., 14: "I will, therefore, that the younger women marry," etc., he addressed her personally before the congregation. Sally, remembering how her random shaft had in time past stirred up Sergeant Wright to an expression of his feelings, and having in mind a bashful lover, a certain shock-headed Ebenezer Nims, more generally known as "the Nims boy," for whom she had an inexplicable good will and who had been "captivated with her," as the ancient chronicle stated with more truth than it knew, answered adroitly that she had no ill will toward marriage as a state, but that she preferred to wed with one of her own people, and requested that "inquisition should be made" whether there were not one willing to become her husband among the captives. A cold shudder ran down Sergeant Wright's spinal column. Who could the child mean but him? Had she misinterpreted his brotherly care and affection? And yet she knew of his love for her sister. It was with a great sigh of relief that he saw "the Nims boy" suddenly start from his seat, a timid, shrinking boy no longer, but transformed on the instant by the girl's challenge to as brave a knight as ever tilted in tourney for lady's love, and running the gauntlet of the eyes of friend and foe, place himself at her side.

The wily Jesuit was caught in his own toils; he acknowledged it by marrying them upon the spot, and adding by way of benediction to the usual Latin formula--"Mulier hominis confusio est."

When the younger sister marries before the elder it is the custom, in some parts of the country, to bring in the brass kettle and make the slighted one dance in it. Neither sister nor kettle were present on this occasion, but the time was not far distant when both would be found again. The captives were to be returned. Sergeant Wright had believed all along, in spite of the mountains of difficulty in the way, that this would be; and yet he said to himself on that homeward march, "Though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity," which is love, "it profiteth me nothing." And in the joy of their first meeting, the only words that Mary Hoyt could utter were: "Charity suffereth long--beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things; charity _never_ faileth."

On their wedding day they visited the site of the old homestead. There, in the hollow that had been the cellar, lay the old brass kettle, and in it a flat-iron that had fallen off Mary's ironing-board. The wort with which the kettle had been filled had prevented it from entirely melting, and since she could not dance in it at her sister's wedding, she was lifted in it now by her husband and danced in it at her own.

The kettle has been preserved as a relic by the Wright family. It hangs in the upper part of the old mansion, and is so arranged that by pulling a cord below, the flat iron strikes against it, and so awakens the servants. And this story, which began with a tirade against bells, ends in finding its beloved kettle transformed into one; yet to the whole line and genealogy of the Wrights, by whom it has been cherished, it has brought its blessing of faith and hope, and though but a bit of sounding brass, yet in all its history to these presents it lacketh not that charity which is love.



Close to the window I wheel my chair, In the afternoon, when my work is done, To get my breath of the scented air, To take my share of the Roman sun: The air that, over yon mossy wall, Brings me the sweetness of orange bloom, The sun whose going carries us all Out of a glory into a gloom.

Calm in the light of the waning day, And peaceful, the convent garden lies; There, on the hillside cold and gray, The frowning walls and the old towers rise. To and fro in the wind's soft breath The bending ivy sways and swings; To and fro on the slope beneath The Roman pine its shadow flings.

To and fro the white clouds drift Over the old roof gray with moss, Over the sculptured saints that lift Each to the sky his marble cross, Over the stern old belfry tower, Where, from its prison house of stone, A pale-faced clock marks hour by hour The changes that the years have shown.

Free glad birds this prison share, White doves in this old tower dwell. Not for them the call to prayer, Not for them the warning bell. As they flit about the eaves, How their white wings catch the sun! While below through orange leaves Gleams the white cap of the nun.

Spotless kerchief, gown of gray, Forehead wrapped in band of white: These must labor, watch, and pray, These must keep the cross in sight; These are they who walk apart, Who, with purpose undefiled, Seek to fill a woman's heart Without home or love or child.

Is it true that many hands Find that rosary a chain? True that 'neath these snowy bands Throbs, full oft, a restless brain? True that simple robe of gray Covers oft a troubled breast? True that pain and passion's sway Enters even to this rest?

True, that at their holiest shrine, In their hours of greatest good, Comes to them a voice divine, Of a sweeter womanhood? It may be--how can _I_ tell Who, outside the garden wall, Only hear the convent bell. Only see the shadows fall?



The consideration of the interesting subject which I now take up is not new to me. Long ago I found myself thinking about it when occasion to do so presented itself; and in this I was helped by the views of English society presented in the literature of the day, some of the most interesting studies of which are furnished in the novels written by Englishwomen. Indeed, the whole subject of English life and character has long been of the profoundest interest to me; and a recent visit to England is rather the occasion than the cause of much of what I shall write upon it. To say this is due to myself if not to my readers.[1]

[1] My article in the April number of "The Galaxy" happened to be sent in without a title; and in hastily adding that with which it appeared both the editor and myself forgot for the moment that it was the title of Mr. Emerson's well-known book. My silent adoption of it was an unintentional violation of courtesy which I regret.

One day a lady whom I had had the pleasure of taking in to dinner in a country house near London, and whom I had soon found to be one of those simple-minded, good-natured, truth-telling women who are notably common in England, spoke to me about some ladies who on a previous day had attracted her attention, adding, "I knew they were Americans." "How?" I asked. "Oh, we always know American women!" "But how, pray?" She thought a moment, and answered: "By their beauty--they are almost always pretty, if not more--by their fine complexions, and by their exquisite dress." I did not tell her that I thought that she was right; but that she was so I had by that time become convinced. And yet I should say that the most beautiful women I had ever seen were Englishwomen, were it not for the memory of a Frenchwoman, a German, and a Czech. But the latter three were rare exceptions. Beauty is very much commoner among women of the English race than among those of any other with which I am acquainted; and among that race it is commoner in "America" than in England. I saw more beauty of face and figure at the first two receptions which I attended after my return than I had found among the hundreds of thousands of women whom I had seen in England.

The types are the same in both countries; but they seem to come near to perfection much oftener here than there. Beauty of feature is, however, sometimes more clearly defined in England than here. The mouth in particular when it is beautiful is more statuesque. The curves are more decided, and at the junction of the red of the lips with the white there is a delicately raised outline which marks the form of the feature in a very noble way. This may also be said of the nostril. It gives a chiselled effect to those features which is not so often found in "America"; but the nose itself, the brow, and the set and carriage of the head are generally finer among "Americans." In both countries, however, the head is apt to be too large for perfect proportion. This is a characteristic defect of the English type of beauty. Its effect is seen in Stothard's figures, in Etty's, and in those of other English painters. Another defect is in the heaviness of the articulations. Really fine arms are rare; but fine wrists are still rarer. Such wrists as the Viennoise women have--of which I saw a wonderful example in the Viennoise wife of a Sussex gentleman--are almost unknown among women of English race in either country. It is often said, even in England, that "American" women have more beautiful feet than Englishwomen have. This I am inclined to doubt. The feet may be smaller here; and they generally look smaller because Englishwomen wear larger and heavier shoes. They are obliged to do so because they walk more, and because of their moister climate. But mere smallness is not a beauty in a foot more than in any other part of the body. Beauty is the result of shape, proportion, and color; and feet are often cramped out of shape and out of proportion in other countries than China. A foot to be beautiful should seem fit for the body which it supports to stand upon and walk with. It is said by some persons, who by saying it profess to know, that nature, prodigal of charms to Englishwomen in bust, shoulders, and arms, is chary of them elsewhere, and that their beauty of figure is apt to stop at the waist. Upon this point I do not venture to give an opinion; but I am inclined to doubt the judgment in question upon general physiological principles. The human figure is the development of a germ; and it is not natural that, whatever may be the case with individuals, the type of a whole race in one country should present this inconsistency. Possibly those who started this notion were unfortunate in their occasions of observation and comparison.

There is more beauty in the south of England than in the north. When I left Birmingham on my way southward, although in addition to my observation northward I had there the opportunity of seeing the great throngs chiefly of women called together by the triennial musical festival, my eyes had begun to long for the sight of beauty. The women were hard-featured, coarse in complexion, without any remarkable bloom, but rather the contrary, and ungainly in figure. I found a great improvement in this respect in the lower counties; and in London of course more than elsewhere. For it is remarkable that according to some law, which has never yet been formulated, or from some cause quite undiscovered, perhaps undiscoverable, beautiful women are always found in the greatest numbers where there are the most men and the most money.

Much has been said about the complexion of the women of England, which has been greatly praised. I have not found it exceptionally beautiful. It is often fresh, oftener ruddy, but still oftener coarse. A delicate, finely-graduated bloom is not common. The rosy cheeks when looked at closely are often streaked with fine lines and mottled with minute spots of red; and the white is still oftener not like that of a lily, or, better, of a white rose, but of some much coarser object in nature. It is true that in making these odious comparisons I cannot forget certain women, too common in "America," who seem to be composed in equal parts of mind and leather, the elements of body and soul being left out so far as is consistent with existence in human form. But such women are also to be found in England, although perhaps in fewer numbers than here.

As to dress, that, as a man, I must regard as a purely adventitious and an essentially unimportant matter. If a woman be beautiful, or charming without actual beauty, a man cares very little in what she is dressed, so long as she seems at ease in her clothes, and their color is becoming to her and harmonious. There is no greater mistake than the assumption that being dressed in good taste is indicative of good breeding, of education, or of social advantage of any kind. Nor is it even a sign of good taste in any other particular. You shall see a woman who has come out of the slums, and whose life is worthy of her origin and her breeding, although it may have become gilded and garish, and she shall dress herself daily, morning, noon, and night, with such an exquisite sense of fitness in all things, with such an instinctive appreciation of harmony of outline and color, that your eye will be soothed with the sight of her apparel; and she shall nevertheless be vulgar in mind and manners, sordid in soul, in her life equally gross and frivolous. And the converse is no less true. Women most happy in the circumstances of their birth and breeding, intelligent, cultivated, charming, of whose sympathy in regard to anything good or beautiful you may be sure, will dress themselves in such an incongruous, heterogeneous fashion that the beauty which they often possess triumphs with difficulty over their effort to adorn it.

I feel, therefore, that I am saying very little against Englishwomen when I say that in general they are the worst dressed human creatures that I ever saw, except perhaps the female half of a certain class of Germans. The reputation that they have in this respect among Frenchwomen and "Americans" is richly deserved. Good taste is simply absent. The notion of fitness, congruity, and "concatenation accordingly" does not exist. In form the Englishwoman's dress is dowdy, in color frightful. If not color-blind, she seems generally to be blind to the effect of color, either singly or in combination. At the Birmingham festival I saw a lady in a rich red-purple (plum color) silk--high around the neck of course, as it was morning--and over this swept a necklace of enormous coral beads. It made one's eyes ache to look at her. This was not an uncommon, but a characteristic instance. Such combinations may be justly regarded as the rule in Englishwomen's dress. For purple they have strong liking. They not only wear it in gowns, but they use it for trimming, in bands and flounces, in ribbons, in feathers. They combine it with all other colors. An Englishwoman seems to think herself "made" if she can deck herself in some way with purple silk or velvet, or ribbons or feathers. Of course I am excepting from these remarks a few who have intuitive good taste, and other few who employ French _modistes_, and who submit implicitly to their authority. The latter condition is essential; for even when the main body of an Englishwoman's dress is in good taste she is very apt to destroy its effect by some incongruous addition from her stores of heterogeneous jewels, or by some other ornament--a collar, a cape, a _fichu_, or a ribbon. They have a sad way of putting forlorn things about their necks and on their heads which is very depressing, unless it is astonishing, which happens sometimes. An Englishwoman will be tolerably well dressed, and then will make a bundle of herself by tying up her neck and shoulders in a huge piece of lace; or she will wear specimens of two or three sets of jewels; or she will put a colored feather in her hair, or a bonnet on her head, that would tempt a tyrant to bring it to the block. I remember seeing a marchioness whose family was noble in the middle ages riding with an "American" lady who had not as much to spend in a year as the other had in a week; but the marchioness was so obtrusively ill dressed and the American with such good taste and simplicity that both being unusually intelligent, both perfectly well bred and self-possessed, and both fine healthy women, a person ignorant of their rank would have been likely to mistake the latter for the noblewoman.

It has been said that Englishwomen dress better in full evening dress than in what is known as _demi-toilette_. I cannot think so. It is not the English dress that then looks better, but the Englishwoman; that is, if she has fine shoulders, breasts, and arms. It is the beauty that is revealed, the woman pure and simple, that pleases the eye, just as is the case elsewhere. For the things that an Englishwoman will put on, or put half-off herself, in the evening, are amazing to behold. An Englishwoman in full dress who has not a fine figure is even more dowdy than she is in the morning. For then she is likely to be at least neat and tidy, and she may wear a gown that is comparatively unobtrusive in form and color. Indeed, the best dress that the average Englishwoman wears is her simple street dress, which is apt to be of some sober color--black, gray, light or dark, or a dark soft blue, and to be entirely without ornament--not a flounce or a bow, or even a button except for use, with a bonnet, or oftener a hat, equally sober in tint and in form. And this is best for her; in this she is safe. If she would not risk offence, let her enfold herself thus. Let her by no means wander forth into the wilderness of mingled colors: "that way madness lies." This outward show is in no way the consequence of carelessness. No one in England seems to be careless about anything, least of all a woman about her dress. It is helpless, hopeless, elaborated dowdyism. And yet as I write there rise up against me, with sweet, reproachful faces, figures draped worthily of their beauty; and more could not be said even for the work of Worth himself. One of many I particularly remember with whom I took five o'clock tea at the house of one of the Queen's chaplains, and who bore a name that may be found in the "Peveril of the Peak." Her bright intelligence and her rich beauty (her oval cheek was olive) would have made me indifferent to her dress had it been a homespun bedgown. But shall I ever forget the beautiful curves and tint of that soft-gray broad-leafed felt hat and feather, the elegance of the dark carriage dress that harmonized so well with it, or the perfect glove upon the hand that was held out so frankly to bid me good-by? No, fair British friends, it is not you that I mean; it is those other women whom I saw, but did not know.

It is because of the average Englishwoman's sad failure in dressing herself that the notion has got abroad that Englishmen are finer looking than Englishwomen. For the dress of the men is notably in good taste. It is simple, manly, neat; and although sober in tint and snug in cut, it is likely to have its general sobriety lightened up with a little touch of bright, warm color. On the other hand, the dress of "American" men is generally far, very, very far, inferior to that of the women in the corresponding conditions of life. This helps to produce the corresponding mistaken notion that the women in "America" are handsomer than the men; upon the incorrectness and essential absurdity of which I have already commented.

As to another attributed superiority of the Yankee woman I must express my surprised dissent. I have not only read, but heard their intelligence and social qualities rated much higher than that of their sisters in England. Fair countrywomen, heed not this flattery. It is not true. The typical Englishwoman of the upper and upper middle class has in strength of mind and in information no type counterpart in "America." She may not know Latin, and she may, and get little good by it; she may not be brilliant, or quick, or self-adaptive, and she generally is not; but she is well informed both as to the past and the present; she shows the effect rather of true education than of school cramming, of culture inherited and slowly acquired, and of intercourse with able, highly educated, and cultivated men. She generally has some accomplishment which she has acquired in no mere showy boarding-school fashion, but with a respectable thoroughness. England is full of ladies who paint well in water colors, or who are musicians, not mere piano players, or who are botanists, or who write well, and who add one or more of such acquirements to a solid general education, a considerable knowledge of affairs, and the ability to manage a large household.

The conversation of the society in which such women are found is far more interesting, far worthier of respect than that which is heard in fashionable society (and these women are fashionable) in "America." And this without any reproach to the latter. For how could it be otherwise than that women who are the daughters, sisters, and wives of men who are themselves highly educated, and who have the affairs of a great empire, if not in their hands, at least upon their minds, should in all that can be acquired by intercourse with such men be superior to others most of whom bear the same relations to men who are necessarily inferior in all these respects, who are absorbed in business, and know little beyond their business except what can be learned from the hurried reading of newspapers? In England there is not only accumulated wealth, but accumulated culture; and of this the result appears not only in the men, but in the women. It could not be otherwise. Englishwomen are companions, and friends, and helps to their fathers, their husbands, to all the men of their household. They are not absorbed in the mere external affairs of society; and society is not entirely in their hands. Men, men of mature years, form the substance of English society; they give it its tone; women its grace and its ornamentation. Even in the Englishwoman's drawing-room the Englishman is looked up to and treated with deference. The talk and the tone must be such as pleases him. She finds her pleasure as well as her duty in making it such as pleases him. She is even there his companion, his friend, his help. No matter how clever or brilliant she may be, she does not seek _tenir salon_ like the French female _bel esprit_. No matter how beautiful or how fashionable she may be, she does not leave him out of her society arrangements; unless, indeed, in either case, she chooses to set propriety at naught and brave an accusation of "bad form." And indeed, should she attempt this she would probably soon be checked by a very decided interposition of marital authority. The result of all this is a soberer tone in mixed society than we are accustomed to, and the discussion of graver topics in general conversation.

And yet in the household the Englishwoman is quite supreme--much more so, I think, than she is in "America." She really manages all household affairs, troubling her husband with no details, but being careful to manage in such a way as to please him. For, as I have said before, the wish of the master of an English household is the law of that household. Notwithstanding all this, I have been led to the firm belief that hen-pecking is far more common in England than it is with us, and that curtain lectures are much oftener delivered there than here. "Mrs. Caudle's Curtain Lectures" would hardly have suggested themselves to an American humorist, although the thing itself--if not in its perfection, in its germ--is sufficiently known here to make the humor and the satire of that series perfectly appreciated. And, strange to say, the average English husband seems to be a less independent creature than the "American." English wives more generally insist upon their prerogative of sitting solemnly up for their husbands at night; and latch-keys are regarded as a personal grievance. What American wife would think of making a fuss about a man's having a latch-key? Not a few of them, indeed, have one themselves. And yet I have seen an Englishwoman of the lower middle class flush and choke and whimper when the subject of the inalienable right of a man to a latch-key to his own house was broached, and begin to talk about the worm turning when it is trampled upon.

The devotion of Englishwomen to their families, and particularly to their children, cannot be surpassed. I believe that they are the best, the most self-sacrificing daughters, wives, and mothers in the world, except the good daughters and wives and mothers in "America"; and even them I believe they generally surpass in submissiveness and thoughtful consideration. But this is the result of the general subordination which in all things pervades English society.

It is generally believed in England, I cannot tell why, that women in "America" take part in public affairs and are much more in the eye of the world than Englishwomen are. Of this belief I met with an amusing instance. One day at dinner in a "great house" I had on one side of me a gentleman who had come in alone for lack of ladies enough to "go round"; it was a small family party. He was the brother of my hostess, a fine, intelligent fellow about twenty-five years old, who had just taken his bachelor's degree at Oxford. As I turned from his sister to him, in a pause of conversation, he asked me with great earnestness, almost with solemnity, "Is--it--true--that--in--America--the--women-- sit--on--juries?" I answered instantly, and with perfect gravity, "Yes; all of them who are not on duty as sergeants of dragoons." For one appreciable delightful moment doubt and bewilderment flashed through his bright, handsome eyes, and then he, as well as others within earshot, appreciated the situation, and there was a hearty laugh and an ingenuous blush mantled his cheeks--for young men can blush in England. When I explained that in no part of that strange country "America" with which I was acquainted did women sit on juries, or take any part in public affairs, or even vote or go to public meetings, and that nine in ten of the women that I knew would be puzzled to tell who represented in Congress the districts in which they lived, who were the Senators from their States, and possibly who were their Governors, I was listened to with profound attention; and the surprise of my hearers was very manifest, and was strongly expressed. It could hardly have been otherwise; for nothing that I could have said would have brought into clearer light the fact that women in America are very much less informed upon public affairs and take very much less interest in them than is the case with almost all Englishwomen of the cultivated classes. In England almost all intelligent women of the upper and upper middle classes take a very lively interest in politics, are tolerably well informed upon the public questions of the day, and in many cases they have no inconsiderable influence upon them. The reason of this is that political life and the social life of the upper classes there are so thoroughly intermingled. Politics form the chief concern of the members of those classes; apart, of course, from their own private affairs. Hardly a woman of that class is without a husband, brother, kinsman, or friend who is, or who has been, or hopes to be a member of Parliament, or who is in diplomacy, or connected in some way with colonial affairs. Politics there are intimately connected with the great object of woman's life in modern days--social success. It is difficult for women in England, and even for men, to understand the entire severance of politics and society which obtains in "America," and to believe that a man may be a member of Congress or even a Senator, and yet be entirely without social position. Politics there are the most interesting topic of conversation among intelligent and cultivated people in general society, and such an acquaintance with political questions and party manoeuvres as is here confined to a very few women indeed, whose relations to public men are peculiar, and who "go to Washington," is there very common among all women of superior position.

Of this I met with a striking illustration on my way from Warwick to Coventry. As I was about entering the railway carriage, a friend, an Englishman, who was kindly travelling with me for a day or two, and "coaching" me, told the porter who had my portmanteau to put it into the carriage. This, by the way, is permitted there. If there is room, and no one objects, you may take a huge trunk into a first-class railway carriage. Indeed, one could hardly be taken into a second-class carriage for lack of room; and a third-class carriage is hardly larger than that marvellous institution known to American women--but to no others--as a Saratoga trunk. I objected to my friend's proposal because there was a lady in the carriage. She was standing with her back to me as I spoke, but she immediately turned and said, in a clear, sweet voice, "Oh, yes; bring it in; never mind me; there's quite room enough." I never saw a more elegant woman. She was about forty years old, still very handsome, tall, with a fine lithe figure, and a gentle loftiness of manner which I might have called aristocratic, had she not reminded me strongly in every way of an "American" woman whom I had known from my boyhood. Nothing could have been more simple, frank, and good-natured than the way in which she made me and my luggage welcome. Her maid, who was standing by her, and who was herself a very lady-like person, soon left us to take her place in a second-class carriage, and we three were left in possession.

The train started with that gentle, unobtrusive motion which is usual on English railways, and we fell into the chat of fellow travellers. I was charmed with her. Her voice and her manner of speech would have made the recitation of the multiplication table agreeable. She had a son at Oxford, which I had left a few days before, and it proved that we had common acquaintances there. She showed, with all her superiority of manner, social and personal--for she was what would have been called in the last generation a superior woman--that deference to manhood which I have mentioned before as a trait of Englishwomen. Ere long my companion mentioned that we had been at Kenilworth that day. She replied, "Oh, I must go there. I have never been. Why! It is just like Americans to go to Kenilworth. All the Americans go to Kenilworth, and to Warwick Castle, and to Stratford." My companion replied that we had been at all those places. She laughed merrily, and said, "You ought to have been Americans to do that." My friend then told her that I was an "American." She turned upon me almost with a stare, and after a moment of silence spoke to me again, but with a perceptible and very remarkable change of manner. It was very slight--of a delicate fineness. Her courtesy was not in the least diminished, nor her frankness; but the perfectly unconscious and careless expression of her face was impaired, and her attention to me was a little more pronounced than it had been before. She inquired if I had been pleased with my visit to Kenilworth, and told me that a novel had been written about it by Sir Walter Scott. "But perhaps you have read it," she added. "Have you met with it?" I answered, "I have heard of it"; and my inward satisfaction was great when I saw that I had done so with a face so unmoved that she replied with a gracious instructiveness of manner, "Oh, you should have read it before you went to Kenilworth; it would so have increased your pleasure. But the next best thing for you is to read it now." I thanked her, and said that I should like to do so. I think that she would have gone on to recommend a perusal of the works of William Shakespeare to me in connection with my visit to Stratford on Avon, although she looked at me in a puzzled way once or twice. But my companion, although I saw he was amused at something in her talk, marred whatever hopes I had of further instruction by breaking in with some remark upon the politics of Warwickshire. She rose to his fly like a trout on a hazy day, and in a minute or two she had forgotten my existence in her discussion with him of a topic which plainly was to her of far more interest than all the Scotts that could have dwelt in Kenilworth, and all the Shakespeares that could have stood in Stratford. He was a Birmingham magnate, and knew everything that was going on in the country; but she was his equal in information, and it seemed to me his superior in political craft. To every suggestion of his she made some reply that showed that the question was not new to her. She knew all the ins and outs of the politics of the county: who could be expected to support this measure, who was sure to oppose that. She knew all about the manufacturing interests of Birmingham: who had retired from active management; who was coming in; what money had been taken out of this establishment, what changes had taken place in the other, and had an opinion as to what effect this was going to have upon Parliament. I never heard the beginning of such political talk from a woman in America, even from one whose husband was in politics. The train stopped; her maid appeared, and she bade us courteously good-by, with the puzzled look in her eye as it rested upon the fellow passenger to whom she had recommended the perusal of "Kenilworth"; and then my companion told me, what indeed I had been sure of all along, that she was a member of the governing class.

A few days before, I had observed in Oxford, where a local election was impending, small posters addressed to "The Burgesses," and these invariably began "_Ladies_ and Gentlemen," a form of "campaign document" as foreign to us as it would be to peoples subject to the Salique law--than which worse laws have long prevailed in many countries.

Not only in politics but in business women appear much more prominently than they do in "America." If they do not keep hotels, which they sometimes do, they manage them, whether they are great or small. The place which in "America" is filled by that exquisite, awful, and imperturbable being, the hotel clerk, is filled invariably in England by a woman--so at least I always found it, and I found the change a very happy one. To be met by the cheery, pleasant faces of these bright, well-mannered women, to be spoken to as if you were a human being whom, in consideration of what you are to pay, it was a pleasure to make as comfortable as possible, instead of being treated with lofty condescension, or at best with serene indifference, was a pleasant sensation. And these women did their work so quietly and cheerfully, and yet in such a businesslike way, that it was a constant pleasure to come into contact with them. Dressed in black serge or alpaca, they affected no flirting airs, and directed or obeyed promptly and quietly. And yet their womanhood constantly appeared in their manner and in their thoughtfulness for the comfort of those who were in their care. They always had a pleasant word or a smile in answer to a passing remark, were always ready to answer any question or give any information, and were pleased at any acknowledgment of satisfaction. Naturally it was so; for they were women; and they were chosen, it seemed to me, for their pleasant ways as well as for their efficiency. From not one of them, from one end of England to the other, in great cities or in quiet country towns and villages, did I receive one surly word or look, or anything but the kindest and promptest attention. I can say the same of the shop women, who waited upon customers not as if they were consciously condescending in the performing of such duties, but cheerfully and pleasantly, and with a show of interest that a purchaser should be satisfied. Their dress was almost invariably the same black unornamented serge or alpaca, which, by the way, is the commonest street dress of all women of their condition. In the telegraph offices the clerks are generally women; and indeed, women seem to do everything except plough, drive omnibuses and railway engines, and be soldiers and policemen. They keep turnpikes, where turnpikes still exist; and in Sussex I saw a woman's name with her husband's upon the pike-house. Indeed, it seemed to me that in all public affairs, from politics down to turnpike keeping, women were very much more engaged and before the world in England than in America, although I saw no jury-women or she sergeants.

As to the manners of Englishwomen, they are, like the manners of other women, good, bad, and indifferent. And chiefly they are indifferent; being in this particular also like others, especially of the Teutonic races; which races, my readers may like to be reminded, are the Deutsch (which we call German), the Hollanders, the Anglo-Saxon (or better, the English), and the Scandinavians (Swedes, Norsemen, Danes, and Icelanders). The average manners of these peoples, even of the women among them, are on the whole truly indifferent. They are not coarse, but as surely they are not polished. Manner, however, is a very different thing from manners; and in manner Englishwomen, from the highest class to the lowest, are all more or less charming--strong-minded women and lodging-house keepers being of course excepted. This charm, like all traits and effects of manner, is not easy to describe; but it left upon me at this time, as it had left before, an impression of its being the outcoming of an intense consciousness of womanhood, and with this a feeling of modest but very firm self-respect. The most intelligent Englishwoman, even in her most exalted moments, never seems to resolve herself into a bare intelligence. Her mind is always clad in woman's flesh; and her body thinks. Thus conscious of her own womanhood, she keeps you conscious of it, not merely by the facts that her hair is long, her face beardless, and that her body (in the evening the lower part of it at least) is covered with voluminous and marvellous apparel--in a word, not merely by outer show.

All this is but the outward sign; and it might exist--as it so often does, I shall not say where--in women, without the least of that grace, not of movement or of speech, or even of thought, but of moral condition, which is to me the chiefest charm in woman. How often have I sat by one of such women talking--no, talked at (for it reduces me to silence)--in such a splendid and overwhelming manner, and with such a superior consciousness of intellectuality, that I could not but think that except for the silk and the lace, and the lack of moustaches, and the evident expectation of a compliment, I might as well have been talking with a man (only a man would have said more with less fuss), and that I longed for the companionship of some pretty, well-bred ignoramus, whose head was full only of common sense, and whose soul as well as whose body was of the female sex. England is not without women of the other kind, I suppose, but they are so rare that I met with none; while all the women that I did meet had the soft, sweet charm given by the contented consciousness of their womanhood. Womanhood looks out from an Englishwoman's eyes; it speaks in every inflection of her voice. No matter how clever she may be, how well informed, she never utters mind pure and simple; she never lays a bare statement of thought or of fact before you. She is too modest. A piece of her mind she does, indeed, sometimes give you. But then, be sure, she is, of all times, the most thoroughly womanlike and absolved from intellectuality; being, however, thus in her excitement not peculiar among her sex. At all other times she leaves an impression of gentleness, and a lack of intellectual robustness; and, if you are a man at least, she, without any seeming intention of so doing, keeps you constantly in mind that she is trusting to you--to your strength, your ability, your position--to ensure that she shall be treated with respect and tenderness, and taken care of; and that therefore she owes you deference, and that it becomes her to be not only as charming but as serviceable as possible. Even in the hardest women there is a remnant at least of this. An Englishwoman shall be a sort of she-bagman, a traveller for manufacturers, and in the habit of riding second or even third class alone, from one end of England to the other (and I talked with such women), and she shall yet show you this gentle, womanly consciousness. A woman's eye there never looks straight and steady into yours, saying, "I am quite able to take care of my own person, and interests, and reputation. Don't trouble yourself about me in those respects. Meantime, sir, I am taking your measure." There is always a mute appeal from her womanhood to your manhood. This charm belongs to the Englishwoman of all ranks, and beautifies everything that she does, even if she does it awkwardly, which is not always. She shows it if she is a great lady and welcomes you, or if she is a housemaid and serves you. Not actually every Englishwoman is thus of course; for there are hard, and proud, and cruel, and debased women there, as there are elsewhere. But, apart from these exceptions, this is the manner of Englishwomen; and, in so far as a man may judge, this manner, or the counterpart of it, does not forsake them when they are among themselves.

This soft charm of the Englishwoman's manner is greatly helped and heightened by her voice and her manner of speaking. In these she is not only without an equal, but beyond comparison with the women of any other people, except the few of her own blood and tongue in this country, who have like voices and the same utterance. The voices and the speech of Englishwomen of all classes are, with few exceptions, pleasant to the ear--soft and clear; their words are well articulated, but not precisely pronounced. They speak without much emphasis, yet not monotonously, but with gentle modulation. Their speech is therefore very easily understood--much more so than that of persons who speak louder and with stronger emphasis. You rarely or never are obliged to ask an Englishwoman to repeat what she has said because you have failed to catch her words. This soft, yet crisp and clear and easily flowing speech, is, as I have said, common to the whole sex there.

I remember that in one of my prowlings about London I found myself in a little, dingy court that opened off Thames street--a low, water-side street that runs under London Bridge. It was Sunday morning, and I had come down from Charing Cross in one of the little Thames steamers, to attend service at St. Paul's, and had half an hour to spare. The street was almost deserted, and so quiet that my footsteps echoed from the walls of the dull and smoke-browned houses. In this court I found two women talking. One was Sairey Gamp. I am sure it was Sairey. The leer upon her heavy face could not be mistaken, and she had grown even a little stouter than when I was so happy as to make her acquaintance years ago. The other was probably Betsey Prig; she was a mere wisp of a woman; or, indeed, she may have been Mrs. Harris herself--her shadow-like figure being the next thing in woman form to nonentity. As I passed these two humble people, I was struck by the tone and manner of their speech as they talked earnestly together. Their words and their pronunciation were vulgar enough; but, as a whole, the speech of both was rich and musical. The whole of that otherwise silent court was filled with the soft murmur of their voices. I had no business there, but I pretended to have, and went from dingy door to dingy door, lingering and loitering all round the court, that I might listen. They did not stare at me any more than I did at them--plainly, they would not have thought of such rudeness--but they went on with their talk, speaking their language and mine with tones and inflections that I never heard from two women of like position in "America."

I was reminded of this afterward when one morning, at a great house, a country seat, I lingered with my hostess at the breakfast table after all the rest of the family had risen. She touched a bell, and a maid, an upper servant, answered the summons. No servants, by the way, wait at breakfast there, even in great houses. After you are once started, and the tea is made, you are left alone, to wait upon yourselves--a fashion full of comfort, making breakfast the most sociable meal of the day. When the maid appeared the lady spoke at once, and the servant stopped at the door and replied, and there was a little dialogue about some household matter. The young woman's answers were little more than, "Yes, my Lady," and, "No, my Lady," but I was charmed by them--more so than I have ever been by a lecture or a recitation from the lips of one of the sex. She spoke in a subdued tone; but every syllable was distinct, although she was at the further end of a large dining-room. Her mistress's voice was no less clear and sweet and charming, and as they talked, in their low, even tones, with perfect ease and understanding at this distance, the whole of the great room resounded sweetly with this spoken music. When English is spoken in this way by a woman of superior breeding and intelligence there is, of course, an added charm, and it is then the most delightful speech that I ever heard, or can imagine. Compared with it, German becomes hideous and ridiculous, French mean and snappish, Spanish too weak and open-mouthed, and even Italian, noble and sweet as it is, seems to lack a certain firmness and crispness, and to be without a homely charm that it may not lack to those whose mother tongue is bastard Latin.

One reason of this beauty of the speech of Englishwomen is doubtless in the voice itself. An Englishwoman's voice is soft, but it is not weak. It is notably firm, clear, and vibrating. It is neither guttural nor nasal. While it soothes the ear, it compels attention. Like the tone of a fine old Cremona violin, its softest vibrations make themselves heard and understood when mere noise makes only confusion. Such voices are not entirely lacking among women in "America"; but, alas! how few of the fortunate possessors of such voices here use them worthily! For the other element of the beauty of the Englishwoman's speech is in her utterance. "Her voice is ever soft, gentle, and low, an excellent thing in woman." Shakespeare knew the truth in this, as in so many other things. One of the very few points on which we may be sure of his personal preferences is that he disliked high voices and sharp speech in women. Singular man! I fear that his ears would suffer here. The Englishwoman's voice is strong as well as sweet, but her speech is low. She rarely raises her voice. I do not remember having ever heard an Englishwoman try to compel attention in that way; but I have heard French and Spanish and Italian women, ladies of unquestionable position and breeding, almost scream, and that, too, in society. Nor does the Englishwoman use much emphasis. Her manner of speech is calm, although without any suggestion of dignity, and her inflections, which rise often, although they are full of meaning, are gentle. I remarked this difference in her speech of itself, but much more when I heard again the speech of my own countrywomen. I had not been in their company five minutes--not one--when I was pierced through from ear to ear. They seemed to me to be talking in italics, to be emphasizing every word, as if they would thrust it into my ears, whether I would or not. They seemed to scream at me. They did scream. I am sure that to their emphatic and almost fierce utterance is due, in a very great measure, the inferior charm of their speech, when compared with that of their sisters who have remained in the "old home." If they would be a little more gentle, a little less self-asserting, a little less determined, and a little more persuasive in their utterance as well as in their manner, I am sure that, with all their other advantages, they need fear no rivalry in womanly charm, even with the truly feminine, sensible, soft-mannered, sweet-voiced women of England.



The most certain, and at the same time the most uncertain of events, is the period of the termination of human life. This is a seeming paradox; nay, it is more than seeming. The time when any member of the human family will shuffle off this mortal coil no science can forecast, no art discover; but the successive numbers out of any thousand men of given ages who will, year after year, die, has been ascertained by actual count in so many instances and verified by experience for so long a time, that it is safe to say that no law in nature is better established by proof. Given these elements, how easy to erect the fabric of life insurance--how easy to spread among the many the misfortunes of the individuals who die untimely deaths, their numbers being known beforehand.

Upon this paradox life insurance rests. It is at once one of the most simple and one of the most beneficent methods ever invented for alleviating the evils necessarily incident to our complex civilization. For a trifling sum, a man may make provision for his family against untimely death, and thus gain the quiet of soul and peace of mind necessary for the pursuit of his avocation.

But I do not mean to sing a pæan to life insurance. It may be safely said that the subject is not new, or the field uncultivated. On the contrary, the topic has been said and sung in prose and verse for so long that it ceases to attract for novelty's sake; while we have all heard the ubiquitous agent sound its praises in our ears, until it appeared to our excited imagination as if there were no need of any further want, or care, or trouble in the world, and that life insurance was, or was about to be, or at least

Might be the be-all and the end-all here.

The object of the present writer is to suggest the spots upon the sun, to point out the fallacies, the faults, and the frauds which have been allowed to grow up around the system, and to make some suggestions for the cure of the evils and their prevention.

To begin with, the frauds in life insurance date from the period when companies were started for the purpose of making money, and with the appearance of being philanthropical institutions. Savings banks have gone through the same experience, and it is a sad one. Men who attempt to lead the public to believe that they are engaged in an enterprise based, not upon the selfish principle of profit, but upon the unselfish principle of doing good, and who then deliberately go to work to fill their own coffers by means of the business, are, to say the least, obtaining their money by false pretences.

The capital of the Continental Life Insurance Company was $100,000, and although, by the original charter, the stock-holders were entitled to share with the policy-holders in the profits of the business, yet some years ago an arrangement was made, upon the transfer of the risks of another company to the Continental, that only seven per cent. should be paid to stock-holders. Ever since the yearly statement to the State authorities set forth under oath that only seven per cent. had been paid to stock-holders, all the rest of the profits being presumably divided among the policy-holders. But now, when the light is let in upon this company, it appears that it always paid its stock-holders eighteen to twenty-eight per cent., and that while, of late years, only seven per cent. was charged on the books, yet the money was paid just the same. Then, too, lest the policy-holders should get too much profits to be divided among them, princely salaries were paid to the officers and agents, and upon these salaries annuities were predicated, which were also commuted, capitalized, and surrendered to the company each year. I hardly know how to characterize this scheme. It came out in the evidence of an officer, who said he had $2,000 per annum, with an annuity of five per cent. That sounds quite simple, and persons not fully informed on the subject of life insurance would hesitate to expose their ignorance by asking questions. The annuity turns out to be $100 per annum for life, which at the time it is granted the company capitalized and purchased back, paying about $1,000 therefor. But next year there is another annuity for life granted, of the same amount, which is again purchased, and so on continually. The effect is to add to the officers' salaries, yearly, about fifty per cent., and at the same time conceal it from the public, the State department, and the policy-holders. The president's $17,500 thus became over $26,000, without attracting attention. Besides, it helps demonstrate the scientific principles upon which life insurance and life annuities are based, and by practically illustrating to the managers themselves the potency of algebraic formula in figuring large sums out of small, convinced them of the truth of the arguments which they are to make to the agents, and the agents to the public, by which the money is to be brought in to keep this fine system going.

You will say that this is only one case, and that it is an exception, and that companies honestly managed will not permit such things. I grant you the latter part of your answer, but ask you to show me an honestly managed company; I know but very few. It will be found, on investigation, that these practices, or others quite as bad, flourish in every company, in this State at least, with few exceptions.

Commuted commissions is another item under the thin disguise of which the policy-holders are robbed, but I defer the consideration of that topic for that of changing policies, to which more pressing interest attaches.

When a life policy has run for a certain number of years, and the company has received upon the policy a large number of premiums, it is obliged, both by prudential reasons and by law, to hold against the liability upon it a certain sum of money. This sum is called the reserve. It is also called the reinsurance fund. It is in fact the sum which the company has been improving at compound interest against the day when the policy must be paid. If for any reason the policy lapses--say for non-payment of premium--this sum becomes the property of the company. No policy-holder knows what the reserve on his policy is, and the company will not tell him. It is one of those interesting facts which you are not expected to ask questions about. It requires a complicated calculation to arrive at it. The officers tell you so. The fact is that every company has a book of tables which will tell you the reserve at any moment, and the policy register should show the reserve returned to the department the previous January. It will be seen that if the company can induce the policy-holder to sell his policy to them for a sum less than the reserve, it makes the difference in profit. This is what is known as freezing out. This is open, notorious, bold robbery. But there is a secret method which accomplishes the same result. This is known as changing. If the company is not ready to incur the odium of attempting to purchase its policies, it sends accomplished agents to persuade its policy-holders that some new form of policy is more desirable than the old. Hence the numerous plans of insurance. In the change, it is safe to say that the reserve on the old policy is pretty well used up, and out of it the agent takes a slice, and a pretty good slice, and who takes the rest of it is no mystery. Every policy-holder in a life insurance company who is asked to surrender his policy and take money for it, or another policy, may rest assured that there is a fraud at the bottom of the transaction, and that whoever will make money by it, he will not. In the reinsurance of companies, and the consequent changes of policies from one company to another, this has been the method by which the promoters of the scheme have realized large amounts of money.

Leaving the fertile subject of changing policies, and the frauds of which that operation has been made the vehicle, let me examine the subject of supervision by the State over the companies, and the effect which such supervision has had upon the business. Of course the theory of a State department is that of supervision. It is based upon the power of visitation, as exercised by the founders of hospitals and colleges, for the purpose of seeing that the corporation is carrying out the will of the founder. Here the State, having conferred a corporate franchise, has the right to see that the franchise is properly exercised. To that end an officer is appointed, to whom each corporation is to make annual, detailed reports of its operations, and who is vested with the power of examining the companies, to ascertain if their reports be correct, and if the laws have been complied with. There is no doubt but that if the power were properly exercised, the action of the Superintendent of Insurance would have a beneficial effect. The great difficulty in carrying out the supervision effectively has been, however, the imperfect character of the legislation on the subject. The laws fix an arbitrary standard of solvency, which binds the Superintendent hand and foot.

Insurance experts differ very widely as to the correctness of this standard. It obliges the companies to have on hand invested a sum of money, being a certain arithmetical proportion to the amount of outstanding insurance. A company may not have this amount and yet be solvent, and have before it a long and prosperous career of usefulness. Another company may have the technical amount of assets and yet be rotten to the core. It is said that the very largest and best managed companies have passed through periods when if this criterion were to have been applied to their condition, they would have been weighed and found wanting. The mere amount of assets at any given time cannot be a positive test of the condition of the business. The expense of doing business in one company may be small, and all of it taken out of the premium for the first year, in which case the technical reserve at the end of the year may be very much impaired; yet the company may be in a most promising and flourishing condition, with a good business on its books, and a large future income secure without further cost. On the other hand, a company may have the full technical reserve and yet have acquired its business at ruinous application, out of its future premiums, of large commissions. With laws so imperfect, with no provision for examining the commercial condition of a company, it is not strange that State supervision should gradually fade into an empty form. It is true the department has been for some years kept in full apparent efficiency. There has been a respectable head, and a very full body of clerks duly appointed at the suggestion of members of the Senate. These clerks have been agreeably employed in receiving, folding, and filing the reports of the various companies; in receiving applications for licenses from agents of foreign companies; in issuing such licenses; in furnishing printed copies of the charters of companies to all who apply for the same, and also copies of the reports of the companies. These duties are supplemented by that of collecting the fees for the various services, and by the composition of answers to letters of policy-holders of the most Delphic character. The head of the department, I suppose, is meantime fully employed in digesting the statements of the companies and preparing his annual report of their condition, to be presented to the Legislature, and afterward printed and bound in gilt covers, for distribution among his constituents. These reports are quite pleasant reading. You will find year after year faint and delicate suggestions as to amendatory laws, opinions that there is doubt of the legality of amalgamations, and other twaddle. Not a word, however, denunciatory of the frauds being perpetrated under the very nose of the department, and which every man in the State can see quite plainly but himself. Of the epistolary productions of the Superintendent, it is hard to speak. If language be given to conceal thought, how well it is used by the Department of Insurance. Complaints, charges, requests to examine--all are met so politely, so evasively, that while you feel you are being put off, and that your request will not be granted, you know not why you are refused.

Thus the Department of Insurance ran its natural course. It became a storehouse of heaps of meaningless figures. The companies soon found that their mistakes were not corrected, and it became convenient to make mistakes. Gradually false statements grew out of exaggerated ones. Cash in bank would continue to represent money which had been lost by a bank failure. In one sense it was cash in bank--cash that would never again come out. Then money in the hands of agents is an item which could rise and sink with great facility. In some companies it grew to such proportions as to warrant the suspicion that pretty soon all the money of the company would be in the hands of agents, and very bad hands to be in they have generally proven, have these agents' hands. The books of the Continental Company show about a million of dollars in the hands of those gentlemen, with very little chance of any considerable portion of it ever getting into the hands of the receiver.

And the worst of this condition of affairs with respect to the Insurance Department is that it is a delusion and a snare. If there were no supervision, people would exercise their judgment themselves, uninfluenced by annual reports and all the apparently officially recognized, columnar, battalions of carefully disposed statistics. Then instead of producing certificates with the departmental seal authenticating solvency, the life insurance solicitor would be forced to prove his company entitled to credit by other and more convincing arguments. Naturally enough, the plain people suppose that when the State undertakes to regulate the business, it will do the work which it undertakes well and honestly. It has in fact done neither. While saying to the country, our companies are under strict supervision; they are obliged to make annual reports; and if there is any item in that report which leads the Superintendent to believe the company should be examined, it is immediately done, and we permit no company to continue in business unless it has assets enough to reinsure all its outstanding contracts. That is what in effect the State of New York says. How far otherwise are its actual doings let the history of the Continental and the Security answer. The receiver of the first named says it has been insolvent for five or six years, and insurance people gravely suspected that for some time. As to the Security, any boy in a life company will tell you that its absolute insolvency has been well known for at least two years to all persons having any knowledge of the business at all, who have read their annual reports. Nevertheless the department did not interfere. The Continental let it be understood in California that they were insolvent, so that they could buy in their contracts at a low price. At home they keep up the appearance of solvency, go through the solemn farce of making out reports and filing them in the department, showing a surplus of nearly a million, when in fact there was a deficiency of two millions.

What an efficient department! What a splendid system! How careful of the interests of the public! What a fatherly State to its expectant widows and orphans!

Just here is the vice of the whole system. Relying on the care of the State officers, the policy-holder takes out his policy and continues his payments year after year. Relying on a broken reed!

Can it be conceived possible that the real owners of two hundred millions of dollars would abandon to directors the entire charge of their interests and the interests of those dear to them, unless they were inspired by faith in that governmental supervision which they were led to believe would be effectual to protect their interests, and to make safe the provision which they had made, not for themselves, but for those helpless ones whom it is the duty of the State to care for, and the boast of our system of jurisprudence that it protects with jealous care?

The result of all this faithlessness is seen in the present condition of life insurance affairs. Is the remedy to be found in legislation, in new attempts to make supervision on the part of the State more than a name, or in the abandonment of the whole scheme of supervision and in leaving the business to be carried on without any State control or supervision? This is really the momentous question of the hour, and one that cannot be too thoroughly discussed or too carefully considered.

In its consideration the status of a policy-holder in a life insurance company must be taken into consideration. To thoroughly understand what that status is, it is necessary to examine carefully the contract on which it rests. Each policy in a life insurance company provides for a life-long engagement on the part of the assured. He is to continue to pay premiums as long as he lives, if he does not anticipate them by a single payment, or by several payments. On its part the company agrees to pay to the assured, or rather to his nominee at the death of the assured, a certain sum. In addition, however, to this simple contract, the policy-holder is entitled to a share in the profits of the company. That share is greater or less as the case may be, as the organization of the company provides. The policy-holder is thus in a certain sense a partner in the business. He has an expectation of profits, either in the shape of reduced premiums, increased insurance, or actual money. The contract is not one of indemnity merely. It is a contract to pay at death a fixed sum, in consideration of the payment during life of certain sums known as premiums. It is an arrangement by means of which the pecuniary hardships incident to premature death are borne by a great number of persons instead of the family of the person who dies before his expectation of life has been reached. It is apparent from this contract that the company which issues it must in the nature of things have the custody and management of large sums of money. It is contemplated by the parties that accumulations in the hands of the company must exist, and it is an incident of the contract that the officers of the company shall have the management of that fund. Is the fund a trust to be held by the company for the benefit of the policy-holders? If it be, then the courts of equity have complete and entire jurisdiction, and to them it should be left. They are competent to enforce the proper execution of other trusts, and presumably of this. Give perfect freedom of individual action to each policy-holder, take off the leading-strings of State supervision, and leave the parties to a life insurance contract where the parties to other contracts are left, to themselves and the courts.



It is a somewhat singular fact that although the United States assumed all the rights, powers, and dignities of a nation on the Fourth of July, 1776, no great seal was adopted until about five months before the signing of the preliminary treaty of peace with Great Britain in 1782. This is the more remarkable when we consider that our forefathers were brought up under the shadow of the English law, which prescribed that no grant nor charter was _factum_ until it was sealed, and of English custom, which taught that even the sign manual of the sovereign must be authenticated by an impression from the privy seal.

But the inception of our government was attended with other informalities than the neglect to provide a seal. Silas Deane, our first political agent to France, wrote from Paris to the secret committee of Congress, under date of November 28, 1776, acknowledging the receipt of the committee's letter of August 7, enclosing a copy of another letter of July 8, the original of which never came to hand, and also a copy of the Declaration of Independence, which, he complains, had been circulated in Europe two months before. This last letter conveyed what was intended to be the official notification to the court of France of the act of separation of the colonies, but was so unofficial in form that Mr. Deane was prompted to say in answer that he would have supposed that "some mode more formal, or, if I may say, respectful, would have been made use of, than simply two or three lines from the committee of Congress.... I mention this as something deserving of serious consideration, whether in your applications here and your powers and instructions of a public nature, it is not always proper to use a seal? This is a very ancient custom in all public and even private concerns of any consequence."

But although Congress neglected to provide a seal, it was not because it had not anticipated the need of one, for this record appears in its journal, under date of Thursday, July 4, 1776:

_Resolved_, That Dr. Franklin, Mr. J. Adams, and Mr. Jefferson be a committee to prepare a device for a seal for the United States of America.

We obtain an insight of the acts of this committee in a letter from John Adams to his wife, under date of Philadelphia, August 14, 1776.

After discussing matters irrelevant to the question at issue, he says:

I am put upon a committee to prepare ... devices for a great seal for the confederated States. There is a gentleman here of French extraction, whose name is _Du Simitière_, a painter by profession, whose designs are very ingenious, and his drawings well executed. He has been applied to for his advice. I waited on him yesterday, and saw his sketches.... For the seal, he proposes the arms of the several nations from whence _America_ has been peopled, as _English_, _Scotch_, _Irish_, _Dutch_, _German_, etc., each in a shield. On one side of them, Liberty with her pileus; on the other, a Rifler in his uniform, with his rifle-gun in one hand, and his tomahawk in the other: this dress, and these troops, with this kind of armour, being peculiar to _America_, unless the dress was known to the Romans. Dr. Franklin showed me a book containing an account of the dresses of all the _Roman_ soldiers, one of which appeared exactly like it.... Doctor Franklin proposes a device for a seal: Moses lifting up his wand, and dividing the _Red Sea_, and _Pharaoh_ in his chariot overwhelmed with the waters. This motto, "Rebellion to Tyrants is obedience to God."

Mr. Jefferson proposed the children of _Israel_ in the wilderness, led by a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night; and on the other side _Hengist_ and _Horsa_, the _Saxon_ chiefs from whom we claim the honor of being descended, and whose political principles and form of government we have assumed.

I proposed the choice of _Hercules_, as engraved by _Gribelin_, in some editions of Lord _Shaftesbury's_ works. The hero resting on his club; _Virtue_ pointing to her rugged mountain on one hand and persuading him to ascend; _Sloth_, glancing at her flowery paths of pleasure, wantonly reclining on the ground, displaying the charms both of her eloquence and person, to seduce him into vice. But this is too complicated a group for a seal or medal, and it is not original.

On August 20 the committee reported to Congress as follows:

The great seal should on one side have the arms of the United States of America, which arms should be as follows:

The shield has six quarters, parts one coupe two. The first or, a rose, enamelled gules and argent for England; the second argent, a thistle proper for Scotland; the third vert, a harp or, for Ireland; the fourth azure, a flower de luce, for France; the fifth or, the imperial eagle, sable, for Germany, and the sixth or, the Belgic lion, gules, for Holland; pointing out the countries from which the States have been peopled. The shield within a border, gules, entwined of thirteen escutcheons, argent, linked together by a chain or, each charged with initial sable letters as follows: 1st. N.H.; 2d, Mass.; 3d, R.I.; 4th, Conn.; 5th, N.Y.; 6th, N.J.; 7th, Penn.; 8th, Del.; 9th, Md.; 10th, Va.; 11th, N.C; 12th, S.C; 13th, Geo.; for each of the thirteen independent States of America.

Supporters, _dexter_ the Goddess of Liberty, in a corselet of armour, alluding to the present times; holding in her right hand the spear and cap, and with her left supporting the shield of the States; _sinister_, the Goddess of Justice, bearing a sword in her right hand, and in her left a balance.

Crest. The eye of Providence in a radiant triangle, whose glory extends over the shield and beyond the figures. Motto, _E Pluribus Unum_.

Legend round the whole achievement: Seal of the United States of America, MDCCLXXVI.

On the other side of the said great seal should be the following device:

Pharaoh sitting in an open chariot, a crown on his head, and a sword in his hand, passing through the divided waters of the Red Sea in pursuit of the Israelites. Rays from a pillar of fire in the cloud, expressive of the Divine presence and command, beaming on Moses, who stands on the shore, and extending his hand over the sea, causes it to overthrow Pharaoh.

Motto, "Rebellion to Tyrants is obedience to God."

Mr. Adams's letter fortunately gives us the key to this elaborate blazon, else we might have been left for ever in the dark in regard to its authorship. In the general achievement we easily recognize the hand of the "gentleman of French extraction," M. du Simitière, who perhaps was induced to adopt the Goddess of Justice, with her sword and balance, in lieu of his "Rifler with his rifle-gun," in deference to Mr. Adams's taste for allegory. Dr. Franklin's happy if not original design, illustrative of the preservation of the children of Israel from the maw of Pharoah and the Red sea, with a squint also at the deliverance of the colonies from George III. and the billows of tyranny, though sent to the rear, was adopted in whole, as well as his motto. The pillar of fire in the cloud was doubtless taken from the design of Mr. Jefferson, who perhaps had to be propitiated because his children of Israel were discarded in favor of Dr. Franklin's. It needed but the addition of his Hengist and Horsa, and of Mr. Adams's irresolute Hercules between Vice and Virtue, to make a great seal such as the world had never looked upon.

We, who look back through the gloze of a hundred years and are accustomed to regard this trio of patriots as men with whom the degenerate legislators of the present have little in common, may well express astonishment that their work did not meet with immediate approval. But history is a stern mistress, and we cannot efface the record. The journal of Congress shows that the report of the committee was ordered "to lie on the table," and we hear no more of it for three long and momentous years.

On March 25, 1779, it was ordered that the report of the committee on the device of a great seal for the United States, in Congress assembled, be referred to another committee. On May 10 this committee reported as follows:

The seal to be four inches in diameter, on one side the arms of the United States, as follows: the shield charged in the field with thirteen diagonal stripes alternately red and white.

Supporters, _dexter_, a warrior holding a sword: _sinister_, a figure representing Peace bearing an olive branch.

The Crest, a radiant constellation of thirteen stars.

The motto, _Bello vel Pace_.

The legend round the achievement, "Seal of the United States."

On the Reverse the figure of Liberty, seated in a chair, holding the staff and cap.

The Motto, "Semper," underneath MDCCLXXVI.

This report was taken into consideration on May 17, and after debate ordered to be recommitted. The result was another report:

The seal to be three inches in diameter, on one side the arms of the United States, as follows: the shield charged in the field azure, with thirteen diagonal stripes, alternate rouge and argent.

Supporters, _dexter_, a warrior holding a sword; _sinister_, a figure representing Peace, bearing the olive branch.

The Crest, a radiant constellation, of thirteen stars.

The motto, _Bello vel Pace_.

The legend round the achievement, "The Great Seal of the United States."

On the Reverse, _Virtute Perennis_, underneath MDCCLXXVII.

A miniature of the face of the great seal and half its diameter to be prepared and affixed as the less seal of the United States.

But our critical forefathers were still dissatisfied, and exhibited no more disposition to adopt the false heraldry of the committee of 1779 than the allegorical and Biblical monstrosity of that of 1776. Three years more of incubation were needed to hatch the "bird o' freedom," and it is not until 1782 that we hear of a further movement. On June 13 of that year, William Barton of Philadelphia proposed the following for the arms of the United States:

Arms, Paleways of thirteen pieces argent and gules; a chief azure, the escutcheon placed on the breast of the American (the bald-headed) eagle, displayed proper; holding in his beak a scroll inscribed with the motto, viz., _E Pluribus Unum_, and in his dexter talon a palm or olive branch, in the other a bundle of thirteen arrows, all proper.

For the Crest, over the head of the eagle, which appears above the escutcheon, a glory, or, breaking through a cloud, proper, and surrounding thirteen stars forming a constellation, argent on an azure field.

In the exergue of the great seal, "Jul. IV. MDCCLXXVI."

In the margin of the same, "Sigil Mag. Repub. Confed. Americ."

Mr. Barton proposed also a second device, which needs no notice, as it did not meet with approval.

On the same day, the committee of Congress, then composed of Messrs. Middleton (S. C), Boudinot (Penn.), and Rutledge (S. C), reported a modification of Mr. Barton's device. The reports of the several committees were then referred to the Secretary of Congress, and on June 20, 1782, the Secretary reported the following device for an armorial achievement and reverse of the great seal of the United States, which was formally adopted:

Arms. Paleways of thirteen pieces, argent and gules, a chief, azure; the escutcheon on the breast of the American eagle displayed proper, holding in his dexter talon an olive branch, and in his sinister a bundle of thirteen arrows, all proper, and in his beak a scroll inscribed with this motto, _E Pluribus Unum_.

For the Crest. Over the head of the eagle, which appears above the escutcheon, a glory, or, breaking through a cloud, proper, and surrounding thirteen stars forming a constellation, argent, on an azure field.

Reverse. A pyramid unfinished. In the zenith an eye in a triangle, surrounded with a glory, proper. Over the eye these words, _Annuit Coeptis_. On the base of the pyramid the numerical letters MDCCLXXVI. And underneath the following motto, _Novus Ordo Seclorum_.

The interpretation of these devices is as follows: The escutcheon is composed of the chief and pale, the two most honorable ordinaries. The pieces pale represent the several States, all joined in one solid, compact, and entire, supporting a chief which unites the whole and represents Congress. The pales in the arms are kept closely united by the chief, and the chief depends on that union and the strength resulting from it, for its support, to denote the confederacy of the United States of America, and the preservation of their union through Congress.

The colors of the pales are those used in the flag of the United States of America; white signifies purity and innocence; red, hardiness and valor; and blue, the color of the chief, signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

The olive branch and arrows denote the power of peace and war, which is exclusively vested in Congress. The constellation denotes a new State taking its place and rank among the sovereign powers; the escutcheon is borne on the breast of the American eagle, without any other supporters, to denote that the United States of America ought to rely on their own virtue.

Reverse. The pyramid signifies strength and duration: the eye over it and the motto allude to the many and signal interpositions of Providence in favor of the American cause. The date underneath it is that of the Declaration of Independence; and the words under it signify the beginning of the new era, which commences from that date.

After the ratification of the Constitution, this seal was formally declared to be the seal of the United States, on September 15, 1789, and on March 2, 1799, its custody was given to the Secretary of State, who was empowered to affix it to such commissions, etc., as had previously received the signature of the President.

Lossing, in his "Field Book of the Revolution," has the following, in relation to the origin of the device on the seal: "In a manuscript letter before me, written in 1818, by Thomas Barritt, Esq., an eminent antiquary of Manchester, England, addressed to his son in this country, is the following statement: 'My friend, Sir John Prestwich, Bart., told me he was the person who suggested the idea of a coat of arms for the American States to an ambassador [John Adams] from thence, which they have seen fit to put upon some of their moneys. It is this he told me--party per pale of thirteen stripes, white and red; the chief of the escutcheon blue, signifying the protection of heaven over the States. He says it was soon afterwards adopted as the arms of the States, and to give it more consequence, it was placed upon the breast of a displayed eagle.'"

But it is far more probable that the colors of the shield were suggested by the stripes and union of the flag, which was adopted nearly a year before Mr. Adams's first visit to Europe. Yet it is worthy of note, in this connection, that the stripes in the flag are arranged alternately red and white, which gives seven of the former and six of the latter; while in the arms they are white and red, thus making seven white and six red pales. In the seal of the Board of Admiralty (now the Navy Department), adopted May 4, 1780, the stripes are arranged as in the flag.

The critical reader will not fail to note a few heraldic lapses in the arms as blazoned by the secretary of Congress, such as the omission of the tincture of the scroll, and the denominating the collection of stars a crest. By a somewhat similar error in the law by which our flag was adopted, no method of arrangement of the stars in the union is prescribed.

Notwithstanding that the great seal as adopted had an obverse and a reverse, there is nothing to show that the reverse was ever made. Why this was neglected does not appear of record. Nor does there seem to be any means of ascertaining by what authority one half of the seal is made to do duty for the whole. It is certainly not authorized by any law. Is not its use then by the State department technically illegal?

But this is not all. The seal as originally engraved was in accordance with the requirements of the law, but in 1841, Daniel Webster then being Secretary of State, a new seal was made, probably because the old one had become worn, and for some reasons not now discoverable, several alterations were made in the design. In the shield of the seal thus made, the red pales are twice the width of the white ones, so that it reads heraldically, argent, six pales gules, instead of "palewise of thirteen pieces, argent and gules," as expressed in the adopted report. In the original, too, the eagle held in his sinister talon a "bundle of thirteen arrows," but the poor bird grasps but a meagre six in the new seal. There was some significance in the former number, all of which is lost in the change. Application to the State department for the reasons for these deviations from the original seal resulted in only the following: "This change does not appear to have been authorized by law, and the cause of it is not known."

Is it possible that an arbitrary alteration can be made in the great seal of the United States by officials temporarily in charge of it? And if so, what is to prevent some future Secretary of State, with notions of his own in regard to heraldic bearings, from discarding the old seal altogether, in favor of some creation of his own? The nation was providentially saved from the artistic efforts of Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin; but what guaranty have we for the future?




It will be four years in September since the crash of Jay Cooke announced that hard times had come. During the _débacle_ continuing from that day to this, the exposed rascalities of swindling corporations have shown how full the world still is of sheep eager to be fleeced, of geese to be plucked. Government officers prey on the people; the people, on each other; the giant plunderer is the stock company, to whose vast gobblings the pilfering of a Tweed or Winslow is a mere sugar-plum. The individual swindler feels himself a rogue, whereas the chartered thief holds a high head, builds him a palace from the spoils of his victims, and curses their impudence when they complain. They are legion, these mismanaged or fraudulent mining companies, land improvement companies, artificial light companies, normal food companies (for introducing camel-hump steaks to the American breakfast-table), and, above all, railroad companies, savings funds, and life insurance companies.

Satirists lash the sham enterprises--"Universal Association for Squaring the Circle," "American and Asiatic Consolidated Perpetual Motion Society," and what not; nowadays the main mischief is done not by these transparent humbugs, but by the genuine companies, that fairly invite trust and then betray it. Salted mines, watered stocks, lying prospectuses, bribed experts, bought legislatures, packed meetings, borrowed dividends, thimble-rig reports--we all know the tricks of "substantial" enterprises. It is not the seedy adventurers, the Jeremy Diddlers and Montague Tiggs of our day, that entrap the thrifty and ruin the intelligent, but the high-toned trust and commercial companies, seeming to be solid. These have wheels within wheels, rings within the ring, whereby many shareholders can be tricked by few; for, as the shellfish has foes that bore through his tough house and suck out the unfortunate tenant within, so crédit mobiliers, fast freight lines, super-salaried officers, contractors for supplies, construction agents, and the like, suck out the value of a stock company, and leave the shareholders the shells. Let not a posterity of _laudatores temporis acti_ sigh over ours as the Golden Age of commercial honesty. It is only the Greenback Age. It is not even the Silver Age, unless, haply, the German Silver--that is to say, the Plated or Pinchbeck Age. We might perhaps style it the Brazen Age, in view of the all-pervading brass of corporation claqueurs and drummers; or we might very well call it the Shoddy or the Peter Funk Jewelry Age.

Still, our ancestry were worse beset with quack corporations. Mackay mentions over eighty speculative companies that rose with the South Sea bubble and were all crushed in a bunch by the privy council: one, a company for getting silver out of lead; another, for developing perpetual motion; a third, for insuring householders against losses by servants--capital, $15,000,000; a fourth, "a company for carrying on an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is"--capital, $2,500,000 in 5,000 shares of $500 each, on $10 deposit per share, which deposit nearly a thousand persons actually paid on the first half day the books were opened, so that before night the rascally manager was off with $10,000 booty. Besides the matured projects, many companies existing only on paper were able to sell "privileges to subscribe," when formed, at $200 or $300 each; for in that day of manias people in Great Britain paid premiums for the first chance to put their money into companies for freshening salt water, extracting oil from sunflowers, buying forfeited estates, capturing pirates, insuring children's fortunes, fattening hogs, fishing for wrecks, and importing jackasses from Spain--which last was surely bringing coals to Newcastle. As for such really solid enterprises as the South Sea bubble, their shares rose to a thousand per cent, above par.

Perhaps another South Sea bubble could not easily be blown; the Darien canal will hardly excite a fever of speculation like William Paterson's Darien project of one hundred and eighty years ago, for which prayers were offered in the Edinburgh churches; we are not likely to see a Mississippi scheme of the sort which caused cooks to struggle with courtiers for places in the Rue de Quinquempoix to buy John Law's shares, while office rents in that stock-jobbing thoroughfare rose from five hundred to sixty thousand livres a year. But our late American experience shows how swift men are to trust their hard-earned gains to corporate enterprises simply on the reputation of the managers. Insurance frauds and railroad wreckings thrive on the trustfulness of professional men and the narrow scope of tradesmen. The latter find sufficient occupation in the little gains of each day, and often are puzzled how to employ the surplus. To spend it would be unthrifty; to roll it in a napkin, bad stewardship; they are apt to be caught by the popular stock companies or by some scheme of speculation. These glittering prizes also attract sapient "men of business" who have been entrusted with investing the funds of widows and children. From such sources flow the rills that make the mighty rivers of stock enterprises, so that, having gathered up the spare cash of the shopkeepers and the annuitants, their bursting makes wide havoc.

Goodman Thompson's simple skill and joy are to gain five cents here, ten there, a dollar yonder; three customers have bought at nine o'clock to-day, at eleven the sales number fifteen, at noon no fewer than two dozen; whereas at midday yesterday they were only twenty-three. Brooding over these statistics, worthy Thompson fills up the day, the year, the lifetime in modest local glory, until the name of John Thompson, grocer, is taken from his door and put upon his coffin-plate, and John Thompson's son continues the trade in his stead. Absorbed, I say, in such details, some men seem strangely careless what the gross of their gains is, or how secured--their pleasure is "doing business" rather than growing rich, and equal fortunes by bequest would hardly give them the same comfort; others, and the majority, are not so careless, but are as surprisingly stupid, incautious, and gullible in investing their daily gains as they are sharp and shrewd in getting them. That is why they put their trust in treacherous princes of finance and railroad kings; that is why sharpers of good moral character in savings and insurance companies make many victims. It is wonderful how many tradesmen, subtle and sagacious in their callings, thrive in the hard task of driving bargains, only to lose their earnings to palpable knaves, or else by making hap-hazard investments. Their faculty of accumulation seems like that of the bee or the ant, good only to a given point, and within the use of given methods; it seems to fail when sober judgment on speculative fevers is called for.

But the hard times have temporarily taught first, caution; next, economy. Caution unluckily has run to suspicion, while economy has issued in a dearth of employment: thus the correctives applied to hard times have perpetuated them. People are buying not only less, but sometimes at second hand, so that every trade suffers--unless it be that of the coffin-makers; I never knew anybody who wanted a second-hand coffin. The economy that America usually needs is perhaps less that of refraining from buying than that of turning things to account. The man who needlessly cuts down his expenses is hardly so praiseworthy as the one who only makes every thread yield its best uses.

A national fault of ours is that of not getting the full use of things. European cities, for example, earn millions a year by selling their street dirt. American cities pay millions to get rid of it. In Europe it dresses sterile soil; in America it is dumped into channels to obstruct navigation. One can almost admire the humble Paris _chiffoniers_, as being a guild employed in redeeming to a hundred services what has been thrown away as useless--they rescue vast fortunes yearly. On the Pennsylvania oil lands twenty men put up a derrick, sink a test well, and fail. Sixteen out of the twenty reorganize, sink a new well within fifty rods of the other, build a new derrick, and never touch the old one, leaving it to rot. The expense of this kind of machinery is great; and yet out of the abandoned derricks in the oil regions you could almost build a timber track from Corry to New York. It is, I say, almost a national trait to accumulate what will be left to rust unused--although it is doubtless not American ladies alone that fill their wardrobes with garments never worn out. When a European friend of mine came to travel in this country, one of his first surprises was the hundreds of miles of expensive fences he saw enclosing very ordinary fields; next he noted the unused ground along the tracks of railroads. "That land would all be covered with vegetables in our country," he said. At his hotels he thought there was more wasted in labor, food, and superfluities than would have sufficed to reduce the cost of living by a third; indeed, I fancy he believed that despite our cry of "hard times" and "enforced economy," the sheer current _waste_ of America would pay the national debt in a year.


What freshness and fecundity in the veteran poet who signalizes his seventy-sixth birthday by publishing the "Légende des Siècles"! Hugoesque alike in its grand apostrophes and its gentle idyls, in its resounding declamation and its simple pathos, this new outcome of an old mint has every coin stamped with the image and superscription of its creator--Hugo's in thought, feeling, audacious style, easy versification, quaint novelty of metaphor; Hugo's in its cadence by turns joyous and mournful, now in sonorous, thrilling ballads of battle, anon in charming genre fireside pictures, here riotous in rhetoric, there pedantic in research, everywhere lofty in aspiration, though pushing oddity almost to madness.

Through all his works, what a mixture of genius and grotesqueness, of majesty and absurdity in that wonderful man! Take his "Ninety-Three"--a novel monstrously nonsensical and surprisingly splendid--a novel demonstrating that to pass from the ridiculous to the sublime, as well as the other way, needs but a step. With what magnetic power one of its first incidents, the rushing about of the loose gun on shipboard, is wrought out! You begin by despising the frivolity of the scene, and momentarily wait to see the writer ludicrously break down in his preposterous attempt at imposing on your credulity. By degrees the situation is filled in till each successive objection of skepticism is somehow spirited away, and even the foreign reader, sympathetically following the working of the French mind, is startled at his own yielding. This episode of the roving cannon ranks with the devil-fish scene in the "Toilers of the Sea," where also the reader finds appreciative horror overcoming his first impulse of contemptuous incredulity.

Or, again, if you take the boat scene in "Ninety-Three," between the sailor and count, you agree, at the end, that it is not overstrained. Yet think of that frail skiff in the open British Channel, with the waves running high, and say if the scene was possible. When Halmalo put down his oars and the old man stood up at full height in the bow, the boat must have swung into the trough of the sea and capsized in an instant; if lack of steering failed to upset her, the old man's performance would have done so; but we forget that trifle in the dramatic intensity of the situation. The learned Sergeant Hill, talking with a young law student regarding the will of "Clarissa Harlowe," told him, "You will find that not one of the uses or trusts in it can be supported." A sergeant of artillery would be equally severe on the evolutions and skirmishes in "Ninety-Three"; but the genius of Hugo triumphs over such blunders, like Shakespeare's over the seaports in Bohemia.

"A poet is a world shut up in a man," says the "Légende," whose own variety of theme helps to justify the definition. We have here the majestic conceptions of the "Mur des Siècles," the "Vanished City," the "Hymn to Earth," the "Epic of the Worm"; therewith we also have the music and beauty of the "Groupe des Idylles." On one page the reader is touched with sympathy by the "Cemetery of Eylau" and the "Guerre Civile"; on another he is stirred by the scorn in the "Anger of the Bronze," or by the hate in "Napoleon III. after Sedan":

_Cet homme a pour prison l'ignominic immense, On pouvait le tuer, mais on fût sans clémence._

The city whose praise Victor Hugo never tires of sounding, and that has adored and lampooned him for almost half a century, breaks out in a prolonged concord of eulogy for these old-age strains, which recall no little of the force, fire, and finish of twenty, forty years ago. Well may the Parisians laud this man of mingled ruggedness and delicacy, whose imagination has not yet lost its boldness with age, nor the heart its warmth--the bard, in mockery of whom, nevertheless, they were lately repeating with gusto the comical parody of a local wit:

_Oh, huho, Hugo! où huchera-t-on ton nom Justice encore rendue que ne t'a-t-on? Et quand sera-ce qu'au corps qu' Academique on nomme, Grimperas-tu de roc en roc, rare homme?_


We have Sheridan's authority that an oyster may be crossed in love--in fact, Miss Zimmern has written a story about an oyster that actually was a prey to the tender passion; we have Shakespeare's authority that a hind will die of it, if she unfortunately seeks to be mated with a lion; while it is a regular thing in the land of the cypress and myrtle (if Lord Byron can be trusted) for the rage of the vulture to madden to crime.

Still it was reserved for Darwin himself to give the great modern cue to novelists in their study of human nature, by his "Descent of Man," where he says that "injurious characters tend to reappear through reversion, such as blackness in sheep; and with mankind some of the worst dispositions which occasionally without any assignable cause make their reappearance in families, _may perhaps he reversions to a savage state_ from which we are not removed by many generations. _This view seems recognized in the common expression that such men are the 'black sheep of the family.'_"

Now, whatever we may think of the odd logic of this passage, it clearly stakes out a ground and preëmpts a claim for evolution as applied to romantic literature. None of us could really blame the modern lover if, in making a woful ballad to his mistress's eyebrow, he should slyly but anxiously examine whether that eyebrow contained "a few hairs larger than the rest, corresponding to the vibrissæ of the lower animals." This does occur in some eyebrows, we know; and as it is also clear from the authorities first quoted, and many more that might be cited, that the lower animals are capable of human passions, the cautious and scientifically disposed lover of the modern epoch can hardly be asked to take a mere manifestation of the heavenly instinct as proof of many grades of removal, in his Dulcinea, from the condition of the oyster, the hind, or, alas! the vulture.

Hence, even in protesting that his lady's beauty hangs on the cheek of night like a rich jewel in an Æthiop's ear, naturally the modern Romeo may not avoid a glance to see whether his Juliet's ear contains that fatal auricular "blunt point" denoting assimilation to the lower animals. And so it is with the work henceforth laid out for novelists: the stereotyped heroine, with coral lips, pearly teeth, eyes of a gazelle, raven locks, swan-like neck, and so on, should be carefully guarded from too great animal resemblances, and above all from "rudiments" or signs of reversion.

Perhaps it would be going too far to announce bluntly that "Lady Amarantha's toes had not the remotest indication of ever having been webbed," or to put on record the official declaration of Fifine, the maid, that her fair mistress never had been able to erect her ears; still the novelists might do well to take note of those two or three points in which Mr. St. George Mivart and Mr. Wallace have pointed out the great distinctions between men and apes, and so adroitly work them up in those personal descriptions which form a delicious part of modern novels, as to give their heroes and heroines a pedigree impregnable to the most critically scientific scrutiny. Hints, also, I think, might be gathered from the treatment of love on the evolution hypothesis, which has been essayed by no less an authority than Herbert Spencer, who has besides traced the changes in the methods of expressing passionate emotions by gestures and cries, as our humble ancestry developed to women and men.

Physiology, too, is not the only department into which the novelist of the future must extend his studies. Under the doctrine of evolution, sexual selection is at the basis of the variation of species; and what new fields are open to the novelist, when he reflects for a moment that his main task is only to depict the prosperities and adversities attending such a mutual selection on the part of Albert and Angelina!



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Great interest in telegraphic subjects has lately been aroused in the American public by exhibitions of the telephone, an instrument for transmitting sound vibrations by electricity. Two general forms of this instrument are known, in one of which a series of tuning forks communicates with a precisely similar series at the other end of the wire, and the signals made to one are repeated by the other. A more interesting form, and the one that has lately attracted so much attention, is that which receives and transmits ordinary vocal sounds. The operator talks to a membrane, and at the other end of the wire is a resonator of some kind which talks to the auditor there. The fundamental idea of the machine is not new. It was at first proposed to use it for transmitting electric signals without a wire, and in that view a trial was made with it during the siege of Paris. The armistice interrupted the operations, but M. Bourbouze, the experimenter, and other inventors have continued to study the subject, Mr. A. G. Bell, professor of vocal physiology in Boston, being among them. M. Bourbouze used a vibrating needle the movements of which were effected by sound waves, and another Frenchman, M. Reuss, introduced the sounding box with its membrane. This is a box with a membrane stretched over the top and a short tube of large diameter in the side. The operator talks to this tube, and the box strengthens the sound, which finally affects the membrane, causing it to vibrate. Resting upon this membrane is a thin copper disc attached to a wire leading from the electrical battery. Above and very near it hangs a metallic point, which forms the end of a wire leading to the place to which the message is to be sent. The membrane rises slightly with every vibration, and touching the point, a current is established and communication effected with the distant point; but this communication ceases as soon as the vibration stops, and the membrane assumes a state of rest. As every simple note is produced by a definite number of air vibrations, and every compound sound is made up of the sum of several simple notes, the apparatus transmits a definite number of vibrations for each sound which it receives; and if those vibrations can be communicated to the air at any point, however distant, the original sounds will be reproduced. In short, the instrument may be explained as one invented to transmit air vibrations by electricity.

The receiver consists of an iron rod about the size of a knitting needle, wound with insulated copper wire, and supported on a wood box having very thin sides. The rod vibrates with every passage of the current, and the thin box increases the amount of these vibrations and makes them audible. It is found best to introduce several rods into the insulated coil, as with only one the sound produced is rather snuffling. In either case, however, the vibrations of the rod are exactly the same as those of the membrane, and even the character of the sound is automatically reproduced.

The description here given is that of Reuss's instrument, which was illustrated last year in the French paper "La Nature." The exact construction of Mr. Bell's telephone has not been made public, but it seems to be quite similar. He is said to make his vibrating membrane of metal. The greatest distance to which sounds have been sent is one hundred and forty-three miles, from Boston to North Conway, N.H. The instrument is not yet perfect, the sounds being frequently indistinct. With a private wire and two persons accustomed to each other's voices it would probably be a greater success. It is therefore likely to be quickly introduced into business uses. At present some rather wild anticipations are indulged in by the daily press, but the instrument probably has a really remarkable future before it.

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Traffic on railways and canals has diminished, public taxes do not pay for collection, and poverty, privation, and misery have come upon twenty-five departments of France from the ravages of the phylloxera insect which attacks the roots of the grapevines. Such is the official report of a committee appointed by the Academy of Sciences. The important districts of Champagne, Burgundy, the Loire, and the Cher, are now threatened, and from the greatly extended foothold which the insect has now gained it is feared that its operations will be very rapid. It is not impossible that the principal industry of France will be crippled for years. In spite of all this, wine is now quite cheap. The hard times have lessened consumption, and the product is so huge--900,000,000 litres, or 180,000,000 gallons yearly from France alone--that the stock in the market is maintained in spite of the great ravages of the insect. The cheapest claret is sold in New York for $40 a cask, or about 66 cents a gallon. Of this 24 cents is for duty.

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Summer schools of science proved very popular last year, and are to be continued this season. A lady who studied in the botanical school at Harvard said that work began properly at nine o'clock and continued to twelve; but the pupils were so eager to reap all possible benefit from the six weeks' course, that some were in the laboratory by 7:30 in the morning. One lady made herself sick in a week by over study, and many others injured themselves by too close application. The Professor finally prohibited work out of the regular hours. The schools will be reopened July 6, and continue to August 17, the term being six weeks long; applications to be made by June 1. The courses will be five in number, as follows: General chemistry and qualitative analysis, under Mr. C. F. Mabery, to whom (at Cambridge) applications must be sent; fee, $25 and cost of supplies. Phænogamic botany, by Prof. George L. Goodale; fee, $25. For lectures without laboratory practice the charge is $10. Cryptogamic botany will be taught by Prof. W. G. Farlow; fee, $25. Microscopes, etc., are provided by the university. Students in this course should have a previous knowledge of phænogamic botany. In addition to laboratory practice excursions will be made and lectures given. Prof. Farlow's address is 6 Park Square, Boston.

Prof. N. S. Shaler and Mr. Wm. M. Davis, Jr., will give a course in geology, including instruction in Cambridge, and a trip through Massachusetts to New York. The tuition fee is $50, and other costs _about_ $50 for board and lodging, and $25 for travelling expenses. When the regular excursion is finished a more extended trip will be made if desired, to the Mammoth Cave and other localities, on the way to Nashville, where the American Association will have its next meeting.

Lastly, the school provides a course on zoölogy, by Mr. W. Faxon and Mr. W. K. Brooks; fee, $25. It will comprise lectures, laboratory work, and excursions to the neighboring seashores. Apply to Mr. W. Faxon, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

_The Cornell Excursion._

Cornell university also has its summer school of natural history, and it will take a peculiar form this year. Prof. Theodore B. Comstock proposes, if sufficient encouragement is given before May 1, to charter a steamer and spend six weeks on the great lakes. The cheapness of steamer travel makes a trip of this kind in very comfortable style possible at moderate expense. The price is fixed at $125, which includes tuition fee and every other expense, for thirty days; and $3.50 per day for ten days more. The time may be extended beyond forty days by a majority vote of the excursionists. Buffalo or Cleveland will be the starting point, and the line of travel will be around the south shore of the lakes Erie, Huron, and Superior, returning by the north shore. The steamer will be a free rover, and visit places outside of the usual lines of travel. Lectures will be given and dredging done, the results of which will be distributed among the pupils, and shares may also be subscribed for by schools, teachers, and others. These shares will entitle the holders to part of the botanical and zoological collections made.

_Williams Rocky Mountain Excursion._

A more private but very extended excursion will be made by Williams college students, under the care of Prof. Sanborn Tenney, who holds the chair of natural history in the college. No fees are charged, and Prof. Tenney receives no compensation. The number of students is limited to fifteen, who will for the most part pay their own expenses, and the expedition is not open to the public. The students are selected with reference to the study of geology and mineralogy, botany, and the various departments of zoölogy, entomology, ornithology, ichthyology. Extensive collections will be made in all departments of natural history, which will be deposited in the Williams college natural history museum and the lyceum of natural history in the college. The excursion will start early in July and return in time for the regular autumn college opening. This is evidently intended to be one of the most important enterprises of the year for field instruction.

_A Texas Trip._

Butler college, Irvington, Indiana, will send an expedition to Texas, with headquarters at Dallas in that State. Studies in geology and natural history will be mainly pursued, and collections made of birds, fishes, reptiles, insects, plants, and fossils. The number of students will be from ten to twenty-five, and they will leave Indianapolis June 20, under the charge of Prof. John A. Myers. Mammoth Cave, Lookout mountain, and other places of interest in Tennessee and Alabama, will be visited, and the party will return in time for the Association for the Advancement of Science meeting at Nashville. Dallas, which is to be the centre of operations, is a thriving town in the grazing region of Texas, and is a good place for the study of botany and zoölogy.

Another lake excursion is projected by the Institute of Mining Engineers, who expect to spend two weeks in visiting the famous mining districts of that region. Though not precisely a "summer school," this will be both a professional and social excursion.

A committee of Wisconsin teachers recommend the introduction of this system of summer schools in that State. They want to have a class formed under Prof. T. C. Chamberlin, State geologist, to commence at St. Croix Falls, and make geological, zoölogical, and botanical studies down the Mississippi to Rock Island. Headquarters would be on a large boat.

Directors of other summer schools are requested to send notices of the work they are planning to do to the office of this magazine.

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The quarantine history of New York was quite remarkable in 1876. Yellow fever was epidemic at several ports along the Gulf and Atlantic coast, and no less than 363 vessels came into New York from those ports, ninety-nine of which had the disease on board, either during the voyage or in port. Under these circumstances, it may be supposed that the authorities were not disposed to encourage commerce between the city and the infected towns. Philadelphia and Baltimore adopted an interdiction of all trade with Savannah, as a precaution. But a bolder and wiser policy has gradually been introduced into the New York quarantine. Instead of being a loser by the yellow fever, that city was called upon to take the whole trade, and did so without hesitation, though the voyage from Charleston and some other ports occupied less time than the average incubation period of the disease, which might be introduced unnoticed into the city unless preventative measures were taken. Orders were given to receive no passengers from the afflicted cities, so that the quarantine authorities had only the cargo and crew to deal with. The ship was thoroughly fumigated and the cargo discharged as rapidly as was consistent with safe supervision. This rapid discharge is advised because a ship's heated hold is just the place for the full development of the fomites. If the cargo does carry the germs of the disease, the worst thing that can be done is to leave it in the ship, which is then likely to become a pest-house. Prompt removal reduces the danger to a minimum. By this intelligent course New York was able to keep open her communication with Savannah in the height of the epidemic, and she was the only city on the Atlantic to do so. More cotton than ever came to her harbor. The hygienic results are noticeable. Although more than a thousand deaths occurred in Savannah, not one case of yellow fever reached the _city_ of New York by water. Two or three cases of sickness from vessels occurred in that city and Brooklyn; but though these were said to be yellow fever, their subsequent history did not sustain the supposition. They were probably a form of malarial fever which so nearly resembles the more dreaded disease that time is required to distinguish between them. Two cases of real yellow fever reached the city by rail, but all others were stopped at quarantine, which contained patients from January to the latter part of October, excepting one month--May. In all, sixty were treated there, most of whom were supposed to have yellow fever; but of these only thirty-nine really had that disease, the remainder having the peculiar form of malarial fever before spoken of. These results sustain the intelligent action of the quarantine officers who have stripped off the terrors which once hung about the name quarantine, and still do in so many parts of the world and of our own country.

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The last Congress made an appropriation of $18,000 for an Entomological Commission, and for once the Government has made a perfectly satisfactory series of appointments. Prof. C. V. Riley, the distinguished and experienced State entomologist of Missouri, is the chief of the commission, while Prof. Cyrus Thomas, State Entomologist of Illinois, one of the most noted American authorities, and Dr. A. S. Packard, author of several works on insect and other morphology, are its other members. They will have their headquarters at Dr. Hayden's office, in Washington, and also a Western office in St. Louis. In the division of work Prof. Riley takes the country east of the Rocky mountains and south of the forty-eighth parallel, Prof. Thomas has Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and East Wyoming, and Dr. Packard the remainder of the country west of these two areas. The object of the commission may be stated to be the discovery of the best means of lessening the ravages of insects upon American crops; but to learn this it will be necessary to study not only the life histories of the grasshopper and Colorado beetle, but also their climatic and geographical relations. The damage done by insects probably amounts to some scores of millions yearly, and it has long been apparent that one of the next services demanded of scientific men would be efficient aid and direction in the warfare of man against his smallest foes in the animal world. In the early history of a country, it is possible to provide against these losses by cultivating an excess of land, but when population becomes concentrated it is necessary to avoid the loss. The destructiveness of insects has never attracted so much attention as within the last half century, which is also notable as a period of extraordinary increase in the population of the civilized portions of the world. Now that the welfare of a great empire has been seriously threatened by the operations of one insect, and several States in our own country have been so overrun with another insect that both the States concerned and the general Government have been compelled to modify their laws in order to afford relief to farmers, the important relation of insect to human life has become clear, and is receiving due attention.

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The work of the Government surveys will not be stopped by the unfortunate failure of Congress to pass an appropriation for the army. Hayden's party Will be in field by the middle of May, and Wheeler will, no doubt, be equally prompt. The former will confine his work to the region north of the Pacific railroad and east of the Yellowstone Park. The triangulating party, under Mr. A. D. Wilson, will survey a system of triangles, and locate the principal peaks. Mr. Henry Gannett will take charge of the topographical work in the western and Mr. G. B. Chittenden in the eastern half of the field. A fourth division, under Mr. G. R. Bechler, will survey in the northern portion, near the Yellowstone Park. Each of these divisions contains about ten thousand square miles, so that if the parties are able to complete their work, the ground covered will be quite large.

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The violent deaths in Great Britain in 1874 were no less than 17,920, the highest number ever registered. There were 18 executions and 1,592 suicides, so that 16,310 may be classed as unexpected. Railways killed 1,249, horse conveyances 1,313, and it is noted that those modes of conveyance which are mostly peculiar to cities were not responsible for this great slaughter. Street, or so-called horse railroads, killed 62 persons, omnibuses 55, cabs 61, and carriages 82, and these numbers show how great is the skill and care exercised in the crowded streets of cities. The source of the remaining 1,053 deaths by horses is not given in our authority (a Scotch paper), but it is probable that exercise in the saddle had much to do with them. There were 942 deaths in coal mines, and 118 in copper, tin, iron, and other mines. Lightning killed 25, sunstroke 90, and cold 114. There were 461 persons poisoned, about one-third being suicides. The bite of a fox, of a rat, of a leech, the scratch of a cat, and the sting of a hornet each killed one person, and two were stung to death by wasps. Of other noteworthy causes of death, it is mentioned that a girl fourteen years old died in childbed.

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The largest induction coil ever made has lately been constructed for Mr. Wm. Spottiswoode by Mr. Apps. It has two primaries, of which the one used for long sparks weighs sixty-seven pounds and is formed of a bundle of iron wires 44 inches long and 3.5625 inches in diameter. The wire is 0.032 inch in diameter. This primary has 660 yards of copper wire 0.096 inch in diameter, and wound in 1,344 turns in six layers. The spark obtained with this primary is remarkably long in proportion to the battery power used. With five Grove's quart cells the spark was 28 inches, with ten cells 35 inches, with thirty cells 37.5 inches and 42 inches, and it is thought that even better results could be obtained. The insulation is so good that seventy cells have been used without injury. The condenser is smaller than usual, being of the size commonly used with a ten-inch coil. It has 126 sheets of tinfoil, 18 by 8-1/4 inches, separated by two sheets of varnished paper. The other primary is heavier than the above described, weighing 92 pounds. The secondary coil contains 280 miles of wire, in 341,850 turns. It is used for spectroscopes and for short sparks. The power of this instrument is really comparable to that of lightning. A block of flint glass three inches thick has been pierced with the 28-inch spark.

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The financial strength of the French is a constant marvel to other nations. Political economists point to the single standard of coinage or to the double standard, according as they consider France to adhere to one or the other of these systems, as the source of this strength. But the difference between that and other nations is probably more conspicuous in the management of government loans than in any other thing. The French government does not depend on syndicates. More than four million French men and women have subscribed to the public debt, and whatever arrangements are made with great bankers, the common people of France are always invited to take a part of the bonds at a fixed and fair price. That country is noticeably distinguished from Great Britain by the equally wide distribution of land. There are more than five million peasant proprietors in France, while the United Kingdom is owned by about 200,000 persons. In England one person in 130 probably owns land, as distinguished from mere house property, and outside of London one in 30 owns a house. In Scotland one in 400 is a landowner, and one in 28 has a house in his name. In Ireland one in 315 owns land, but only one in 120 has title to a house.

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The board of commissioners in whose charge is placed the projected trigonometrical survey of New York State report that preparations have been made for beginning the work in ten counties westward from the line of the upper Hudson river to Seneca lake. The starting points are the four United States Coast Survey stations at Mt. Rafinesque, near Troy, Helderberg, Princetown, and Greenwich. The position of these points has been very accurately ascertained by means of two independent lines of triangles carried from New England and Fire Island through Connecticut and Massachusetts. The State Survey, therefore, enjoys the advantage of starting from points that belong to the great chain of stations established by the general Government, and these are so placed that the first line of triangles which crosses the State will connect directly with another chain of similar stations on the great lakes. The plan followed includes the selection of prominent elevations of land for principal stations. An earthen vessel of peculiar shape and markings will be sunk below the first line, and its centre clearly marked. Above this will be placed a squared stone projecting from the ground. The latter will be the visible base of operations in common use, but the former will be the permanent and authoritative reference in case of any difficulty or doubt. It is intended to establish these points about twelve miles apart, and their positions will be determined by careful astronomical observations, checked by accurate measurements of their distance from neighboring stations. Wherever the nature of the ground compels the placing of these stations at distances inconveniently great, subordinate points will be established in the intermediate ground. In the present working ground the highlands which bound the Mohawk valley on the north and south afford admirable positions for these stations.

The director of the survey reports that the work is well received by farmers, and he gives some excellent reasons why it should be. Boundary marks have so generally disappeared that in tracing the boundaries of eleven counties where sixty corners had been made, only two were found. It is a part of Mr. Gardner's plan to preserve these old lines, marking them in a permanent manner. The cost of bad work appears to have been very large to the people. The citizens of the State spend $40,000 for maps that are really worthless. Designing persons obtain aid for improper enterprises by exhibiting false maps, and there is no means of disproving their assertions. Counties and towns have contributed large sums to such projects, and the total is estimated at forty million dollars. Half of this was paid for the Oswego Midland railroad, which Mr. Gardner says would never have been built had its supporters known the character of the country it would cross and the ruinous original cost and running expenses involved in its heavy cuttings and high grades. The cost of surveying the whole State is estimated at $200,000 for the trigonometrical work, which is all that is now projected. To this must eventually be added topography and mapping, though these are not necessary for fixing boundaries. Still, the whole sum required, distributed as it would be over ten years' time, would be a light burden and a remunerative expenditure.

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A correspondent, Mr. M. F. M. Cazin, writes us that the article on "Hot Water in Dressing Ores" in the March number "is another good illustration of how great men will stumble over little things. Permit me to express a principle with regard to the same matter, by which without Rittinger's profound calculations, without Ransom's laboratory experiments, the entire question about the best medium (liquid or fluid) for separating two equal sized particles of solids according to their density (specific gravity) can be settled for every special case." His "principle" is that the ideal fluid for this purpose is one that is more dense than the lighter of the two particles and less dense than the heavier. But this is no new revelation. The difficulty is that there is but one fluid of the kind, and only one metal (disregarding the very rare ones) to which it can be applied. The fluid is mercury and the metal gold. The latter has a specific gravity of say 19, and therefore sinks when it is carried upon a bath of fluid quicksilver, with a specific gravity of say 13.6. The sand with which the metal is mixed has a specific gravity of only 2.6 to 5, and floats over the mercury bath and away into the waste, thus effecting the desired separation. This operation, and the fact that there is such a thing as a theoretically ideal fluid, was clearly pointed out by Rittinger, for whom Mr. Cazin appears to have so little respect. The latter gentleman does bring forward one new point, and it is an important one. He asserts that air can be made to act as an "ideal" fluid, in the sense referred to here, by imparting motion to it. This conclusion depends on the consideration that "motion of the fluid in an opposite direction to the fall of the solid particles is equivalent (by friction, adhesion, resistance) to an increase of density of the fluid. Therefore air may by imparted motion have the same separating effect, in a specified case, as water would have without motion."

If Mr. Cazin would state his case differently, he would see more clearly the place that air has as a separating medium. It cannot be made an _ideal_ fluid, but it is comparable with water, which also is never an ideal fluid, for there is no ore of common occurrence that is lighter than water. The question in ore dressing really is whether air can be made to work as well as water. Theoretically we can see no objection, but in practice a great many obstacles arise. The cost is greater both for machinery and operating expenses; the ore has to be dried either before or after crushing, and the efficiency of the apparatus is still doubtful. It may be possible to save more fine dust than by the wet methods, but this point remains unproved.

This subject is a very important one, and involves very great interests. It is a singular fact that the mechanical treatment of ores, which is a fundamental part of mining science and practice, is not taught in any of the American mining schools. English scientific men occasionally point to America as the land of sound and general scientific teaching, but we fear that a nearer acquaintance with our schools would rob us of that reputation. It is difficult to imagine a less complete system of instruction than that in some of our technical schools, or a more erratic sense of industrial needs than among some of our school managers.

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Congress did not appropriate the $50,000 asked for by Capt. Howgate, but from the peculiar state of politics in the last Congress this is not thought to indicate an unfavorable reception of his scheme. The bill was not reported from the naval committee. It will probably be brought up next December. That will of course be too late to accomplish anything this year, so that the summer is lost to the main expedition, but Capt. Howgate now proposes to send out an agent to settle upon a site for the proposed camp, engage Esquimaux, and make other preparations. In fact, it is proposed to spend as much as $17,000 in preliminary work and stores, and it is thought that this can be done without increasing the ultimate cost of the expedition more than four thousand dollars. We regret to see that the newspapers are apt to talk about "a dash to the pole" when they speak of this scheme. It is to be hoped that no such dash will be attempted. Capt. Howgate should start out with the fixed determination of making no attempt whatever to reach the pole the first year or two. The dashing style has been the only one used in the centuries through which the history of Arctic exploration runs. What is now of most importance is the inauguration of tentative methods. They are pretty certain to win in the end, and the other method of management is about as certain to fail.

The Government commission appointed to investigate the conduct of the English expedition has reported that its failure was principally due to the omission of lime-juice from the provision of the sledge parties. The reason for leaving it out was that fuel would have to be carried to thaw it, and with a load of 237 pounds to the man, the sledge parties were already weighted down. This shows how the most labored and extensive preparations for a "dash" may be defeated by failure in even one apparently small item.

Now that the subject of Arctic colonization is so energetically discussed in this country, it may be worth while to republish the recommendations of a German government commission appointed to consider the scheme, when it was first proposed by Weyprecht. These were as follows:

"1. The exploration of the Arctic regions is of great importance for all branches of science. The commission recommends for such exploration the establishment of fixed observing stations. From the principal station, and supported by it, are to be made exploring expeditions by sea and by land.

"2. The commission is of opinion that the region which should be explored by organized German Arctic explorers is the great inlet to the higher Arctic regions situated between the eastern shore of Greenland and the western shore of Spitzbergen.

"Considering the results of the second German Arctic expedition, a principal station should be established on the eastern shore of Greenland, and at least _two_ secondary stations, fitted out for _permanent_ investigation of different scientific questions, at Jan Mayen and on the western shore of Spitzbergen. For certain scientific researches the principal station should establish temporary stations.

"3. It appears very desirable, and so far as scientific preparations are concerned, possible, to commence these Arctic explorations in the year 1877.

"4. The commission is convinced that an exploration of the Arctic regions, based on such principles, will furnish valuable results, even if limited to the region between Greenland and Spitzbergen; but it is also of opinion that an exhaustive solution of the problems to be solved can only be expected when the exploration is extended over the whole Arctic zone, and when other countries take their share in the undertaking.

"The commission recommends, therefore, that the principles adopted for the German undertaking should be communicated to the governments of the States which take interest in Arctic inquiry, in order to establish, if possible, a complete circle of observing stations in the Arctic zones."

It will be observed that the Germans looked forward to occupying the adjacent parts of Greenland and Spitzbergen as their share of a line of outposts to be established by different nations around the Arctic circle. In any such scheme America would necessarily be called on to bear a part, and by Captain Howgate's plan her station would be the line of Smith's Sound and its northern prolongations. This is certainly her natural field, and is not only the roadway by which most of our explorers have made their attempts to reach the pole, and therefore hallowed by their historical struggles, but it is also that portion of the Arctic region which lies nearest us. It is emphatically a _home_ field to us.

* * * * *

Twenty-seven meteors fell in the United States, and two earthquake shocks were experienced, in February.

When the Great Eastern was recently cleaned 300 tons of barnacles were scraped from her bottom, an area of more than 52,000 square feet.

During the hurricane of January 30 the waves in the British channel were forty feet high as measured by a mareograph.

In December, while the snow was blocking the roads of this country, Australia enjoyed a temperature of 110 to 116 in the shade.

Search has again been made for the planet Vulcan, the existence of which is indicated by Leverrier's calculations, but without success.

Among the results of Nordensjold's last trip to the Jenisei river in Siberia was a piece of mammoth hide found with some bones of that animal.

Hygeia, "the city of health," is to be built on the Courtland's estate, about a mile and a half west of Worthing, Sussex, England. Work will be commenced this spring.

The "Big Bonanza" yielded $20,108,958 gold and $25,700,682 silver from its discovery to September 30, 1876. In this deposit the usual preponderance of gold over silver is reversed.

The Mammoth Cave is but one among many caverns in the subcarboniferous limestones of Kentucky, the total length of which Prof. Shaler thinks is at least 100,000 miles.

During the continuance of the Centennial, the Pennsylvania railroad carried nearly five millions of passengers to Philadelphia, and out of their 760,486 trunks, valises, bags, boxes, and bundles only 26 were mislaid.

The opening of the safes, more than twenty in number, which were exposed in the great fire at the American Watch Company's New York building proved that safes, as now made by good firms, are really fire-proof under ordinary circumstances. Watch movements, bank bills, diamonds and jewelry, all came out in good order from most of them, though in some cases the outside plates were red hot. In one safe was a delicate lace shawl, worth $1,500, which was quite uninjured.

Two French astronomers, MM. André and Angot, have asked to be sent to San Francisco to observe the transit of Mercury on May 5, 1878. They hope to obtain data which will make the next transit of Venus more fruitful.

During the last year the Signal Service extended its telegraph lines across the Staked Plain to San Diego, California. Two continuous lines of telegraph now extend across the country, one in the northern and one in the southern region.

Additions of interesting animals are frequently made to the New York Aquarium. The blind Proteus from Austria, Axolotl from Mexico, Salamanders from Germany, and some curious fish from China are among the latest additions to the tanks.

The combined Signal and Life-Saving Service at Cape Henry is reported to have saved $500,000 worth of property in the storms which marked the end of March. Telegraphic connection is found indispensable to efficient work in watching the coast.

The bullion product of the United States from July 1, 1875, to June 30, 1876, was about $85,250,000, of which $46,750,000 was gold and $38,500,000 silver. The annual gold product of the world is supposed to be about $25,000,000 greater than that of silver.

The copper-bearing rocks of Lake Superior are reported by the geologist of Wisconsin to extend almost uninterruptedly across that State. In the Nemakagon river masses of native copper have been found, and that country may become a rich copper region.

The second congress of Americanistes will meet in Luxembourg September 10 to 13 next. Information and tickets may be had in England of Mr. F. A. Allen, 15 Fitzwilliam Road, Clapham, S.W. It is to be hoped there will be less speculation and more research than at the last congress.

Persons desirous of procuring brook and salmon trout for restocking the waters of New York State can do so by addressing Seth Green at Rochester, who will send them on the payment of the travelling expenses of a messenger and the giving of full directions as to route and whom to call on.

A class in plain cooking was lately formed at the New York Cooking School. The course consisted of twelve lessons. The tuition fees for girls who bear their own expenses are fifty cents for a single lesson, or $5 a course; for charitable societies, in behalf of their protegées, $5 a course; for ladies sending their cooks for instruction, $10 a course.

A shower of stones is reported to have fallen February 16 in Social Circle, Walton county, Georgia, varying in size from a hen's egg to that of a man's two fists, irregular in shape, dark grayish color, interspersed with a bright, shiny substance resembling mica. The shower was brief, extended over about four acres of ground, and followed an explosive sound.

Panic fears are likely to prove the destruction of the Spitz dog. The belief that this species is peculiarly liable to hydrophobia, and inclined to bite on small provocation, has led a great many owners to deliver up their Spitz dogs to the police for destruction. In one city, East Brooklyn, there was said to be 4,000 of them, but the number is now much reduced. Is it not possible that a similar panic among brutes may account for the extinction of some wild species of animals?

According to one of the German papers, the Zoölogical Garden at Cologne has been the scene of a tremendous fight between two Polar bears. They were male and female, and the latter, being overcome, was finally dragged by the male to the reservoir of water in the den, and held down until she was dead. Then her lifeless body was dragged around the place for some time by her furious conqueror.


Miss Martineau's "Autobiography,"[2] which comprises two-thirds of this voluminous publication, is an interesting specimen of an interesting sort of book. It appeals much more to the general reader than most of the multitudinous volumes which she gave to the world during her lifetime, and we shall not be surprised if it takes its place among the limited number of excellent personal memoirs in the language. (For this purpose, however, we must add, it would need to be disembarrassed of the biographical appendage affixed to it by the editor, which, though carefully and agreeably prepared, we cannot but regard as rather a dead weight upon the book. It repeats much of what the author has related, and envelopes her narrative in a diffuse, eulogistic commentary which strikes the reader sometimes as superfluous and sometimes as directly at variance with the impression made upon him by Miss Martineau's text.) Miss Martineau was indeed, intellectually, one of the most remarkable women who have exhibited themselves to the world. She was not delicate, she was not graceful, or imaginative, or æsthetic, or some of the other pretty things that literary ladies are expected to be; but she was extraordinarily vigorous; she had a great understanding--a great reason. She gives, intellectually, a great impression of force. She was a really heroic worker, a genuine philosopher, and she made her mark upon her time. Her reader's last feeling about her is that she was thoroughly respectable. He will have had incidental feelings of a less genial kind; he will have been irritated at the coarseness of some of her judgments and the complacency of some of her claims; at her evident want of tact and repose; at a disposition to which he will even permit himself, perhaps, to apply the epithet of meddlesome. But he will have a strong sense of Miss Martineau's care for great things--her sustained desire, prompting her always to production of some kind, to help along and enlighten the human race. She was a combatant, and the whole force of her nature prompted her to discussion. Such natures cannot afford to be delicate--to be easily bruised and scratched; neither can they afford to have that speculative cast of fancy which wastes valuable time in scruples that are possibly superfluous and questions that are possibly vain. In spite of any such apologetic view of her disposition as may be put forth, however, it is probable that Miss Martineau's autobiography will give offence enough. She speaks out her mind with complete frankness upon most of the persons that she has known, subject to the single condition of her book being published after her death. Of its being postponed until the death of the objects of her criticism we hear nothing, though this would have been more to the point. Miss Martineau deals out disapproval with so liberal a hand, that among those persons concerned who are still living much resentment and disgust must inevitably ensue. Downright and vigorous as she is in spirit, there is no mistaking the degree of her censure, and as (whatever else she may be) she is not a flippant writer, it has every appearance of being deliberate and premeditated. We do not pretend to decide upon the propriety of her hard knocks, or to point out the particular cases in which they might have been a little softer; but we cannot help saying that there is something in Miss Martineau's general attitude toward individuals which inspires one with a certain mistrust. She was evidently always judging and always uttering judgments. Her business in life was to have opinions and to promulgate them, and as objects of opinion she seems to have regarded persons very much as she regarded abstract ideas--attributing to them an equal unconsciousness of denunciation. This eagerness to qualify her fellow members of society would have been perhaps a great virtue if Miss Martineau's powers of observation had been of extraordinary fineness; but in spite of an occasional very happy hit, we hardly think this to have been the case. Sometimes, evidently, she went straight to the point, and often, independently of the justice of her appreciation, this is expressed with an extremely vigorous neatness. But frequently her descriptions of people strike us as both harsh and superficial, and more especially as _heated_, even after the lapse of years. She goes out of her way to pronounce very unflattering verdicts upon men and women who have apparently had little more connection with her life than that they have been her contemporaries. This is apart from the rightful spirit of an autobiography, which, it seems to us, should deal only with people who have been real factors in the writer's life. The latter pages of Miss Martineau's first volume contain a series of portraits, some brief, some more extended, of which it must be said that their very incisive lines make them extremely entertaining. Miss Martineau's style is always excellent for strength and fulness of meaning, and at times she has a real genius for terseness. Lord Campbell "was wonderfully like the present Lord; was facetious, in and out of place; politic; flattering to an insulting degree, and prone to moralizing in so trite a way as to be almost as insulting." That has almost the condensation of Saint-Simon. There is a very vivid, satirical portrait in this same chapter of a certain Lady Stepney, who wrote silly novels of the "fashionable" type which Thackeray burlesqued, and boasted that she received £700 a piece for them; and there are sketches of Campbell, Bulwer, Landseer, and various other persons, which if they are wanting in graciousness, are not wanting in spirit. Miss Martineau gives _in extenso_ her opinion of Macaulay, and a very low opinion it seems to be. It is, however, very much the verdict of time--save in regard to the "dreary indolence" of which the author accuses him, and which will excite surprise in the readers of Mr. Trevylyan's "Life." Of Lockhart and Croker and their insolent treatment of herself and her fame in the early part of her career, she gives a lamentable, and apparently a just account; but stories about the underhandedness and truculence of these discreditable founders of the modern art of "reviewing" are by this time old stories. There is also a story about poor Mr. N. P. Willis, which, though it consorts equally with the impression which this _littérateur_ contrived to diffuse with regard to himself, it was less decent to relate. When Miss Martineau left England for America, Mr. Willis gave her a bundle of letters of introduction to various people here; and on arriving in this country and proceeding to present Mr. Willis's passports, she found that the gentleman was unknown to most of the persons to whom they were addressed. A fastidious delicacy might have suggested to Miss Martineau that her lips were sealed by the fact that, of slight value as these documents were, she had at least accepted and made use of them. We suppose there was no case in which, even when repudiated, they did not practically serve as an introduction. But Miss Martineau was not fastidiously delicate.

[2] "_Harriet Martineau's Autobiography._" With Memorials by MARIA WESTON CHAPMAN. In 3 vols. Boston: Jas. R. Osgood & Co.

This copious retrospect appears to have been written about the year 1855, when the author had ceased to labor; having earned a highly honorable repose, and being moreover incapacitated by serious ill health. She appears then, at fifty-three years of age, to have thought her death very near; but she lived to be a much older woman--for upward of twenty years. Her motive in writing her memoirs is affirmed to be a desire to take her good name into her own hands, and anticipate the possible publication of her letters, an event which, very properly, she sternly deprecates. As to these letters, however, Mrs. Chapman publishes several, and makes liberal use of others. The reader wonders what her correspondence would have been, since what she destined to publicity is occasionally so invidious. Another motive with Miss Martineau appears to have been a desire to set forth, in particular, the history of her religious opinions--the history being sufficiently remarkable. Born among the primitive Unitarians (the city of Norwich, her paternal home, was, we believe, a sort of focus of this amiable form of Dissent), she passed, with her advance in life, from a precocious and morbid youthful piety to the furthest limits of skepticism. The story is an interesting one, and it forms both the first and the last note that she strikes; but we doubt whether (even among persons as little "theological" as herself) her reflections on this subject will serve to exemplify her judgment at its best. Her skepticism is too dogmatic and her whole attitude toward the "superstition" she has cast off too much marked by a small eagerness for formulas in the opposite direction, and a narrow complacency in the act of ventilating her negations. She cannot keep her hands off affirmations about a future state, and she lacks that imaginative feeling (so indispensable in all this matter) which suggests that the completest form of the liberty which she claims as against her theological education is tacit suspension of judgment. In general Miss Martineau is certainly not superficial, but here, in feeling, she is. This however is the penalty of having been narrowly theological in one's earlier years; it always leaves a bad trace somewhere, especially in reaction. The chapters in which Miss Martineau describes these early years are admirable; they place before us most vividly the hard conditions of her childish life, and they describe with singular psychological minuteness the unfolding of her character and the growth of her impressions. They have a remarkable candor, and it certainly cannot be said that the author's portrait of her youthful self is a flattered one. We doubt whether, except Rousseau, any autobiographer ever had the courage to accuse himself of so ungraceful a fault as infant miserliness. "I certainly was very close," says Miss Martineau, "all my childhood and youth." Her account of the circumstances which led to and accompanied her first steps in literature, of the first money she earned (she was in sore need of it), and of the growth of her form and development of her powers, and her confidence in them--all this is extremely real, touching, and interesting. She succeeded almost from the first, but her success was the result of an amount of unaided exertion which excites our wonder. What fairly launched her was the publication of her "Tales in Illustration of Political Economy," and there was something really heroic in the way that as a poor young woman with "views" of her own and without helpful companionship, she explored and mastered this tough science. Her views prevailed, and floated her into distinction. We have no space to allude to the details of the rest of her career, one of the principal events of which was her visit to America in 1834. It lasted more than two years, and was commemorated by Miss Martineau, on her return, in no less than six volumes. Mrs. Chapman deals with it largely in her supplementary memoir, treating chiefly, however, of the visitor's relations with the Abolition party. Miss Martineau evidently exaggerates both the odium which she incurred and the danger to which she exposed herself by these relations. They were natural ones for an ardently liberal Englishwoman to form, for the Abolitionists, to foreign eyes, must at that time have represented the only eminent feeling, the only sense of an ideal, visible amid the commonplace prosperity of American life. In her last pages Miss Martineau indulges some gloomy forebodings as to the future of the United States, which offers, she says, the only instance on record "of a nation being inferior to its institutions." This was written in 1855; we abstain from hazarding a conjecture as to whether she would think better or worse of us now.

* * * * *

We have two good novels, one very foreign and the other very domestic. The first is by Auerbach,[3] whose high purpose and truly ideal treatment of the narrative all who have read "On the Heights" will remember with pleasure. He preserves the same style essentially in this story, although it is of an entirely different character. A painter visiting a country village in company with a young scholar and philosopher who is an assistant librarian and is called the collaborator, paints as a Madonna the beautiful daughter of the keeper of the village inn. He falls in love with her, attracted no less by her unconcealed love for him than by her beauty. He takes her to town with him, a town where there is a little German court, very refined _esthetik_, and very high-dried old manners. The poor girl drives him almost mad with her awkwardness, her ignorance of polished life, and her independence. It does not help the matter that in the latter respect she wins the favor of others, even of the Prince himself. After a while he avoids her, takes to wine-drinking, and comes home drunk. She sees her position, and from what he is suffering, and she goes back to her parents, leaving behind her an unreproachful, fond, and most touching letter of farewell. Poor girl! sad as it was for her, what else could she do? It was the best course under the circumstances; for although her heart broke over it, she at least kept her love for him, and that by remaining she might have lost. After a while she dies, and he after a long time betrothes himself to another woman, who loves him, and to whose love he responds with such a feeling as beauty and sweetness and devotion might raise in the breast of a man whose heart is really in the grave of his dead wife. He dies before a second marriage from injuries received in a dispute with his brother-in-law. It will be seen that this simple story of humble life presented temptations to treatment in the most literal and realistic way. But in Auerbach's hands it is ideal. Its likeness in certain respects to the story of "A Princess of Thule" will strike all the readers of William Black's most charming novel. But the treatment is as unlike as the incidents and the localities. Auerbach's little novel is essentially German in thought, in feeling, in purpose, in treatment. We have never read a more thoroughly German book. This character is given to it, and its ideality is very much enhanced by the character of the collaborator, who is constantly looking upon every incident of life from a lofty philosophic point of view; serious generally, sometimes humorous, often serio-comic. "Wilhelm Meister" itself is not a more thoroughly characteristic production of the German mind. But it is nevertheless a sweet, simple, touching story, the sentiment diffused through which has a peculiar charm. It forms one of Mr. Henry Holt's well selected "Leisure Hour Series." The translation is marked by idiomatic vigor and a very skilful adaptation of the rustic phraseology of one language to that of the other.

[3] "_Lorley and Reinhard._" By BERTHOLD AUERBACH. Translated by Charles T. Brooks. 16mo, pp. 377. New York: Henry Holt.

--As unlike to this as can be is a novel by an author whose name is entirely new to us, but whose work bears the traces of some literary experience.[4] Its double title is very well chosen. In it a number of people, young and middle-aged, are gathered together for the summer in the beautiful Connecticut country house of one of them--a wealthy young bachelor. There they all fall in love. We can hardly say that everybody falls in love with everybody else; but it is pretty nearly that. Everybody is in love with some one else; and the consequence is, after a good deal of cross-purposing and some suffering, half a dozen marriages. The change that has taken place in the purpose of the novel and in the manner of treatment of character by the novel writer could not be more clearly exampled than by "Love in Idleness." It is absolutely without plot, has hardly enough coherence to be called a story, is entirely without incident. And yet it is very interesting from the first page to the last, although its interest is not of the highest kind even in the novel range. To give our readers any notion of it is quite impossible without telling them almost all that happens, all that is said, thought, and felt by the various personages. The book is strongly American; but its Americans are of the most cultivated classes; and it is guiltless of hard-fisted farmers, Southern slave-drivers, and California gold-diggers. It is entirely free from that irritating intellectual eruption sometimes called American humor. In fact, its personages are taken both from the Old England and the New; and side by side, one set can hardly be distinguished from the other as in real life. He who must perforce be called the hero is a Senator, forty-eight years old, who is engaged to marry a rather cool, reserved, and stately woman of thirty, but is loved almost at first sight by Felise Clairmont, a girl of nineteen, half French, half American, of enchanting beauty, and still more captivating ways. She is loved by almost every other man in the book; but her avowed lover is the Senator's younger brother, who is the host of the assembled company, exclusive of Felise, who lives near by with her guardian, a certain judge. The Senator loves the young girl as fondly as she loves him, and still more deeply, and what the result is we shall leave our readers to find out from the book itself, which will richly repay the novel reader. It is exceedingly well written, and its social machinery is managed with skill; but it is a little too much elaborated in the conversations, which are rather excessively epigrammatic at times. The author of such a novel, if not an old hand, should give us something better and stronger ere long.

[4] "_Love in Idleness._ A Summer Story." By ELLEN W. OLNEY. 8vo (paper), pp. 131. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co.

--"The Man Who Was Not a Colonel"[5] is an amusing story of that kind that may be denominated "light" even in fiction. The author rattles on through a variety of incidents, and adventures, and true-love tangles, without trying the reader's intellect with any particularly severe infliction of character study. It is a model of that literature which has received the distinctive title of _railway_, because in travelling we do not care to be bothered with thinking on our own part or others.

[5] "_The Man Who Was Not a Colonel._" By a High Private. Loring, publisher. $0.50.

* * * * *

Mr. Wallace has done well in selecting the comprehensive title "Russia"[6] for his book. It is no mere record of a journey, or description of a country or people as a traveller sees them. The author spent six years in the land of the Tsars, studied the language, and lived with the people, and now he endeavors to show the origin and composition of the nation, its past history and present struggles, besides making minute studies of the serf system, the communes, emancipation in its methods and results, the peculiar conjunction of autocracy and democracy in the principles and practice of government, the agriculture, the religion, politics, population, and other important factors of a great empire. The book is sufficiently praised when we say that all these subjects are well treated. The author is careful to point out, as an analyst should, where his studies are incomplete, and he modestly tells us that his work is not presented as an unassailable summation of truth, but as the conclusion to which an unprejudiced observer came after long and careful study. We could not ask for better evidence of his sincerity than in the defence which he, an Englishman, makes of the Tsar's policy of foreign annexation! He tells us that this is not the result of autocratic choice, but is the only available one of three modes of restraint against marauding tribes. These three are a great wall, a military cordon, and annexation. The first is impossible in a country that for hundreds of miles has no durable building material, the second has been tried and found impracticable. As to the last, there is a choice between an armed frontier and occupation of the marauder's country, and the latter course is followed because it is cheaper in a pecuniary sense. To the question so often asked in England, How far is Russian "aggrandization" to go? Mr. Wallace answers that the Russian arms cannot stop until they reach the frontier of some stable power. In short, to those Russophobists in England who look with such alarm upon the approach of the Russians toward India, he calmly replies that this approach is both inevitable and desirable! No wonder he tells his countrymen that it is their duty to know Russia better. It is plainly impossible to even review in the most concise manner the numerous important discussions in this remarkable book, without producing another book in doing so. Mr. Wallace's work is one of the most valuable studies in social and governmental economy ever written, and several causes, aside from his personal fidelity and fitness, combine to make it so. In general, Russian society exhibits, so far as the peasantry are concerned, a simplicity of life and thought that carries the imagination irresistibly back to prehistoric times. No civilized race, no _culturvolk_, presents such aboriginal relations in its family and commonwealth. The nobles, on the other hand, and all the cultured class, are fermenting with great views and plans of social reform. The ideas that made such havoc in the early days of the French revolution have again swept within human vision, but this time they were caught up by a practical-minded Emperor and crystallized into the greatest premeditated political reform of this century! The wonderful feat of quietly emancipating forty million bonded servitors, at one stroke, the institution on a tremendous scale of what the dreamers have declared to be the classic relation of social man--communism, the division of land, taking about one-half from the rich and giving it to the poor--such marvels as these throw a halo of Arabian magic about the history of this simple people since 1861. When to these attractions is added the fact that this land of social classicity and political ideals is entirely accessible to study, as no other nation of like simple culture is, we think that reasons enough have been given for saying that our author has chosen the ripest field in the world for his harvest labors. He has shown himself a most conscientious and able worker in it, and our own country will be fortunate if the social revolution that has taken place in its Southern States ever finds so unprejudiced and painstaking a historian as he. To Americans Mr. Wallace's book should be more interesting and valuable than to any other readers, for many of these questions which he discusses so thoroughly have been settled in precisely the opposite way in this country! For instance, emancipation here was violent, the severance of master-and-slave relations complete, the future _status_ of the two interested parties was not previously fixed, and no compensation was given to either. Here land is held solely by individual tenure; no person has enforced local bonds, but is free to move everywhere--that is, with the sole exception of Indians. We reject the colonization plan of dealing with marauding enemies, and adopt the armed frontier system. In short, we are diametrically opposite in our conclusions, and yet we have a national problem that is in two important respects essentially the same as Russia's. The settlement of a continent and the amalgamation of races is the double task imposed on us as well as them. One mode of accomplishing it we can see going on about us; its precise opposite is well exhibited in Mr. Wallace's "Russia."

[6] "_Russia._" By D. MACKENZIE WALLACE. New York: Henry Holt & Co.

* * * * *

Mr. Anderson cannot be considered a model traveller. His "Six Weeks in Norway"[7] gives hardly anything but the starting out on each morning, the names of places passed, and the arrival at night. But the traveller in that country needs something of just this kind, and this book will therefore do very well for a guide. Indeed, it is well filled with facts suitable to such a service. Norway is a hard country to travel in. The frequent rains and steady fish diet are depressing to dry foreigners with a previous sufficiency of phosphorus, and like our own country there is little besides the scenery to engage attention. Nor is the interior the best part of the country. It looks best in a profile view seen from the water. Whoever would see Norway must visit the fiords in a yacht, and not trouble the land much.

[7] "_Six Weeks in Norway._" By E. L. ANDERSON. Robert Clarke & Co.

* * * * *

The discussion of the mutual attitude of religion and science, particularly in regard to what is known as the theory of development, goes ceaselessly on. Books upon the subject follow each other so rapidly that it would seem that they must long since have ceased to find any considerable number of readers, much more of buyers. We confess that we are somewhat weary of the controversy; particularly as it is kept up chiefly on the side of those who call themselves religionists, who mostly seem to be unable to bring forward any new arguments, and no less to fail to appreciate the attitude and the purpose of those whom they have made their antagonists. Science, as we believe, did not seek this controversy, but was forced into it by the attacks of the champions of religion, and is now necessarily kept somewhat on the defence. It would seem that nearly all that can be said, and all that need be said, has already been brought forward. But each new disputant that enters upon the defence of theological dogma seems to be convinced that he is the man of men who is to protect religion against what he believes to be the danger in which it is placed by the observation of nature and the speculation upon discovered facts which now occupies so many physicists, including some of first-rate ability.

We may as well say, if we have not already said in our previous remarks upon the books upon this question which have been reviewed in the pages of "The Galaxy," that we do not regard the theory of evolution as established. Facts of great interest bearing upon it have been discovered, and deductions from those facts have been made and set forth with great ingenuity and plausibility, so that it demands serious attention _from the scientific point of view_. But this seems to us all that has been done. Our feelings and our convictions, not to say our creed, are all against it. It is a degrading and a hopeless view of the universe, and particularly of man. Him it places in the attitude of a mere physical item in the cosmos--one link, although the last and a golden one, in a chain of events the beginning and the future of which are alike unknown. All our instincts revolt against it. We don't believe it; and we candidly confess that we are in the position, abhorrent and ridiculous to the scientific mind, of not wishing to believe it. We believe, and we desire to believe, that man was made, however and when, as man; and that however inferior he may have been in his first condition to what he is now, he was never anything less than human.

Feeling thus and believing thus, we nevertheless cannot see that those who are resisting science on the ground that its assumed discoveries are at war with the assumed teachings of revealed religion are doing wisely, or that they, even the best of them, have written one word which in the least impairs the value or the significance of the facts and the deductions which science has set forth. Science is only to be met by science. Theology cannot touch it. A beast and a fish cannot fight: one must stay on land and the other must stay in the water. Religionists, on the one hand, say that if science has discovered, or professes to have discovered, anything at variance with the Mosaic cosmogony, it is not to be believed. Scientific observers say on the other that if theology teaches anything at variance with fact and logic, so much the worse for theology. This attitude of the two will be maintained. It is natural, and in a certain sense right, that it should be maintained. Each will hold its position. Neither can accept the conclusions of the other or its methods without both ceasing to be what they are. Notwithstanding this difficulty, which is radical, the controversy will go on, until it is decided, not by argument, but by time, experience, and the moral and intellectual development of mankind.

A laborious contribution to the controversy has been made, by Clark Braden,[8] who announces himself as president of Abingdon college, Illinois. It is our own fault, probably, that we have never heard before of the president or of the college. Neither he, however, nor his publishers will fail through lack of confidence to make themselves known, or because they have any misgivings as to the sufficiency of their work. The author, in a prefatory note addressed "to reviewers and critics," invites the most searching criticism of his book, but earnestly requests that it shall be carefully read, and asks to have all criticisms, particularly those which are adverse, sent to him, that they may, as he says, "aid him in his search for truth." But plainly he has little doubt that he has settled "the question of the hour," and what he wishes is to enjoy the spectacle of science vainly struggling in his giant grasp. His tone throughout the book is one of overweening self-confidence. Darwin, Tyndall, Huxley, Spencer, Carpenter, and the rest are to be snuffed out by the president of Abingdon college, Illinois; nay, their very methods of research and modes of reasoning are to be swept into the intellectual dust-bin of that institution by his besom. And in a long address which accompanies his book, in which the publishers speak, but the style of which bears a remarkable resemblance to that of Mr. Braden, it is pointed out with unction that while much has been written by the advocates of the theory of creation by intelligence, in refutation of the evolution hypothesis, yet "no thoughtful reader has ever felt satisfied with any one book"; "no one has attempted to present, in all its infinity, mystery, and unfathomable depth, the problem for which evolution is offered as a solution. This is a fundamental failure." Of course this great need is to be supplied, this fundamental failure made good, by Mr. Clark Braden's book. And then the publishers break forth in words which seem to be the genuine utterances of their own feeling: "The book is a compactly printed volume of four hundred and eighty pages, printed on the best quality of paper, and printed and bound in the best style of art. It contains as much matter as most three-dollar books, and more than many of them.... Every preacher and believer of the Bible should have a copy. All who profess to believe these theories of evolution should, above all others, have a copy. We want to place a copy in the hands of all parties." Doubtless. This is delicious. Every one who believes the Bible should "have a copy," and every one who don't believe it should "have a copy." In a word, to "have a copy" of this book is the chief end of man, the first requisite to reasonable existence for every human being. And then the publishers wind up with a request for copies of the reviews of the book, as "we desire to use them in the sale of the book, and in selecting papers in which we will advertise." Innocent creatures! that last touch shows how guileless they are; how they wouldn't think of such a thing as offering a bribe to editors and publishers of newspapers; and how purely disinterested they are in their desire to place "a copy" in the hands of "all parties."

[8] "_The Question of the Hour, and its Various Solutions, Atheism, Darwinism, and Theism._" By CLARK BRADEN. 8vo, pp. 480. Cincinnati: Chase & Hall.

We fear that our pages will not be selected for the advertising of this book; which, by the way, is commonly printed and meanly bound. Candidly we do not think that it is the end of all things. Possibly there may be some controversy hereafter; some men may go on investigating nature and believing in facts alone. The book reminds us of a social sketch in "Punch," which shows two dilapidated field preachers, evidently among the most ignorant and feeble-minded of their class, meeting on the edge of a heath from which people are going away. One says to the other, "Been on the 'eath? What did you preach about?" "Oh," is the reply, "I give it to Darwin an' 'Uxley to rights." Not that Mr. Braden is in any sense ignorant, or in any way to be compared to "Punch's" field preacher except in his evident belief that he has "give it to Darwin an' 'Uxley to rights," and in the perfect indifference with which Darwin and Huxley will regard his performance. Briefly, nothing worthy of particular remark in Mr. Braden's book. Those who wish to find the whole question between science and revealed religion set forth as it appears to Mr. Braden, and the facts and arguments of science met by the usual stock-in-trade weapons of the theologian and the metaphysician, may find all this in Mr. Braden's book, in which the author certainly does go pretty well over the whole ground. What is really his theme is found in this passage of one of his appendices (p. 382): "The issue between theist and atheist is: What is the necessary, absolute, uncaused, unconditioned being or substance? What is it that is the self-existent, independent, self-sustaining and eternal? What is the ground, source, origin, or cause of all existences and phenomena? This is the problem of problems, that determines all systems of science, philosophy, and thought." Well, to these questions science answers, We don't know; we don't pretend to know, and we probably never shall know. We have discovered by patient observation certain facts, and, according to the laws of right reason, we think that between these facts there are such and such relations. In this we may be mistaken. If we are, very well; we shall be glad to correct our error. In either case we shall go on observing, considering, and reasoning, but confining ourselves strictly to fact. If any dogma or transcendental notion that you know of is at variance with fact or with reason, we may be sorry or we may not; but in either case we can't help it. Dogmas and notions are nothing to us. And as to that self-existent, unconditioned, eternal intelligence that you talk about, pray tell us what you know about it. We shall be glad to learn. Don't tell us what you think, believe, or have an inward conviction of, but what you know. What _do_ you _know_ about it? Give us at least a solid basis of absolute knowledge to stand upon and to start from, and we are ready to listen to you. If you cannot do this, good morning; look you after your dogmas, and we will keep to our facts. The truth is that not Paul and Barnabas were more driven to part company than the disputant who sets up as of any authority a theological dogma, no matter what, or a metaphysical abstraction, no matter what, and the man who studies nature scientifically. One believes because he believes, and really at bottom from no other reason; the other is in a chronic state of inquiry; he believes nothing in regard to any subject of inquiry but that which rests upon the ground of absolute knowledge. Mr. Braden's book, although it is filled with evidences of wide reading and high education, reads like a book of metaphysical and theological commonplace. It reminds us of our college days in the lecture room of the professor of moral philosophy. It is well enough in its way, but it will attract little attention in the pending controversy. Of its style we must say that, considering the position of its author, we wish it were better, and that in the use of language it were an example more worthy to be followed. Its first sentence is: "One of the _wise_ utterances of one _whom_ his contemporaries declared spoke as never man spoke, was that no _wise_ man would begin," etc. On the next page we have such vulgar error as "_transpiring_ before our eyes," "decay and dissolution _transpiring_ in every department of nature"; and as to _shall_ and _will_ the author seems to have no conception of their proper functions in English speech. This, for the president of Abingdon college, is not well.

--Of a somewhat different character, and of much greater importance, is a little book which presents James Martineau's last utterances on this subject.[9] It is made up of an address delivered in Manchester New College, October 6, 1874, and two papers which appeared subsequently in the "Contemporary Review." Dr. Bellows, in his introduction, expresses the feeling with which religious minds will read these papers when he says, "it is refreshing in the midst of the crude replies which alarmed religionists are hastily hurling at the scientific assailants of faith in a living God, to hear one thoroughly furnished scholar, profound metaphysician, and earnest Christian entering his thoughtful and deeply considered protest against the tendencies or conclusions of modern materialism." Mr. Martineau may now be justly regarded as the leading champion of faith. He has this distinction because he is not hampered by creeds, or articles, or hierarchal responsibility; he is yet an earnest believer in the essentials of the Christian religion as it is accepted by all orthodox Protestant denominations, while to these qualifications he adds a wide range of knowledge and eminent ability as a reasoner. He is able to meet the men of science on their own ground, and he does so. They will not acknowledge themselves vanquished; and perhaps from the very nature of the case, as we have already remarked, they cannot be vanquished by any argument in which revelation or metaphysics enters as a premise; but they will not refuse their admiration at the union of subtlety and strength, of ability and courtesy with which they are treated. We find many admirable passages in this book marked for reference, as we went through it; but we must pass them by. During the last few months we have devoted so many pages of our department of literature to the discussion of this subject, that readers with whom it is not a hobby might reasonably object to a further continuance of the subject here. We content ourselves with recommending this little, thoughtful, strongly written book to the attention of our readers. They will find the best array of arguments with which to meet scientific materialism.

[9] "_Modern Materialism in its Relations to Religion and Theology._" By JAMES MARTINEAU, LL.D. With an introduction by Henry W. Bellows, D.D. 16mo, pp. 211. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

--From the same publishers, who seem very catholic in their reception of authors, we have a volume which, the more because of its ability and its calmness of tone, Mr. Martineau would regard with sadness, and with horror, and perhaps with dread.[10] Mr. Frothingham has undertaken the task of studying the records of the foundation of Christianity from a purely literary point of view and with all the aids that can be derived from criticism. The result of his studies may be said to be the satisfaction of his own mind that Jesus of Nazareth was not and did not intend to be the founder of a new religion; that he believed himself to be and set himself up as the Messias, the temporal Messias, expected by the Jews; and that Christianity was founded by Paul. His conception of Paul is striking, and however he may fail in establishing his position in regard to him, it certainly must be admitted that he has made of him a very interesting and energetic figure, and one which is consistent with itself and with all that we are told of the great apostle to the Gentiles. He calls him both Jew and Greek--Jew by parentage, nurture, training, and genius, Greek by birthplace, residence, and association, an enthusiast, even to fanaticism, by temperament, and yet freed from extreme narrowness of mind by intercourse with the people and the literature of other nations. He was a Jew whose feeling upon the Christ question was always intense, so much so that he worried and tormented the people who did not believe as he did. He was a Messianic believer of the school of the Pharisees, or strict Jews; but all at once, as such things do happen to such men, another aspect of the Messianic expectation burst upon him with the splendor of a revelation, and determined his career. To the conception of the Messias and of Jesus's conformity to it which suddenly took possession of Paul, Mr. Frothingham assigns the origin of the Christian religion as it was known in the second century. With a cool and almost humorous adaptation of a political phrase of the day, he calls this Paul's "new departure." That Mr. Frothingham's book is clear in thought, interesting in substance, agreeable and good in style every one acquainted with his writings will readily believe. As to the points that he has undertaken to establish, we are pretty sure that after reading his book few will think with him who were not ready to do so before they began it.

[10] "_The Cradle of the Christ_: A Study of Primitive Christianity." By OCTAVIUS BROOKS FROTHINGHAM 12mo, pp. 233. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

* * * * *

Dr. Watson F. Quinby of Wilmington has written an odd pamphlet on mongrelism in races. His belief is that population tends to become homogeneous, but this is not an averaging process. When two races mingle and intermarry, the mongrel product does not exhibit the balanced characteristics of both, but the traits of the higher race are absorbed and hid in those of the lower. Asia, he says, "was formerly powerful, with white peoples all along its northern and eastern borders, and far into the interior. But they first enslaved the black race, then mingled their blood, and have finally become merged in them." The resulting mongrel people always lacks the intellectual force necessary to maintain the civilization of the higher. Arts decline and national decay sets in. In this way is explained the existence of noble ruins among inefficient and barbarous nations, who practise a much ruder style of architecture. The Mexicans are the type of this retrogression. Dr. Quinby predicts for them an increasing decline until Aztec civilization is restored. If the Doctor's theories could be established, there are enthusiastic ethnologists who would not hesitate to say that the Mexicans could not be put to a better use than this. Shut them up and compel them to breed themselves back into Aztecs! Dr. Quinby's speculations are, to a great extent, based on studies of language, and of lingual affinities he is a bold, not to say reckless, expounder. Some of his work reads as if Mark Twain had turned philologist. For instance:

"Eighty miles from the mouth of the Indus was a place called Hingliz. The people of this part celebrate the festival of Bhavani on the first day of May, when their custom is to erect a pole in the field and adorn it with pendants and garlands. They also celebrate another festival on the last day of March, called Huli (Phulee), when they amuse themselves by sending one another on foolish errands. _All this has a very Hinglish look(!)._ This is probably the place where the Hinglish people came from, for though the Romans called themselves angles, they call themselves English."

* * * * *

To explore libraries, to sift out from masses of irrelevant matter what alone is of value to the naval student, to subject the poetical descriptions of great battles to the cold eye of professional criticism, and to give the results in a condensed, well written, and interesting form, is the task Commodore Parker has assumed, and so far as the volume under consideration is concerned[11]--the first of a series--the task has been well and faithfully performed. The amount of labor involved is immense! The author passes rapidly over the navies of antiquity for the reason, probably, that we are more familiar with that history than with the naval history of a period nearer to us both in time and relationship. What schoolboy has not read of Xerxes sitting in his golden chair overlooking the Piræus and the galleys of his immense fleet strung along the coast of Attica as far as the eye could reach?

He counted them at break of day, But when the sun set where were they?

[11] "_The Fleets of the World._" By Commodore FOXHALL A. PARKER, United States Navy. New York: D. Van Nostrand.

Such was Salamis.

When his narrative reaches the navies of the Italian republics of the middle ages, however, our author seems all aglow with love of his theme, and well he may be! Venice, in her day of glory, possessed the finest navy of the times. Captain Pantero Pantera, writing of it in 1614, speaks with enthusiastic admiration of its fine arsenals, numerous stores, and numbers of workmen on permanent pay. These things, he says, were always most "carefully attended to by the republic of Venice, which indeed in this respect not only equals, but excels all the naval powers of the Mediterranean." There is so much of romance and poetry, indeed, in connection with the naval history of Venice, that it requires a cool head and steady hand to steer along the courses of sober truth; but that truth we must not be surprised to find, in that clime of sunshine and beauty, often out-vieing the wildest efforts of fiction. Very similar is the history of the sister republic of Genoa. Unfortunately these lovely sisters were great rivals, and during wars which covered a period of about one hundred and thirty years wasted each other's strength and resources without achieving a particle of good to either. As a judgment, it would almost seem, for such stupendous and long-continued folly, the seeds of destruction were planted without their own bosoms. Both attained the pinnacle of earthly glory, but from both issued forth a wanderer who was destined in time to set his seal upon the fate of his native city. The Genoese Columbus, followed by the Venetian Cabot, led the way to the great western continent which, by diverting the course of trade and commerce from its old channels, caused the loss of wealth and the final decay of the Italian republic. The spirit of discovery once aroused, other navigators followed, and Vasco da Gama, by opening the road to the East Indies by the way of the Cape of Good Hope, so injured the trade of Venice with the east as to render her downfall inevitable. But the history of the old sea kings of the north, and the tracing of their line of descent through old England to the hardy seaman of New England, is still more interesting to our naval students.

The Vikings--"sons of the fiords"--were undoubtedly the most arrant pirates of all history. They were the dread of all Europe. "A furore Normanorum librera nos Domine," prayed the Church throughout Christendom. Many of these piratical princes became, through habitual success, so devoted to their calling that they never extinguished it, but rather gloried in passing their lives on board their ships. It was their fond boast that they never reposed under an immovable roof, nor drank their beer in peace by their fireside, and the ships in which they had led their wild and adventurous lives formed in death their sepulchre. Passing over the discovery of North America by Eric the Red (about 700 B.C.), we may come at once to Harold Harfagra--Harold the Fairhaired, or Harold Fairfax, a name so well represented to-day in our own navy. Having made himself master of all Norway, the restless young spirits of the realm took themselves off on one of their accustomed expeditions. Led by a youth named Rollo, son of the celebrated sea-rover Jarl Ragnvald, they ascended the Seine and laid siege to Paris. So successful were these Normans that Charles the Simple ceded to Rollo that part of Neustria since called Normandy. By the terms of the treaty, Charles was to give his daughter Gisele in marriage to Rollo, together with the province of Normandy, provided he would do homage, and embrace the Christian religion. To do homage was to kiss the feet of the king. All that the sturdy Rollo could be prevailed upon to do, however, was to place his hand in that of the king, and to depute one of his followers to do homage for him. The gentleman to whom this duty was assigned raised the king's foot so high that his majesty was thrown upon his back; whereupon the rude Normans burst out laughing, so little respect for royalty had these wild rovers of the sea. Two hundred years later the descendants of these same Normans achieved the Conquest of England. They became by the heat of much and continued contest and attrition gradually fused, with the Angles and the Saxons, already inhabitants of the island, into the modern Englishman and his representative on the shores of New England.

This volume not only shows the reader--the general as well as professional reader--the large scope embraced in a proper study of history, but it also demonstrates that naval archaeology is not a mere idle amusement, suited to the elegant leisure of the scholar. It has a great and practical value, enabling an officer to understand his own profession the more thoroughly in all its branches. Commodore Parker has conferred a material benefit on his profession by the valuable contribution he has made to its literature. He has, moreover, by his straightforward narration, pleasant style, and copious illustrations from standard authorities, rendered agreeable and entertaining to the general reader what otherwise might have proved technical, and of too special a character.

* * * * *

Mr. Perkins's book[12] almost disarms criticism by its very character, for it is impossible to make a selection of books that is at the same time limited in size and adapted to diverse and contrary necessities. Private libraries want the best books, public libraries the books most called for by the general and often undiscriminating public. "The Best Reading" contains the titles of about ten thousand books, and as that is less than half the number printed every year, the work is confessedly incomplete from whatever point of view we look at it. Still it is useful to librarians, of whom there are several hundred inexperienced ones in the country, and to professional essayists, or magazine writers, a class that must contain thousands of persons. With every allowance for unavoidable imperfections, we think Mr. Perkins can revise the list with advantage, taking out some obsolete writers and putting in some new ones in their place--Herbert Spencer for example.

[12] "_The Best Reading_: Hints on the Selection of Books, on the Formation of Libraries, Public and Private, on Courses of Reading," etc. With a Classified Bibliography. By FREDERICK BEECHER PERKINS. G. P. Putnam's Sons.

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Both Mr. Loftie's "Plea for Art in the House" and the Misses Garrett's advice on "House Decoration"[13] belong to the best kind of works on the very important subject of cultivating good taste in the furniture of the home. They are very direct and clear, and their authors are entirely competent to instruct us all on this subject. Especially are they free from what we consider to be the worst fault a book of this kind can show, an obtrusive pretension to superior taste. It is a great mistake to suppose that we can elevate people by showing them that we consider ourselves far above them in taste and judgment; but this mistake is not unfrequently made. That may be the fact, but if there is no evidence of it but a patronizing treatment of others, there is little hope that much good will be done. Both these books are free from that error, and Mr. Loftie especially takes his readers into a survey of a good many branches of decorative art, exhibiting a familiar acquaintance with them all, talking alternately of the blunders and successes of collectors, real and would-be, and all with a natural enthusiasm and freedom from superciliousness. The Garrett sisters also give a great number of valuable suggestions and some very taking illustrations of tasteful decoration. We wish they had given less of their work to criticism of the conventional London house and more to the description of what is good. So far as we are acquainted with books of this class, they abound in two faults, discursiveness and inordinate discussion of bad models. Artistic house decoration is a technical art, and must be taught like all other arts--by the exhibition of good precedents. Strictly speaking, there can be no theories in matters of taste. All the so-called laws or canons of taste are obtained by observing what has been well done. From that we may learn what is well doing, and the educated taste produces good work. There is nothing in art so implicit as the surveyor's dependence upon the law of magnetic attraction. The notes of a survey well made to-day can be given to a surveyor a century hence, and he will bring the lines out to within half an inch, and put his hand upon each boundary mark that has been made. But it is not so in art. In all the reconstructions of ancient Grecian buildings not one has been rebuilt. Neither the Madeleine nor the Valhalla repeat the art of the Parthenon, however faithfully they repeat its form and measurements. Good taste is a thing that no French surveyor can secure with any refinement whatever of the metric system. But still there is a soil in which this plant can be grown, and that soil is the collective evidences of good taste in the past. Let us have a book so full of good illustrations that didactic instruction shall not be needed.

[13] "_A Plea for Art in the House._" By W. J. LOFTIE, F. S. A. Porter & Coates, Philadelphia. (Art at Home Series.)

"_Suggestions for House Decoration in Painting Woodwork and Furniture._" By RHODA and AGNES GARRETT. Porter & Coates, Philadelphia. (Art at Home Series.)


--Our discussion of life insurance management, in this part of "The Galaxy," was but preliminary to the thorough article upon the subject which we present to our readers in this number. It is a subject of great importance, and one which concerns multitudes of the very best class of our citizens, to whom we recommend this article for thoughtful perusal. Its writer has a more thorough acquaintance with life insurance management than is probably possessed by any other one man in the country. He _knows_, he does not infer or conjecture, and he has learned by experience the only way in which to bring life insurance companies to an effective responsibility. What they are, even when they are not managed in a manner undeniably fraudulent, has been shown by the recent investigations at Albany, which brought to light the payment of salaries and bonuses of monstrous extravagance and the use of proxies by the thousand on the part of the officers who took these great sums out of the pockets of clerks and clergymen, widows and orphans. Something must be done, and that speedily, to correct this abuse even among the honest companies, and the way to doing it is pointed out in the article to which we refer.

--Since we prepared our last nebulous notes, General Grant has passed into private life. The country has accepted the event as a matter of course; it has elicited very little comment. The end of his administration was made the occasion of some retrospection and some criticism, it is true; but that did not, in either case, touch the subject which presents itself to us in connection with the change which took place in Washington on the 4th of March. General Grant, by becoming then a mere private citizen, closed one of the most remarkable careers in modern history. Men, a very few men, have done more, or been more, than he has done or has been; but it would be difficult to name a man in modern times who rose from obscurity to such a height, passed through such a series of events, held such power, and who passed peaceably, and in full possession of his health and all his faculties, into an absolutely powerless and private condition, and all this in sixteen years. The experiences of Cromwell and Washington were most nearly like Grant's. But Cromwell fought six years ere he won his crowning victory at Worcester; and although he was made Lord Protector in 1657, was known to all England as an able and energetic member of the Long Parliament, and one of the leaders of the popular party in 1640, seventeen years before. Washington also saw six years pass from the time when he drew his sword under the old elm at Cambridge, as Commander-in-Chief of the colonial forces, to that when he received Lord Cornwallis's at the surrender of Yorktown; and, made President in 1789, he retired in 1797, twenty-three years after he took command. But he was a prominent citizen of Virginia thirty-five years before that date, and was nominated deputy to the colonial congress in 1774. The position of our retiring President was very different, and his career was briefer and more crowded with events. In March, 1861, except his old West Point comrades and his few personal acquaintances, there were probably not twenty people in the country who knew of the existence of ex-brevet Captain Grant, U.S.A. Three years saw him the victor in hard-fought fields, in which the forces on either side more than trebled all that ever Cromwell or Washington commanded, and in 1864 he became General-in-Chief of the immense army of one of the great powers of the world; one year more saw him absolute victor, and the saviour of the Union. Four years passed, and he voluntarily laid down his sword and his supreme military command, to become President of the United States, doing so because he was regarded as the only man who could save in peace what he won in war. At the end of four years, he received, like Washington and Jefferson, Jackson and Lincoln, the honor of a reëlection, and three years later he seemed likely to have the unprecedented distinction of an election to a third term. Now, although we may not say there is none so poor to do him honor, he is entirely without position, military or civil, and it is certainly true that many a mousing politician has far more influence than the victor of Appomatox and he who was once dreaded by many people, and looked to by others without dread, as the coming "man on horseback."

--Such a career in these days was possible only in this country, and here it will probably be impossible hereafter. Of civil war we have, we may be sure, seen the last, as it was really the first, that was ever fought on our soil. And indeed it was big enough to suffice for our share of that sort of thing for ever. That we shall ever be called upon to wage war with a foreign foe is in the extremest degree improbable. No other power wants any of our territory, at the price, at least, which it would cost to get it; and we have taken all that we want from other people. Cuba, if we get it--the advantage of which is not clear to all minds--we shall get by purchase. We shall, therefore, it would seem, never be so greatly indebted again to a successful general. In case we should be so, and he should be one of General Sherman's successors, it may be reasonably doubted if, with General Grant's experience before his eyes, he will give up the assured life position of General-in-Chief for the temporary honors and troubles of the Presidential chair. It is not necessary to be a blind admirer of General Grant, or a member of the party which made him twice President, to do him the justice of admitting that his resignation of the office which he won with such eclat, and held with such general honor, the world over, was a sacrifice to the good of the Union for which he fought. He had for life a position equally honorable with that of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and more striking in its distinction. He had no superior but the President of the United States; not a certain man, but the incumbent of the office for the time being. He might, and probably would, have seen a succession of such men rise, and pass into powerless privacy, while he maintained his high position. He gave up this permanent distinction, with its well-assured emoluments, at what we must admit that he regarded as the call of duty, of patriotism. And now he is, so to speak, a nobody. Admitting all the errors that have been charged against him--and he doubtless committed many--admitting even that the party which he represented is hostile to the best interests of the country (we do not say that it is so, for we speak for no party and in no political interest in these pages)--the spectacle of the passage of such a man into absolute public insignificance, without any public care or public thought for his future, is a very impressive one, and one not in all respects admirable. As his career was possible only in this country, so also was the close of it. The government, the people of no other great nation, would drop a man who had done what he did, and held the positions which he held, into an unprovided, obscure future, putting him off, like an old shoe. Once the victorious commander of an army of half a million of men, a man whose name was in the mouths of all the civilized world, for eight years the ruler, with more than kingly power, of a nation of forty millions, and a country which stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and which covered the temperate zone in a continent, he has been remitted again, as far as the nation is concerned, into his former unimportance, we cannot say obscurity, to live a private life upon a very moderate competence. It may be right that this should be so; but none the less is the spectacle one of great interest and significance; all the more is his brief career one of the most remarkable in the history of civilized peoples.

--General Grant's successor seems to be in earnest upon one subject, in his apparent purpose in regard to which he must have the hearty approval of good men of all parties--civil service reform. In this there is no doubt that General Grant himself was at first quite as earnest. But the Republican politicians were too much for him; his own military habits of thought and his devotion to his personal friends also led him to adopt a course of action in this respect inconsistent with the purpose which he first avowed in regard to it; and the great and much needed reform still remains to be worked out. After all, the principal point, the great good, to be attained is the suppression of office-seeking as a sort of business, the extinction of office-seekers as a class. Our politics are sadly in need of purification. The corruption which disgraces our Government in the eyes of all good men at home and abroad taints both parties. In this respect there is nothing to choose between them. Now nothing would tend so much to better our condition in this respect as the absolute removal from the arena of political strife of the tens of thousands of minor offices at the disposal of the party in possession of the Government. Let them no longer be the prizes of victory at the polls, and the men who now make politics a trade would find their occupation gone, and they would no longer concern themselves much about nominations and elections. The political affairs of the country would then naturally fall into the hands of the honest, intelligent, and thrifty men who now have little influence upon them. Let it be once understood that, whatever party is in power, no man in office, except those directly around the President, is to be removed except for incompetence, neglect, or malversation, and the first great step will have been taken toward our political regeneration. Nor is its influence upon politics the only great benefit which would thus be secured. The existence of a great body of men who are withholding themselves from the ordinary business and work of life in the hope that something will turn up in politics which will enable them to live, and perhaps to get money in irregular ways, by office-holding, is demoralizing. It tends to make and to keep in existence a body of shiftless men who otherwise would be obliged to turn their attention to mechanics, to trade, to agriculture. It helps to increase our too great tendency to speculative and unstable habits of life. It is bad in every way. As to the particular method by which the much-needed change is to be brought about there may be various opinions; but among sensible and decent men there is none as to the prime necessity of the extinction of office-seeking. In whatever he may do to effect this the new President will have the best wishes even of the greater number of those who cast their votes against him.

--From civil service to domestic service is a great leap; but there is this likeness between the two, that both, in this country at least, are in a deplorable condition of inefficiency. And as to domestic service, the complaints of householders in England are hardly less loud and grievous than those which go up daily in America. In both countries there is a great cry for provision for unemployed women; and yet in both countries the procurement of women capable and willing to give good household work in return for good wages seems to vibrate between the not remote points of difficulty and impossibility. Disorder, dirt, waste, and cooking which is only the destruction of good viands by reducing them to an unpalatable and indigestible condition are, according to all accounts, the lot of all housekeepers whose means do not enable them to procure the most skilful and highly trained domestic servants. In England a strange remedy has been proposed, adopted in a measure, and thus far with success. It is the introduction of what are called, even in England, "lady helps." There is something amusing in seeing our cousins, who used to sneer at the Yankee phrase "helps," and also at the Yankee help herself, who would not be regarded (unwisely it may be) as a servant, turn in despair to the word and the thing as the only relief in their domestic perplexity. The scheme was first proposed by Mrs. Crayshaw, of Cyfarthfa Castle, the wife of one of the wealthiest iron masters in England. Considering the fact, known to everybody there, that there were thousands of poor gentlewomen--that is, of women born and bred in the comparatively wealthy and cultivated classes--who were absolutely penniless, living in want, in suffering, or in a pitiful and oppressive dependence, she thought that many of these women would be willing to enter domestic service under certain conditions. She made inquiries; she was encouraged; and she set herself to work to effect what promises to be a great and beneficent reform. The conditions which she exacted for her _protegées_ were that they should have comfortable and separate rooms, that they should be called upon to do none of the rough work, like scrubbing, for example, or boot-cleaning (although they were responsible for its being well done), and that they should be treated with personal respect. They were to be called "lady helps." She started her project only about two years ago; and although it was met at first with incredulity and with ridicule, already it is so successful that although the applicants for such employment are many, she cannot supply the demand by housekeepers for her helpful ladies. For it is found that these ladies give what is wanted, intelligent, conscientious service. They are truthful; they can be trusted; they learn easily; they work well; they are quiet, pleasant in manner; and, strange to say, they are cheerful. To the last one other of her conditions may contribute largely. They are to be hired only in couples, so that they have companionship of their own sort. What will be the end of all this who can tell? The prospect, however, is cheering to that class of householders who have not large means and who yet require faithful, well-trained, intelligent domestic servants for their daily comfort, and no less to a large class of respectable and educated women, who may find under the new domestic regime a refuge from the woes of extremest poverty--poverty which presses the more hardly upon them because they are educated and respectable. There is nothing in itself degrading in the performance of domestic labor; quite the contrary. No woman who is worthy of her sex hesitates to perform it for her husband, her children, or herself, or feels in the least degraded thereby, or is so regarded by her acquaintances. The feeling against performing it for others is a mere prejudice born of custom, of fashion. Let it once be understood that no woman loses the respect of others or need diminish her own by doing it for others as a means of livelihood, and the ranks of lady helps will be crowded.

--In illustration and in furtherance of Mrs. Crayshaw's truly, and, it would seem, wisely benevolent scheme, a little book has just been published in England, and reprinted in this country. It is by Mrs. Warren, who is the writer of some half a dozen excellent hand-books of household management. It professes to tell the story of the troubles of a small household, that of a professional man, whose wife is reduced to despair by the incompetence, the neglect, the wastefulness, the untruthfulness, and the dishonesty of the servants, who come to her one after another, each worse than the other. The causes of complaint are exactly those from which American housewives suffer. Depending upon her servants, whose deficiencies she is incapable of supplying herself, she is sometimes unable to give her husband a wholesome meal, decently served; and this preys upon her to such a degree that when he happens to be kept away she fancies that he remains away voluntarily because his home is unattractive. In her despair she proposes a "lady help" to him. He scouts the suggestion. The thing is impossible, ridiculous. She practises a pious deceit upon him; gets a lady help surreptitiously into the house, and keeps her out of sight until order, and cleanliness, and good dinners have subdued him into a proper frame of mind to receive with meek acquiescence the announcement of the origin of this beneficent change. Then all goes on happily. Money is saved, comfort supplants wretchedness and confusion, and domestic life becomes enjoyable upon a small income. It must be admitted that the authoress has it all her own way. The lady help is a paragon. She is the niece of a distinguished man of science, well bred, highly educated, self-respecting, but humble and modest, kind-hearted, and without the least pride or false shame. She is an angel of goodness to the under servant, who does the coarse work of the house, and teaches her as if she were her younger sister. She herself, although invited into the parlor and to sit at the family table, prefers to remain in the kitchen, which she brings into such a condition of neatness and order that it is a sort of little culinary palace. Plainly such women cannot be always looked for in "lady helps," and, moreover, there is this difficulty: If it should get about, as it surely would, that such a paragon of womanhood and housekeeping skill was to be found, if she had only moderate personal attraction, the kitchen over which she "presided" would be besieged by an army of bachelors, among whom it would be quite out of the order of nature that there should not be one that would victoriously carry her captive and put her in a parlor somewhere, with "helps," lady or other, to do her bidding.

--A story quoted by Mrs. Warren in illustration of the imperfect apprehension and confused memory of many people, particularly those of the class from which servants usually come, is too good to be passed by. The Rev. Dr. McLeod relates in his journal that he once received from two intending communicants the following replies to the following questions:

Who led the children of Israel out of Egypt?--Eve.

Who was Eve?--The mother of God.

What death did Christ die? [After a long time came the answer]--He was hanged on a tree.

What did they do with the body?--Laid it in a manger.

What did Christ do for sinners?--Gave his Son.

Do you know of any wonderful works that Christ did?--Made the World in six days.

Any others?--Buried Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.

What became of them afterwards?--Angels took them to Abraham's bosom.

What had Christ to do with that?--He took Abraham.

Who was Christ?--The Holy Spirit.

Are you a sinner?--No.

Did you never sin? and do you love God perfectly?--Yes.

This reminds us of the Cambridge (England) student who, on his divinity examination, being called upon to give the parable of the Good Samaritan, after reciting the benevolent man's promise to the host, "and when I come again I will repay thee," wound up with "This he said, knowing he should see his face no more."

--Ex-Mayor Hall has made a very needless stir in New York and throughout the country, and seems to have managed his disappearance very bunglingly. Is it not, indeed, very commonly the case that men who wish to go away secretly and have their whereabouts unknown--perpetrators of great frauds, robberies, murders, and the like--neglect what seems to disinterested persons the easiest, most obvious, and most sure means of concealment, while they lay themselves out with great labor and ingenuity upon others which are of secondary importance, and which seem not likely to present themselves to the inquiring mind under such peculiar circumstances? Mr. Hall, we assume for good reasons, wished to leave New York suddenly, to live in retirement, and not to have the place of his retreat known. He therefore gathers a little money together, and without saying a word to any one, takes ship at Boston and goes to England. He simply disappears. Consequently within twenty-four hours suspicion is aroused, within forty-eight anxiety is felt, and in the course of three or four days a hue and cry is sent over the whole country. It goes to England, of course, by telegraph, and when the steamers arrive a prying, mousing gentleman, whose business it is to find out things for the New York press, visits them one by one, passes the passengers under inspection, and of course finds Mr. Hall, spectacles and all. It is strange that a man of Mr. Hall's experience of the world, a criminal lawyer, an ex-mayor, a political associate of Tweed, Sweeney, and Connelly, should not have seen that such would be the inevitable course of events if he should leave New York as he did. But how natural for him to say that he was called East, or West, or South by important business which would keep him away ten days or a fortnight, to provide his family and his clerk with that response to inquiries, even if the former suspected the true state of the case, and then to start for England. True enough, in the end his flight would be known, which was inevitable; but he would have had a full fortnight's start, and would have been comfortably on the continent or hidden in the wilderness of London, probably the best place in the world for the concealment of a fugitive person who is not very singular in appearance and in habits, and who is not known at all to the London police. Mr. Hall might, with a little forethought, have so arranged his affairs that he would have been out of reach and past recognition before suspicion was aroused, not to say before a hue and cry was raised. But as it was, this astute lawyer, this crafty politician, who has been familiar with the ways of tricky people all his life, who knows by constant intercourse with them the habits of men that fly and men that pursue, who is practically acquainted with journalism, does just what defeats his purpose--whatever was the occasion of his leaving New York so suddenly, as to which we say nothing.