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Charles William Wason
Literature and National Policy.
New York: JOHN F. TROW, 50 GREENE STREET. (FOR THE PROPRIETORS).
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1862, by
JOHN F. TROW,
For the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.
JOHN F. TROW,
Printer, Stereotyper and Electrotyper, 48 & 50 Greene Street, New York.
ENTERED, according to an Act of Congress, in the year 1882 by JAMES B. GILMORE, in the Clerk of the Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New-York.
JOHN A. GRAY PRINTER
The Continental Monthly:
Devoted to Literature and National Policy.
What shall be the end? 1 Bone Ornaments, 5 The Molly O'Molly Papers. No. V., 6 Glances from the Senate-Gallery, 10 Maccaroni and Canvas. No. V., 14 For the Hour of Triumph, 26 In Transitu, 27 Among the Pines, 28 Was He Successful? 48 Newbern as it was and is, 58 Our Brave Times, 62 The Crisis and the Parties, 65 I Wait, 69 Taking the Census, 70 The Peloponnesus in March, 74 Adonium, 82 Polytechnic Institutes, 83 Slavery and Nobility vs. Democracy, 89 Watching the Stag, 105 Literary Notices, 106 Editor's Table, 109
SLAVERY AND NOBILITY vs. DEMOCRACY.
This article, written by a gentleman who, for fifteen years, was one of the most prominent citizens of Texas, will be found worthy of most attentive perusal.
WATCHING THE STAG
An unfinished Poem by FITZ-JAMES O'BRIEN, we give as it came wet from the pen of its lamented author.
INDEX TO VOLUME II.
PAGE Among the Pines. Edmund Kirke, 28, 127 An Englishman in South Carolina, 689 Adorium, 82 A True Romance. Isabella McFarlane, 190 A Physician's Story, 667 Astor and the Capitalists of New York. W. Frothingham, 207 A Merchant's Story. Edmund Kirke, 232, 328, 451, 560, 719 American Student Life, 266 Author Borrowing, 285 Anthony Trollope on America, 302 A Military Nation. Charles G. Leland, 453 A Southern Review. Charles G. Leland, 466 Aurora. Hon. Horace Greeley, 622
Bone Ornaments. Charles G. Leland, 5
Cambridge and its Colleges, 662 Corn is King, 237
Editor's Table, 109, 241, 369, 481, 638, 750 Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-Two, U.S. Johnson, 442
For the Hour of Triumph, 26 Flower Arranging, 444
Glances from the Senate Gallery. G.W. Towle, 10, 154 Gold. Hon. E.J. Walker, 743
Helter-Skelter Papers, 175 Hopeful Tackett. Richard Wolcott, 262 Huguenots of New York City. Hon. G.P. Disosway, 193 Henry Thomas Buckle, 253
In Transitu, 27 I Wait, 69
John McDonogh. Alexander Walker, 165 John Bull to Jonathan, 265 John Neil, 295
La Vie Poetique, 679 Literary Notices, 106, 238, 866, 478, 636, 747 London Fogs and London Poor, 404
Maccaroni and Canvas. Henry P. Leland, 14, 144, 290, 383, 591
Newbern as it Was and Is. F. Kidder, 58 National Unity. Hon. Horace Greeley, 357
On Guard. John G. Nicolay, 706 Our Brave Times, 62 Our Wounded. C.K. Tuckerman, 465 One of the Million. Caroline Chesebro', 541
Polytechnic Institutes. Charles G. Leland, 83
Railway Photographs. Isabella McFarlane, 708 Rewarding the Army. Charles G. Leland, 161 Reminiscences of Andrew Jackson, 318 Red, Yellow, and Blue, 535
Slavery and Nobility vs. Democracy. Lorenzo Sherwood, 89 Southern Rights, 143 Sketches of the Orient. Hon. J.P. Brown, 179 Shakspeare's Richard III. Rev. E.G. Holland, 320 Shoulder Straps. Henry Morford, 342 Sir John Suckling, 397 Southern Hate of the North. Horace Greeley, 448 Something we have to Think of, and to Do. C.S. Henry, LL.D., 657 Stewart, and the Dry Goods Trade of New York. W. Frothingham, 528
Thank God for All. Charles G. Leland, 718
The Molly O'Molly Papers, 6, 200, 257 The Crisis and the Parties. C.G. Leland, 65 Taking the Census, 70 The Ash Tree. Charles G. Leland, 682 The Obstacles to Peace. A Letter to an Englishman. Hon. Horace Greeley, 714 The Freed Men of the South. Hon. F.P. Stanton, 730 The Peloponnesus in March, 74 The Last Ditch. Charles G. Leland, 159 The Bone of our Country, 198 The Soldier and the Civilian. C.G. Leland, 281 The Negro in the Revolution, 324 The Children in the Wood. Henry Morford, 354 The Constitution as It Is. C.S. Henry, LL.D., 377 Tom Winter's Story. G.W. Chapman, 416 The White Hills in October. C.M. Sedgwick, 423 The Union. Hon. E.J. Walker, 457, 572, 641 The Causes of the Rebellion. Hon. F.P. Stanton, 513, 695 The Wolf Hunt. Charles G. Leland, 580 The Poetry of Nature, 581 The Proclamation, 603 The Press in the United States. Hon. F.L. Stanton, 604 The Homestead Bill. Hon. R.J. Walker, 627
Up and Act. Charles G. Leland, 314 Unheeded Growth. John Neil, 534
What shall be the End? Hon. J.W. Edmonds, 1 Was He Successful? 48, 218, 360, 470, 610, 734 Watching the Stag. Fitz-James O'Brien, 105 Witches, Elves and Goblins, 184 Wounded. Henry P. Leland, 206 Word-Murder, 524
Vol. II.—July, 1862.—No. 1.
WHAT SHALL BE THE END?
If we look to the development of slavery the past thirty years, we shall see that the ideas of Calhoun respecting State Sovereignty have had a mighty influence in gradually preparing the slave States for the course which they have taken. Slavery, in its political power, has steadily become more aggressive in its demands. A morbid jealousy of Northern enterprise and thrift, with the contrast more vivid from year to year, of the immeasurable superiority of free labor, has brought about a growing aversion, in the South, to the free States, until with every opportunity presented for pro-slavery extension, there has resulted the present organized combination of slave States that have seceded from the Union. When the mind goes back to the early formation of our Government and the adoption of the Constitution, it will be found that an entire revolution of opinion and feeling has taken place upon the subject of slavery. From being regarded, as formerly, an evil by the South, it is now proclaimed a blessing; from being viewed as opposed to the whole spirit and teachings of the Bible, it is now thought to be of divine sanction; from being regarded as opposed to political liberty, and the elevation of the masses, the popular doctrine now is, that slavery is the corner-stone of republican institutions, and essential for a manly development of character upon the part of the white population. Formerly slavery was looked upon as peculiarly pernicious to the diffusion of wealth and the progress of national greatness; now the South is intoxicated with ideas of the profitableness of slave labor, and the power of King Cotton in controlling the exchanges of the world. And the same change has taken place in relation to the African slave-trade. While the laws of the land brand as piracy the capture of negroes upon their native soil, and the transportation of them over the ocean, it is nevertheless true that a mighty change in Southern opinion has taken place in respect to the character of this business. It is not looked upon with the same horror as formerly. It is apologized for, and in some places openly defended as a measure indispensable to the prosperity of the cotton States. As a natural inference from the theory of those who hold to the views of Calhoun upon State sovereignty, the doctrine of coercion in any form by the Federal Union is denounced, and to attempt to put it in practice even so far as the protection of national property is concerned, is construed into a war upon the South. Thus, while it is perfectly proper for the slave States to steal, and plunder the nation of its property, to leave the Union at their pleasure, and to do every thing in their power to destroy the unity of the National Government, it is made out that to attempt to recover the property of the Federal Union is unjustifiable aggression upon the slave States. Thus we see eleven States in a confederate capacity openly making war upon the Federal Government, and compelling it either into a disgraceful surrender of its rights as guaranteed by the Constitution, or war for self-defense. Fort Sumter was not allowed to be provisioned, nor was there any disposition manifested to permit its possession in any manner honorable to the Government, although its exclusive property. It must be surrendered unconditionally, or be attacked.
The worst feature connected with the secession movement is the hot haste with which the most important questions connected with the interests of the people are hurried through. The ordinance of secession is not fairly submitted to the people, but a mere oligarchy of desperate men themselves assume to declare war, and exercise all the prerogatives of an independent and sovereign government. And yet the terms submitted in the Crittenden Resolutions as a peace-offering to the seceding States to win them back by concessions from the North, present a spectacle quite as mournful for the cause of national unity and dignity as the open rebellion of the seceding States. The professed aim of these States is either a reconstruction of the Constitution in a way that shall nationalize slavery and give it supreme control, or a forcible disruption of the Union. What are the terms proposed that alone appear to satisfy the South? They may be briefly comprehended in a short extract from a speech delivered by Senator Wilson, of Massachusetts, February 21, 1861:
'But the Senator from Kentucky asks us of the North by irrepealable constitutional amendments to recognize and protect slavery in the Territories now existing, or hereafter acquired south of thirty-six degrees, thirty minutes; to deny power to the Federal Government to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia, in the forts, arsenals, navy-yards, and places under the exclusive jurisdiction of Congress; to deny the National Government all power to hinder the transit of slaves through one State to another; to take from persons of the African race the elective franchise, and to purchase territory in South-America, or Africa, and send there, at the expense of the Treasury of the United States, such free negroes as the States may desire removed from their limits. And what does the Senator propose to concede to us of the North? The prohibition of slavery in Territories north of thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes, where no one asks for its inhibition, where it has been made impossible by the victory of Freedom in Kansas, and the equalization of the fees of the slave Commissioners.'
Here we have the true position in which the free States are placed toward the slaveholding States. Seven States openly throw off all allegiance to the Federal Union, do not even profess to be willing to come back upon any terms, and then such conditions are proposed by the other slaveholding States as leads to the repudiation of the Constitution in its whole spirit and import upon the subject of slavery. The alternative, in reality, is either civil war or the surrender of the Constitution into the hands of pro-slavery men to be molded just as it may suit their convenience. The price they ask for peace is simply the liberty to have their own way, and that the majority should be willing to submit to the minority. They aim for a reconstruction of the Union that shall incorporate the Dred Scott decision into the whole policy of the Government and make slavery the supreme power of the country, and all other interests subservient to it. The North has its choice of two evils—unconditional and unqualified submission to the demands of slavery, or civil war. It is expected, since the country has yielded step by step to the exactions of slavery ever since the Government was instituted, that the free States will keep on yielding until the South has nothing more to ask for, and the North has nothing more to give. With such a servile compliance, the free States are assured that they will have no difficulty in keeping the peace. But the question to be decided is: Is such a kind of peace worth the price demanded for it? May it not be true that great as is the evil of civil war, it is less an evil than an unresisting acquiescence to the exactions of slavery, and the admission that any State that pleases can leave the Union? The theory of secession involves, if admitted, a greater disaster to the Federal Union than even the slow eating at its vitals of the cancer of slavery. National unity, one country, the sovereignty of the Constitution, are all sacrificed by secession. It involves in it either the worst anarchy or the worst despotism. United, the States can stand, and command the respect of the world, but secession is an enemy to the country, the most cruel. Rev. Dr. Breckinridge, of Kentucky, most forcibly says:
'Every man who has any remaining loyalty to the nation, or any hope and desire for the restoration of the seceding States to the Confederacy, must see that what is meant by the outcry against coercion is in the interest, of secession, and that what is meant is, in effect, that the Federal Government must be terrified or seduced into complete cooeperation with the revolution which it was its most binding duty to have used all its power and influence to prevent.'
Jefferson Davis, in his late message, says: 'Let us alone, let us go, and the sword drops from our hands.' But what does this involve? The admission of the right of secession, which, as has been proved, is fatal to all national unity and preservation. Even if this arrogant demand was complied with, would peace be thus possible? Would not the breaking up of the Union involve the people in calamities that no patience, or wisdom upon the part of the North could avert? Remember a long border in an open country, stretching from the Atlantic, possibly even to the Pacific, is to be defended. Will the bordering people sink down from war, and all its exasperations, and become as peaceful as lambs? Constituted as human nature now is, will the dissolution of the Union create with the great North and South the experience of millennium prediction, 'The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and fatling together; and a little child shall lead them'? Here is a line crossed by great rivers; we are to shut up the mouth of the Chesapeake bay, on Ohio and Western Virginia; we are to ask the Western States to give up the mouth of the Mississippi to a foreign power. Is it reasonable to suppose that no provocation will occur on this long frontier? Will no slaves run away? What is to be gained by a dissolution of the Union? Not peace; for if, when united, there exists such cause of dissension, the evil will be tenfold greater when separated. Not national aggrandizement, for division brings weakness, imbecility, and a loss of self-respect; it invites aggressions from foreign powers, and compels to submission to insults that otherwise would not be given. Not general competence, for the South is quite as dependent upon the North as the North upon the South.
Disunion is a violent disruption of great material interests that now are wedded together. The dream of separate State sovereignty, our great Union split into two or more confederacies, prosperous and peaceable, is Utopian. So far from the secession doctrine carried out leading to peace and prosperity, it can only lead to perpetual war and adversity. The request to be 'let alone,' is simply a request that the nation should consent to see the Constitution and Union overthrown, slavery triumphant, and the great problem that a free people can not choose its own rulers against the will of a minority prove a disgraceful failure. It is a request that a nation should purchase a temporary peace at the price of all that is dear to its liberty and self-respect. The arrogance of the demand 'to be let alone,' is only equaled by the iniquity of the means resorted to, to break up the best Government under the sun. The question of disunion, of separate State sovereignty, was fully discussed by our fathers. Thus Hamilton, whose foresight history has proved to be prophetic, says:
'If these States should be either wholly disunited, or only united in partial Confederacies, a man must be far gone in Utopian speculations, who can seriously doubt that the subdivisions into which they might be thrown would have frequent and violent contests with each other. To presume a want of motives for such contests, as an argument against their existence, would be to forget that men are ambitious, vindictive, and rapacious. To look for a continuation of harmony between a number of independent, unconnected sovereignties, situated in the same neighborhood, would be to disregard the uniform course of human events, and to set at defiance the accumulated experience of ages.'
From a consideration of the true import of the Constitution, in relation to slavery and the fallacy and wickedness of the doctrine of Secession, we are now prepared to deduce, from what has been said, the following reflections: First, the war in which the nation is now plunged should have strictly for its great end, the restoration of the Constitution and the Union to its original integrity; all side issues, all mere party questions should be now merged in one mighty effort, one persevering and self-sacrificing aim to maintain the Constitution and the Union. As essential for this purpose, it is indispensable that all the rights guaranteed to loyal citizens in the slave States should be respected. The reason is two-fold. First, this war, upon the part of the North, is for the maintenance of the Constitution as our fathers gave it to us. Its object is not a crusade against slavery. What may be the results of the war in relation to slavery is one thing; what should be the simple purpose of the North is another. That this war, however it may turn, will be disastrous to slavery, is evident from a great variety of considerations. But that we should pretend to fight for the Constitution and the Union, and yet against its express provisions, in respect to those held in bondage by loyal citizens, is simply to act a part subversive of the true intent of the Constitution. To violate its provisions, in relation to loyal citizens South, is in the highest degree impolitic and suicidal. It is the constant aim of the enemies now in armed rebellion against the Union, to misrepresent the North upon this very point. By systematic lying, they have induced thousands South to believe that the election of Lincoln was designed as an act of war upon slave institutions, and to subvert the Constitution that protects them in all that they call their property.
There is nothing that the rebels South are more anxious to see than the Government adopting a policy that will give them a plausible pretense for continuing in rebellion. The Constitution places the local institution of slavery under the exclusive control of those States where it exists. Its language, faithfully interpreted, is simply this: Your own domestic affairs you have a right to manage as you please, so long as you do not trespass upon the Union, or seek its ruin. All loyal citizens should be encouraged to stand by the Union in every Southern State, with the unequivocal declaration that all their rights will be respected, and that their true safety, even as noblest interests, must lie in upholding the North in the effort made to put down the vilest rebellion under the sun. My second reflection is, that those South, who are in armed rebellion against the Constitution and the Union, must make up their minds to take what the fortune of war gives them. This rebellion should be bandied without gloves. The North should permit nothing to stand in the way of a complete and permanent triumph. As Northern property is all confiscated South; as Union men there are treated with the utmost barbarity; as nothing held by the lovers of the Union is respected, the greatest injury in the end to the Constitution and the Union is, an unwise clemency to armed rebellion. In this death-struggle to test the vital question, whether the majority shall rule, let there be no holding back of money or men. Dear as war may be, a dishonorable peace will prove much dearer. Great as may be the sufferings of the camp and the battle-field, yet the prolonged tortures of a murdered Union, a violated Constitution, and Secession rampant over the country, will be found to be greater. My third reflection is, that the main cause of our civil war is slavery. It has now assumed gigantic proportions of mischief, and with its hand upon the very throat of the Constitution and the Union, it seeks its death. The worst feature connected with it has ever been, that it is satisfied with no concession, and the more it has, the more it asks. By the very admission of the chiefs of this rebellion, it is confessedly got up for the sake of slavery, and to make it the corner-stone of the new Confederacy of States. The real issue involved by the rebellion is, complete independence of the North, the dissolution of the Union, and exclusive possession of all the territories south of Mason and Dixon's line; or reconstruction upon such conditions as would result in the repudiation of the old Constitution, the nationalization of slavery, and giving complete political control to a slaveholding minority of the country. This rebellion has placed the North where it must conquer, for its own best interests, and dignity, and the salvation of free institutions. It must conquer, to command future friendship and that respect without which Union itself is a mockery. Let the South see that the North can not be beaten, and the universal consciousness of this fact will command an esteem, and the useful fear of committing offense, that will do more to keep the peace than all the abject professions or humble submissions in the world. Having found out that the North not only is conscious of its rights, but has the willingness and the ability to defend them, it is certain that the country will yet have as much peace, general thrift, and noble enterprise with the onward march of virtue and intelligence, as may be reasonably expected of any community upon the face of the earth.
Silent the lady sat alone: In her ears were rings of dead men's bone; The brooch on her breast shone white and fine, 'Twas the polished joint of a Yankee's spine; And the well-carved handle of her fan, Was the finger-bone of a Lincoln man. She turned aside a flower to cull, From a vase which was made of a human skull; For to make her forget the loss of her slaves, Her lovers had rifled dead men's graves. Do you think I'm describing a witch or ghoul? There are no such things—and I'm not a fool; Nor did she reside in Ashantee; No—the lady fair was an F.F.V.
THE MOLLY O'MOLLY PAPERS.
'Hearts are trumps,' is a gambler's cant phrase. That depends on the game you are playing. In many of the games of life the true trump cards are Diamonds; which, according to the fortune-teller's lore, stand for wealth. Indeed, Hearts are by many considered so valueless that they are thrown away at the very outset; whereas they should, like trumps, only be played as a last resort. No trick that can be won with any other card, should be taken with a heart—the card will be gone and nothing to show for it. If you wish wealth, win it if you can—honestly, of course—but don't throw in the heart. Are you ambitious—would you win honor? Very well, if for political honor you can endure it to be spit upon by the crowd, to have all manner of abuse heaped on you and your forbears to the remotest generation—a ceremony that in Africa follows the election, but is 'preliminary to the crowning,' but in this country is preliminary to the election—but if you can make up your mind to pass through this ordeal, well and good—but don't throw in the heart.... Yet in games on which is staked all that is worth playing for, 'hearts are trumps;' and he who holds the lowest card, stands a better chance of winning than he who has none, though in his hand may be all the aces of the others, diamonds included. But, lest I go too far beyond the analogy—as I might ignorantly do, being unskilled in the many games of cards—I will drop the figurative.... Keep your heart for faith, love, friendship, for God, your country, and truth. And where the heart is given, it should be unreservedly. Its allegiance is too often withheld where it is due, yet this is better than a half-way loyalty; there should be no if, followed by self-interest.... The seal of confederate nobles, opposed to some measures of Peter IV. of Aragon, 'represents the king sitting on his throne, with the confederates kneeling in a suppliant attitude, around, to denote their loyalty and unwillingness to offend. But in the back-ground, tents and lines of spears are discovered, as a hint of their ability and resolution to defend themselves.' ... This kind of allegiance no true heart will ever give.
I take it for granted that you have a heart—not merely anatomically speaking, an organ to circulate the blood, but a something that prompts you to love, to self-sacrifice, to scorn of meanness, and, it may be, to good, honest hatred. All metals can be separated from their ores; but meanness is inseparable from some natures, so it is impossible to hate the sin without hating the sinner; we can't, indeed, conceive of it in the abstract. I don't mean hate in a malignant sense—here I may as well express my scorn of that sly hatred that is too cowardly to knock a man down, but quietly trips him up.
It is well enough for those who think that 'life is a jest,' (and a bitter, sarcastic one it must be to them,) to mock at all nobler feelings and sentiments of the heart. None do they more contemn than friendship. I would not 'sit in the seat' of these 'scornful,' however they may have found false friends. Yet every man capable of a genuine friendship himself, will in this world find at least one true friend. Oxygen, which comprises one fifth of the atmosphere, is said to be highly magnetic; and any ordinary, healthy soul can extract magnetism enough from the very air he breathes to draw at least one other soul. Some people have an amazing power of absorption and retention of this magnetism. You feel irresistibly drawn toward them—and it is all right, for they are noble, true souls. There is a great difference between their attractive force and that kind of 'power of charming' innocence that villainy often has—just as I once saw a cat charm a bird, which circled nearer and nearer till it almost brushed the cat's whiskers—and had he not been chased away, he would have that day daintily lunched—and there would have been one songster less to join in that evening's vespers.
False——s there are—I will not call them false friends—this noun should never follow that adjective. To what shall I liken them—to the young gorilla, that even while its master is feeding it, looks trustingly in his face and thrusts forth its paw to tear him? Who blames the gorilla? Torn from its dam, caged or chained, it owes its captor a grudge. To the serpent? The story of the warming of the serpent in the man's bosom, is a mere fable. No man was ever fool enough to warm a serpent in his bosom. And the serpent never crosses the path of man if he can help it. The most deadly is that which is too sluggish to get out of his way—therefore bites in self-defense. And the serpent generally gives some warning hiss, or a rattle. Indeed, almost every animal gives warning of its foul intent. The shark turns over before seizing its prey. But the false friend (I am obliged to couple these words) takes you in without changing his side.... In truth, a man, if he has a vice, be it treachery or any other, goes a little beyond the other animals, even those of which it is characteristic. We say, for instance, of a treacherous man, He is a serpent; but it would be hyperbole to call a serpent a treacherous man.
But these false friends, who deceive you out of pure malignity, who would rather injure you than not, who, perhaps, have an old, by you long-forgotten, grudge, and become your apparent friends to pay you back—these are few. Human nature, with all its depravity, is seldom so completely debased. But there are many who are only selfishly your friends. When you most need their friendship, where is it? When some great calamity sweeps over you, and, bowed and weakened, you would lean on this friendship, though it were but a 'broken reed,' you stretch forth your hand—feel but empty space.
Then there are some who let go the hand of a friend because they feel sure of him, to grasp the extended hand of a former enemy. Politicians, especially, do this. An enemy can not so easily be transformed into a friend. As in those paintings of George III., on tavern-signs, after the Revolution changed to George Washington, there will still be the same old features.... The opposite of this is what every generous nature has tried. To revive a dying friendship, this is impossible. If you find yourself losing your friendship for a person, there must be some reason for it. If the former dear name is becoming indistinct on the tablet of your heart, the attempt to re-write it will entirely obliterate it. It is said that a sure way to obliterate any writing, is to attempt to re-write it.... But it is not true that 'hot love soon cools.' With all my faults—and to say that I am an O'Molly is to admit that I have faults, and I am not sure that I would wish to be without them. To speak paradoxically, a fault in some cases does better than a virtue—as on some organs 'the wrong note in certain passages has a better effect than the right.' But, as I was saying, with all my faults, I have never yet changed toward a friend; I will not admit even to the ante-chamber of my heart a single thought untrue to my friend. Though it is true my friends are so few that I could more than count them on my fingers, had I but one hand.... And these few friends—what shall I say of them? They have become so a part of my constant thoughts and feelings, so a part of myself, that I can not project them—if I may so speak—from my own interior self, so as to portray them. Have you not such friends? Are there none whom to love has become so a habit of your life that you are almost unconscious of it—that you hardly think of it, any more than you think—'I breathe'?
There is probably no one who has not some time in his or her life felt the dreariness of fancied friendliness. I can recall in my own experience at least one time when this dreary feeling came over me. It was during a twilight walk home from a visit. I can convey to you no idea of the utter loneliness of the unloved feeling; it seemed that not even the love of God was mine, or if it was, there was not individuality enough in it; it was so diffused; this one, whom I disliked—that insignificant person, might share in it. I know not how long I indulged in these thoughts, with my eyes on the ground, or seeing all things 'as though I saw them not,' but when I did raise them to take cognizance of any thing, there was, a few degrees above the horizon, the evening star; it shone as entirely on me as though it shone on me exclusively. It is thus, I thought, with His love; thus it melts into each individual soul. Such gentle thoughts as these, long after the star had sunk behind the western mountains, were a calm light in my soul. And I awoke the next morning, the old cheerful
I have often thought what splendid members of the diplomatic corps women would make, especially married women. As much delicate management is required of them, they have as much financiering to do as any minister plenipotentiary of them all. Let a woman once have an object in view, and 'o'er bog, or steep, through strait, rough, dense or rare; with head, hands, or feet, she pursues her way, and swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies;' but she attains her object.
You poor, hood-winked portion of humanity—man—you think you know woman; that she 'can't pull the wool over your eyes.' Just take a retrospective view. Did your wife ever want any thing that she didn't somehow get it? Whether a new dress, or the dearest secret of your soul, she either, Delilah-like, wheedled it out of you, or, in a passion, you almost flung it at her, as an enraged monkey flings cocoa-nuts at his tormentor.
And how she has changed your habits, has turned the course of your life, made it flow in the channel she wished, instead of, as heretofore, 'wandering at its own sweet will,' as the gently-winding but useless brook has been converted into a mill-race.
There is Mr. Jones. Before he married, as free and easy a man as ever smoked a meerschaum. Mrs. Jones is considered a pattern woman; but of that you can judge for yourself. Her first reformation was in regard to his club, from which he returned home late, redolent of brandy-punch, and lavish of my dears. All she could say to him had no effect, till, after the birth of little Nellie, she joined a Ladies' Reading Society, meeting on his club evening; he wouldn't leave the baby to the care of a servant, consequently staid at home himself.
He was also in the habit of resorting to the gymnasium, ostensibly for exercise, as he was dyspeptic; but his wife suspected it was more to meet his old cronies. Finding retrenchment necessary, and looking on gymnastics somewhat as a Yankee looks on a fine stream that turns no mill, she dismissed one of the servants, and so arranged it that the surplus strength that formerly so ran to waste should make the fires, rock the cradle, and split certain hickory logs. Very soon Mr. Jones, who is a lawyer, found his business so much increased that he was obliged to remain in his office all day, except at meal-time; after which, however heartily he might have eaten, he never complained of indigestion. With this, thrifty Mrs. Jones was delighted, till one day she surprised him in his office, enveloped in tobacco-smoke, with elevated feet, reading a nice new novel; you may be sure that after that, she insisted on the exercise. As their family increased, thinking still further retrenchment necessary, she gently broached the relinquishing of the meerschaum. Finding him obstinate in his opposition, she one day accidentally broke it. It was one that he had been coloring for years; he had devoted time and attention to it, that, if properly directed, might have made him a German philosopher, an antiquary, or a profound theologian; or, if devoted to his law studies, would have fitted him for Chief-Justice of the United States.
The countryman who mistook for a bell-rope the cord attached to a shower-bath, was not more astonished at the result of pulling it, than she was at the result of this trifling accident. Such an overwhelming torrent of abuse as was poured on her devoted head; such an array of offenses as was marshaled before her; Banquo's issue wasn't a circumstance to the shadowy throng. She had recourse to woman's only means of assuaging the angry passions of man—tears, (you know the region of constant precipitation is a perpetual calm;) but these, instead of operating like oil poured on the troubled waters, were rather like oil thrown on the fire. Pleading her delicate health, she hinted that his unkindness would kill her, and that, when she was gone, her sweet face would haunt him. Muttering something about one consolation, ghosts couldn't speak till spoken to, and he was sure he wouldn't break the spell of silence, he picked up his hat and strode out of the house, slamming the door after him. For a while, Mrs. Jones was struck with consternation; she felt somewhat as the woman must have felt who, in attempting to pull up a weed, overturned the monument that crushed her; and, though not quite crushed by the weight of Mr. Jones's indignation, she only resolved to give no more tugs at the weed that had taken such deep root in his heart; and that, if he brought home another meerschaum, (which he did that evening,) it was best to ignore its existence. Mrs. Jones says she believes that the meerschaum absorbs 'the disagreeable' of a man's temper, as it is said to absorb that of tobacco; at least, her husband is never so serene as when smoking one. Indeed, it is said that the fiercest birds of prey can be tamed by tobacco-smoke.
Don't think that after this little contretemps all Mrs. Jones's authority was at an end; no, indeed; though she had, by stroking the wrong way the docile, domestic animal, roused him into a tiger, she hastened to smooth him down; and time would fail me to give even a list of her reforms.
After having heard her story, as I did, chiefly from her own lips, my wonder at the immense Union army, raised on such short notice, was considerably diminished. 'Extremes meet.' Probably Union and disunion sentiments met in the mind of many a volunteer Jones. Then, too, I used to wonder at the ease with which men apparently forget their buried wives, and marry again; and, as I then had a great respect for the race, thought their hearts must be very rich, new affections spring up with such amazing rapidity; like the soil of the tropics, whose vegetation is hardly cut down before there is a new, luxuriant growth. I've, however, since come to the conclusion, that the poor man, somehow feeling that he must marry, chooses in a manner at random, having, the first time, taken the greatest care, and 'caught a Tartar,' in the same sense that the man had with whom the phrase originated, that is, the Tartar had caught him.
In my childhood I was particularly fond of the hoidenish amusement of jumping out of our high barn-window, and landing on the straw underneath. The first few times I went to the edge—then drew back—looked again—almost sprang—again stepped back—till finally I took the leap. Thus old bachelors take the matrimonial leap—not so widowers—how is it to be accounted for? Well, brother man, (for this is the nearest relationship to you that I can claim,) you do about as well in this way as in any other. You are destined to be taken in as effectually as was Jonah, when he made that 'exploration of the interior,' or, as was the fly, when Dame Spider's 'parlor' proved to be a dining-room.
Sam Slick says that 'man is common clay—woman porcelain.' Alas! there is but little genuine porcelain. It is a pity that you couldn't contrive to have a few jars before matrimony, to crack off some of the glazing, and show the true character of the ware.
And you, sister woman, learn a lesson from the 'tiny nautilus,' which, 'by yielding, can defy the most violent ragings of the sea.' And, though man is so nicely adapted to your management that it is obviously the end of his creation, remember Mrs. Jones's trifling miscalculation in regard to the meerschaum, and—'N'eveillez pas le chat qui dort.'
Abruptly yours, MOLLY O'MOLLY.
GLANCES FROM THE SENATE-GALLERY.
The comparative excellence of different periods of eloquence and statesmanship affords a subject of curious and profitable contemplation. The action of different systems of government, encouraging or depressing intellectual effort, the birth of occasions which elicit the powers of great minds, and the peculiar characteristics of the manner of thinking and speaking in different countries, are observable in considering this topic. A pardonable curiosity has led the writer frequently to visit the United States Senate Chamber, and to place mentally the intellectual giants of that body in contrast with their predecessors on the same scene, and with the eminent orators and statesmen of other countries and other ages; and the result of such comparisons has always been to awaken national pride, and to convince that the polity bequeathed us by our fathers, no less than the distinctive genius of the race, have practically demonstrated that a free system is the most prolific in the production of animated oratory and vigorous statesmanship. Undoubtedly, the golden age of American eloquence must be fixed in the time of General Jackson, when Webster, Clay, Calhoun, Rives, Woodbury, and Hayne sat in the Upper House; and whatever may be our wonder, when we contemplate the brilliant orations of the British statesmen who shone toward the close of the last century, if we turn from Burke to Webster, from Pitt to Calhoun, from Fox to Clay, and from Sheridan to Randolph and to Rives, Americans can not be disappointed by the comparison. Since the death of the last of that illustrious trio, whose equality of powers made it futile to award by unanimity the superiority to either, and yet whose greatness of intellect placed them by common assent far above all others, the eloquence of the Senate has been less brilliant and less interesting. And yet it has not fallen below a standard of eloquence equal, if not superior, to that of any other nation. Unlike the English and the French, who have to go back more than half a century to deplore their greatest Senators and Ministers, the grave closed over the greatest American intellects within the memory of the present generation; and the contrast between the Senate of to-day and the Senate of a score of years ago, is too striking, perhaps, to give us an impartial idea of the abilities which now guide the nation.
The Senate which is at present deliberating on the gravest questions which our legislature has been called upon to consider since the establishment of the Constitution, is, without doubt, inferior in point of eminent talent, to the Senate of Webster's time, and even to the Senate which closed its labors on the day of Mr. Lincoln's inauguration. In this latter body were three men, who, though far below the great trio preceding them, still occupied in a measure their commanding influence on the floor and before the country: one of whom now holds an Executive office, another sits in the Lower House, and the third has passed away from the scenes of his triumphs forever. Mr. Seward, whose keen logic, accurate statement of details, and imperturbable coolness, remind one of Pitt and Grey, was considered, while Senator from New-York, as the leading Statesman of the body, and was the nucleus around which concentrated the early adherents of the now dominant party. Mr. Crittenden's fervent and earnest declamation, wise experience, and good-nature, gave him a high rank in the respect and esteem of his colleagues, while his age and life-long devotion to the service of the state, endowed him with unusual authority. The lamented Douglas, who surpassed every other American statesman in casual discussion, and whose name will rank with that of Fox, in the art of extempore debate, could not fail to be the leader of a large party, and the popular idol of a large mass, by the manly energy of his character, his devotion to popular principles, and a rich and sonorous eloquence, which convinced while it delighted.
It must also in candor be admitted, that the secession of the Southern Senators from the floor, made a decided breach in the oratorical excellence of that body. However villainous their statesmanship, and to whatever traitorous purposes they lent the power of their eloquence, there were several from the disaffected States who were eminent in a skillful and brilliant use of speech. Probably the man who possessed the most art in eloquence, and who united a keen and plausible sophistry with great brilliancy of language and declamation with the highest skill, was Benjamin, of Louisiana. Born a Hebrew, and bearing in his countenance the unmistakable indications of Jewish birth, his person is small, thick, and ill-proportioned; his expression is far less intellectual than betokening cunning, while his whole manner fails to give the least idea, when he is not speaking, of the wonderful powers of his mind.
Shrewd and unprincipled, devoting himself earnestly and without the least scruple of conscience to two objects—the acquisition of money and the success of treason—he yet concealed the true character of his designs under an apparently ingenuous and fervent delivery, and in the garb of sentiments worthy a Milton or a Washington. His voice, deeply musical, and uncommonly sweet, enhanced the admiration with which one viewed his matchless delivery, in which was perfect grace, and entire harmony with the expressions which fell from his lips. How mournful a sight, to see one so nobly gifted, leading a life of baseness and vice, devoting his immortal qualities to the vilest selfishness, and to the betrayal of his country and of liberty! Should the descendant of an oppressed and persecuted race take part with oppressors? Senator Benjamin is a renegade to the spirit of freedom which animated his ancestors.
He who, among the Southern Senators, ranked as an orator next to Benjamin, now leads the rebellious hosts against the flag under which he was reared, and lends his unquestioned powers to the demolition of the great Republic of which he was once a brilliant ornament. Certainly endowed with more forethought and practical wisdom than any of his Democratic colleagues, well qualified by his calm survey of every question and every political movement, to lead a large party, and forcible and ironical in debate, Jefferson Davis stood at the head of the disaffected in the Senate, as he now does in the field. Cautious and deliberate in speech, he yet never failed to launch out in strong invective, and to make effective use of irony in his attacks. He is in personal appearance, rather small and thin, with a refined and decidedly intellectual countenance, and a not unamiable expression. His health alone prevented his rising to the first rank of American orators; and what of his statesmanship was not directed to the accomplishment of partisan purposes, gave him much consideration. He was incapable, from a weak constitution, of sustaining, at great length, the vivacity and energy with which he commenced his speeches; and therefore, their sharp sarcasm and great power, made them appear more considerable in print than in the delivery. Even after he had enlisted all his energies in the detestable scheme which he is now trying to fulfill, his prudence halted at the rash idea he had embraced; and he attempted for a moment to stem the torrent, by voting for the Crittenden propositions. His delivery was graceful and dignified, his manner sometimes courteous, often contemptuous, and always impressive. His eloquence consisted rather in the lucid logic and deliberate thought evinced than for rhetorical beauty or range of imagination; occasionally, however, he would diverge from the plain thread of argument, and rise to declamation of striking brilliancy and power. Over-quick, with all his natural phlegm, to discern and to resent personal affronts—oftentimes when there was no occasion therefor—he was a favorable exemplar of that peculiar, and to our mind, somewhat incomprehensible quality, which the Southern people glory in, and which they dignify by the stately epithet of 'chivalry.' On the whole, he must be regarded as the ablest, and therefore the most culpable and dangerous of the insurgent leaders; and he may, perhaps, be considered the first of Southern statesmen since the time of Calhoun.
Another Senator who occupied a high rank as a partisan and statesman among the Southern Democracy, was Hunter, of Virginia. He is a thickly-built person, with a countenance possessing but little expression, and far from intellectual; and would rather be noticed by one sitting in the gallery for the negligence of his dress, utter want of dignity, and exceedingly unsenatorial bearing, than for any other external qualities. But when he had spoken a few moments, a decided soundness of head, and shrewdness, appeared to enter into the composition of his mind. No man in the Senate had a juster idea of financial philosophy; and his services on the Committee devoted to that department, were highly appreciated by every one. He was, however, little trusted by loyal Senators, and his frequent professions of devotion to the Union, failed to conceal the bent of his mind toward those with whom he is now in intimate concert. Sincerity had least place of all the virtues in his breast; and his hypocrisy, somewhat hidden by the apparent ingenuousness and conciliatory address of his manner, became manifest in actions and votes, rather than in words. He was, so far as can now be ascertained, one of the prime movers of the Senatorial cabal, or caucus, which was devoted either to the complete dominance of the Southern element in the Union, or to their forcible secession from the Union; and was probably as active and earnest a traitor, long before the doctrine of secession was ventured upon, as the most fiery of South-Carolina fire-eaters. Mr. Hunter is, in private, courteous and affable, and, indeed, in the debates in which he took part, he never transgressed the rules of respect due to his colleagues, or violated the dicta of parliamentary etiquette.
His colleague, Mason, is an irritable, petulant, arrogant man, not without a certain ability in debate, but censorious, and unconfined by the restraints of decency in his tirades against the North. He was 'one of the finest-looking men,' if we speak phrenologically, in the last Senate; and would always be noticed for his dignified manner and fine head, by a stranger visiting the Chamber for the first time. We have briefly noticed him, rather on account of the notoriety recently attached to his name by the 'Trent' affair, than from his prominence among Southern orators and statesmen—his talent, being, in fact, of a decidedly mediocre description.
While speaking of Mason, it will be apropos to allude to his late companion in trouble, John Slidell, who was certainly the shrewdest politician and party tactician among his friends on the north side of the chamber; he is indeed the Nestor of intriguers. From the time when, early in life, he aspired to, and in a degree succeeded in controlling the politics of the Empire City, up to this hour, when he is with snake-like subtleness attempting to poison French honor, his career has been a series of successful intrigues. Utterly devoid of moral principle, he resembles his late colleague, Benjamin, in the immorality of his life, and the baseness of his ends, attained by as base means. He is rather a good-looking man, short, with snowy-white hair and red face, his countenance indicative of the secretiveness and cunning of his character. He was rather the caucus adviser and manager than one of the orators of his party; seldom speaking, and never except briefly and to the point. Imagination in him has been warped and made torpid by a life of dissipation, as well as by his practical tendencies. He is, like many other Southern statesmen, courteous and pleasing in social conversation; but is heartless, selfish, and malignant in his enmities.
Robert Toombs stood deservedly high in the traitorous cabal in the Senate; for, to a bold and energetic spirit, great arrogance of manner, and activity, he added a powerful mind and a clear head. In the street, he would strike you as a self-conceited, bullying, contemptuous person, with brains in the inverse proportion to his body, which was large and apparently strong. His manner, when addressing the Senators, had indeed much of an overbearing and insolent spirit; but the impression, in regard to his character, after hearing him speak, was much better than before. There was an indication of strength behind the bullying, blustering air which he put on, which raised one's respect for his attainments. One of the most rabid and uncompromising of secession leaders, and bigoted in his hatred of the North, he was yet, in private, a courteous and hospitable gentleman, and, apparently at least, frank in the expression of opinion. Probably he had as little principle in political and social life as most of his associates in treason; while his great self-reliance, activity, and mental ability gave him a very high position in their confidence. He was tall and stout, though not corpulent; and was very negligent of his toilet and dress. Self-conceit was written on his countenance, and displayed itself in his arrogant assumptions of superiority. But his method of dealing with his Northern opponents was open and bold, although insolent and overbearing, and not like Hunter, Davis, and Benjamin, using ingenious sophistry and hidden sarcasm, cautiously smoothing over their real purpose, by rhetoric and elegant sentiment. Mr. Toombs became early an object of peculiar dislike to Northern men, by the rude ingenuousness with which he announced the last conclusions of his political creed, and the intolerable insolence with which, not heeding the admonitions of his more cautious confederates, he thundered out his anathemas of hatred and vengeance on what he was pleased to call 'Northern tyranny.' It was only when the crisis came, that others unfolded together their base character and their hypocrisy. Davis, who had been fondled by New-Englanders but a year or two since, and Hunter, who had cried for peace and compromise, standing forth at last in the true light of traitors, and thereby proclaiming their past life a game of hypocrisy. Toombs, therefore, who was an original fire-eater, and hence could not be called a hypocrite, has become less an object of hatred to us of the loyal States, than those who, while they sat at the cabinet councils, or were admitted to the confidence of the Executive, or were sent to foreign courts, or presided over the Upper House, were using the power of such high trusts for the consummation of a conspiracy against their country, yet retaining the cant of patriotism and feigning a devotion to the Union. We have dwelt almost exclusively, in the present chapter, upon Senators whose highest honors have been tarnished or obliterated by the gravest of crimes, that of treason toward a vast community. But it has been with the idea that the least should be presented first, and that the greater should close the scene; as in royal processions, the monarch always brings up the rear. We conceive that the great talents which we have acknowledged, and which doubtless all will agree with us in acknowledging, the leaders of the Southern rebellion to possess, only enhance the magnitude of their offense, and serve to illustrate with greater force the enormity of their purposes. That a brainless fanatic like Lord George Gordon, or the Neapolitan fisherman, Massaniello, should stir up tremendous agitation, may be matter for critical study, but is hardly a subject of wonder. But that men gifted with exalted ability, undoubted caution, well-balanced intellect, and apparently refined reason, all of which have been appreciated and acknowledged, should propound an erroneous doctrine of a chaotic system, and proceed to the violence of civil war, on what they must know to be a false and heretical plea, can only remind us of those devils who have been pictured by the matchless art of Milton, of Dante, and of Goethe, as possessing stately intellects with perfectly vicious hearts. We propose, in a future number, if these remarks on public characters are acceptable, to continue our remarks, by introducing the loyal Senators of the last Congress, a band of men who will be found to equal in talent, and immeasurably to surpass in moral rectitude and earnest patriotism, the bad company from whom we now part.
MACCARONI AND CANVAS.
The Cafe Greco, like the belle of many seasons, lights up best at night. In morning, in deshabille, not all the venerability of its age can make it respectable. Caper declares that on a fresh, sparkling day, in the merry spring-time, he once really enjoyed a very early breakfast there; and that, with the windows of the Omnibus-room open, the fresh air blowing in, and the sight of a pretty girl at the fourth-story window of a neighboring house, feeding a bird and tending a rose-bush, the old cafe was rose-colored.
This may be so; but seven o'clock in the evening was the time when the Greco was in its prime. Then the front-room was filled with Germans, the second room with Russians and English, the third room—the Omnibus—with Americans, English, and French, and the fourth, or back-room, was brown with Spaniards. The Italians were there, in one or two rooms, but in a minority; only those who affected the English showed themselves, and aired their knowledge of the Anglo-Saxon tongue and habits.
'I habituate myself,' said a red-haired Italian of the Greco to Caper, 'to the English customs. I myself lave with hot water from foot to head, one time in three weeks, like the English. It is an idea of the most superb, and they tell me I am truly English for so performing. I have not yet arrive to perfection in the lessons of box, but I have a smart cove of a bool-dog.'
Caper told him that his resemblance to an English 'gent' was perfect, at which the Italian, ignorant of the meaning of that fearful word, smiled assent.
The waiter has hardly brought you your small cup of caffe nero, and you are preparing to light a cigar, to smoke while you drink your coffee, when there comes before you a wandering bouquet-seller. It is, perhaps, the dead of winter; long icicles are hanging from fountains, over which hang frosted oranges, frozen myrtles, and frost-nipped olives, Alas! such things are seen in Rome; and yet, for a dime you are offered a bouquet of camellia japonicas. By the way, the name camellia is derived from Camellas, a learned Jesuit; probably La Dame aux Camelias had not a similar origin. You don't want the flowers.
'Signore,' says the man, 'behold a ruined flower-merchant!'
You are unmoved. Have you not seen or heard of, many a time, the heaviest kind of flour-merchants ruined by too heavy speculations, burst up so high the crows couldn't fly to them; and heard this without changing a muscle of your face?
'But, signore, do buy a bouquet to please your lady?'
'Altro!' answers the man, triumphantly, 'whom did I see the other day, with these eyes, (pointing at his own,) in a magnificent carriage, beside the most beautiful Donna Inglesa in Rome? Iddio giusto!'.... At this period, he sees he has made a ten strike, and at once follows it up by knocking down the ten-pin boy, so as to clear the alley, thus: 'For her sake, signore.'
You pay a paul, (and give the bouquet to—your landlady's daughter,) while the departing mercante di fiori assures you that he never, no, never expects to make a fortune at flowers; but if he gains enough to pay for his wine, he will be very tipsy as long as he lives!
Then comes an old man, with a chessboard of inlaid stone, which he hasn't an idea of selling; but finds it excellent to 'move on,' without being checkmated as a beggar without visible means of s'port. The first time he brought it round, and held it out square to Caper, that cool young man, taking a handful of coppers from his pocket, arranged them as checkers on the board, without taking any notice of the man; and after he had placed them, began playing deliberately. He rested his chin on his hand, and with knitted brows, studied several intricate moves; he finally jumped the men, so as to leave a copper or two on the board; and bidding the old man good-night, continued a conversation with Rocjean, commenced previous to his game of draughts.
Next approaches a hardware—merchant, for, in Imperial Rome, the peddler of a colder clime is a merchant, the shoemaker an artist, the artist a professor. The hardware-man looks as if he might be 'touter' to a broken-down brigand. All the razors in his box couldn't keep the small part of his face that is shaved from wearing a look as if it had been blown up with gunpowder, while the grains had remained embedded there. He tempts you with a wicked-looking knife, the pattern for which must have come from the litreus of Etruria, the land called the mother of superstitions, and have been wielded for auguries amid the howls and groans of lucomones and priests. He tells you it is a Campagna-knife, and that you must have one if you go into that benighted region; he says this with a mysterious shake of his head, as if he had known Fra Diavolo in his childhood and Fra 'Tonelli in his riper years. The crescent-shaped handle is of black bone; the pointed blade long and tapering; the three notches in its back catch into the spring with a noise like the alarum of a rattle-snake. You conclude to buy one—for a curiosity. You ask why the blade at the point finishes off in a circle? He tells you the government forbids the sale of sharp-pointed knives; but, signore, if you wish to use it, break off the circle under your heel, and you have a point sharp enough to make any man have an accidente di freddo, (death from cold—steel.)
Victor Hugo might have taken his character of Quasimodo from the wild figure who now enters the Greco, with a pair of horns for sale; each horn is nearly a yard in length, black and white in color; they have been polished by the hunchback until they shine like glass. Now he approaches you, and with deep, rough voice, reminding you of the lowing of the large grey oxen they once belonged to, begs you to buy them. Then he facetiously raises one to each side of his head, and you have a figure that Jerome Bosch would have rejoiced to transfer to canvas. His portrait has been painted by more than one artist.
Caper, sitting in the Omnibus one evening with Rocjean, was accosted by a very seedy-looking man, with a very peculiar expression of face, wherein an awful struggle of humor to crowd down pinching poverty gleamed brightly. He offered for sale an odd volume of one of the early fathers of the Church. Its probable value was a dime, whereas he wanted two dollars for it.
'Why do you ask such a price?' asked Rocjean, 'you never can expect to sell it for a twentieth part of that.'
'The moral of which,' said the seedy man, no longer containing the struggling humor, but letting it out with a hearty laugh; 'the moral of which is—give me half a baioccho!'
Ever after that, Caper never saw the man, who henceforth went by the name of La Morale e un Mezzo Baioccho! without pointing the moral with a copper coin. Not content with this, he once took him round to the Lepre restaurant, and ordered a right good supper for him. Several other artists were with him, and all declared that no one could do better justice to food and wine. After he had eaten all he could hold, and drank a little more than he could carry, he arose from table, having during the entire meal sensibly kept silence, and wiping his mouth on his coat-sleeve, spoke:
'The moral this evening, signori, I shall carry home in my stomach.'
As he was going out of the restaurant, one of the artists asked him why he left two rolls of bread on the table; saying they were paid for, and belonged to him.
'I left them,' said he, 'out of regard for the correct usages of society; but, having shown this, I return to pocket them.'
This he did at once, and Caper stood astonished at the seedy-beggar's phraseology.
In addition to these characters, wandering musicians find their way into the cafe, jugglers, peddlers of Roman mosaics and jewelry, plaster-casts and sponges, perfumery and paint-brushes. Or a peripatetic shoemaker, with one pair of shoes, which he recklessly offers for sale to giant or dwarf. One morning he found a purchaser—a French artist—who put them on, and threw away his old shoes. Fatal mistake. Two hours afterward, the buyer was back in the Greco, with both big toes sticking out of the ends of his new shoes, looking for that cochon of a shoemaker.
To those who read men like books, the Greco offers a valuable circulating library. The advantage, too, of these artistical works is, that one needs not be a Mezzofanti to read the Russian, Spanish, German, French, Italian, English, and other faces that pass before one panoramically. There sits a relation of a hospodar, drinking Russian tea; he pours into a large cup a small glass of brandy, throws in a slice of lemon, fills up with hot tea. Do you think of the miles he has traveled, in a telega, over snow-covered steppes, and the smoking samovar of tea that awaited him, his journey for the day ended? Had he lived when painting and sculpture were in their ripe prime, what a fiery life he would have thrown into his works! As it is, he drinks cognac, hunts wild-boars in the Pontine marshes—and paints Samson and Delilah, after models.
The Spanish artist, over a cup of chocolate, has lovely dreams, of burnt umber hue, and despises the neglected treasures left him by the Moors, while he seeks gold in—castles in the air.
The German, with feet in Italy and head far away in the Fatherland, frequents the German-club in preference to the Greco; for at the club is there not lager beer?.... In imperial Rome, there are lager beer breweries! He has the profundities of the esthetical in art at his finger-ends; it is deep-sea fishing, and he occasionally lands a whale, as Kaulbach has done; or very nearly catches a mermaid with Cornelius. Let us respect the man—he works.
The French artist, over a cup of black coffee, with perhaps a small glass of cognac, is the lightning to the German thunder. If he were asked to paint the portrait of a potato, he would make eyes about it, and then give you a little picture fit to adorn a boudoir. He does every thing with a flourish. If he has never painted Nero performing that celebrated violin-solo over Rome, it is because he despaired of conveying an idea of the tremulous flourish of the fiddle-bow. He reads nature, and translates her, without understanding her. He will prove to you that the cattle of Rosa Bonheur are those of the fields, while he will object to Landseer that his beasts are those of the guinea cattle-show. He blows up grand facts in the science of art with gunpowder, while the English dig them out with a shovel, and the Germans bore for them. He finds Raphael, king of pastel artists, and never mentions his discovery to the English. He is more dangerous with the fleurette than many a trooper with broadsword. Every thing that he appropriates, he stamps with the character of his own nationality. The English race-horse at Chantilly has an air of curl-papers about his mane and tail.
The Italian artist—the night-season is for sleep.
The English artist—hearken to Ruskin on Turner! When one has hit the bull's-eye, there is nothing left but to lay down the gun, and go and have—a whitebait dinner.
The American artist—there is danger of the youthful giant kicking out the end of the Cradle of Art, and 'scatterlophisticating rampageously' over all the nursery.
'I'd jest give a hun-dred dol-lars t'morrow, ef I could find out a way to cut stat-tures by steam,' said Chapin, the sculptor.
'I can't see why a country with great rivers, great mountains, and great institutions generally, can not produce great sculptors and painters,' said Caper sharply, one day to Rocjean.
'It is this very greatness,' answered Rocjean, 'that prevents it. The aim of the people runs not in the narrow channel of mountain-stream, but with the broad tide of the ocean. In the hands of Providence, other lands in other times have taken up painting and sculpture with their whole might, and have wielded them to advance civilization. They have played—are playing their part, these civilizers; but they are no longer chief actors, least of all in America. Painting and sculpture may take the character of subjects there; but their role as king is—played out.'
'Much as you know about it,' answered Caper, 'you are all theory!'
'That maybe,' quoth Rocjean; 'you know what THEOS means in Greek, don't you?'
AMONG THE WILD BEASTS.
There came to Rome, in the autumn, along with the other travelers, a caravan of wild beasts, ostensibly under charge of Monsieur Charles, the celebrated Tamer, rendered illustrious and illustrated by Nadar and Gustave Dore, in the Journal pour Rire. They were exhibited under a canvas tent in the Piazza Popolo, and a very cold time they had of it during the winter. Evidently, Monsieur Charles believed the climate of Italy belonged to the temperance society of climates. He erred, and suffered with his 'superbe et manufique ELLLLLEPHANT!' 'and when we reflec', ladies and gentlemen, that there are persons, forty and even fifty years old, who have never seen the Ellllephant!!!...and who DARE TO SAY so!!!...' Monsieur Charles made his explanations with teeth chattering.
Caper, anxious to make a sketch of a very fine Bengal tiger in the collection, easily purchased permission to make studies of the animals during the hours when the exhibition was closed to the public; and as he went at every thing vigorously, he was before long in possession of several fine sketches of the tiger and other beasts, besides several secrets only known to the initiated, who act as keepers.
The royal Bengal tiger was one of the finest beasts Caper had ever seen, and what he particularly admired was the jet-black lustre of the stripes on his tawny sides and the vivid lustre of his eyes. The lion curiously seemed laboring under a heavy sleep at the very time when he should have been awake; but then his mane was kept in admirable order. The hair round his face stood out like the bristles of a shoe-brush, and there was a curl in the knob of hair at the end of his tail that amply compensated for his inactivity. The hyenas looked sleek and happy, and their teeth were remarkably white; but the elephant was the constant wonder of all beholders. Instead of the tawny, blue-gray color of most of his species, he was black, and glistened like a patent-leather boot; while his tusks were as white as—ivory; yea, more so.
'I don't understand what makes your animals look so bright,' said Caper one day to one of the keepers.
'Come here to-morrow morning early, when we make their toilettes, and you'll see,' replied the man, laughing. 'Why, there's that old hog of a lion, he's as savage and snaptious before he has his medicine as a corporal; and looks as old as Methusaleh, until we arrange his beard and get him up for the day. As for the ellllephant ... ugh!'
Caper's curiosity was aroused, and the next morning, early, he was in the menagerie. The first sight that struck his eye was the elephant, keeled over on one side, and weaving his trunk about, evidently as a signal of distress; while his keeper and another man were—blacking-pot and shoe-brushes in hand—going all over him from stem to stern.
'Good day,' said the keeper to him, 'here's a pair of boots for you! put outside the door to be blacked every morning, for five francs a day. It's the dearest job I ever undertook...and the boots are ungrateful! Here, Pierre,' he continued to the man who helped him, 'he shines enough; take away the breshes, and bring me the sand-paper to rub up his tusks. Talk about polished beasts! I believe, myself, that we beat all other shows to pieces on this 'ere point. Some beasts are more knowing than others; for example, them monkeys in that cage there. Give that big fool of a shimpanzy that bresh, Pierre, and let the gentleman see him operate on tother monkeys.'
Pierre gave the large monkey a brush, and, to Caper's astonishment, he saw the animal seize it with one paw, then springing forward, catch a small monkey with the other paw, and holding him down, in spite of his struggles, administer so complete a brushing over his entire body that every hair received a touch. The other monkeys in the cage were in the wildest state of excitement, evidently knowing from experience that they would all have to pass under the large one's hands; and when he had given a final polish to the small one, he commenced a vigorous chase for his mate, an aged female, who, evidently disliking the ordeal, commenced a series of ground and lofty tumblings that would have made the fortune of even the distinguished—Leotard. In vain: after a prolonged chase, in which the inhabitants of the cage flew round so fast that it appeared to be full of flying legs, tails, and fur, the large monkey seized the female and, regardless of her attempts to liberate herself, he brushed her from head to foot, to the great delight of a Swiss soldier, an infantry corporal, who had entered the menagerie a few minutes before the grand hunt commenced.
'Ma voi!' said the Swiss, pronouncing French with a broad German accent, 'it would keef me krate bleshur to have dat pig monkey in my gombany. He would mak' virst rait brivate.'
The keeper, who was still polishing away with sand-paper at the elephant's tusks, and who evidently regarded the soldier with great contempt, said to him:
'He would have been there long since—only he knows too much.'
'Ma voi! that's the reason you're draining him vor a Vrench gavalry gombany. Vell, I likes dat.'
'Oh! no,' said the keeper, 'his principles an't going to allow him to enter our army.'
'Vell, what are his brincibles?'
'To serve those who pay best!' quoth the Frenchman, who, in the firm faith that he had said a good thing, called Pierre to help him adorn the lion, and turned his back on the Swiss, who, in revenge, amused himself feeding the monkeys with an old button, a stump of a cigar, and various wads of paper.
The keeper then gave the lion a narcotic, and after this medicine, combed out his mane and tail, waxed his mustache, and thus made his toilette for the day. The tiger and leopards had their stripes and spots touched up once a week with hair-dye, and as this was not the day appointed, Caper missed this part of the exhibition. The hyenas submitted to be brushed down; but showed strong symptoms of mutiny at having their teeth rubbed with a toothbrush and their nails pared.
In half an hour more, the keeper's labors were over, and Caper, giving him a present for his inviting him to assist as spectator at la toilette bien bete, or beastly dressing, walked off to breakfast, evidently thinking that Art was not dead in that menagerie, whatever Rocjean might say of its state of health in the world at large.
'To think,' soliloquized Caper, 'to think of what a bootless thing it is, to shoe-black o'er an elephant!'
The traveler visiting Rome notices in the Piazza di Spagna, along the Spanish steps, and in the Condotti, Fratina and Sistina streets, either sunning themselves or slowly sauntering along, many picturesquely-dressed men, women, and children, who, as he soon learns, are the professional models of the artists. For a fee of from fifty cents to a dollar, they will give their professional services for a sitting four hours in length, and those of them who are most in demand find little difficulty during the 'business season,' say from the months of November to May, in earning from one and a half to two dollars, and even more, every day. Many of them, living frugally, manage to make what is considered a fortune among the contadini in a few years; and Hawks, the English artist, who spent a summer at Saracenesca, found, to his astonishment, that one of the leading men of the town, one who loaned money at very large interest, owned property, and who was numbered among the heavy wealthy, was no other than a certain Gaetano, he had more than once used as model, at the price of fifty cents a sitting.
The government prohibiting female models from posing nude in the different life-schools, it consequently follows that they pose in private studios, as they choose; this interdiction does not extend to the male models; and when Caper was in Rome, he had full opportunities offered him to draw from these in the English Academy, and in the private schools of Gigi and Giacinti. Supported by the British government, the English artist has, free of all expense, at this truly National Academy, opportunities to sketch from life, as well as from casts, and has, moreover, access to a well-chosen library of books. With a generosity worthy of all praise, American artists are admitted to the English Academy, with full permission to share with Englishmen the advantages of the life-school, free of all cost; a piece of liberality that well might be copied by the French Academy, without at all derogating from its high position—on the Pincian Hill.
If Gigi's school is still kept up, (it was in a small street near the Trevi fountain,) we would advise the traveler in search of the picturesque by all means to visit it, particularly if it is in the same location it was when Caper was there. It was over a stable, in the second story of a tumble-down old house, frequented by dogs, cats, fleas, and rats; in a room say fifty feet long by twenty wide. A semi-circle of desks and wooden benches went round the platform where stood the male models nude, or on other evenings, male and female models in costumes, Roman or Neapolitan. Oil lamps gave enough light to enable the artists who generally attended there to draw, and color in oils or water-colors, the costumes. The price of admittance for the costume class was one paul, (ten cents,) and as the model only posed about two hours, the artists had to work very fast to get even a rough sketch finished in that short time. Americans, Danes, Germans, Spaniards, French, Italians, English, Russians, were numbered among the attendants, and more than once, a sedate-looking English-woman or two would come in quietly, make a sketch, and go away unmolested and almost unnoticed.
More than three-quarters of the sketches made by Caper at Gigi's costume-class were taken from models in standing positions. At the end of the first hour, they had from ten to fifteen minutes allowed them to rest; but these minutes were seldom wasted by the artist, who improved them to finish the lines of his drawing, or dash in color. The powers of endurance of the female models were better than those of the men; and they would strike a position and keep it for an hour, almost immovable. Noticeable among these women, was one named Minacucci, who, though over seventy years old, had all the animation and spirit of one not half her age; and would keep her position with the steadiness of a statue. She had, in her younger days, been a model for Canova; had outlived two generations; and was now posing for a third. If you have ever seen many figure-paintings executed in Rome, your chance is good to have seen Minacucci's portrait over and over again. Caper affirms that of any painting made in Rome from the years 1856 to 1860, introducing an Italian head, whether a Madonna or sausage-seller, he can tell you the name of the model it was painted from nine times out of ten! The fact is, they do want a new model for the Madonna badly in Rome, for Giacinta is growing old and fat, and Stella, since she married that cobbler, has lost her angelic expression. The small boy who used to pose for angels has smoked himself too yellow, and the man who stood for Charity has gone out of business.
'I have,' said Caper to me the other day, 'too much respect for the public to tell them who the man with red hair and beard used to pose for; but he has taken to drinking, and it's all up with him.'
Spite of fleas, rats, squalling cats, dog-fights, squealing of horses, and braying of donkeys, lamp-smoke, and heat or cold, the hours passed by Caper in Gigi's old barracks were among the pleasantest of his Roman life. There was such novelty, variety, and brilliancy in the costumes to be sketched, that every evening was a surprise; save those nights when Stella posed, and these were known and looked forward to in advance. She always insured a full class, and when she first appeared, was the beauty of all the models.
Caper was sitting one afternoon in Rocjean's studio, when there was a tap at the door.
'Entrate!' shouted Rocjean, and in came a female model, called Rita. It was the month of May, business was dull; she wanted employment. Rocjean asked her to walk in and rest herself.
'Well, Rita, you haven't any thing to do, now that the English have all fled from Rome before the malaria?'
'Very little. Some of the Russians are left up there in the Fratina; but since the Signore Giovanni sold all his paintings to that rich Russian banker, diavolo! he has done nothing but drink champagne, and he don't want any more models.'
'What is the Signore Giovanni's last name?' asked Caper.
'Who knows, Signore Giacomo? I don't. We others (noi altri) never can pronounce your queer names, so we find out the Italian for your first names, and call you by that. Signore Arturo, the French artist, told me once that the English and Russians and Germans had such hard names they often broke their front-teeth out trying to speak them; but he was joking. I know the real, true reason for it.'
'Come, let us have it,' said Rocjean.
'Accidente! I won't tell you; you will be angry.'
'No we won't,' spoke Caper, 'and what is more, I will give you two pauls if you will tell us. I am very curious to know this reason.'
'Bene, now the prete came round to see me the other day; it was when he purified the house with holy water, and he asked me a great many questions, which I answered so artlessly, yes, so artlessly! whew! [here Miss Rita smiled artfully.] Then he asked me all about you heretics, and he told me you were all going to—be burned up, as soon as you died; for the Inquisition couldn't do it for you in these degenerate days. After a great deal more twaddle like this, I asked him why you heretics all had such hard names, that we others never could speak them? Then he looked mysterious, so! [here Miss Rita diabolically winked one eye,] and said he: 'I will tell you, per Bacco! hush, it's because they are so abominably wicked, never give any thing to OUR Church, never have no holy water in their houses, never go to no confession, and are such monsters generally, that their police are all the time busy trying to catch them; but their names are so hard to speak that when the police go and ask for them, nobody knows them, and so they get off; otherwise, their country would have jails in it as large as St. Peter's, and they would be full all the time!'
'H'm!' said Rocjean, 'I suppose you would be afraid to go to such horrible countries, among such people?'
'Not I,' spoke Rita,'didn't Ida go to Paris, and didn't she come back to Rome with such a magnificent silk dress, and gold watch, and such a bonnet! all full of flowers, and lace, and ribbons? Oh! they don't eat 'nothing but maccaroni' there! And they don't have priests all the time sneaking round to keep a poor girl from earning a little money honestly, and haul her up before the police if her carta di soggiorno [permit to remain in Rome] runs out. I wish [here Rita stamped her foot and her eyes flashed] Garibaldi would come here! Then you would see these black crows flying, Iddio giusto! Then we would have no more of these arciprete making us pay them for every mouthful of bread we eat, or wine we drink, or wood we burn.'