GIFTS OF GENIUS:
PROSE AND POETRY,
NEW YORK: PRINTED FOR C.A. DAVENPORT.
Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1859, by C.A. DAVENPORT, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.
OUT AT ELBOWS.—THE STORY OF ST. GEORGE CLEAVE. BY JOHN ESTEN COOKE,
MY SECRET. (From the French.) BY HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW,
A LEAF FROM MY PARIS NOTE-BOOK. BY H.T. TUCKERMAN,
ON POPULAR KNOWLEDGE. BY GEORGE S. HILLARD,
ON RECEIVING A PRIVATELY PRINTED VOLUME OF POEMS FROM A FRIEND. BY THOMAS BUCHANAN READ,
THE PRINCE AT LAND'S END. BY CAROLINE CHESEBRO,
SEA-WEED. BY JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL,
TREFOIL. BY EVERT A. DUYCKINCK,
MISERERE DOMINE. BY WILLIAM H. BURLEIGH,
THE KINGDOMS OF NATURE PRAISING GOD.—A SHORT ESSAY ON THE 148th PSALM. BY C.A. BARTOL,
TRANSLATIONS. BY THE REV. CHARLES T. BROOKS,
RECOLLECTIONS OF NEANDER, THE CHURCH HISTORIAN. BY THE REV. ROSWELL D. HITCHCOCK, D.D.,
POEMS. BY JULIA WARD HOWE,
EARTH'S WITNESS. BY ALICE B. HAVEN,
THE NEW ENGLAND THANKSGIVING. BY THE REV. HENRY W. BELLOWS, D.D.,
SONG OF THE ARCHANGELS. (From Goethe's Faust.) BY GEORGE P. MARSH,
A NIGHT AND DAY AT VALPARAISO. BY ROBERT TOMES,
TRANSLATIONS. BY THE REV. THEODORE PARKER,
PAID FOR BY THE PAGE. BY EDWARD S. GOULD,
WORDS FOR MUSIC. BY GEORGE P. MORRIS,
"THE CHRISTIAN GREATNESS." (Passages from a Manuscript Sermon.) BY THE REV. ORVILLE DEWEY, D.D.,
THE BABY AND THE BOY MUSICIAN. BY LYDIA HUNTLEY SIGOURNEY,
THE ERL-KING. (From the German of Goethe.) BY MRS. E.F. ELLET,
THOUGHTS UPON FENELON. BY THE REV. SAMUEL OSGOOD, D.D.,
POEMS. BY MRS. GEORGE P. MARSH,
A STORY OF VENICE. BY GEORGE WILLIAM CURTIS,
THE TORTURE CHAMBER. BY WILLIAM ALLEN BUTLER,
THE HOME OF CHARLOTTE BRONTE. BY FRANCIS WILLIAMS,
THORWALDSEN'S CHRIST. BY REV. E.A. WASHBURN,
JUNE TWENTY-NINTH, EIGHTEEN FIFTY-NINE. BY CAROLINE M. KIRKLAND,
NO SONGS IN WINTER. BY T.B. ALDRICH,
BENI-ISRAEL. BY OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES,
BOCAGE'S PENITENTIAL SONNET. BY WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT,
TO THE PUBLIC.
At the desire of MISS DAVENPORT, for whose benefit this collection of original Miscellanies by American authors has been made, I write this brief Preface, without having had time to read the contributions which it is designed to introduce. The names of the writers, however, many of which are among the most distinguished in our literature, and are honored wherever our language is spoken, will suffice to recommend the volume to the attention of the reading world.
If this were not enough, an inducement of another kind is to be found in the circumstances of the lady in whose behalf the contents of this volume have been so freely contributed. A few years since, she was a teacher in our schools, active, useful, and esteemed for her skillful communication of knowledge. At that time it was one of her favorite occupations to make sketches and drawings from nature, an art in which she instructed her pupils. A severe illness interrupted her duties, during which her sight became impaired, and finally lost. A kind of twilight came over it, which gradually darkened into utter night, shutting out the face of nature in which she had so much delighted, and leaving her, without occupation, in ill health. In this condition she has already remained for five years.
To this statement of her misfortunes, which I trust will commend her to the sympathies of all who are made acquainted with them, as one who was useful to society while Providence permitted, I have only to add the expression of her warmest thanks to those who have generously furnished the contents of the volume she now lays before the public.
NEW YORK, June, 1859.
This volume speaks so well for itself that it does not need many words of preface to commend it to a wide circle of readers. Its rich and varied contents, however, become far more interesting when interpreted by the motive that won them from their authors; and when the kindly feeling that offered them so freely is known, these gifts, like the pearls of a rosary, will be prized not only severally but collectively, because strung together by a sacred thread.
The story of this undertaking is a very short and simple one. Miss Davenport, who had been for many years an active and successful teacher in our schools and families, especially in the beautiful arts of drawing and painting, was prostrated by a severe illness, which impaired her sight and finally terminated in blindness.
The late Benjamin F. Butler, in a letter dated October 13, 1858, which will have peculiar interest to the many readers who knew and honored that excellent man, writes thus:
"Miss Davenport has for several years been personally known to me. She is now blind and unable to follow the calling by which, before this calamity befell her, she obtained her living. Having lost her parents in early life, and having few relatives, and none able to assist her, she is dependent for her support on such efforts as she is still capable of making. These, were she a person of common fortitude, energy and hopefulness, would be very small, for to her great privation is added very imperfect general health. Yet she has struggled on in the hope of gaining such a competency as should ultimately secure 'a home that she may call her own.' I commend Miss Davenport to all who feel for the afflicted and who wish to do good."
The Rev. Dr. S. Storrs writes: "Miss Davenport is a Christian woman, of great excellence of character, and of many accomplishments, whom God in his providence has made totally blind within a few years past."
We need add but two remarks to these statements—one in reference to the volume itself, and the other in reference to her for whose welfare it is contributed.
The volume is one of the many proofs which have been gathering for years, of the alliance between literature and humanity. Every good and true word that has been written from the beginning has been a minister of mercy to every human heart which it has reached, whilst the mercy has been twice blessed when the word so benign in its result has been charitable in its intention, and the author at once yields his profits to a friend's need, and his production to the public eye. Thackeray has written well upon humor and charity, but should he undertake to carry out his idea and treat of literature and humanity in their vital relations, he would have his hands and heart full of work for more than a lifetime. Princes who give their gold to generous uses are worthy of honor; but there is a coinage of the brain that costs more and weighs more than gold. The authors of these papers would of course be little disposed to claim any high merit for their offerings, yet any reader who runs his eye over the list of contributors will see at once that they are generally writers whose compositions are eagerly sought for by the public, and among them are some names whose pens can coin gold whenever they choose to move. All these articles are original, and nothing is inserted in this book that has been before published. We are confident that it deserves, and will command wide and choice circulation.
A word as to the lady for whose benefit these gifts are brought together. The preface of Mr. Bryant and the letter of Mr. Butler, tell her story with sufficient distinctness, and the readiness with which our men and women of letters have so generally complied with her request, shows what eloquence she bears in her presence and statement. Some certificates from her pupils in drawing, who testify to her love of nature and her delight in sketching directly from nature, so greatly to their improvement in this beautiful art, give peculiar pathos to her case. The organ that was the source of her highest satisfaction is closed up by this dark sorrow, and the gate called Beautiful, to this earthly temple no longer is open to scenes and faces of loveliness. What a fearful loss is this loss of sight—on the whole the noblest of the senses, and certainly the sense of all others most serviceable, alike to the working hand and the creative imagination. The eye may not be so near the fountains of sensibility as the ear, and no impression reaches the sympathy so profoundly as the pathos of living speech, but the eye has a far wider range than the ear and fathoms the heavens and sweeps the earth and sea, whilst the ear hears distinctly but within a very narrow limit, hardly a stone's throw. When the eye, then, loses its marvellous faculty and sees no longer the light of day and the countenances of friends, let the ear do what it can to make up for the loss by every cheering word of sympathy and hope. In God's Providence there is a principle of compensation that aims to balance every privation by some new privilege, as for instance by giving new acuteness to the senses which are called to do the work of the senses lost. But genial humanity is the great principle of compensation, and by this God's children glorify the Father in Heaven. May this volume serve his merciful will, and may the light shed from the stars of our literary firmament do something to lessen the night upon every dark path.
GIFTS OF GENIUS.
OUT AT ELBOWS.
THE STORY OF ST. GEORGE CLEAVE.
BY JOHN ESTEN COOKE, OF VIRGINIA.
How good a thing it is to live! The morn is full of music; and Annie is singing in the hall!
The sun falls with a tranquil glory on the fields and forests, burning with the golden splendors of the autumn—the variegated leaves of the mighty oaks are draped about the ancient gables, like a trophy of banners. The landscape sleeps; all the world smiles—shall not I?
I sat up late last night at my accounts; to-day I will take a holiday. The squire has bidden me good morning in his courteous, good-humored way, and gone in his carriage to attend a meeting of his brother magistrates:—I am away for the time from my noisy courts—the domain is mine—all the world is still!
No;—Annie is singing in the hall.
She sings to herself, I think, this autumn morning, and would not like to be interrupted. I will therefore take a ramble—and you shall accompany me, O friend of my youth, far away in distant lands, but beside me still! Whither shall we go? It is hard to decide, for all the world is lovely. Shall we go to my favorite woodland? It skirts the river, and I love the river; so we pass into the forest.
How regal is the time of the fall of the leaves! A thousand brilliant colors charm the eyes—the eyes of their faithful lovers. How the mighty oaks reach out their knotty, muscular arms to welcome us!—how their ponderous shoulders bear aloft the imperial trappings—trappings of silk and velvet, all orange, blue, and purple! The haughty pines stand up like warriors—or call them spears of nordland heroes, holding on their summits emerald banners! The tulip-trees are lovely queens with flowers in their hair, who bend and welcome you with gracious murmurs; the slender elms sway to and fro, like fairest maidens of the royal blood; and sigh, and smile, and whisper, full of the charming grace of youth, and tenderness, and beauty.
I salute my noblemen, and queens, and princesses; they bow in return to me, their king. Let us wander on.
—Ah! that is well; my river view! Of all my broad domain, I think I like this part the best. Is it not beautiful? That clump of dogwood, however, obstructs the view somewhat; I must cut it down. Let us move a little to the right. Ah! there it is! See my lovely river; surely you must admire my swan-like ships, flying, with snowy canvass spread, before the fresh breeze. And see that schooner breaking the little waves into foam. Is that a telescope which the captain of my vessel points toward us? He salutes me, does he not? But I fear the distance is too great; he could hardly recognize me. Still I shall bow—let us not neglect the laws of courtesy.
My ship is sailing onward. In earlier days I had many barks which sailed from shore; they were freighted with the richest goods, and made me very anxious. So my argosies went sailing, but they never came again. One bore my poem, which I thought would make me very celebrated, but the ship was lost. Another was to bring me back a cargo of such beautiful things—things which make life delightful to so many!—pearls, and silks, and wines, and gold-laced suits—garters, rosettes, and slips of ribbon to be worn at the button-hole. This, too, was lost, and yet it did not grieve me much. The third caused me more regret; I do not think I have yet wholly recovered from its loss. It bore a maiden with sunny hair, and the tenderest, sweetest eyes! She said she loved me—yes a thousand times! and I—I loved her long and dearly. But the ship in which she sailed went down—the strong, good ship, as I regarded it. She died thus,—did she not?—or is it true that she was married to a richer suitor far away from me in foreign lands?... These are foolish tears—let me not think of her with want of charity; she was only a woman, and we men are often very weak. ONE over all, is alone great and good. So, beautiful ship!—I say—that sailed across my path in youth, sail on in peace and happiness! A lonely bark, lonely but not unhappy, sees you, on the distant, happy seas, and the pennon floats from the peak in amicable greeting and salute. Hail and farewell! Heaven send the ship a happy voyage, and a welcome home!
This little soliloquy perhaps wearies you; it is ended. Let us sail for an hour or so on the silver wave; my new pleasure-boat is rocking here beneath in the shadow of the oak. She is built for speed. See how gracefully she falls and rises, like a variegated leaf upon the waves—how the slender prow curves upward—how the gaily-colored sides are mirrored in the limpid surface of the joyous stream! Come, let us step into the little craft, and unfurl the snowy sail.... How provoking! I have left my boat key at the hall; another day we will sail. Let us stroll back to the good old house again.
Are not my fields pleasant to behold? They are bringing in my wheat, which stretches, you perceive, throughout the low-grounds there, in neatly arranged shocks. My crops this year are excellent—my servants enjoy this season, and its occupations. They will soon sing their echoing "harvest home"—and over them at their joyous labor will shine the "harvest-moon," lighting up field and forest, hill and dale—the whole "broad domain and the hall." The affection of my servants is grateful to me. Here comes Cato, with his team of patient oxen, and there goes Caesar, leading my favorite racehorse down to water. Cato, Caesar, and I, respectively salute each other in the kindest way. I think they are attached to me. Faithful fellows! I shall never part with them. I think I will give this coat to Caesar; but, looking again, I perceive that his own is better. Besides, I must not be extravagant. The little money I make is required by another, and it would not be generous to buy a new coat for myself. This one which I wear will do well enough, will it not? I ask you with some diffidence, for 'tis sadly out at elbows, and the idea has occurred to me that the coolness and neglect of certain visitors to the hall, has been caused by my coat being shabby. Even Annie——, but I'll not speak of that this morning. 'Twas the hasty word which we all utter at times—'tis forgotten. Still, I think, I will give you the incident some day, when we ramble, as now, in the fields.
From the fields we approach the honest old mansion, across the emerald-carpeted lawn. The birds are singing, around the sleepy-looking gables, and the toothless old hound comes wagging his tail, in sign of welcome.
'Tis plain that Milo has an honest heart. I think he's smiling.
My ancestors were gentlemen of considerable taste. I am glad they built me that wing for my books; my numerous children cannot disturb me when I am composing, either my speech to be delivered in the Senate, or my work which is destined to refute Sir William Hamilton.
Let us stroll in. A strain of tender music comes from the sitting-room, and I recognize the exquisite air of "Katharine Ogie" which Annie is singing. Let us look, nevertheless, at the pictures as we pass.
What a stately head my old grandfather had! He was president of the King's Council, a hundred years ago—a man of decided mark. He wears a long peruke descending in curls upon his shoulders—a gold-laced waistcoat—and snowy ruffles. His white hand is nearly covered with lace, and rests on a scroll of parchment. It looks like a Vandyke. He must have been a resolute old gentleman. How serene and calm is his look!—how firm are the finely chiselled lips! How proud and full of collected intelligence the erect head, and the broad white brow! He was a famous "macaroni," as they called it, in his youth—and cultivated an enormous crop of wild oats. But this all disappeared, and he became one of the sturdiest patriots of the Revolution, and fought clear through the contest. Is it wrong to feel satisfaction at being descended from a worthy race of men—from a family of brave, truthful gentlemen? I think not. I trust I'm no absurd aristocrat—but I would rather be the grandson of a faithful common soldier than of General Benedict Arnold, the traitor. I would rather trace my lineage to the Chevalier Bayard, simple knight though he was, than to France's great Constable de Bourbon, the renegade.
So I am glad my stout grandfather was a brave and truthful gentleman—that grandma yonder, smiling opposite, was worthy to be his wife. I do not remember her, but she must have been a beauty. Her head is bent over one shoulder, and she has an exquisitely coquettish air. Her eyes are blue—her arms round, and as white as snow—and what lips! They are like carnations, and pout with a pretty smiling air, which must have made her dangerous. She rejected many wealthy offers to marry grandpa, who was then poor. As I gaze, it seems scarcely courteous to remain thus covered in presence of a lady so lovely. I take off my hat, and make my best bow, saluting my little grandmamma of "sweet seventeen," who smiles and seems graciously to bow in return.
All around me I see my family. There is my uncle, the captain in Colonel Washington's troop. I do not now mean the Colonel Washington of the French wars, who afterward became General Washington of the American Revolution—though my uncle, the captain, knew him very well, I am told, and often visited him at Mount Vernon, the colonel's estate, where they hunted foxes together, along the Potomac. I mean the brave Colonel Washington who fought so nobly in North Carolina. My uncle died there. His company was much thinned at every step by the horrible hail-storm of balls. He was riding in front with his drawn sword, shouting as the column fell, man by man, "Steady, boys, steady!—close up!"—when a ball struck him. His last words were "A good death, boys! a good death! Close up!" So, you see, he ended nobly.
Beside my uncle and the rest of his kith and kin of the wars, you see, yonder, a row of beauties, all smiling and gay, or pensive and tender—interspersed with bright-faced children, blooming like so many flowers along the old walls of the hall. How they please and interest me! True, there are other portraits in our little house at home—not my hall here—which, perhaps, I should love with a warmer regard; but let me not cramp my sympathies, or indulge any early preferences. I must not be partial. So I admire these here before me—and bow to them, one and all. I fancy that they bow in return—that the stalwart warriors stretch vigorous hands toward me—that the delicate beauties bend down their little heads, all covered with powder, and return my homage with a smile.
Why not? Can my shabby coat make the lovely or proud faces ashamed of me? Do they turn from me coldly because I'm the last of a ruined line? Do they sneer at my napless hat, and laugh at my tattered elbows? I do not think of them so poorly and unkindly. My coat is very shabby, but I think, at least I hope, that it covers an honest heart.
So I bow to the noble and beautiful faces, and again they smile in return. I seem to have wandered away into the past and dreamed in a realm of silence. And yet—it is strange I did not hear her—Annie is still singing through the hall.
I promised to tell you of the incident of the coat, the unfortunate coat which I sometimes think makes the rich folks visiting the hall look sidewise at me. It is strange! Am I not myself, whether clad in velvet or in fustian—in homespun fabric, or in cloth of gold? People say I am simple—wholly ignorant of the world; I must be so in truth.
But about the coat. I hinted that Annie even saw, and alluded to it; it was not long after my arrival at the hall, and a young lady from the neighborhood was paying a visit to Annie.
They were standing on the portico, and I was leaning against the trunk of the old oak beneath, admiring the sunset which was magnificent that evening. All at once I heard whispers, and turning round toward the young ladies, saw them laughing. Annie's finger was extended toward the hole in my elbow, and I could not fail to understand that she was laughing at my miserable coat.
I was not offended, though perhaps I may have been slightly wounded; but Annie was a young girl and I could not get angry; I was not at all ashamed—why should I have been?
"I am sorry, but I cannot help the hole in my elbow," I said, calmly and quietly, with a bow and a smile; "I tore it by accident, yesterday."
Annie blushed, and looked very proud and offended, and it pained me to see that she suffered for her harmless and, careless speech. I begged her not to think that my feelings were wounded, and bowing again, went up to my room. I looked at my coat, it was terribly shabby, and I revolved the propriety of purchasing another, but I gave up the idea with a sigh. She needs all my money, and my mind is made up; she shall have the black silk, and very soon.
I very nearly forgot to relate what followed the little scene on the portico. During all that evening, and the whole of the next day, Annie scarcely looked at me, and retained her angry and offended expression. I was pained, but could add nothing more to my former assurance that I was not offended.
Toward evening, I was sitting with a book upon the portico, when Annie came out of the parlor. She paused on the threshold, evidently hesitated, but seemed to resolve all at once, what to do. She came quickly to my side, and holding out her hand said frankly and kindly, with a little tremor in her voice, and a faint rose-tint in the delicate cheeks:
"I did not mean to hurt your feelings, Mr. Cleave, indeed I did not, sir; my speech was the thoughtless rudeness of a child. I am sorry, very sorry that I was ever so ill-bred and unkind; will you pardon me, sir?"
I rose from my seat, and bowed low above the white little hand which lay in my own, slightly agitated,—
"I have nothing to pardon, Miss Annie," I said, "if you will let me call you by your household name. I think it very fortunate that my coat was shabby; had it been a new one, you would never have observed it, and I should have lost these sweet and friendly accents."
And that is the "incident of the coat."
The week that has just passed has been a pleasant one. I have thought, a hundred times, "how good a thing it is to live!"
I must have been a good deal cramped and confined in the city; but I enjoy the fair landscapes here all the more. The family are very friendly and kind—except Mrs. Barrington, who does not seem to like me. She scarcely treats me with anything more than scrupulous courtesy. The squire and Annie, however, make up for this coldness. They are both extremely cordial. It was friendly in the squire to give me this mass of executorial accounts to arrange. So far it has been done to his entire satisfaction; and the payment for my services is very liberal. How I long for money!
There was a splendid party at the hall on Tuesday. It reminded me of old times, when we, too,—but that is idle to remember. I do not sigh for the past. I know all is for the best. Still, I could not help thinking, as I looked on the brilliant spectacle, that the world was full of changes and vicissitudes. Well, the party was a gay and delightful one; the dancing quite extravagant. Annie was the beauty of the assemblage—the belle of the ball—and she gave me a new proof of the regret which she felt for the speech about my coat. At the end of a cotillon she refused the arms of half a dozen eager gallants to take mine, and promenade out on the portico.
"Do you ever dance?" she said.
"Oh, yes," I replied; "that is, I did dance once; but of late years I have been too much occupied. We live quietly."
"You say 'we.'"
"I mean my mother and I; I should have said 'poorly,' perhaps, instead of 'quietly,' And I am busy."
She bowed her head kindly, and said, smiling:
"But you are not busy to-night; and if you'll not think me forward, I will reverse the etiquette, and ask you to dance with me."
"Indeed I will do so with very great pleasure."
"Are you sure?"
"Could you doubt it?"
"I was so very rude to you!"
And she hung her head. That, then, was the secret of her choice of my arm. I could only assure her that I did not think her rude, and I hoped she would forget the whole incident. I was pleased in spite of all—for I like to think well of women. The cynical writers say they are all mean, and mercenary, and cowardly. Was Annie? She had left many finely-dressed gentlemen, faultlessly appointed, to dance with a poor stranger, quite out at elbows.
I saw many cold looks directed at myself; and when Annie took my arm to go into supper, the gloom in the faces of some gentlemen who had been refused, made me smile. When the party was over, Annie gave me her hand at the foot of the staircase. I saw a triumphant light in her mischievous eyes, as she glanced at the departing gallants; her rosy cheeks dimpled, and she flitted up, humming a gay tune.
It is singular how beautiful she is when she laughs—as when she sighs. Am I falling in love with her? I shall be guilty of no such folly. I think that my pride and self-respect will keep me rational. Pshaw! why did I dream of such nonsense!
So—a month has passed.
My coat, it seems, is to be the constant topic of attention.
A day or two since, I was sitting in my chamber, reflecting upon a variety of things. My thoughts, at last, centred on the deficiencies of my wardrobe, and I muttered, "I must certainly have my coat mended soon;" and I looked down, sighing, at the hole in my elbow.... It had disappeared! There was no longer any rent. The torn cloth had been mended in the neatest manner; so neatly, indeed, that the orifice was almost invisible. Who could have done it, and how? I have one coat only, and—yes! it must have been! I saw, in a moment, the whole secret: that noise, and the voice of Sarah, the old chambermaid.
I rose and went out on the staircase; I met the good crone.
"How did you find my coat in the dark?" I said, smiling; "and now you must let me make you a present for mending it, Sarah."
Sarah hesitated, plainly; but honesty conquered. She refused the money, which, nevertheless, I gave her; and, from her careless replies, I soon discovered the real truth.
The coat had been mended by Annie!
I descended to the drawing-room, and finding her alone, thanked her with simplicity and sincerity. She blushed and pouted.
"Who told you?" she asked.
"No one; but I discovered it from Sarah; she was unguarded."
"Well, sir," said Annie, blushing still, but laughing, "there is no reason for your being so grateful, I thought I would mend it, as I formerly laughed at it—and I hope it is neatly done."
"It is scarcely visible," I said, with a smile and a bow; "I shall keep this coat always to remind me of your delicate kindness."
"Pshaw! 'twas nothing."
And running to the piano, the young girl commenced a merry song, which rang through the old hall like the carol of a bird. Her voice was so inexpressibly sweet that it made my pulses throb and my heart ache. I did not know the expression of my countenance, as I looked at her, until turning toward me, I saw her suddenly color to the roots of her hair.
I felt, all at once, that I had fixed upon her one of those looks which say as plainly as words could utter: "I love you with all the powers of my nature, all the faculties of my being—you are dearer to me than the whole wide world beside!"
Upon my word of honor as a gentleman, I did not know that I loved Annie—I was not conscious that I was gazing at her with that look of inexpressible tenderness. Her sudden blush cleared up everything like a flash of lightning—I rose, set my lips together, and bowed. I could scarcely speak—I muttered "pray excuse me," and left the apartment.
On the next morning I begged the squire to release me from the completion of my task—I had a friend who could perform the duties as well as myself, and who would come to the hall for that purpose, inasmuch as the account books could not be removed—I must go.
The formal and ceremonious old gentleman did not ask my reasons for this sudden act—he simply inclined his head—and said that he would always be glad to serve me. With a momentary pressure of Annie's cold hand, and a low bow to the frigid Mrs. Barrington, I departed.
Five years have passed away. They have been eventful ones to me—not for the unhoped for success which I have had in my profession, so much as for the long suffering which drove me, violently as it were, to seek relief in unceasing toil.
The thought of Annie has been ever with me—my pain, though such a term is slight, was caused by my leaving her. I never knew how much I loved her until all those weary miles were thrown between us. My days have been most unhappy, my nights drearier still; for a long time now, I have not thought or said "how good a thing it is to live!"
But I acted wisely, and honorably; did I not? I did my duty, when the temptation to neglect it was exceeding hard to resist. I went away from the woman whom I loved, because I loved her, and respected my own name and honor, too much to remain. It was better to break my heart, I said, than take advantage of my position at the hall, to engage a young girl's heart, and drag her down, in case she loved me, to the poor low sphere in which I moved. If her father had said to me, "You have abused the trust I placed in you, and acted with duplicity," I think it would have ruined me, forever, in my own esteem. And would he not have had the right to say it?
So I came away from the temptation while I could, and plunged into my proper work on earth, and found relief; but I loved her still.
Shall I speak of the correspondence which ensued between the squire and myself? 'Twas a somewhat singular one, and revealed to me something which I was before quite ignorant of. It is here beneath my hand; let us look at it. It passed soon after my departure:
"Barrington Hall, Nov. 20, 18—.
"MY DEAR YOUNG FRIEND:
"Since your somewhat abrupt departure, I have considered that event with some attention, and fear that it was occasioned by a want of kindness in myself, or some member of my family. I saw with regret that Mrs. Barrington did not seem to look upon you with as much favor as I hoped. If any word or action of mine has wounded you, I pray you to forget and pardon it.
"P.S. Pray present my best regards to your mother, who was many long years ago, a very dear friend of mine."
My reply was in the following words:
"MY DEAR MR. BARRINGTON:
"Pray set your mind at rest upon the subject of my somewhat hasty departure: 'twas caused by no want of courtesy in any member of the household at the hall, but by unavoidable circumstances. You will not think me wanting in candor or sincerity when I add that I think these circumstances were better not alluded to at present.
"Truly and faithfully,
"ST. GEORGE CLEAVE."
Thus ended then our correspondence. Three years afterward I received another letter, in a handwriting somewhat tremulous and broken. It contained simply the words:
"I am very ill; if your convenience will permit, may I ask you to come and see me, my young friend?
I need not say that I went at once. As I approached the old manor house a thousand memories knocked at the door of my heart. There were the fields over which I had rambled; there was the emerald lawn where so often I had wandered in the long-gone days of earlier years. The great oak against which I had leaned on that evening to watch the sun in his setting, and where Annie had whispered and pointed to my torn elbow, still raised its head proudly, and embowered the old gables in the bright-tinted foliage of autumn.
I entered. The old portraits I had loved seemed to smile; they saluted me sweetly, as in other hours; the old mansion appeared to welcome me—I saw no change, but Annie was not singing in the hall.
All at once I heard a light tinkling footstep; my heart beat violently, and I felt a blush rise to my cheeks. Was the queenly woman who came to meet and greet me, indeed the Annie of old days? I held the small hand, and looked into the deep eyes for some moments without uttering a word. She was taller, more slender, but her carriage possessed a grace and elegance a thousand times finer than before. Her eyes were filled with the strangest sweetness, and swam with tears as she gazed at me.
"Papa has been waiting impatiently for you, Mr. Cleave," she said, in a low, sad voice; "will you come up and see him at once? he is very ill."
And turning away her head, the fair girl burst into uncontrollable sobs, every one of which went to my heart. I begged her earnestly not to yield to her distress, and she soon dried her eyes, and led the way into the parlor, where I was received by Mrs. Barrington, still cold and stiff, but much more subdued and courteous. Annie went to announce my arrival to her father, and soon I was alone with the old man.
I was grieved and shocked at his appearance. He seemed twenty years older. I scarcely recognized in the pale, thin, invalid, the portly country gentleman whom I had known.
The motive for his letter was soon explained. The executorial accounts, whose terrible disarrangement I had aided, five years before, in remedying, still hung over the dying man's head, like a nightmare. He could not die, he said, with the thought in his mind, that any one might attribute this disorder to intentional maladministration—"to fraud, it might be."
And at the word "fraud," his wan cheek became crimson.
"My own affairs, Mr. Cleave," he continued, "are, I find, in a most unhappy condition. I have been far too negligent; and now, on my death-bed, for such it will prove, I discover, for the first time, that I am well-nigh a ruined man!"
He spoke with wild energy as he went on. I, in vain, attempted to impress upon him, the danger of exciting himself.
"I must explain everything, and in my own way," he said, with burning cheeks, "for I look to you to extricate me. I have appointed you, Mr. Cleave, my chief executor; but, above all, I rely upon you, I adjure you, to protect my good name in those horrible accounts, which you once helped to arrange, but which haunt me day and night like the ghost of a murdered man!"
The insane agitation of the speaker increased, in spite of all which I could say. It led him to make me a singular revelation—to speak upon a subject which I had never even dreamed of. His pride and caution seemed wholly to have deserted him; and he continued as follows:
"You are surprised, Sir, that I should thus call upon you. You are young. But I know very well what I am doing. Your rank in your profession is sufficient guaranty that you are competent to perform the trust—my knowledge of your character is correct enough to induce me not to hesitate. There is another tie between us. Do you suspect its nature? I loved and would have married your mother. She was poor—I was equally poor—I was dazzled by wealth, and was miserably happy when your mother's pride made her refuse my suit. I married—I have not been happy. But enough. I should never have spoken of this—never—but I am dying! As you are faithful and true, St. George Cleave, let my good name and Annie's be untarnished!"
There the interview ended. The doctor came in, and I retired to reflect upon the singular communication which had been made to me. On the same evening, I accepted all the trusts confided to me. In a week the sick gentleman was sleeping with his fathers. I held his hand when he died.
I shall not describe the grief and suffering of every one. I shall not trust myself, especially, to speak of Annie. Her agony was almost destructive to her health—and every throb which shook her frame, shook mine as well. The sight of her face had revived, in an instant, all the love of the past, if indeed it had ever slept. I loved her now, passionately, profoundly. As I thought that I might win her love in return, I thrilled with a vague delight.
Well, let me not spin out my story. The result of my examination of Mr. Barrington's affairs, was saddening in the extreme. He was quite ruined. Neglect and extravagant living, with security debts, had mortgaged his entire property. When it was settled, and the hall was sold, his widow and daughter had just enough to live upon comfortably—scarcely so much. They gladly embraced my suggestion to remove to a small cottage near our own, in town, and there they now live—you may see the low roof through the window.
I am glad to say that my reexamination of the executorial accounts, which had so troubled the poor dying gentleman, proved his fears quite unfounded. There was mere disorder—no grounds for "exception." I told as much to Annie, who alone knew all; and her smile, inexpressibly sweet and filled with thanks, was my sole executorial "commission."
I have just been discarded by Annie.
Let me endeavor to collect my thoughts and recall what she said to me. My head is troubled to-day—it is strange what a want of self-control I have! I thought I was strong—and I am weaker than a child.
I told her that I loved her—had loved her for years—that she was dearer, far, to me than all on earth beside my mother. And she answered me—agitated, but perfectly resolved:
"I cannot marry you, Mr. Cleave."
A long pause followed, in which she evidently labored with great distress—then she continued:
"I will frankly and faithfully say why I cannot. I know all—I know your feelings for me once. You went away because you were poor, and you thought I was rich. Shall I be less strong than yourself? I am poor now; I do not regret it, except—pardon me, sir, I am confused—I meant to say, that you are now the richer. It humbles me to speak of this—why did you not"—
There she stopped, blushing and trembling.
"Why did I not? Oh! do not stop there, I pray you."
She replied to my words in a broken and agitated voice:
"I cannot finish. I was thinking of—of—the day when I mended your coat!"
And a smile broke through the tears in her eyes, as she gazed timidly at me. I shall not prolong the account of our interview. She soon left me, resolute to the last; and I came away, perfectly miserable.
What shall I do? I cannot live without her. My life would be a miserable mockery. To see her there near me, at the window, in the street; to see her tresses in the sunlight, her little slipper as it flits through the flower-enveloped gate; to feel that she is near me, but lost to me! Never could I endure it! But what can I do? Is there anything that can move her?
—Ah! that may! Let me try it. Oh, fortunate accident. To-morrow, or very soon—very soon!
A week after my rejection, I went up to my chamber, and drew from the depths of my wardrobe, the old coat which Annie had mended. I had promised her to preserve it. I had kept my promise. Yes, there it was, just as I had worn it at the hall—my shabby old coat of five years ago! I put it on, smiling, and surveyed myself in a mirror. It was strangely old-fashioned; but I did not think of that. I seemed to have returned, all at once, to the past; its atmosphere embraced me; all its flowers bloomed gaily before my eyes.
I looked at the hole in the elbow. There were Annie's stitches—her fingers had clasped the worn, decayed cloth—the old garment had rested on her arm!
I think I must have gazed at the coat for an hour, motionless in the sunlight, and thinking of old days. Then I aroused myself, suddenly, put on my hat, and, with a beating heart, went to ask if Annie remembered.
I shall not relate the details of our interview. She remembered! Oh, word so sweet or so filled with sadness! with a world of sorrow or delight in its sound! She remembered—and her heart could resist no longer. She remembered the poor youth who had loved her so dearly—whom she, too, had loved in the far away past. She remembered the days when her father was well and happy—when his kind voice greeted me, and his smile gave me friendly welcome. She remembered the old days, with their flowers and sunshine—the old hall, and the lawn, and the singing birds. Can you wonder that her soft, tender bosom throbbed, that her heart was "melted in her breast?"
So she plighted me her troth—the dream and joy of my youth. We shall very soon be married. The ship which I sent from the shore long ago has come again to port, with a grander treasure than the earth holds beside—it is the precious, young head which reclined upon my heart!
—And again I can say, as I said long ago: "how good a thing it is to live!"
(FROM THE FRENCH.)
BY HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW.
My soul its secret has, my life too has its mystery, A love eternal in a moment's space conceived; Hopeless the evil is, I have not told its history, And she who was the cause, nor knew it, nor believed. Alas! I shall have passed close by her unperceived, Forever at her side, and yet forever lonely, I shall unto the end have made life's journey, only Daring to ask for naught, and having naught received. For her, though God has made her gentle and endearing, She will go on her way distraught and without hearing These murmurings of love that round her steps ascend, Piously faithful still unto her austere duty, Will say, when she shall read these lines full of her beauty, "Who can this woman be?" and will not comprehend.
FROM MY PARIS NOTE-BOOK.
BY H.T. TUCKERMAN.
Fresh from Italy, we enter the gallery of the Louvre with a feeling that it is but a grand prolongation of the glorious array of pictured and sculptured trophies, scattered in such memorable luxuriance, through that chosen land of art; but the sensation is that of delightful surprise when we have but recently explored the dim chambers of the National Gallery, or obtained formal access to a private British collection. To cross the now magnificent hall of Apollo, with its grand proportions flooded by a cloudless sun, expands the mind and brightens the vision for their feast of beauty. Here too, a magic improvement has been recently wrought, and the architectural renovation lends new effect to the ancient treasures, so admirably preserved and arranged. I stood long at one of the windows and looked down upon the Seine; it was thence that the people were fired upon at the massacre of St. Bartholomew; there rose, dark and fretted, the antique tower of Notre Dame, here was the site of the Tour de Nesle, that legend of crime wrought in stone; gracefully looked the bridges as they spanned the swollen current of the river; cheerfully lay the sunshine on quay and parapet; it was a scene where the glow of nature and the shadows of history unite to lend a charm to the panorama of modern civilization. And turning the gaze within, how calm and refreshing seemed the long and high vistas of the gallery; how happy the artists at their easels;—girls with their frugal dinners in a basket on the pavement, copying a Flemish scene; youths drawing intently some head of an old master; veterans of the palette reproducing the tints born under Venetian skies; and groups standing in silent admiration before some exquisite gem or wonderful conception. It is like an audience with the peers of art to range the Louvre; in radiant state and majestic silence they receive their reverend guests; first smiles down upon him the celestial meekness of Raphael's holy women, then the rustic truth of Murillo's peasant mothers, and the most costly, though, to our mind, not the most expressive, of all his pictures—the late acquisition for which kings competed at Marshal Soult's sale; now we are warmed by the rosy flush of Rubens—like a mellow sunset beaming from the walls; and now startled at the life-like individuality of Vandyke's portraits, as they gaze down with such placid dignity and keen intelligence; at one point, we examine with mere curiosity the stiff outlines of early religious limning; and, at another, smile at the homely nature of the Dutch school; Philip de Champagne's portraits, Wouverman's white horses, Cuyp's meadows and kine, Steen's rural fetes, Claude's sunsets, Pannini's architecture and Sneyder's animals; David's melodramatic pieces, Isabey's miniatures, Oudny's dogs, Robert's "Harvest Home," all hint a chapter, not only in the history of art, but in the philosophy of life and the secrets of the beautiful—enshrined there for the world's enjoyment, with a liberal policy yet more aptly illustrated by the vast and lofty colonnades, the courteous custodes, and the provisions for students in the drawings of successive schools.
In order to exchange the fascinations of the moment for the lessons of the past, one cloudy morning we drove through the avenue of the Champs Elysees, by the triumphal arch of Napoleon, to the palace of St. Cloud, and from the esplanade gazed back upon the city, over the plain below, to the dense mass of buildings surmounted by the domes of the Invalids, and the Pantheon and the towers of Notre Dame. To the eye of contemplation it is one of the most memorable of landscapes; a stand-point for historical reverie, which attunes the mind for subsequent and less discursive retrospection. Enter the apartment where Bonaparte dispersed the assembly of five hundred—the initatory act of his rule; it is now a conservatory, whence rising terrace walks, statues and fountains only are visible; in the fresh silence of morning, they offered a striking contrast to that eventful scene. In an adjacent room a picture representing Maria de Medici's interview with Sully after the death of Henry IV., carries us back to an earlier era. Here Blucher had his headquarters, and here was settled the convention by which Paris was yielded to the allies. The saloon of Vernet, the well-trimmed vine-trees of the garden, the vivid hues of the tapestry, the newly waxed floors, the hangings and couches of Lyons silk, the elegant Sevres vases, and Florentine tables of pietra dura, the velvet cushions of the chapel, and late publications on the library desks—all free of speck or stain—proclaim this summer palace as great a favorite now as when resorted to by the princes of Orleans. In this hall the two Napoleons were proclaimed; and the brilliant memory of those summer festivals that lately made St. Cloud dazzling with light and beauty, was reflected from mirror, cornice, and tinted fabric; from this gilt on the iron chain of usurped dominion, a glance through the window revealed its origin: a throng of people were on their way to mass and a regiment was on parade—the one illustrating the blind exaction of bigoted authority, the other the machinery of brute force—the church and the army, the mitre, and the sword, superstition and violence; with these, in all ages, have the multitude been subdued; and between these two representations of elemental despotism, clustered on a high wall, stood a crowd to watch the meek procession of worshippers, and the exactitude of the manual, or admire the spirited, yet controlled, evolutions of the officer on his noble charger. The whole scene typified France as she is; uneducated devotees, a military organization at the beck of its chief, and a surplus of curious, intimidated or acquiescent spectators.
To pass from St. Cloud to Versailles is like turning from the last to the first chapters of French history. The vast court of the palace is lined with colossal statues; and thus we enter the vestibule through a file of pale and majestic sentinels, summoned, as it were, from the tomb to guard the trophies of nationality. Our pilgrimage through such a world of effigies begins with Clovis and Charlemagne, and ends with Louis Philippe: the place itself is the ancient home of royalty; the gardens, visible from every window, have been trod by generations of monarchs and courtiers; the ceilings bear the arms of the noble families of the kingdom; while around are the faces and figures of the men of valor and of genius that consecrate her history. Through this panorama move peasants, workmen, citizens, and foreigners, gazing unrestricted, as upon a procession evoked from the inexorable past, in which are all those of whom they have heard or read as illustrious in France; they see the battles, the leaders, the kings, the poets, the human material of history. This grand conception, which has of late years been mainly realized by the last king, is certainly one of the most grand and significant of modern times. Even in this, our one day's observation, how many ideas are revived, how many characters brought into view; what events, associations and people throng upon our consciousness, as slowly gazing, we tread the interminable halls and scan the countless memorials of Versailles!
Taking up the thread of reminiscence when looking at the old moldy mortar that belonged to the knights of St. John when at Rhodes, the expiring chivalry of Europe gleams fitfully upon us, once more, to provoke a mortifying comparison with the not yet completed pictures of the capture of Abd-el-Kader and the last siege of Rome; thence turn to the "Jeu de Paume," where the ardent figure of Mirabeau represents the genius of the Revolution, and from it to "Louis XVIII. and the Charter," emblematic of the Restoration; how shines on this canvas the "helmet of Navarre" in the "Battle of Ivry," as in Macaulay's spirited lyric, and chastely beautiful in its stainless marble, stands the heroic Maid of Orleans; while, appropriately in the midst of these historic characters, we find the bust of that ideal of picturesque narrators, Froissart. The modern rule of France is abruptly and almost grotesquely suggested amid such associations, by the figure of De Joinville on the deck of a man-of-war, well described by Talfourd, as "the type of dandified, melodramatic seamanship." The cycles of kingly sway is abruptly broken by the meteoric episode of Bonaparte: first he appears dispersing the Assembly, and then in his early victories, wounded at Ratisbon, at the tomb of Frederick the Great, distributing the Legion of Honor at the Invalides, quelling an insurrection at Cairo, engaged in his unparalleled succession of battles, and at the altar with Maria Louisa. The divorce from Josephine and the murder of the Duc D'Enghien, are events that only recur more impressively to the mind of the spectator because uncommemorated. From the career of military genius which transformed the destinies of France, we pass to apartments where still breathes the vestiges of legitimacy as in the hour of its prime. The equestrian statue of Louis XIV. in the court-yard, his bed and crown, his clock and chair in the long suite of rooms kept sacred to his memory, typify the age when genius and beauty mingled their charms in the corrupt atmosphere of intrigue and profligacy. The noble expanse of wood, water, and meadow; the paths lined with stately myrtles and ancient box, spread as invitingly to the eye from this embayed window, as when the grand monarque stood there to watch the graceful walk of La Valliere, or the staid carriage of Maintenon. The abandonment and quietude of these chambers, mirrored, tapestried, and solitary, owe not a little of the spell they exercise over the imagination, to the vicinity of the galleries devoted to the men of the Revolution and the campaigns of '92; amid the smoke of conflict ever appears that resolute, olive face with the dark eye fixed and the thin lip curved in decision or expectancy. We mechanically repeat Campbell's elegy as we mark "Hohenlinden," and linger with patriotic gratitude over "Yorktown," notwithstanding the absurd prominence given to the French officers; Conde, Turenne, Moreau, Lannes, Massena, and Lafayette fight over again before us the wars of the Fronde, the Empire, or the Republic. The monotony of these scenes of destruction is only relieved by the individual memories of the chiefs; they link a certain individuality with the flame and shroud of war, the fragmentary conquests, and the struggles that make up so large a portion of external history; and we emerge from the crowd of warriors into the company of statesmen, wits, and poets, with a sensation of refreshment. Each single triumph of thought, each victory of imagination and memorial of character, has an absolute worth and charm that the exploits of armies can never emulate.
Racine's portrait revives the long controversy between the classic and romantic schools; that of La Bruy re the art of character-painting now one of the highest functions of popular literature; that of Bossuet the pulpit eloquence of France and the persecution of Fenelon, and that of Saint Cyr the Jansenist discussion. A blank like that which designates the place of Marino Faliero in the Ducal palace at Venice, is left here for Le Sage, as the nativity of the author of Gil Blas is yet disputed. We look at Rousseau to revert to the social reforms, of which he was the pioneer; at La Place to realize the achievements of the exact sciences, and at St. Pierre to remember the poetry of nature. Voltaire's likeness is not labelled for the same reason that there is no name on the tomb of Ney; both are too well known to require announcement. How incongruous become the associations as we proceed; old Pere la Chaise cheek by jowl with the American Presidents; Cagliostro, who died before the word his career incarnated had become indispensable to the English tongue—the apotheosis of humbug; Marmontel, dear to our novitiate as royal leaders; and near to the original Pamela; Chateaubriand's ancestor the Marshal; Bisson going below to ignite the magazine, rather than "give up the ship;" and the battered war dog, with a single eye and leg, beneath whose fragmentary portrait is inscribed that Mars left him only a heart.
It is with singular interest that we look upon the authentic resemblance of persons with whose minds and career literature has made us familiar, and compare what we have imagined of their appearance with the reality. Of such characters as Gluck, Klopstock and Madame Le Brun, whose ministry of art has excited a vague delight, we may have formed no very distinct image; but associated as is the name of Madame Roland with courage, suffering and affliction, we naturally expect a more dignified and less vivacious expression than here meets us, until we remember the earlier development of her rare and sympathetic intelligence. Count Mirabeau has a look of mildness and sang froid instead of the earnestness we fancied. Who would have supposed the fair assassin of Marat such a thin, delicate and spirituelle blonde? The sensuous face of George IV. and the tragic one of Charles I., in the ever recurring Vandyke, with Sheridan's confident, handsome and genial physiognomy, seem grouped to make more elevated, by comparison, the noble abstraction of Flaxman. Talleyrand resembles a keen, selfish, humorous and gentlemanly man of the world, in an unexceptionable white wig. Richelieu is piquant and Madame de Stael impassioned and Amazonian. What decadence even in the warlike notabilities is hinted by glancing from Soult to Oudinot! I thought of the French fleet in the memorable storm off Newport, as I recognized the portrait of the Count d'Estaing; and realized anew the military instinct of the nation in the preponderance of battle-scenes and heroes, and marked the interest with which groups of soldiers lingered and talked before them.
THE RETURN OF THE GODDESS.
BY BAYARD TAYLOR.
Not as in youth, with steps outspeeding morn, And cheeks all bright from rapture of the way, But in strange mood, half cheerful, half forlorn, She comes to me to-day.
Does she forget the trysts we used to keep, When dead leaves rustled on autumnal ground? Or the lone garret, whence she banished sleep With threats of silver sound?
Does she forget how shone the happy eyes When they beheld her?—how the eager tongue Plied its swift oar through wave-like harmonies, To reach her where she sung?
How at her sacred feet I cast me down? How she upraised me to her bosom fair, And from her garland shred the first light crown That ever pressed my hair?
Though dust is on the leaves, her breath will bring Their freshness back: why lingers she so long? The pulseless air is waiting for her wing, Dumb with unuttered song.
If tender doubt delay her on the road, Oh let her haste, to find that doubt belied! If shame for love unworthily bestowed, That shame shall melt in pride.
If she but smile, the crystal calm will break In music, sweeter than it ever gave, As when a breeze breathes o'er some sleeping lake And laughs in every wave.
The ripples of awakened song shall die Kissing her feet, and woo her not in vain, Until, as once, upon her breast I lie, Pardoned and loved again.
ON POPULAR KNOWLEDGE.
BY GEORGE S. HILLARD.
Against all institutions for the diffusion of knowledge among the community, an objection is often urged that they can teach nothing thoroughly, but only superficially, and that modest ignorance is better than presumptuous half-knowledge. How frequently is it said that "a little learning is a dangerous thing." This celebrated line is a striking instance of the vitality which may be given to what is at least a very doubtful proposition by throwing it into a pointed form. If anything be a good at all, it is a good precisely in proportion to the extent in which it is possessed or enjoyed. A great deal of it is better than a little, but a little is better than none. No one says or thinks that a little conscience, or a little wisdom, or a little faith, or a little charity is a dangerous thing. Why then is a little learning dangerous? Alas, it is not the little learning, but the much ignorance which it supposes, that is dangerous!
We also frequently hear it said, that the general diffusion of popular knowledge is unfavorable to great acquisitions in any one individual. This is a favorite dogma with those persons whose views are all retrospective, who are ever magnifying past ages at the expense of the present, and who will insist upon riding through life with their faces turned toward the horse's tail instead of his head. "We have smatterers and sciolists in abundance," say they, "but where are the giant scholars of other days?" Dr. Johnson once said, in reply to a remark upon the general intelligence of the people of Scotland, that learning in Scotland was like bread in a besieged city, where every man gets a mouthful, but none a full meal. He also observed in a conversation held with Lord Monboddo, that learning had much decreased in England, since his remembrance; to which his lordship remarked, "you have lived to see its decrease in England; I, its extinction in Scotland." The fallacy of views like these consists in taking it for granted that there is always just about the same aggregate amount of knowledge in the world, and that only the ratio of distribution is changed. But there is no such analogy between learning and material substances. The wealth of the mind is not like gold, which must be beaten out the finer, as the surface to be covered by it is more extensive. As to the alleged superiority of past ages, in anything essential, I am more than skeptical. I hold rather that of all good things, learning included, there is as much in the world now as there ever was—not to say more. The great scholars of Europe in our time are not inferior to the greatest of their predecessors. Even in classical literature and antiquities, the searching, analyzing and investigating spirit of our age has poured new light upon the remote past, and rendered the labors of former generations useless. By elevating the general standard, it is true that there is less distance between the common mind and the deeply learned. The scholars of the middle ages seem the higher, from the low level of ignorance from which they rise. They are like mountains shooting abruptly from the plain. Our scholars seem to have reached an inferior point of elevation, because the level of the general mind has come nearer to them, as mountain peaks lose somewhat of their apparent height when they spring from a raised table land.
ON RECEIVING A
PRIVATELY PRINTED VOLUME OF POEMS
FROM A FRIEND.
BY THOMAS BUCHANAN READ.
A modest bud matured mid secret dews, May yield its bloom beside some hidden path, Full of sweet perfumes and of rarest hues While few may note the beauty which it hath—
And yet perchance some maiden, wandering there, May bend beside it with a loving look, Or by the streamlet place it in her hair; And smile above her image in the brook.
A bird with pinions beautiful, and shy, May sing scarce noted mid the noisier throng; Or 'scaping earth, take refuge in the sky And though concealed still charm the air with song.
Yet haply some enamored ear may hark, And deem it sweetest of the birds that sing; Or in his heart still praise the unseen lark That leads his fancies toward its heavenward wing.
A star in some sequestered nook on high, In its deep niche of blue may calmly shine, While careless eyes that wander o'er the sky, May only deem the brightest orbs divine.
But there are those who love to sit and trace Between all these some shy retiring light, For such, they know, shed through the veil of space The general halo that adorns the night.
Thus many a poet's volume unproclaimed By all the myriad tongues of Fame afar, The few may deem as worthy to be named, (As I do this) a Flower, a Bird, a Star!
THE PRINCE AT LAND'S END.
BY CAROLINE CHESEBRO.
Last from the church came the organist, Daniel Summerman. He was less hurried than others; to him it was not, as to people in general, a day of increased social responsibility. His great duty was now performed. Done, whether well or ill. He descended the stairs slowly, but with a step so light you might have taken it for a child's. No need for him to haste; the precious moments would go fast enough—he wished not to lose one.
In the porch he paused a moment, to draw on his woollen gloves, and button his great coat, and for something besides. Perhaps the person who laid the wreath of cedar leaves on his organ stool was somewhere about, and had some criticism to offer in respect to the choir's performance.
But he descended the church steps without having met even the sexton; somewhat disappointed, it was not with indifference that he saw a stranger standing in the churchyard among the graves; by the grave, it chanced, of a child who died in October, five years old. When the organist perceived this, a purpose which he would have formed later in the day, anticipated itself, and led him to the little mound. He would leave the cedar wreath on Mary's grave.
He was not ashamed of his gracious purpose when he had drawn near. His gentle heart was glad to do this homage to the dead, in the presence of a stranger who had never seen the living child. Stooping down, he smoothed the frozen grass, and laid the wreath upon it; and when he saw the stranger watching him, he said:
"She was the prettiest child in the village; if she had lived, we should have had one singer in the choir. I would have taught her. She loved music so much."
Here was an introduction sufficient for an ordinary man. At least the organist thought so. But when he looked at the stranger he was sorry that he had spoken, for no genial sympathy was in that face, and still less in the voice that asked,
"Will you leave the wreath here? Where did it come from?"
The organist replied as though he did not perceive the indifference with which the questions were asked:
"I found it in the choir," said he. "One of the children left it, may be. Any way this is the best place for it. Dear little girl! I should hate to think that she was really down there."
"Where, then?" asked the stranger.
"Up above, as sure as there's a heaven." As Summerman spoke, he stepped from the frozen ground to the gravel walk, and turning his back on the stranger he brushed a tear from his cheek.
The gentleman, whose name was Redman Rush, followed him. He was a well-dressed person; indeed, his attire was splendid, in comparison with the rough garments of the little organist. His fine broadcloth cloak was trimmed profusely with rare fur, and he wore a fur cap that must have cost half as much as the church paid Summerman for playing the organ a twelvemonth. He was a noticeable person, not merely on account of his dress. His bearing was elegant, that of a well-bred man, not indifferent to the eyes of others; that of a man somewhat cautious of the reflection he should cast in a region of shadows and appearances. But, moreover, the face of this Redman Rush was the face of misery. If ever a wreck came to shore, here was the torn and battered fragment of a gallant craft.
"Were you in the church this morning?" asked the organist, struggling with himself, speaking with effort; for, to his gaze, the aspect of the stranger was forbidding and awful; and yet it was beyond his power to walk by the side of any man cautious, cold, and dumb. This person was at least a gentleman, and perhaps understood music.
"Yes," was the brief answer.
"How did the singing go?"
"That's a comfort," said the organist, looking more pleased than the occasion seemed to warrant. But he was not a vain man; he merely supposed that the gentleman's reply promised criticism worth hearing.
"Didn't you hear it yourself?"
"Oh, yes, after a fashion. I play the organ. It isn't the best situation for hearing. I thought it decent. Particularly the Gloria in Excelsis. I was most anxious about that. How did it sound to you, sir?"
"But, after all, they didn't understand it."
"The meaning. It opens with the song of the angels, you know. 'Glory be to God on high; on earth, peace, good will toward men.' They couldn't tell, coherently, what the Peace and Good Will meant. That's the worst of it. How can they sing what they don't understand?"
"Surely. Why don't you teach them?"
"Why don't I teach them!" exclaimed the organist. "I'm not a brain-maker; that's the reason, I suppose."
"Then, you've tried it?"
For a minute Summerman seemed vexed by this question; but for no longer than a minute.
"What's the use? what's the use?" he said to himself, and his answer to the question was a laugh.
The laugh, though neither loud nor boisterous, but merely a mild evidence of good-nature that was not to be clouded by vexations, had a disagreeable sound to Redman Rush. He looked contemptuous, and felt more than he looked, so that it was really surprising to see him linger for such conversation as this of the organist, and to hear him ask,
"How do you teach your choir? Whose fault is it that they cannot learn?"
"Their own fault," answered Summerman. "They've got to learn more than the notes. So they complain. You can't make a singer out of a note-book. I've tried that enough. Now I try to show them that peace means a riddance of selfishness, and that selfishness is the devil's device for holding the world together. Not God's; for his idea is love, and was in the beginning. Wasn't the world given to understand, that the life which was born was the love, truth, and beauty of the world, and that by Him all truth and beauty must live? They can't see it. I can't make a man or woman understand that an idea must be the centre around which the life will revolve. They come to practise, not to hear preaching, they say."
It seemed as if at this, and because of this announcement, Redman Rush drew himself apart and up, loftily, and with a gloomy defiance looked around him. When Summerman's eyes turned toward him, he seemed gazing into distance, and gave no indication that he had heard a word of what had been said. The organist was disappointed. He had hoped again for criticism; but he went on, perhaps with some suspicion of the correctness of his convictions—at least he had not said all he wished to say.
"We must have a centre—an idea," said he. "And if that be self, then the devil's to pay. Christ is the only absolute idea—the only possible giver of peace, therefore. I mean by Him, His doctrine. He stands for that, being Truth, as he said, you know. They came out better on the 'good will to men,' if you noticed. It was easier for them to believe in the eternal good will of God, this morning. But they failed in the next line, 'We bless Thee, we give thanks to Thee, for Thy great glory!' If they knew more they would sing better. You know what was said, sir, 'Milton himself could not teach a boy more than he could learn.' That's the amount of it."
Now and then, during these last words, spoken so evidently by a man who liked to talk because he looked for sympathy, and hoped for it, the face of the stranger had changed in its expression; there seemed to be less fierceness, more sadness in his gloom. But the change was so slight as to be hardly perceptible, even to the eyes of Summerman. When he paused in speaking he had still no answer.
They walked on a few paces in silence, when suddenly the organist stepped up to the door of a house that opened on the sidewalk, and unlocked it.
"This is my shop," said he; "won't you come in, and warm yourself? it is so cold in spite of the sun."
Redman Rush hesitated, with his foot upon the doorstep. He looked up and down the street. It was beautiful and bright without, but, oh, how bare and cold! homely enough within, but the glare of a hot coal fire suggested comfort, as the skylight did cheerfulness. Did he really wish for warmth and comfort, for cheerfulness and company? That was the point.
"Come in, I will show you something," said Summerman.
"He invites me as if I were another boy like himself," thought the man. Perhaps for the sake of that unimaginable boyhood he crossed the threshold, and allowed Summerman to close the door behind him.
This room was the organist's home. His household goods were all around him when he stepped into the shop. It was a little place, but so well arranged, that there seemed room, and to spare. Summerman was hospitable as a prince—the shade of Voltaire reminds me of the great Frederick's hospitality! yet, let the word stand.
This shop gave outward and visible signs of the versatility of its owner's mind. The front part was devoted to the clock and watch making business; before the large window stood a table, where the requisite tools were kept for conduct of that business. A few clocks, and frames of clocks, gathered probably from auction rooms, were ranged upon a shelf, and dust was never allowed to accumulate around or upon them. Never was housemaid more exact and scrupulous than the proprietor of this Gallery.
In the back part of the shop, which was lighted by the skylight, stood the instrument for daguerreo-typing, possession of which would have made the organist a proud man, if anything could have done so.
When he had invited Mr. Rush to sit down, and the invitation was accepted, it was by a device of Summerman's that the gentleman found himself directly facing the machine, and now, if he took an interest in any earthly thing, or was capable of curiosity, some good would come of it, thought the organist.
He had promised to show his visitor somewhat, and accordingly approached him with a miniature case in his hand.
Mr. Rush had removed his fur cap, and Summerman approaching him, was so struck by his appearance, the dignity, and pride, and trouble his countenance expressed, that he nearly exclaimed in his surprise, and quite forgot the intention he had, till Mr. Rush reminded him by extending his hand for the picture.
"This is little Mary," exclaimed he, presenting the miniature. "I took it last summer. She died in October. Maybe you will understand now why I said that we should have had a singer, if she had lived."
But Summerman was in doubt about this, as, from the point to which he immediately retired, he cast a glance at the face of the stranger, who took the picture, and surveyed it, with such a look.
At first, it appeared as if a glance would suffice him. But he did not return it with a glance. Was it the brightness and innocence of the young face that won upon him, or did it for the moment take its place as the type of all beauty and innocence, and hold him to contemplation, as for the last time. Was it really into the face of that little child, dead and buried since October, that he looked? or was he really here, under the roof of this poor organist, shut up with the warmth of his coal stove this bright Christmas day, locked safe his secret thoughts, himself secure with them?
At last some word or sound escaped the organist. He had gazed at Mr. Rush till he seemed possessed of nightmare. So wild, so haggard, so awful, the man's face appeared to him, that the cry, an involuntary one, expressed better than any inquiry could have done, how much disturbed he was. The stranger heard, and seemed to understand, for at the sound he rose quickly, and laid the picture on the counter; not gently; at the same time he looked at Summerman and laughed; but without merriment.
"Come," said Summerman quickly, "let me take your portrait. I have quite a collection here, you see." And as he spoke he did not remove his eyes from the stranger—he had come to the conclusion that he was mad, or in some direful strait that made him almost irresponsible, and his first purpose was one of helpful commiseration.
Instead of quitting the shop straightway, as Summerman expected he would do when he made this proposition (and if he did depart he meant to follow), the stranger walked toward the instrument, and on his way picked up the picture he had thrown down with so little ceremony. He seemed to think he owed this courtesy:
"Do you find much patronage here?" he asked.
"Oh, considerable," replied Summerman. "Just now more than common. Your likeness is such a good present to make your friend!"
"Do you think so?"
"Certainly," was the emphatic response.
"You ask to take my likeness—what for?"
"I want it myself."
"Oh—for a sign. Well, young man, you don't know what it's the sign of, after all," and here Mr. Rush evidently set himself against the world.
"I hope it's the sign of a friend," answered Summerman, who was keeping up his spirits by an effort, for the mere presence of this man weighed on them with an almost intolerable weight. Yet he was sparing no effort to retain that presence.
"Why do you hope that?" asked Mr. Rush with a disagreeable show of authority.
"Because we met at the church door on Christmas day." Simple answer—yet it was spoken so gently, so truthfully, it seemed to make an impression.
"Christmas day. So it is. But it's getting late. How high is the sun yet?"
"Three hours, maybe."
Hearing this, the gentleman turned away, and walked to the further extremity of the shop. Summerman's eyes followed him with anxiety. But he went on polishing a plate, and seemed beyond all things intent on that.
Presently Mr. Rush came back.
"You may take my likeness," said he. "You are a good fellow. And it will help pass time."
So the artist stepped quickly about, and looked pleased, but not too much so. The work was soon done. While Summerman was putting it through the process of perfection, the gentleman stood and watched him.
"How did you want your choir to sing 'good will to men?'" he asked.
Summerman did not look up to answer—did not express any surprise, but the whole man was in the reply given:
"From the heart, sir. Full, confident, assuring. They owe that to God and man, or they've no business in a choir."
"Do you suppose they could do it?" asked Mr. Rush, not immediately, but, as it seemed, when he had controlled the unpleasant influence the speaker's enthusiastic mode of address had upon him. It seemed as if he were not merely speaking, and engaging the organist in speech for pastime—but rather because he could not help it. His questions, when he asked them, had a more surprising sound to himself than to the person who answered. And they vexed him—but not Summerman. When Mr. Rush asked him if he supposed it possible for them to sing in the way signified, he replied quite confidently:
"Yes, if they only knew what they were about."
"But you explained that to them?"
"Well, then, yes, if they believed it; for after all, belief is of the heart."
"You don't think they believe it?"
"It's a hard thing to say. But if they did, they would do better. They are not a happy set altogether. They whine—they talk one thing, and live another. One of them lost a little money the other day—pretty nearly all he had, I suppose—but what of that?"
"What of that!" exclaimed Mr. Rush, and he looked at the organist amazed.
"Yes, what of it? The man has his health and his faculties. What's money?"
"Yes, sir, when you come to the point—what is it? Eyes, hands, feet—blood, brain, heart, soul? You would think so to hear him talk. It's dust! I've seen that proved, sir, and I know 'tis true!"
"You don't allow for circumstances," said the stranger, sharply.
"Circumstances!" repeated Summerman, incredulous.
"Yes, the difference between your affairs and those of your neighbors. You seem to judge others by yourself?"
"My affairs! I haven't any to speak of," said the organist, with a grave sort of wonder.
"I suppose," replied the stranger, almost angrily, "you are a human creature; things happen to you, and they do not. If you have any feeling at all you are affected by what happens." He ceased speaking with the manner of a man who is annoyed that he should have been so far beguiled into speech.
"Some things have happened to me," answered Summerman quietly, seeing everything, pretending to see nothing. "I lived ten years among the Gipsies. I belonged to them. That's where I had my schooling. I worked in the tin ware; and clock mending I took up of myself. I left my people on account of a church-organ. My father and mother were dead. I had no brother or sister; nor any relation. But I had friends, and they would have kept me; but I had to choose between them and the rest. I couldn't learn the organ in the woods and meadows; I was caught by the music as easily as a pink by a pin. But I kept to the clock mending. I used to travel about on my business once in a while, for a man can't settle down to four walls and a tread-mill in a minute, when he's been used to all creation. Then I learned to take pictures, and I travelled about for a time, carrying the machine with me. But for the last year I've lived in this shop and had the church organ. So you see how it is. I have all these things to look after, and I try to keep in tune, and up to pitch.
"You are a happy man," said Mr. Rush, who had listened with attention to this humble story. "But," he added, "you could not understand—for you have had no cares, no one dependent on you—how necessary to some persons money is for happiness. What ruin follows the loss of it. How many a man would prefer death to such a loss."
"I guess not," said Summerman, in a low tone. "I believe in the Good Will doctrine."
"What has that to do with it?" asked the stranger, impatiently.
To this Summerman replied, speaking slowly—humblest acquiescence sounding through his speech.
"When I settled down, and got the situation in the church, I was about to bring her here.... You understand.... She died about that time. I have not seen her picture. Her brother had died before. I was to be the son of the old people. We were sure that after awhile they would be attracted by our happy home, and by our fireside all their wanderings would end. They should be free as in the forests.... It is all changed now—but I am still their son, and I wish nothing better than to work for them. The old man is failing, and I think that I shall yet persuade them to come and live with me—we might be one family still—and it would please her. If I succeed, there are two or three rooms close by where we can be tolerably happy, all together. God is not indifferent. He sees all. And sure I am that He bears me no ill will. So it must be for the best. She used to wear this ribbon around her splendid hair. She was so young and gay! It would have done you good to look at such a face. Sometimes I catch myself thinking what a long, gay life we ought to have lived together—and I know there's no wickedness in that. It's more pleasant than bitter."
"So you support the old people," was the listener's sole comment. Not loss, but fidelity—not grief, but constancy, impressed him while he hearkened to this story.
"I have adopted them," answered the organist. "Yes, they are mine now. Just as they were to have been. Just as she and I used to talk it over. Only she is not here."
"So you support them," repeated Mr. Rush. And he seemed to ponder that point, as if it involved somewhat beyond his comprehension.
The organist replied, wondering. And he looked at the questioner—but the questioner looked not at him.
"Yes, certainly," he said.
"I suppose they are moderate in their wants. They don't require suites of chambers with frescoed ceilings, and walls hung with white satin, rose color, lavender—and the rest. They don't need a four-story palace, with carpets of velvet to cover the floors from attic to basement. Do they?" All the scorn and bitterness expressed in these words the organist happily could never perceive. But he discerned enough to make him shudder, and he believed that the speaker was mad.
"I don't think I understand you," he answered, perplexed and cautious. He feared the effect of his words. But anything that he might say would produce now one sole result.
"Very likely you don't understand," said Mr. Rush.
"But," said the organist, "I wish I did."
"You look so troubled, sir."
"As if you—hadn't—tried out the Good Will doctrine. I mean—yes, I do! that I shouldn't suppose you believed in it," said Summerman, bravely.
Mr. Rush laughed bitterly. "I'll tell you a story," said he.
"No—no—I mean not yet—don't," exclaimed Summerman, quickly.
"Why, it's a short tale. I'm not going to trouble you much longer. A fine holiday you're having! But you'll never have another like it, I believe. I—I want your advice before I go. Besides, you have kept to your green, sunny love so long, I would like to give you a notion of what's going on the other side of the fence."
"Then we will walk," said Summerman, "if it's agreeable to you, sir, I mean, of course. I always walk around the lake at this hour." The little man had put on his overcoat while he spoke, and now stood waiting the stranger's pleasure, cap in hand.
"Dare you leave that face of mine among the other faces?" asked Mr. Rush, with all seriousness.
The organist looked nervously around as if he expected something to justify the trouble this question occasioned him.
"Yes—yes—I'll take the risk," he answered, but he spoke without a smile. One thought alone prevented him from heartily wishing himself rid of this companion, who, in spite of him, had cast such a gloom over his Christmas day. The man seemed to have more need of him than Summerman had of his dinner deferred.
They set out together to walk through the frosty air under the cloudless sky. The sun was near to setting. In half an hour a deep orange belt would unroll round the east, flaming signs would mark the heavens, and a great star hang in the midst of an amethyst hemicycle.
They noticed that the sun was near to setting, and one of them saw the glory.
"I want you to tell me honestly," said the other. "You have taken my picture; what do you think it looks like? That is a fair question."
"Like misery," replied Summerman, promptly enough.
"Is that all? I thought worse. I thought it looked like a very devil's face. When I go back, I'll destroy it. But, then, it looks like me! Now, I can't afford to live a scarecrow. I believe I wasn't made to frighten others to death. I'd choose to die myself first." He dropped his voice to a whisper. "I've been trying to do that. Tried twice. Is there any particular luck in a third time, that you know of?"
Summerman did not answer, though Rush was looking full upon him; neither did he avoid the long and piercing gaze the stranger fixed upon him. He met that like a man.
"You think I'm mad," at last said Mr. Rush.
"Thank you. But you are a gipsy. Read my fortune."
Gravely Summerman looked at the fair, smooth palm that was suddenly stretched before him.
"You have been unfortunate," said he.
"Oh, no; you mustn't admit that. Only a little money lost, that's all."
"Is it all, indeed?" asked Summerman, and he dropped the palm. Then he shook his head. "I do not think it could have served you so. A little loss!" said he.
"That is because fortune never made a fool of you. Let me alone; I want to think." He spoke in the quick, peremptory manner of a man who is accustomed to command; but he came very near to smiling the next moment, as he looked down at the little person whom he had ordered into silence.
Then he broke the silence he had enjoined.
"Suppose you were in my case," said he, "how would you act?"
"I am not. How can I tell?" was Summerman's prudent answer.
These words, as indeed any words that he could have spoken, were the best that Redman Rush could hear; for now he was leaning with the whole weight of his moral nature on the life of this strong-hearted, true-hearted organist. He liked the unpresuming, modest, generous word.
"I'll tell you what you would be," said he, quickly. "A month ago worth half a million—to-day not a cent. Brought up like a fool, you would probably be one. Turned out of house, helpless as a baby. You have yourself—master of your wits and your hands. Look at these hands! And all my wits can advise me is, this life isn't worth the keeping."
"Oh, no; not to-day! They don't say that to-day!" exclaimed Summerman, speaking as if he knew. And he ventured further, boldly: "They advise you, go home to your wife and your child; live for them and yourself, and God's honor."
"Wife—child!" repeated Rush; and he blushed when he added; "you read fortunes. Your pardon."
"I saw it in your face," said the organist, quietly. "When you looked at our little Mary, I believed you were thinking of some other little child. And it reminded you of some other young lady, when I told you what I expected once. If it hadn't been for them, you would never have thought of destroying yourself; and I'm sure, on their account, what you ought to ask and hope is, that your life may be spared."
It is said that drowning men will grasp at straws. This elegant stranger, who had emerged from mystery to disturb the Christmas day of a humble organist, now leaned on the friendly arm of the little man, walking along with him, not as he once sauntered through the promenade, a butterfly disdaining all but the brightest of sunbeams, the sweetest of flowers. Poor worm! he was half frozen in this wintry brightness, this exhilarating atmosphere, in which Summerman throve so well.
"Are all the men that are born in woods and meadows, and brought up tinkers, like you?" he asked.
"No," answered Summerman. "Some turn out fools, and some knaves, and some ten times better men and wiser men, than I shall ever be."
"Like the rest of the world. Are men, men everywhere?"
"Pretty much. You talk about your wits. You were made to do a bigger business than I shall ever do. Go home and begin it. I've a mind to go with you, so you shan't lose your way."
"You know the way so well," said Rush. He had not before spoken as he now spoke, almost cheerfully, almost hopefully. Here was this fellow that told fortunes, daring to prophesy good days for him! But then, was he not a bankrupt? And if he lived—a beggar still?
* * * * *
The sun had set, and the faces of the two men were again turned to the village. They had walked quite round the lake, and Summerman had concluded that he would invite the gentleman to dine with him when they came back to the inn; would he accept the courtesy? Summerman looked at Mr. Rush, that he might ascertain the probabilities, and thought that he could see a breaking of the black clouds which held this man a prisoner. He wanted to preach to him. He wanted exceedingly to launch out again on the Good Will doctrine; and at length he did, but not exactly in the manner he would have chosen, had he been left to himself.
As they walked along in silence, suddenly came and met them the sound of a quick clanging church bell; then rose a mighty cry, and a still more potent flame ascending heavenward.
"It's a fire!" cried Summerman. And, true to his living impulse and instinct, which was forever—first and last, and ever—the good of the public, the little man set off on a run. His companion, the gentleman who had never, in his thirty years, run to a fire, with generous intent, followed on as fleetly. So they came together to the village street, when, lo! the shop of Daniel Summerman, was making all this stir! drawing such crowds about it as never before the artist's varied powers had done.
There was neither door nor roof, wall or window, visible, but a pit of flame, and within, as everybody knew, the entire stock, sum total of the organist's worldly goods.
"Well! well!" said he, as, panting, he came to a stand-still in the middle of the street, his companion close beside him.
"Curse God, and die!" was all that the wife of Job could think to say to him, in his extremity.
"Well! well!" was the comment Redman Rush could make on this disaster, repeating Summerman's words with an emphasis not all his own. It was evident that, for a moment at least, he had forgotten himself; his face was no longer dark with misery, but full of consternation, alive with sympathy. And still he said:
"Where's your Good Will doctrine, though?"
"Safe!" cried the organist, and he crossed his arms on his breast with a look of perfect triumph.
"You eat your words with a vengeance. You preach the best sermon I ever heard, I swear," said Mr. Rush, looking at him with amazement.
"Humph!" ejaculated Summerman.
"I believe, after all, 'twas my cursed picture that did it," continued Rush. He was not able to stand there in silence listening to the roaring of the fire, by the side of the man whose property was being destroyed in this relentless manner. He must talk; and no one hindered him, for the most of the working force of the village was busy trying to draw water from the frozen pumps of the neighborhood.
"I might have known such a face would raise the devil," muttered he.
"Then, they are both done for!" was Summerman's quick answer. "If you are burnt to death, it's clear you can't be drowned. So, it seems you're a new man altogether. Sir, your wife calls you! But, before you go, pray, take the Good Will doctrine in. A present from me, if you please."
Having said these words, the organist wiped his eyes, and laughed.
"If this is a dream," said Redman Rush, astonished into doubt of all he saw and heard, "let me get home before I wake up, for God's sake." And he turned away from the organist, and was hid in the crowd from the eyes that followed him.
He turned away, but would he ever lose the memory of a soft voice, saying:
"Mr. Summerman, my boys and I insist on your coming to spend the holidays with us."
Or, of a grey-haired gentleman's aspect, who came hurrying through the crowd till he stood face to face with the little organist, whose hands he grasped as he said:
"Never mind, lad; never mind. You'll be a richer man before night than you ever were before. Here is a year's salary in advance, from the church, sir. You understand. And we all want our daguerreotypes; so order an instrument."
Or, of an agitated voice, that followed him like the voice of a spirit, mysterious and persuasive:
"Oh, believe in the Good Will Doctrine!"
BY JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.
Not always unimpeded can I pray, Nor, pitying saint, thine intercession claim: Too closely clings the burden of the day, And all the mint and anise that I pay But swells my debt and deepens my self-blame.
Shall I less patience have than Thou, who know That Thou revisit'st all who wait for Thee, Nor only fill'st the unsounded depths below But dost refresh with measured overflow The rifts where unregarded mosses be?
The drooping sea-weed hears, in night abyssed, Far and more far the waves' receding shocks, Nor doubts, through all the darkness and the mist That the pale shepherdess will keep her tryst, And shoreward lead once more her foam-fleeced flocks.
For the same wave that laps the Carib shore With momentary curves of pearl and gold, Goes hurrying thence to gladden with its roar The lorn shells camped on rocks of Labrador, By love divine on that glad errand rolled.
And, though Thy healing waters far withdraw, I, too, can wait and feed on hopes of Thee, And of the dear recurrence of thy Law, Sure that the parting grace which morning saw, Abides its time to come in search of me.
BY EVERT A. DUYCKINCK.
"Hope, by the ancients, was drawn in the form of a sweet and beautiful child, standing upon tiptoes, and a trefoil or three-leaved grass in her hand."
Citation from old Peacham in Dr. Johnson's Dictionary.
Three names, clustered together in more than one marked association, have a pleasant fragrance in English literature. A triple-leaved clover in a field thickly studded with floral beauties, the modest merits of HERBERT, VAUGHAN and CRASHAW
"Smell sweet and blossom in the dust"—
endeared to us not merely by the claim of intellect, but by the warmer appeal to the heart, of kindred sympathy and suffering. True poets, they have placed in their spiritual alembic the common woes and sorrows of life, and extracted from them "by force of their so potent art," a cordial for the race.
Has it ever occurred to the reader to reflect how much the world owes to the poets in the alleviation of sorrow? It is much to hear the simple voice of sympathy in its plainest utterances from the companions around us; it is something to listen to the same burden from the good of former generations, as the universal experience of humanity; but we owe the greatest debt to those who by the graces of intellect and the pains of a profounder passion, have triumphed over affliction, and given eloquence to sorrow.
There is a common phrase, which some poet must first have invented—"the luxury of woe." Poets certainly have found their most constant themes in suffering. When the late Edgar Poe, who prided himself on reducing literature to an art, sat down to write a poem which should attain the height of popularity, he said sorrow must be its theme, and wrote "The Raven." Tragedy will always have a deeper hold upon the public than comedy; it appeals to deeper principles, stirs more powerful emotions, imparts an assured sense of strength, is more intimate with our nature, or certainly it would not be tolerated. There is no delight in the exhibition of misery as such, it is only painful and repulsive; we discard all vulgar horrors utterly, and keep no place for them in the mind. Let, however, a poet touch the string, and there is another response when he brings before us pictures of regal grief, and gives grandeur to humiliation and penalty. Nor is it only in the higher walks of tragedy, with its pomp and circumstances of action, that the poet here serves us. His humbler minstrelsy has soothed many an English heart from the tale of "Lycidas" to the elegiac verse of Tennyson. George Herbert still speaks to this generation as two centuries ago he spoke to his own. His quaint verses gather new beauties from time as they come to us redolent with the prayers and aspirations of many successions of the wives, mothers and daughters of England and America; bedewed with the tears of orphans and parents; an incitement to youth, a solace to age, a consolation for humanity to all time.
These have been costly gifts to our benefactors. "I honor," says Vaughan, "that temper which can lay by the garland when he might keep it on; which can pass by a rosebud and bid it grow when he is invited to crop it." This is the spirit of self-devotion in every worthy action, and especially of the pains and penalties by which poets have enriched our daily life. We are indebted to the poets, too, for something more than the alleviation of sorrow. Perhaps it is, upon the whole, a rarer gift to improve prosperity. Joy, commonly, is less of a positive feeling than grief, and is more apt to slip by us unconsciously. Few people, says the proverb, know when they are well off. It is the poet's vocation to teach the world this—