Copyright, 1885, by J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY.
THE LADY LAWYER'S FIRST CLIENT.
What with Mrs. Stiles's ankle and the law's delays, the case was not tried until September. But at the September term Stiles vs. The Railway Company was reached, and stood at the head of the list.
On the morning of the fated day Mrs. Tarbell could have proceeded to the court-room in state, for not only did the entire Stiles family present itself at her office three-quarters of an hour before the time, but Mr. Mecutchen, the tobacconist, also dropped in, with an air of always being early at trials.
"I couldn't keep ma at home, Mrs. Tarbell," said Miss Stiles briefly, but with some little shame. "She would come. She thought it would take an hour and a half to get here from Pulaski Street; didn't you, ma?"
Mrs. Stiles gave an agitated groan and looked about helplessly for a chair. She was walking with a cane, and had on a miraculous black silk, the seams of which were like the ridges of a ploughed field. Miss Georgiana Stiles, the younger daughter, was almost invisible under a straw hat with feathers waving from its pinnacled crown. Miss Celandine, by no means a bad-looking young lady, wore her best black jersey, buttoned at the throat, over her cambric body, her best pique skirt, trimmed with torchon lace, her white silk mitts, and her blue-and-white bonnet. After settling Mrs. Stiles in a corner with Georgiana, Tecumseh Sherman, and Augustus, Celandine and Mr. Mecutchen disappeared, to go and stand on the door-step. Mrs. Tarbell guessed where they were going, and would have liked to hint that the door-step was not a dignified place for her client, but, if the truth must be told, she was afraid to do so. For Miss Stiles had by this time utterly and completely subjugated her, and Mrs. Tarbell hardly knew which of them was the attorney of record in Stiles vs. The Railway Company. There can be no doubt that Miss Celandine was an admirable young lady. She was paying the expenses of the case out of her own savings,—savings which had been the secret result of secret labors with the pen and type-writer. As soon as the accident happened she quitted the High School, put aside her books, and divided her time between nursing her mother and keeping the books of a successful but illiterate milliner, who offered her a place; and she gave so many other evidences of good sense and determination that Mrs. Tarbell felt it would be hopeless to try to resist her. Her decision did not seem to have altered in the least, nor was she at all discouraged by Mrs. Tarbell's warnings; and Mrs. Tarbell found that in every conversation which took place on the subject Mrs. Tarbell began as a philosopher and ended as a disputant. All that could be done was to give Miss Stiles her own way and try to improve her taste in dress if possible. It was practically understood between them, though Mrs. Tarbell had as yet refused to commit herself, that as soon as the trial was over and the damages had been pocketed, Miss Celandine should be duly installed, enrolled, and accredited as a student in the office of Juddson and Tarbell. In the mean time, Augustus had been made an office-boy through Mr. Juddson's interest.
The Stileses having been sent on before, Mrs. Tarbell, attended by the office-boy bearing a bag full of books and papers, slipped quietly over to court, whither Mr. Juddson said he would follow her in a few moments. The room was crowded. Judge Measy had not yet appeared.
Mrs. Tarbell looked about her. It was the first day of the autumn term, and, for one reason or another, the bar was very fully represented. There was ex-Judge Dingley, with his frills and his snuff-box; Mr. Moddison, with his shaggy eyebrows and square jaw; Mr. Brileson, almost as long and thin as his nose; Mr. Eakins, looking as much like Oily Gammon as ever; and, besides the leaders of the bar, any number of the rank and file, especially of the junior members of the profession; and with some of these young gentlemen's elder brothers Mrs. Tarbell had danced, once on a time. There was a stir as Mrs. Tarbell came in; the lawyers made way for her, and the jurors, witnesses, and spectators craned their necks to get a look at her. Among the spectators, of course, were Mrs. Pegley and the Pegleyites. Mrs. Tarbell knew that they were there, but did not look at them. Mr. Pope rose magnificent and shook hands with her; several persons shook hands with her. Mrs. Tarbell felt that she was going to acquit herself commendably. She had gone over the case three or four times with Alexander, she had rehearsed her speech until she knew it by heart, she had joked about the case with her friends (not her Pegley friends) at Cape May until she was no longer afraid of it, if she ever had been, and she was quite able to feel that Pope was insignificant. She had at first been filled with an apprehension that he would become very intimate with her on the strength of their mutual antagonism; but when several days passed by, and he had done nothing more than bow courteously, she reflected that, after all, it was not a very uncommon occurrence for him to have a jury case; and when he privately came and offered to compromise she wondered what there had ever been to frighten her in the man. She refused the compromise, of course: if her case had been only half as strong she would have refused it.
Rap! rap! Silence, please. His honor appeared, wiping his learned brow, for it was an oppressively hot day, and the clerk proclaimed that all persons might draw near and be heard by the honorable court. The jurors answered to their names. Mr. Juddson, seated by his sister's elbow, pushed the jury-list towards her, with a slight nod of encouragement. Mrs. Tarbell did not need encouragement: she knew the names of the objectionable jurors by heart, and she was quite ready.
The court-room settled down into a hush of subdued expectation, and Stiles vs. The Railway Company was called. Mr. Pope and Mrs. Tarbell rose, bowed to each other and to the court: they were ready to go on.
Mr. Pope drew first blood. Eight jurors were already in the box, and the clerk called out, "John Ewing." John Ewing took his seat; there was no cross against his name, and Mrs. Tarbell had no challenge to make, when, before another name could be called, he leaned forward and called out, in an easy voice, "Mrs. Tarbell, ef I have to swear in this case I mout as well tell you that I used to work for the railway company."
"Ah!" said Mrs. Tarbell calmly, after a moment's hesitation. "Take your seat, Mr. Ewing. I have entire confidence in your impartiality." She waved her hand as if to include the whole of the jury, so far as completed,—nay, the whole of the panel,—in the compliment, and the jurors appeared to be suitably impressed.
But Mr. Pope rose. "Wait one minute, Mr. Ewing," he said, in a voice which breathed rugged honesty and uncompromising determination. "I shall have to ask you to withdraw." He shook his head sternly. "I cannot, whatever may be the generous toleration of my learned opponent, I cannot knowingly allow anybody who has any connection with my client to go on the jury."
"That makes four challenges for him," whispered Mr. Juddson. Mrs. Tarbell shook her head impatiently, and as Mr. Ewing left the box he smiled a faint yet unmistakable smile at somebody in the crowd, and Mrs. Tarbell became instantly convinced that the whole affair, even to the drawing of Mr. Ewing's name by the court clerk, was a neatly-arranged plot of Mr. Pope's, and, in her resentment, she challenged the next juror out of hand, though he had an eye so humid and sympathetic that he looked good for not only sentimental damages, but punitive damages of the most revengeful description.
But she opened her case admirably. There was a slight hum as she rose; her attitude was dignified, and she might have been called handsome. Though every one else was stifling with the heat, she looked cool and self-possessed, and her first sentences won her the respect of the bar; for she made the matter-of-course explanation in a fairly novel manner.
"Gentlemen of the jury," said she, "you know without my telling you that when my client, the plaintiff, Mrs. Stiles, comes here and says that she has suffered at the hands of the railway company damages to the amount of ten thousand dollars, she is not exaggerating her sufferings for the sake of enlisting your sympathy. It is not that she comes to you with feminine weakness, displaying her injuries, and, with feminine resentment, overstating them and their effects, to rouse your pity. You know, and I only remind you of it, that the rule of law forbids you to give her more than she asks for: so I, on her behalf, take care that she shall not ask for less than you might give her."
This was very well, and the jury probably understood as much.
Mrs. Tarbell paused a moment, and then proceeded in an impressive voice: "But Mrs. Stiles's injuries, gentlemen, are not slight; she does not ask you for a mere nominal sum in compensation of them, nor, in view of the facts, will any sum that you do give her seem excessive. I shall show you, gentlemen, that Mrs. Stiles, a widow, left almost penniless by her husband, who has by her own efforts brought up and educated four children, two of whom are still entirely dependent upon her, was, on the ninth day of April last, through the negligence of the defendant, injured in such a way as to give her seven weeks of the most painful suffering and to render her unable for the rest of her life to do the work upon which she has hitherto mainly depended for the support of herself and her family. I shall show you that Mrs. Stiles attempted to get on one of the defendant's cars; that while she was so doing the car was started and she thrown off; that she sustained a sprain of the right ankle and a fracture of the fibula; that the accident has resulted in laming her for life and incapacitating her for the use of a sewing-machine; and that it was by her sewing-machine that she supported herself. Mrs. Stiles will now tell you her own story."
With this Mrs. Tarbell sat down. She had not the keen penetration which years of practice give to a finished advocate, but she had feminine instinct, which served her in quite as good stead; and, short as was the time she had been addressing that jury, she felt that she could answer for it as certainly as fifteen years before she could have answered for one of her admirers. If Mr. Juddson had only been another woman she could have told him this, but a glance would have been wasted on him: so she kept her triumph to herself. She looked at the bullet-headed young juror, at the benignant old juror, at the fat-faced and dropsical juror, at the preternaturally-solemn negro juror, at the lantern-jawed foreman with the black moustache; she was on a perfectly good understanding with them, and knew what to say to each one of them. She felt that she could have afforded to be a little less brief. However, Mrs. Stiles would not— By the way, where was Mrs. Stiles?
"Mrs. Stiles!" cried Mrs. Tarbell, half rising. "Mrs. Stiles, will you please take the stand?"
Mrs. Stiles rose from her seat against the railing, and, after confiding her second daughter to the care of Miss Celandine,—a ceremony which was performed by her with evident anxiety,—hobbled to the witness-stand on the arm of Mr. Mecutchen, who had been sitting beside her.
Mrs. Stiles on the witness-stand was a very different person, apparently, from Mrs. Stiles in an every-day situation. It may have been the effect of the crowd or the effect on her system of her long and painful illness, but she was agitated and nervous to the last degree. She looked steadily at Mrs. Tarbell, except when, every now and then, she looked uneasily about the room, and she gave her answers in so low a voice that the judge two or three times asked her to repeat them. But otherwise all went well enough. Mrs. Stiles knew who she was, where she lived, and what she had been doing on the day of the accident. When the critical moment came, Mrs. Tarbell caught her breath, but Mrs. Stiles avoided the difficulty in safety.
"I held up my umbereller for that there car to stop," she said; "and it stopped. And I went to git on; and then the first thing I knew I was falling."
This was highly satisfactory. For the rest, Mrs. Stiles described the manner in which the doctors had vainly endeavored to cure her injured ankle, told how she had passed sleepless night after night in spite of the morphia and sweet spirits of nitre, how she had been confined to her bed for three weeks and had only got up to be moved to a chair, how she suffered tortures and lost her appetite, how it was months before she could walk without crutches, and how every step she took gave her the most excruciating agony, and so forth, and so forth. She also, at Mrs. Tarbell's request, gave to the jury several interesting details concerning, first, her sewing-machine; second, the income she had been used to make by it; third, the effect of the accident upon her power to propel the aforesaid engine.
(Bill shown to witness.)
"This is my doctor—Dr. Laycock's bill: it is not paid yet."
(Offered in evidence. Another bill shown to witness.)
"This is the apothecary's bill. It has not been paid."
(Offered in evidence.)
"Cross-examine," said Mrs. Tarbell; and Mrs. Stiles slowly turned and began to hobble away from the witness-stand.
"Mrs. Stiles!" cried Mrs. Tarbell; and Mrs. Stiles turned round aghast.
"Come back, my dear madam," said the Honorable Pope blandly. "We are not quite through with you yet,—not for a moment or two."
Mrs. Stiles looked more overcome than ever. "My goodness! I forgot," she stammered, and clutched desperately at the front of the witness-box.
Mr. Pope ran his hand through his flowing locks and smiled at her reassuringly. After asking her one or two sympathetic questions about her ankle,—she was quite sure she had obeyed all the doctor's orders? she was certain she had not begun to walk too soon, or injured herself by any carelessness of her own?—he suddenly opened upon her.
"Now, madam," he said, "is it not a fact that that car was in motion when you tried to get on it?"
"I—I—how do you mean, sir?" faltered Mrs. Stiles.
"Was not that car moving when you got on it?"
"Yes, madam! Moving!"
"Why, ye—yes," said Mrs. Stiles. "So far's I remember, it was."
"Ah, I thought so," said Mr. Pope, with a peculiar intonation; and after that he proceeded with great suavity to cross-examine her into a state of utter bewilderment. As to what had happened after the accident she contradicted herself six or seven times over, eagerly accepting any suggestion which he held out to her; and Mr. Pope glanced triumphantly at the jury,—neglecting, however, to remind them that Mrs. Stiles had fainted as soon as her ankle was fractured, and that she was now only expressing an opinion that his suggestions were probably correct.
Miss Stiles and Mr. Mecutchen plainly betrayed their agitation, but Mrs. Tarbell preserved her equanimity. When Mr. Pope had finished his cross-examination, she addressed her client again. Mrs. Stiles, pale, agitated, trembling with fright, was leaning against her railing, almost bending double over it; but at the sound of her lawyer's voice she appeared to take courage.
"You said just now, Mrs. Stiles," said Mrs. Tarbell, "that the car was in motion while you were getting on—"
"I beg your pardon," said the Honorable Pope, interrupting her.
"I think it is so," said Mrs. Tarbell, turning upon him with a very haughty air. "I don't think Mrs. Stiles ever said that she tried to get on while the car was in motion. Pray look at your notes, Mr. Pope."
"You are right," said Mr. Pope, sinking back into his chair. "I remember now. It is quite the same thing," he continued, waving his hand carelessly. "It makes no difference whatever."
"If you think so," said Mrs. Tarbell loftily; and she reiterated her question to Mrs. Stiles.
Mrs. Stiles fumbled with the lilac-silk tie about her neck, and said,—Mrs. Tarbell hung upon her words,—"That car—"
"That car had stopped before I went to git on,—I know that. And I went to git on; and after that I don't remember."
And when Mrs. Stiles finally hobbled back to her seat, a more woe-begone and wretched-looking object it would have been hard to find anywhere.
"Why, ma, what's the matter with you?" cried Miss Celandine, as Mr. Mecutchen went to take the stand. "Don't you see it's all right?"
Mrs. Stiles shook her head and rubbed her damp brow with her handkerchief. "I don't feel no certainty about it, Celandine," she said. "I wisht Mrs. Tarbell had let me accep' that compr'mise."
"Mamma!" cried Miss Celandine, in warning tones.
"Well—I think I would have been better satisfied. Because—because mebbe I was the one to blame, you know."
"Ssh, ma! After you have come into court! It's ridiculous! Plenty of people saw you. Listen to Mr. Mecutchen, if you want to know what happened to you."
"I wisht," said Mrs. Stiles, "I wisht Mrs. Tarbell would say something to the jury about how the railroad offered to compromise. That would show 'em 'twas true about my accident."
"Mamma! Be careful! If they hear you talking about that compromise they'll stop the trial right here and turn us right out of court."
"Well, but they did, Celandine: they offered me six hu—"
"Ma, will you hush?" said Celandine; and when her daughter spoke in that tone of voice, Mrs. Stiles knew that she must obey. She relapsed into silence again, helpless and despairing.
Mecutchen testified, Vickers testified, Parthenheimer testified,—Stethson had gone to Baton Rouge, according to Mecutchen,—and all were as strong as could be. Dr. Laycock identified his bill, swore that his treatment of Mrs. Stiles was in accordance with the most recent discoveries in medical science, that Mrs. Stiles had suffered unheard-of agonies, and that she had obeyed all his directions to the letter.
Miss Celandine also swore to her mother's agonies, and described the condition to which the household had been brought by Mrs. Stiles's accident.
Then Mrs. Tarbell bowed to the judge, and said, "That is my case, your honor."
"And a very good case, too," she thought, as she sat down.
Pope's cross-examination had effected nothing, and the judge was against him. Alexander, with his thumbs in his waistcoat, looked entirely satisfied; Judge Measy, fanning himself and gasping under the heat, appeared to be anxious for Mr. Pope to get through his flimsy defence as quickly as possible.
Mr. Pope rose, flung back his hair, paused a moment, and then began. He thanked his learned opponent for kindly putting the jury on the track of a suggestion which he himself might have been delicate about making to them. He would have been unwilling to dwell upon the—hem—peculiar status of his opponent; but she herself had seen fit to take it for granted that he intended to advance a certain class of arguments, and he consequently considered it only fair to her to do so. He should not, however, call them arguments: they were rather considerations which would serve to explain the arguments which Mrs. Tarbell herself had used. "My learned opponent," said Mr. Pope, "told you that you mustn't think of her client as a woman who comes here and asks for your sympathy; you mustn't, she says, suppose that there is any feminine weakness or resentment about Mrs. Stiles, nor, for a stronger reason,—such is the unexpressed conclusion,—is there any feminine weakness about Mrs. Stiles's eloquent counsel. Well, gentlemen, if Mrs. Stiles is not a woman, what is she? Is she a white elephant? Is she a female suffragist? which, I have heard, is neither man nor woman." (Immense laughter in court, indignation in the cheeks of Mrs. Tarbell, a lofty and contemptuous frown on the forehead of Mrs. Pegley.) "Gentlemen, with the greatest possible respect for Mrs. Stiles, whose painful sufferings I greatly deplore, and to whom I wish to tender my entire sympathies; with, too, the greatest respect for my friend Mrs. Tarbell, in admiration for whose talents and determination I yield to nobody, I feel it my duty to say to you that this accident having happened through the negligence, excusable perhaps, but still the negligence,—carelessness, haste, if you will,—of Mrs. Stiles,—and that this was the case I shall show you in a moment,—Mrs. Stiles and her counsel, neither of them being for a single instant anything but a woman, took the—what shall I say?—the romantic view of the matter immediately. Romance, gentlemen, breathes its tender and refining influence about the domestic fireside, chastens and sanctifies the atmosphere of home, leads us, we all know, gentlemen, to holier and purer views of life, and nerves us for the bitter struggle of the world. But romance outside of the home-circle cuts but a sorry figure; it is very dangerous for it to stray out of doors into the rough arena of life,—into the street, gentlemen,—where there are street-cars. We must look at the evils of life from the strictly legal point of view when they come into court, gentlemen; and when his honor shall have laid down to you the doctrine of contributory negligence, the bearings of which on this case you have already thought of, I don't doubt,—when you come to apply that rule to this case, you will make short work, I am afraid, of romance."
Mr. Pope then proceeded to say that the case was in a nutshell. The plaintiff had called a car; the driver of the car had pulled up his horses; it was a wet day, the wheels would not stop quickly, and Mrs. Stiles was in a hurry to get on; she tried to board the car while it was in motion, and was thrown off. Was there any law to make a railway company responsible for such accidents as this? or any railway company that would not go out of business immediately if it were to be held so responsible?
Then Mr. Pope called his witnesses. He was a very short time examining them; he bit his lips when he heard their answers. Mrs. Tarbell's cross-examination was also short. Alexander whispered to her to cut it short,—that the testimony was almost an admission of her case by itself. But to Mrs. Stiles all these things were terribly significant of victory for Mr. Pope; and the very fact that Mrs. Tarbell offered no rebutting testimony was somehow twisted into another evidence of approaching disaster by her poor stupid old mind. She hardly heard a word of Mrs. Tarbell's speech to the jury. She was looking forward in agony to what Mr. Pope would say. For she knew he was right. She knew that Mrs. Tarbell had been carried away by her sympathies; she was sure of it. Oh, why had she not gone to a gentleman lawyer? He would have advised her not to bring suit; at least he would have allowed her to accept that compromise. She was all alone. Celandine and Mr. Mecutchen had gone away somewhere,—gone to get some ice-cream: they would be back. Should she go and fling herself at Mr. Pope's feet and confess everything?
When Mrs. Tarbell sat down there was a hum of applause, and the judge stopped waving his fan for a moment to give Mrs. Tarbell a scarcely-perceptible nod of approval.
"If I know anything, it'll be a two-thousand-dollar werdick," mumbled one of the tipstaves.
Then Mr. Pope got on his legs. He passed his hand over his face, and there was a countenance for you!—luminous, inspired, magical; a face one moment like to a running brook for poetry and liquid sentiment, the lines and wrinkles on it shifting about and rippling sweetly down into his chin, where they cascaded off, so to speak; the next moment like a mighty and rugged rock, a stronghold of security and protection, on which he presently smote, Moses-like, and the brook of which I spoke gushed out again.
"You know already, gentlemen," said he, "my view of this case. I think that by this time it must be yours also."
Mrs. Stiles moaned. Then Mr. Pope proved to the jury that it was utter nonsense for Mrs. Stiles's witnesses to pretend that they had seen the accident, because the ordinary pedestrian looks at his nose when he is walking, and not at the car-track. The jury smiled, the room grew hotter and hotter, and the judge whiter and whiter.
"Mr. Mecutchen?" cried Mr. Pope. "Mr. Mecutchen never laid eyes on Mrs. Stiles until he saw her lying in the middle of the street. I don't say he is intentionally prevaricating. Of course he thinks he saw all that he says he did. I grew up in the firm conviction that I had known Judas Iscariot. I was ten years old before I could be persuaded that it was only a sweet delusion,—a dazzling dream of childhood, too bright to last."
The jury roared.
Then Mr. Pope talked of his own witnesses, and the virtues with which he didn't invest those remarkable beings may exist in heaven, but are certainly not to be found on earth, nor even in any of the intermediate planetary paradises known to the Spiritualists.
And then—then he descended on Mrs. Stiles herself.
"What," he cried, suddenly, turning with an outburst of indignant impatience from the petty arguments into which his love for the exhibition of the whole truth in all its details had led him, "what are you told by the most respectable and conscientious witness who has appeared here to-day? What is the testimony of the one person who ought to know everything about this case? What does Mrs. Stiles say? Nothing. She says nothing. She doesn't know what happened. If this were a strong case, she would describe to you with minute particularity the manner in which she put her hand upon the rail of the car, stepped on, was jolted, tried to save herself, was thrown off. But not a word of this have you heard from her. All that she remembers, as she confesses, is that the car was in motion when she got on it."
Oh, where was Celandine? Had she gone out only to get ice-cream, or because Georgiana was so hot that she couldn't stand it any longer? Mrs. Stiles could not remember. Maybe it was Mr. Mecutchen that had spoken of the ice-cream, and Celandine was going to put Georgiana in the cars and send her home. It would have been better to send Augustus home with her. And where were Augustus and Tecumseh Sherman?
Mrs. Stiles looked about the room. She saw no friendly faces, nobody to encourage her, nobody whom she could apply to in her distress. How hot it was! Could she not go over to the window and get a breath of air? The room was very crowded. Mrs. Stiles hesitated, half rose, hesitated again, and then got up and limped outside of the railings. People made way for her, and when she reached the window a dark-faced man gave her a place, and she went through a sort of parody of putting her head out into the air.
The dark man looked at her thoughtfully. "Shan't I get you a glass of water?" said he. Mrs. Stiles accepted his kindness with immense gratitude. The dark man went and brought the water, and watched her with a pair of very keen eyes while she was drinking it.
"Mr. Pope is making a good speech," he said presently.
Mrs. Stiles groaned. "Do you think he'll win?" she asked.
"Win?" said the dark man, with a pleasant smile. "Well, I should think so. Just listen to him."
"But I'm not saying anything to Mrs. Tarbell's discredit," said the Honorable Pope. "Not a bit of it. Not a bit of it. Her feelings do her infinite honor. In her appearance on our wordy and contentious stage I see the commencement of a new era of things. Let her be guided by her feelings. Let her still preserve that beautiful sympathy which is one of the chiefest ornaments of the female sex. It will bring to her a thousand cases of injustice and oppression which we hardened lawyers of the other sex have lost—if we ever had it—the instinct to detect. It will lead her and her sisters to find justice and consolation for innumerable victims of wrong-doing, whose hopes of obtaining redress might have seemed poor and empty to us less inspired practitioners. No one, no man, however jealous and crabbed in temper, will be sorry to see the law vivified by a spark of that genius, that inexplicable instinct by which women know what is right and make right to be done, where men fail and fail again." Here Mr. Pope paused, and his features were those of an angel. Then his expression changed to one of the most remarkable sagacity and wariness. "But no one, gentlemen, will fail to recognize the danger, easily avoided, which accompanies the lubricating, so to speak, of our legal machinery by this sometimes superabundant sympathy. Even genius errs, even instinct may be mistaken. Take the present case. My learned opponent would be acting strictly within her duty by bringing this case before you to ask for your decision. A man would do that. A casehardened lawyer like myself would do that. But a man would take it for granted his client was wrong, if he were beaten. Perhaps my learned opponent will do the same thing. But if she does I shall be mistaken. In all her subsequent career, which will be marked by more generosity, charity, and enthusiasm than can now be boasted of by any man at the bar, she never will believe that the verdict which I am asking you to give was just to Mrs. Stiles. But she will be wrong. Right in a hundred other cases, perhaps,—let that stand for the proportion, if you will,—but wrong in this. And nothing but her misapplied sympathy and tenderness of heart could have lent her the vigor and earnestness which she has displayed to-day.
"Now, gentlemen, one thing more."
"That'll fetch 'em," said the dark man decidedly.
"Oh," moaned Mrs. Stiles, half aloud, "why didn't Mrs. Tarbell let me accept that there compromise?"
"Compromise?" said the dark man quickly. "Why, are you Mrs. Stiles?"
"Yes," said Mrs. Stiles, drawing back in great alarm.
"And you say you were offered a compromise by the railway company which your lawyer didn't let you accept?" said the dark man, in lower tones.
"Why, yes," said Mrs. Stiles hesitatingly.
The dark man struck his hand against the window-seat. "Well, upon my word!" said he.
"Do you think I ought to have took it?" said poor Mrs. Stiles, in a stifled voice.
The dark man eyed her pityingly. "You've lost your chance now," said he.
There was a sudden cry, a great bustle in the court-room, a rush toward the judge's bench. Mr. Pope stopped short in his speech, looked up, and hastened to follow the court clerk, who had sprung over the desk, though Mr. Pope went round by the side-bar. The judge had swooned in his chair, falling forward upon his desk. The heat had at last got the upper hand of him, after a severe fight of two or three hours. Jurymen, witnesses, spectators, all stood aghast. The judge was brought to and assisted to his room, and the court clerk, presently returning to the disturbed and excited forum, announced that, his honor being unwell, all parties would be dismissed until to-morrow morning at ten o'clock,—and there was a general rush for the door.
So it happened that when Miss Stiles and Mr. Mecutchen came back to the court-room they found it closed, and neither Mrs. Stiles nor Mrs. Tarbell anywhere to be seen.
The next morning, at ten o'clock, Mrs. Tarbell was wondering what had become of the Stileses. She had missed Mrs. Stiles the day before, after the sudden adjournment of the court, but she had been detained by Pegley and friends, and thought it not unnatural that her client should have decided not to wait for her. She was rather glad the accident had happened,—that is, she was not sorry on her own account,—for the delay had given her time to prepare one or two witticisms in answer to Mr. Pope. She greeted Mr. Pope with a pleasant smile as he came into court, but Mr. Pope seemed rather surprised to find her in such a serene frame of mind.
"I assure you, my dear madam," said he, coming up to her instantly, and speaking in his most earnest tones, "I assure you that I had nothing to do with it whatever. I had no idea that anything of the sort was going on; I knew absolutely nothing of it until they sent word to me from the railway-office in the afternoon, and I really most sincerely regret that I am forced to take advantage of my client's—and your client's—improper action."
"What—what do you mean?" said Mrs. Tarbell, very much perplexed.
"What? Haven't you heard?" cried Mr. Pope.
"Heard? What should I hear?"
From the depths of his green bag Mr. Pope extracted a stiff pasteboard envelope, bursting with papers and confined by an india-rubber band. From this envelope he drew out a folded document, which he handed to Mrs. Tarbell; and when Mrs. Tarbell clapped eyes on the document's contents her face wore an expression before which Pope ought to have blushed for shame. The document was a release, given by Mrs. Stiles to the railway company,—a printed form, with blanks to be filled in as the individual case should demand; a devilish engine of cozen and covin, constructed in cold blood by the railway company, and supplied to them (as a small line of print at the bottom of the paper showed) by Detweiler, the Blank-Book Mfr., Irving Ave. and Prime St. Mrs. Stiles had sold herself. For one hundred and twenty-five dollars she had released to the railway company all the claims she might have, or could have, upon it at any time, past, present, or future, on account of her accident. There was Mrs. Stiles's hand, there was her seal; the date was yesterday. Mrs. Tarbell read the release, and then looked at Mr. Pope. But he did not blench.
"I regret this extremely, Mrs. Tarbell," he said. "It places me in a very unenviable position. It was done," he continued, with a brazen front, "it was done without my knowledge. My advice was not asked: the company acted on their own responsibility and of their own motion. It is, at best, a poor compliment to me as an officer of the road."
"Pray, how did Mrs. Stiles happen to go to the company's office?" asked Mrs. Tarbell.
"I have not had a very clear account of it myself," said Mr. Pope, clearing his throat and putting one foot up on a chair in front of him. "It seems, however, that Mrs. Stiles was—hem—very much frightened by my speech, and in some way got into conversation with an agent of the company, a sort of bailiff to the corporation, in fact,—a man who serves their subpoenas, and looks up their witnesses, and so on, in addition to other work. This man is a sharp fellow, and, finding out which way the cat was jumping, he decided, I suppose, that he would try to make it jump as far as possible. Mrs. Stiles herself spoke of the compromise, and said she regretted she had not signed it. That was enough for my man; and when Judge Measy fainted he suggested to her to take advantage of the delay by going round to the railway company's office with him, where, he said, of course, he would see what he could do for her, as he had friends in the office. At the company's office he represented that he was acting under orders from me, the fact of the matter being that the rogue knew that the case was going against us, and Mrs. Stiles was virtually allowed to name her own sum. She took it, and signed the release. The ingenious bailiff is in disgrace, but the company think they have a good thing in the release, and I, as their servant, can't refuse to obey them. You understand that, of course, my dear madam. But I must repeat that I'm sorry, and sorry for my own sake, that this has happened, for I should be very unwilling to have anything occur to interrupt or cloud the very pleasant professional relations in which I have had the good fortune to find myself standing toward you. But clients are queer cattle, as you'll soon discover. I can assure you I have been treated much worse in my day."
Mrs. Tarbell tapped the slender paper against her open palm. Her lips were compressed. Mr. Pope gazed at her with a queer look in his eyes. The court-room was beginning to fill up; the jurymen were taking their places in the box; the public interest in Stiles vs. The Railway Company had not in the least diminished.
"Your bailiff seems to be a person of extraordinary acuteness," said Mrs. Tarbell, at length.
"He used to be a sheriff's officer," said Mr. Pope blandly. "If you like," he continued, "if you choose to attack this release on the ground of fraud, I won't say a word. I think you're entitled to try it. Possibly you might prove that the company took an unfair advantage of your client, that misrepresentations were made to her. Still, I am free to say that she seems to have signed it with her eyes open."
Mrs. Tarbell, her lips still compressed, raised her head and looked about the room. As she did so she caught sight of Celandine standing by the railing. Miss Stiles's face was anxious and downcast: she gave Mrs. Tarbell an appealing glance.
"Excuse me one moment," said Mrs. Tarbell. She walked over to Miss Celandine with a rapid step. "Did your mother know what she was doing when she signed this?" said Mrs. Tarbell.
"Mrs. Tarbell," cried Miss Stiles, "I don't know what I can say to you. I don't know how I'm ever going to beg your pardon. Ma she's in a dreadful state; and I'm sure she ought to be, the way I've been talking to her. She didn't dare to come here this morning; she was ashamed to have you see her. And, if anything, I'm more ashamed than she, for I really feel it more. I wonder you have the patience to listen to me."
Here Mrs. Tarbell interrupted. "Never mind that," she said. "Did Mrs. Stiles do this of her own free will, or was she tricked into it?"
"That's the worst of it, Mrs. Tarbell, that's the worst of it. I can't get her to say anything but that it was her own fault. To every question I ask her, she says, 'No; it was my own fault. I just went and did it.' I cannot understand it. Is there no way out of it? It's really, if you don't mind my saying so, it's on your account I ask. I haven't slept a wink all night. Ma was taken remorseful before she'd got two steps with the money. And, do you know, she was late for tea. We were in an awful state about her; she never came home to dinner. We hunted high and low for her. She went to Everett Square, and sat down on a bench there, just—just—penitent. Oh, I wish you could see her! Indeed, if it wasn't so right down dishonest it would be funny. But is there nothing to be done? Do you know how it all happened? Do you know that a man in the company's employ—I'm sure he was—got hold of ma and just twisted her round? Couldn't you show that? And I know Mr. Pope got that man to talk to her; I'm sure he did. Ma ain't fit to be trusted alone, that's the amount of it."
"But can you get your mother to say that she was imposed upon?" said Mrs. Tarbell, a faint gleam of hope asserting itself.
Celandine shook her head sadly. "After all," she said, "it ain't so much that she was imposed upon, but that she imposed upon herself. They took advantage of her, true enough, that's certain; but she let them do it. Why, Georgiana—you couldn't make her give more than five cents' worth of lemon taffy for five cents if you talked to her all day; but any three-year-old baby on Pulaski Street can persuade ma that she's giving short weight. I do feel so bad about it, Mrs. Tarbell. And ma lost three buttons off her black silk yesterday, and won't have them sewed on. You might think she was a Catholic, doing penance."
Mrs. Tarbell turned away without saying a word.
"Mrs. Tarbell! Mrs. Tarbell!" cried Celandine.
Mrs. Tarbell turned back. A few minutes later she was walking away again, leaving Celandine very red in the face and beginning to cry. Mrs. Tarbell had refused to accept the hundred and twenty-five dollars, or any part of it, in payment of her fee.
As Mrs. Tarbell was coming out of the court-room—a juryman had in the mean time told her that he hoped she had got a good round sum by her compromise: "You would have had, say, eighteen hundred from us," he said,—as Mrs. Tarbell was going down-stairs, having just told Mrs. Pegley that she—Mrs. Tarbell—did not think it necessary to communicate all her private affairs to her friends, there was Celandine waiting for her in the passage.
"Mrs. Tarbell," said Celandine hesitatingly, her eyes still red,—"Mrs. Tarbell—"
"Well?" said Mrs. Tarbell.
"About my studying law, please, ma'am. I just wanted to say that—that—"
Unpropitious moment. The storm gathered on Mrs. Tarbell's brow.
"I just wanted to tell you that I shall have to give it up, ma'am," said Celandine hurriedly. "I'm going to marry Mr. Mecutchen."
"I wish you joy," Mrs. Tarbell said, and went on down-stairs.
QUEEN ANNE OR FREE CLASSIC ARCHITECTURE.
"If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men's cottages princes' palaces."
Merchant of Venice, Act i., Scene ii.
Of all the recognized styles of domestic architecture the position of modern Queen Anne, or so-called Free Classic, is perhaps the most difficult to determine. The nomenclature will assist us but little in investigating its art-history and constructive laws,—the term Queen Anne being as much too narrow as Free Classic is too broad. If we ask the professors of architecture and the more learned practitioners of the art for information on the subject, we shall get vague and unsatisfactory replies. Many of the younger and more enthusiastic architects, and the devotees of spinning-wheels, blue India teapots, and green crown glass will, on the contrary, unhesitatingly tell us that Queen Anne, is "high art;" forgetting that art had reached its lowest ebb in England when William and Mary ascended the throne left vacant by the Stuarts.
With such diversity of sentiment and reasoning, how shall we elucidate the truth? When did Queen Anne architecture originate, who were its great masters, under what influence did it spring up, what causes led to its decline, and to what source may we trace its sudden and aggressive renaissance? To the student who looks beneath the surface of fashionable art-culture the Queen Anne and Georgian periods seem almost like a mirage, where he sees dimly reflected vistas of city streets lined with tall houses built of red brick, with tiled roofs, long and narrow sash-windows painted white, and outside shutters painted green. If he goes to the academies for information, he will be told that early Queen Anne was a feeble application of Palladian rules designed for palatial works in marble to smaller edifices built of brick, and that late Queen Anne is simply a craze that must run its course and then sink into obscurity, as did its prototype.
This lack of historical data is the more remarkable when we consider that the style now known as that of Queen Anne is but of yesterday. We can follow the gradual development of styles and systems of construction and their transitions into other and later styles, from the Egyptian, Syrian, Grecian, Roman, and Byzantine, and the wondrous science of the Middle Ages, to the wealth of Continental Renaissance, but of the style of Queen Anne we can find little more than the name. England gradually remodelled her feudal castles into the noble and picturesque manor-houses of the Tudor kings, and her architects during the reign of Elizabeth carried this somewhat fanciful, but at the same time dignified, system of construction to its utmost development. All this will be clearly and logically explained by the professors of the academies. They will further add that after the accession of the Stuarts the building art gradually declined, with only a few flashes of brilliant light in the works of Inigo Jones and Wren. The Commonwealth was prudish in art as in manners, and the Restoration was a reign of revel and wild license. The social worlds of William and Mary and of Queen Anne, stiff, starched, and formal, left their impress upon the buildings of their day, which were mostly of a domestic character. The Free Classic of the Georgian reigns followed,—more refined in sentiment, delicate but severe in outline, aristocratic, but lacking strength and boldness in composition. With the advent of the Victorian Gothicists the worn-out and debased Free Classic passed into obscurity, there to remain until the passage by Parliament of the Elementary Education Act in 1870 brought it once more into prominence.
So much for the teachings of the academies, hampered by conservatism and constructive traditions. They see little that is good in architecture which cannot be traced through a long line of precedents, gradually developing, as did the Gothic from the slender lancets and bold buttressing of the earlier examples to the delicate tracery and wondrous carving of Lincoln and of York. But, for all this, Queen Anne has a history, architectural as well as political. Her short reign witnessed the erection of a class of manor-houses and city dwellings which, gradually improved under the two succeeding monarchs, have formed the basis for a revival of a remarkable character. The sudden renaissance of Queen Anne or Free Classic architecture is the growth of but fourteen years, and yet all classes of society have been alike filled with aspirations for Queen An-tic houses, and for domestic appliances, and even dresses and garniture, associated with that period. The extremely low art of the last decade of the seventeenth century has become the "high art" of to-day, and bids fair, after outgrowing the eccentricities of plan and detail with which many designers have loaded it down, to develop into an honest, home-like, and thoroughly domestic style, in consonance with the requirements of nineteenth-century culture and refinement. England and America alike have felt the pulse-beat of the reformers, ready and longing for a change that will be radical and honest in its workings. Let us, then, attempt to define the position of Queen Anne architecture, historically, constructively, and aesthetically. Let us endeavor to penetrate beyond the superficial investigations of the "high-art" amateur and see what may be the real value of the Queen Anne revival as a basis for the architecture of to-day, and wherein lies the germ which may be utilized as a stepping-stone to greater excellence.
Perhaps the best way to illustrate the different phases of Free Classic will be to group the reigns of William and Anne in one period of a quarter of a century, half in the seventeenth and half in the eighteenth, following the Stuart, or Jacobean, and preceding the Georgian. At first sight there appears to be little promise of finding any genuine art in English works of this period. The Mediaeval Ecclesiastical style had died out nearly two hundred years before, and during the interval the revival of classic architecture had steadily advanced from small and rude beginnings to a respectable position, with an academic system, so to speak, which, although it never attained in England the appreciation which led to its luxurious development on the Continent, found expression in many works of dignity and excellence. During the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. a domestic style for manor-houses had sprung up, based upon Gothic traditions of the Tudor type, with an admixture of the Renaissance of that day. This transitional manner struggled through the Commonwealth comparatively undisturbed, losing by degrees all traces of its mediaeval origin. It maintained, however, partly perhaps by the intention of its designers, but chiefly through accident, a character of picturesqueness and homeliness.
The great fire of 1666 desolated two-thirds of London, destroying thirteen thousand two hundred houses and eighty-nine churches, including St. Paul's Cathedral. Down to this time the architecture of London had been mostly of the timber, brick, and plaster type of the Tudors. The houses were crowded closely together, covering every available piece of ground, and overhanging story above story until in many cases the daylight was almost excluded from the narrow courts and crooked alleys. Many of these houses were built of slight materials, covered on the exterior with painted planks and on the interior with plaster. During the reign of James I. it was enacted that the fronts of city houses should be of brick or stone. In many cases, however, a compromise was made in favor of heavy timber fronts, which were often richly carved and moulded, the panels filled with bricks and plastered, the sides away from the street being still built of wood. In these houses we find numerous instances of the picturesque oriels and windows adopted by the designers of the modern Queen Anne school.
The fire wrought a complete change in building-construction and in the health of the city. The plague, until then a constant visitor, disappeared. The streets and courts were widened and much improved, and an entirely new class of buildings arose above the ruins of ancient London. Immediately after the fire a proclamation was issued by the king, giving instructions for certain reforms in building-construction. This may be called the birth of the movement which later on developed into the Queen Anne or Free Classic style of the early eighteenth century. In this proclamation the king commands as follows: "In the first place, the woful experience in this late heavy visitation hath sufficiently convinced all men of the pernicious consequences which have attended the building with timber, and even with stone itself, and the notable benefit of brick, which in so many places hath resisted and even extinguished the fire; and we do hereby declare that no man whatsoever shall presume to erect any house or building, great or small, but of brick or stone; and if any man shall do the contrary, the next magistrate shall forthwith cause it to be pulled down and such further course taken for his punishment as he deserves; and we suppose that the notable benefit many men have received from those cellars which have been well and strongly arched will persuade most men who build good houses to practise that good husbandry by arching all convenient places." By an act of the Common Council, passed on the 29th of April, 1667, in furtherance of the king's proclamation, it is ordered, among other details, that the purveyors "do encourage and give directions to all builders, for ornament sake, that the ornaments and projections of the front of buildings be of rubbed bricks, and that all the naked parts of the walls be done of rough bricks neatly wrought, or all rubbed, at the discretion of the builder." Permission was at the same time given to enrich buildings by variety in the forms of roofs, balconies, etc.
The urgent demand for new edifices to replace those destroyed by fire, and the necessity for observing strict economy in their erection, precluded picturesque grouping and well-studied designs. The quaint but dangerous architecture of 1666 was rapidly replaced by rows of plain, monotonous brick buildings, devoid of artistic merit. In Cheapside and some of the more important thoroughfares the houses erected during this period were of a somewhat better character, taller, and more elegant in design.
While improvement in the character of domestic architecture was thus hampered by economic considerations and an intricate system of land-tenures, public and ecclesiastical architecture was greatly improved. The rebuilding of St. Paul's Cathedral and fifty city churches by Sir Christopher Wren marks an epoch in the history of the English Church which should not be overlooked. For the first time since the Reformation the planning and general features of church edifices were made to conform to the exigencies of the Protestant faith and a simplified ritual. Rarely has such an opportunity for distinction been vouchsafed to any architect as that which fell to the lot of Wren; and he proved himself equal to the task. Fergusson is my authority for the statement that during the last forty years of the seventeenth century no building of importance was erected of which he was not the architect. Had his design for a complete rebuilding of the burnt district been carried out, London would have risen from its ashes one of the most convenient and beautiful cities in the world. The edifices erected by Wren are models of their kind. A thorough constructor, he was not less an artist in his feelings, and boldly adapted the systems of the Renaissance to the requirements of the times, modifying his details to meet the exigencies which arose. The "Free Classic" of Wren was certainly very different in conception and execution from the stiff and formal expression which we note in the works of his immediate successors, several of whom were, however, men of marked ability. It was, moreover, immeasurably superior to the classic attempts of the architects of the middle Georgian period, who, carried away by the enthusiasm awakened by the perusal of the newly-published "Antiquities" of Stuart and Revett, attempted to adapt Doric porticos, hexastyle, octostyle, etc., to modern domestic architecture.
With the accession of William and Mary, England and the Continent became more closely united. French, Spanish, and Florentine styles of dress became the fashion, and furniture designed in the Flemish and Dutch workshops succeeded to the heavier examples of the preceding reigns. The opening of the China trade and the importation of Delft porcelain exerted a marked influence upon the tastes of society. An affected admiration for Dutch topiary also became a fashion. It flourished for a time, and reached its utmost limit of quaint absurdity in the reign of Queen Anne.
Architecture also felt the influence of the Dutch school: brick was by law and custom the vernacular building-material of London, as it was of the Netherlands, and high-stepped gables with wavy lines became frequent. Broken pediments with volute terminals were placed over doors and windows; while a slight admixture of wrought and moulded bricks was often added to give some degree of elegance and richness to the facades. This use of moulded brick had played a prominent part in the old Tudor works; but Parliament had placed heavy and almost prohibitory taxes upon its manufacture and that of glass, thus vitiating the taste of the designer by the necessity for studying strict economy in construction. The manor-houses erected during the reigns of William and Anne are of a different type: they are bold and massive, picturesque in outline, and semi-classic in detail.
Through the Georgian reigns and that of William IV. the taste for Free Classic continued, gradually becoming more debased, with a few feeble attempts at a revival of mediaeval work, as shown by Walpole at Strawberry Hill; while in the cities the schools of Nash and Wyatt were stuccoing the honest brick-work of their street-fronts into bad imitations of Roman palaces. This called forth such epigrams as,—
Augustus of old was for building renowned,— For of marble he left what of brick he had found; But is not our Nash a still greater master? He found London brick, and will leave it plaster.
The earlier years of Victoria's reign were marked by aspirations for a better state of things, and discussions between the rival schools of Classicists and Mediaevalists. The latter carried the day, and, after an heroic struggle and many failures, England awoke from her long lethargy, to find herself the possessor of a noble architecture, a true exponent of ecclesiastical art and tradition, although confessedly far from perfect when applied to domestic buildings. For these latter edifices the old manor-houses, with their many mullioned windows and Tudor arcuation, formed the basis for design, and machicoli, turrets, and open timber roofs became the fashion for country-houses; but the city dwellings were erected in a style that was a compromise between the Georgian and the semi-Gothic, the most difficult problem being to reconcile the double hung sash with the pointed arches of mediaeval precedent.
English architecture was in this uncertain and transitory state when, in 1870, Parliament passed the Elementary Education Act. This was an opportunity long waited for, and the architects seized upon it with avidity. The natural desire was to give to the school-buildings a character distinctively their own, simple in plan and construction, with but little architectural display, and built of the vernacular constructive material of English cities,—red brick. Moulded brick could now be procured in abundance, the tax having been removed by Parliament in 1850. Such was the beginning of modern Queen Anne architecture. From small beginnings it has developed into an harmonious and well-defined system of domestic building, very different in its better phases from the stiff and starched appearance of its prototypes, being marked by breadth and freedom of treatment, and in many cases by great richness of detail.
The architects of the United States soon caught the enthusiasm of their English brethren, and the Centennial Exhibition of 1876 served to intensify the feeling of patriotism. If Queen Anne architecture is dear to Englishmen, it should be doubly so to us. In England the history of building may be traced back for centuries, style following style in regular sequence, one growing out of and interwoven with another. With us the case is different. The early colonists landed in America when Jacobean architecture was at its best, but they could give little thought to style or detail. Protection from the elements and savage foes was their first requirement. Later, when they could give more attention to architecture as an art, Queen Anne ruled the popular taste, and our colonial mansions were built and decorated under the influence which surrounded the thought and literature of the time. Queen Anne or early Georgian is, therefore, our starting-point in architectural history. It is well to revive a taste for its quaint and home-like character, not merely for its own sake, but as a stepping-stone to something better and more enduring in the future.
Let us now briefly glance at the various constructive systems embraced in what is to-day known as Queen Anne architecture.
In the sudden renaissance of Palladian detail and Dutch planning, known under the generic title of Queen Anne, we can distinctly trace the influence of three systems of construction. First in dignity, as in age, stands the cottage or old English style, claiming descent from the heavy Tudor mansions of rude stone, rough hewn timber, and white concrete filling, usually termed "magpie work," from the startling contrast between their white panels and tarred timbers. Of these old mansions numerous examples still remain: they were, for the most part, erected during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, but in a few instances a much earlier date may be assigned. Their construction is of the most substantial character, and consists in great part of oak frame-work of large scantling, tenoned and pinned together, the spaces between the timbers being filled in on both sides with a composition of well-beaten clay, straw, and chalk, which has become almost as hard as stone. Embedded in this composition are stout oak laths, held in position by cross-sticks, to which they are bound by hazel withes, no nail being used in any part of the work. Second, Queen Anne proper, founded on the domestic architecture of the Netherlands,—a thoroughly appropriate system of construction for a country where brick is the vernacular building-material, and one which perhaps of all others is the most easily adapted to the requirements of city streets, narrow fronts, and lofty facades with but little projection to interrupt light and the various needs of traffic. Third, the style without a name, which during the last decade has gathered to itself a heterogeneous mass of details, both English and Continental, combined with picturesque groupings of parts to form a well-defined and pleasing whole. This system may certainly be called "free," but, as it appears to be simply a stepping-stone to something better and more in consonance with the rapid development of art and the sciences applied to domestic life, it might perhaps be well termed the Victorian Transition.
The originators of modern Queen Anne were men trained in the Gothic school, and their watchword was "true construction." This term seems to be the most elastic and enduring of all the "short and easily-applied rules" of the profession of architecture. It is, however, applied more exclusively to the works of revivalists, and is frequently used in advocacy of new methods and in condemnation of the old. The architects of the Victorian School had had it impressed upon their minds by Pugin, Eastlake, and others, that true construction did not exist after the Middle Ages,—the period of massive timber framing, heavy tables, mantel-trees, and settles, put together with wooden pins and disdaining all curves and wavy lines. For a time these professors of artistic truth were implicitly believed, and architects came to look upon stucco, plastering, glue, veneers, broken pediments, and applied ornamentation as monstrous emanations from diseased brains, bewildered and carried off their balance by the great upheaval of the Renaissance.
The rapidity with which a change of sentiment was achieved is one of the most remarkable phenomena in architectural history. The worshippers of "truth" and the rest of the "Seven Lamps," the plaster-ornament-breakers of 1860, became ten years later the loyal subjects of Queen Anne, accepting without question the tenets of Stuart and Revett, the Adams, and even of Nash and Wyatt, who carried the use of stucco and applied ornamentation to the extremity of extravagance.
In studying the constructive features of the Queen Anne renaissance, we find many examples of richly-ornamented facades, combined with affected picturesqueness and quaintness unthought of two hundred years ago. How are we to account for this change in favor of greater richness and profusion of detail in a professed revival of the pure and simple forms of the past, and for the well-established fact, easily recognized by the student of architecture, that the Queen Anne brick-work of to-day owes much of its effectiveness, constructively and aesthetically, to the teaching of an earlier school,—that of the Tudors?
Decorative brick-work, as we find it used in English architecture, is not simply the outgrowth of the Dutch school, introduced at the accession of William of Orange. For centuries it had been employed with success, particularly in Norfolk and other brick-districts. Under the Tudor sovereigns, moulded and carved brick-work attained a high standard of excellence. The buildings erected during this period were frequently enriched with delicately wrought string-moulds, gable-ends, and cornices, sharp in outline, crisp and spirited in detail. Even under the Stuarts, Inigo Jones and his great successor Wren executed some noble works in this material. Unfortunately for art, Parliament in 1625 established the rectangular dimensions of bricks, which thenceforward were moulded on one dreary model,—a block of clay nine by four by two and one-half inches. In 1784 Parliament again interfered, and levied heavy taxes upon all bricks modelled, whether such bricks were spoiled in the baking or not. This tax was in its action almost prohibitory of any attempt at establishing a higher grade of workmanship. In the long interval between 1625 and the repeal of the tax in 1850, workmen in clay forgot their cunning, and all desire for improvement in design had come to a stand-still.
The Victorian architects made strenuous efforts to reform so discreditable a state of things, and, after struggling against the ignorance of labor and the conservatism of brick-masters, attained their end, and when, in 1870, the School Board Act went into operation it found them ready, with well-trained mechanics at their command. In 1850 the revival and expansion of semi-classic architecture wrought in brick would have been impossible; in 1870 the building world was ripe for the change. The architects themselves, after receiving their early education under the leaders of the stucco and plaster school of the later Georgian reigns, had had their ideas purified and refined by the art-teachings of the Victorian Gothicists. The result was a spontaneous movement to develop a new system of construction, with lintelled openings and square fenestration,—Queen Anne modified and elevated by mediaeval teachings and traditions. A traditional manner, but a sensible one; a sudden fashion, if you will; a craze, but a craze upon which the architects of the future will probably look back with satisfaction, as a bold and successful step toward the solution of the vexed problem of domestic architecture,—how to make every man's house his proper dwelling, how to combine Sir Henry Wotton's three conditions of the art of well building,—"Commodity, Firmness, and Delight."
Leaving England, with its highly-developed and well-understood systems of construction as they existed in the seventeenth century, let us turn to the colonial work of the early settlers of America, keeping in mind the difficulties which surrounded them, and which not only influenced, but determined by absolute necessities, many of the constructive peculiarities which we note in their domestic buildings.
In the English colonies of North America we find, between the first settlement and the opening of the Revolution, three distinct periods or types of domestic building following each other in regular and clearly-defined sequence, from rude and massive structures of stone and timber to carefully-constructed and artistically-designed mansions.
The first period of colonial architecture embraces the greater part of the seventeenth century. Numerous edifices of this period may still be seen in Providence and Newport, Rhode Island, as well as in the western portions of the State. In Newport County I may instance the Governor Henry Bull house, built in 1639, the Sueton Grant house, built about 1650, the Governor Coddington house, erected in 1647, and the "Captain Kid" house, so called, on Conanicut Island. These houses show all the peculiarities of the constructive science of their day, which aimed simply to attain solidity and protection from the elements. The chimneys and end-walls were generally built of stone, laid up as random rubble, with mortar composed of shell lime, sand, and gravel, and flakes of broken slate pounded fine. The sides of these buildings, and the ends above the line of roof-plate, were of frame construction, made of heavy oak timber, rudely squared, put together with treenails and boarded with oak, usually at an angle of forty-five degrees, thus making of every board a separate brace. This boarding was sometimes covered with coarse stucco, as on the Bull house, or with split shingles, as on the Governor Coddington house, put on with wrought nails.
"Whitehall," the home of Bishop Berkeley, and a group of old houses on Thames Street at Newport, may be said to represent the second period of our colonial architecture,—i.e., the first quarter of the eighteenth century. They are entirely of frame construction, covered over the boarding with thick clap-boards, with beaded edges, put on with wrought nails, and the roofs covered with split shingles of a better class than those previously used. In houses of this period brick began to take the place of stone for chimneys, and the gambrel roof—a form of construction whose history so far has eluded the researches of the student—seems to have originated in the colonies: it continued in favor for a hundred years or more, and gradually developed into a well-proportioned architectural structure, with richly-moulded cornice and well-designed dormers. It had many advantages: the framing was simple and strong, and the attic rooms possessed all the height and floor-space obtainable in the modern French roof, so called, while avoiding the disagreeable box-like appearance of the latter. The window-frames of these early eighteenth-century houses were made of plank, mortised and pinned together, the sills and caps being often moulded and a bead run around the inner edge of the frames. The sashes were heavy and glazed, with small squares of very inferior glass set in wide muntins.
In one of these old houses we find an attempt to modify the gambrel into the hipped roof, a type which became highly developed in the latter half of the eighteenth century. In the earlier examples this roof, instead of being truncated and hipped in all around, with a railing above the crown moulding, was simply hipped in on the lower part, being turned up at the ends, forming small gables. The dwellings of this class form a connecting-link between the second and third periods, which may be said to have commenced about 1730, when the growing commercial importance of the seaport towns and the rapid accumulation of wealth induced a more lavish and elegant style of living.
Prominent among the buildings of this period may be noted in Newport the Hazard house on Queen Street, now Washington Square, the Vernon house (Rochambeau's head-quarters), the Ayrault house on Thames Street, the old Hazard house on Broad Street, and the Gibbs house on Mill Street. But these are only a few representative buildings taken from the many of the same class to be found scattered through the seaboard States. The interior arrangements were extremely simple, but the architectural details and ornamentation are often rich and marked by great delicacy and refinement in treatment, the motif being based upon the Free Classic of the Queen Anne and Georgian reigns. The framing of these buildings is more systematically put together than in the earlier examples. The great beams crossing the ceilings, and the supporting-posts and hanging knees, are surfaced and beaded, instead of being rough-hewn with an axe. The fireplaces are often surrounded with Dutch tiles held in place by brass bands. The locks and door-trimmings are of brass. The window-glass is larger and clearer, and is set in well-made sashes with light muntins carefully wrought by hand. The truncated roof is fully developed, with moulded cornices of good section, the modillions being frequently carved with acanthus-leaves. The entrance door-ways became the central architectural features, and are often richly carved and moulded, with pilasters surmounted with Corinthian capitals, and pediments wrought with a wealth of Palladian detail, cut with much feeling, the muntins in the headlights being often carved into quaint and fantastic interfacings. In a number of instances I have found that when glass panels were required in doors the glass was set as a panel and the doors framed and built around it, the moulding being wrought on the stiles and rails. Fortunately, the old crown glass of the period was of the toughest description, and much of it still remains. The crystal sheets of the present day would not be equal to such rough usage and the cross-strains of warping wood-work, even if they did not break in the putting together. The old Hazard house shows one of the best examples of a moulded and panelled chimney with which I am familiar. The roof is of a most peculiar section when viewed from the gable-end, and the cornice is heavily coved with stucco still in good preservation.
The public buildings of the colonial period were mostly erected during the era of commercial prosperity between 1730 and the passage of the Stamp Act and the Boston Port Bill. Well-known examples are the Newport City Hall, the Redwood Library, and the Jewish Synagogue, all designed by Harrison; the State-House, by Munday; Trinity Church, the oldest of all, built in 1724-25, and the Seventh-Day Baptist Church, built in 1729. These buildings bear the stamp of the best English work of the time, and evince the cultivated taste of their projectors and the skill and professional knowledge of their architects. With the exception of the Seventh-Day Baptist Church, they are still in good condition. The lines in some places have become curved where they were originally straight, roofs have become hollowed, and floors have settled; but the white-oak frames bid fair to outlive several generations of the more ambitious but more slightly constructed edifices of to-day.
The colonial buildings of Providence, like those of Newport, Salem, and other New-England towns, are mostly of frame construction and of one general character. A few edifices of brick, showing the details of Free-Classicism, may occasionally be met with, but the latter material seems never to have become popular or to have been generally used in ordinary street-architecture. Among the more characteristic buildings of Providence and its vicinity may be enumerated, as belonging to the first period, the Caesar house and Green's stone castle,—the latter, at East Greenwich, having been erected in 1660. In the Caesar house the peculiar section of the roof recalls the Hazard house at Newport, although the latter clearly belongs to the intermediate stage between the second and third periods. The Witch house at Salem, 1690, recalls the Sueton Grant house at Newport, notably in the overhanging of the front at the line of the second floor. The Baptist Church at Providence, erected in 1774, and the Congregational Church, erected in 1816, are of the third period. The latter edifice is post-colonial in date, but, like many other buildings of its class, shows the conservative methods of the early builders and their immediate followers trained under their instruction and example.
With the early domestic edifices of Providence I am not familiar enough to allude to them by name. Many of these houses are extremely rich in semi-classic detail both exterior and interior. The old John Brown house, built of brick in 1786, and now owned by Professor Gammell, is a fine specimen of the dignified and aristocratic type of the Georgian school. The panelling, mantel-pieces, carvings, etc., are of the richest colonial character, and are wrought with much feeling, and the doors are crowned with pediments, a feature not generally adopted in the colonies, although frequently met with in contemporary English work.
We should naturally look to New York for representative works of the Dutch William and Queen Anne schools, but the march of improvement and demolition has been so universal in that city that few examples remain of the domestic architecture of New Amsterdam. Philadelphia will, however, supply us with much valuable material to reward our investigations. In the latter city the Dutch-English school became firmly established. Many of the old buildings of the colonial period still remain, and our attention is frequently drawn to some interesting example while strolling through that portion of the city lying to the east of Tenth Street. These edifices, both public and domestic, are generally of brick construction, showing all the marked peculiarities of English work of the period. The bricks are in nearly every instance laid up with the Flemish bond. The gable-ends are stepped, as in the Netherlands; string-moulds and base-courses made of moulded bricks of good section are often met with; while the whole character and aspect of their facades are in unison with the conservatism and early training of the mechanics who erected them. This conservatism and respect for the ways of their predecessors still exert a powerful influence upon the building-industries of Philadelphia. The masons of that city still cling with reverence to the Flemish system of bonding,—the strongest known to the bricklayer. The planning of the dwelling-houses is different, so far as I am conversant with them, from the system in vogue in any other American city. The varied levels of floors in the "front" and "back" buildings has been tenaciously adhered to by the designers of each generation. This variety in levels gives a rambling, homely effect which is very pleasing, and which is capable of being developed into the highest expression of domestic convenience and artistic elegance of which our modern Queen Anne is capable.
Of the public buildings, Christ Church, St. Peter's Church, Independence Hall, Carpenters' Hall, and some others, represent, I think, the best type of Queen Anne or Georgian architecture to be met with in colonial work. Their designers seem to have been thoroughly in earnest, and the details are marked by conscientious adherence to the established precedents of the time. It was this thorough knowledge of precedent as applied to mass and detail which enabled their designers to grasp boldly the problems before them, and, while not departing from the academic system in which they had been trained, to infuse into each separate building which they erected a dignity and an individuality of its own.
Having thus followed Queen Anne architecture through the various phases of its development, it remains only to refer to its claim to artistic excellence, and answer, if possible, the question frequently asked: Is Queen Anne "high art"?
As a basis for the discussion of so intricate a subject, I will first endeavor to establish the underlying principles of good architecture, using the word style in its broadest sense, expressive of elegance, fitness, and artistic truth,—style proper and style as defined by the antiquarian being two distinct things. It has been argued, and with some show of reason, that the origin of all beauty is in utility; but in architecture, which has other objects besides the gratification of the eye, or even of the understanding, it must be conceded that art holds the second place.
Two thousand years ago, Vitruvius laid down the basis of good architecture: First, order, method, and regularity; second, fitness of arrangement, general disposition, and contrivances adapted to locality and other circumstances; third, uniformity; fourth, proportion,—being the relation of parts or quantities by which harmony and grace are obtained; fifth, character,—which dictates the special aspect of the work according to its purpose; sixth, analogy,—consisting in those resemblances and ideal significances which assimilate the works of man to those of nature; seventh, economy,—not merely the vulgar economy of the purse, but that which combines utility with beauty, admitting nothing superfluous and allowing nothing to be overlooked. Sir Henry Wotton tells us, in the quaint old English of his day, that in architecture, as in all operative arts, "the end is to build well." Other writers have alluded to architecture as the "politeness of building," and as "the art of building with expression." The fundamental law which should govern the preparation of an architectural design is thus happily expressed by Roscoe: "Utility and beauty are bound together in an indissoluble chain; and what the great Author of nature has joined together let no man put asunder."
Will the "Free Classic" of the Queen Anne reformers bear the test of a critical comparison with the "seven lamps" of Vitruvius or the dictum of Roscoe? are such designs true exponents of "high art," and do they meet the requirements of the complex and artificial life of to-day? I propose to confine my investigations to the style of domestic buildings, ecclesiastical and municipal edifices being usually and by general consent designed in a broader and more masculine manner, their motifs being deduced from mediaeval sources or from the rich and dignified Renaissance of Continental Europe.
We have seen that America received her colonial methods of building directly from England; but here the connection ceases, except in sentiment; and a careful comparison of a number of English and American designs for country-houses will, I think, sustain the assertion that in reviving a taste for Queen Anne composition the architects of the two centuries have adopted different ideals as to the logical present and future development of their eclectic system. In short, the situation may be summed up in the query, How "Free" may our Classic become and not offend good taste and common sense?
The Englishman, naturally conservative, clings rigidly to the old systems of domestic planning, and, although varied and often enriched in detail, the exterior of his Queen Anne houses is, in the generality of cases, simply a reflection of earlier works designed for the School Board of London. The planning of these houses is irregular in the extreme, symmetry and balance of parts are ignored, and the communication between the various apartments is complicated and often tortuous. Their long and narrow corridors, and the infrequent use of the furnace or steam-coil as a means for procuring an equitable diffusion of heat, necessitate the screening of doors by placing them in out-of-the-way angles and around corners, to prevent draughts. The humid climate of England renders the veranda objectionable, and the windows, rarely fitted for blinds, are grouped together and divided by light and graceful mullions,—a relic of Tudor practice.
The American architect starts upon his revival with less precedent and conservatism either to assist or to hinder him. He can therefore adopt any system he pleases, or, by combining several styles, compose a thoroughly eclectic design; and he is apt to take full advantage of his opportunities, for his "Free Classic" is free indeed.
No style of domestic architecture can be good or partake of "high-art" qualities that cannot be claimed as a true exponent of the family and social life of the period to which it owes its birth and development. A whimsical fashion in dress, in equipages, or in the etiquette of society may be tolerated without injury to the national advancement. Such fashions are transitory, springing suddenly into notice and as rapidly passing into oblivion. With architecture it is different: here follies are wrought into durable form. We see an ultra Queen Anne house of to-day, and its quaintness and odd conceits attract our fancy. We put up with its manifest incongruities and inconveniences, and for a time all goes well. But when we tire of four-by-four-inch fenestration, glazed with rough cathedral-glass, the lines of the tower several inches off the vertical and bulged in the centre to give the effect of age, the rough and massive walls—of lath and plaster—glittering with broken glass, the ceilings so low that we are unable to have chandeliers to light our rooms, rendered gloomy by artificially-darkened walls and panelling, what are we to do? If the house is well built, it should be in better heart and condition one hundred years hence than the colonial mansions erected prior to 1760 are to-day. These colonial mansions, planned and built for the wealthy merchants of the seaboard towns, may well command our admiration and careful study, but, as a rule, they are entirely unsuited to the domestic life of to-day, and their construction is faulty and badly conceived when viewed in the light of modern practice. They should be respected and studied, because they are true exponents of art-building, in that they show in every line and moulding good common sense,—the use of materials according to the best ability and knowledge possessed by the artisans who erected them, and a sturdy manhood which wrought by main strength artistic works out of crude materials with slender mechanical appliances. A study of these old buildings seems to bring before us something of the mental strength of the men who erected them,—men who were fully up to and even ahead of their time, who aimed to do their best, and what they did was good. Such being the case, are we to suppose that had the colonial architects and builders continued in practice down to our own time they would have gone on in the old way, or, rather, behind their own best period of construction to the time when beams were hewn out with an axe and left as large as possible, to reduce the labor to a minimum? No; they were too advanced in sentiment for such weakness, and would no doubt ere this have developed a sensible and correct national style of domestic building, founded upon colonial precedent, but taking into consideration all the advances in science and art and, above all, machinery, which, although decried by the "high-art" amateur, has done much to improve the art and science of American building.