POPULAR LITERATURE AND SCIENCE.
Vol XII, No. 28.
TABLE OF CONTENTS THE NEW HYPERION [Illustrated] By EDWARD STRAHAN. I.—Preambulary. FROM PHILADELPHIA TO BALTIMORE [Illustrated] By ROBERT MORRIS COPELAND. CHARITY CROSS By MARGARET MASON. BERRYTOWN by REBECCA HARDING DAVIS. Chapter XI. Chapter XII. Chapter XIII. Chapter XIV. Chapter XV. STRANGE SEA INDUSTRIES AND ADVENTURES By WILL WALLACE HARNEY. POSEY'S NUGGET By LOUIS A. ROBERTS. FRANCESCA'S WORSHIP By MARGARET J. PRESTON. OUR HOME IN THE TYROL By MARGARET HOWITT. Chapter V. Chapter VI. WITH THE AMERICAN AMBULANCE CORPS AT PARIS By RALPH KEELER. THE HUMMING-BIRD By JAMES MAURICE THOMPSON. A PRINCESS OF THULE BY WILLIAM BLACK. Chapter X.—Fairy-land. Chapter XI.—The First Plunge. SOME PASSAGES IN SHELLEY'S EARLY HISTORY By JANUARY SEARLE. CHANGES By EMMA LAZARUS. OUR MONTHLY GOSSIP. A Sleeping-car Serenade By W.G.B. Fables For The Youth By SARSFIELD YOUNG. A Picture With A History. Hints For Novel-Writers. NOTES. LITERATURE OF THE DAY. Books Received.
ILLUSTRATIONS VIEW OF THE SCHUYLKILL RIVER AND WEST PHILADELPHIA. SHARON HILL. GLENOLDEN. RIDLEY PARK. CRUM LYNNE FALLS. DISTANT VIEW OF LANDSCAPE, SHOWING MILITARY INSTITUTE AT CHESTER. CROZER SEMINARY. VIEW OF CHESTER. RESIDENCE OF MR. F.O.C. DARLEY. VIEW OF DELAWARE RIVER NEAR CLAYMONT. VIEW AT CLAYMONT: CREEK AND BRIDGE. PRINCIPIO. BRIDGE OVER THE SUSQUEHANNA AT HAVRE DE GRACE. MOUNT ARARAT'S PROFILE ROCK. PORT DEPOSIT. FORT MCHENRY. THE BRITISH SHELL.
THE NEW HYPERION.
FROM PARIS TO MARLY BY WAY OF THE RHINE.
[The author's vignettes neatly copied by Gusatave Dore.]
The behavior of a great Hope is like the setting of the sun. It splashes out from under a horizontal cloud, so diabolically incandescent that you see a dozen false suns blotting the heavens with purple in every direction. You bury your eyes in a handkerchief, with your back carefully turned upon the west, and meantime the spectacle you were waiting for takes place and disappears. You promise yourself to nick it better to-morrow. The soul withdraws into its depths. The stars arise (offering two or three thousand more impracticable suns), and the night is ironical.
Having already conquered, without boasting, a certain success before the reading public, and having persuaded an author of renown to sign his name to my bantling, my Expectation and Hope have long been to surpass that trifling production. You may think it a slight thing to prepare a lucky volume, and, tapping Fame familiarly on the shoulder, engage her to undertake its colportage throughout the different countries of the globe. My first little work of travel and geography had exceeded my dreams of a good reception. It had earned me several proposals from publishers; it had been annotated with "How true!" and "Most profound!" by the readers in public libraries; its title had given an imaginative air to the ledgers of book-sellers; and it had added a new shade of moodiness to the collection of Mudie. The man who hits one success by accident is always trying to hit another by preparation. Since that achievement I have thought of nothing but the creation of another impromptu, and I have really prepared a quantity of increments toward it in the various places to which my traveling existence has led me. That I have settled down, since these many years past, at the centre and capital of ideas would prove me, even without the indiscretions of that first little book, an American by birth. I need not add that my card is printed in German text, Paul Fleming, and that time has brought to me a not ungraceful, though a sometimes practically retardating, circumference. Beneath a mask of cheerfulness, and even of obesity, however, I continue to guard the sensitive feelings of my earlier days. Yes: under this abnormal convexity are fostered, as behind a lens, the glowing tendencies of my youth. Though no longer, like the Harold described in Icelandic verse by Regner Hairy-Breeches, "a young chief proud of my flowing locks," yet I still "spend my mornings among the young maidens," or such of them as frequent the American Colony, as we call it, in Paris. I still "love to converse with the handsome widows." Miss Ashburton, who in one little passage of our youth treated me with considerable disrespect, and who afterward married a person of great lingual accomplishments, her father's late courier, at Naples, has been handsomely forgiven, but not forgotten. A few intelligent ladies, of marked listening powers and conspicuous accomplishments, are habitually met by me at their residences in the neighborhood of the Arc de Triomphe or at the receptions of the United States minister. These fair attractions, although occupying, in practice, a preponderating share of my time, are as nothing to me, however, in comparison with that enticing illusion, my Book.
The scientific use of the imagination in treating the places and distances of Geography is the dream of my days and the insomnia of my nights.
Every morning I take down and dust the loose sheets of my coming book or polish the gilding of my former one. It is in my fidelity to these baffling hopes—hopes fed with so many withered (or at least torn and blotted) leaves—rather than in any resemblance authenticable by a looking-glass, that I show my identity with the old long-haired and nasal Flemming.
Yet, though so long a Parisian, and so comfortable in my theoretic pursuit of Progressive Geography, my leisure hours are unconsciously given to knitting myself again to past associations, and some of my deepest pleasures come from tearing open the ancient wounds. Shall memory ever lose that sacred, that provoking day in the Vale of Lauterbrunnen when the young mechanic in green serenaded us with his guitar? It had for me that quite peculiar and personal application that it immediately preceded my rejection by Miss Mary. The Staubbach poured before our eyes, as from a hopper in the clouds, its Stream of Dust. The Ashburtons, clad in the sensible and becoming fashion of English lady-tourists, with long ringlets and Leghorn hats, sat on either side of me upon the grass. And then that implacable youth, looking full in my eye, sang his verses of insulting sagacity:
She gives thee a garland woven fair; Take care! It is a fool's-cap for thee to wear; Beware! beware! Trust her not, She is fooling thee!
Meeting him two or three times afterward as he pursued his apprentice-tour, I felt as though I had encountered a green-worm. And I confess that it was partly on his account that I made a vow, fervently uttered and solemnly kept, never again to visit Switzerland or the Rhine. Miss Ashburton I easily forgave. The disadvantage, I distinctly felt, was hers, solely and restrictedly hers; and I should have treated with profound respect, if I had come across him, the professional traveler who was good enough to marry her afterward.
But these bitter-sweet recollections are only the relief to my studies. It is true they are importunate, but they are strictly kept below stairs.
Nor would any one, regarding the stout and comfortable Flemming, suspect what regrets and what philosophies were disputing possession of his interior. For my external arrangements, I flatter myself that I have shaped them in tolerable taste.
My choice of the French capital I need not defend to any of my American readers. To all of you this consummation is simply a matter of ability. I heartily despise, as I always did, all mere pamperings of physical convenience. Still, for some who retain some sympathy with the Paul Flemming of aforetime, it may be worth while to mention the particular physical conveniencies my soul contemns. I inhabit, and have done so for eight years at least, a neat little residence of the kind styled "between court and garden," and lying on the utmost permissible circumference of the American quarter in Paris—say on the hither side of Passy. For nearly the same period I have had in lease a comical box at Marly, whither I repair every summer. My town-quarters, having been furnished by an artist, gave me small pains. The whole interior is like a suite of rooms in the Hotel Cluny. The only trouble was in bringing up the cellar to the quality I desired and in selecting domestics—points on which, though careless of worldly comfort in general, I own I am somewhat particular.
No gentleman valets for me—rude creatures presuming to outdress their masters. What I wanted was the Corporal Trim style of thing—bald, faithful, ancient retainer. After a world of vexation I succeeded in finding an artless couple, who agreed for a stipulation to sigh when I spoke of my grandfather before my guests, and to have been brought up in the family.
But I am wandering, and neglecting the true vein of sentiment which so abounds in my heart. All my pleasure is still in mournful contemplation, but I have learned that the feelings are most refined when freed from low cares and personal discomforts. I was going to cite a letter I wrote to my oldest friend, the baron of Hohenfels. It was sketched out first in verse, but in that form was a failure:
* * * * *
"The snow-white clouds beyond my window are piled up like Alps. The shades of B. Franklin and W. Tell seem to walk together on those Elysian Fields; for it was here (or sufficiently nigh for the purpose) that in days gone by our pure patriot dwelt and flirted with Madame Helvetius; and yonder clouds so much resemble the snowy Alps that they remind me irresistibly of the Swiss. Noble examples of a high purpose and a fixed will! Do B. and W. not move, Hyperion-like, on high? Were they not, likewise, sons of Heaven and Earth?
"I wish I knew the man who called flowers 'the fugitive poetry of Nature.' That was a sweet carol, which I think I have quoted to you, sung by the Rhodian children of old in spring, bearing in their hands a swallow, and chanting 'The swallow is come,' with some other lines, which I have forgotten. A pretty carol is that, too, which the Hungarian boys, on the islands of the Danube, sing to the returning stork in spring, what time it builds its nests in the chimneys and gracefully diverts the draft of smoke into the interior. What a thrill of delight in spring-time! What a joy in being and moving! Some housekeepers might object to that, and say that there was but imperfect joy in moving; but I am about to propose to you, as soon as I have taken a little more string, a plan of removal that will suit both us and the season. My friend, the time of storms is flying before the pretty child called April, who pursues it with his blooming thyrsus. Breathing scent upon the air, he has already awakened some of the trees on the boulevards, and the white locust-blossoms in the garden of Rossini are beginning to hang out their bunches to attract the nightingales. He calls to the swallows, and they arrive in clouds.
"He knocks at the hard envelope of the chrysalis, which accordingly prepares to take its chance for a precarious metamorphosis—into the wings of the butterfly or into the bosom of the bird. How very sweet!
"Strange is the lesson, my friend, which humanity teaches itself from the larva. Even so do I, methinks, feed in life's autumn upon the fading foliage of Hope, and, still feeding and weaving, turn it at last into a little grave. A neat image that, which, by the by, I stole from Drummond of Hawthornden. Do you recollect his verse?—but of course I should be provoked if I thought you did—
For, with strange thoughts possessed, I feed on fading leaves Of hope—which me deceives, And thousand webs doth warp within my breast. And thus, in end, unto myself I weave A fast-shut prison. No! but even a Grave!
"To pursue my subject: April, having thus balanced the affairs of the bird and the worm, proceeds to lay over the meadows a tablecloth for the bees. He opens all the windows of Paris, and on the streets shows us the sap mounting in carnation in the faces of the girls.
"My dear Hohenfels, I invite you to the festival which Spring is spreading just now in the village of Marly. My cabin will be gratified to open in your honor. May it keep you until autumn! Come, and come at once."
* * * * *
Having signed my missive, I tucked it into an envelope, which I blazoned with my favorite seal, the lyre of Hyperion broken, and rang for Charles. In his stead, in lieu of my faithful Charles, it was Hohenfels himself who entered, fresh from the Hotel Mirabeau.
"Look alive, man! Can you lend me an umbrella?" said he briskly.
I looked out at the window: it was snowing.
The moment seemed inopportune for the delivery of my epistle: I endeavored to conceal it—without hypocrisy and by a natural movement—under the usual pile of manuscript on my table devoted to Progressive Geography. But the baron had spied his name on the address: "How is that? You were writing to me? There, I will spare you the trouble of posting."
He read my sentences, turning at the end of each period to look out at the snow, which was heavily settling in large damp flakes. He said nothing at first about the discrepancy, but only looked forth alternately with his reading, which was pointed enough. I said long ago that the beauty of Hohenfels' character, like that of the precious opal, was owing to a defect in his organization. The baron retains his girlish expression, his blue eye, and his light hair of the kind that never turns gray: he is still slender, but much bent. He went over to the fireplace and crouched before the coals that were flickering there still. Then he said, with that gentle, half-laughing voice, "Take care, Paul, old boy! Children who show sense too early never grow, they say: by parity of argument, men who are poetical too late in life never get their senses."
"I have given up poetry," said I, "and you cannot scan that communication in your hand."
"But it is something worse than poetry! It is prose inflated and puffed and bubbled. You are falling into your old moony ways again, and sonneteering in plain English. Are you not ashamed, at your age?"
"What age do you mean? I feel no infirmities of age. If my hair is gray, 'tis not with years, as By—"
"If your hair is gray, it is because you are forty-eight, my old beauty."
"Forty-five!" I said, with some little natural heat.
"Forty-five let it be, though you have said so these three years. And what age is that to go running after the foot of the rainbow? Here you are, my dear Flemming, breathing forth hymns to Spring, and inviting your friends to picnics! Don't you know that April is the traitor among the twelve months of the year? You are ready to strike for Marly in a linen coat and slippers! Have you forgotten, my poor fellow, that Marly is windy and raw, and that Louis XIV. caught that chill at Marly of which he died? Ah, Paul, you are right enough. You are young, still young. You are not forty-eight: you are sixteen—sixteen for the third time."
Hohenfels, whose once fine temper is going a little, stirred the fire and suddenly rose.
"Lend me an umbrella!" he repeated imperatively.
"Are you in such a hurry to go? That is not very complimentary to me," I observed. "Have you done scolding me?"
What is called by some my growing worldliness teaches me to value dryness in an old friend as I value dryness in a fine, cobwebbed, crusty wine. It is from the merest Sybaritism that I surround myself with comrades who, like Hohenfels, can fit their knobs into my pattern, and receive my knobs in their own vacancy. My hint brought him over at once into the leathern chair opposite the one I occupy.
"Paul, Paul," he said, "I only criticise you for your good. What have you done with your three adolescences? You are getting stout, yet you still write poetically. You have some wit, imagination, learning and aptitude. You might make a name in science or art, but everything you do lacks substance, because you live only in your old eternal catchwords of the Past and the Future. You can sketch and paint, yet have never exhibited your pictures except in ladies' albums. You profess to love botany, yet your sole herbarium has been the mignonette in sewing-girls' windows. You are inoffensive, you are possessed of a competency, but in everything, in every vocation, you rest in the state of amateur—amateur housekeeper, amateur artist, amateur traveler, amateur geographer. And such a geographer as you might be, with your taste for travel and the Hakluyt Society's publications you have pored over for years!"
This chance allusion to my grand secret took me from my guard. Hohenfels, blundering up and down in search of something to anathematize, had stumbled upon the very fortress of my strength. I deemed it time to let him into a part of my reserved intellectual treasure—to whirl away a part at least of the sand in which my patient sphinx had been buried.
"I have indeed been a reader," I said modestly. "When a youth at Heidelberg, I perused, with more profit than would be immediately guessed from the titles, such works as the Helden-Buchs and the Nibelungen-Lieds, the Saxon Rhyme-Chronicles, the poems of Minnesingers and Mastersingers, and Ships of Fools, and Reynard Foxes, and Death-Dances, and Lamentations of Damned Souls. My study since then has been in German chemistry from its renaissance in Paracelsus, and physical science, including both medicine and the evolution of life. Shall I give you a few dozen of my favorite writers?"
"Quite unnecessary," said the baron with some haste. "But I fancied you were going to speak of geographical authors."
"Are you fond of such writings yourself?" I asked.
"Immensely—that is, not too scientific, you know," said the baron, who was out of his element here. "Bayard Taylor, now, or some such fellows as the Alpine Club."
"My dear baron, the republications by the Hakluyt Society are but a small part of the references I have taken down for my Progressive Geography. You admire Switzerland?"
"Vastly. Steep jump, the Staubbach."
"But the Alps are only hillocks compared with the Andes of Peru, with the Cordilleras, with Chimborazo! Ah, baron, Chimborazo! Well, my dear boy, the system I elaborate makes it a matter of simple progression and calculation to arrive at mountains much more considerable still."
"The Mountains of the Moon!"
I then, in a few dexterously involved sentences, allowed the plan of my newly-invented theory to appear—so much of it, that is, as would leave Hohenfels completely in the dark, and detract in no wise from the splendor of my Opus when it should be published. As science, however, truly considered, is the art of dilapidating and merging into confused ruin the theories of your predecessors, I was somewhat more precise with the destructive than the constructive part of my plan.
"Geographical Science, I am prepared to show, is that which modern learning alone has neglected, to the point of leaving its discoveries stationary. It is not so with the more assiduously cultivated branches. What change, what advance, in every other department of culture! In geology, the ammonite of to-day was for Chalmers a parody facetiously made by Nature in imitation of her living conchology, and for Voltaire a pilgrim's cockle dropped in the passes of the Alps. In medicine, what progress has been made since ague was compared to the flutter of insects among the nerves, and good Mistress Dorothy Burton, who died but in 1629, cured it by hanging a spider round the patient's neck "in a nutshell lapped in silk"! In chemistry, what strides! In astronomy, what perturbations and changes! In history, what do we not owe to the amiable authors who, dipping their pens in whitewash, have reversed the judgments of ages on Nero and Henry VIII.! In genealogy, what thanks must we pay to Darwin! Geographical Science alone, stolid in its insolent fixity, has not moved: the location of Thebes and Memphis is what it was in the days of Cheops and Rameses. And so poor in intellect are our professors of geodesic lore that London continues to be, just as it always was, in latitude 51 deg. 30' 48" N., longitude 0 deg. 5' 38" W., while the observatory of Paris contentedly sits in latitude 48 deg. 50' 12" N. and longitude 2 deg. 20' 22-1/2" E. from the observatory of Greenwich! This disgracefully stationary condition of the science cannot much longer be permitted."
"And how," said the baron, "will it be changed?" and he poked the fire to conceal a yawn. Excellent man! his time latterly had been more given to the investigation of opera than of the exact sciences.
"Through my theory of Progression and Proportion in geographical statistics, by which the sources of the Nile can be easily determined from the volume and speed of that current, while the height of the mountains on the far side of the moon will be but a pleasing sum in Ratio for a scholar's vacations. Nor will anything content me, my dear Hohenfels, till this somewhat theoretical method of traveling is displaced by bodily progression; till these easy excursions of the mind are supplemented by material extensions; till the foot is pressed where the brain has leaped; and till I, then for the first time a traveler, stand behind the lunar rim, among the 'silent silver lights and darks undreamed of!'"
"I am unable to appreciate your divagations," humbly observed Hohenfels, "though I always thought your language beautiful. Meantime, my hat is spoiled in coming hither, and you have the effrontery to write bucolics to me during the most frightful weather of the year. Once for all, do you refuse me an um—"
He did not finish his sentence. A world of sunshine burst like a bomb into the chamber, and our eyes were dazzled with the splendor: a sturdy beam shot directly into the fireplace, and the embers turned haggard and gray, and quickly retired from the unequal contest. I opened the window. A warm air, faint with the scent of earth and turf, invaded the apartment, and the map-like patches of dampness on the asphaltum pavement were rapidly and visibly drying away.
"I'm off!" said Hohenfels, with a rapid movement of retreat.
"But you are forgetting your—"
"What, my gloves?"
"No, the umbrella." And I presented him the heaviest and longest and oldest of my collection. He laughed: it was a hoary canopy which we had used beside the Neckar and in Heidelberg—"a pleasant town," as the old song says, "when it has done raining." We sealed a compact over the indestructible German umbrella. I agreed to defer for a fortnight my departure for Marly: on his side he made a solemn vow to come there on the first of May, and there receive in full and without wincing the particulars of my Progressive Geography. As he passed by the window I took care that he should catch a glimpse of me seated by accident in a strong light, my smoking-cap crowded down to my spectacles, and my nose buried in my old geographers.
* * * * *
For the next few days the weather supported the side of Hohenfels. It scattered rain, sunshine and spits of snow. At last the sun got the upper hand and remained master. The wisterias tumbled their cataracts of blue blossoms down the spouts; rare flowers, of minute proportions, burst from the button-holes of the young horsemen going to the Bois; the gloves of the American colony became lilac; hyacinths, daffodils and pansies moved by wagon-loads over the streets and soared to the windows of the sewing-girls. Overhead, in the steaming and cloud-marbled blue, stood the April sun. "Apelles of the flowers," as an old English writer has styled him, he was coloring the garden-beds with his rarest enamels, and spreading a sheet of varied tints over the steps of the Madeleine, where they hold the horticultural market.
This sort of country ecstasy, this season at once stimulating and enervating, tortured me. It disturbed my bibliophilist labors, and gave a twang of musty nausea even to the sweet scent of old binding-leather. I was as a man caught in the pangs of removing, unattached to either home; and I bent from my windows over the throngs of festal promenaders, taciturn and uneasy. I fancied that wings were sprouting from my brown dressing-robe, and that they were the volatile wings of the moth or dragon-fly. But to establish myself at Marly before the baron, would not that be a breach of compact? Would he not make it a casus belli? Luckily, we were getting through April: to-morrow it would be the twenty-eighth.
On that memorable morning the sun rose strong and bright, and photographed a brilliant idea upon my cerebellum.
I would undertake a pedestrian attack upon Marly by winding my way around the suburbs of the capital. What more appropriate, for a profound geographer and tourist, than to measure with my walking-stick that enormous bed of gypsum, at the centre of which, like a bee in a sugar-basin, Paris sits and hums?
The notion gained upon me. Perhaps it was the natural reaction from the Mountains of the Moon; but in my then state of mind no prospect could appear more delicious than a long tramp among the quiet scenes through which the city fringes itself off into rurality. Those suburbs of blank convent walls! those curves of the Seine and the Marne, blocked with low villages, whose walls of white, stained with tender mould and tiled with brown, dipped their placid reflections into the stream! those droll square boats, pushing out from the sedges to urge you across the ferry! those long rafts of lumber, following, like cunning crocodiles, the ins and outs of the shallow Seine! those banks of pollard willows, where girls in white caps tended flocks of geese and turkeys, and where, every silver-spangled morning, the shore was a landscape by Corot, and every twilight a landscape by Daubigny! How exquisite these pictures became to my mind as I thought them forth one by one, leaning over a grimy pavement in the peculiar sultriness of the year's first warmth!
"Quick, Charles! my tin botany-box."
I could be at Marly on the first of May at the dinner hour as punctually as Hohenfels—before him, maybe. And after what a range of delicious experience! How he would envy me!
"Is monsieur going to travel all alone?" said keen old Charles, taking the alarm in a minute. "Why am I not to go along with monsieur?"
The accent of primitive fidelity was perfect. I observed casually, "I am going on a little journey of thirty-six hours, and alone. You can pack everything up, and go on to Marly as usual. You may go to-morrow."
"Shall I not go along with monsieur, then?" repeated Charles, with a turn for tautology not now for the first time manifested.
"What for? Am I a child?"
"Surely not—on the contrary. But, though Monsieur Paul has a sure foot and a good eye, and is not to say getting old, yet when a person is fifty it is not best for a person to run about the streets as if a person was a young person."
It was Josephine who did me the honor to address me the last remark.
I confess to but forty-five years of age; Hohenfels, quite erroneously, gives me forty-eight; Josephine, with that raw alacrity in leaping at computations peculiar to the illiterate, oppressed me with fifty. Which of us three knew best? I should like to ask. But it is of little consequence. The Easterns generally vaunt themselves on not knowing the day of their birth. And wisdom comes to us from the East.
I decided, for reasons sufficient to myself, to get out of Paris by the opposite side. I determined to make my sortie by way of the Temple Market and the Belleville abattoirs. On the thirtieth of April, at an ambitiously early hour, wearing my gardening cap, with my sketch-book sticking out of my pocket, my tin box in one hand and my stout stick in the other, I emerged among the staring porters of the neighboring houses, and it was in this equipment that I received the renewed lamentations of Charles and Josephine.
"Will you dare to go along the Boulevard looking like that, sir?" said Josephine.
"A gentleman in a cap! They'll take you for a bricklayer—indeed they will, sir," said Charles; "or rather for a milkman, with his tin can. I can't stand that: I will carry it rather myself, though I feel my rheumatics on these damp pavements."
"Monsieur Paul must take a cab—at least to the barrier: it will not be pleasant to make a scandal in the street."
"Who will tend Monsieur Paul these two days, now?" This was uttered with manly grief by Charles.
"And whoever will cook for him along the road?" It was Josephine who asked the question with a heavy sigh.
To make an end of this charming scene of Old Virginia faithfulness, I put my best leg out and departed with gymnastic sprightliness. An instant after I turned my head.
Charles and Josephine were fixed on the doorstep, following me with their regards, and I believed I saw a tear in the left eye of each. What fidelity! I smiled in a sort of indulgent and baronial manner, but I felt touched by their sensibility.
Come on! It is but a twenty-four hours' separation.
Go forth, then, as I remember saying long ago, without fear and with a manly heart, to meet the dim and shadowy Future.
* * * * *
FROM PHILADELPHIA TO BALTIMORE.
In 1832 a few adventurous men obtained a charter for a railroad from Baltimore to Port Deposit: other charters were granted by Delaware and Pennsylvania in succeeding years, and at last in 1838 all were consolidated as the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad Company, and became a through all-rail line, interrupted only by the Susquehanna and some minor water-courses, under one management, beginning at Philadelphia and ending at Baltimore. But the country was too young and weak to make this a strong road, either in capital or business. It struggled along with a heavy debt, poor road-bed, imperfect rail (in some parts the old strap rail), few locomotives and cars, and inconvenient depots, making but little progress up to 1851, when Mr. Samuel M. Felton was brought from Boston to assume the presidency.
Seeing the actual and future importance of the line, some Eastern men bought up the stock, put in the necessary money and encouraged Mr. Felton to begin an entire revolution in the road. The road-bed was perfected and widened for a double track, new depots erected in Baltimore and Philadelphia, new rails laid, new branches opened; and whereas Mr. Felton found the road with only a single track, 25 locomotives and 308 cars, he left it with many miles of double track, its depots rebuilt, 49 locomotives and 1145 cars. When he took the road its locomotives traveled 312,840 miles per year, and earned $718,010, at a cost of $252,184.54: when he left it, borne down by disease, the locomotives traveled 780,537 miles per year, at a cost of $1,960,649. The capital stock in 1851 was $3,850,000, and paid three and a half per cent.: it is now $13,486,250, and pays eight per cent.
When the war broke out in 1862 this road was the key of the continent, and the fact that it was officered and controlled by Northern and energetic men saved it from destruction or becoming an engine in the hands of our enemies. Over it hundreds of thousands of soldiers and citizens were carried to the front, and millions of tons of merchandise and supplies were poured into the quarter-master's, commissary's and medical departments all along the line.
In 1864, worn out by disease, the able manager laid down his authority, to be taken up by another vigorous New England man, who in his turn has given almost life-blood to carry the road on to greatness.
Since 1864 the advance in earnings has not been so great as in the four preceding years, because of the necessary reduction in travel and transportation since the war. But enormous improvements have been made, thousands of steel rails have been laid, locomotives, freight cars and passenger cars of the most beautiful description have been added to the stock, new depots made (some of the finest in the country), a new line planned and executed, carrying the road from the meadows and marshes of the Delaware through the valleys and beautiful rolling uplands of Delaware county to Chester, avoiding all danger from floods, and going over or under twenty-seven streets to enter the city without possible peril to life or limb. A whole railroad system subsidiary to this road has been developed in Delaware, and to-day, with the best road-bed, double tracks, steel rails, the best locomotives, the best passenger cars in the country, supplied with all the modern improvements of brake, platform and signal, and a perfectly drilled corps of subordinates, this road may challenge the attention of the country, and be pointed out as one of the best evidences of the growth and prosperity of Philadelphia.
The depot in Philadelphia, at the corner of Broad street and Washington avenue, is a large and spacious building, which does not pretend to be a model of domestic architecture, but is roomy and reasonably well ventilated. The bell rings, we take our seats and move out through the usual coal-yards and shanties and suburbs, passing the United States Arsenal, until we reach Gray's Ferry, where we see the Schuylkill, beautiful at high tide, the high banks opposite once a famous estate, now the seat of the Almshouse, where four thousand paupers live in the winter and about fifteen hundred in the summer. So mild and pleasant is this climate that the majority of the paupers creep out, like the blue bottleflies, with the coming of spring, preferring to sleep in barns or under the green trees all the summer, rather than endure the hard beds, discipline and regular habits of the Almshouse. The rains of summer may fill their old bones with rheumatism for winter, but there are charms in the life of the stroller, who feeds to-day at a farm-house, or works a few hours to-morrow for a trifle to get whisky and tobacco, but has no notes to pay, no house to maintain, no servants to support.
Gray's Ferry is an old historic name, for here Washington and the men of the Revolution crossed again and again. The old rope ferry was succeeded by the old horse ferry, and now there are three railroads here—the Darby Improvement, the Junction (which goes to West Philadelphia and makes the connection for the great Southern Air-line), and the old line, which leads us out, through the old Bartram Gardens, where an enthusiastic botanist made the first and best collection of trees and plants in this country, on to the marshes of the Delaware. The mighty river, widening into a bay, flows on to the ocean, its bosom furrowed by thousands of keels and whitened by myriad sails. We look over wide acres of marshes, now green with the tender colors of spring, the corn-fields of the higher portion giving by their brown earth beautiful contrasts of color, the rows of corn just coming into sight. All over these meadows stand huge oak trees and elms, amongst whose branches the vessels seem to glide. But beautiful as the scene is, it is a bad place for a railroad, for when the great river rushes down swollen by some freshet, and is met by the incoming tide, the water sets back over the marshes and threatens to sweep away the track or put out the fires of the locomotives; and to cross streams and tideways many draw-bridges, with their attendant dangers, must be maintained. To avoid all these difficulties, Mr. Hinckley planned the change which is known as the Darby Improvement, carrying the road from Gray's Ferry to Chester over and through the high lands of Darby and Ridley. We shall no longer hear the brakeman shout out "Gibson's," "Lazaretto,", "Tinicum" (called by the Indians Tenecunck), "Crum Creek." We shall no longer wonder that the train should be stopped for so few passengers to get on or off, for in future our car will take us over a road-bed so perfectly laid with steel rails that a full glass of water will not spill as the train hurries on through a thickly settled country. Look quickly from the window at the country you are traversing: see the beautiful station at Bonnaffon, and the magnificent oak tree, worth a hundred stations, that stands in a field just beyond. We cannot enumerate all the beauties and objects of interest that line the road: every valley opens a pleasant view, every hill is covered with handsome houses, comfortable farmeries or superb trees. Before the road was made, these lands, lying on a ridge high above the river, perfectly healthy and offering the most desirable homes for city people, were inaccessible, but now they can be reached, and have been already appreciated. Most of the land has grown too valuable for farming, and has been bought up and laid out with different degrees of care for suburban residences.
Darby is one of the oldest towns in the State, and contributes largely to the business of the road. Mills were built here in 1696, and it was divided into Upper and Lower Darby in 1786. The first of the new towns is Sharon Hill, where a large amount of land has been laid out in the rectangular method, and already many of the lots are sold to actual settlers: a machine-shop has been established, and the railroad has built a very nice station for passengers.
Next to Sharon Hill comes Glenolden, where hill and dale, wood and meadow and a beautiful stream, offer all the picturesqueness that can charm an enthusiastic or artistic eye, together with good building-sites and every advantage that fertile and forest-clad land can give to one who would exchange the heat and pavements of a city for rural life. From Glenolden it is but a short distance to Norwood and to Moore's Crossing, where the company are erecting turnouts, engine-houses, etc., and from here, eight miles from the city, numerous trains will run to Philadelphia to accommodate the workingmen who, it is believed, will come out to live on these cool and breezy uplands.
From Moore's we soon get to Ridley Park, which was described at length in a former Number. The two stations at Ridley are models of beauty in their way: the principal station spans the road-bed, wide enough here for four tracks, and is probably the most picturesque in the country, as well as very convenient. Crum Lynne Station is remarkable for the beautiful sculpture of the capitals of the pilasters to the architraves of the windows, the architect having designed each one for this building, using the flowers and fruits and birds and animals of the region for his ornamental work, instead of the usual cornice and frieze and capital of Grecian architecture.
But the train sweeps us away from Ridley limits, past Leiperville with its primeval railway, and on to Chester. As we round the curve and rush through the woods we see on the left the broad river with its three-masted schooners, ships and steamers, and on the right the spires and houses of the town; and first and predominant the Military School of Colonel Hyatt. This school was incorporated by act of Legislature in 1862, and is devoted to both civil and military education. The studies and drill are so combined as to secure good mental and physical culture; and to ensure good military instruction the State and the United States have contributed arms of all kinds. Scholars come from all parts of the country, and even the West Indies; and as the standard of scholarship is high, the graduates compare favorably with those from other institutions.
Chester is one of the oldest towns on the line of the road by actual years, but one of the youngest in growth. First called by the Indians Mackaponacka, and then by the settlers Upland, it had a justice of the peace court in 1676. Its court-house was built in 1724. Its first newspaper was published in 1819. For many years Chester dozed away in dignified quiet as the county-town: its court-house and jail gave it all the honor it required. But the streams made good mill-sites, the deep waterfront along the river offered splendid wharfage and chances for shipbuilding, and, as good luck would have it, a rivalry awoke which ended in loading Media with the county buildings and relieving Chester. Since then it has doubled and trebled: mills and factories are on all sides, and its shipyards are not easily surpassed. Roach's shipyard covers twenty-three acres. The firm make their own engines and everything required in iron shipbuilding from keel to topmast. They have six vessels now on the stocks, and employ eleven hundred men, and have room for sixteen hundred. They have built for every trade from the coaster to the East Indiaman, varying in size from six hundred to four thousand tons, and their vessels pass unchallenged amongst the best in the world.
Nor is trade the only feature of the town. About half a mile from the depot, on a gentle eminence, is the Crozer Theological Seminary. The approach from Chester for the pedestrian, along the shrub-, vine- and tree-clad banks of Chester Creek into and across the wide lawn, is a delightful walk. The principal building was erected by John P. Crozer for a normal school. During the war he gave it to the government for a hospital, and when he died in 1866 left it to his sons, desiring them to devote it to some benevolent use. They have responded in a munificent manner by establishing a school for training young men for the ministry, with accommodations for a hundred students, houses for the professors, a church, a library building, lecture-halls and all the required conveniences for a great and successful school. They have added an endowment fund of two hundred and twenty-eight thousand dollars, the whole gift being about three hundred and ninety thousand dollars, and one of the family has since given twenty-five thousand dollars as a library fund. The seminary was opened in 1868 with fifteen students: there are now fifty from all parts of the Union.
But the most complaisant conductor of the most accommodating special train could not wait any longer for us, and we must hurry on through Lamokin, where the Baltimore Central, a tributary road, turns off and traverses a most picturesque country, round by Port Deposit to Perryville, where it again reaches the main road. At Lamokin are works where steel of a peculiar kind is manufactured under a European patent. From here the road again clings to the shore of the Delaware, and until we reach Wilmington the river, with its sails and its blue water, is on the left—on the right a high ridge, which ends in the valley of the Shell Pot and Brandywine at Wilmington.
We flash past Linwood to stop a moment at Claymont, where the ridge comes nearer the river and offers superb sites for buildings. Why Claymont has not grown more no one seems to know. There are schools and churches, fine rolling land, noble river-views, and all that can make a country home delightful. That the place has attractions for lovers of the picturesque may be inferred from the fact that it counts among its residents an artist of such wide and well-founded celebrity as Mr. F.O.C. Darley, whose delineations of American life and scenery, especially in the form of book-illustrations, have been familiar to the public for the past thirty years. With so many years of fame, Mr. Darley counts but fifty-two of life, and in the enjoyment of vigorous health still continues the practice of his art, executing many commissions from Europe, where his genius is as highly appreciated as at home.
But we must stick to our train, which carries us through the Red Bank Cut to Ellerslie Station, where occurred the first accident of a serious character which has happened on this road for eighteen years, and which was due only to a willful violation of orders by an old and very trusted conductor. At Ellerslie are the Edgemoor Iron-works of Messrs. William Sellers & Co., where every known improvement in the manufacture of iron is being tested and applied. The next curve in the road shows us the meadows of the Shell Pot and the Brandywine, with Wilmington in the distance. The Brandywine, famous in our history, runs through as picturesque a valley as there is in America, combining all that the climate of Delaware permits in trees, shrubs, vines and flowers with the wildness and variety of the valley of the Pemigewasset or the wild Ammonoosuck. In this rare valley are mills as old as the settlement of the country, and quaint hamlets that seem to belong to Europe rather than America.
At Wilmington the system of the Delaware railroads begins: it spreads out over the peninsula of Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland like a huge left hand. The thumb touches Chestertown and Centreville, the fore finger Oxford, the middle finger Cambridge, the ring finger Crisfield, the little finger Lewes; and this hand gathers into the main road every year millions of baskets of peaches, and millions more of oysters in baskets and sacks, and crates of berries, and car-loads of hardwood and lumber. Under the influence of these roads the sleepy peninsula is beginning a new career.
We cannot go down the peninsula, so let us keep on to Baltimore, pausing, however, for a moment as we cross Mason and Dixon's line near Elkton. Little did Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon dream, as they set that tangent point for the determination of the boundary-lines of the three States, how famous they would become. But there the simple monument stands in the open fields, and there it must remain so long as the three States need a boundary.
Soon after leaving Mason and Dixon we strike the first of the great estuaries of the Delaware and Susquehanna, which are the delight of the sportsman, the naturalist and the tourist. No matter at what season of the year you approach North-east, Principio, the Susquehanna River or Stemmer's Run—no matter at what time of the day—the views are always fine. The water spreads out in huge widening bays, and loses itself in the forest or hides behind some projecting headland; and when, as is often the case, the surface of the water is actually darkened with large flocks of wild fowl, the variety as well as beauty of the scene could not be heightened. Such shooting-ground for sportsmen exists nowhere else on this coast easily accessible. At Perryville, Havre de Grace, Bush River and many other places the chance sportsman can find every accommodation, while clubs of gentlemen have leased many of the best points, and established little houses where they may be comfortable when the day's sport is over, and where they can leave from season to season boats, decoys and all the paraphernalia of the sport. To recount the names of canvas-backs, red heads, bald pates and innumerable other ducks, to tell of the tens, fifties, hundreds shot in a single day, would add nothing to the excitement of any sportsman who has seen from the cars the huge flocks of birds rise and sweep out to sea when scared by some passing train or boat.
If every passenger could stop once, and study the Susquehanna bridge crossing the river between Perryville and Havre de Grace, he would have a most profound respect for its projectors and builders. For many years all transport by cars was interrupted here, and travelers and merchandise were transported by ferry-boat, causing wearisome delays and extra expense. But now a bridge 3273 feet long and with 1000 feet of trestling, resting on thirteen huge piers built on foundations in water from twenty-seven to sixty feet deep, and costing a million and a half of dollars, carries all safely over, and defies floods and ice. This bridge, one of the triumphs of engineering and a just source of pride to the road, has already saved in time and trouble a large percentage of its cost. It was threatened the past winter by the ice-pack which filled the river back to Port Deposit, and which seemed to promise for some time the destruction of that well-named little town. It is hard to believe that in a country so extensive as ours, with all kinds of lands and town-sites, any one could begin to build a town in such a situation. It clings to the broken and rocky shores and hillsides as lichens adhere to rocks and to the bark of trees or swallows' nests to the eaves of a barn. There it is, however, and, judging from its costly houses, churches and business appearance, its inhabitants have found it a profitable place to stay in. Port Deposit last winter, when the river was filled with ice from shore to shore and for miles in both directions, fissured and cracked and covered with mud, logs and debris, seemed on the verge of destruction; and it was easy to believe that if the river did rise suddenly the moving mass of ice, like some huge glacier, would sweep away all evidences of humanity, leaving behind only the glacial scratches and the roches moutonnees. Overhanging the railroad is a very remarkable profile rock which has attained some celebrity, and is shown in one of our sketches.
From Port Deposit to Baltimore the country is more rolling than from Perryville to Wilmington, and there are many picturesque points. One could find at Gunpowder River and Stemmer's Run several beautiful points of view, but by the time he reaches these places the traveler begins to get impatient for the great city, the terminus of his wanderings, which soon begins to announce itself by more thickly congregated houses, and roads cut straight through hill and valley, regardless of cost or the destruction of local charms of hill and dale.
If one were to judge by the streets, he would think Baltimorians lived only on oysters, for the new streets seem wholly built of their shells, making them very white, glaring and offensive to the unaccustomed eye. But the attention is soon diverted from houses and roads, to the bay and to Fort McHenry, which lies before the town like a sleeping lion. Few forts in the country are more interesting or have played a more important part in our military history; but all its military reputation is less interesting than the fact that whilst confined to a British vessel, one of the fleet unsuccessfully bombarding the fort, Francis Key wrote the "Star-Spangled Banner," now a national hymn. A bomb thrown into the fort at that time by the British has been preserved on a pillar ever since—almost the only local reminder of the facts of the bombardment.
At Baltimore we leave the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad, sorry to part from so good a road and one so important to the welfare of the country. It is a link in the great system, and one kept very bright and well polished by its managers. Their course has been to pay only a moderate dividend, and use the rest of the earnings to improve the road and its belongings, and to foster the interests of the people who use it. Such wise policy must build it strongly into the affections and interests of those who live along it, and ensure its being each year a better and better-paying road.
ROBERT MORRIS COPELAND.
* * * * *
Tinted are her cheeks with rose She is waiting in the snows Of the falling apple-blows.
Tinklings of a drowsy rill Come from the upland orchard hill, Niches in her dreams to fill.
Dotted is her rustic shawl With the apple-leaves that fall: Twilight splendors cover all.
Deeper lined than earthly grace, Rest of heaven doth in her face Rejoice in its abiding-place.
Charity Cross, it groweth late: Household duties for you wait, Just beyond the garden-gate.
Leave the apple-blooms to fall, Far-off brook to vainly call: Lightly climb the orchard wall.
All your dreamings softly fold: Let them drift away untold In the dying sunset's gold.
Down the path that leads between Ferns and mosses, shaded green, The gabled house is dimly seen.
Winds, with poplar trees at play, Chafe with tossing boughs all day Weather-beaten walls of gray.
Open wide the trellised door: Sunset glories go before, Fall upon the kitchen floor,
Turn to gold the swinging loom Standing in the corner's gloom Of the low brown-raftered room.
Brazen dogs that ever sleep Silently the entrance keep Of the fireplace huge and deep.
Charity, stop no more to dream: Covers lift with puffing steam; Waiting stands the risen cream.
Change to white your apron gray, Sprinkled clothes to fold away, Ready for another day.
Quickly now the table spread With its homespun cloth of red, Savory meats and snowy bread.
On the shelf a pink-lipped shell, That for ever tries to tell Ocean music, learned so well.
Tiptoe on the cricket stand: Take it in your sun-browned hand— Shell from eastern tropic land.
Let your clear voice through it ring, Homeward the hired help to bring From the distant meadow-spring.
Far away they hear the call: Look! they come by orchard wall, Where the apple-blossoms fall.
One that foremost leads the plough Sees you in the doorway now— Breaks a bending apple-bough;
Waves it by the meadow creek: Answering blushes on your cheek Tell the words you do not speak.
Out upon the rippling river Purple lights of sunset quiver, Rustling leaves reflected shiver.
Shell in hand, she goes to greet Her lover, where the turf-grown street And the meadow pathway meet.
Insect voices far away, Hushed in silence through the day, Whisper in the night of May,
While in vain the pink-lipped shell, Murmuring in its hollow cell, Would its own love-story tell.
Through the drifting apple-snow, Where the four-leafed clovers grow, Hand in hand they homeward go;
And they vow, whate'er the weather, Mid the brier, through the heather, They will walk life's way together.
Parting when the day grows late, If a moment at the gate One alone is left to wait,
Yet each other they will greet Where life's shadeless, dusty street And the heavenly pathway meet.
Catharine sprang from her bed at daybreak that morning. She could scarcely stop singing in the bath. She had so much to do, so much to do! The air blew briskly, the factory bells were clanging, the bees buzzed, the pretty white curtains were flapping. It was a busy world, and she was busiest of all. Had she not Hugh Guinness's fate in hand? She felt like a lad when he comes of age or makes his first venture in business. Jane heard her singing noisily for a while, but when breakfast was ready she did not come down.
She was standing in front of her glass, staring at it as though the chubby, insignificant face there were the Sphinx and could answer the riddles of life. McCall's remark had suddenly recurred to her: "What is Hugh Guinness to you? You belong to another man." With a flash, Mr. Muller, natty and plump, had stood before her, curiously unfamiliar, mildly regarding her through his spectacles. Her husband! Why had she never understood that until this morning? Her crossed hands lay on her wide blue-veined shoulders. She almost tore the flesh from them. "I belong to no man!" she cried.
She could not shake off the thought of him, as she usually did. He stood beside her, do what she would—the fat body and legs, the finical dress, the wearisome platitudes, a regiment of blue-coated, thick-lipped children behind him.
"If the best were done for them that could be hoped, they would but grow up miniature Mullers; and to think of that!" said Kitty. She had given her life to him. If she lived to be gray-headed, he alone owned her, mind and body. "If I were dead in my coffin, he would put his mild, fat little hand on me, and look forward to owning me in heaven! Oh-h!" This last was the one unendurable pang to Catharine.
Jane at the moment thrust her black face in: "He's come. Hurry up, honey! Mr. Muller, ob course. Shell I do up your hair, chile?"
Kitty shook her head and smiled. She would have had a kind smile for Jane and her like if she had been held by thumbscrews. Stooping to button her gaiters, she caught sight of her face in the glass. There were dark hollows under the eyes: they had the look of an older, graver woman than she had ever been before. Kitty hung up the green dress she had meant to wear, and took down a rose-colored one. Mr. Muller was talking down stairs. There was reality. There was her work and her husband. Why, she had the account-books of the school in her upper bureau-drawer at that moment, and in the lower ones her wedding things. Dresses and cloaks all made; and such lovely linen! As for Hugh Guinness, he was, after all, but a perplexing shadow, a riddle that turned from her the more she tried to make him real. She went down.
"Why, Catharine!" He held her hand, patting it between his own, which were warm and moist. "I really could not deny myself a glimpse of you, though I was sent on an errand by Maria to the station. But all roads end for me in the Book-shop. That is natural—he! he!"
"Yes, it is natural."
"It must be only a glimpse, though. I begged of Jane a cup of hot tea, to take off the chill of this morning air. Ah, here it is: thank you, my good girl. Only a glimpse, for Maria's business was urgent: Maria's business always is urgent. But I was to intercept Doctor McCall on his way to the cars."
"Is he going this morning?"
"Yes. Not to return, it appears."
"Not to return?" Her voice seemed hardly to have the energy of a question in it.
"But I," with a shrug and significant laugh, "am not to allow him to go. Behold in me an emissary of Love! You; would not have suspected a Mercury in your William, Catharine?" Within the last month he had begun to talk down in this fashion to her, accommodating himself to her childish tastes.
"What is Mercury's errand?"
"Aha! you curious little puss! How a woman does prick her ears at the mention of a love-story! Though, I suppose, this one is wellnigh its end. Maria made no secret of it. Doctor McCall, I inferred from what she said, had been pouring out his troubles in her ear, and she sent me to bring him back to her with the message that she had found a way of escape from them. Eh? Did you speak? You did not know what, dear?"
"I did not know that Maria had the right to bring him back. They are—"
"Engaged? Oh, certainly. At least—It is an old attachment, and Maria is such a woman to manage, you know! Is that the tea-pot, Jane? Just fill my cup again. Oh yes, I suppose it is all settled."
Catharine was standing by the window. The wind blew in chilly and strong, while Mr. Muller behind her sipped his tea and ambled in his talk. Crossing the meadow, going down the road, she saw the large figure of a man in a loose light overcoat, who swung in his gait and carried his hat in his hand as a boy would do. Even if he had loved her, she could not, like Maria, have gone a step to meet him, nor intoned the Song of Solomon. But he did not love her.
She turned to her companion: "There is something I wished to say."
"In one moment, my dear." He was sweetening his tea. Hanging the silver tongs on the lid, he looked up: "Good God, Catharine! what is it?"
"I wished to tell you—no, don't touch me, please—this is a mistake which we have made, and it is better to let it go no farther. It ought to end now."
"End? Now?" But he was not surprised. The pale face staring at her over the half-emptied cup looked as if it had been waiting to hear this; so that they began the subject, as it were, in the middle. So much had already been said between them without words. He set the cup down, even in that moment folding his napkin neatly with shaking fingers. Kitty did not laugh. She never laughed at him afterward. Something in that large, loose figure yonder, going away from her to the woman he loved, had whetted her eyesight and her judgment. She saw the man at last under Muller's weak finical ways, and the manly look he gave her.
"You mean that there must be no—no marriage?"
"No. I'm very sorry. It has been my fault. But I thought—"
"You thought you loved me, and you do not. Don't cry, Kitty."
A long silence followed, which seemed to Catharine like that of death. It was noticeable that he did not make a single effort to change her resolution or to keep her. It seemed as if he must have been waiting for her to waken some day and see the gulf between them.
"Don't cry, Kitty," he said again, under his breath. He stood by the empty fireplace, resting his dainty foot on the fender and looking down on it: he took out his handkerchief, shook out its folds and wiped his face, which was hot and parched. Kitty was sorry, as she said—sorry and scared, as though she had been called on to touch the corpse of one dear to her friends, but whose death cost her nothing. That she was breaking an obligation she had incurred voluntarily troubled her very little.
"Yes, I thought you would say this one day," he said at last. "I think you are right to take care of yourself. I was too old a man for you to marry. But I would have done all I could. I have been very fond of you," looking at her.
"Yes. You never seemed old to me sir."
"And your work for the poor children? I thought, dear, you felt that the Lord called you to that?"
"So I did. But I don't think I feel it so much to-day." Catharine's eyes were wide with this new terror. Was she, then, turning her back on her God?
She was, after all, he thought, nothing but a frightened, beautiful child.
"I should have been too rough for you," he said. How was he to suspect the heights from which she had looked down on his softness and flippancy?
She observed that he said not a word of the preparations he had made, the house furnished, the expectant congregation, or the storm of gossip and scandal which would follow him as a jilted lover. Was the real wound, then, so deep? Or did he overlook such trifles, as men do?
"I did not forget the new dresses and underclothes," thought Kitty, mean and mortified.
He roused himself as Jane came in: "No, Jane, no more tea. Yes, that is my cup on the mantel-shelf."
"Dah's a gen'leman, Miss Kitty. I took him in the Book-shop. 'T mought be Spellissy 'bout de oats. Tink it is Spellissy."
"You had better go, Catharine," taking up his hat.
"It is not important." The door closed after Jane. She came close to him, irresolute. What could she say? She thought, with the heat of childishness, that she would give the blood out of her body, drop by drop, to comfort him. She wished that she had gone on and married him. "But I cannot say that I love him." This was a matter for life and death—even Kitty's polite soul recognized that—and not for a civil lie.
Again the man asserted himself before the woman: "No, there is nothing for you to say, Catharine," smiling. "There are some things it is better not to varnish over with words." He took up his hat after a pause, and turned a feeble, uncertain face to the window: "I—I might as well go now: I have a prayer-meeting this afternoon."
"And when you go you mean never to come back again?" cried Kitty, pale and red in a moment. "That's to be the end of it all?"
"What more can there be? It's all said." Yet after he had walked to the door he stood on the steps, looking about the room which had grown so familiar and dear to him. At Kitty he did not look.
"Will you have a rose?" breaking one hastily from the trailing branches at the window. "To remember the old Book-shop." She had never given him anything before.
He threw it down: "I do not need a rose to make me remember," bitterly. "It is all said, child? You have nothing to tell me?" looking furtively at her.
For a long time she did not speak: "No, nothing."
Kitty did not answer him. The tears ran hot and salt over her round cheeks as she watched the little man disappear through the walnuts. She went up stairs, and, still crying, chose one or two maudlin sonnets and a lock of black hair as mementoes to keep of him. She did keep them as long as she lived, and used frequently to sigh over them with a sentimental tenderness which the real Muller never had won from her.
Miss Muller's message was never delivered, but Doctor McCall did not leave Berrytown that morning. Going down the road, he had caught sight of the old Book-house, and Kitty in her pink wrapper at the window. He overheard Symmes, the clerk at the station, say to some lounger that Peter Guinness would be at home that day or the next. He took his valise to the baggage-room.
"My business is not pressing," he said to Symmes. "No need to be off until this evening."
Perhaps he could see the old man, himself unseen, he thought with a boyish choking in his throat. He could surely give one more day to the remembrance of that old sweet, hearty boy's life without wronging the wretched ghost of a wife whose hand clutched so much away from him.
Miss Muller, seeing him on the bridge from the windows of her room, supposed her message had been given: "He has stayed to know how he may win me." For the first time she faced the riddle squarely. In the morning she had only wished weakly to keep him beside her.
He was married. Popular novels offered recipes by the score for the cure of such difficulties in love. But Maria was no reader of novels. Out of a strict Calvinistic family she and her brother had leaped into heterodoxy—William to pause neatly poised on the line where Conventionalism ended; Maria to flounder in an unsounded quagmire, which she believed the well of Truth. Five years ago she would have felt her chance of salvation in danger if she had spoken to a woman who persisted in loving a married man. But five years work strange changes in the creeds of young women now-a-days; and Maria's heart was choosing her creed for her to-day, according to the custom of her sex.
She saw Doctor McCall idly leaning over the foot-bridge of the creek while he smoked. Passion and brilliancy unknown to them before came into her dark eyes: she stretched out her hands as though she would have dragged him to her: "Must I give him up because of this wife whom he long ago cast off?"
If she tempted him to marry her? She knew what name her old church, her old friends, even her father, who was still living, would apply to her. Some of these people with whom she had lately cast in her lot had different views on the subject of marriage. Hitherto, Maria had kept clear of them. "The white wings of her Thought," she had said, "should not be soiled by venturing near impurity." Now she remembered their arguments against marriage as profound and convincing.
"I could not suggest to him myself this way of escape," she thought, the red dying her face and neck. "I could not." But there was to be a meeting that very evening of the "Inner Light Club," in which Maria was a M.H.G. (Most Honorable Guide), and the subject for discussion would be, "Shall marriage in the Advanced Consolidated Republic be for life or for a term of years?" The profoundest thinkers in the society would bring to this vital question all their strength and knowledge, and, as they had all made up their minds beforehand against bondage and babies, the verdict was likely to be unanimous.
She would contrive that McCall should be one of the audience: the wisdom and truth of the arguments would shine in like a great light on his life, and he would start up a new man, throwing aside this heaviest yoke of social slavery. She would be there ("with a black lace mantilla and veil—so much better than a bonnet," she breathlessly resolved), and at the sight of her he would feel the divine force of true love bringing them together, and claim her as his own.
The modern Cleopatra fights upon the rostrum, in lieu of "sixty sail," and uses as weapons newspaper and club, instead of purple robe and "cloyless sauce of epicurean cook," but the guerdon of the battle is none the less Mark Antony.
At sundown that evening Doctor McCall was piloted by little Herr Bluhm to his office; the Herr, according to his wont, sternly solemn, McCall disposed to be hilarious, as suited the pleasant temperature of the evening.
"Club, eh? Inner Light? Oh yes, I've no objections. One picks up good ideas here, there, anywhere. Meets in your office?"
"Yes—a shabby, vulgar place to the outer eye, but so many noble souls have there struggled out of darkness into light, such mighty Truths have been born there which will guide the age, that to me it is the very Holy Ground of Ideas."
"So?" McCall looked at the little man out of the corner of his eye, and nodded gravely.
"It is a Woman's Club, though men take part in it. But we have such faith in the superior integrity and purity of woman's mind when brought to bear on great but hackneyed questions that we willingly stand back until she has given her verdict. The magnet, sir, pointing out with inexplicable intelligence the true path to humanity."
"Well, I don't know about that. Though it's very likely, very likely," hurriedly. McCall had no relish for argument about it. He was more secure of his intellect in the matter of peaches than inner lights. Cowed and awed as he could have been by no body of men, he followed Bluhm up a dirty flight of stairs into the assemblage of Superior Women. The office was by nature a chamber with gaudy wall-paper of bouquets and wreaths. Viewed as an office, it was well enough, but in the aesthetic, light of a Holy Ground of Ideas it needed sweeping. The paper, too, hung in flaps from the damp walls: dusty files of newspapers, an empty bird-cage, old boots, a case of medical books, a pair of dilapidated trousers filled up one side of the room. A pot of clove-pinks in the window struggled to drown with spicy fragrance the odor of stale tobacco smoke. There was a hempen carpet, inch deep with mud and dust, on the floor. Seated round an empty fireplace, on cane chairs and in solemn circle, were about forty followers of the Inner Light. McCall perceived Maria near the window, the dusky twilight bringing out with fine effect her delicate, beautiful face. He turned quickly to the others, looking for the popular type of the Advanced Female, in loose sacque and men's trousers, with bonnet a-top, hair cut short, sharp nose and sharper voice. She was not there. A third of the women were Quakers, with their calm, benign faces for the most part framed by white hair—women who, having fought successfully against slavery, when that victory was won had taken up arms against the oppressors of women with devout and faithful purpose. The rest McCall declared to himself to be "rather a good-looking lot—women who had," he guessed shrewdly, "been in lack of either enough to eat or somebody to love in the world, and who fancied the ballot-box would bring them an equivalent for a husband or market-money."
A little dish-faced woman in rusty black, and with whitish curls surmounted by a faded blue velvet bonnet laid flat on top of her head, had the floor: "Mr. Chairman—I mean Miss Chairman—the object of our meeting this evening is, Shall marriage in the Consolidated Republic—"
"I object!" Herr Bluhm sprang to his feet, wrapping a short mantle like a Roman toga across his chest, and wearing a portentous frown upon his brow, "There is business of the last meeting which is not finished. Shall the thanks of this club be presented to the owners of the Berrytown street-cars for free passes therein? That is the topic for consideration. I move that a vote of thanks be passed;" and he sat down gloomily.
"I do not second that motion." A tall woman, with the magisterial sweep of shawl and wave of the arm of a cheap boarding-house keeper, rose. "I detect a subtle purpose in that offer. There is a rat behind that arras. There is a prejudice against us in the legislature, and the car company wish no mention of Woman Suffrage to be made in Berrytown until their new charter is granted. Are we so cheaply bought?—bribed by a dead-head ticket!"
"The order of the day," resumed the little widow placidly, "is, Shall marriage in the Consol—"
"Legislature!" piped a weak voice in the crowd. "They only laugh at us in the legislature."
"Let them laugh: they laughed at the slave." The speaker hurled this in a deep bass voice full at McCall. She was a black-browed, handsome young woman, wrapped in a good deal of scarlet, who sat sideways on one chair with her feet on the rung of another. "How long will the world dare to laugh?" fixing him fiercely with her eye.
"Upon my word, madam, I don't know," McCall gasped, and checked himself, hot and uncomfortable.
A fat, handsomely-dressed woman jolted the chair in front of her to command attention: "On the question of marriage—"
"Address the chair," growled Bluhm.
"Miss Chairman, I want to say that I ought to be qualified to speak on marriage, being the mother of ten, to say nothing of twice twins."
"The question before the house is the street-car passes," thundered Bluhm. "I move that we at least thank them for their offer. When a cup of tea is passed me, I thank the giver: when the biscuits are handed, I do likewise. It is a simple matter of courtesy."
"I deny it," said the black-browed female with a tone of tragedy. "What substantial tea has been offered? what biscuits have been baked? It is not tea: it is bribery! It is not biscuits: it is corruption!"
"I second Herr Bluhm's motion."
"Miss Chairman, put the question on its passage."
A mild old Quakeress rose, thus called on: "Thee has made a motion, Friend Bluhm, and Sister Carr says she seconds it; so it seems to me—Indeed I don't understand this parliamentary work."
"You're doing very nicely."
"All right!" called out several voices.
"Why should we have these trivial parliamentary forms?" demanded the Tragic Muse, as McCall called her. "Away with all worn-out garments of a degraded Past! Shall the rebellious serf of man still wear his old clothes?"
"But," whispered McCall to Bluhm, "when will the great thinkers you talked of begin to speak on those mighty truths—"
"Patience! These are our great thinkers. The logical heads some of them have! Woman," standing up and beginning aloud, apropos to nothing—"Woman is destined to purify the ballot-box, reform the jury, whiten the ermine of the judge. [Applause.] When her divine intuitions, her calm reason, are brought into play—" Prolonged applause, in the midst of which Bluhm, again apropos to nothing, abruptly sat down.
"The order of the day," said the little woman in black, "is, Shall marriage—"
"What about the car company?"
"Let's shelve that."
"The question of marriage," began Bluhm, up again with a statelier wrap of his toga, "is the most momentous affecting mankind. It demands free speech, the freest speech. Are we resolved to approach it in proud humility, giving to the God within ourselves and within our neighbor freedom to declare the truth?"
"Ay!" "Ay!" from forty voices. Maria, pale and trembling, watched McCall.
"Free speech is our boast," piped the widow. "If not ours, whose?"
"Before you go any farther," said the Muse with studied politeness, "I have a question to put to Herr Bluhm. Did you did you not, sir, in Toombs's drug-store last week, denominate this club a caravan of idiots?" A breathless silence fell upon the assembly. Bluhm gasped inarticulately. "His face condemns him," pursued his accuser. "Shall such a man be allowed to speak among us? Ay, to take the lead among us?"
Cries of "No!" "No!"
"What becomes of your free speech?" cried Bluhm, red and stammering with fury. "I was angry. I am rough, perhaps, but I seek the truth, as those do not who"—advancing and shaking his shut hand at the Muse—"who 'smile and smile, and are a villain still.'"
"The order of the day"—the widow's voice rose above the din tranquilly—"is Shall marriage in the Consolidated Republic be contracted for life or for a term of years?"
The next moment Maria felt her arm grasped. "Come out of this," whispered McCall, angry and excited. "This is no place for you, Maria. Did you hear what they are going to discuss?"
"Yes," as he whisked her out of the door.
"Then I'm sorry for it. Such things oughtn't to be mentioned in a lady's presence. If I had a sister, she should not know there was such a thing as bigamy. Good God!" wiping his forehead with his handkerchief, "if women are not pure and spotless, what have we to look up to? And these shallow girls, who propose to reform the world, begin by dabbling with the filth of the gutter, if they do no worse?"
"Shallow girls?" He was so big and angry that she felt like a wren or sparrow in his hold. But the stupidity of him! the blind idiocy! She eyed him from head to foot with a bitterness and contempt unutterable—a handsome six-foot animal, with his small brain filled with smaller, worn-out prejudices! The way of escape had been set before him, and he had spurned it—and her!
"I don't see what it can matter to you," she said politely, disengaging herself, "whether I make friends with these people and am stained with the filth of the gutter or not?" She had a half-insane consciousness that she was playing her last card.
"Why, to be sure it matters. You and I have been good friends always, Maria, and I don't like to see you fellowship with that lot. What was it Bluhm called them?" laughing. "That was rough in Bluhm—rough. They're women."
"You are going?"
"In the next train, yes, I waited to see a—a friend, but he did not come. It's just as well, perhaps," his face saddened. "Well, good-bye, Maria. Don't be offended at me for not approving of your friends. Why, bless my soul! such talk is—it's not decent;" and with a careless shake of the hand he was gone.
Maria told herself that she despised a man who could so dismiss the great social problem and its prophets with a fillip of his thumb. She turned to go in to the assemblage of prophets. They were all that was left her in life. But she did not go in. She went to her bare chamber, and took Hero up on her lap and cried over him. "You love me, doggy?" she said.
She had an attack of syncope that night, for which no pack or sitz proved a remedy; and it was about that time that the long and painful affection of the ulnar nerve began which almost destroyed her usefulness as a surgeon.
That evening, as Miss Muller sat alone with Hero in her room (just as the neuralgia was beginning), the door opened and Miss Vogdes entered. The girl turned a harassed, worn countenance toward Maria, and stumbled awkwardly over her words. It was not, certainly, because she was conscious that she had used William Muller cruelly. She had forgotten that William Muller lived.
She had been thinking of Maria all day. She was the woman whom Doctor McCall loved. By the time night came Kitty had a maddening desire to see again this woman that he loved—to touch her, hear her speak. She had been used to regard her as a disagreeable bore, but now she looked on her as a woman set apart from all the world. She had made a poor excuse to come up to the Water-cure: now that she was there she half forgot it. Maria's delicate face, her quick grace of motion, her clear, well-bred voice, were so many stabs to Kitty, each of which touched the quick. Maria's hair hung loosely over her shoulders: it was very soft and thick. She wondered if Doctor McCall had ever touched it. "Though what right have I to know?" For some reason this last was the pang that tugged hardest at Kitty's heart.
"I brought a message for Doctor McCall," she said, fumbling in her pocket—"that is, for you to deliver to him, Maria."
Miss Muller turned her shoulder to her: "Doctor McCall is gone—I don't know where."
She started forward: "Gone? To come again, you mean?"
"No—never to come back!" vehemently.
Kitty stood by her silent a moment: "William told me that you sent for him, that he loved you, Maria—that you would be married some of these days."
Miss Muller hesitated: there was no use in revealing her humiliation to this girl: "There was an obstacle in the way. Doctor McCall is peculiarly hedged in by circumstances."
"And you could not find the way of escape?"
"No." She did not see the flash of triumph on the girl's face, or notice when she went out.
Kitty was human. "At least," she muttered going down the hill, "I shall not have to see her his wife." When she had reached the Book-shop she took from her pocket a coarse yellow envelope containing a telegram directed to Hugh Guinness in his father's care. She turned it over. This was a bond between them which even Maria did not share: she alone knew that he was Hugh Guinness.
"What am I to do with this?"
Doctor McCall was gone, never to come back. It was like touching his hand far off to read this message to him. Besides, Kitty was curious. She opened the envelope.
"Come to me at once. You will soon be free," without any signature but an initial. The melodramatic mystery of it would have cautioned knowing women, but Kitty was not knowing.
"If he had received this an hour ago, the 'way of escape' would have been found. He would have been free to marry Maria." So much she understood. She sat down and was quiet for half an hour. It was the first wretched half hour of her life—so wretched that she forgot to cry.
"It would make him very happy to marry Maria," she said, getting up and speaking aloud. Then she opened the door and went up to her chamber, her thoughts keeping time with her swift motions. It seemed to her that she still spoke aloud. "If I were a man I could go to this house in Philadelphia and receive this message, which will set him free" (beginning to fold the dresses in her closet). "It will never reach him otherwise. I could find and bring him to Maria. But I never was five miles from Berrytown in my life, I never could go" (dragging out a great trunk and packing the dresses into it). "It would be a friendly thing for some man to do for him. Maria could not do so much" (cramming in undergarments enough for a year's wear). "If I were a man! He'd not snub me then as he does now, when I am only Kitty. If this could be done it would bring happiness for life to him." (The trunk was packed as she had seen her mother's. She was on her knees, trying to force down the lid, but her wrists were too weak.) "He would come back at once. How lovely Maria looked in that black lace mantilla! He would kiss her mouth and smooth her hair." (Kitty, still kneeling, was staring at the wall with pale cheeks and distended eyes. The lock snapped as it shut. She rose and began putting on her gray hat and veil.) "No woman could go to the city through that dark; and there is a storm coming. If I did it, what would he care for me? I am only Kitty. I would sit in the window here alone year after year, growing into a neglected old maid, and watch him go by with his happy wife and children. I need not interfere. I can throw the telegram into the fire and let them both go their ways. What are they to me?" She had buttoned her sacque and gloves, and now went up to the glass. It was a childish face that she looked at, but one now exceptionally grave and reserved.
She walked quickly down and tapped at the kitchen door: "When the porter comes for my trunk, Jane, give it to him. Tell my mother when she comes it was necessary for me to leave home to help a friend. I shall be back in a few days—if I am alive."
"De Lord be good to us, honey!" Jane stood aghast. Kitty came suddenly up to the old woman and kissed her. She felt quite alone in the world in beginning this desperate undertaking. The next moment she passed the window and was gone.
Miss Muller, with a satchel and shawl-strap, would have started coolly at an hour's notice alone for the Yosemite or Japan. But Kitty, with the enormous trunk, which was her sole idea of travel, set out through the night and storm, feeling death clutching at her on every side.
An hour after nightfall that evening the Eastern express-train reached the station beyond Berrytown, bringing home Peter and his wife, triumphant. Her money had covered a larger extent of muslins and laces than she hoped for—enough to convert the raw school-girl Kitty, when she was married, into a leader of church-going fashion.
Mrs. Guinness leaned back in the plush car-seat, planning the wedding-breakfast. That was now her only care. Out in the world of shops and milliners her superstitious dread of a man long since dead had seemed to her absurd.
"I have had some unreasonable fears about Kitty," she said to Peter, who was beginning to nod opposite to her. "But all will be well when she is Muller's wife."
Another train passed at the moment they reached the station. Her eye ran curiously over the long line of faces in the car-windows to find some neighbor or friend.
She touched Peter's arm: "How like that is to Kitty!" nodding toward a woman's head brought just opposite to them. The train began to move, and the woman turned her face toward them: "Merciful Heaven, it is Kitty!"
The engine sent out its shrill foreboding whistle and rushed on, carrying the girl into the darkness. Behind her in the car as it passed her mother saw the face of Hugh Guinness.