by Charles Godfrey Leland
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Transcribed from the 1894 London William Heinemann edition by David Price, email

{Charles G. Leland: p0.jpg}




Second Edition

LONDON WILLIAM HEINEMANN 1894 [All rights reserved]

FIRST EDITION (2 Volumes), October 1893.


It happened once in Boston, in the year 1861 or 1862, that I was at a dinner of the Atlantic Club, such as was held every Saturday, when the question was raised as to whether any man had ever written a complete and candid autobiography. Emerson, who was seated by me at the right, suggested the "Confessions" of Rousseau. I objected that it was full of untruths, and that for plain candour it was surpassed by the "Life of Casanova." Of this work (regarding which Carlyle has said, "Whosoever has looked therein, let him wash his hands and be unclean until even") neither Emerson nor Lowell, nor Palfrey nor Agassiz, nor any of the others present seemed to have any knowledge, until Dr. Holmes, who was more adventurous, admitted he knew somewhat thereof. Now, as I had read it thrice through, I knew it pretty well. I reflected on this, but came to the conclusion that perhaps the great reason why the world has so few and frank autobiographies is really because the world exacts too much. It is no more necessary to describe everything cynically than it is to set forth all our petty diseases in detail. There are many influences which, independent of passion or shame, do far more to form character.

Acting from this reflection, I wrote this book with no intention that it should be published; I had, indeed, some idea that a certain friend might use it after my death as a source whence to form a Life. Therefore I wrote, as fully and honestly as I could, everything which I could remember which had made me what I am. It occurred to me as a leading motive that a century or two hence the true inner life of any man who had actually lived from the time when railroads, steamboats, telegraphs, gas, percussion-caps, fulminating matches, the opera and omnibuses, evolution and socialism were quite unknown to his world, into the modern age, would be of some value. So I described my childhood or youth exactly as I recalled, or as I felt it. Such a book requires very merciful allowance from humane reviewers.

It seemed to me, also, that though I have not lived familiarly among the princes, potentates, and powers of the earth, yet as I have met or seen or corresponded with about five hundred of the three thousand set down in "Men of the Time," and been kindly classed among them, it was worth while to mention my meetings with many of them. Had the humblest scribbler of the age of Elizabeth so much as mentioned that he had ever exchanged a word with, or even looked at, any of the great writers of his time, his record would now be read with avidity. I have really never in my life run after such men, or sought to make their acquaintance with a view of extending my list; all that I can tell of them, as my book will show, has been the result of chance. But what I have written will be of some interest, I think—at least "in the dim and remote future."

I had laid the manuscript by, till I had time to quite forget what I had written, when I unexpectedly received a proposal to write my memoirs. I then read over my work, and determined "to let it go," as it was. It seemed to me that, with all its faults, it fulfilled the requisition of Montaigne in being ung livre de bonne foye. So it has gone forth into print. Jacta est alea.

The story of what is to me by far the most interesting period of my life remains to be written. This embraces an account of my labour for many years in introducing Industrial Art as a branch of education in schools, my life in England and on the Continent for more than twenty years, my travels in Russia and Egypt, my researches among Gypsies and Algonkin Indians, my part in Oriental and Folklore and other Congresses, my discovery of the Shelta or Ogham tongue in Great Britain, and the long and very strangely adventurous discoveries, continued for five years, among witches in Italy, which resulted in the discovery that all the names of the old Etruscan gods are still remembered by the peasantry of the Toscana Romagna, and that ceremonies and invocations are still addressed to them. All this, however, is still too near to be written about. But it may perhaps some day form a second series of reminiscences if the present volumes meet with public favour.

As some of my readers (and assuredly a great many of the American) will find these volumes wanting in personal adventure and lively variety of experiences, and perhaps dull as regards "incidents," I would remind them that it is, after all, only the life of a mere literary man and quiet, humble scholar, and that such existences are seldom very dramatic. English readers, who are more familiar with such men or literature, will be less exacting. What I have narrated is nowhere heightened in colour, retouched in drawing, or made the utmost of for effect, and I might have gone much further as regards my experiences in politics with the Continental Magazine, and during my connection with Colonel Forney, or life in the West, and have taken the whole, not more from my memory than from the testimony of others. But if this work be, as Germans say, at first too subjective, and devoted too much to mere mental development by aid of books, the "balance" to come of my life will be found to differ materially from it, though it is indeed nowhere in any passage exciting. This present work treats of my infancy in Philadelphia, with some note of the quaint and beautiful old Quaker city as it then was, and many of its inhabitants who still remembered Colonial times and Washington's Republican Court; reminiscences of boyhood in New England; my revolutionary grandfathers and other relatives, and such men as the last survivor of the Boston Tea-party (I also saw the last signer of the Declaration of Independence); an account of my early reading; my college life at Princeton; three years in Europe passed at the Universities of Heidelberg, Munich, and Paris, in what was emphatically the prime of their quaint student-days; an account of my barricade experiences of the French Revolution of Forty-Eight, of which I missed no chief scene; my subsequent life in America as lawyer, man of letters, and journalist; my experiences in connection with the Civil War, and my work in the advancement of the signing the Emancipation by Abraham Lincoln; recollections of the Oil Region when the oil mania was at its height; a winter on the frontier in the debatable land (which was indeed not devoid of strange life, though I say it); my subsequent connection for three years with Colonel John Forney, during which Grant's election was certainly carried by him, and in which, as he declared, I "had been his right-hand man;" my writing of sundry books, such as the "Breitmann Ballads," and my subsequent life in Europe to the year 1870.

I can enumerate in my memory distinctly half-a-dozen little-known men whom I have known, and could with time recall far many more, compared to whose lives my uneventful and calm career has been as that of the mole before the eagle's. Yet not one of their lives will ever be written, which is certainly a pity. The practice of writing real autobiographies is rapidly ceasing in this our age, when it is bad form to be egoistic or to talk about one's self, and we are almost shocked in revising those chronicled in the Causeries de Lundi of Sainte-Beuve. Nowadays we have good gossipy reminiscences of other people, in which the writer remains as unseen as the operator of a Punch exhibition in his schwassel box, while he displays his puppets. I find no fault with this—a chacun sa maniere. But it is very natural under such influences that men whose own lives are full of and inspired with their own deeds will not write them on the model of Benvenuto Cellini. One of the greatest generals of modern times, Lord Napier of Magdala, told me that he believed I was the only person to whom he had ever fully narrated his experiences of the siege of Lucknow. He seemed to be surprised at having so forgotten himself. In ancient Viking days the hero made his debut in every society with a "Me voici, mes enfants! Listen if you want to be astonished!" and proceeded to tell how he had smashed the heads of kings, and mashed the hearts of maidens, and done great deeds all round. It was bad form—and yet we should never have known much about Regner Lodbrog but for such a canticle. If I, in this work, have not quite effaced myself, as good taste demands, let it be remembered that if I had, at the time of writing, distinctly felt that it would be printed as put down, there would, most certainly, have been much less of "me" visible, and the dead- levelled work would have escaped much possible shot of censure. It was a little in a spirit of defiant reaction that I resolved to let it be published as it is, and risk the chances. As Uncle Toby declared that, after all, a mother must in some kind of a way be a relation to her own child, so it still appears to me that to write an autobiography the author must say something about himself; but it is a great and very popular tour de force to quite avoid doing this, and all art of late years has run to merely skilfully overcoming difficulties and avoiding interesting motives or subjects. It may be, therefore, that in days to come, my book will be regarded with some interest, as a curious relic of a barbarous age, and written in a style long passed away—

"When they sat with ghosts on a stormy shore, And spoke in a tongue which men speak no more; Living in wild and wondrous ways, In the ancient giant and goblin days."

Once in my younger time, one of the most beautiful and intellectual women whom I ever knew, Madame Anita de Barrera—(Daniel Webster said she was beautiful enough to redeem a whole generation of blue-stockings from the charge of ugliness)—once made a great and pathetic fuss to me about a grey hair which had appeared among her black tresses. "And what difference," I said, "can one white hair make to any friend?" "Well," she replied, "I thought if I could not awaken any other feeling, I might at least inspire in you veneration for old age." So with this work of mine, if it please in naught else, it may still gratify some who love to trace the footsteps of the past, and listen to what is told by one who lived long "before the war."

Now for a last word—which involves the only point of any importance to me personally in this preface—I would say that there will be certain readers who will perhaps think that I have exaggerated my life-work, or blown my own trumpet too loudly. To these I declare in plain honesty, that I believe there have been or are in the United States thousands of men who have far surpassed me, especially as regards services to the country during the Civil War. There were leaders in war and diplomacy, editors and soldiers who sacrificed their lives, to whose names I can only bow in reverence and humility. But as it was said of the great unknown who passed away—the fortes ante Agamemnon—"they had no poet, and they died." These most deserving ones have not written their lives or set themselves forth, "and so they pass into oblivion"—and I regret it with all my soul. But this is no reason why those who did something, albeit in lesser degree, should not chronicle their experiences exactly as they appear to them, and it is not in human nature to require a man to depreciate that to which he honestly devoted all his energies. Perhaps it never yet entered into the heart of man to conceive how much has really been done by everybody.

And I do most earnestly and solemnly protest, as if it were my last word in life, that I have said nothing whatever as regards my political work and its results which was not seriously said at the time by many far greater men than I, so that I believe I have not the least exaggerated in any trifle, even unconsciously. Thus I can never forget the deep and touching sympathy which Henry W. Longfellow expressed to me regarding my efforts to advance Emancipation, and how, when some one present observed that perhaps I would irritate the Non-Abolition Union men, the poet declared emphatically, "But it is a great idea" or "a noble work." And Lowell, Emerson, and George W. Curtis, Bayard Taylor, and many more, spoke to the same effect. And what they said of me I may repeat for the sake of History and of Truth.

The present work describes more than forty years of life in America, and it is therefore the American reader who will be chiefly interested in it. I should perhaps have mentioned what I reserved for special comment in the future: that during more than ten years' residence in Europe I had one thing steadily in view all the time, at which I worked hard, which was to qualify myself to return to America and there introduce to the public schools of Philadelphia the Industrial or Minor Arts as a branch of education, in which I eventually succeeded, devoting to the work there four years, applying myself so assiduously as to neglect both society and amusements, and not obtaining, nor seeking for, pay or profit thereby in any way, directly or indirectly. And if I have, as I have read, since then "expatriated" myself, my whole absence has not been much longer than was that of Washington Irving, and I trust to be able to prove that I have "left my country for my country's good"—albeit in a somewhat better sense than that which was implied by the poet.

And I may here incidentally mention, with all due modesty, that since the foregoing paragraph came to me "in revise," I received from Count Angelo di Grubernatis a letter, beginning with the remark that, in consequence of my gentile ed insistence premura, or "amiable persistence, begun four-years ago," he has at length carried out my idea and suggestion of establishing a great Italian Folklore Society, of which I am to rank as among the first twelve members. This is the fourth institution of the kind which I have been first, or among the first, to found in Europe, and it has in every case been noted, not without surprise, that I was an American. Such associations, being wide-reaching and cosmopolitan, may be indeed considered by every man of culture as patriotic, and I hope at some future day that I shall still further prove that, as regards my native country, I have only changed my sky but not my heart, and laboured for American interests as earnestly as ever.


BAGNI DI LUCCA, ITALY, August 20, 1893.

I. EARLY LIFE. 1824-1837.

My birthplace—Count Bruno and Dufief—Family items—General Lafayette—The Dutch witch-nurse—Early friends and associations—Philadelphia sixty years ago—Early reading—Genealogy—First schools—Summers in New England—English influences—The Revolutionary grandfather—Centenarians—The last survivor of the Boston Tea-party and the last signer of the Declaration—Indians—Memories of relations—A Quaker school—My ups and downs in classes—Arithmetic—My first ride in a railway car—My marvellous invention—Mr. Alcott's school—A Transcendental teacher—Rev. W. H. Furness—Miss Eliza Leslie—The boarding-school near Boston—Books—A terrible winter—My first poem—I return to Philadelphia.

I was born on the 15th of August, 1824, in a house which was in Philadelphia, and in Chestnut Street, the second door below Third Street, on the north side. It had been built in the old Colonial time, and in the room in which I first saw life there was an old chimney-piece, which was so remarkable that strangers visiting the city often came to see it. It was, I believe, of old carved oak, possibly mediaeval, which had been brought from some English manor as a relic. I am indebted for this information to a Mr. Landreth, who lived in the house at the time. {1}

It was then a boarding-house, kept by a Mrs. Rodgers. She had taken it from a lady who had also kept it for boarders. The daughter of this latter married President Madison. She was the well-known "Dolly Madison," famous for her grace, accomplishments, and belle humeur, of whom there are stories still current in Washington.

My authority informed me that there were among the boarders in the house two remarkable men, one of whom often petted me as a babe, and took a fancy to me. He was a Swedish Count, who had passed, it was said, a very wild life as pirate for several years on the Spanish Main. He was identified as the Count Bruno of Frederica Bremer's novel, "The Neighbours." The other was the famous philologist, Dufief, author of "Nature Displayed," a work of such remarkable ability that I wonder that it should have passed into oblivion.

My mother had been from her earliest years devoted to literature to a degree which was unusual at that time in the United States. She had been, as a girl, a special protegee of Hannah Adams, the author of many learned works, who was the first person buried in the Mount Auburn Cemetery of Boston. She directed my mother's reading, and had great influence over her. My mother had also been very intimate with the daughters of Jonathan Russell, the well-known diplomatist. My maternal grandfather was Colonel Godfrey, who had fought in the war of the Revolution, and who was at one time an aide-de-camp of the Governor of Massachusetts. He was noted for the remarkable gentleness of his character. I have heard that when he went forth of a morning, all the animals on his farm would run to meet and accompany him. He had to a miraculous degree a certain sympathetic power, so that all beings, men included, loved him. I have heard my mother say that as a girl she had a tame crow who was named Tom, and that he could distinctly cry the word "What?" When Tom was walking about in the garden, if called, he would reply "What?" in a perfectly human manner.

When I was one month old, General Lafayette visited our city and passed in a grand procession before the house. It is one of the legends of my infancy that my nurse said, "Charley shall see the General too!" and held me up to the window. General Lafayette, seeing this, laughed and bowed to me. He was the first gentleman who ever saluted me formally. When I reflect how in later life adventure, the study of languages, and a French Revolution came into my experiences, it seems to me as if Count Bruno, Dufief, and Lafayette had all been premonitors of the future.

I was a great sufferer from many forms of ill-health in my infancy. Before my second birthday, I had a terrible illness with inflammation of the brain. Dr. Dewees (author of a well-known work on diseases of women and children), who attended me, said that I was insane for a week, and that it was a case without parallel. I mention this because I believe that I owe to it in a degree whatever nervousness and tendency to "idealism" or romance and poetry has subsequently been developed in me. Through all my childhood and youth its influence was terribly felt, nor have I to this day recovered from it.

I should mention that my first nurse in life was an old Dutch woman named Van der Poel. I had not been born many days before I and my cradle were missing. There was a prompt outcry and search, and both were soon found in the garret or loft of the house. There I lay sleeping, on my breast an open Bible, with, I believe, a key and knife, at my head lighted candles, money, and a plate of salt. Nurse Van der Poel explained that it was done to secure my rising in life—by taking me up to the garret. I have since learned from a witch that the same is still done in exactly the same manner in Italy, and in Asia. She who does it must be, however, a strega or sorceress (my nurse was reputed to be one), and the child thus initiated will become deep in darksome lore, an adept in occulta, and a scholar. If I have not turned out to be all of this in majoribus, it was not the fault of my nurse.

Next door to us lived a family in which were four daughters who grew up to be famous belles. It is said that when the poet N. P. Willis visited them, one of these young ladies, who was familiar with his works, was so overcome that she fainted. Forty years after Willis distinctly recalled the circumstance. Fainting was then fashionable.

Among the household friends of our family I can remember Mr. John Vaughan, who had legends of Priestley, Berkeley, and Thomas Moore, and who often dined with us on Sunday. I can also recall his personal reminiscences of General Washington, Jefferson, and all the great men of the previous generation. He was a gentle and beautiful old man, with very courtly manners and snow-white hair, which he wore in a queue. He gave away the whole of a large fortune to the poor. Also an old Mr. Crozier, who had been in France through all the French Revolution, and had known Robespierre, Marat, Fouquier Tinville, &c. I wish that I had betimes noted down all the anecdotes I ever heard from them. There were also two old ladies, own nieces of Benjamin Franklin, who for many years continually took tea with us. One of them, Mrs. Kinsman, presented me with the cotton quilt under which her uncle had died. Another lady, Miss Louisa Nancrede, who had been educated in France, had seen Napoleon, and often described him to me. She told me many old French fairy-tales, and often sang a ballad (which I found in after years in the works of Cazotte), which made a great impression on me—something like that of "Childe Roland to the dark tower came." It was called Le Sieur Enguerrand, and the refrain was "Oh ma bonne j'ai tant peur."

That these and many other influences of culture stirred me strangely even as a child, is evident from the fact that they have remained so vividly impressed on my memory. This reminds me that I can distinctly remember that when I was eight years of age, in 1832, my grandmother, Mrs. Oliver Leland, told my mother that the great German poet Goethe had recently died, and that they bade me remember it. On the same day I read in the Athenaeum (an American reprint of leading articles, poems, &c., from English magazines, which grandmother took all her life long) a translation of Schiller's "Diver." I read it only once, and to this day I can repeat nearly the whole of it. I have now by me, as I write, a silver messenger-ring of King Robert, and I never see it without thinking of the corner of the room by the side-door where I stood when grandmother spoke of the death of Goethe. But I anticipate.

My father was a commission merchant, and had his place of business in Market Street below Third Street. His partner was Charles S. Boker, who had a son, George, who will often be mentioned in these Memoirs. George became in after life distinguished as a poet, and was Minister for many years at Constantinople and at St. Petersburg.

From Mrs. Rodgers' my parents went to Mrs. Shinn's, in Second Street. It also was a very old-fashioned house, with a garden full of flowers, and a front doorstep almost on a level with the ground. The parlour had a large old fireplace, set with blue tiles of the time of Queen Anne, and it was my delight to study and have explained to me from them the story of Joseph and his brethren and AEsop's fables. Everything connected with this house recurs to me as eminently pleasant, old-fashioned, and very respectable. I can remember something very English-like among the gentlemen-boarders who sat after dinner over their Madeira, and a beautiful lady, Mrs. Stanley, who gave me a sea-shell. Thinking of it all, I seem to have lived in a legend by Hawthorne.

There was another change to a Mrs. Eaton's boarding-house in Fifth Street, opposite to the side of the Franklin Library. I can remember that there was a very good marine picture by Birch in the drawing-room. This was after living in the Washington Square house, of which I shall speak anon. I am not clear as to these removals. There were some men of culture at Mrs. Eaton's—among them Sears C. Walker, a great astronomer, and a Dr. Brewer, who had travelled in Italy and brought back with him pieces of sculpture. We were almost directly opposite the State House, where liberty had been declared, while to the side, across the street, was the Library founded by Dr. Franklin, with his statue over the door. One of his nieces often told me that this was an absolutely perfect likeness. The old iron railing, now removed—more's the pity!—surrounded the Square, which was full of grand trees.

It was believed that the spirit of Dr. Franklin haunted the Library, reading the books. Once a coloured woman, who, in darkey fashion, was scrubbing the floor after midnight, beheld the form. She was so frightened that she fainted. But stranger still, when the books were removed to the New Library in Locust Street, the ghost went with them, and there it still "spooks" about as of yore to this day, as every negro in the quarter knows.

In regard to Franklin and his apparition, there was a schoolboy joke to this effect: that whenever the statue of Franklin over the Library door heard the clock strike twelve at night, it descended, went to the old Jefferson Wigwam, and drank a glass of beer. But the sell lay in this, that a statue cannot hear.

And there was a dim old legend of a colony of Finns, who, in the Swedish time, had a village all to themselves in Wiccacoe. They were men of darksome lore and magic skill, and their women were witches, who at tide and time sailed forth merrily on brooms to the far-away highlands of the Hudson, where they held high revel with their Yankee, Dutch, and Indian colleagues of the mystic spell. David MacRitchie, in a recent work, has made a note of this curious offshoot of the old Philadelphia Swedes.

And I can also remember that before a marble yard in Race Street there were two large statues of very grim forbidding-looking dogs, of whom it was said that when there was any one about to die in the quarter, these uncanny hounds came down during a nightly storm and howled a death duet.

And when I was very young there still lingered in the minds of those invaluable living chronicles (whether bound in sheepskin or in calf), the oldest inhabitants, memories from before the Revolution of the Indian market, when on every Saturday the natives came from their rural retreats, bringing pelts or skins, baskets, moccasins, mocos or birch boxes of maple-sugar, feathers, and game for sale. Then they ranged themselves all along the west side of Independence Square, in tents or at tables, and sold—or were sold themselves—in bargains. Even now the Sunday-child, or he who is gifted to behold the departed, may see the ghostly forms of Red-men carrying on that weekly goblin market. Miss Eliza Leslie's memory was full of these old stories, which she had collected from old people.

As for the black witches, as there were still four negro sorcerers in Philadelphia in 1883 (I have their addresses), it may be imagined to what an extent Voodoo still prevailed among our Ebo-ny men and brothers. Of one of these my mother had a sad experience. We had a black cook named Ann Lloyd, of whom, to express it mildly, one must say that she was "no good." My mother dismissed her, but several who succeeded her left abruptly. Then it was found that Ann, who professed to be a witch, had put a spell of death on all who should take her place. My mother learned this, and when the last black cook gave warning she received a good admonition as to a Christian being a slave to the evil one. I believe that this ended the enchantment. There is or was in South Fifth Street an African church, over the door of which was the charming inscription, "Those who have walked in Darkness have seen a great light." But this light has not even yet penetrated to the darksome depths of Lombard or South Streets, if I may believe the strange tales which I have heard, even of late, of superstition there.

Philadelphia was a very beautiful old-fashioned city in those days, with a marked character. Every house had its garden, in which vines twined over arbours, and the magnolia, honeysuckle, and rose spread rich perfume of summer nights, and where the humming-bird rested, and scarlet tanager or oriole with the yellow and blue bird flitted in sunshine or in shade. Then swallows darted at noon over the broad streets, and the mighty sturgeon was so abundant in the Delaware that one could hardly remain a minute on the wharf in early morn or ruddy evening without seeing some six-foot monster dart high in air, falling on his side with a plash. In the winter-time the river was allowed to freeze over, and then every schoolboy walked across to Camden and back, as if it had been a pilgrimage or religious duty, while meantime there was always a kind of Russian carnival on the ice, oxen being sometimes roasted whole, and all kinds of "fakirs," as they are now termed, selling doughnuts, spruce-beer, and gingerbread, or tempting the adventurous with thimblerig; many pedestrians stopping at the old-fashioned inn on Smith's Island for hot punch. Juleps and cobblers, and the "one thousand and one American fancy drinks," were not as yet invented, and men drank themselves unto the devil quite as easily on rum or brandy straight, peach and honey, madeira and punch, as they now do on more varied temptations. Lager beer was not as yet in the land. I remember drinking it in after years in New Street, where a German known as der dicke Georg first dealt it in 1848 to our American public. Maize-whisky could then be bought for fifteen cents a gallon; even good "old rye" was not much dearer; and the best Havanna cigars until 1840 cost only three cents a-piece. As they rose in price they depreciated in quality, and it is now many years since I have met with a really aromatic old-fashioned Havanna.

It was a very well-shaded, peaceful city, not "a great village," as it was called by New Yorkers, but like a pleasant English town of earlier times, in which a certain picturesque rural beauty still lingered. The grand old double houses, with high flights of steps, built by the Colonial aristocracy—such as the Bird mansion in Chestnut Street by Ninth Street—had a marked and pleasing character, as had many of the quaint black and red-brick houses, whose fronts reminded one of the chequer-board map of our city. All of this quiet charm departed from them after they were surrounded by a newer and noisier life. I well remember one of these fine old Colonial houses. It had been the old Penington mansion, but belonged in my early boyhood to Mr. Jones, who was one of my father's partners in business. It stood at the corner of Fourth and Race Streets, and was surrounded on all sides by a garden. There was a legend to the effect that a beautiful lady, who had long before inhabited the house, had been so fond of this garden, that after death her spirit was often seen of summer nights tending or watering the flowers. She was a gentle ghost, and the story made a great impression on me. I still possess a pictured tile from a chimney-piece of this old mansion.

The house is gone, but it is endeared to me by a very strange memory. When I was six or seven years of age, I had read Shakespeare's "Tempest," and duly reflected on it. The works of Shakespeare were very rare indeed in Quaker Philadelphia in those days, and much tabooed, but Mr. Jones, who had a good library in the great hall upstairs, possessed a set in large folio. This I was allowed to read, but not to remove from the place. How well I can remember passing my Saturday afternoons reading those mighty tomes, standing first on one leg, then on the other for very weariness, yet absorbed and fascinated!

About this time I was taken to the theatre to see Fannie Kemble in "Much Ado About Nothing"—or it may have been to a play before that time—when my father said to me that he supposed I had never heard of Shakespeare. To which I replied by repeating all the songs in the "Tempest." One of these, referring to the loves of certain sailors, is not very decent, but I had not the remotest conception of its impropriety, and so proceeded to repeat it. A saint of virtue must have laughed at such a declamation.

As it recurs to me, the spirit which was over Philadelphia in my boyhood, houses, gardens, people, and their life, was strangely quiet, sunny, and quaint, a dream of olden time drawn into modern days. The Quaker predominated, and his memories were mostly in the past; ours, as I have often said, was a city of great trees, which seemed to me to be ever repeating their old poetic legends to the wind of Swedes, witches, and Indians.

Among the street-cries and sounds, the first which I can remember was the postman's horn, when I was hardly three years old. Then there were the watchmen, "who cried the hour and weather all night long." Also a coloured man who shouted, in a strange, musical strain which could be heard a mile:

"Tra-la-la-la-la-la-loo. Le-mon-ice-cream! An'-wanilla-too!"

Also the quaint old Hominy-man:

"De Hominy man is on his way, Frum de Navy-Yard! Wid his harmony!"

(Spoken) "Law bess de putty eyes ob de young lady! Hominy's good fur de young ladies!

"De Harmony man is on his way," &c.

Also, "Hot-corn!" "Pepper-pot!" "Be-au-ti-ful Clams!" with the "Sweep- oh" cry, and charcoal and muffin bells.

One of the family legends was, that being asked by some lady, for whom I had very little liking, to come and visit her, I replied with great politeness, but also with marked firmness, "I am very much obliged to you, ma'am, and thank you—but I won't."

In Washington Square, three doors from us, at the corner of Walnut Street, lived Dr. George McClellan. He had two sons, one, John, of my own age, the other, George, who was three years younger. Both went to school with me in later years. George became a soldier, and finally rose to the head of the army in the first year of the War of Rebellion, or Emancipation, as I prefer to term it.

Washington Square, opposite our house, had been in the olden time a Potter's Field, where all the victims of the yellow fever pestilence had been interred. Now it had become a beautiful little park, but there were legends of a myriad of white confused forms seen flitting over it in the night, for it was a mysterious haunted place to many still, and I can remember my mother gently reproving one of our pretty neighbours for repeating such tales.

I have dreamy yet very oft-recurring memories of my life in childhood, as, for instance, that just before I was quite three years old I had given to me a copy of the old New England Primer, which I could not then read, yet learned from others the rhymes with the quaint little cuts.

"In Adam's fall We sin-ned all."

"My book and heart Shall never part," &c.

Also of a gingerbread toy, with much sugar, colour, and gilding, and of lying in a crib and having the measles. I can remember that I understood the meaning of the word dead before that of alive, because I told my nurse that I had heard that Dr. Dewees was dead. But she replying that he was not, but alive, I repeated "live" as one not knowing what it meant.

I recollect, also, that one day, when poring over the pictures in a toy- book, my Uncle Amos calling me a good little boy for so industriously reading, I felt guilty and ashamed because I could not read, and did not like to admit it. Whatever my faults or follies may be, I certainly had an innate rectitude, a strong sense of honesty, just as many children have the contrary; and this, I believe, is due to inherited qualities, though these in turn are greatly modified by early association and influences. That I also had precocious talent and taste for the romantic, poetic, marvellous, quaint, supernatural, and humorous, was soon manifested. Even as an infant objects of bric-a-brac and of antiquity awoke in me an interest allied to passion or awe, for which there was no parallel among others of my age. This was, I believe, the old spirit which had come down through the ages into my blood—the spirit which inspired Leland the Flos Grammaticorum, and after him John Leland, the antiquary of King Henry VIII., and Chrs. (Charles) Leland, who was secretary of the Society of Antiquaries in the time of Charles I. Let me hereby inform those who think that "Chrs." means Christopher, that there has been a Charles in the family since time immemorial, alternated with an Oliver since the days of Cromwell.

John Leyland, an Englishman, now living, who is a deep and sagacious scholar, and the author of the "Antiquities of the Town of Halifax" (a very clever work), declares that for four hundred years there has not been a generation in which some Leland (or Leyland) of the old Bussli de Leland stock has not written a work on antiquity or allied to antiquarianism, though in one case it is a translation of Demosthenes, and in another a work on Deistical Writers. He traces the connection with his own family of the Henry Leland, my ancestor, a rather prominent political Puritan character in his time, who first went to America in 1636, and acquired land which my grandfather still owned. It was very extensive.

There is a De la Laund in the roll of Battle Abbey, {13} but John says our progenitor was De Bussli, who came over with the Conqueror, ravaged all Yorkshire, killing 100,000 men, and who also burned up, perhaps alive, the 1,000 Jews in the Tower of York. For these eminent services to the state he was rewarded with the manor of Leyland, from which he took his name. The very first complete genealogical register of any American family ever published was that of the Leland family, by Judge Leland, of Roxbury, Mass. (but for which he was really chiefly indebted to another of the name), in which it is shown that Henry Leland had had in 1847 fifteen thousand descendants in America. In regard to which I am honoured with a membership in the Massachusetts Genealogical Society. The crest of Bussli and the rest of us is a raven or crow transfixed by an arrow, with a motto which I dearly love. It is Cui debeo, fidus. Very apropos of this crow or raven is the following: Heinrich Heine, in his "Germany" (vol. ii. p. 211, Heinemann's edition), compares the same to priests "whose pious croaking is so well known to our ears." This is in reference to such birds which fly about the mountain of Kyffhauser, in which the Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa is sleeping, and where he will sleep till they disappear. And then, praising himself, Heine adds: "But old age has weakened them, and there are good marksmen who know right well how to bring them down. I know one of these archers, who now lives in Paris, and who knows how, even from that distance, to hit the crows which fly about the Kyffhauser. When the Emperor returns to earth, he will surely find on his way more than one raven slain by this archer's arrows. And the old hero will say, smiling, 'That man carried a good bow.'" In my note to this I remarked that "the raven or crow transfixed by an arrow is the crest of the coat-of-arms of the name of Leland, or of my own. I sincerely trust that Bussli, the first who bore it, did not acquire the right to do so by shooting a clergyman." As a single crow is an omen of ill-luck, so the same transfixed signifies misfortune overcome, or the forcible ending of evil influences by a strong will. It is a common belief or saying among all the Lelands, however widely related, that there has never been a convicted criminal of the name. Dii faxint!

At four years of age, while still living in Washington Square, I was sent to an infant school in Walnut Street, above Eighth Street, south side, near by. It was kept by the Misses Donaldson. We all sat in a row, on steps, as in an amphitheatre, but in straight lines. Miss Donaldson, senior, sat at a desk, prim and perpendicular, holding a rod which was fifteen or twenty feet in length, with which she could hit on the head or poke any noisy or drowsy child, without stirring from her post. It was an ingenious invention, and one which might be employed to advantage in small churches. I can remember that at this time I could not hear a tune played without stringing my thoughts to it; not that I have any special ear for music, but because I am moved by melody. There was a rhyme that was often sung to me to the tune of "Over the Water"—

"Charley Buff Had money enough, And locked it in his store; Charley die And shut his eye, And never saw money no more."

The influence of this and other tunes on my thought was so great, that I have often wondered whether anybody ever realised how much we may owe to metre acting on thought; for I do not believe that I ever penned any poetry in my life unless it was to a tune; and even in this prose which I now write there is ever and anon a cadence as of a brook running along, then rising, anon falling, perceptible to me though not to you, yet which has many a time been noted down by critics speaking gently of my work. This induced me to learn betimes an incredible number of songs; in fact, at the age of ten or eleven I had most of Percy's "Relics" by heart. This naturally enough led me to read, and reading understand, an amount of poetry of such varied character that I speak with strictest truth in saying that I have never met with, and never even read of, any boy who, as a mere little boy, had mastered such a number and variety of ballads and minor poems as I had done—as will appear in the course of this narrative.

While living at Mrs. Eaton's I was sent to a school kept by two very nice rather young Quaker ladies in Walnut Street. It was just opposite a very quaint old-fashioned collection of many little dwellings in one (modelled after the Fuggerei of Augsburg?) known as the Quaker Almshouse. One morning I played truant, and became so fearfully weary and bored lounging about, that I longed for the society of school, and never stayed from study any more. Here I was learning to read, and I can remember "The History of Little Jack," and discussing with a comrade the question as to whether the word history really meant his story, or was ingeniously double and inclusive. I also about this time became familiar with many minor works, such as are all now sold at high prices as chap-books, such as "Marmaduke Multiply," "The World Turned Upside Down," "Chrononhotonthologos," "The Noble History of the Giants," and others of Mr. Newberry's gilt-cover toy-books. All of our juvenile literature in those days was without exception London made, and very few persons can now realise how deeply Anglicised I was, and how all this reading produced associations and feelings which made dwelling in England in later years seem like a return to a half-forgotten home, of which we have, however, pleasant fairy-tale reminiscences.

The mistress of the school was named Sarah Lewis, and while there, something of a very extraordinary nature—to me, at least—took place. One day, while at my little desk, there came into my head with a strange and unaccountable intensity this thought: "I am I—I am Myself—I myself I," and so on. By forcing this thought on myself very rapidly, I produced a something like suspension of thought or syncope; not a vertigo, but that mental condition which is allied to it. I have several times read of men who recorded nearly the same thing among their youthful experiences, but I do not recall that any of them induced this coma by reflecting on the ego-ism of the I, or the me-ness of the Me. {16} It often recurred to me in after years when studying Schelling and Fichte, or reading works by Mystics, Quietists, and the like. At a very early age I was indeed very much given to indulging in states of mind resembling metaphysical abstraction—a kind of vague marvelling what I was and what others were; whether they and everything were not spirits playing me tricks, or a delusion—a kind of psychology without material or thought, like a workman without tools.

For a short time, while five or six years old, and living at Mrs. Eaton's, I was sent to a school of boys of all ages, kept by a man named Eastburn, in Library Street, whom I can only recall as a coarse, brutal fiend. From morning to night there was not a minute in which some boy was not screaming under the heavy rattan which he or his brother always held. I myself—infant as I was—for not learning a spelling-lesson properly, was subjected to a caning which would have been cruel if inflicted on a convict or sailor. In the lower story this man's sister kept a girls' school, and the ruffian was continually being called downstairs to beat the larger girls. My mother knew nothing of all this, and I was ashamed to tell that I had been whipped. I have all my life been opposed to corporal punishment, be it in schools or for criminals. It brings out of boys all that is evil in their nature and nothing that is good, developing bullying and cruelty, while it is eminently productive of cowardice, lying, and meanness—as I have frequently found when I came to hear the private life of those who defend it as creating "manliness." It was found during the American war that the soldiers who had been most accustomed to beating and to being beaten were by far the greatest cowards, and that "Billy Wilson's" regiment of pugilists was so absolutely worthless as to be unqualified for the field at any time. One thing is very certain, that I have found that boys who attend schools where there is no whipping, and little or no fighting, are freest from that coarseness which is so invariably allied to meanness, lying, and dishonesty. I had about 2000 children in the public schools of Philadelphia pass under my teaching, and never met with but one instance of direct rudeness. There was also only one of dishonesty or theft, and that was by a fighting boy, who looked like a miniature pugilist. Philadelphia manners were formed by Quakers. When I visited, in 1884, certain minor art-work classes established in the East End of London, Mr. Walter Besant said to me that I would find a less gentle set of pupils. In fact, in the first school which I examined, the girls had, the week before, knocked down, kicked, and trampled on an elderly lady who had come to teach them art-work out of pure benevolence. I am often told that whipping put an end to garroting. If this be true, which it is not (for garroting was a merely temporary fancy, which died out in America without whipping), it only proves that the garotters, who were all fighting and boxing roughs, were mere cowards. Red Indians never whip children, but they will die under torture without a groan.

My parents were from Massachusetts, and every summer they returned to pass several months in or near Boston, generally with their relatives in Worcester county, in Dedham, in the "Hub" itself, or in Milford, Mendon, or Holliston, the home of my paternal grandfather, Oliver Leland. Thus I grew to be familiar with New England, its beautiful scenery and old-fashioned Yankee rural ways. Travelling was then by stage-coach, and it took two days to go from Philadelphia to Boston, stopping on the way overnight at Princeton, Perth Amboy, or Providence. This is to me a very interesting source of reminiscences. In Dedham, for three summers, I attended school. I remember that we stayed with Dr. Jeremy Stimson, who had married a sister of my mother. I studied French; and can recall that my cousins Caroline and Emily, who were very beautiful young ladies, generally corrected my exercises. I was then seven or eight years of age. Also that I was very much alone; that I had a favourite bow, made by some old Indian; that I read with great relish "Gil Blas" and "Don Quixote," and especially books of curiosities and oddities which had a great influence on me. I wandered for days by myself fishing, strolling in beautiful wild places among rocks and fields, or in forests by the River Charles. I can remember how one Sunday during service I sat in church unseen behind the organ, and read Benvenuto Cellini's account of the sorcerer in the Colosseum in Rome: I shall see his Perseus ten minutes hence in the Signoria of Florence, where I now write.

Then there were the quiet summer evenings in the drawing-room, where my cousins played the piano and sang "The Sunset Tree," "Alknoomuk," "I see them on the winding way," and Moore's melodies. Tempi passati—"'Tis sixty year's since." Caroline meantime married a Mr. Wight, who had passed most of his life in England, and was thoroughly Anglicised. There was also an English lady visiting America who stayed a while in Dedham to be with my cousin. She was jeune encore, but had with her a young English gentleman relative who would call her "Mamma!" which we thought rather niais. From my reading and my few experiences I, however, acquired a far greater insight into life than most boys would have done, for I remembered and thought long over everything I heard or learned. Between my mother and cousins and our visitors there was much reading and discussion of literary topics, and I listened to more than any one noted, and profited by it.

I was always reading and mentally reviewing. If my mother made a call, I was at once absorbed in the first book which came to hand. Thus I can remember that one summer, when we came to Dr. Stimson's, during the brief interval of our being shown into the "parlour," I seized on a Unitarian literary magazine and read the story of Osapho, the Egyptian who trained parrots to cry, "Osapho is a god!" Also an article on Chinese acupuncture with needles to cure rheumatism; which chance readings and reminiscences I could multiply ad infinitum.

My cousin Caroline, whom I remember as very beautiful and refined, with a distinguee manner, had a small work-box, on the cover of which was a picture of the Pavilion in Brighton. She spoke of the building as a rubbishy piece of architecture; but I, who felt it through the "Arabian Nights," admired it, and pitied her want of taste. Now I have lived altogether three years in Brighton, but I never saw the Pavilion without recalling the little yellow work-box. In some mysterious way the picture seems to me to be grander than the original. Dickens has expressed this idea. I was too grave and earnest as a child to be called a cheerful or happy one, which was partly due to much ill-health; yet, by a strange contradiction not uncommon in America, I was gifted with a precociously keen sense of humour, and not only read, but collected and preserved every comic almanac and scrap of droll anecdote which I could get. Thus there came into my possession half-a-dozen books of the broadest London humour of the time, all of which entered into my soul; such things as:—

'"Ladies in furs and gemmen in spurs, Who lollop and lounge all day; The Bazaar in Soho is completely the go, Walk into the shop of Grimaldi."

Reader mine, you can have no conception how deeply I, as a mere little boy, entered into and knew London life and society from such songs, sketches, anecdotes, books, and caricatures as I met with. Others read and forget them, but I took such trifles deep into my soul and dwelt on them. It is only of late years, since I have lived in England, that I have learned how extensively—I may say incredibly well—I was informed for my age as to many phases of English life. Few of us know what may be got out of reading the current light literature of the day, if we only read it earnestly and get it by heart. This I did to a great extent, as my reminiscences continually awakened in England prove.

There was in Dedham a very old house of somewhat superior style, which had been built, if not in 1630, at least within a very few years after. It was inhabited by three sisters named Fairbanks, who were very peculiar indeed, and their peculiarity consisted in a strange devotion to the past, and above all to old English memories of colonial times before the Revolution. Even in England this resistance can hardly be understood at the present day, and yet it may still be found alive in New England. In the house itself was a well, dug to supply water when besieged by Indians, and the old ladies used to exhibit an immense old gun once used by Puritans, and an ox-saddle and other relics. They had also a very ancient book of prayer of the Church of England, and an old Bible, and thereby hangs a tale. They were all still living in 1849 or 1850, when I visited them with my very pretty cousin Mary Elizabeth Fisher, and as I professed the Episcopal faith, and had been in England, the precious relics were shown to me as to one of the initiated. But they showed a marked aversion to letting Miss Fisher see them, as she was a Unitarian. So they went on, as many others did in my youth, still staunch adherents to England, nice old Tories, believers in the King or Queen, for whom they prayed, and not in the President. I remember that Miss Eliza Leslie told me in later years of just such another trio.

My grandfather in Holliston was, as his father and brothers and uncles had all been, an old Revolutionary soldier, who had been four years in the war and taken part in many battles. He had been at Princeton (where I afterwards graduated) and Saratoga, and witnessed the surrender of Burgoyne to Gates. I was principally concerned to know whether the conqueror had kept the sword handed to him on this occasion, and was rather disappointed to learn that it was given back. Once I found in the garret a bayonet which my grandma said had been carried by grandfather in the war. I turned it with a broom-handle into a lance and made ferocious charges on the cat and hens.

This grandfather, Oliver Leland, exerted an extraordinary influence on me, and one hard to describe. He was great, grim, and taciturn to behold, yet with a good heart, and not devoid of humour. He was gouty, and yet not irritable. He continually recurs to me while reading Icelandic sagas, and as a kind of man who would now be quite out of the age anywhere. All his early associations had been of war and a half-wild life. He was born about 1758, and therefore in a rude age in rural New England. He, I may say, deeply interested me.

All boys are naturally full of the romance of war; the Revolution was to us more than the Crusades and all chivalry combined, and my grandfather was a living example and chronicle of all that I most admired. Often I sat on a little cricket at his feet, and listened to tales of battles, scoutings, and starving; how he had been obliged to live on raw wheat, which produced evil results, and beheld General Washington and other great men, and had narrow escapes from Indians, and been at the capturing of a fort by moonlight, and seen thousands of pounds' worth of stores destroyed. I frequently thought of old grandfather Oliver when "out" myself during the Civil War, and was half-starved and chilled when scouting, or when doing rough and tough in West Virginia.

My grandfather often told me such stories of the war, and others of his father and grandfather, who had fought before him in the old French war in Canada, and how the latter, having gone up to trade among the Indians one winter, endeared himself so much to them that they would not let him go, and kept him a captive until the next summer. I came across traces of this ancestor in an old Canadian record, wherein it appears that he once officiated as interpreter in the French and Indian tongues. Whereby critics may remark that learning French and Algonkin runs in our blood, and that my proclivity for Indians is legitimately inherited. I would that I knew all the folklore that my great-grandsire heard in the Indian wigwams in those old days!

I can remember seeing my grandfather once sitting and talking with five other veterans of the war. But I saw them daily in those times, and once several hundreds, or it may be thousands, of them in a great procession in Philadelphia in 1832. And here I may mention that in 1834 I often saw one named Rice, whose age, as authenticated by his pension papers, was 106, and that in 1835 I shook hands with Thomas Hughes, aged 95, who was the last survivor of the Boston Tea party. He had come to visit our school, and how we boys cheered the old gentleman, who was in our eyes one of the greatest men alive! But all the old folk in my boyhood could tell tales of the Revolution, which was indeed not very much older then than the Rebellion is to us now.

I can also recollect seeing Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the last of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, though my memory of the man is now confused with that of a very perfect portrait which belonged to his granddaughter, Mrs. Jackson, who was a next-door but one neighbour in after years in Walnut Street, Philadelphia. He was a very venerable- looking man.

My father served for a short time in the war of 1812, and I have heard him relate that when the startling news of peace arrived in Boston, where he was, he at once took a sleigh and fast horses and drove full speed, being the first to disseminate the news in the country. That was as good as Browning's "Ride to Ghent" in its way—apropos of which Mr. Browning once startled me by telling me, "I suppose you know that it is an invention of mine, and not founded on any real incident." But my father's headlong sleigh-ride—he was young and wild in those days—was real and romantic enough in all conscience. It set bells to ringing, multitudes to cheering, bonfires a-blazing on hills and in towns, and also some few to groaning, as happened to a certain old deacon, who had invested his all in English goods, and said, when he heard the cheers caused by the news, "Wife, if that's war news, I'm saved; but if it's peace, I'm ruined!" Even so it befell me, in after years, to be the first person to announce in the United States, far in advance of any others, the news of the French Revolution of 1848, as I shall fully prove in the sequence.

It may be here remarked, that, though not "professionals," all of our family, without a break in the record, have successively taken turns at fighting, and earned our pay as soldiers, since time lost in oblivion; for I and my brother tried it on during the Rebellion, wherein he indeed, standing by my side, got the wound from a shell of which he eventually died; while there were none who were not in the old Indian wars or the English troubles of Charles the Second and First, and so on back, I dare say, to the days of Bussli de Leland, who laid all Yorkshire waste.

My grandfather, though not wealthy, owned a great deal of land, and I can remember that he one afternoon showed me a road, saying that he owned the land on each side for a mile. I myself, in after years, however, came to own in fee-simple a square mile of extremely rich land in Kansas, which I sold for sixteen hundred dollars, while my grandfather's was rather of that kind by which men's poverty was measured in Virginia—that is to say, the more land a man had the poorer he was considered to be. It is related of one of these that he once held great rejoicing at having got rid of a vast property by the ingenious process of giving some person one half of it to induce him to take the other. However, as there is now a large town or small city on my grandfather's whilom estate, I wish that it could have been kept. Mais ou sont les neiges d'antan, or the ducats of Panurge?

There was a "home-pasture," a great field behind my grandfather's house, where I loved to sit alone, and which has left a deep impression on my memory, as though it were a fairy-haunted or imagined place. It was very rocky, the stones being covered with clean, crisp, dry lichens, and in one spot there was the gurgling deep down in some crevice of a mysterious unseen spring or rivulet. Young as I was, I had met with a line which bore on it—

"Deep from their vaults the Loxian murmurs flow."

And there was something very voice-like or human in this murmur or chattering of the unseen brook. This I distinctly remember, that the place gave me not only a feeling, but a faith that it was haunted by something gentle and merry. I went there many a time for company, being much alone. An Indian would have told me that it was the Un a games- suk—the spirit-fairies of the rock and stream. These beings enter far more largely, deeply, and socially into their life or faith than elves or fairies ever did into those of the Aryan races, and I might well have been their protege, for there could have been few little boys living, so fond as I was of sitting all alone by rock and river, hill and greenwood tree. There are yet in existence on some of this land which was once ours certain mysterious walls or relics of heavy stone-work, which my friend Eben C. Horsford thinks were made by the Norsemen. I hope that they were, for I have read many a saga in Icelandic, old Swedish, and Latin, and the romance thereof is deep in my soul; and as my own name is Godfrey, it is no wonder that the god Frey and his Freya are dear to me. In my boyhood—and it may be still the case—the "Injuns" got the credit of having built these mysterious works.

Not far from Holliston is Mendon, where I had an uncle, Seth Davenport, who had a large, pleasant, old-fashioned New England farm, which was more productive than my grandfather's, since there were employed on it sixteen men, three of whom were Natick Indians of the old local stock. There were many of them when my mother was young, but I suppose that the last of the tribe has long since died. One of these Indians, Rufus Pease, I can recall as looking like a dark-ruddy gypsy, with a pleasant smile. He very was fond of me. He belonged to a well-known family, and had a brother—and thereby hangs a tale, or, in this case, a scalp-lock.

"Marm" Pease, the mother of Rufus, had on one occasion been confined, and old Doctor—I forget his name—who officiated at the birth, had been asked to give the infant a name. Now he was a dry wag, of the kind so dear to Dr. Holmes, and expressed much gratification and gratitude at such a compliment being paid to him. "He had long been desirous," he said, "of naming a child after his dear old friend, Dr. Green." So the name was bestowed, the simple Indians not realising for some time after the christening that their youngest bore the name of Green Pease. Whether he was ever called a duck, I know not.

Everything about Uncle Seth and Aunt Betsy was, as I remember, delightfully comfortable, old-fashioned, and in a way beautiful. There was their daughter Rebecca, who was pretty and gentle, so that several wild birds came every morning to feed from her hand and perch on her fingers. Uncle Seth himself wore a scarlet waistcoat, and, as I recall him, seemed altogether in figure to belong to the time of Cromwell, or to earlier days. There was a hall, hung round with many old family portraits in antique dresses, and an immense dairy—the pride of Aunt Betsy's heart—and a garden, in which I was once shown a humming-bird's nest; and cousin Rebecca's mantelpiece, over a vast old fireplace, heaped with mosses, birds' nests, shells, and such curiosities as a young girl would gather in the woods and fields; and the cider-press, in which Uncle Seth ground up the sixteen hundred bushels of apples which he had at one crop, and the new cider gushing in a stream, whereof I had a taste. It was a charming, quiet old homestead, in which books and culture were not wanting, and it has all to me now something of the chiaroscuro and Rembrandt colour and charm of the Mahrchen or fairy-tale. The reality of this charm is apt to go out of life as that of literature or culture comes in. To this day I draw the deepest impression or sentiment of the pantheism or subtle spiritual charm of Nature far more from these early experiences of rural life than from all the books, poetry included, which I have ever perused. Note this well, ye whose best feelings are only a rechauffe of Ruskin and Browning—secundem ordinem—for I observe that those who do not think at second hand are growing rare.

In the town of Milford lived my uncle, William Godfrey, with my aunt Nancy, and of them and their home I have many pleasant memories. The very first of them all was not so pleasant to me at the time. My parents had just arrived, and had not been ten minutes in the house ere a tremendous squall was heard, and my mother, looking from the window, beheld me standing in the open barn-door holding a tiny chicken in my right hand, while an old hen sat on my head flapping her wings and pecking me in wrath. I, seeing the brood, had forthwith captured one, and for that was undergoing penance. It was a beautiful tableau, which was never forgotten! We went there on visits for many summers. Uncle William was a kind-hearted, "sportive" man, who took Bell's Life, and I can remember that there was a good supply of English reading in the house. My uncle had three sons, all much older than I. The eldest, Stearns, was said to have first popularised the phrase "posted up," to signify well-informed. The second, Benjamin, became in after years a great manufacturer and somewhat noted politician, and owner of a famous racehorse. The third, Samuel, went into business in Philadelphia, and crossed the Atlantic with me. He died quite young. All of them, like their father and grandfather, were very good-natured or gentle, and men of perfect integrity. The Lelands, however, were rather dour and grim in their honesty, or more Northern than the Godfreys. This was accounted for by the fact, that while my father's family was Puritan of the purest, and only intermarried with Puritan stock, the Godfreys had in Rhode Island received an infusion of French Huguenot blood, which was indeed very perceptible in their faces and lively pleasant manner.

There was a strange tradition, to which my mother sometimes jestingly referred, that there had been among her Rhode Island ancestors a High German (i.e., not a Hollander) doctor, who had a reputation as a sorcerer or wizard. He was a man of learning, but that is all I ever heard about him. My mother's opinion was that this was a very strong case of atavism, and that the mysterious ancestor had through the ages cropped out again in me. Something tells me that this was the High German doctor who, according to Washington Irving, laid the mystic spell on Sleepy Hollow, which made of it such a pleasant, ancient, dreamy fairy- land. Whether his friendly spirit still watches over me, or whether I am the man himself, is a problem which I leave to my friend Francis Galton, who indeed personally often reminds me of Irving. High German sorcerers were not common in those days north of Pennsylvania, so that I trow mine was the very man referred to by Geoffrey Crayon. And it is true beyond all doubt that even in infancy, as I have often heard, there was a quaint uncanniness, as of something unknown, in my nature, and that I differed in the main totally from every relative, and indeed from any other little boy, known to anybody; though I was a perfect Godfrey in face when very young, as I am now a typical Leland. I was always given to loneliness in gardens and woods when I could get into them, and to hearing words in birds' songs and running or falling water; and I once appalled a visitor by professing seriously that I could determine for him some question as to what would happen to him by divination with a bullet in an Indian moccasin. We had two servants who spoke old Irish; one was an inexhaustible mine of legends, which she related to me—she surpassed Croker; the other, less versed, still knew a great deal, and told me how her own father, Jackey Mooney, had seen the fairies with his own eyes. Both of these sincerely and seriously regarded me as "gifted" or elfin- favoured, and the latter said in proof thereof, "Only listen to his voice; sure whin he spakes he'd while a burred aff a tree." For my uncanny ways made a deep impression on them, as also on the darkies.

Once I had a wonderful dream. I thought that I was in Dr. Furness's chapel, but that, instead of the gentle reverend clergyman, the devil himself was in the pulpit preaching. Feeling myself inspired, I went up into the pulpit, threw the Evil One out, and preached myself in his place. Now our nurse had a dream-book, and made some pretence to mystic fairy knowledge learned in Kilkenny, and she interpreted this dream as signifying that I would greatly rise in this world, and do strange things. But she was greatly struck with such a vision in such an infant.

Now, I was a great reader of Scripture; in fact, I learned a great deal too much of it, believing now that for babes and sucklings about one-third of it had better be expurgated. The Apocrypha was a favourite work, but above all I loved the Revelations, a work which, I may say by the way, is still a treasure to be investigated as regards the marvellous mixture of Neo-Platonic, later Egyptian (or Gnostic), and even Indian Buddhistic ideas therein. Well, I had learned from it a word which St. John applies (to my mind very vulgarly and much too frequently) to the Scarlet Lady of Babylon or Rome. What this word meant I did not know, but this I understood, that it was "sass" of some kind, as negroes term it, and so one day I applied it experimentally to my nurse. Though the word was not correctly pronounced, for I had never heard it from anybody, its success was immediate, but not agreeable. The passionate Irish woman flew into a great rage and declared that she would "lave the house." My mother, called in, investigated the circumstances, and found that I really had no idea whatever of the meaning of what I had said. Peace was restored, but Annie declared that only the divil or the fairies could have inspired such an infant to use such language.

I was very fond of asking my nurse to sing in old Irish or to teach me Irish words. This she did, but agreed with her sister Biddy that it was all very uncanny, and that there must have been a time when I was perfectly familiar with the owld language, as I had such unearthly fondness for it.

I must have been about seven years old when my parents took a house in Arch Street, above Ninth Street, Philadelphia. Here my life begins to be more marked and distinct. I was at first sent, i.e., walked daily to the school of Jacob Pierce, a worthy Quaker, who made us call him Jacob, and who carefully taught us all the ordinary branches, and gave us excellent lectures on natural philosophy and chemistry with experiments, and encouraged us to form mineralogical collections, but who objected to our reading history, "because there were so many battles in it." In which system of education all that is good and bad, or rather weak, in Quakerism is fully summed up. Like the Roman Catholic, it is utterly unfit for all the world, and incapable of grappling with or adapting itself to the natural expansion of science and the human mind. Thus the Quaker garb, which was originally intended by its simplicity to avoid the appearance of eccentricity or peculiarity (most dress in the time of the Stuarts being extravagant), has now become, by merely sticking to old custom, the most eccentric dress known. The school was in a very large garden, in which was a gymnasium, and in the basement of the main building there was a carpenter's shop with a turning-lathe, where boys were allowed to work as a reward for good conduct.

I could never learn the multiplication table. There are things which the mind, like the stomach, spasmodically rejects without the least perceptible cause or reason. So I have found it to be with certain words which will not be remembered. There was one Arab word which I verily believe I looked out one hundred times in the dictionary, and repeated a thousand, yet never could keep it. Every teacher should be keen to detect these antipathies, and cure them by gentle and persuasive means. Unfortunately no one in my youth knew any better way to overcome them than by "keeping me in" after school to study, when I was utterly weary and worn—a very foolish punishment, as is depriving a boy of his meals, or anything else levelled at Nature. I think there must have been many months of time, and of as much vain and desperate effort on my part to remember, wasted on my early arithmetic. Now I can see that by rewards or inducements, and by the very simple process of only learning "one time one is one" for the first lesson, and that and one line more for the second, I could have mastered the whole book in time. But oh! the weary, dreary days, and the sad waste of time, and the anxious nervous suffering, which arithmetic cost me in my youth, and mathematics in after years!

But there was one class at Jacob's in which I was facile-princeps and habitual past-grand-master. This was the class which was, like the professorship of Diogenes Teufelsdrockh, for Matters and Things in General. That is to say, we read aloud from some book—it may have been selections from English writers—and then Jacob, picking out the hard words or facts or phrases, required of them definition or explanation. One day there arose in these questions a sum in arithmetic, when I shot down to the tail of the class as a plummet drops to the bottom of the well. I shall never forget the proud fierce impatience which I felt, like an imprisoned chieftain who knows that he will speedily be delivered and take dire vengeance on his foes. I had not long to wait. "'Refectory,' what is a 'refectory'? Hillburn Jones, does thee know? Joseph Widdifield, does thee?" But none of them knew till it came to me "down tail," when I cried "An oyster-cellar." "That is quite right, Charley; thee can go up head," said Jacob, and as I passed Hillburn Jones he whispered, half in fun, half enviously, the "Kemble Refectory." This was an oyster-cellar which had been recently opened under the Arch Street Theatre, and whence Hillburn and I had derived our knowledge of the word, the difference being that I remembered more promptly and risked more boldly. But I missed it one day when I defined a peasant as "a nest full of young birds;" the fact being that I recalled a picture in AEsop's fables, and confused peasant with pheasant. One day Jacob rebuked the class for letting me always be at their head, when Hillburn Jones, who was a very honest little boy, said, "Indeed, Jacob, thee must know that all that we do know, Charley tells us." For I was already an insatiable reader, and always recalling what I read, and always communicating my knowledge to others in the form of small lectures. I had a book of Scripture stories, with a picture of Pharaoh in his chariot, with the title, "Pharaoh's host sunk in the Red Sea." Hence I concluded that a host was a vehicle of a very superior description. A carriage-builder in our neighbourhood had executed a chaise of very unusual magnificence, and as I stood admiring it I informed Hillburn that this was what was called by the learned a host, and that it was in such a host that Pharaoh perished. I remember elevating my voice somewhat for the benefit of a bystander, being somewhat proud of this bit of knowledge.

Unfortunately, not only my father, but also my teacher, and with them the entire population of North America, in those days regarded a good knowledge of arithmetic as forming nine-tenths of all that was most needful in education, while indulgence in a taste for general information, and "literature" especially, was glared at with a very evil eye indeed, as tending to injure a "practical business man." That there could be any kind of profitable or respectable calling not based upon arithmetic did not enter into the heart of man to conceive, while among the bankers and merchants of Boston, New York, or Philadelphia there was a deeply-seated conviction that even a wealthy and successful editor, literary man, or artist, was really an inferior as compared to themselves. As this sublime truth was severely rubbed into me several times daily during the greater portion of my youthful life, and as in its earlier stage I rarely met with a man grown who did not look down on me as an unfortunate non-arithmetical, unbusinesslike creature, and let me know it too, I very naturally grew up with a low estimate of my own capacities; and as I was proud and sensitive, this was to me a source of much suffering, which often became terrible as I advanced in years. But at that time the position of the literary man or scholar, with the exception of a very few brilliant magnates who had "made money," was in the United States not an enviable one. Serious interest in art and letters was not understood, or so generally sympathised with, as it now is in "Quakerdelphia." There was a gentleman in Philadelphia who was a scholar, and who having lived long abroad, had accumulated a very curious black-letter and rariora library. For a long time I observed that this library was never mentioned in polite circles without significant smiles. One day I heard a lady say very meaningly, "I suppose that you know what kind of books he has and how he obtained them?" So I inquired very naturally if he had come by them dishonestly. To which the reply, half- whispered in my ear lest it should be overheard, was, "They say his books are all old things, which he did not buy at any first-class stores, but picked up at old stalls and in second-hand shops at less than their value; in fact, they did not cost him much."

Yet these remarks must not be regarded as too sweeping or general. Firstly, I am speaking of sixty years since. Secondly, there were many people of literary tastes in Philadelphia—a little isolated, it is true; and finally, there was a great culture of science, founded by Franklin, and fostered by the medical schools. I could cite a brilliant array of names of men distinguished in these matters. What I am writing is simply a sincere record of my own—somewhat peculiar—or personal experiences. There are doubtless many who would write very differently. And now times are very greatly changed.

I have again a quaint early reminiscence. It would happen that now and then a new carriage, always of the same sober description, with two very good, but seldom showy, horses would appear in the streets. Then its owner would be greeted on Market Street with the remark, "Well, Sammy, I see thee's got thee fifty thousand dollars." This sum—ten thousand pounds—constituted the millionaireism or moneyed aristocracy of those days. On it, with a thriving business, Samuel could maintain a family in good fashion, and above all, in great comfort, which was sensibly regarded as better than fashion or style. Fifty thousand dollars entitled a man to keep a carriage and be classed as "quality" by the negroes.

It may be worth noting that although the Quakers did not allow the piano in their families, as being too worldly, they compromised by having musical boxes. And I have heard that in the country, where still older fashioned ideas prevailed, the one bit of finery allowed to a Quaker damsel was a red ribbon; but it must be red, not of any other colour.

Let it be remembered that at this time Philadelphia, and even the world, were as yet to a great degree in the Middle Ages as compared to the present day. We had few steamboats, and no railroads, or telephones, or percussion-caps, or a tremendous press, or Darwinism, or friction matches. Even the introduction of ice-cream, and stone coal as fuel, and grates was within the memory of our elders. Apropos of matches, the use of tinderbox and brimstone matches was universal; bold young men had tinder pistols; but the wood fire was generally kept under ashes all night, and I can well remember how our negro servants, when it had gone out, were used early on winter mornings to borrow a shovelful of coals from the cook of our next-door neighbour, and how it was handed over the garden fence, the recipient standing on our pump handle and the donor on hers.

I forget in what year the railroad (with locomotives) was first built from Philadelphia to Columbia, a distance of sixty miles. I believe it was the first real road of the kind in America. On the day when the first train ran, the City Council and certain honoured guests made the journey, and among them was my father, who took me with him. There were only a few miles of the road then completed. It was a stupendous marvel to me, and all this being drawn by steam, and by a great terrible iron monster of a machine. And there was still in all souls a certain unearthly awe of the recently invented and as yet rather rare steamboats. I can (strangely enough) still recall this feeling by a mental effort—this meeting the Horror for the first time! My father remembered, and had been in the first steamboat which was a success on the Delaware. I saw its wreck in after years at Hoboken. The earlier boat made by John Fitch is still preserved in Bordentown.

I can remember that when gas was introduced to light the city, it was done under a fearful opposition. All the principal people signed a petition against it. I saw the paper. It would burst and kill myriads; it was poisonous; and, finally, it would ruin the oil trade. However, we got it at last. Somebody had invented hand gas-lamps; they were sold in the Arcade; and as one of these had burst, it was naturally supposed that the gasworks would do the same.

The characteristics of old Philadelphia were in those days so marked, and are, withal, so sweet to the memory, that I cannot help lingering on them. As Washington Irving says of the Golden Age of Wouter van Twiller, "Happy days when the harvest moon was twice as large as now, when the shad were all salmon, and peace was in the land." Trees grew abundantly in rows in almost every street—one before every house. I had two before mine till 1892, when the Street Commissioners heartlessly ordained that one must be cut down and removed, and charged me ten dollars for doing it. It is needless to say that since Street Commissioners have found this so profitable, trees have disappeared with sad rapidity. Then at twilight the pea-ak of the night-hawk could be heard all over Arasapha, which is the Indian name for the place where our city stands; there were in Coaquannoc, or the Schuylkill, abundant gold fish and perch, of which I angled divers. Yes, there was, and still is, a Fisher Club, which claims to be the oldest gentleman's club in Anglo-Saxony, and which has for two centuries brewed for itself a "fish-house punch" as delicious as that of London civic banquets. There be no fish in the fair river now; they have all vanished before the combined forces of petroleum and the offal of factories and mines, but the Fish-House Club still has its merry banquets in its ancient home; for, as the French say, "Chacun peche a sa maniere." In graveyards lone or over gardens green glittered of summer nights millions of fireflies; there was the scent of magnolias, roses, pinks, and honeysuckles by every house; for Philadelphians have always had a passion for flowers, and there never was a Quaker, much less a Quakeress, who has not studied botany, and wandered in Bartram's Garden and culled blue gentians in the early fall, or lilies wild in Wissahickon's shade. There still remains a very beautiful relic of this olden time in the old Swedes Church, which every stranger should visit. It is a quaint structure of more than two hundred years, and in its large churchyard (which is not, like Karamsin's graves, "deserted and drear," but charming and garden-like) one can imagine himself in rural England.

In the spring of the year there was joyous activity on the Delaware, even in town; for, as the song hath it—

"De fishin' time hab come at last, De winter all am gone and past;"

and there was the casting of immense seines and the catching of myriads of shad, the typical fish or emblem of the Quaker Philadelphian, because in the profile outline of the shad people professed to discern the form according to which the Quaker coat was cut. With the shad were many herring, and now and then a desperate giant of a sturgeon, who in his struggles would give those concerned enough to do. Then the yells of the black fishermen, the flapping of the horny knife-backed prey—often by the flashing of a night-fire—formed a picture worthy of Rembrandt. Apropos of these sturgeon, the fresh caviare or roe (which has been pronounced at St. Petersburg to surpass the Russian) was always thrown away, as was often the case with sweetbreads, which were rarely eaten. But if the caviare or roe was really in those days "caviare to the general" multitude, the nose of the fish was not, it being greatly coveted by us small boys wherewith to make a ball for "shinny," which for some occult reason was preferred to any other. Old people of my acquaintance could remember when seals had been killed at Cape May below the city, and how on one or two occasions a bewildered whale of no small dimensions had found its way to Burlington, some miles above.

Now and then there would be found in the bay below the city a tremendous, square-shaped, hideous, unnatural piscatorial monster, known as a devil- fish, or briefly devil. It was a legend of my youth that two preachers or ministers of the Presbyterian faith once went fishing in those waters, and having cast out a stout line, fastened to the mast, for shark, were amazed at finding themselves all at once careering through the waves at terrible speed, being dragged by one of the diabolical "monsters of the roaring deep" above mentioned. Whereupon a friend, who was in the boat, burst out laughing. And being asked, "Wherefore this unrestrained hilarity?" replied, "Is it not enough to make a man laugh to see the Devil running away with two clergymen?"

There was a very excellent and extensive museum of Matters and Things in General, founded by an ancient artist named Peale, who was the head-central charm and delight of all young Philadelphia in those days, and where, when we had been good all the week, we were allowed to repair on Saturday afternoons. And here I may say by the way, that miscellaneous collections of "curiosities," oddities, and relics are far more attractive to children, and stimulate in them far more interest and inquisitiveness and desire for general information, than do the best scientific collections, where everything is ranked and numbered, and wherein even an Etruscan tiara or a Viking's sword loses much of its charm when placed simply as a "specimen" in a row of others of the kind. I am not arguing here in the least against scientific or properly arranged archaeologic collections, but to declare the truth that for children museums of the despised curiosities are far more attractive and infinitely more useful.

I owe so very much myself to the old Peale's Museum; it served to stimulate to such a remarkable degree my interest in antiquities and my singular passion for miscellaneous information, and it aided me so much in my reading, that I cannot pass it by without a tribute to its memory. How often have I paused in its dark galleries in awe before the tremendous skeleton of the Mammoth—how small did that of a great elephant seem beside it—and recalled the Indian legend of it recorded by Franklin. And the stuffed monkeys—one shaving another—what exquisite humour, which never palled upon us! No; that was the museum for us, and the time will come when there will be such collections made expressly for the young.

"Stuffed monkey" was a common by-word, by the way, for a conceited fellow. Therefore the Louisville Journal, speaking of a rival sheet, said: "Reader, if you will go into the Louisville Museum, you will see two stuffed monkeys reading the Courier. And if you will then go into the office of the Louisville Courier, you may see two living stuffed monkeys editing the same." The beautiful sallies of this kind which appeared in these two newspapers for years would make a lively volume.

Never shall I forget one evening alone in that Museum. I had come with Jacob Pierce's school, and strayed off alone into some far-away and fascinating nook, forgetful of friends and time. All the rest had departed homewards, and I sought to find them. The dark evening shades were casting sombre tones in the galleries—I was a very little boy of seven or eight—and the stuffed lions and bears and wolves seemed looming or glooming into mysterious life; the varnished sharks and hideous shiny crocodiles had a light of awful intelligence in their eyes; the gigantic anaconda had long awaited me; the grim hyaena marked me for his own; even deer and doves seemed uncanny and goblined. At this long interval of sixty years, I can recall the details of that walk, and every object which impressively half-appalled me, and how what had been a museum had become a chamber of horrors, yet not without a wild and awful charm. Of course I lost my way in the shades, and was beginning to speculate on having to pass a night among the monsters, and how much there would be left for my friends to mourn over in the morning, when—Eureka! Thalatta!—I beheld the gate of entrance and exit, and made my latter as joyously as ever did the souls who were played out of Inferno by the old reprobate of the Roman tale.

Since that adventure I never mentioned it to a living soul till now, and yet there is not an event of my life so vividly impressed on my memory.

My father took me very rarely to the theatre; but my Quaker school-mates had never seen the inside of such places at all, and therefore listened greedily to what I could tell them of the sights. One of the wonders of my youth was the seeing the great elephant Columbus perform in a play called "The Englishman in Siam." It was indeed very curious, and it is described as such in works on natural history. And I saw Edwin Forrest (whom I learned to know in later years) in "Metamora," and Fanny Kemble in "Beatrice," and so on. As for George Boker, he went, I believe, to every place of amusement whenever he pleased, and talked familiarly of actors, some of whom he actually knew, and their lives, in a manner which awoke in me awe and a feeling as being humble and ignorant indeed. As we grew older, Boker and I, from reading "Don Quixote" and Scott, used to sit together for hours improvising legends of chivalry and marvellous romances. It was in the year when it first appeared that I read (in the New Monthly) and got quite by heart the rhyming tale of "Sir Rupert the Fearless," a tale of the Rhine, one of the Ingoldsby legends, by Barham. I can still repeat a great part of it. I bore it in mind till in after years it inspired (allied to Goethe's Wassermadchen) my ballad of De Maiden mit Nodings on, which has, as I now write, been very recently parodied and pictured by Punch, March 18, 1893. My mother had taught me to get poetry by heart, and by the time I was ten years of age, I had imbibed, so to speak, an immense quantity; for, as in opium-eating, those who begin by effort end by taking in with ease.

There was something else so very characteristic of old Philadelphia that I will not pass it by. In the fall of the year the reed-bird, which is quite as good as the ortolan of Italy, and very much like it (I prefer the reed-bird), came in large flocks to the marshes and shores of the Delaware and Schuylkill. Then might be seen a quaint and marvellous sight of men and boys of all ages and conditions, with firearms of every faculty and form, followed by dogs of every degree of badness, in all kinds of boats, among which the bateau of boards predominated, intermingled with an occasional Maryland dug-out or poplar canoe. Many, however, crept on foot along the shore, and this could be seen below the Navy Yard even within the city limits. Then, as flock after flock of once bobolinks and now reed-birds rose or fell in flurried flight, there would be such a banging, cracking, and barking as to suggest a South American revolution aided by blood-hounds. That somebody in the melee now and then got a charge of shot in his face, or that angry parties in dispute over a bird sometimes blazed away at one another and fought a l'outrance in every way, "goes without saying." Truly they were inspiriting sights, and kept up the martial valour, aided by frequent firemen's fights, which made Philadelphians so indomitable in the Rebellion, when, to the amazement of everybody, our Quaker city manifested a genius or love for hard fighting never surpassed by mortals.

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