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They sat down, distressed and indignant, but obedient, under compulsion.
He proceeded:

"Now, then, I want this case explained. THEY wanted to explain it
to me--as if there hadn't been emotion or excitement enough already.
You knew my orders; how did you dare to go in there and get up
that riot?"

Hester looked appealing at Hannah; Hannah returned a beseeching look
at Hester--neither wanted to dance to this unsympathetic orchestra.
The doctor came to their help. He said:

"Begin, Hester."

Fingering at the fringes of her shawl, and with lowered eyes,
Hester said, timidly:

"We should not have disobeyed for any ordinary cause, but this
was vital. This was a duty. With a duty one has no choice;
one must put all lighter considerations aside and perform it.
We were obliged to arraign her before her mother. She had told
a lie."

The doctor glowered upon the woman a moment, and seemed
to be trying to work up in his mind an understand of a wholly
incomprehensible proposition; then he stormed out:

"She told a lie! DID she? God bless my soul! I tell a million a day!
And so does every doctor. And so does everybody--including you--
for that matter. And THAT was the important thing that authorized
you to venture to disobey my orders and imperil that woman's life!
Look here, Hester Gray, this is pure lunacy; that girl COULDN'T tell
a lie that was intended to injure a person. The thing is impossible--
absolutely impossible. You know it yourselves--both of you;
you know it perfectly well."

Hannah came to her sister's rescue:

"Hester didn't mean that it was that kind of a lie, and it wasn't.
But it was a lie."

"Well, upon my word, I never heard such nonsense! Haven't you
got sense enough to discriminate between lies! Don't you know
the difference between a lie that helps and a lie that hurts?"

"ALL lies are sinful," said Hannah, setting her lips together
like a vise; "all lies are forbidden."

The Only Christian fidgeted impatiently in his chair. He went to attack
this proposition, but he did not quite know how or where to begin.
Finally he made a venture:

"Hester, wouldn't you tell a lie to shield a person from an undeserved
injury or shame?"

"No."

"Not even a friend?"

"No."

"Not even your dearest friend?"

"No. I would not."

The doctor struggled in silence awhile with this situation;
then he asked:

"Not even to save him from bitter pain and misery and grief?"

"No. Not even to save his life."

Another pause. Then:

"Nor his soul?"

There was a hush--a silence which endured a measurable interval--
then Hester answered, in a low voice, but with decision:

"Nor his soul?"

No one spoke for a while; then the doctor said:

"Is it with you the same, Hannah?"

"Yes," she answered.

"I ask you both--why?"

"Because to tell such a lie, or any lie, is a sin, and could cost
us the loss of our own souls--WOULD, indeed, if we died without
time to repent."

"Strange . . . strange . . . it is past belief." Then he
asked, roughly: "Is such a soul as that WORTH saving?"
He rose up, mumbling and grumbling, and started for the door,
stumping vigorously along. At the threshold he turned and rasped
out an admonition: "Reform! Drop this mean and sordid and selfish
devotion to the saving of your shabby little souls, and hunt up
something to do that's got some dignity to it! RISK your souls! risk
them in good causes; then if you lose them, why should you care? Reform!"

The good old gentlewomen sat paralyzed, pulverized, outraged, insulted,
and brooded in bitterness and indignation over these blasphemies.
They were hurt to the heart, poor old ladies, and said they could
never forgive these injuries.

"Reform!"

They kept repeating that word resentfully. "Reform--and learn
to tell lies!"

Time slipped along, and in due course a change came over their spirits.
They had completed the human being's first duty--which is to think
about himself until he has exhausted the subject, then he is in a
condition to take up minor interests and think of other people.
This changes the complexion of his spirits--generally wholesomely.
The minds of the two old ladies reverted to their beloved niece
and the fearful disease which had smitten her; instantly they forgot
the hurts their self-love had received, and a passionate desire
rose in their hearts to go to the help of the sufferer and comfort
her with their love, and minister to her, and labor for her the best
they could with their weak hands, and joyfully and affectionately
wear out their poor old bodies in her dear service if only they might
have the privilege.

"And we shall have it!" said Hester, with the tears running
down her face. "There are no nurses comparable to us, for there
are no others that will stand their watch by that bed till they
drop and die, and God knows we would do that."

"Amen," said Hannah, smiling approval and endorsement through the
mist of moisture that blurred her glasses. "The doctor knows us,
and knows we will not disobey again; and he will call no others.
He will not dare!"

"Dare?" said Hester, with temper, and dashing the water from her eyes;
"he will dare anything--that Christian devil! But it will do no
good for him to try it this time--but, laws! Hannah! after all's
said and done, he is gifted and wise and good, and he would not
think of such a thing. . . . It is surely time for one of us to go
to that room. What is keeping him? Why doesn't he come and say so?"

They caught the sound of his approaching step. He entered, sat down,
and began to talk.

"Margaret is a sick woman," he said. "She is still sleeping,
but she will wake presently; then one of you must go to her.
She will be worse before she is better. Pretty soon a night-and-day
watch must be set. How much of it can you two undertake?"

"All of it!" burst from both ladies at once.

The doctor's eyes flashed, and he said, with energy:

"You DO ring true, you brave old relics! And you SHALL do all of
the nursing you can, for there's none to match you in that divine
office in this town; but you can't do all of it, and it would
be a crime to let you." It was grand praise, golden praise,
coming from such a source, and it took nearly all the resentment
out of the aged twin's hearts. "Your Tilly and my old Nancy shall
do the rest--good nurses both, white souls with black skins,
watchful, loving, tender--just perfect nurses!--and competent liars
from the cradle. . . . Look you! keep a little watch on Helen;
she is sick, and is going to be sicker."

The ladies looked a little surprised, and not credulous; and Hester said:

"How is that? It isn't an hour since you said she was as sound
as a nut."

The doctor answered, tranquilly:

"It was a lie."

The ladies turned upon him indignantly, and Hannah said:

"How can you make an odious confession like that, in so indifferent
a tone, when you know how we feel about all forms of--"

"Hush! You are as ignorant as cats, both of you, and you don't know
what you are talking about. You are like all the rest of the moral moles;
you lie from morning till night, but because you don't do it with
your mouths, but only with your lying eyes, your lying inflections,
your deceptively misplaced emphasis, and your misleading gestures,
you turn up your complacent noses and parade before God and
the world as saintly and unsmirched Truth-Speakers, in whose
cold-storage souls a lie would freeze to death if it got there!
Why will you humbug yourselves with that foolish notion that no
lie is a lie except a spoken one? What is the difference between
lying with your eyes and lying with your mouth? There is none;
and if you would reflect a moment you would see that it is so.
There isn't a human being that doesn't tell a gross of lies every day
of his life; and you--why, between you, you tell thirty thousand;
yet you flare up here in a lurid hypocritical horror because I
tell that child a benevolent and sinless lie to protect her from
her imagination, which would get to work and warm up her blood to a
fever in an hour, if I were disloyal enough to my duty to let it.
Which I should probably do if I were interested in saving my soul
by such disreputable means.

"Come, let us reason together. Let us examine details. When you
two were in the sick-room raising that riot, what would you have
done if you had known I was coming?"

"Well, what?"

"You would have slipped out and carried Helen with you--wouldn't you?"

The ladies were silent.

"What would be your object and intention?"

"Well, what?"

"To keep me from finding out your guilt; to beguile me to infer that
Margaret's excitement proceeded from some cause not known to you.
In a word, to tell me a lie--a silent lie. Moreover, a possibly
harmful one."

The twins colored, but did not speak.

"You not only tell myriads of silent lies, but you tell lies
with your mouths--you two."

"THAT is not so!"

"It is so. But only harmless ones. You never dream of uttering
a harmful one. Do you know that that is a concession--and a confession?"

"How do you mean?"

"It is an unconscious concession that harmless lies are not criminal;
it is a confession that you constantly MAKE that discrimination.
For instance, you declined old Mrs. Foster's invitation last week
to meet those odious Higbies at supper--in a polite note in which you
expressed regret and said you were very sorry you could not go.
It was a lie. It was as unmitigated a lie as was ever uttered.
Deny it, Hester--with another lie."

Hester replied with a toss of her head.

"That will not do. Answer. Was it a lie, or wasn't it?"

The color stole into the cheeks of both women, and with a struggle
and an effort they got out their confession:

"It was a lie."

"Good--the reform is beginning; there is hope for you yet;
you will not tell a lie to save your dearest friend's soul, but you
will spew out one without a scruple to save yourself the discomfort
of telling an unpleasant truth."

He rose. Hester, speaking for both, said; coldly:

"We have lied; we perceive it; it will occur no more. To lie is
a sin. We shall never tell another one of any kind whatsoever,
even lies of courtesy or benevolence, to save any one a pang
or a sorrow decreed for him by God."

"Ah, how soon you will fall! In fact, you have fallen already;
for what you have just uttered is a lie. Good-by. Reform!
One of you go to the sick-room now."

CHAPTER IV

Twelve days later.

Mother and child were lingering in the grip of the hideous disease.
Of hope for either there was little. The aged sisters looked white
and worn, but they would not give up their posts. Their hearts
were breaking, poor old things, but their grit was steadfast
and indestructible. All the twelve days the mother had pined for
the child, and the child for the mother, but both knew that the prayer
of these longings could not be granted. When the mother was told--
on the first day--that her disease was typhoid, she was frightened,
and asked if there was danger that Helen could have contracted it the
day before, when she was in the sick-chamber on that confession visit.
Hester told her the doctor had poo-pooed the idea. It troubled
Hester to say it, although it was true, for she had not believed
the doctor; but when she saw the mother's joy in the news, the pain
in her conscience lost something of its force--a result which made
her ashamed of the constructive deception which she had practiced,
though not ashamed enough to make her distinctly and definitely
wish she had refrained from it. From that moment the sick woman
understood that her daughter must remain away, and she said she would
reconcile herself to the separation the best she could, for she
would rather suffer death than have her child's health imperiled.
That afternoon Helen had to take to her bed, ill. She grew worse
during the night. In the morning her mother asked after her:

"Is she well?"

Hester turned cold; she opened her lips, but the words refused to come.
The mother lay languidly looking, musing, waiting; suddenly she
turned white and gasped out:

"Oh, my God! what is it? is she sick?"

Then the poor aunt's tortured heart rose in rebellion, and words came:

"No--be comforted; she is well."

The sick woman put all her happy heart in her gratitude:

"Thank God for those dear words! Kiss me. How I worship you
for saying them!"

Hester told this incident to Hannah, who received it with
a rebuking look, and said, coldly:

"Sister, it was a lie."

Hester's lips trembled piteously; she choked down a sob, and said:

"Oh, Hannah, it was a sin, but I could not help it. I could not
endure the fright and the misery that were in her face."

"No matter. It was a lie. God will hold you to account for it."

"Oh, I know it, I know it," cried Hester, wringing her hands,
"but even if it were now, I could not help it. I know I should do
it again."

"Then take my place with Helen in the morning. I will make
the report myself."

Hester clung to her sister, begging and imploring.

"Don't, Hannah, oh, don't--you will kill her."

"I will at least speak the truth."

In the morning she had a cruel report to bear to the mother,
and she braced herself for the trial. When she returned from
her mission, Hester was waiting, pale and trembling, in the hall.
She whispered:

"Oh, how did she take it--that poor, desolate mother?"

Hannah's eyes were swimming in tears. She said:

"God forgive me, I told her the child was well!"

Hester gathered her to her heart, with a grateful "God bless you, Hannah!"
and poured out her thankfulness in an inundation of worshiping praises.

After that, the two knew the limit of their strength, and accepted
their fate. They surrendered humbly, and abandoned themselves to the
hard requirements of the situation. Daily they told the morning lie,
and confessed their sin in prayer; not asking forgiveness, as not
being worthy of it, but only wishing to make record that they
realized their wickedness and were not desiring to hide it or excuse it.

Daily, as the fair young idol of the house sank lower and lower,
the sorrowful old aunts painted her glowing bloom and her fresh young
beauty to the wan mother, and winced under the stabs her ecstasies
of joy and gratitude gave them.

In the first days, while the child had strength to hold a pencil,
she wrote fond little love-notes to her mother, in which she concealed
her illness; and these the mother read and reread through happy
eyes wet with thankful tears, and kissed them over and over again,
and treasured them as precious things under her pillow.

Then came a day when the strength was gone from the hand, and the
mind wandered, and the tongue babbled pathetic incoherences.
this was a sore dilemma for the poor aunts. There were no love-notes
for the mother. They did not know what to do. Hester began a
carefully studied and plausible explanation, but lost the track of it
and grew confused; suspicion began to show in the mother's face,
then alarm. Hester saw it, recognized the imminence of the danger,
and descended to the emergency, pulling herself resolutely together
and plucking victor from the open jaws of defeat. In a placid
and convincing voice she said:

"I thought it might distress you to know it, but Helen spent the night
at the Sloanes'. There was a little party there, and, although she
did not want to go, and you so sick, we persuaded her, she being
young and needing the innocent pastimes of youth, and we believing
you would approve. Be sure she will write the moment she comes."

"How good you are, and how dear and thoughtful for us both!
Approve? Why, I thank you with all my heart. My poor little exile!
Tell her I want her to have every pleasure she can--I would not rob
her of one. Only let her keep her health, that is all I ask.
Don't let that suffer; I could not bear it. How thankful I am that she
escaped this infection--and what a narrow risk she ran, Aunt Hester!
Think of that lovely face all dulled and burned with fever.
I can't bear the thought of it. Keep her health. Keep her bloom!
I can see her now, the dainty creature--with the big, blue, earnest eyes;
and sweet, oh, so sweet and gentle and winning! Is she as beautiful
as ever, dear Aunt Hester?"

"Oh, more beautiful and bright and charming than ever she was before,
if such a thing can be"--and Hester turned away and fumbled with
the medicine-bottles, to hide her shame and grief.

CHAPTER V

After a little, both aunts were laboring upon a difficult and baffling
work in Helen's chamber. Patiently and earnestly, with their stiff
old fingers, they were trying to forge the required note. They made
failure after failure, but they improved little by little all the time.
The pity of it all, the pathetic humor of it, there was none to see;
they themselves were unconscious of it. Often their tears fell
upon the notes and spoiled them; sometimes a single misformed word
made a note risky which could have been ventured but for that;
but at last Hannah produced one whose script was a good enough
imitation of Helen's to pass any but a suspicious eye, and bountifully
enriched it with the petting phrases and loving nicknames that
had been familiar on the child's lips from her nursery days.
She carried it to the mother, who took it with avidity, and kissed it,
and fondled it, reading its precious words over and over again,
and dwelling with deep contentment upon its closing paragraph:

"Mousie darling, if I could only see you, and kiss your eyes,
and feel your arms about me! I am so glad my practicing does not
disturb you. Get well soon. Everybody is good to me, but I am
so lonesome without you, dear mamma."

"The poor child, I know just how she feels. She cannot be quite
happy without me; and I--oh, I live in the light of her eyes!
Tell her she must practice all she pleases; and, Aunt Hannah--
tell her I can't hear the piano this far, nor hear dear voice
when she sings: God knows I wish I could. No one knows how sweet
that voice is to me; and to think--some day it will be silent!
What are you crying for?"

"Only because--because--it was just a memory. When I came away she
was singing, 'Loch Lomond.' The pathos of it! It always moves
me so when she sings that."

"And me, too. How heartbreakingly beautiful it is when some youthful
sorrow is brooding in her breast and she sings it for the mystic
healing it brings. . . . Aunt Hannah?"

"Dear Margaret?"

"I am very ill. Sometimes it comes over me that I shall never hear
that dear voice again."

"Oh, don't--don't, Margaret! I can't bear it!"

Margaret was moved and distressed, and said, gently:

"There--there--let me put my arms around you.
Don't cry. There--put your cheek to mine. Be comforted.
I wish to live. I will live if I can. Ah, what could she
do without me! . . . Does she often speak of me?--but I know she does."

"Oh, all the time--all the time!"

"My sweet child! She wrote the note the moment she came home?"

"Yes--the first moment. She would not wait to take off her things."

"I knew it. It is her dear, impulsive, affectionate way. I knew it
without asking, but I wanted to hear you say it. The petted wife
knows she is loved, but she makes her husband tell her so every day,
just for the joy of hearing it. . . . She used the pen this time.
That is better; the pencil-marks could rub out, and I should grieve
for that. Did you suggest that she use the pen?"

"Y--no--she--it was her own idea."

The mother looked her pleasure, and said:

"I was hoping you would say that. There was never such a dear
and thoughtful child! . . . Aunt Hannah?"

"Dear Margaret?"

"Go and tell her I think of her all the time, and worship her.
Why--you are crying again. Don't be so worried about me, dear;
I think there is nothing to fear, yet."

The grieving messenger carried her message, and piously delivered
it to unheeding ears. The girl babbled on unaware; looking up
at her with wondering and startled eyes flaming with fever,
eyes in which was no light of recognition:

"Are you--no, you are not my mother. I want her--oh, I want her!
She was here a minute ago--I did not see her go. Will she come? will
she come quickly? will she come now? . . . There are so many houses
. . . and they oppress me so . . . and everything whirls and turns
and whirls . . . oh, my head, my head!"--and so she wandered on
and on, in her pain, flitting from one torturing fancy to another,
and tossing her arms about in a weary and ceaseless persecution
of unrest.

Poor old Hannah wetted the parched lips and softly stroked the
hot brow, murmuring endearing and pitying words, and thanking
the Father of all that the mother was happy and did not know.

CHAPTER VI

Daily the child sank lower and steadily lower towards the grave,
and daily the sorrowing old watchers carried gilded tidings of her
radiant health and loveliness to the happy mother, whose pilgrimage
was also now nearing its end. And daily they forged loving and cheery
notes in the child's hand, and stood by with remorseful consciences
and bleeding hearts, and wept to see the grateful mother devour
them and adore them and treasure them away as things beyond price,
because of their sweet source, and sacred because her child's hand
had touched them.

At last came that kindly friend who brings healing and peace to all.
The lights were burning low. In the solemn hush which precedes the
dawn vague figures flitted soundless along the dim hall and gathered
silent and awed in Helen's chamber, and grouped themselves about
her bed, for a warning had gone forth, and they knew. The dying
girl lay with closed lids, and unconscious, the drapery upon her
breast faintly rising and falling as her wasting life ebbed away.
At intervals a sigh or a muffled sob broke upon the stillness.
The same haunting thought was in all minds there: the pity of
this death, the going out into the great darkness, and the mother
not here to help and hearten and bless.

Helen stirred; her hands began to grope wistfully about as if they
sought something--she had been blind some hours. The end was come;
all knew it. With a great sob Hester gathered her to her breast,
crying, "Oh, my child, my darling!" A rapturous light broke in the
dying girl's face, for it was mercifully vouchsafed her to mistake
those sheltering arms for another's; and she went to her rest murmuring,
"Oh, mamma, I am so happy--I longed for you--now I can die."

Two hours later Hester made her report. The mother asked:

"How is it with the child?"

"She is well."

CHAPTER VII

A sheaf of white crape and black was hung upon the door of the house,
and there it swayed and rustled in the wind and whispered its tidings.
At noon the preparation of the dead was finished, and in the
coffin lay the fair young form, beautiful, and in the sweet face
a great peace. Two mourners sat by it, grieving and worshipping--
Hannah and the black woman Tilly. Hester came, and she was trembling,
for a great trouble was upon her spirit. She said:

"She asks for a note."

Hannah's face blanched. She had not thought of this; it had seemed
that that pathetic service was ended. But she realized now that
that could not be. For a little while the two women stood looking
into each other's face, with vacant eyes; then Hannah said:

"There is no way out of it--she must have it; she will suspect, else."

"And she would find out."

"Yes. It would break her heart." She looked at the dead face,
and her eyes filled. "I will write it," she said.

Hester carried it. The closing line said:

"Darling Mousie, dear sweet mother, we shall soon be together again.
Is not that good news? And it is true; they all say it is true."

The mother mourned, saying:

"Poor child, how will she bear it when she knows? I shall never see
her again in life. It is hard, so hard. She does not suspect?
You guard her from that?"

"She thinks you will soon be well."

"How good you are, and careful, dear Aunt Hester! None goes near
herr who could carry the infection?"

"It would be a crime."

"But you SEE her?"

"With a distance between--yes."

"That is so good. Others one could not trust; but you two guardian
angels--steel is not so true as you. Others would be unfaithful;
and many would deceive, and lie."

Hester's eyes fell, and her poor old lips trembled.

"Let me kiss you for her, Aunt Hester; and when I am gone,
and the danger is past, place the kiss upon her dear lips some day,
and say her mother sent it, and all her mother's broken heart is
in it."

Within the hour, Hester, raining tears upon the dead face,
performed her pathetic mission.

CHAPTER VIII

Another day dawned, and grew, and spread its sunshine in the earth.
Aunt Hannah brought comforting news to the failing mother, and a
happy note, which said again, "We have but a little time to wait,
darling mother, then we shall be together."

The deep note of a bell came moaning down the wind.

"Aunt Hannah, it is tolling. Some poor soul is at rest.
As I shall be soon. You will not let her forget me?"

"Oh, God knows she never will!"

"Do not you hear strange noises, Aunt Hannah? It sounds like
the shuffling of many feet."

"We hoped you would not hear it, dear. It is a little company
gathering, for--for Helen's sake, poor little prisoner. There will
be music--and she loves it so. We thought you would not mind."

"Mind? Oh no, no--oh, give her everything her dear heart can desire.
How good you two are to her, and how good to me! God bless you
both always!"

After a listening pause:

"How lovely! It is her organ. Is she playing it herself, do you think?"
Faint and rich and inspiring the chords floating to her ears on
the still air. "Yes, it is her touch, dear heart, I recognize it.
They are singing. Why--it is a hymn! and the sacredest of all,
the most touching, the most consoling. . . . It seems to open
the gates of paradise to me. . . . If I could die now. . . ."

Faint and far the words rose out of the stillness:

Nearer, my God, to Thee,

Nearer to Thee,

E'en though it be a cross

That raiseth me.

With the closing of the hymn another soul passed to its rest,
and they that had been one in life were not sundered in death.
The sisters, mourning and rejoicing, said:

"How blessed it was that she never knew!"

CHAPTER IX

At midnight they sat together, grieving, and the angel of the Lord
appeared in the midst transfigured with a radiance not of earth;
and speaking, said:

"For liars a place is appointed. There they burn in the fires
of hell from everlasting unto everlasting. Repent!"

The bereaved fell upon their knees before him and clasped their
hands and bowed their gray heads, adoring. But their tongues
clove to the roof of their mouths, and they were dumb.

"Speak! that I may bear the message to the chancery of heaven
and bring again the decree from which there is no appeal."

Then they bowed their heads yet lower, and one said:

"Our sin is great, and we suffer shame; but only perfect and final
repentance can make us whole; and we are poor creatures who have learned
our human weakness, and we know that if we were in those hard straits
again our hearts would fail again, and we should sin as before.
The strong could prevail, and so be saved, but we are lost."

They lifted their heads in supplication. The angel was gone.
While they marveled and wept he came again; and bending low,
he whispered the decree.

CHAPTER X

Was it Heaven? Or Hell?

***

A CURE FOR THE BLUES

By courtesy of Mr. Cable I came into possession of a singular book
eight or ten years ago. It is likely that mine is now the only copy
in existence. Its title-page, unabbreviated, reads as follows:

"The Enemy Conquered; or, Love Triumphant. By G. Ragsdale McClintock,
[1] author of 'An Address,' etc., delivered at Sunflower Hill,
South Carolina, and member of the Yale Law School. New Haven:
published by T. H. Pease, 83 Chapel Street, 1845."

No one can take up this book and lay it down again unread.
Whoever reads one line of it is caught, is chained; he has become
the contented slave of its fascinations; and he will read and read,
devour and devour, and will not let it go out of his hand till it
is finished to the last line, though the house be on fire over
his head. And after a first reading he will not throw it aside,
but will keep it by him, with his Shakespeare and his Homer,
and will take it up many and many a time, when the world is dark
and his spirits are low, and be straightway cheered and refreshed.
Yet this work has been allowed to lie wholly neglected, unmentioned,
and apparently unregretted, for nearly half a century.

The reader must not imagine that he is to find in it wisdom,
brilliancy, fertility of invention, ingenuity of construction,
excellence of form, purity of style, perfection of imagery,
truth to nature, clearness of statement, humanly possible situations,
humanly possible people, fluent narrative, connected sequence of events--
or philosophy, or logic, or sense. No; the rich, deep, beguiling charm
of the book lies in the total and miraculous ABSENCE from it of all
these qualities--a charm which is completed and perfected by the
evident fact that the author, whose naive innocence easily and surely
wins our regard, and almost our worship, does not know that they
are absent, does not even suspect that they are absent. When read
by the light of these helps to an understanding of the situation,
the book is delicious--profoundly and satisfyingly delicious.

I call it a book because the author calls it a book, I call it a work
because he calls it a work; but, in truth, it is merely a duodecimo
pamphlet of thirty-one pages. It was written for fame and money,
as the author very frankly--yes, and very hopefully, too, poor fellow--
says in his preface. The money never came--no penny of it ever came;
and how long, how pathetically long, the fame has been deferred--
forty-seven years! He was young then, it would have been so much to
him then; but will he care for it now?

As time is measured in America, McClintock's epoch is antiquity.
In his long-vanished day the Southern author had a passion for
"eloquence"; it was his pet, his darling. He would be eloquent,
or perish. And he recognized only one kind of eloquence--the lurid,
the tempestuous, the volcanic. He liked words--big words,
fine words, grand words, rumbling, thundering, reverberating words;
with sense attaching if it could be got in without marring the sound,
but not otherwise. He loved to stand up before a dazed world,
and pour forth flame and smoke and lava and pumice-stone into
the skies, and work his subterranean thunders, and shake himself
with earthquakes, and stench himself with sulphur fumes. If he
consumed his own fields and vineyards, that was a pity, yes; but he
would have his eruption at any cost. Mr. McClintock's eloquence--
and he is always eloquent, his crater is always spouting--is of the
pattern common to his day, but he departs from the custom of the time
in one respect: his brethren allowed sense to intrude when it did
not mar the sound, but he does not allow it to intrude at all.
For example, consider this figure, which he used in the village
"Address" referred to with such candid complacency in the title-page
above quoted--"like the topmost topaz of an ancient tower."
Please read it again; contemplate it; measure it; walk around it;
climb up it; try to get at an approximate realization of the size of it.
Is the fellow to that to be found in literature, ancient or modern,
foreign or domestic, living or dead, drunk or sober? One notices
how fine and grand it sounds. We know that if it was loftily uttered,
it got a noble burst of applause from the villagers; yet there isn't
a ray of sense in it, or meaning to it.

McClintock finished his education at Yale in 1843, and came to
Hartford on a visit that same year. I have talked with men who at
that time talked with him, and felt of him, and knew he was real.
One needs to remember that fact and to keep fast hold of it;
it is the only way to keep McClintock's book from undermining one's
faith in McClintock's actuality.

As to the book. The first four pages are devoted to an inflamed eulogy
of Woman--simply woman in general, or perhaps as an institution--
wherein, among other compliments to her details, he pays a unique
one to her voice. He says it "fills the breast with fond alarms,
echoed by every rill." It sounds well enough, but it is not true.
After the eulogy he takes up his real work and the novel begins.
It begins in the woods, near the village of Sunflower Hill.

Brightening clouds seemed to rise from the mist of the fair Chattahoochee,
to spread their beauty over the thick forest, to guide the hero whose
bosom beats with aspirations to conquer the enemy that would tarnish
his name, and to win back the admiration of his long-tried friend.

It seems a general remark, but it is not general; the hero mentioned
is the to-be hero of the book; and in this abrupt fashion,
and without name or description, he is shoveled into the tale.
"With aspirations to conquer the enemy that would tarnish his name"
is merely a phrase flung in for the sake of the sound--let it
not mislead the reader. No one is trying to tarnish this person;
no one has thought of it. The rest of the sentence is also merely
a phrase; the man has no friend as yet, and of course has had no
chance to try him, or win back his admiration, or disturb him in any
other way.

The hero climbs up over "Sawney's Mountain," and down the other side,
making for an old Indian "castle"--which becomes "the red man's hut"
in the next sentence; and when he gets there at last, he "surveys
with wonder and astonishment" the invisible structure, "which time
has buried in the dust, and thought to himself his happiness was
not yet complete." One doesn't know why it wasn't, nor how near it
came to being complete, nor what was still wanting to round it up
and make it so. Maybe it was the Indian; but the book does not say.
At this point we have an episode:

Beside the shore of the brook sat a young man, about eighteen or twenty,
who seemed to be reading some favorite book, and who had a remarkably
noble countenance--eyes which betrayed more than a common mind.
This of course made the youth a welcome guest, and gained him
friends in whatever condition of his life he might be placed.
The traveler observed that he was a well-built figure which showed
strength and grace in every movement. He accordingly addressed
him in quite a gentlemanly manner, and inquired of him the way
to the village. After he had received the desired information,
and was about taking his leave, the youth said, "Are you not
Major Elfonzo, the great musician [2]--the champion of a noble cause--
the modern Achilles, who gained so many victories in the Florida War?"
"I bear that name," said the Major, "and those titles,
trusting at the same time that the ministers of grace will carry
me triumphantly through all my laudable undertakings, and if,"
continued the Major, "you, sir, are the patronizer of noble deeds,
I should like to make you my confidant and learn your address."
The youth looked somewhat amazed, bowed low, mused for a moment,
and began: "My name is Roswell. I have been recently admitted
to the bar, and can only give a faint outline of my future success
in that honorable profession; but I trust, sir, like the Eagle, I shall
look down from the lofty rocks upon the dwellings of man, and shall
ever be ready to give you any assistance in my official capacity,
and whatever this muscular arm of mine can do, whenever it shall be
called from its buried GREATNESS." The Major grasped him by the hand,
and exclaimed: "O! thou exalted spirit of inspiration--thou flame
of burning prosperity, may the Heaven-directed blaze be the glare
of thy soul, and battle down every rampart that seems to impede
your progress!"

There is a strange sort of originality about McClintock;
he imitates other people's styles, but nobody can imitate his,
not even an idiot. Other people can be windy, but McClintock blows
a gale; other people can blubber sentiment, but McClintock spews it;
other people can mishandle metaphors, but only McClintock knows
how to make a business of it. McClintock is always McClintock,
he is always consistent, his style is always his own style. He does
not make the mistake of being relevant on one page and irrelevant
on another; he is irrelevant on all of them. He does not make
the mistake of being lucid in one place and obscure in another;
he is obscure all the time. He does not make the mistake of slipping
in a name here and there that is out of character with his work;
he always uses names that exactly and fantastically fit his lunatics.
In the matter of undeviating consistency he stands alone in authorship.
It is this that makes his style unique, and entitles it to a name
of its own--McClintockian. It is this that protects it from being
mistaken for anybody else's. Uncredited quotations from other writers
often leave a reader in doubt as to their authorship, but McClintock
is safe from that accident; an uncredited quotation from him would
always be recognizable. When a boy nineteen years old, who had
just been admitted to the bar, says, "I trust, sir, like the Eagle,
I shall look down from lofty rocks upon the dwellings of man,"
we know who is speaking through that boy; we should recognize
that note anywhere. There be myriads of instruments in this
world's literary orchestra, and a multitudinous confusion of sounds
that they make, wherein fiddles are drowned, and guitars smothered,
and one sort of drum mistaken for another sort; but whensoever the
brazen note of the McClintockian trombone breaks through that fog
of music, that note is recognizable, and about it there can be no blur
of doubt.

The novel now arrives at the point where the Major goes home to see
his father. When McClintock wrote this interview he probably
believed it was pathetic.

The road which led to the town presented many attractions Elfonzo
had bid farewell to the youth of deep feeling, and was now wending
his way to the dreaming spot of his fondness. The south winds
whistled through the woods, as the waters dashed against the banks,
as rapid fire in the pent furnace roars. This brought him to
remember while alone, that he quietly left behind the hospitality
of a father's house, and gladly entered the world, with higher hopes
than are often realized. But as he journeyed onward, he was mindful
of the advice of his father, who had often looked sadly on the ground,
when tears of cruelly deceived hope moistened his eyes. Elfonzo had
been somewhat a dutiful son; yet fond of the amusements of life--
had been in distant lands--had enjoyed the pleasure of the world,
and had frequently returned to the scenes of his boyhood,
almost destitute of many of the comforts of life. In this condition,
he would frequently say to his father, "Have I offended you,
that you look upon me as a stranger, and frown upon me with
stinging looks? Will you not favor me with the sound of your voice?
If I have trampled upon your veneration, or have spread a humid veil
of darkness around your expectations, send me back into the world,
where no heart beats for me--where the foot of man had never yet trod;
but give me at least one kind word--allow me to come into the presence
sometimes of thy winter-worn locks." "Forbid it, Heaven, that I
should be angry with thee," answered the father, "my son, and yet
I send thee back to the children of the world--to the cold charity
of the combat, and to a land of victory. I read another destiny
in thy countenance--I learn thy inclinations from the flame that has
already kindled in my soul a strange sensation. It will seek thee,
my dear ELFONZO, it will find thee--thou canst not escape that
lighted torch, which shall blot out from the remembrance of men
a long train of prophecies which they have foretold against thee.
I once thought not so. Once, I was blind; but now the path of life
is plain before me, and my sight is clear; yet, Elfonzo, return to thy
worldly occupation--take again in thy hand that chord of sweet sounds--
struggle with the civilized world and with your own heart;
fly swiftly to the enchanted ground--let the night-OWL send forth
its screams from the stubborn oak--let the sea sport upon the beach,
and the stars sing together; but learn of these, Elfonzo, thy doom,
and thy hiding-place. Our most innocent as well as our most lawful
DESIRES must often be denied us, that we may learn to sacrifice them
to a Higher will."

Remembering such admonitions with gratitude, Elfonzo was immediately
urged by the recollection of his father's family to keep moving.

McClintock has a fine gift in the matter of surprises; but as a
rule they are not pleasant ones, they jar upon the feelings.
His closing sentence in the last quotation is of that sort.
It brings one down out of the tinted clouds in too sudden and collapsed
a fashion. It incenses one against the author for a moment.
It makes the reader want to take him by this winter-worn locks,
and trample on his veneration, and deliver him over to the cold
charity of combat, and blot him out with his own lighted torch.
But the feeling does not last. The master takes again in his hand that
concord of sweet sounds of his, and one is reconciled, pacified.

His steps became quicker and quicker--he hastened through the PINY woods,
dark as the forest was, and with joy he very soon reached the little
village of repose, in whose bosom rested the boldest chivalry.
His close attention to every important object--his modest questions
about whatever was new to him--his reverence for wise old age,
and his ardent desire to learn many of the fine arts, soon brought
him into respectable notice.

One mild winter day, as he walked along the streets toward the Academy,
which stood upon a small eminence, surrounded by native growth--
some venerable in its appearance, others young and prosperous--
all seemed inviting, and seemed to be the very place for learning as
well as for genius to spend its research beneath its spreading shades.
He entered its classic walls in the usual mode of southern manners.

The artfulness of this man! None knows so well as he how to pique
the curiosity of the reader--and how to disappoint it. He raises
the hope, here, that he is going to tell all about how one enters
a classic wall in the usual mode of Southern manners; but does he?
No; he smiles in his sleeve, and turns aside to other matters.

The principal of the Institution begged him to be seated and listen
to the recitations that were going on. He accordingly obeyed
the request, and seemed to be much pleased. After the school
was dismissed, and the young hearts regained their freedom,
with the songs of the evening, laughing at the anticipated pleasures
of a happy home, while others tittered at the actions of the past day,
he addressed the teacher in a tone that indicated a resolution--
with an undaunted mind. He said he had determined to become
a student, if he could meet with his approbation. "Sir," said he,
"I have spent much time in the world. I have traveled among
the uncivilized inhabitants of America. I have met with friends,
and combated with foes; but none of these gratify my ambition,
or decide what is to be my destiny. I see the learned world
have an influence with the voice of the people themselves.
The despoilers of the remotest kingdoms of the earth refer their
differences to this class of persons. This the illiterate and
inexperienced little dream of; and now if you will receive me as I am,
with these deficiencies--with all my misguided opinions, I will give
you my honor, sir, that I will never disgrace the Institution,
or those who have placed you in this honorable station."
The instructor, who had met with many disappointments, knew how to
feel for a stranger who had been thus turned upon the charities
of an unfeeling community. He looked at him earnestly, and said:
"Be of good cheer--look forward, sir, to the high destination you
may attain. Remember, the more elevated the mark at which you aim,
the more sure, the more glorious, the more magnificent the prize."
From wonder to wonder, his encouragement led the impatient listener.
A strange nature bloomed before him--giant streams promised
him success--gardens of hidden treasures opened to his view.
All this, so vividly described, seemed to gain a new witchery from his
glowing fancy.

It seems to me that this situation is new in romance. I feel
sure it has not been attempted before. Military celebrities have
been disguised and set at lowly occupations for dramatic effect,
but I think McClintock is the first to send one of them to school.
Thus, in this book, you pass from wonder to wonder, through gardens
of hidden treasure, where giant streams bloom before you,
and behind you, and all around, and you feel as happy, and groggy,
and satisfied with your quart of mixed metaphor aboard as you would
if it had been mixed in a sample-room and delivered from a jug.

Now we come upon some more McClintockian surprise--a sweetheart
who is sprung upon us without any preparation, along with a name
for her which is even a little more of a surprise than she herself is.

In 1842 he entered the class, and made rapid progress in the English
and Latin departments. Indeed, he continued advancing with such
rapidity that he was like to become the first in his class,
and made such unexpected progress, and was so studious, that he had
almost forgotten the pictured saint of his affections. The fresh
wreaths of the pine and cypress had waited anxiously to drop once
more the dews of Heaven upon the heads of those who had so often
poured forth the tender emotions of their souls under its boughs.
He was aware of the pleasure that he had seen there. So one evening, as
he was returning from his reading, he concluded he would pay a visit
to this enchanting spot. Little did he think of witnessing a shadow
of his former happiness, though no doubt he wished it might be so.
He continued sauntering by the roadside, meditating on the past.
The nearer he approached the spot, the more anxious he became.
At that moment a tall female figure flitted across his path, with a
bunch of roses in her hand; her countenance showed uncommon vivacity,
with a resolute spirit; her ivory teeth already appeared as she
smiled beautifully, promenading--while her ringlets of hair dangled
unconsciously around her snowy neck. Nothing was wanting to complete
her beauty. The tinge of the rose was in full bloom upon her cheek;
the charms of sensibility and tenderness were always her associates.
In Ambulinia's bosom dwelt a noble soul--one that never faded--
one that never was conquered.

Ambulinia! It can hardly be matched in fiction. The full name
is Ambulinia Valeer. Marriage will presently round it out and
perfect it. Then it will be Mrs. Ambulinia Valeer Elfonzo.
It takes the chromo.

Her heart yielded to no feeling but the love of Elfonzo, on whom
she gazed with intense delight, and to whom she felt herself
more closely bound, because he sought the hand of no other.
Elfonzo was roused from his apparent reverie. His books no longer
were his inseparable companions--his thoughts arrayed themselves
to encourage him to the field of victory. He endeavored to speak
to his supposed Ambulinia, but his speech appeared not in words.
No, his effort was a stream of fire, that kindled his soul into
a flame of admiration, and carried his senses away captive.
Ambulinia had disappeared, to make him more mindful of his duty.
As she walked speedily away through the piny woods, she calmly echoed:
"O! Elfonzo, thou wilt now look from thy sunbeams. Thou shalt
now walk in a new path--perhaps thy way leads through darkness;
but fear not, the stars foretell happiness."

To McClintock that jingling jumble of fine words meant something,
no doubt, or seemed to mean something; but it is useless for us to try
to divine what it was. Ambulinia comes--we don't know whence nor why;
she mysteriously intimates--we don't know what; and then she goes
echoing away--we don't know whither; and down comes the curtain.
McClintock's art is subtle; McClintock's art is deep.

Not many days afterward, as surrounded by fragrant flowers she sat
one evening at twilight, to enjoy the cool breeze that whispered
notes of melody along the distant groves, the little birds perched
on every side, as if to watch the movements of their new visitor.
The bells were tolling, when Elfonzo silently stole along by the wild
wood flowers, holding in his hand his favorite instrument of music--
his eye continually searching for Ambulinia, who hardly seemed
to perceive him, as she played carelessly with the songsters
that hopped from branch to branch. Nothing could be more striking
than the difference between the two. Nature seemed to have given
the more tender soul to Elfonzo, and the stronger and more courageous
to Ambulinia. A deep feeling spoke from the eyes of Elfonzo--
such a feeling as can only be expressed by those who are blessed
as admirers, and by those who are able to return the same with
sincerity of heart. He was a few years older than Ambulinia:
she had turned a little into her seventeenth. He had almost grown
up in the Cherokee country, with the same equal proportions as one
of the natives. But little intimacy had existed between them until
the year forty-one--because the youth felt that the character of such
a lovely girl was too exalted to inspire any other feeling than
that of quiet reverence. But as lovers will not always be insulted,
at all times and under all circumstances, by the frowns and cold
looks of crabbed old age, which should continually reflect dignity
upon those around, and treat the unfortunate as well as the fortunate
with a graceful mien, he continued to use diligence and perseverance.
All this lighted a spark in his heart that changed his whole character,
and like the unyielding Deity that follows the storm to check its
rage in the forest, he resolves for the first time to shake off
his embarrassment and return where he had before only worshiped.

At last we begin to get the Major's measure. We are able to put
this and that casual fact together, and build the man up before
our eyes, and look at him. And after we have got him built, we find
him worth the trouble. By the above comparison between his age
and Ambulinia's, we guess the war-worn veteran to be twenty-two;
and the other facts stand thus: he had grown up in the Cherokee
country with the same equal proportions as one of the natives--
how flowing and graceful the language, and yet how tantalizing
as to meaning!--he had been turned adrift by his father, to whom he
had been "somewhat of a dutiful son"; he wandered in distant lands;
came back frequently "to the scenes of his boyhood, almost destitute
of many of the comforts of life," in order to get into the presence
of his father's winter-worn locks, and spread a humid veil of
darkness around his expectations; but he was always promptly sent
back to the cold charity of the combat again; he learned to play
the fiddle, and made a name for himself in that line; he had dwelt
among the wild tribes; he had philosophized about the despoilers
of the kingdoms of the earth, and found out--the cunning creature--
that they refer their differences to the learned for settlement;
he had achieved a vast fame as a military chieftain, the Achilles
of the Florida campaigns, and then had got him a spelling-book
and started to school; he had fallen in love with Ambulinia Valeer
while she was teething, but had kept it to himself awhile, out of
the reverential awe which he felt for the child; but now at last,
like the unyielding Deity who follows the storm to check its rage in
the forest, he resolves to shake off his embarrassment, and to return
where before he had only worshiped. The Major, indeed, has made up
his mind to rise up and shake his faculties together, and to see
if HE can't do that thing himself. This is not clear. But no matter
about that: there stands the hero, compact and visible; and he is
no mean structure, considering that his creator had never structure,
considering that his creator had never created anything before,
and hadn't anything but rags and wind to build with this time.
It seems to me that no one can contemplate this odd creature, this quaint
and curious blatherskite, without admiring McClintock, or, at any rate,
loving him and feeling grateful to him; for McClintock made him,
he gave him to us; without McClintock we could not have had him,
and would now be poor.

But we must come to the feast again. Here is a courtship scene, down
there in the romantic glades among the raccoons, alligators, and things,
that has merit, peculiar literary merit. See how Achilles woos.
Dwell upon the second sentence (particularly the close of it) and the
beginning of the third. Never mind the new personage, Leos, who is
intruded upon us unheralded and unexplained. That is McClintock's way;
it is his habit; it is a part of his genius; he cannot help it;
he never interrupts the rush of his narrative to make introductions.

It could not escape Ambulinia's penetrating eye that he sought
an interview with her, which she as anxiously avoided, and assumed
a more distant calmness than before, seemingly to destroy all hope.
After many efforts and struggles with his own person, with timid
steps the Major approached the damsel, with the same caution
as he would have done in a field of battle. "Lady Ambulinia,"
said he, trembling, "I have long desired a moment like this.
I dare not let it escape. I fear the consequences; yet I hope
your indulgence will at least hear my petition. Can you not
anticipate what I would say, and what I am about to express?
Will not you, like Minerva, who sprung from the brain of Jupiter,
release me from thy winding chains or cure me--" "Say no more,
Elfonzo," answered Ambulinia, with a serious look, raising her hand
as if she intended to swear eternal hatred against the whole world;
"another lady in my place would have perhaps answered your question
in bitter coldness. I know not the little arts of my sex.
I care but little for the vanity of those who would chide me,
and am unwilling as well as ashamed to be guilty of anything
that would lead you to think 'all is not gold that glitters';
so be no rash in your resolution. It is better to repent now,
than to do it in a more solemn hour. Yes, I know what you would say.
I know you have a costly gift for me--the noblest that man can make--
YOUR HEART! You should not offer it to one so unworthy.
Heaven, you know, has allowed my father's house to be made a house
of solitude, a home of silent obedience, which my parents say
is more to be admired than big names and high-sounding titles.
Notwithstanding all this, let me speak the emotions of an honest heart--
allow me to say in the fullness of my hopes that I anticipate
better days. The bird may stretch its wings toward the sun,
which it can never reach; and flowers of the field appear to
ascend in the same direction, because they cannot do otherwise;
but man confides his complaints to the saints in whom he believes;
for in their abodes of light they know no more sorrow. From your
confession and indicative looks, I must be that person; if so deceive
not yourself."

Elfonzo replied, "Pardon me, my dear madam, for my frankness.
I have loved you from my earliest days--everything grand and beautiful
hath borne the image of Ambulinia; while precipices on every hand
surrounded me, your GUARDIAN ANGEL stood and beckoned me away from
the deep abyss. In every trial, in every misfortune, I have met
with your helping hand; yet I never dreamed or dared to cherish
thy love, till a voice impaired with age encouraged the cause,
and declared they who acquired thy favor should win a victory.
I saw how Leos worshiped thee. I felt my own unworthiness.
I began to KNOW JEALOUSLY, a strong guest--indeed, in my bosom,--
yet I could see if I gained your admiration Leos was to be my rival.
I was aware that he had the influence of your parents, and the wealth
of a deceased relative, which is too often mistaken for permanent
and regular tranquillity; yet I have determined by your permission
to beg an interest in your prayers--to ask you to animate my drooping
spirits by your smiles and your winning looks; for if you but speak
I shall be conqueror, my enemies shall stagger like Olympus shakes.
And though earth and sea may tremble, and the charioteer of the sun
may forget his dashing steed, yet I am assured that it is only
to arm me with divine weapons which will enable me to complete my
long-tried intention."

"Return to yourself, Elfonzo," said Ambulinia, pleasantly: "a dream
of vision has disturbed your intellect; you are above the atmosphere,
dwelling in the celestial regions; nothing is there that urges
or hinders, nothing that brings discord into our present litigation.
I entreat you to condescend a little, and be a man, and forget it all.
When Homer describes the battle of the gods and noble men fighting
with giants and dragons, they represent under this image our struggles
with the delusions of our passions. You have exalted me, an unhappy girl,
to the skies; you have called me a saint, and portrayed in your
imagination an angel in human form. Let her remain such to you,
let her continue to be as you have supposed, and be assured that she
will consider a share in your esteem as her highest treasure.
Think not that I would allure you from the path in which your
conscience leads you; for you know I respect the conscience of others,
as I would die for my own. Elfonzo, if I am worthy of thy love,
let such conversation never again pass between us. Go, seek a nobler
theme! we will seek it in the stream of time, as the sun set in
the Tigris." As she spake these words she grasped the hand of Elfonzo,
saying at the same time--"Peace and prosperity attend you, my hero;
be up and doing!" Closing her remarks with this expression,
she walked slowly away, leaving Elfonzo astonished and amazed.
He ventured not to follow or detain her. Here he stood alone,
gazing at the stars; confounded as he was, here he stood.

Yes; there he stood. There seems to be no doubt about that.
Nearly half of this delirious story has now been delivered to the reader.
It seems a pity to reduce the other half to a cold synopsis.
Pity! it is more than a pity, it is a crime; for to synopsize McClintock
is to reduce a sky-flushing conflagration to dull embers, it is to
reduce barbaric splendor to ragged poverty. McClintock never wrote
a line that was not precious; he never wrote one that could be spared;
he never framed one from which a word could be removed without damage.
Every sentence that this master has produced may be likened to a
perfect set of teeth, white, uniform, beautiful. If you pull one,
the charm is gone.

Still, it is now necessary to begin to pull, and to keep it up;
for lack of space requires us to synopsize.

We left Elfonzo standing there amazed. At what, we do not know.
Not at the girl's speech. No; we ourselves should have been
amazed at it, of course, for none of us has ever heard anything
resembling it; but Elfonzo was used to speeches made up of noise
and vacancy, and could listen to them with undaunted mind like
the "topmost topaz of an ancient tower"; he was used to making
them himself; he--but let it go, it cannot be guessed out; we shall
never know what it was that astonished him. He stood there awhile;
then he said, "Alas! am I now Grief's disappointed son at last?"
He did not stop to examine his mind, and to try to find out what
he probably meant by that, because, for one reason, "a mixture
of ambition and greatness of soul moved upon his young heart,"
and started him for the village. He resumed his bench in school,
"and reasonably progressed in his education." His heart was heavy,
but he went into society, and sought surcease of sorrow in its
light distractions. He made himself popular with his violin,
"which seemed to have a thousand chords--more symphonious than the
Muses of Apollo, and more enchanting than the ghost of the Hills."
This is obscure, but let it go.

During this interval Leos did some unencouraged courting, but at last,
"choked by his undertaking," he desisted.

Presently "Elfonzo again wends his way to the stately walls and
new-built village." He goes to the house of his beloved; she opens
the door herself. To my surprise--for Ambulinia's heart had still
seemed free at the time of their last interview--love beamed from the
girl's eyes. One sees that Elfonzo was surprised, too; for when he caught
that light, "a halloo of smothered shouts ran through every vein."
A neat figure--a very neat figure, indeed! Then he kissed her.
"The scene was overwhelming." They went into the parlor. The girl
said it was safe, for her parents were abed, and would never know.
Then we have this fine picture--flung upon the canvas with hardly
an effort, as you will notice.

Advancing toward him, she gave a bright display of her rosy neck,
and from her head the ambrosial locks breathed divine fragrance;
her robe hung waving to his view, while she stood like a goddess
confessed before him.

There is nothing of interest in the couple's interview. Now at this
point the girl invites Elfonzo to a village show, where jealousy is
the motive of the play, for she wants to teach him a wholesome lesson,
if he is a jealous person. But this is a sham, and pretty shallow.
McClintock merely wants a pretext to drag in a plagiarism of his upon
a scene or two in "Othello."

The lovers went to the play. Elfonzo was one of the fiddlers.
He and Ambulinia must not been seen together, lest trouble follow with
the girl's malignant father; we are made to understand that clearly.
So the two sit together in the orchestra, in the midst of the musicians.
This does not seem to be good art. In the first place, the girl would
be in the way, for orchestras are always packed closely together,
and there is no room to spare for people's girls; in the next place,
one cannot conceal a girl in an orchestra without everybody taking
notice of it. There can be no doubt, it seems to me, that this is
bad art.

Leos is present. Of course, one of the first things that catches
his eye is the maddening spectacle of Ambulinia "leaning upon
Elfonzo's chair." This poor girl does not seem to understand even
the rudiments of concealment. But she is "in her seventeenth,"
as the author phrases it, and that is her justification.

Leos meditates, constructs a plan--with personal violence as a basis,
of course. It was their way down there. It is a good plain plan,
without any imagination in it. He will go out and stand at the
front door, and when these two come out he will "arrest Ambulinia
from the hands of the insolent Elfonzo," and thus make for himself
a "more prosperous field of immortality than ever was decreed
by Omnipotence, or ever pencil drew or artist imagined." But, dear me,
while he is waiting there the couple climb out at the back window
and scurry home! This is romantic enough, but there is a lack
of dignity in the situation.

At this point McClintock puts in the whole of his curious play--
which we skip.

Some correspondence follows now. The bitter father and the
distressed lovers write the letters. Elopements are attempted.
They are idiotically planned, and they fail. Then we have several
pages of romantic powwow and confusion dignifying nothing.
Another elopement is planned; it is to take place on Sunday,
when everybody is at church. But the "hero" cannot keep the secret;
he tells everybody. Another author would have found another
instrument when he decided to defeat this elopement; but that is
not McClintock's way. He uses the person that is nearest at hand.

The evasion failed, of course. Ambulinia, in her flight,
takes refuge in a neighbor's house. Her father drags her home.
The villagers gather, attracted by the racket.

Elfonzo was moved at this sight. The people followed on to see
what was going to become of Ambulinia, while he, with downcast looks,
kept at a distance, until he saw them enter the abode of the father,
thrusting her, that was the sigh of his soul, out of his presence
into a solitary apartment, when she exclaimed, "Elfonzo! Elfonzo! oh,
Elfonzo! where art thou, with all thy heroes? haste, oh! haste,
come thou to my relief. Ride on the wings of the wind! Turn thy
force loose like a tempest, and roll on thy army like a whirlwind,
over this mountain of trouble and confusion. Oh friends! if any
pity me, let your last efforts throng upon the green hills,
and come to the relief of Ambulinia, who is guilty of nothing
but innocent love." Elfonzo called out with a loud voice, "My God,
can I stand this! arouse up, I beseech you, and put an end to
this tyranny. Come, my brave boys," said he, "are you ready to go
forth to your duty?" They stood around him. "Who," said he,
"will call us to arms? Where are my thunderbolts of war? Speak ye,
the first who will meet the foe! Who will go forward with me
in this ocean of grievous temptation? If there is one who desires
to go, let him come and shake hands upon the altar of devotion,
and swear that he will be a hero; yes, a Hector in a cause like this,
which calls aloud for a speedy remedy." "Mine be the deed,"
said a young lawyer, "and mine alone; Venus alone shall quit her
station before I will forsake one jot or tittle of my promise to you;
what is death to me? what is all this warlike army, if it is not
to win a victory? I love the sleep of the lover and the mighty;
nor would I give it over till the blood of my enemies should wreak
with that of my own. But God forbid that our fame should soar
on the blood of the slumberer." Mr. Valeer stands at his door
with the frown of a demon upon his brow, with his dangerous weapon
[3] ready to strike the first man who should enter his door.
"Who will arise and go forward through blood and carnage to the rescue
of my Ambulinia?" said Elfonzo. "All," exclaimed the multitude;
and onward they went, with their implements of battle. Others, of a
more timid nature, stood among the distant hills to see the result of
the contest.

It will hardly be believed that after all this thunder and lightning
not a drop of rain fell; but such is the fact. Elfonzo and his
gang stood up and black-guarded Mr. Valeer with vigor all night,
getting their outlay back with interest; then in the early
morning the army and its general retired from the field,
leaving the victory with their solitary adversary and his crowbar.
This is the first time this has happened in romantic literature.
The invention is original. Everything in this book is original;
there is nothing hackneyed about it anywhere. Always, in other
romances, when you find the author leading up to a climax,
you know what is going to happen. But in this book it is different;
the thing which seems inevitable and unavoidable never happens;
it is circumvented by the art of the author every time.

Another elopement was attempted. It failed.

We have now arrived at the end. But it is not exciting.
McClintock thinks it is; but it isn't. One day Elfonzo sent Ambulinia
another note--a note proposing elopement No. 16. This time the plan
is admirable; admirable, sagacious, ingenious, imaginative, deep--
oh, everything, and perfectly easy. One wonders why it was never
thought of before. This is the scheme. Ambulinia is to leave the
breakfast-table, ostensibly to "attend to the placing of those flowers,
which should have been done a week ago"--artificial ones, of course;
the others wouldn't keep so long--and then, instead of fixing
the flowers, she is to walk out to the grove, and go off with Elfonzo.
The invention of this plan overstrained the author that is plain,
for he straightway shows failing powers. The details of the plan
are not many or elaborate. The author shall state them himself--
this good soul, whose intentions are always better than his English:

"You walk carelessly toward the academy grove, where you will find
me with a lightning steed, elegantly equipped to bear you off
where we shall be joined in wedlock with the first connubial rights."

Last scene of all, which the author, now much enfeebled,
tries to smarten up and make acceptable to his spectacular heart
by introducing some new properties--silver bow, golden harp,
olive branch--things that can all come good in an elopement,
no doubt, yet are not to be compared to an umbrella for real
handiness and reliability in an excursion of that kind.

And away she ran to the sacred grove, surrounded with glittering pearls,
that indicated her coming. Elfonzo hails her with his silver bow
and his golden harp. They meet--Ambulinia's countenance brightens--
Elfonzo leads up the winged steed. "Mount," said he, "ye true-hearted,
ye fearless soul--the day is ours." She sprang upon the back
of the young thunderbolt, a brilliant star sparkles upon her head,
with one hand she grasps the reins, and with the other she holds
an olive branch. "Lend thy aid, ye strong winds," they exclaimed,
"ye moon, ye sun, and all ye fair host of heaven, witness the
enemy conquered." "Hold," said Elfonzo, "thy dashing steed."
"Ride on," said Ambulinia, "the voice of thunder is behind us."
And onward they went, with such rapidity that they very soon arrived
at Rural Retreat, where they dismounted, and were united with all
the solemnities that usually attended such divine operations.

There is but one Homer, there is but one Shakespeare, there is but
one McClintock--and his immortal book is before you. Homer could
not have written this book, Shakespeare could not have written it,
I could not have done it myself. There is nothing just like it
in the literature of any country or of any epoch. It stands alone;
it is monumental. It adds G. Ragsdale McClintock's to the sum of
the republic's imperishable names.

- - -

1. The name here given is a substitute for the one actually
attached to the pamphlet.

2. Further on it will be seen that he is a country expert
on the fiddle, and has a three-township fame.

3. It is a crowbar.

***

THE CURIOUS BOOK

Complete

[The foregoing review of the great work of G. Ragsdale McClintock is
liberally illuminated with sample extracts, but these cannot appease
the appetite. Only the complete book, unabridged, can do that.
Therefore it is here printed.--M.T.]

THE ENEMY CONQUERED; OR, LOVE TRIUMPHANT

Sweet girl, thy smiles are full of charms,

Thy voice is sweeter still,

It fills the breast with fond alarms,

Echoed by every rill.

I begin this little work with an eulogy upon woman, who has ever
been distinguished for her perseverance, her constancy, and her
devoted attention to those upon whom she has been pleased to place
her AFFECTIONS. Many have been the themes upon which writers and
public speakers have dwelt with intense and increasing interest.
Among these delightful themes stands that of woman, the balm
to all our sighs and disappointments, and the most pre-eminent
of all other topics. Here the poet and orator have stood and gazed
with wonder and with admiration; they have dwelt upon her innocence,
the ornament of all her virtues. First viewing her external charms,
such as set forth in her form and benevolent countenance, and then passing
to the deep hidden springs of loveliness and disinterested devotion.
In every clime, and in every age, she has been the pride of her NATION.
Her watchfulness is untiring; she who guarded the sepulcher was
the first to approach it, and the last to depart from its awful
yet sublime scene. Even here, in this highly favored land,
we look to her for the security of our institutions, and for our
future greatness as a nation. But, strange as it may appear,
woman's charms and virtues are but slightly appreciated by thousands.
Those who should raise the standard of female worth, and paint her
value with her virtues, in living colors, upon the banners that are
fanned by the zephyrs of heaven, and hand them down to posterity
as emblematical of a rich inheritance, do not properly estimate them.

Man is not sensible, at all times, of the nature and the emotions
which bear that name; he does not understand, he will not comprehend;
his intelligence has not expanded to that degree of glory which
drinks in the vast revolution of humanity, its end, its mighty
destination, and the causes which operated, and are still operating,
to produce a more elevated station, and the objects which energize
and enliven its consummation. This he is a stranger to;
he is not aware that woman is the recipient of celestial love,
and that man is dependent upon her to perfect his character;
that without her, philosophically and truly speaking, the brightest
of his intelligence is but the coldness of a winter moon,
whose beams can produce no fruit, whose solar light is not its own,
but borrowed from the great dispenser of effulgent beauty.
We have no disposition in the world to flatter the fair sex,
we would raise them above those dastardly principles which only
exist in little souls, contracted hearts, and a distracted brain.
Often does she unfold herself in all her fascinating loveliness,
presenting the most captivating charms; yet we find man frequently
treats such purity of purpose with indifference. Why does he do it?
Why does he baffle that which is inevitably the source of his
better days? Is he so much of a stranger to those excellent qualities
as not to appreciate woman, as not to have respect to her dignity?
Since her art and beauty first captivated man, she has been his
delight and his comfort; she has shared alike in his misfortunes
and in his prosperity.

Whenever the billows of adversity and the tumultuous waves of trouble
beat high, her smiles subdue their fury. Should the tear of sorrow
and the mournful sigh of grief interrupt the peace of his mind,
her voice removes them all, and she bends from her circle to encourage
him onward. When darkness would obscure his mind, and a thick cloud
of gloom would bewilder its operations, her intelligent eye darts
a ray of streaming light into his heart. Mighty and charming is that
disinterested devotion which she is ever ready to exercise toward man,
not waiting till the last moment of his danger, but seeks to relieve
him in his early afflictions. It gushes forth from the expansive
fullness of a tender and devoted heart, where the noblest, the purest,
and the most elevated and refined feelings are matured and developed
in those may kind offices which invariably make her character.

In the room of sorrow and sickness, this unequaled characteristic
may always been seen, in the performance of the most charitable acts;
nothing that she can do to promote the happiness of him who she
claims to be her protector will be omitted; all is invigorated by
the animating sunbeams which awaken the heart to songs of gaiety.
Leaving this point, to notice another prominent consideration,
which is generally one of great moment and of vital importance.
Invariably she is firm and steady in all her pursuits and aims.
There is required a combination of forces and extreme opposition to
drive her from her position; she takes her stand, not to be moved by
the sound of Apollo's lyre or the curved bow of pleasure.

Firm and true to what she undertakes, and that which she requires
by her own aggrandizement, and regards as being within the strict rules
of propriety, she will remain stable and unflinching to the last.
A more genuine principle is not to be found in the most determined,
resolute heart of man. For this she deserves to be held in the
highest commendation, for this she deserves the purest of all
other blessings, and for this she deserves the most laudable reward
of all others. It is a noble characteristic and is worthy of imitation
of any age. And when we look at it in one particular aspect,
it is still magnified, and grows brighter and brighter the more we
reflect upon its eternal duration. What will she not do, when her
word as well as her affections and LOVE are pledged to her lover?
Everything that is dear to her on earth, all the hospitalities
of kind and loving parents, all the sincerity and loveliness
of sisters, and the benevolent devotion of brothers, who have
surrounded her with every comfort; she will forsake them all,
quit the harmony and sweet sound of the lute and the harp,
and throw herself upon the affections of some devoted admirer,
in whom she fondly hopes to find more than she has left behind,
which is not often realized by many. Truth and virtue all combined!
How deserving our admiration and love! Ah cruel would it be in man,
after she has thus manifested such an unshaken confidence in him,
and said by her determination to abandon all the endearments and
blandishments of home, to act a villainous part, and prove a traitor
in the revolution of his mission, and then turn Hector over the
innocent victim whom he swore to protect, in the presence of Heaven,
recorded by the pen of an angel.

Striking as this train may unfold itself in her character,
and as pre-eminent as it may stand among the fair display of her
other qualities, yet there is another, which struggles into existence,
and adds an additional luster to what she already possesses.
I mean that disposition in woman which enables her, in sorrow,
in grief, and in distress, to bear all with enduring patience.
This she has done, and can and will do, amid the din of war and
clash of arms. Scenes and occurrences which, to every appearance,
are calculated to rend the heart with the profoundest emotions of trouble,
do not fetter that exalted principle imbued in her very nature.
It is true, her tender and feeling heart may often be moved (as she
is thus constituted), but she is not conquered, she has not given up
to the harlequin of disappointments, her energies have not become
clouded in the last movement of misfortune, but she is continually
invigorated by the archetype of her affections. She may bury her face
in her hands, and let the tear of anguish roll, she may promenade
the delightful walks of some garden, decorated with all the flowers
of nature, or she may steal out along some gently rippling stream,
and there, as the silver waters uninterruptedly move forward,
shed her silent tears; they mingle with the waves, and take a last
farewell of their agitated home, to seek a peaceful dwelling among
the rolling floods; yet there is a voice rushing from her breast,
that proclaims VICTORY along the whole line and battlement of
her affections. That voice is the voice of patience and resignation;
that voice is one that bears everything calmly and dispassionately,
amid the most distressing scenes; when the fates are arrayed against
her peace, and apparently plotting for her destruction, still she
is resigned.

Woman's affections are deep, consequently her troubles may be made
to sink deep. Although you may not be able to mark the traces of her
grief and the furrowings of her anguish upon her winning countenance,
yet be assured they are nevertheless preying upon her inward person,
sapping the very foundation of that heart which alone was made
for the weal and not the woe of man. The deep recesses of the soul
are fields for their operation. But they are not destined simply
to take the regions of the heart for their dominion, they are not
satisfied merely with interrupting her better feelings; but after
a while you may see the blooming cheek beginning to droop and fade,
her intelligent eye no longer sparkles with the starry light of heaven,
her vibrating pulse long since changed its regular motion, and her
palpitating bosom beats once more for the midday of her glory.
Anxiety and care ultimately throw her into the arms of the haggard
and grim monster death. But, oh, how patient, under every
pining influence! Let us view the matter in bolder colors;
see her when the dearest object of her affections recklessly seeks
every bacchanalian pleasure, contents himself with the last rubbish
of creation. With what solicitude she awaits his return! Sleep fails
to perform its office--she weeps while the nocturnal shades of the
night triumph in the stillness. Bending over some favorite book,
whilst the author throws before her mind the most beautiful imagery,
she startles at every sound. The midnight silence is broken
by the solemn announcement of the return of another morning.
He is still absent; she listens for that voice which has so often
been greeted by the melodies of her own; but, alas! stern silence
is all that she receives for her vigilance.

Mark her unwearied watchfulness, as the night passes away.
At last, brutalized by the accursed thing, he staggers along
with rage, and, shivering with cold, he makes his appearance.
Not a murmur is heard from her lips. On the contrary, she meets him
with a smile--she caresses him with tender arms, with all the gentleness
and softness of her sex. Here, then, is seen her disposition,
beautifully arrayed. Woman, thou art more to be admired than the spicy
gales of Arabia, and more sought for than the gold of Golconda.
We believe that Woman should associate freely with man, and we believe
that it is for the preservation of her rights. She should become
acquainted with the metaphysical designs of those who condescended
to sing the siren song of flattery. This, we think, should be
according to the unwritten law of decorum, which is stamped upon
every innocent heart. The precepts of prudery are often steeped
in the guilt of contamination, which blasts the expectations of
better moments. Truth, and beautiful dreams--loveliness, and delicacy
of character, with cherished affections of the ideal woman--
gentle hopes and aspirations, are enough to uphold her in the storms
of darkness, without the transferred colorings of a stained sufferer.
How often have we seen it in our public prints, that woman occupies
a false station in the world! and some have gone so far as to say it
was an unnatural one. So long has she been regarded a weak creature,
by the rabble and illiterate--they have looked upon her as an
insufficient actress on the great stage of human life--a mere puppet,
to fill up the drama of human existence--a thoughtless, inactive being--
that she has too often come to the same conclusion herself, and has
sometimes forgotten her high destination, in the meridian of her glory.
We have but little sympathy or patience for those who treat her as
a mere Rosy Melindi--who are always fishing for pretty complements--
who are satisfied by the gossamer of Romance, and who can be
allured by the verbosity of high-flown words, rich in language,
but poor and barren in sentiment. Beset, as she has been, by the
intellectual vulgar, the selfish, the designing, the cunning, the hidden,
and the artful--no wonder she has sometimes folded her wings in despair,
and forgotten her HEAVENLY mission in the delirium of imagination;
no wonder she searches out some wild desert, to find a peaceful home.
But this cannot always continue. A new era is moving gently onward,
old things are rapidly passing away; old superstitions, old prejudices,
and old notions are now bidding farewell to their old associates
and companions, and giving way to one whose wings are plumed
with the light of heaven and tinged by the dews of the morning.
There is a remnant of blessedness that clings to her in spite of all
evil influence, there is enough of the Divine Master left to accomplish
the noblest work ever achieved under the canopy of the vaulted skies;
and that time is fast approaching, when the picture of the true
woman will shine from its frame of glory, to captivate, to win back,
to restore, and to call into being once more, THE OBJECT OF HER MISSION.

Star of the brave! thy glory shed,

O'er all the earth, thy army led--

Bold meteor of immortal birth!

Why come from Heaven to dwell on Earth?

Mighty and glorious are the days of youth; happy the moments
of the LOVER, mingled with smiles and tears of his devoted,
and long to be remembered are the achievements which he gains with a
palpitating heart and a trembling hand. A bright and lovely dawn,
the harbinger of a fair and prosperous day, had arisen over the
beautiful little village of Cumming, which is surrounded by the
most romantic scenery in the Cherokee country. Brightening clouds
seemed to rise from the mist of the fair Chattahoochee, to spread
their beauty over the the thick forest, to guide the hero whose
bosom beats with aspirations to conquer the enemy that would tarnish
his name, and to win back the admiration of his long-tried friend.
He endeavored to make his way through Sawney's Mountain, where many meet
to catch the gales that are continually blowing for the refreshment
of the stranger and the traveler. Surrounded as he was by hills
on every side, naked rocks dared the efforts of his energies.
Soon the sky became overcast, the sun buried itself in the clouds,
and the fair day gave place to gloomy twilight, which lay heavily
on the Indian Plains. He remembered an old Indian Castle,
that once stood at the foot of the mountain. He thought if he could
make his way to this, he would rest contented for a short time.
The mountain air breathed fragrance--a rosy tinge rested on the glassy
waters that murmured at its base. His resolution soon brought him
to the remains of the red man's hut: he surveyed with wonder and
astonishment the decayed building, which time had buried in the dust,
and thought to himself, his happiness was not yet complete.
Beside the shore of the brook sat a young man, about eighteen or twenty,
who seemed to be reading some favorite book, and who had a remarkably
noble countenance--eyes which betrayed more than a common mind.
This of course made the youth a welcome guest, and gained him
friends in whatever condition of life he might be placed.
The traveler observed that he was a well-built figure, which showed
strength and grace in every movement. He accordingly addressed
him in quite a gentlemanly manner, and inquired of him the way
to the village. After he had received the desired information,
and was about taking his leave, the youth said, "Are you not
Major Elfonzo, the great musician--the champion of a noble cause--
the modern Achilles, who gained so many victories in the Florida War?"
"I bear that name," said the Major, "and those titles,
trusting at the same time that the ministers of grace will carry
me triumphantly through all my laudable undertakings, and if,"
continued the Major, "you, sir, are the patronizer of noble deeds,
I should like to make you my confidant and learn your address."
The youth looked somewhat amazed, bowed low, mused for a moment,
and began: "My name is Roswell. I have been recently admitted
to the bar, and can only give a faint outline of my future success
in that honorable profession; but I trust, sir, like the Eagle,
I shall look down from lofty rocks upon the dwellings of man, and shall
ever be ready to give you any assistance in my official capacity,
and whatever this muscular arm of mine can do, whenever it shall be
called from its buried GREATNESS." The Major grasped him by the hand,
and exclaimed: "O! thou exalted spirit of inspiration--thou flame
of burning prosperity, may the Heaven-directed blaze be the glare
of thy soul, and battle down every rampart that seems to impede
your progress!"

The road which led to the town presented many attractions.
Elfonzo had bid farewell to the youth of deep feeling, and was
not wending his way to the dreaming spot of his fondness.
The south winds whistled through the woods, as the waters dashed
against the banks, as rapid fire in the pent furnace roars.
This brought him to remember while alone, that he quietly left behind
the hospitality of a father's house, and gladly entered the world,
with higher hopes than are often realized. But as he journeyed onward,
he was mindful of the advice of his father, who had often looked
sadly on the ground when tears of cruelly deceived hope moistened
his eye. Elfonzo had been somewhat of a dutiful son; yet fond
of the amusements of life--had been in distant lands--had enjoyed
the pleasure of the world and had frequently returned to the scenes
of his boyhood, almost destitute of many of the comforts of life.
In this condition, he would frequently say to his father, "Have I
offended you, that you look upon me as a stranger, and frown upon
me with stinging looks? Will you not favor me with the sound of
your voice? If I have trampled upon your veneration, or have spread
a humid veil of darkness around your expectations, send me back into
the world where no heart beats for me--where the foot of man has
never yet trod; but give me at least one kind word--allow me to come
into the presence sometimes of thy winter-worn locks." "Forbid it,
Heaven, that I should be angry with thee," answered the father,
"my son, and yet I send thee back to the children of the world--
to the cold charity of the combat, and to a land of victory. I read
another destiny in thy countenance--I learn thy inclinations from
the flame that has already kindled in my soul a stranger sensation.
It will seek thee, my dear ELFONZO, it will find thee--thou canst
not escape that lighted torch, which shall blot out from the
remembrance of men a long train of prophecies which they have
foretold against thee. I once thought not so. Once, I was blind;
but now the path of life is plain before me, and my sight is clear;
yet Elfonzo, return to thy worldly occupation--take again in thy
hand that chord of sweet sounds--struggle with the civilized world,
and with your own heart; fly swiftly to the enchanted ground--
let the night-OWL send forth its screams from the stubborn oak--
let the sea sport upon the beach, and the stars sing together;
but learn of these, Elfonzo, thy doom, and thy hiding-place. Our most
innocent as well as our most lawful DESIRES must often be denied us,
that we may learn to sacrifice them to a Higher will."

Remembering such admonitions with gratitude, Elfonzo was immediately
urged by the recollection of his father's family to keep moving.
His steps became quicker and quicker--he hastened through the PINY woods,
dark as the forest was, and with joy he very soon reached the little
village or repose, in whose bosom rested the boldest chivalry.
His close attention to every important object--his modest questions
about whatever was new to him--his reverence for wise old age,
and his ardent desire to learn many of the fine arts, soon brought him
into respectable notice.

One mild winter day as he walked along the streets toward the Academy,
which stood upon a small eminence, surrounded by native growth--
some venerable in its appearance, others young and prosperous--
all seemed inviting, and seemed to be the very place for learning as
well as for genius to spend its research beneath its spreading shades.
He entered its classic walls in the usual mode of southern manners.
The principal of the Institution begged him to be seated and listen
to the recitations that were going on. He accordingly obeyed
the request, and seemed to be much pleased. After the school
was dismissed, and the young hearts regained their freedom,
with the songs of the evening, laughing at the anticipated pleasures
of a happy home, while others tittered at the actions of the past day,
he addressed the teacher in a tone that indicated a resolution--
with an undaunted mind. He said he had determined to become
a student, if he could meet with his approbation. "Sir," said he,
"I have spent much time in the world. I have traveled among
the uncivilized inhabitants of America. I have met with friends,
and combated with foes; but none of these gratify my ambition,
or decide what is to be my destiny. I see the learned would
have an influence with the voice of the people themselves.
The despoilers of the remotest kingdoms of the earth refer their
differences to this class of persons. This the illiterate and
inexperienced little dream of; and now if you will receive me as I am,
with these deficiencies--with all my misguided opinions, I will give
you my honor, sir, that I will never disgrace the Institution,
or those who have placed you in this honorable station."
The instructor, who had met with many disappointments, knew how to
feel for a stranger who had been thus turned upon the charities
of an unfeeling community. He looked at him earnestly, and said:
"Be of good cheer--look forward, sir, to the high destination you
may attain. Remember, the more elevated the mark at which you aim,
the more sure, the more glorious, the more magnificent the prize."
From wonder to wonder, his encouragement led the impatient listener.
A stranger nature bloomed before him--giant streams promised
him success--gardens of hidden treasures opened to his view.
All this, so vividly described, seemed to gain a new witchery from his
glowing fancy.

In 1842 he entered the class, and made rapid progress in the English
and Latin departments. Indeed, he continued advancing with such
rapidity that he was like to become the first in his class,
and made such unexpected progress, and was so studious, that he had
almost forgotten the pictured saint of his affections. The fresh
wreaths of the pine and cypress had waited anxiously to drop once
more the dews of Heavens upon the heads of those who had so often
poured forth the tender emotions of their souls under its boughs.
He was aware of the pleasure that he had seen there. So one evening,
as he was returning from his reading, he concluded he would pay a visit
to this enchanting spot. Little did he think of witnessing a shadow
of his former happiness, though no doubt he wished it might be so.
He continued sauntering by the roadside, meditating on the past.
The nearer he approached the spot, the more anxious he became.
At the moment a tall female figure flitted across his path, with a
bunch of roses in her hand; her countenance showed uncommon vivacity,
with a resolute spirit; her ivory teeth already appeared as she
smiled beautifully, promenading--while her ringlets of hair dangled
unconsciously around her snowy neck. Nothing was wanting to complete
her beauty. The tinge of the rose was in full bloom upon her cheek;
the charms of sensibility and tenderness were always her associates..
In Ambulinia's bosom dwelt a noble soul--one that never faded--
one that never was conquered. Her heart yielded to no feeling
but the love of Elfonzo, on whom she gazed with intense delight,
and to whom she felt herself more closely bound, because he sought
the hand of no other. Elfonzo was roused from his apparent reverie.
His books no longer were his inseparable companions--his thoughts
arrayed themselves to encourage him in the field of victory.
He endeavored to speak to his supposed Ambulinia, but his speech
appeared not in words. No, his effort was a stream of fire,
that kindled his soul into a flame of admiration, and carried
his senses away captive. Ambulinia had disappeared, to make him
more mindful of his duty. As she walked speedily away through
the piny woods she calmly echoed: "O! Elfonzo, thou wilt
now look from thy sunbeams. Thou shalt now walk in a new path--
perhaps thy way leads through darkness; but fear not, the stars
foretell happiness."

Not many days afterward, as surrounded by fragrant flowers she sat
one evening at twilight, to enjoy the cool breeze that whispered
notes of melody along the distant groves, the little birds perched
on every side, as if to watch the movements of their new visitor.
The bells were tolling when Elfonzo silently stole along by the wild
wood flowers, holding in his hand his favorite instrument of music--
his eye continually searching for Ambulinia, who hardly seemed
to perceive him, as she played carelessly with the songsters
that hopped from branch to branch. Nothing could be more striking
than the difference between the two. Nature seemed to have given
the more tender soul to Elfonzo, and the stronger and more courageous
to Ambulinia. A deep feeling spoke from the eyes of Elfonzo--
such a feeling as can only be expressed by those who are blessed
as admirers, and by those who are able to return the same with
sincerity of heart. He was a few years older than Ambulinia:
she had turned a little into her seventeenth. He had almost grown
up in the Cherokee country, with the same equal proportions as one
of the natives. But little intimacy had existed between them until
the year forty-one--because the youth felt that the character of such
a lovely girl was too exalted to inspire any other feeling than
that of quiet reverence. But as lovers will not always be insulted,
at all times and under all circumstances, by the frowns and cold
looks of crabbed old age, which should continually reflect dignity
upon those around, and treat unfortunate as well as the fortunate
with a graceful mien, he continued to use diligence and perseverance.
All this lighted a spark in his heart that changed his whole character,
and like the unyielding Deity that follows the storm to check its
rage in the forest, he resolves for the first time to shake off
his embarrassment and return where he had before only worshiped.

It could not escape Ambulinia's penetrating eye that he sought
an interview with her, which she as anxiously avoided, and assumed
a more distant calmness than before, seemingly to destroy all hope.
After many efforts and struggles with his own person, with timid
steps the Major approached the damsel, with the same caution
as he would have done in a field of battle. "Lady Ambulinia,"
said he, trembling, "I have long desired a moment like this.
I dare not let it escape. I fear the consequences; yet I hope
your indulgence will at least hear my petition. Can you not
anticipate what I would say, and what I am about to express?
Will not you, like Minerva, who sprung from the brain of Jupiter,
release me from thy winding chains or cure me--" "Say no more,
Elfonzo," answered Ambulinia, with a serious look, raising her hand
as if she intended to swear eternal hatred against the whole world;
"another lady in my place would have perhaps answered your question
in bitter coldness. I know not the little arts of my sex.
I care but little for the vanity of those who would chide me,
and am unwilling as well as shamed to be guilty of anything
that would lead you to think 'all is not gold that glitters';
so be not rash in your resolution. It is better to repent now than
to do it in a more solemn hour. Yes, I know what you would say.
I know you have a costly gift for me--the noblest that man can make--
YOUR HEART! you should not offer it to one so unworthy.
Heaven, you know, has allowed my father's house to be made a house
of solitude, a home of silent obedience, which my parents say
is more to be admired than big names and high-sounding titles.
Notwithstanding all this, let me speak the emotions of an honest heart;
allow me to say in the fullness of my hopes that I anticipate
better days. The bird may stretch its wings toward the sun,
which it can never reach; and flowers of the field appear to
ascend in the same direction, because they cannot do otherwise;
but man confides his complaints to the saints in whom he believes;
for in their abodes of light they know no more sorrow. From your
confession and indicative looks, I must be that person; if so,
deceive not yourself."

Elfonzo replied, "Pardon me, my dear madam, for my frankness.
I have loved you from my earliest days; everything grand and beautiful
hath borne the image of Ambulinia; while precipices on every hand
surrounded me, your GUARDIAN ANGEL stood and beckoned me away from
the deep abyss. In every trial, in every misfortune, I have met
with your helping hand; yet I never dreamed or dared to cherish
thy love till a voice impaired with age encouraged the cause,
and declared they who acquired thy favor should win a victory.
I saw how Leos worshipped thee. I felt my own unworthiness.
I began to KNOW JEALOUSY--a strong guest, indeed, in my bosom--
yet I could see if I gained your admiration Leos was to be my rival.
I was aware that he had the influence of your parents, and the wealth
of a deceased relative, which is too often mistaken for permanent
and regular tranquillity; yet I have determined by your permission
to beg an interest in your prayers--to ask you to animate my dropping
spirits by your smiles and your winning looks; for if you but speak
I shall be conqueror, my enemies shall stagger like Olympus shakes.
And though earth and sea may tremble, and the charioteer of the sun
may forget his dashing steed, yet I am assured that it is only
to arm me with divine weapons which will enable me to complete my
long-tried intention."

"Return to your self, Elfonzo," said Ambulinia, pleasantly; "a dream
of vision has disturbed your intellect; you are above the atmosphere,
dwelling in the celestial regions; nothing is there that urges
or hinders, nothing that brings discord into our present litigation.
I entreat you to condescend a little, and be a man, and forget it all.
When Homer describes the battle of the gods and noble men fighting
with giants and dragons, they represent under this image our struggles
with the delusions of our passions. You have exalted me, an unhappy girl,
to the skies; you have called me a saint, and portrayed in your
imagination an angel in human form. Let her remain such to you,
let her continue to be as you have supposed, and be assured that she
will consider a share in your esteem as her highest treasure.
Think not that I would allure you from the path in which your
conscience leads you; for you know I respect the conscience of others,
as I would die for my own. Elfonzo, if I am worthy of thy love,

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