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Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 1, No. 5, March, 1858 by Various

Part 4 out of 5

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felt his death to be certain; yet all his business in court and out was
marked by his ordinary clearness and ability, all his intercourse with
his family and friends by his usual sweetness and cheerfulness of

On the Fourth of July, Hamilton and Burr met at the annual banquet of
the Society of Cincinnati. Hamilton presided. No one was afterwards able
to remember that his manner gave any indication of the dreadful event
which was so near at hand. He joined freely in the conversation and
badinage of such occasions, and towards the close of the feast sang
a song,--the only one he knew,--the ballad of the Drum. But many
remembered that Burr was silent and moody. He did not look towards
Hamilton until he began to sing, when he fixed his eyes upon him and
gazed intently at him until the song was ended.

Hamilton was living at the Grange, his country-seat, near
Manhattanville. The place is still unchanged. His office was in a small
house on Cedar Street, where he likewise found lodgings when necessary.
The night previous to the duel was passed there. We have been told by
an aged citizen of New York, that Hamilton was seen long after midnight
walking to and fro in front of the house.

During these last hours both parties wrote a few farewell lines. In no
act of their lives does the difference in the characters of Hamilton and
Burr show itself so distinctly as in these parting letters. Hamilton was
oppressed by the difficulties and responsibilities of his situation. His
duty to his creditors and his family forbade him rashly to expose a life
which was so valuable to them; his duty to his country forbade him to
leave so evil an example; he was not conscious of ill-will towards Col.
Burr; and his nature revolted at the thought of destroying human life in
a private quarrel. These thoughts, and the considerations of pride and
ambition which nevertheless controlled him, are beautifully expressed in
language which is full of pathos and manly dignity. He had made his
will the day before. He was distressed lest his estate should prove
insufficient to pay his debts, and, after committing their mother to
the filial protection of his children, he besought them, as his last
request, to vindicate his memory by making up any deficiency which might
occur. Burr's letters to Theodosia and her husband are mainly occupied
with directions as to the disposal of his property and papers. The
tone of them does not differ greatly from that of his ordinary
correspondence. They do not contain a word such as an affectionate
father or a patriotic citizen would have written at such a time. They
do not express a sentiment such as a generous and thoughtful man would
naturally feel on the eve of so momentous an occurrence. There are no
misgivings as to the propriety of his conduct, nor a whisper of regret
at the unfortunate circumstances which, as he professed to think,
compelled him to seek another's blood. He addressed to his daughter
a few lines of graceful compliment, and, in striking contrast with
Hamilton's injunction to his children, Burr's last request with regard
to Theodosia is, that she shall acquire a "critical knowledge of Latin,
English, and all branches of natural philosophy."

The combatants met on the 11th of July, 1804, at a place beneath the
heights of Weehawken, upon the New Jersey side of the Hudson,--the usual
resort, at that time, for such encounters. Burr fired the moment the
word was given, raising his arm deliberately and taking aim. The ball
struck Hamilton on the side, and, as he reeled under the blow, his
pistol was discharged into the air. "I should have shot him through the
heart," said Burr, afterwards, "but, at the moment I was about to fire,
my aim was confused by a vapor." Burr stepped forward with a gesture of
regret, when he saw his adversary fall; but his second hurried him from
the field, screening him with an umbrella from the recognition of the
surgeon and bargemen.

Hamilton was carried to the house of Mr. Bayard, in the suburbs of the
city. The news flew through the town, producing intense excitement.
Bulletins were posted at the Tontine, and changed with every new report.
Crowds soon gathered around Mr. Bayard's house, and in the grounds. So
deep was the feeling, that visitors were permitted to pass one by one
through the room where Gen. Hamilton was lying. From the first, there
was no hope of his recovery. This opinion of the most eminent surgeons
in the city was concurred in by the surgeons of two French frigates in
the harbor, who were consulted. Gen. Hamilton was a man of slight frame,
and a disorder, from which he had recently suffered, prevented the use
of the ordinary remedies. He retained his composure to the last; nor was
his fortitude disturbed until his seven children approached his bedside.
He gave them one look, and, closing his eyes, did not open them again
while they remained in the room. He expired at two o'clock on the day
after the duel.

He was not the only victim. His oldest daughter, a girl of twenty, whose
education he had carefully directed, and whose musical talents gave him
great pleasure, never recovered from the shock of her father's death.
In her disordered fancy, she visited by night the fatal ground at
Weehawken, and told her friends that she crossed the river and returned
before morning. Her mind soon gave way entirely; and only last spring
death released her from a total, though gentle insanity of fifty years'

The sudden and tragic death of Alexander Hamilton produced a universal
feeling of sympathy and sorrow. As the leader of the bar, the advocate
of the Constitution, the statesman who had given the law to American
commerce, the most accomplished soldier in the army, and connected
with the still recent glories of the Revolution,--his name had become
familiar to every ear, and was associated with every subject of popular
interest. His career was, in all respects, an extraordinary one. He came
here a stranger, without fortune or powerful family connections. While
yet a school-boy, he had borne a creditable part in the discussion of
public affairs. At an age when the ambition of most young soldiers
is satisfied, if, by the performance of their ordinary duties as
subalterns, they have attracted the regard of their superiors, he was
in a position of responsibility, and occupied with the most serious and
complicated matters of war. He was one of the youngest and at the
same time one of the most influential members of the Constitutional
Convention. To this distinction in affairs and arms he added equal
distinction at the bar. It will he difficult to find in our history, or
in that of England, an instance of such eminence in three departments of
action so distinct and dissimilar. Although it may he said of Hamilton,
that he had not the intuitive perception, which Jefferson possessed, of
the necessities imposed upon the country by its anomalous condition,
yet, as a statesman under an established government, he was surpassed
by no man of his generation. His talents were of the kind which most
attracts the sympathies and impresses the understandings of others. He
was a grave man, occupied with business affairs, but not unequal to
occasions which required the display of taste and eloquence. His solid
qualities of mind inspired universal confidence in the soundness of
his views upon all questions which were not the subject of political
dispute. There were many plain Republicans of that day who were firmly
attached to the principles which Jefferson advocated, but who thought
that Jefferson was a dreamer and an enthusiast, and that Hamilton was a
far safer man in the ordinary affairs of government.

The grief which the death of Hamilton caused in the nation reacted upon
Burr; and when the correspondence was published, a storm of condemnation
burst upon him. Indictments were found against him in New York and New
Jersey. In every pulpit, upon every platform, where the virtues and
services of Hamilton were celebrated, the features of his malignant foe
were displayed in dramatic contrast He was compared to Richard III. and
Catiline, to Saul, and to the wretch who fired the temple of Diana. This
feeling was not confined to orators and clergymen, nor to this country.
It reached other communities, and was shared by men of the world like
Talleyrand, and retired students like Jeremy Bentham. The former, a few
years before his death, related to an American gentleman, that Burr, on
his arrival in Paris, in 1810, sent to him and requested an interview.
The French statesman could not well refuse to receive an American of
such distinction, with whom he was personally acquainted, and by whom
he had formerly been hospitably entertained, and told the gentleman
who brought the message,--"Say to Col. Burr, that I will receive him
to-morrow; but tell him also, that Gen. Hamilton's likeness always hangs
over my mantel." Burr did not call upon him. Talleyrand directed that
after his death the miniature should be sent to Hamilton's descendants,
with some newspaper scraps relating to him, which he had thrust into the
lining. When Burr was in England, he became intimate with Bentham. The
latter, in his "Memoirs and Correspondence," makes a brief allusion to
the acquaintance, in which the following passage occurs: "Burr gave me
an account of his duel with Hamilton. He was sure of being able to kill
him: _so I thought it little better than a murder_."

Previously to his retirement from the Vice-Presidency, in March, 1805,
Burr had formed the design of seeking a home in the Southwest. Little
more than a year before, Louisiana had been annexed, and then offered
a wide field to an ambitious man. Encouraged by some acquaintances, he
projected various political and financial speculations. In April, he
repaired to Pittsburg, and started upon a journey down the Ohio and
the Mississippi. On the way, curiosity led him to the house of Herman
Blennerhassett, and he thus accidentally made the acquaintance of a
man whose name has become historic by its association with his own.
Blennerhassett was an Irishman by birth; he had inherited a considerable
fortune, and was a man of education. Beguiled by the belief that in
the retirement of the American forests he would find the solitude most
congenial to the pursuit of his favorite studies, he purchased an island
in the Ohio River near the mouth of the Little Kanawha. He expended most
of his property in building a house and adorning his grounds. The house
was a plain wooden structure; and the shrubbery, in its best estate,
could hardly have excited the envy of Shenstone. Men of strong character
are not dependent upon certain conditions of climate and quiet for the
ability to accomplish their purposes. But Blennerhassett was not a man
of strong character; neither was he an exception to this rule. He was,
at the best, but an idle student; and his zeal for science never carried
him beyond a little desultory study of Astronomy and Botany and some
absurd experiments in Chemistry. His figure was awkward, his manners
were ungracious, and he was so near-sighted that he used to take a
servant hunting with him, to show him the game. His credulity and
want of worldly knowledge exposed him to the practices of the shrewd
frontiers-men among whom he lived. He soon became involved in debt, and
at the time of Burr's visit his situation made him a ready volunteer for
any enterprise which promised to repair his shattered fortunes. That the
enterprise was impracticable, and that he was unfit for it, only made it
more attractive to his imaginative and simple mind. The fancy of Wirt
has thrown a deceptive romance around the career of Blennerhassett, yet
there is enough of truth in the account of the misfortunes which Burr
brought upon him and his amiable wife to justify the sympathy with which
they have been regarded.

Soon after his arrival at New Orleans Burr seems to have formed bolder
designs. From this time we find in his correspondence, and that of his
friends, vague hints of some great undertaking. This proved to be a
project for an expedition against Mexico, and the establishment there
of an Empire which was to include the States west of the Alleghanies;
subsidiary to this, and connected with it, was a plan for the
colonization of a large tract of land upon the Washita.

It is difficult to believe that a design so absurd can have been
entertained by a man of common sense; yet it is certain that it was
seriously undertaken by Burr. His conduct in carrying it out furnishes
the best measure of his talents and a signal exhibition of his folly and
his vices. His high standing, his reputation as a soldier, attracted
the vulgar, and brought him into intercourse with the most intelligent
people of the Territory. The fascination of his manners, and the skill
in the arts of intrigue which long discipline had given him, enabled
him to sustain the impression which the prestige of his name everywhere
produced. The details of his political conduct could not have been
accurately known in a region so remote. The affair with Hamilton had not
injured his reputation in communities where such affairs were common
and often applauded. The circumstances of the time, to his superficial
glance, seemed to be encouraging. A large portion of the country had
lately passed under our flag;--many of the inhabitants spoke a foreign
language, and retained foreign customs and predilections;--the American
settlers were an adventurous race, and eager for an opportunity to
indulge their martial spirit;--Mexico was uneasy under the Spanish
yoke;--and some indications of a war between the United States and Spain
held out a faint hope that the initiatory steps of his, enterprise might
be taken with the connivance of the government. To recruit an army among
the hardy citizens of Kentucky and Tennessee, to excite the jealousies
of the French in Louisiana, to subdue feeble and demoralized Mexico, and
create a new and stable empire, did not appear difficult to the sanguine
imagination of a man who was without means or powerful friends, and who
at no time had sufficient confidence in those with whom he was engaged
to fully inform them of his plans. But he pursued his purposes with a
tenacity which leaves no doubt of his sincerity, and an audacity and
unscrupulousness seldom equalled. A few whom he thought it safe to trust
were admitted to his secrets. Upon those in whom he did not dare to
confide he practised every species of deception. He told some, that his
intentions were approved by the government,--others, that his expedition
was against Mexico only, and that he was sure of foreign aid. He
represented to the honest, that he had bought lands, and wished to form
a colony and institute a new and better order of society; the ignorant
were deluded with a fanciful tale of Southern conquest, and a
magnificent empire, of which he was to be king, and Theodosia queen
after his death. So thoroughly was this deception carried out, that it
is difficult to determine who were actually engaged with him. Without
doubt, many acceded to his plans only because they did not knew what his
plans really were. He made rapid journeys from New Orleans to Natchez,
Nashville, Lexington, Louisville, and St. Louis. In the winter of 1805
he returned to Washington, and in the following summer again went
down the Ohio. Wherever he went, he threw out complaints against the
government,--charged it with imbecility,--boasted that with two hundred
men he could drive the President and Congress into the Potomac,--freely
prophesied a dissolution of the Union, and published in the local
journals articles pointing out the advantages which would result from a
separation of the Western from the Eastern States. Gen. Eaton had been
denounced in Congress, and had a claim against the government; Burr
tempted him with an opportunity to redress his wrongs and satisfy his
claim. Commodore Truxton had been struck from the Navy list; he offered
him a high command in the Mexican navy. He took every occasion to
flatter the vanity of the people; attended militia parades, and praised
the troops for their discipline and martial bearing. Large donations
of land were freely promised to recruits; men were enlisted;
Blennerhassett's Island was made the rendezvous; and provisions were
gathered there.

At length his movements began to cause some anxiety to the public
officers. The United States District Attorney attempted to indict him at
Frankfort, Kentucky, but the grand-jury refused to find a bill. Henry
Clay defended him in these proceedings, and in reference to his
connection with the case, Mr. Parton makes a characteristic display of
the spirit in which his book is written, and of his unfitness for the
ambitious task he has undertaken. He quotes the following passage from
Collins's "Historical Sketches of Kentucky":--"Before Mr. Clay took
any active part as the counsel of Burr, he required of him an explicit
disavowal, [avowal,] upon his honor, that he was engaged in no design
contrary to the laws and peace of the country. This pledge was
promptly given by Burr, in language the most broad, comprehensive, and
particular. He had no design, he said, to intermeddle with or disturb
the tranquillity of the United States, nor its territories, nor any part
of them. He had neither issued nor signed nor promised a commission to
any person for any purpose. He did not own a single musket, nor bayonet,
nor any single article of military stores,--nor did any other person
for him, by his authority or knowledge. His views had been explained
to several distinguished members of the administration, were well
understood and approved by the government. They were such as every man
of honor and every good citizen must approve." Upon this paragraph Mr.
Parton makes the following extraordinary comments:--"Mr. Clay, there is
reason to believe, went to his grave in the belief that each of these
assertions was an unmitigated falsehood, and the writer of the above
adduces them merely as remarkable instances of cool, impudent lying.
On the contrary, with one exception, all of Burr's allegations were
strictly true; and even that one was true in a _Burrian_ sense. He did
_not_ own any arms or military stores: by the terms of his engagement
with his recruits, every man was to join him armed, just as every
backwoodsman was armed whenever he went from home. He had _not_ issued
nor promised any commissions: the time had not come for that. Jefferson
and his cabinet undoubtedly knew his views and intentions, up to the
point where they ceased to be lawful."

To this miserable tissue of sophistry and misrepresentation the only
reply we have to make is, that Burr's statements were the unmitigated
falsehoods which Henry Clay believed them to be. For at that very time
stores were collected on Blennerhassett's Island; other persons were
bringing arms for Burr's service and with his knowledge; the winter
previous he had offered commissions to Eaton and Truxton; and a month
before this statement was made, his agent had arrived at Wilkinson's
camp with the direct proposition to that officer, that he should attack
the Spaniards, hurry his country into a war, and enter upon a career of
conquest which was to result in dismembering the Union. And yet Burr
solemnly declared upon his honor that he was engaged in no design
"contrary to the laws and peace of the country," and that "his
views were such as every man of honor and every good citizen must
approve,"--and Parton says these averments were true. We have no wish
to deal harshly with this writer; but such an impudent defence of a
palpable falsehood is a disgrace to American letters.

Every well-informed person knows the miserable issue of this
ill-contrived conspiracy. The only emotion which it now excites in the
student is wonder that the thought of it could ever have entered a sane
mind. A wilder or more chimerical scheme never disturbed the dreams of
a schoolboy; yet no one has ever pressed a reasonable undertaking with
more earnestness and confidence than Burr his visionary purpose. He
exhibited, throughout, an infatuation and a degree of incompetency for
great achievements, which would cover the enterprise with ridicule, were
it not for the misfortunes which it brought upon himself and others.

We do not desire to linger over the last period of Burr's life. His
deadliest foe could not have wished for him so terrible a punishment as
that which afflicted his long and ignominious old age.

In 1808 he went to Europe to obtain aid for his Mexican expedition.
While in England, he made another display of his adroitness and boldness
in falsehood. The English government became suspicious of him; whereupon
he had the hardihood to claim, that, although he had borne arms against
Great Britain and had held office in an independent state, he was still
a British subject. Mr. Parton says, that this "was an amusing instance
of Burr's lawyerlike audacity." Less partial judges will probably find a
harsher term to apply to it.

After his return to this country, Burr resumed his profession in New
York, but never regained his former position at the bar. The standard
of legal acquirements was higher than it had been in his youth, and
the obloquy which rested upon him excluded him from the respectable
departments of practice. During all this time, by far the longest period
of his professional life, he never displayed any signal ability. His
society was shunned,--or sought only by a few personal admirers, or by
the profligate and the curious. When seventy-eight years of age, he
wheedled Madame Jumel, an eccentric and wealthy widow, into a marriage.
On the bridal trip he obtained possession of some of her property, and
squandered it in an idle speculation. A continuance of such practices
led to a separation, and his wife afterwards made application for a
divorce, upon a charge which Mr. Parton says is now known to have been
false, but which we have reason to believe was true, and which was so
disgusting that we cannot even hint at it.

It is our duty to notice one chapter in this book, which, more than
anything else it contains, has given it notoriety. We refer to
its defence of, or, to speak more mildly, its apology for, Burr's
libertinism. All the faults of the author which we have had occasion
to notice, examples of which are scattered through the volume, are
concentrated in these few pages,--his inconsistency, his inaccuracy,
his disposition to draw inferences from facts which they directly
contradict, and to rely on evidence which has nothing to do with the
case in hand. He argues at great length upon the assumption, that Burr's
correspondence with women was unfit for publication, and then, in
contradiction to Burr's own positive declaration, asserts that there
were "no letters necessarily criminating ladies." To prove this, he
publishes two letters, one of which is an apology, written by Burr
in his seventy-fourth year, for having addressed a young woman in an
improper manner, and the other is a letter from a female, couched in
language much wanner than an innocent woman could use. Mr. Parton
attacks Davis because that writer stated that Burr left his
correspondence to be disposed of by him, and eulogizes his hero because
he ordered that the letters should be burned. To establish this
position, he quotes Burr's will, which directed Davis "to destroy, or
to deliver to all persons interested, such letters, as may, _in his
estimation_, be calculated to affect injuriously the feelings of
individuals against whom I have no complaint,"--thus giving Mr. Davis
all the discretionary power with which he claims to have been invested,
and making him the judge as to what letters should be destroyed. We
have no more space to expose Mr. Parton's blunders and sophistry. The
evidence of Burr's debauchery, of his heartless vanity, of his utter
disregard of the considerations which usually govern even the worst of
men, does not rest upon the admissions of Davis alone. Those who are
familiar with a scandalous book called the "Secret History of St.
Domingo," which consists of a series of letters addressed to Col. Burr
by Madame D'Auvergne, will need no further illustration of his influence
over women, nor of the character of those with whom he was most
intimately associated. The night before his duel with Hamilton, he
committed all the letters of his female correspondents to the care and
perusal of Theodosia, saying that she would "find in them something to
amuse, much to instruct, and more to forgive." When in Europe, he kept a
journal in which he recorded his various amorous adventures. This book,
as published, is one which no gentleman would place in the hands of a
lady, and the editor tells us that the most improper portions of the
diary have been expurgated; yet this journal was written, not to amuse
a scandal-loving public, not for purposes of gain, but for the private
perusal of Theodosia. What can be said of a man who could expose
the lascivious expressions of abandoned females and retail his own
debaucheries to a gentle and innocent woman, and that woman his own
daughter? The mere statement beggars invective. It shows a mind so
depraved as to be unconscious of its depravity.

The character of Burr is not difficult to analyze. His life was
consistent, and at the beginning a wise man might have foretold the
end. Our author complains that Burr's reputation has suffered from
the disposition to exaggerate his faults. This may be true; but it is
likewise true that he has been benefited by the same disposition to
exaggeration. A character is more dramatic which unites great talents
with great vices, and therefore he has been represented both as a worse
and a greater man than he really was. Burr cannot be called great in
any sense. His successes, such as they were, never appear to have been
obtained by high mental effort. He has left not a single measure, no
speech, no written discussion of the various important subjects that
came before him, to which one can point as an exhibition of superior
talents. A certain description of ability cannot be denied to him. He
did well whatever could be done by address, courage, and industry,
joined to moderate talents. His chief power lay in the fascination of
personal intercourse. His countenance was pleasing, and illuminated
by eyes of singular beauty and vivacity; his bearing was lofty; his
self-possession could not be disturbed; he had the tact of a woman, and
an intellect which was active and equal to all ordinary occasions. But
even in society his range was a narrow one, and he seems to have been
successful mainly because he avoided positive effort It is usual to
speak of him as a remarkable conversationalist; but if by that term we
mean to describe, a person who is distinguished for his eloquence, grace
of expression, information, force and originality of thought, Burr was
not a good converser. A distinguished gentleman, who, while young,
was much noticed by Burr, being asked in what his personal attraction
consisted, replied, "In his manner of listening to you. He seemed to
give your thought so much value by the air with which he received it,
and to find so much more meaning in your words than you had intended.
No flattery was equal to it." We think that this anecdote reveals the
entire power of the man. He was strong through the weakness of others,
rather than in his own strength. Therefore he was most attractive to
young or inferior people. He was not on terms of intimacy with any
leading man of his time, unless it was Jeremy Bentham, and the precise
nature of their relations is not understood. The philosopher, who could
not then boast many disciples, was favorably disposed toward Burr,
because the latter had ordered a London bookseller to send him Bentham's
works as fast as they were published. Upon acquaintance, he must have
been pleased with a gentleman with whom he could have had no cause for
dispute, who could supply him with information as to new and interesting
forms of society and government, and whose adventurous and romantic
career differed so widely from his own life of study and thought.

Burr's conduct in his various public situations affords a perfect
measure of his abilities. As a soldier, he was brave, a good
disciplinarian, watchful of details, and an excellent executive officer.
At the head of a brigade he would have been useful; but he did not
possess the foresight, the breadth of mental vision, nor the magnetism
of nature awakening the enthusiasm of armies, which are necessary to a
great commander. He was an adroit lawyer, an adept in the fence of his
profession, skilful to avail himself of the errors of an opponent, and
to play upon the foibles of judge or jury; but he had not the faculty
for generalization and analysis, nor the nice discrimination in the
application of general principles to particular instances, which must be
combined in a great lawyer. He cannot by any figure of speech be called
a statesman. As a politician, he was one of the first to discover and
one of the most skilful in the use of those unworthy arts which have
brought the pursuit of politics into disrepute; but we doubt whether
he could have succeeded upon the broader field of the present day.
Perfectly competent to manage a single city, he would have failed in an
attempt to govern, a party. His talents were well defined by Jefferson,
who spoke of him as a great man in little things, and a small man in
great things.

One of the qualities most frequently attributed to Burr is fortitude;
upon this characteristic his biographer frequently dwells. And
indeed, when one reads of the misfortunes which came upon him,--the
disappointments which he encountered,--his poverty abroad,--his terrible
afflictions, and dreary old age,--and how gallantly he bore up under
all,--unblenching, unmurmuring, struggling cheerfully and patiently to
the end,--one cannot repress a feeling of admiration for the courage
which endured so much misery, and of pity for the faults which brought
that misery upon him. Such a feeling would be justified, if we could
believe that fortitude was a positive trait in his character. That is
to say, if he had been properly sensible of the odium which covered
his name, and had really felt the sorrows which visited him,--if these
things had moved him as they do others, and he had still gone on calmly
and bravely to the end, hiding the wounds which tortured him, and giving
no sign of pain,--he would, indeed, have been worthy of admiration;
he would have been a hero. But we think it will appear, upon a closer
examination, that his fortitude was a negative, not a positive quality;
it was insensibility, not courage. He did not suffer, because he did not
feel. The emotional part of our nature he did not possess; at least, it
did not show itself in any of the forms which it usually takes,--in love
of country, or of kindred,--in the opinions which he professed, or in
the subjects which occupied his thoughts. The first act of his manhood
was to join in the resistance of his countrymen to foreign oppression.
But it was no love of liberty that urged him to arms. He went to the
camp at Cambridge from the mere love of adventure. The sacred spirit
which gave nobility to so many,--which transformed mechanics,
tradesmen, village lawyers, and plain country-gentlemen into statesmen,
philosophers, diplomatists, and great captains,--which united the
children of many races into one nation, and roused a simple people to
deeds of lofty heroism,--awakened no enthusiasm in him. He was in the
very flush of youth, yet to his most intimate friends he did not breathe
a word of even moderate interest in the cause for which he had drawn his
sword. His political life was passed during the first twenty years of
our national existence, when men's minds were exercised in the effort to
adapt one government to the various and apparently conflicting interests
of many communities widely separated by distance, climate, and ancient
differences; but these complicated and momentous subjects, so absorbing
to all thoughtful men, never weighed upon his mind. He was in Europe
when Napoleon was at the height of his power, when his armies swept
from the Danube to the Guadalquivir; but that strange story, which the
giddiest school-girl cannot read with divided attention, drew no remark
from his lips. It is said that he was fond of his daughter;--it was a
fondness of the head, not of the heart. He admired her because she was
beautiful and intelligent;--had she been plain and dull, he would not
have cared for her. He made no return for the affection, warm and
generous, which her noble heart lavished upon him, liberal as the
sunlight. Had that earnest love touched, for a single instant, a
responsive chord in his heart, he could never have written those foul,
foul words to make her blush at the record of her father's shame.
Nowhere does he express regret for the misfortunes which he brought
upon others,--the bereaved family of Hamilton,--the ruin of
Blennerhassett,--the victims of his passions and his ambition. He spoke
freely, as if they were indifferent matters, of things which most men
would have concealed. He laughed at his trial,--alluded to Hamilton as
"my friend Hamilton, whom I shot,"--and used to repeat some doggerel
lines upon the duel, which he had seen in a strolling exhibition. It is
said that he was courteous and amiable, and that he did many kind and
generous acts. His courtesy and amiability did not restrain him from
perfidy and debauchery; neither did he ever do a kind act when an unkind
one would have served his purposes better.

As we have seen, Mr. Parton has described Aaron Burr as suited to many
very incongruous conditions in life. If we were to select an epoch in
history and a form of society for which he was best adapted, we should
place him in France daring the Regency and the reign of Louis XV. There,
where a successful _bon-mot_ established a claim to office, and a
well-turned leg did more for a man than the best mind in Europe, Burr
would have risen to distinction. He might have shone in the literary
circles at Sceaux, and in the _petits soupers_ at the Palais Royal.
Among the wits, the _litterateurs_, the fashionable men and women of
the time, he would have found society congenial to his tastes, and
sufficient employment for his talents. He would have exhibited in his
own life and character their vices and their superficial virtues, their
extravagance, libertinism, and impiety, their politeness, courage,
and wit. He might have borne a distinguished part in the petty
statesmanship, the intriguing diplomacy, and the wild speculations of
that period. But here, among the stern rebels of the Revolution and the
practical statesmen of the early Republic, this trickster and shallow
politician, this visionary adventurer and boaster of ladies' favors, was
out of place. He has given to his country nothing except a pernicious
example. The full light, which shows us that his vices may have
been exaggerated, shows likewise that his talents have surely been
overestimated. The contrast which gave fascination to his career is
destroyed; and for a partial vindication of his character he will pay
the penalty which he would most have dreaded, that of being forgotten.

* * * * *



A lyric conception--my friend, the Poet, said--hits me like a bullet in
the forehead. I have often had the blood drop from my checks when it
struck, and felt that I turned as white as death. Then comes a creeping
as of centipedes running down the spine,--then a gasp and a great jump
of the heart,--then a sudden flush and a beating in the vessels of the
head,--then a long sigh,--and the poem is written.

It is an impromptu, I suppose, then, if you write it so suddenly,--I

No,--said he,--far from it. I said written, but I did not say _copied_.
Every such poem has a soul and a body, and it is the body of it, or the
copy, that men read and publishers pay for. The soul of it is born in an
instant in the poet's soul. It comes to him a thought, tangled in the
meshes of a few sweet words,--words that have loved each other from the
cradle of the language, but have never been wedded until now. Whether it
will ever fully embody itself in a bridal train of a dozen stanzas or
not is uncertain; but it exists potentially from the instant that the
poet turns pale with it It is enough to stun and scare anybody, to have
a hot thought come crashing into his brain, and ploughing up those
parallel ruts where the wagon trains of common ideas were jogging along
in their regular sequences of association. No wonder the ancients made
the poetical impulse wholly external. [Greek: Maenin aeide, Thea],
Goddess,--Muse,--divine afflatus,--something outside always. _I_ never
wrote any verses worth reading. I can't. I am too stupid. If I ever
copied any that were worth reading, I was only a medium.

[I was talking all this time to our boarders, you understand,--telling
them what this poet told me. The company listened rather attentively, I
thought, considering the literary character of the remarks.]

The old gentleman opposite all at once asked me if I ever read anything
better than Pope's "Essay on Man"? Had I ever perused McFingal? He was
fond of poetry when he was a boy,--his mother taught him to say many
little pieces,--he remembered one beautiful hymn;--and the old gentleman
began, in a clear, loud voice, for his years,--

"The spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heavens,"----

He stopped, as if startled by our silence, and a faint flush ran up
beneath the thin white hairs that fell upon his cheek. As I looked
round, I was reminded of a show I once saw at the Museum,--the Sleeping
Beauty, I think they called it. The old man's sudden breaking out in
this way turned every face towards him, and each kept his posture as if
changed to stone. Our Celtic Bridget, or Biddy, is not a foolish fat
scullion to burst out crying for a sentiment. She is of the serviceable,
red-handed, broad-and-high-shouldered type; one of those imported female
servants who are known in public by their amorphous style of person,
their stoop forwards, and a headlong and as it were precipitous
walk,--the waist plunging downwards into the rocking pelvis at every
heavy footfall. Bridget, constituted for action, not for emotion, was
about to deposit a plate heaped with something upon the table, when I
saw the coarse arm stretched by my shoulder arrested,--motionless as the
arm of a terra-cotta caryatid; she couldn't set the plate down while the
old gentleman was speaking!

He was quite silent after this, still wearing the slight flush on his
cheek. Don't ever think the poetry is dead in an old man because his
forehead is wrinkled, or that his manhood has left him when his hand
trembles! If they ever _were_ there, they _are_ there still!

By and by we got talking again.--Does a poet love the verses written
through him, do you think, Sir?--said the divinity-student.

So long as they are warm from his mind, carry any of his animal heat
about them, _I know_ he loves them,--I answered. When they have had time
to cool, he is more indifferent.

A good deal as it is with buckwheat cakes,--said the young fellow whom
they call John.

The last words, only, reached the ear of the economically organized
female in black bombazine.--Buckwheat is skerce and high,--she remarked.
[Must be a poor relation sponging on our landlady,--pays nothing,--so
she must stand by the guns and be ready to repel boarders.]

I liked the turn the conversation had taken, for I had some things I
wanted to say, and so, after waiting a minute, I began again.--I don't
think the poems I read you sometimes can be fairly appreciated, given to
you as they are in the green state.

----You don't know what I mean by the _green state?_ Well, then, I will
tell you. Certain things are good for nothing until they have been kept
a long while; and some are good for nothing until they have been long
kept and _used_. Of the first, wine is the illustrious and immortal
example. Of those which must be kept and used. I will name
three,--meerschaum pipes, violins, and poems. The meerschaum is but
a poor affair until it has burned a thousand offerings to the
cloud-compelling deities. It comes to us without complexion or flavor,
born of the sea-foam, like Aphrodite, but colorless as _pallida Mors_
herself. The fire is lighted in its central shrine, and gradually the
juices which the broad leaves of the Great Vegetable had sucked up from
an acre and curdled into a drachm are diffused through its thirsting
pores. First a discoloration, then a stain, and at last a rich, glowing,
umber tint spreading over the whole surface. Nature true to her old
brown autumnal hue, you see,--as true in the fire of the meerschaum
as in the sunshine of October! And then the cumulative wealth of its
fragrant reminiscences! he who inhales its vapors takes a thousand
whiffs in a single breath; and one cannot touch it without awakening
the old joys that hang around it, as the smell of flowers clings to the
dresses of the daughters of the house of Farina!

[Don't think I use a meerschaum myself, for _I do not_, though I have
owned a calumet since my childhood, which from a naked Pict (of the
Mohawk species) my grandsire won, together with a tomahawk and beaded
knife-sheath; paying for the lot with a bullet-mark on his right
cheek. On the maternal side I inherit the loveliest silver-mounted
tobacco-stopper you ever saw. It is a little box-wood Triton, carved
with charming liveliness and truth; I have often compared it to a figure
in Raphael's "Triumph of Galatea." It came to me in an ancient shagreen
case,--how old it is I do not know,--but it must have been made since
Sir Walter Raleigh's time. If you are curious, you shall see it any
day. Neither will I pretend that I am so unused to the more perishable
smoking contrivance, that a few whiffs would make me feel as if I lay
in a groundswell on the Bay of Biscay. I am not unacquainted with
that fusiform, spiral-wound bundle of chopped stems and miscellaneous
incombustibles, the cigar, so called, of the shops,--which to "draw"
asks the suction-power of a nursling infant Hercules, and to relish, the
leathery palate of an old Silenus. I do not advise you, young man, even
if my illustration strikes your fancy, to consecrate the flower of your
life to painting the bowl of a pipe, for, let me assure you, the stain
of a reverie-breeding narcotic may strike deeper than you think for. I
have seen the green leaf of early promise grow brown before its time
under such Nicotian regimen, and thought the umbered meerschaum was
dearly bought at the cost of a brain enfeebled and a will enslaved.]

Violins, too,--the sweet old Amati!--the divine Straduarius! Played on
by ancient maestros until the bow-hand lost its power and the flying
fingers stiffened. Bequeathed to the passionate young enthusiast, who
made it whisper his hidden love, and cry his inarticulate longings, and
scream his untold agonies, and wail his monotonous despair. Passed from
his dying hand to the cold _virtuoso_, who let it slumber in its case
for a generation, till, when his hoard was broken up, it came forth once
more and rode the stormy symphonies of royal orchestras, beneath
the rushing bow of their lord and leader. Into lonely prisons with
improvident artists; into convents from which arose, day and night, the
holy hymns with which its tones were blended; and back again to orgies
in which it learned to howl and laugh as if a legion of devils were shut
up in it; then again to the gentle _dilettante_ who calmed it down with
easy melodies until it answered him softly as in the days of the old
_maestros_. And so given into our hands, its pores all full of music;
stained, like the meerschaum, through and through, with the concentrated
hue and sweetness of all the harmonies that have kindled and faded on
its strings.

Now I tell you a poem must be kept _and used_, like a meerschaum, or a
violin. A poem is just as porous as the meerschaum;--the more porous
it is, the better. I mean to say that a genuine poem is capable of
absorbing an indefinite amount of the essence of our own humanity,--its
tenderness, its heroism, its regrets, its aspirations, so as to be
gradually stained through with a divine secondary color derived from
ourselves. So you see it must take time to bring the sentiment of a
poem into harmony with our nature, by staining ourselves through every
thought and image our being can penetrate.

Then again as to the mere music of a new poem; why, who can expect
anything more from that than from the music of a violin fresh from
the maker's hands? Now you know very well that there are no less than
fifty-eight different pieces in a violin. These pieces are strangers
to each other, and it takes a century, more or less, to make them
thoroughly acquainted. At last they learn to vibrate in harmony, and the
instrument becomes an organic whole, as if it were a great seed-capsule
that had grown from a garden-bed in Cremona, or elsewhere. Besides, the
wood is juicy and full of sap for fifty years or so, but at the end of
fifty or a hundred more gets tolerably dry and comparatively resonant.

Don't you see that all this is just as true of a poem? Counting each
word as a piece, there are more pieces in an average copy of verses than
in a violin. The poet has forced all these words together, and fastened
them, and they don't understand it at first But let the poem be repeated
aloud and murmured over in the mind's muffled whisper often enough, and
at length the parts become knit together in such absolute solidarity
that you could not change a syllable without the whole world's crying
out against you for meddling with the harmonious fabric. Observe, too,
how the drying process takes place in the stuff of a poem just as in
that of a violin. Here is a Tyrolese fiddle that is just coming to its
hundredth birthday,--(Pedro Klauss, Tyroli, fecit, 1760,)--the sap is
pretty well out of it. And here is the song of an old poet whom Neaera

"Nox erat, et coelo fulgebat Luna sereno
Inter minora sidera,
Cum tu magnorum numen laesura deorum
In verba jurubas mea."

Don't you perceive the sonorousness of these old dead Latin phrases? Now
I tell you that every word fresh from the dictionary brings with it
a certain succulence; and though I cannot expect the sheets of the
"Pactolian," in which, as I told you, I sometimes print my verses,
to get so dry as the crisp papyrus that held those words of Horatius
Flaccus, yet you may be sure, that, while the sheets are damp, and while
the lines hold their sap, you can't fairly judge of my performances, and
that, if made of the true stuff, they will ring better after a while.

[There was silence for a brief space, after my somewhat elaborate
exposition of these self-evident analogies. Presently _a person_ turned
towards me--I do not choose to designate the individual--and said that
he rather expected my pieces had given pretty good "sahtisfahction."--I
had, up to this moment, considered this complimentary phrase as sacred
to the use of secretaries of lyceums, and, as it has been usually
accompanied by a small pecuniary testimonial, have acquired a certain
relish for this moderately tepid and unstimulating expression of
enthusiasm. But as a reward for gratuitous services, I confess I thought
it a little below that blood-heat standard which a man's breath ought to
have, whether silent, or vocal and articulate. I waited for a favorable
opportunity, however, before making the remarks which follow.]

----There are single expressions, as I have told you already, that fix
a man's position for you before you have done shaking hands with him.
Allow me to expand a little. There are several things, very slight in
themselves, yet implying other things not so unimportant. Thus, your
French servant has _devalise_ your premises and got caught. _Excusez_,
says the _sergent-de-ville_, as he politely relieves him of his upper
garments and displays his bust in the full daylight. Good shoulders
enough,--a little marked,--traces of smallpox, perhaps,--but
white....._Crac!_ from the _sergent-de-ville's_ broad palm on the white
shoulder! Now look! _Vogue la galere!_ Out comes the big red V--mark of
the hot iron;--he had blistered it out pretty nearly,--hadn't he?--the
old rascal VOLEUR, branded in the galleys at Marseilles! [Don't! What
if he has got something like this? nobody supposes I _invented_ such a

My man John, who used to drive two of those six equine females which I
told you I had owned,--for, look you, my friends, simple though I stand
here, I am one that has been driven in his "kerridge,"--not using that
term, as liberal shepherds do, for any battered old shabby-genteel
go-cart that has more than one wheel, but meaning thereby a four-wheeled
vehicle _with a pole_,--my man John, I say, was a retired soldier. He
retired unostentatiously, as many of Her Majesty's modest servants have
done before and since. John told me, that when an officer thinks he
recognizes one of these retiring heroes, and would know if he has really
been in the service, that he may restore him, if possible, to a grateful
country, he comes suddenly upon him, and says, sharply, "Strap!" If he
has ever worn the shoulder-strap, he has learned the reprimand for its
ill adjustment. The old word of command flashes through his muscles, and
his hand goes up in an instant to the place where the strap used to be.

[I was all the time preparing for my grand _coup_, you understand; but
I saw they were not quite ready for it, and so continued,--always in
illustration of the general principle I had laid down.]

Yes, odd things come out in ways that nobody thinks of. There was a
legend, that, when the Danish pirates made descents upon the English
coast, they caught a few Tartars occasionally, in the shape of Saxons,
that would not let them go,--on the contrary, insisted on their staying,
and, to make sure of it, treated them as Apollo treated Marsyas, or as
Bartholinus has treated a fellow-creature in his title-page, and, having
divested them of the one essential and perfectly fitting garment,
indispensable in the mildest climates, nailed the same on the
church-door as we do the banns of marriage, _in terrorem_.

[There was a laugh at this among some of the young folks; but as I
looked at our landlady, I saw that "the water stood in her eyes," as it
did in Christiana's when the interpreter asked her about the spider, and
that the school-mistress blushed, as Mercy did in the same conversation,
as you remember.]

That sounds like a cock-and-bull-story,--said the young fellow whom
they call John. I abstained from making Hamlet's remark to Horatio, and

Not long since, the church-wardens were repairing and beautifying an
old Saxon church in a certain English village, and among other things
thought the doors should be attended to. One of them particularly, the
front-door, looked very badly, crusted, as it were, and as if it would
be all the better for scraping. There happened to be a microscopist in
the village who had heard the old pirate story, and he took it into his
head to examine the crust on this door. There was no mistake about it;
it was a genuine historical document, of the Ziska drum-head
pattern,--a real _cutis humarca_, stripped from some old Scandinavian
filibuster,--and the legend was true.

My friend, the Professor, settled an important historical and financial
question once by the aid of an exceedingly minute fragment of a similar
document. Behind the pane of plate-glass which bore his name and title
burned a modest lamp, signifying to the passers-by that at all hours of
the night the slightest favors (or fevers) were welcome. A youth who
had freely partaken of the cup which cheers and likewise inebriates,
following a moth-like impulse very natural under the circumstances,
dashed his fist at the light and quenched the meek luminary,--breaking
through the plate-glass, of course, to reach it. Now I don't want to
go into _minutiae_ at table, you know, but a naked hand can no more go
through a pane of thick glass without leaving some of its cuticle,
to say the least, behind it, than a butterfly can go through a
sausage-machine without looking the worse for it. The Professor gathered
up the fragments of glass, and with them certain very minute but
entirely satisfactory documents which would have identified and hanged
any rogue in Christendom who had parted with them.--The historical
question, _Who did it_? and the financial question, _Who paid for it_?
were both settled before the new lamp was lighted the next evening.

You see, my friends, what immense conclusions, touching our lives,
our fortunes, and our sacred honor, may be reached by means of very
insignificant premises. This is eminently true of manners and forms of
speech; a movement or a phrase often tells you all you want to know
about a person. Thus, "How's your health?" (commonly pronounced
haaelth)--instead of, How do you do? or, How are you? Or calling your
little dark entry a "hall," and your old rickety one-horse wagon a
"kerridge." Or telling a person who has been trying to please you that
he has given you pretty good "sahtisfahction." Or saying that you
"remember of" such a thing, or that you have been "stoppin'" at Deacon
Somebody's,--and other such expressions. One of my friends had a little
marble statuette of Cupid in the parlor of his country-house,--bow,
arrows, wings, and all complete. A visitor, indigenous to the region,
looking pensively at the figure, asked the lady of the house "if that
was a statoo of her deceased infant?" What a delicious, though somewhat
voluminous biography, social, educational, and aesthetic in that brief

[Please observe with what Machiavellian astuteness I smuggled in
the particular offence which it was my object to hold up to my
fellow-boarders, without too personal an attack on the individual at
whose door it lay.]

That was an exceedingly dull person who made the remark, _Ex pede
Herculem_. He might as well have said, "From a peck of apples you may
judge of the barrel." _Ex_ PEDE, to be sure! Read, instead, _Ex ungue
minimi digiti pedis, Herculem, ejusque patrem, matrem, avos et proavos,
filios, nepotes et pronepotes!_ Talk to me about your [Greek: dos pou
sto]! Tell me about Cuvier's getting up a megatherium from a tooth,
or Agassiz's drawing a portrait of an undiscovered fish from a single
scale! As the "O" revealed Giotto,--as the one word "moi" betrayed the
Stratford-atte-Bowe-taught Anglais,--so all a man's antecedents and
possibilities are summed up in a single utterance which gives at once
the gauge of his education and his mental organization.

Possibilities, Sir?--said the divinity-student; can't a man who says
_Haoew?_ arrive at distinction?

Sir,--I replied,--in a republic all things are possible. But the man
_with a future_ has almost of necessity sense enough to see that any
odious trick of speech or manners must be got rid of. Doesn't Sidney
Smith say that a public man in England never gets over a false quantity
uttered in early life? _Our_ public men are in little danger of this
fatal misstep, as few of them are in the habit of introducing Latin into
their speeches,--for good and sufficient reasons. But they are bound to
speak decent English,--unless, indeed, they are rough old campaigners,
like General Jackson or General Taylor; in which case, a few scars on
Priscian's head are pardoned to old fellows that have quite as many
on their own, and a constituency of thirty empires is not at all
particular, provided they do not swear in their Presidential Messages.

However, it is not for me to talk. I have made mistakes enough in
conversation and print. "Don't" for doesn't,--base misspelling of Clos
Vougeot, (I wish I saw the label on the bottle a little oftener,)--and
I don't know how many more. I never find them out until they are
stereotyped, and then I think they rarely escape me. I have no doubt
I shall make half a dozen slips before this breakfast is over, and
remember them all before another. How one does tremble with rage at his
own intense momentary stupidity about things he knows perfectly well,
and to think how he lays himself open to the impertinences of the
_captatores verborum_, those useful but humble scavengers of the
language, whose business it is to pick up what might offend or injure,
and remove it, hugging and feeding on it as they go! I don't want to
speak too slightingly of these verbal critics;--how can I, who am so
fond of talking about errors and vulgarisms of speech? Only there is
a difference between those clerical blunders which almost every man
commits, knowing better, and that habitual grossness or meanness of
speech which is unendurable to educated persons, from anybody that wears
silk or broadcloth.

[I write down the above remarks this morning, January 26th, making this
record of the date that nobody may think it was written in wrath, on
account of any particular grievance suffered from the invasion of any
individual _scarabaeus grammaticus_.]

----I wonder if anybody ever finds fault with anything I say at this
table when it is repeated? I hope they do, I am sure. I should be very
certain that I had said nothing of much significance, if they did not.

Did you never, in walking in the fields, come across a large flat stone,
which had lain, nobody knows how long, just where you found it, with the
grass forming a little hedge, as it were, all round it, close to its
edges,--and have you not, in obedience to a kind of feeling that told
you it had been lying there long enough, insinuated your stick or your
foot or your fingers under its edge and turned it over as a housewife
turns a cake, when she says to herself, "It's done brown enough by this
time"? What an odd revelation, and what an unforeseen and unpleasant
surprise to a small community, the very existence of which you had not
suspected, until the sudden dismay and scattering among its members
produced by your turning the old stone over! Blades of grass flattened
down, colorless, matted together, as if they had been bleached and
ironed; hideous crawling creatures, some of them coleopterous or
horny-shelled,--turtle-bugs one wants to call them; some of them softer,
but cunningly spread out and compressed like Lepine watches; (Nature
never loses a crack or a crevice, mind you, or a joint in a tavern
bedstead, but she always has one of her flat-pattern live timekeepers
to slide into it;) black, glossy crickets, with their long filaments
sticking out like the whips of four-horse stage-coaches; motionless,
slug-like creatures, larvae, perhaps, more horrible in their pulpy
stillness than even in the infernal wriggle of maturity! But no sooner
is the stone turned and the wholesome light of day let upon this
compressed and blinded community of creeping things, than all of them
that enjoy the luxury of legs--and some of them have a good many--rush
round wildly, butting each other and everything in their way, and end in
a general stampede for underground retreats from the region poisoned by
sunshine. _Next year_ you will find the grass growing tall and green
where the stone lay; the ground-bird builds her nest where the beetle
had his hole; the dandelion and the buttercup are growing there, and the
broad fans of insect-angels open and shut over their golden disks, as
the rhythmic waves of blissful consciousness pulsate through their
glorified being.

----The young fellow whom they call John saw fit to say, in his very
familiar way,--at which I do not choose to take offence, but which I
sometimes think it necessary to repress,--that I was coming it rather
strong on the butterflies.

No, I replied; there is meaning in each of those images,--the butterfly
as well as the others. The stone is ancient error. The grass is human
nature borne down and bleached of all its color by it. The shapes that
are found beneath are the crafty beings that thrive in darkness, and the
weaker organisms kept helpless by it. He who turns the stone over is
whosoever puts the staff of truth to the old lying incubus, no matter
whether he do it with a serious face or a laughing one. The next year
stands for the coming time. Then shall the nature which had lain
blanched and broken rise in its full stature and native hues in the
sunshine. Then shall God's minstrels build their nests in the hearts of
a new-born humanity. Then shall beauty--Divinity taking outlines and
color--light upon the souls of men as the butterfly, image of the
beatified spirit rising from the dust, soars from the shell that held a
poor grub, which would never have found wings, had not the stone been

You never need think you can turn over any old falsehood without a
terrible squirming and scattering of the horrid little population that
dwells under it.

----Every real thought on every real subject knocks the wind out of
somebody or other. As soon as his breath comes back, he very probably
begins to expend it in hard words. These are the best evidence a man
can have that he has said something it was time to say. Dr. Johnson was
disappointed in the effect of one of his pamphlets. "I think I have not
been attacked enough for it," he said;--"attack is the reaction; I never
think I have hit hard unless it rebounds."

----If a fellow attacked my opinions in print, would I reply? Not I. Do
you think I don't understand what my friend, the Professor, long ago
called _the hydrostatic paradox of controversy?_

Don't know what that means?--Well, I will tell you. You know, that, if
you had a bent tube, one arm of which was of the size of a pipe-stem,
and the other big enough to hold the ocean, water would stand at the
same height in one as in the other. Controversy equalizes fools and wise
men in the same way,--_and the fools know it._

----No, but I often read what they say about other people. There are
about a dozen phrases that all come tumbling along together, like the
tongs, and the shovel, and the poker, and the brush, and the bellows, in
one of those domestic avalanches that everybody knows. If you get one,
you get the whole lot.

What are they?--Oh, that depends a good deal on latitude and longitude.
Epithets follow the isothermal lines pretty accurately. Grouping them
in two families, one finds himself a clever, genial, witty, wise,
brilliant, sparkling, thoughtful, distinguished, celebrated, illustrious
scholar and perfect gentleman, and first writer of the age; or a
dull, foolish, wicked, pert, shallow, ignorant, insolent, traitorous,
black-hearted outcast, and disgrace to civilization.

What do I think determines the set of phrases a man gets?--Well,
I should say a set of influences something like these:--1st.
Relationships, political, religious, social, domestic. 2d. Oysters;
in the form of suppers given to gentlemen connected with criticism. I
believe in the school, the college, and the clergy; but my sovereign
logic for regulating public opinion--which means commonly the opinion
of half a dozen of the critical gentry--is the following: _Major
proposition._ Oysters _au naturel. Minor proposition._ The same
"scalloped." _Conclusion._ That ---- (here insert entertainer's name) is
clever, witty, wise, brilliant,--and the rest.

----No, it isn't exactly bribery. One man has oysters, and another
epithets. It is an exchange of hospitalities; one gives a "spread" on
linen, and the other on paper,--that is all. Don't you think you and I
should be apt to do just so, if we were in the critical line? I am sure
I couldn't resist the softening influences of hospitality. I don't like
to dine out, you know,--I dine so well at our own table, [our landlady
looked radiant,] and the company is so pleasant [a rustling movement of
satisfaction among the boarders]; but if I did partake of a man's
salt, with such additions as that article of food requires to make it
palatable, I could never abuse him, and if I had to speak of him, I
suppose I should hang my set of jingling epithets round him like a
string of sleigh-bells. Good feeling helps society to make liars of most
of us,--not absolute liars, but such careless handlers of truth that its
sharp corners get terribly rounded. I love truth as chiefest among the
virtues; I trust it runs in my blood; but I would never be a critic,
because I know I could not always tell it. I might write a criticism of
a book that happened to please me; that is another matter.

----Listen, Benjamin Franklin! This is for you, and such others of
tender age as you may tell it to.

When we are as yet small children, long before the time when those two
grown ladies offer us the choice of Hercules, there comes up to us a
youthful angel, holding in his right hand cubes like dice, and in his
left spheres like marbles. The cubes are of stainless ivory, and on
each is written in letters of gold--TRUTH. The spheres are veined and
streaked and spotted beneath, with a dark crimson flush above, where the
light falls on them, and in a certain aspect you can make out upon
every one of them the three letters L, I, E. The child to whom they
are offered very probably clutches at both. The spheres are the most
convenient things in the world; they roll with the least possible
impulse just where the child would have them. The cubes will not roll at
all; they have a great talent for standing still, and always keep right
side up. But very soon the young philosopher finds that things which
roll so easily are very apt to roll into the wrong corner, and to get
out of his way when he most wants them, while he always knows where to
find the others, which stay where they are left. Thus he learns--thus we
learn--to drop the streaked and speckled globes of falsehood and to hold
fast the white angular blocks of truth. But then comes Timidity, and
after her Good-nature, and last of all Polite-behavior, all insisting
that truth must _roll_ or nobody can do anything with it; and so the
first with her coarse rasp, and the second with her broad file, and the
third with her silken sleeve, do so round off and smooth and polish the
snow-white cubes of truth, that, when they have got a little dingy by
use, it becomes hard to tell them from the rolling spheres of falsehood.

The schoolmistress was polite enough to say that she was pleased with
this, and that she would read it to her little flock the next day. But
she should tell the children, she said, that there were better reasons
for truth than could be found in mere experience of its convenience and
the inconvenience of lying.

Yes,--I said,--but education always begins through the senses, and works
up to the idea of absolute right and wrong. The first thing
the child has to learn about this matter is, that lying is
unprofitable,--afterwards, that it is against the peace and dignity of
the universe.

----Do I think that the particular form of lying often seen in
newspapers, under the title, "From our Foreign Correspondent," does any
harm?--Why, no,--I don't know that it does. I suppose it doesn't really
deceive people any more than the "Arabian Nights" or "Gulliver's
Travels" do. Sometimes the writers compile too carelessly, though, and
mix up facts out of geographies, and stories out of the penny papers, so
as to mislead those who are desirous of information. I cut a piece
out of one of the papers, the other day, that contains a number of
improbabilities, and, I suspect, misstatements. I will send up and get
it for you, if you would like to hear it.--Ah, this is it; it is headed


"This island is now the property of the Stamford family,--having
been won, it is said, in a raffle, by Sir ---- Stamford, during the
stock-gambling mania of the South-Sea Scheme. The history of this
gentleman may be found in an interesting series of questions
(unfortunately not yet answered) contained in the 'Notes and Queries.'
This island is entirely surrounded by the ocean, which here contains a
large amount of saline substance, crystallizing in cubes remarkable for
their symmetry, and frequently displays on its surface, during calm
weather, the rainbow tints of the celebrated South-Sea bubbles. The
summers are oppressively hot, and the winters very probably cold; but
this fact cannot be ascertained precisely, as, for some peculiar reason,
the mercury in these latitudes never shrinks, as in more northern
regions, and thus the thermometer is rendered useless in winter.

"The principal vegetable productions of the island are the pepper tree
and the bread-fruit tree. Pepper being very abundantly produced, a
benevolent society was organized in London during the last century for
supplying the natives with vinegar and oysters, as an addition to that
delightful condiment. [Note received from Dr. D.P.] It is said, however
that, as the oysters were of the kind called _natives_ in England, the
natives of Sumatra, in obedience to a natural instinct refused to touch
them, and confined themselves entirely to the crew of the vessel in
which they were brought over. This information was received from one
of the oldest inhabitants, a native himself, and exceedingly fond of
missionaries. He is said also to be very skilful in the _cuisine_
peculiar to the island.

"During the season of gathering the pepper, the persons employed are
subject to various incommodities, the chief of which is violent and
long-continued sternutation or sneezing. Such is the vehemence of
these attacks, that the unfortunate subjects of them are often driven
backwards for great distances at immense speed, on the well-known
principle of the aeolipile. Not being able to see where they are going,
these poor creatures dash themselves to pieces against the rocks or are
precipitated over the cliffs, and thus many valuable lives are lost
annually. As, during the whole pepper-harvest, they feed exclusively on
this stimulant, they become exceedingly irritable The smallest injury
is resented with ungovernable rage. A young man suffering from the
_pepper-fever_, as it is called, cudgelled another most severely for
appropriating a superannuated relative of trifling value, and was only
pacified by having a present made him of a pig of that peculiar species
of swine called the _Peccavi_ by the Catholic Jews, who, it is well
known, abstain from swine's flesh in imitation of the Mahometan

"The bread tree grows abundantly. Its branches are well known to Europe
and America under the familiar name of _maccaroni_ The smaller twigs
are called _vermicelli_. They have a decided animal flavor, as may be
observed in the soups containing them. Maccaroni, being tubular is
the favorite habitat of a very dangerous insect, which is rendered
peculiarly ferocious by being boiled. The government of the island,
therefore, never allows a stick of it to be exported without being
accompanied by a piston with which its cavity may at any time be
thoroughly swept out. These are commonly lost or stolen before the
maccaroni arrives among us. It therefore always contains many of these
insects, which, however, generally die of old age in the shops, so that
accidents from this source are comparatively rare.

"The fruit of the bread-tree consists principally of hot rolls. The
buttered-muffin variety is supposed to be a hybrid with the cocoa-nut
palm, the cream found on the milk of the cocoa-nut exuding from the
hybrid in the shape of butter, just as the ripe fruit is splitting, so
as to fit it for the tea-table, where it is commonly served up with

----There,--I don't want to read any more of it. You see that many of
these statements are highly improbable.--No, I shall not mention the
paper.--No, neither of them wrote it, though it reminds me of the style
of these popular writers. I think the fellow that wrote it must have
been reading some of their stories, and got them mixed up with his
history and geography. I don't suppose _he_ lies;--he sells it to the
editor, who knows how many squares off "Sumatra" is. The editor,
who sells it to the public----By the way, the papers have been very
civil--haven't they?--to the--the--what d'ye call it?--"Northern
Magazine"--isn't it?--got up by some of those Come-outers, down East, as
an organ for their local peculiarities.

----The Professor has been to see me. Came in, glorious, at about twelve
o'clock, last night. Said he had been with "the boys." On inquiry, found
that "the boys" were certain baldish and grayish old gentlemen that one
sees or hears of in various important stations of society. The Professor
is one of the same set, but he always talks as if he had been out of
college about ten years, whereas..... .... [Each of these dots was a
little nod, which the company understood, as the reader will, no doubt.]
He calls them sometimes "the boys," and sometimes "the old fellows."
Call him by the latter title, and see how he likes it.--Well, he came in
last night, glorious, as I was saying. Of course I don't mean vinously
exalted; he drinks little wine on such occasions, and is well known to
all the Johns and Patricks as the gentleman that always has indefinite
quantities of black tea to kill any extra glass of red claret he may
have swallowed. But the Professor says he always gets tipsy on old
memories at these gatherings. He was, I forget how many years old when
he went to the meeting; just turned of twenty now,--he said. He made
various youthful proposals to me, including a duet under the landlady's
daughter's window. He had just learned a trick, he said, of one of "the
boys," of getting a splendid bass out of a door-panel by rubbing it with
the palm of his hand,--offered to sing "The sky is bright," accompanying
himself on the front-door, if I would go down and help in the chorus.
Said there never was such a set of fellows as the old boys of the set he
has been with. Judges, mayors, Congress-men, Mr. Speakers, leaders in
science, clergymen better than famous, and famous too, poets by the
half-dozen, singers with voices like angels, financiers, wits, three of
the best laughers in the Commonwealth, engineers, agriculturists,--all
forms of talent and knowledge he pretended were represented in that
meeting. Then he began to quote Byron about Santa Croce, and maintained
that he could "furnish out creation" in all its details from that set
of his. He would like to have the whole boodle of them, (I remonstrated
against this word, but the Professor said it was a diabolish good word,
and he would have no other,) with their wives and children, shipwrecked
on a remote island, just to see how splendidly they would reorganize
society. They could build a city,--they have done it; make constitutions
and laws; establish churches and lyceums; teach and practise the healing
art; instruct in every department; found observatories; create commerce
and manufactures; write songs and hymns, and sing 'em, and make
instruments to accompany the songs with; lastly, publish a journal
almost as good as the "Northern Magazine," edited by the Come-outers.
There was nothing they were not up to, from a christening to a hanging;
the last, to be sure, could never be called for, unless some stranger
got in among them.

----I let the Professor talk as long as he liked; it didn't make much
difference to me whether it was all truth, or partly made up of pale
Sherry and similar elements. All at once he jumped up and said,--

Don't you want to hear what I just read to the boys?

I have had questions of a similar character asked me before,
occasionally. A man of iron mould might perhaps say, No! I am not a man
of iron mould, and said that I should be delighted.

The Professor then read--with that slightly sing-song cadence which is
observed to be common in poets reading their own verses--the following
stanzas; holding them at a focal distance of about two feet and a half,
with an occasional movement back or forward for better adjustment, the
appearance of which has been likened by some impertinent young folks
to that of the act of playing on the trombone. His eyesight was never
better; I have his word for it.


Flash out a stream of blood-red wine!--
For I would drink to other days;
And brighter shall their memory shine,
Seen flaming through its crimson blaze.
The roses die, the summers fade;
But every ghost of boyhood's dream
By Nature's magic power is laid
To sleep beneath this blood-red stream.

It filled the purple grapes that lay
And drank the splendors of the sun
Where the long summer's cloudless day
Is mirrored in the broad Garonne;
It pictures still the bacchant shapes
That saw their hoarded sunlight shed,--
The maidens dancing on the grapes,--
Their milk-white ankles splashed with red.

Beneath these waves of crimson lie,
In rosy fetters prisoned fast,
Those flitting shapes that never die,
The swift-winged visions of the past.
Kiss but the crystal's mystic rim,
Each shadow rends its flowery chain,
Springs in a bubble from its brim,
And walks the chambers of the brain.

Poor Beauty! time and fortune's wrong
No form nor feature may withstand,--
Thy wrecks are scattered all along,
Like emptied sea-shells on the sand;--
Yet, sprinkled with this blushing rain,
The dust restores each blooming girl,
As if the sea-shells moved again
Their glistening lips of pink and pearl.

Here lies the home of school-boy life,
With creaking stair and wind-swept hall,
And, scarred by many a truant knife,
Our old initials on the wall;
Here rest--their keen vibrations mute--
The shout of voices known so well,
The ringing laugh, the wailing flute,
The chiding of the sharp-tongued bell.

Here, clad in burning robes, are laid
Life's blossomed joys, untimely shed;
And here those cherished forms have strayed
We miss awhile, and call them dead.
What wizard fills the maddening glass?
What soil the enchanted clusters grew,
That buried passions wake and pass
In beaded drops of fiery dew?

Nay, take the cup of blood-red wine,--
Our hearts can boast a warmer glow,
Filled from a vintage more divine,--
Calmed, but not chilled by winter's snow!
To-night the palest wave we sip
Rich as the priceless draught shall be
That wet the bride of Cana's lip,--
The wedding wine of Galilee!


We are told--and, being philosophers, we will amuse ourselves by
believing--that there are towns in India, somewhere between Cape Comorin
and the Himalayas, wherein everything is _butcha_,--that is, "a little
chap"; where inhabitants and inhabited are alike in the estate of
urchins; where little Brahmins extort little offerings from little dupes
at the foot of little altars, and ring little bells, and blow little
horns, and pound little gongs, and mutter little rigmaroles before
stupid little Krishnas and Sivas and Vishnus, doing their little wooden
best to look solemn, mounted on little bulls or snakes, under little
canopies; where little Brahminee bulls, in all the little insolence of
their little sacred privileges, poke their little noses into the little
rice-baskets of pious little maidens in little bazaars, and help their
little selves to their little hearts' content, without "begging your
little pardons," or "by your little leaves"; where dirty little fakirs
and yogees hold their dirty little arms above their dirty little heads,
until their dirty little muscles are shrunk to dirty little rags, and
their dirty little finger-nails grow through the backs of their dirty
little hands,--or wear little ten-penny nails thrust through their
little tongues till they acquire little chronic impediments in their
decidedly dirty little speech,--or, by means of little hooks through the
little smalls-of-their-backs, circumgyrate from little _churruck_-posts
for the edification of infatuated little crowds and the honor of horrid
little goddesses; where plucky little widows perform their little
suttees for defunct little husbands, grilling on little funeral piles;
where mangy little Pariah dogs defile the little dinners of little
high-caste folks, by stealing hungry little sniffs from sacred little
pots; where omnivorous little adjutant-birds gobble up little glass
bottles, and bones, and little dead cats, and little old slippers, and
bits of little bricks, in front of little shops in little bazaars; where
vociferous little _circars_ are driving little bargains with obese
little _banyans_, and consequential little _chowkedars_--that is,
policemen--are bullying inoffensive little poor people, and calling them
_sooa-logue_,--that is, pigs;--where--where, in fine, everything in
heathen human-nature happens _butcha_, and the very fables with which
the little story-tellers entertain the little loafers on the corners of
the little streets, are full of _little_ giants and _little_ dwarfs. Let
us pursue the little idea, and talk _butcha_ to the end of this chapter.

When, in Calcutta, you have smitten the dry rock of your lonely life
with the magic rod of connubial love, and that well-spring of pleasure,
a new baby, has leaped up in the midst of your wilderness of exile, the
demonstration, if any, with which your servants will receive the glad
tidings, will depend wholly on the "denomination of the imbecile
offspring," as our eleemosynary widow, Mrs. Diana Theodosia Comfort
Green, would call it. If it happen to be only a girl, there will be a
trace of pity in the silent salaam with which the grim _durwan_ salutes
you as you roll into your _palkee_ at the gate to proceed to the
_godowns_ where they are weighing the saltpetre and the gunny bags.
As he touches his forehead with his joined palms, he thinks of the
difference that color makes to the babivorous crocodiles of Ganges.
Perhaps your gray-beard circar, privileged by virtue of high caste
and faithful service, will take upon himself to condole with you:
"_Khodabund_" he will say, "better luck next time; Heaven is not always
with one's paternal hopes; let us trust that my lord may live to say it
might have been worse; let us pray that the _baba's_ bridal necklace may
be as gay as rubies and as light as lilies, and that she may die before
her husband."

But if to the existing number of your _suntoshums_--the jewels that
hang on the Mem Sahib's bosom--a man-child is added, ah, then there is
merry-making in the verandas, and happy salaaming on the stairs; and in
the fulness of his Hindoo Sary-Gampness, which counts the Sahib blessed
that hath "his quiver full of sich," he says, _Ap-ki kullejee kaisa
burri ho-jaga! Khoda rukho ki beebi-ka kullejee bhee itni burri
hoga,--Gurreeb-purwan!_ "How large my lord's liver is about to grow!
God grant to the Mem Sahib, my exalted lady, a liver likewise large,--O
favored protector of the poor!" The happiness and honors which should
follow upon the birth of a male child being figuratively comprehended in
that enlargement of the liver whence comes the good digestion for which
alone life is worth the living.

Many and grievous perils do environ baby-life by the Ganges,--perils of
_dry_ nurses, perils by wolves, perils by crocodiles, perils by the Evil
Eye, perils by kidnappers, perils by cobras, perils by devils.

You are living at one of the up-country stations, where the freer air of
the jungle imparts to babes and sucklings a voracious appetite. Besides
your own _dhye_, brought from Calcutta, there is not another wet-nurse
to be had, for love or money. Immediately Dhye strikes for higher wages.
The Baba Sahib, she says, has defiled her rice; yesterday he put
his foot into her curry; to-day he washes the monkey's tail in her
consecrated lotah. What shall she do? she has lost caste; the presents
to the Brahmins, that her reinstatement will cost her, will consume all
her earnings from the beginning. _Gurreeb-purwan_, O munificent and
merciful! what shall she do? She strikes for higher wages.--But you are
hard-hearted and hard-headed; you will not pay,--by Gunga, not another
pice! by Latchtmee, not one cowry more!--Oh, then she will leave; with
a heavy heart she will turn her back on the blessed baby; she will pour
dust upon her head before the Mem Sahib, at whose door her disgrace
shall lie, and she will return to her kindred.--Not she! the durwan,
grim and incorruptible, has his orders; she cannot pass the gate. Oho!
then immediately she dries up; no "fount," and Baby famishing. You try
ass's milk; it does not agree with Baby; besides, it costs a rupee a
pint. You try a goat; she does not agree with Baby, for she butts him
treacherously, and, leaping over his prostrate body, scampers, like
Leigh Hunt's pig in Smithfield Market, up all manner of figurative
streets. Then you send for Dhye, and say, "Milk, or I shave your head!"
Milk or death! And, lo, a miracle!--the "fount" again!--Baby is saved.

What was, then, the conjuration and the mighty magic? In the folds
of her _saree_ the _dhye_ conceals leaves of _chambeli_, the Indian
jessamine, roots of _dhallapee_, the jungle radish. She chews the
_chambeli_, and hungry Baby, struggling for the "fount," is insulted
with apples of Sodom; she swallows a portion of _dhallapee_, and he is
regaled as with the melting melons of Ceylon.

* * * * *

Some fine afternoon your _ayah_ takes your little Johnny to stroll by
the river's bank,--to watch the green budgerows, as they glide, pulled
by singing _dandees_ (so the boatmen of Ganges are called) up to
Patna,--to watch the brown corpses, as they float silently down from
Benares. At night the ayah returns, wringing her hands. Where is your
merry darling? She knows not. _O Khodabund_, go ask the evil spirits! O
Sahib, go cry unto Gunga,--go accuse the greedy river, and say to the
envious waters, "Give back my boy!" She had left him sitting on a stone,
she says, counting the sailing corpses, while she went to find him a
blue-jay's nest among the rocks; when she returned to the stone,--no
Jonnee Sahib! "My golden image, who hath snatched him away? He that
skipped and hummed like a singing-top, where is he gone?"--A month after
that, your dandees capture a crocodile, and from his heathen maw recover
a familiar coral necklace with an inscription on the clasp,--"To Johnny,
on his birth-day." A pair of little silver bangles, whose jocund
jingling had once been happy household music to some poor Hindoo mother,
have kept the necklace company.

* * * * *

Over against the gate of our compound the Baboo's walks are bright with
roses, and ixoras, and the creeping nagatallis; the Baboo's park is
shady with banians, and fragrant with sandal-trees, and imposing with
tall peepuls, and cool with sparkling fountains; and Chinna Tumbe, the
Little Brother, the brown apple of the Baboo's eye, plays among the
bamboos by the tank, just within the gate, and pelts the gold-fishes
with mango-seeds. Presently comes along a pleasant peddler, all the way
from Cabool, with a pretty bushy-tailed kitten of Persia in the hollow
of his arm, and a cunning little mungooz cracking nuts on his shoulder.
A score of tiny silver bells tinkle from a silken cord around Chinna
Tumbe's loins, and the silver whistle with which he calls his cockatoos
is suspended from his neck by a chain of gold. So the pleasant peddler
all the way from Cabool greets Chinna Tumbe merrily, saying, "See my
pretty kitten, that knows a hundred tricks! and see my brave mungooz,
that can kill cobras in fair fight! My Persian kitten for your silver
bells, Chinna Tumbe, and my cunning mungooz for your golden chain!" And
Chinna Tumbe laughs, and claps his hands, and dances for delight, and
all his silver bells jingle gleefully. And the pleasant peddler all the
way from Cabool says, "Step without the gate, Little Brother, if you
would see my pretty kitten play tricks; if you would stroke my cunning
mungooz, step without the gate; for I dare not pass within, lest my
lord, the Baboo of many lacs, should be angry." So Chinna Tumbe steps
out into the road, and the pleasant peddler all the way from Cabool sets
the Persian kitten on the ground, and rattles off some strange words,
that sound very funnily to the Little Brother; and immediately the
Persian kitten begins to run round after its bushy tail, faster and
faster, faster and faster, a ring of yellow light. And Chinna Tumbe
claps his hands, and cries, _Wah, wah!_ and he dances for delight, and
all his silver bells jingle gleefully. So the pleasant peddler addresses
other strange and funny words to the ring of yellow light, and instantly
it stands still, and quivers its bushy tail, and pants. Then the peddler
speaks to the cunning mungooz, which immediately leaps to the ground,
and sitting quite erect, with its broad tail curled over its back, like
a marabout feather, holds its paws together in the quaint manner of a
squirrel, and looks attentive. More of the peddler's funny conjuration,
and up springs the mungooz into the air, like a Birman's wicker
football, and, alighting on the kitten's back, clings close and fast.
Away fly kitten and mungooz,--away from the gate,--away from the Baboo's
walks, bright with ixoras and creeping nagatallis,--away from the
Baboo's park, shady with banians, and fragrant with sandal-trees, and
imposing with tall peepuls, and cool with sparkling fountains,--away
from the Baboo's home, away from the Baboo's heart, bereft thenceforth
forever! For Chinna Tumbe follows fast, crying, _Wah, wah!_ and clapping
his hands, and jingling gleefully all his silver bells,--follows across
the road, and through the bamboo hedge, and into the darkness and the
danger of the jungle; and the pleasant peddler all the way from Cabool
goes smiling after,--but, as he goes, what is it that he draws from
the breast of his dusty _coortee_? Only a slender, smooth cord, with a
slip-knot at the end of it.

Within the twelvemonth, in a stony nullah, hard by a clump of crooked
saul-trees, a mile away from the Baboo's gate, some jackals brought to
light the bones of a little child; and the deep grave from which they
dug them with their sharp, busy claws, bore marks of the mystic pick-axe
of Thuggee. But there were no tinkling bells, no chain of gold, no
silver whistle; and the cockatoos and the goldfishes knew Chinna Tumbe
no more.

When a name was bestowed on the Little Brother, the Brahmins wrote a
score of pretty words in rice, and set over each a lamp freshly trimmed,
and the name whose light burned brightest, with happy augury, was
"Chinna Tumbe." And when they had likewise inscribed the day of his
birth, and the name of his natal star, the proud and happy Baboo cried,
with a loud voice, three times, "Chinna Tumbe," and all the Brahmins
stretched forth their hands and pronounced _Asowadam_,--benediction.
Then they performed _arati_ about the child's head, to avert the Evil
Eye, describing mystic circles with lamps of rice-paste set on copper
salvers, with many pious incantations. But, spite of all, the Evil Eye
overtook Chinna Tumbe, when the pleasant peddler came all the way from
Cabool, with his bushy-tailed kitten, and his mungooz cracking nuts.

They do say the ghost of Chinna Tumbe walks,--that always at midnight,
when the Indian nightingale fills the Baboo's banian topes with her
lugubrious song, and the weird ulus hoot from the peepul tops, a child,
girt with silver bells, and followed by a Persian kitten and a mungooz,
shakes the Baboo's gate, blows upon a silver whistle, and cries, so
piteously, "Ayah! Ayah!"

* * * * *

At Hurdwar, in the great fair, among jugglers and tumblers, horse-tamers
and snake-charmers, fakirs and pilgrims, I saw a small boy possessed
of a devil,--an authentic devil, as of yore, meet for miraculous
driving-out. In the midst of dire din, heathenish and
horrible,--dissonant jangle of zogees' bells, brain-rending blasts from
Brahmins' shells, strepent howling of opium-drunk devotees, delirious
pounding of tom-toms, brazen clangor of gongs,--a child of seven years,
that might, unpossessed, have been beautiful, sat under the shed of
a sort of curiosity-shop, among bangles and armlets, mouthpieces
for pipes, leaden idols, and Brahminical cords, and made infernal
faces,--his mouth foaming epileptically, his hair dishevelled and matted
with sudden sweat, his eyes blood-shot, his whole aspect diabolic. And
on the ground before the miserable lad were set dishes of rice mixed
with blood, carcasses of rams and cocks, handfuls of red flowers, and
ragged locks of human hair, wherewith the more miserable people sought
to appease the fell _bhuta_ that had set up his throne in that fair
soul. _Sack bat?_ It was even so. And as the possessed made spasmy fists
with his feet, clinching his toes strangely, and grinned, with his chin
between his knees, I solemnly wished for the presence of One who might
cry with the voice of authority, as erst in the land of the Gadarenes,
"Come out of the lad, thou unclean spirit!"

At the Hurdwar fair pretty little naked girls are exposed for sale, and
in their soft brown innocence appeal at once to the purity of your mind
and the tenderness of your heart. They come from Cashmere with the
shawls, or from Cabool with the kittens, or from the Punjaub with the
arms and shields.

* * * * *

Very quaint are the little Miriams, Ruths, and Hannahs of the Jewish
houses in Bombay,--with their full trousers of blue satin and gold,
their boyish Fez caps of spangled red velvet, bound round with
party-colored turbans, their chin-bands of pearls, their coin chains,
their great gold bangles, and the jingling tassels of their long plaits.

Less interesting, because formal and inanimate, even to sulkiness,
are the prim little Parsee maidens, who often wear an "exercised"
expression, of a settled sort, as though they were weary of reflecting
on the hollowness of the world, and how their dolls are stuffed with
sawdust, and that Dakhma, the Tower of Silence, is the end of all

Then there are the regimental _babalogue_, the soldiers' children,
sturdiest and toughest of Anglo-Indian urchins,--affording, in their
brown cheeks and crisp muscles and boisterous ways, a consoling contrast
to the oh-call-it-pale-not-fairness, and the frailness, and premature
pensiveness of the little Civil Service.

And there is the half-caste child, the lisping chee-chee, or Eurasian,
grandiloquently so called, much given to sentimental minstrelsy,
juvenile polkas, early coquetry, and early beer, hot curries, loud
clothes, bad English, and fast pertness. I never think of them without
recalling a precocious ballad-screamer of eight years who was flourished
indispensably at every chee-chee hop in Chandernagore:

"O lay me in a little pit,
With a marvle thtone to cover it,
And keearve thereon a turkle-dove,
That the world may know I died for love!"

I left India in consequence of that child.

But for the true Anglo-Indian type of brat, at all points a complete
"torn-down," "dislikeable and rod-worthy," as Mrs. Mackenzie describes
it, there is nothing among nursery nuisances comparable to the
Civil-Service child of eight or ten years, whose father, a "Company's
Bad Bargain," in the Mint, or the Supreme Court, or the Marine Office,
draws _per mensem_ enough to set his brat up in the usual servile
surroundings of such small despots. Deriving the only education it ever
gets directly from its personal attendants, this young monster of bad
temper, bad manners, and bad language becomes precociously proficient in
overbearing ways, and voluble in Hindostanee Billingsgate, before it has
acquired enough of its ancestral tongue to frame the simplest sentence.
It bullies its _bhearer_; it bangs distractingly on the tom-tom; it
surfeits itself to an apoplectic point with pish-pash; it burns its
mouth with hot curry, and bawls; it indulges in horrid Hindostanee
songs, whereof the burden will not bear translation; it insults whatever
is most sacred to the caste attachments of its attendants; the Moab of
ayahs is its wash-pot, over an Edom of bhearers will it cast out its
shoe; it slaps the mouth of a gray-haired _khansaman_ with its slipper,
and dips its poodle's paws in a Mohammedan _kitmudgar's_ rice; it
calls a learned Pundit an _asal ulu_, an egregious owl; it says to
a high-caste _circar_, "Shut up, you pig!" and to an illustrious
_moonshee_, "_Hi, toom junglee-wallah!_" Whereat its fond mamma, to whom
Bengalee, Hindostanee, and Sanscrit are alike sealed books of Babel,
claps the hands of her heart, and crying, _Wah, wah!_ in all the
innocence of her philological deficiency, blesses the fine animal
spirits of her darling Hastings Clive.

"_Soono_, you _sooa_, _loom kis-wasti omara bukri_ not bring?" says
Hastings Clive, whose English is apt to figure among his Hindostanee
like Brahmins in a regiment of Sepoys,--that is, one Brahmin to every
twenty low-caste fellows.

_The Hon. Mrs. Wellesley Gough_.--Wellesley dear, _do_ listen to that
darling Hastings Clive, how sweetly he prattles! What _did_ he say then?
If one could _only_ learn that delightful Hindostanee, so that one could
converse with one's dear Hastings Clive! _Do_ tell me what he said.

_The Hon. Wellesley Gough, of the Company's Bad Bargains_.--Literally
interpreted, my dearest Maud, our darling Hastings Clive sweetly
remarked, "I say, you pig, why in thunder don't you fetch my goat into
the parlor?"

_The Hon. Mrs. Wellesley Gough, of the Hon. Mr. Wellesley Gough's Bad
Bargains_.--Oh, _isn't_ he clever?

_Hastings Clive_.--_Jou_, you _haremzeada_! _Bukri na munkta,

_The Hon. Wellesley Gough_.--My love, he says now, "Get out, you
good-for-nothing rascal! I don't want that goat here."

_The Hon. Mrs. Wellesley Gough_.--Oh, _isn't_ he clever?

What dreadful crime did you commit in another life, O illustrious
Moonshee, that you should fall now among such thieves as this horrid
Hastings Clive?

"Sahib, I know not. _Hum kia kurrenge? kismut hi_: What can I do? it is
my fate."

Hastings Clive has a queer assortment of pets, first of which are
the bushy-tailed Persian kittens, hereinbefore mentioned. "When, in
Yankee-land, some lovelorn Zeekle is notoriously sweet upon any Huldy of
the rural maids,--when

"His heart keeps goin' pitypat,
And hern goes pity Zeekle,"--

when she is

"All kind o' smily round the lips,
And teary round the lashes,"--

it is usual to describe his condition by a feline figure; he is said
to "cuddle up to her like a sick kitten to a hot brick." But the sick
Oriental kitten, reversing the Occidental order of kitten things,
cuddles up to a water-monkey, and fondly embraces the refreshing
evaporation of its beaded bulb with all her paws and all her bushy tail.
The Persian kitten stands high in the favor of Hastings Clive.

Hastings Clive has a whole array of parroquets and hill-mainahs, which,
as they learned their small language from his peculiar scurrilous
practice, are but blackguard birds at best. He also rejoices in many
blue-jays, rescued from the Ganges, whereinto they were thrown as
offerings to the vengeful Doorga during the barbarous _pooja_ celebrated
in her name. Very proud, too, is Hastings Clive of his pigeons,--his
many-colored pigeons from Lucknow, Delhi, and Benares; an Oudean
bird-boy has trained them to the pretty sport of the Mohammedan princes,
and every afternoon he flies them from the house-top in flashing flocks,
for Hastings Clive's entertainment.

Hastings Clive has toys, the wooden and earthen toys for which Benares
was ever famous among Indian children,--nondescript animals, and as
non-descript idols,--little Brahminee bulls with bells, and artillery
camels, like those at Rohilcund and Agra,--Sahibs taking the air in
buggies, country-folk in hackeries, baba-logue in gig-topped ton-jons.
But much more various and entertaining, though frailer, are his Calcutta
toys, of paper, clay, and wax,--hunting-parties in bamboo howdahs, on
elephants a foot high, that move their trunks very cunningly,--avadavats
of clay, which flutter so naturally, suspended by hairs in bamboo cages,
that the cats destroy them quickly,--miniature palanquins, budgerows,
bungalows, and pagodas, all of paper,--figures in clay of the different
castes and callings, baboos, kitmudgars, washermen, barbers,
tailors, street-waterers, box-wallahs, (as the peddlers are called,)
nautch-girls, jugglers, sepoys, policemen, doorkeepers, dog-boys,--all
true to the life, in costume, attitude, and expression.

Statedly, on his birth-day, the Anglo-Indian child is treated to a
_kat-pootlee nautch_, and Hastings Clive has a birth-day every time he
conceives a longing for a puppet-show; so that our wilful young friend
may be said to be nine years, and about nineteen kat-pootlee nautches,

To make a birth-day for Hastings Clive, three or four _tamasha-wallahs_,
or show-fellows, are required; these, hired for a few rupees, come from
the nearest bazaar, bringing with them all the fantastic apparatus of a
kat-pootlee nautch, with its interludes of story-telling and jugglery.
A sheet, or table-cloth, or perhaps a painted drop-curtain, expressly
prepared, is hung between two pillars in the drawing-room, and reaches,
not to the floor, but to the tops of the miniature towers of a silver
palace, where some splendid Rajah, of fabulous wealth and power, is
about to hold a grand _durbar_, or levee. All the people, be they
illustrious personages or the common herd, who assist in the ceremony,
are puppets a span long, rudely constructed and coarsely painted, but
very faithful as to costume and manners, and most dexterously played
upon by the invisible tamasha-wallahs, whom the curtain conceals.

A silver throne having been, wheeled out on the portico by manikin
bhearers, the manikin Rajah, attended by his manikin moonshee, and as
many manikin courtiers as the tamasha property-man can supply, comes
forth in his wooden way, and seats himself on the throne in wooden
state; a manikin _hookah-badar_, or pipe-server, and a manikin
_chattah-wallah_, or umbrella-bearer, take up their wooden position
behind, while a manikin _punkah-wallah fans_, woodenly, his manikin
Highness, and the manikin courtiers dance wooden attendance around. Then
manikin ladies and gentlemen come on manikin elephants and horses and
camels, or in manikin palanquins, and alight with wooden dignity at the
foot of the palace stairs, taking their respective orders of wooden
precedence with wooden pomposities and humilities, and all the manikin
forms of the customary bore. The manikin courtiers trip woodenly
down the grand stairs to meet the manikin guests with little wooden
Orientalisms of compliment, and all the little wooden delicacies of
the season; and they conduct the manikin Sahibs and Beebees into
the presence of the manikin Rajah, who receives them with wooden
condescension and affability, and graciously reciprocates their wooden
salaams, inquiring woodenly into the health of all their manikin
friends, and hoping, with the utmost ligneous solicitude, that they have
had a pleasant wooden journey: and so on, manikin by manikin, to the
wooden end. Of course, much desultory tomtomry and wild troubadouring
behind the curtain make the occasion musical.

The audience is complete in all the picturesqueness of mixed baba-logue.
In the front row, chattering brown ayahs, gay with red sarees and
nose-rings, sit on the floor, holding in their laps pale, tender
babies, fair-haired and blue-eyed, lace-swaddled, coral-clasped, and
amber-studded. Behind these, on high chairs, are the striplings of three
years and upward, vociferous and kicking under the hand-punkahs of
their patient bhearers. Tall fellows are these bhearers, with fierce
moustaches, but gentle eyes,--a sort of nursery lions whom a little
child can lead. On each side are small chocolate-colored heathens, in a
sort of short chemises, silver-bangled as to their wrists and ankles,
and already with the caste-mark on the foreheads of some of them,--shy,
demure younglings, just learning all the awful significance of the word
_Sahib_, who have been brought from mysterious homes by fond ayahs, and
smuggled in through back-stairs influence, or boldly introduced by the
durwan under the glorifying patronage of that terrible Hastings Clive.

Back of all are Dhobee, the washerman, and Dirzce, the tailor, and
Mehter, the sweeper, and Mussalehee, the torch-boy, and Metranee, the
scullion,--and all the rest of the household riff-raffry. There is much
clapping of hands, and happy wah-wah-ing, wherefrom you conclude that
Hastings Clive's birth-day is at least one good result of his being born
at all.

The Sahib baba-logue have a lively share in several of the native
festivals. The Hoolee, for instance, is their high carnival of fun,
when they pelt their elders and each other with the red powder of the
_mhindee_, and repel laughing assaults with smart charges of rose-water
fired from busy little squirts. During the illumination of the Duwallee,
they receive from the servants presents of fantastic toys, and search
in the compounds by moonlight for the flower of the tree that never
blossoms, and for the soul of a snake, whence comes to the finder good
luck for the rest of his life.

These are the traditional sports of the baba-logue; but they are
ingenious in inventing others, wherein, from time to time, the imitative
faculty, of the native child especially, is tragically manifested.

When the Nawab, Shumsh-ud-deen, was hung at Delhi for hiring a _sowar_
to assassinate Mr. Fraser, the British Commissioner, the country
population round about were seized with the news as with the coming of
a dragon or a destroying army; and the British Lion was the Bogy, the
Black Douglas, in whose name poor _ryots'_ wives scared refractory brats
into trembling obedience. Not far from Delhi was a village school, where
were many small boys,--so many Asiatic frogs-in-a-well,--to whom "the
news of the day" was full of terrible portent. Once, when they were
tired of foot-ball, and the shuttlecock had grown heavy on their
hands, the cry was, "What shall we play next?" And one daring little
fellow--whose father had been to Delhi with his rent, and had told
how the Nawab met his _kismut_ (his fate) so quietly, that the
gold-embroidered slippers did not fall from his feet--cried, "Let us
play hanging the Nawab! and I will be the Nawab; and Kama, here, shall
be Kurreim Khan, the sowar; and Joota shall be Metcalfe Sahib, the
magistrate; and the rest of you shall be the sahibs, and the sepoys, and
the priests."

_Acha, acha!_--"Good, good!" they all cried. "Let us play the Nawab's
kismut! let us hang the Nawab! And Mungloo--he that is more clever than
all of us--he that is cunning as a Thug--Mungloo shall be the Nawab!"

So they began with the murder of the Commissioner; and he who personated
Kurreim Khan, the assassin, played so naturally, that he sent the
Commissioner screaming to his mother, with an arrow sticking in his
arm. Then they arrested Kurreim Khan, and his accomplice, Unnia, a
_mehwatti_, who turned king's evidence, and betrayed the sowar; and
having tried and condemned Kurreim Khan, they would have hung him on the
spot; but, being but a little fellow, he became alarmed at the serious
turn the sport was taking, although he had himself set so sharp an
example; so he took nimbly to his heels, and followed his young friend,
the Commissioner.

Then Unnia told how the Nawab had paid Kurreim Khan blood-money, because
Shumsh-ud-deen did so hate Fraser Sahib. Whereupon Metcalfe Sahib, a
little naked fellow, just the color of an old mahogany table, sent his
sepoys and had the Nawab dragged, in all his ragged breech-cloth glory,
to the bar of Sahib justice. In about three minutes, the Nawab was
condemned to die,--condemned to be hung by an outcast sweeper. But, in
consideration of his exalted rank, they consented that he should wear
his slippers, and ride to the place of execution, smoking his hookah;
and Mungloo acknowledged the Sahib's magnanimity by proudly inclining
his head, like a true Nawab, with a dignified "_Acha!"_ Then two members
of the court-martial, who lived nearest at hand, ran home, and quickly
returned, one with his father's slippers, the other with his mother's
hubble-bubble; and having tied the slippers, that were a world too big,
on Mungloo's little feet, and lighted the hubble-bubble, that he
might smoke, they mounted him on a buffalo, captured from the village
_hurkaru_, who happened, just in the nick of time, to come riding by, on
his way to Delhi, with the mail. And they led out the prisoner, smoking
his hubble-bubble,--and looking, as Metcalfe Sahib said of the real
Nawab, "as if he had been accustomed to be hanged every day of his
life,"--to the place of execution, an old saul-tree with low limbs.
Then, having taken the rope with which the hurkaru's mail-bag was lashed
to his buffalo, they slipped a noose over the Nawab's head, made the
other end fast to the lower limb of the saul-tree, and led away the

Little Mungloo, who was cunning as a Thug, acted with surprising talent;
in fact, some of the Sahibs thought he rather overdid his part, for he
dropped his hubble-bubble almost awkwardly, and even kicked,--which the
real Nawab had too much self-respect to do,--so that he sent one of
his slippers flying one way, and the other another. But he choked, and
gasped, and showed the whites of his eyes, and turned black in the face,
and shivered through all his frame, so very naturally, that his admiring
companions clapped their hands vehemently, and cried, _Wah, wah!_ with
all their little lungs. _Wah, wah!_ they screamed,--_Wah khoob tamasha
kurta hi! Phir kello, Mungloo! Bahoot ucchi-turri nuhkul, kurte ho
toom!_ "Bravo! Bravo! Such fun! Do it again, Mungloo,--do it again! it
takes you!" Certainly Mungloo did it to the life,--for he was dead.

* * * * *

To conclude now with a specimen of the tales with which the native
story-tellers entertain little heathens on street-corners.

There was once a bastard boy, the son of a Brahmin's widow; and he was
excluded from a merry wedding-feast on account of his disgraceful birth.
With a heart full of bitterness, he prayed to Siva for comfort or
revenge; and Siva, taking pity on him, taught him the mystic _mantra_,
or incantation, called Bijaksharam,--_Shrum, hrim, craoom, hroom, hroo_.
So the boy went to the door of the apartment where the wedding guests
were regaling themselves and making merry; and he pronounced the mantra
backwards,--_Hroo, hroom, craoom, hrim, shrum_. Immediately the fish,
and the cucumbers, and the mangoes, and the pumplenoses took the shape
of toads, and jumped into the faces of the guests, and into their bosoms
and laps, and on the floor. Then the boy laughed so loud, that the
astonished guests knew it was he who had conjured them; so they went to
the door and let him in, and set him at the head of the table. Then the
boy was satisfied, and uttering the mantra aright, he conjured the toads
back into the dishes again; and they all lay down in their places, and
became fish, and cucumbers, and mangoes, and pumplenoses, just as if
nothing had happened.

Glory to Siva!


The promise of the autumn has not been fulfilled; instead of the
anticipated feasts, we have had but few concerts, and, as yet, no opera.
Some few noteworthy incidents have occurred, however, which we desire
to record. We pass over the ever welcome orchestral concerts, the quiet
pleasures of our delightful chamber music, and the inspiring four-part
singing of the Orpheus Club. Neither can we give the space to notice
fully the _debut_ of a young singer,--a singer with a rare voice, full,
flexible, and sympathetic, and who, with culture in a _larger_ style,
and with maturity of power and feeling, will be a real acquisition to
our musical public. Few young performers know

"How much grace, strength, and dignity lie in repose."

They dazzle us with pyrotechnics in the finale of _Com' e bello_ or _Qui
la voce_, but the simple feeling of _Vedrai carino_ is beyond their
grasp. Firmly sustained tones, careful phrasing, flowing grace in the
melody, and just, dramatic expression, are the great requisites; without
them the brilliant flourishes of a modern cadenza astonish only for a
brief period.

The appearance of Carl Formes in oratorio was something to be long
remembered. The Handel and Haydn Society brought out "Elijah" and "The
Creation" before immense audiences at the Music Hall. For the first
time we heard "Elijah" represented by a great artist, and not by a
sentimental, mock-heroic singer. He infused into the performance his own
intense personality. Every phrase was charged with his own feeling.
He thundered out the curses of Heaven upon idolaters; he prayed with
all-absorbing devotion to the "Lord God of Abraham"; he taunted the
baffled priests of Baal in grim and terrible scorn; he gently soothed
the anguish of the widow; and when his career was finished, he
reverently said, "It is enough; now take away my life!" The _music_
we had heard before; we had been rapt many a time while hearing the
magnificent choruses; but we never had known the dramatic power of the
composer as shown in the principal role.

"The Creation" was performed on the following evening. Its ever fresh
and cheerful melodies presented a fine contrast to the severely
intellectual style of "Elijah." In rendering purely melodic phrases,
Herr Formes was not so preeminent as in declamatory passages. Not always
strictly in tune, not specially graceful, slow in delivery, even beyond
the requirements of a dignified style, he impressed the audience rather
by the volume and richness of his tones and by a certain reserved force,
than by any unusual excellence in execution. Some one has said, that it
makes a great difference in the force of a sentence whether or not there
is a man behind it. This impression of a fulness of resources always
accompanied the efforts of Herr Formes; every phrase had meaning
or beauty, as he delivered it. Perhaps it is as idle to lament his
deficiencies, in comparison with artists like Belletti, for instance,
as to complain because the grand figures of Michel Angelo have not the
delicacy of finish that marks the sweetly insipid Venus de Medici. Of
the other solo performers in the oratorios it is not necessary for us to
speak, save to commend the fine voice and good style of Mrs. Harwood, a
rising singer, well known here, and whom the country, we hope, will know
in due time.

Another concert demands our attention, in which portions of a work by an
American composer were submitted to the test of public judgment. This we
must consider the most important musical event of the season; for great
singers, though surely not common among our English race, have not
been unknown; the ability to interpret God gives freely,--the power to
create, rarely. In any generation, probably not ten men arise who
write new melodies; of these, only a small proportion have either the
intellectual power or the aesthetic feeling to combine the subtile
elements of music into forms of lasting beauty. Most of them are
influenced by prevailing mannerisms, and their music is therefore
ephemeral, like the taste to which it ministers. Of all the composers
that have lived, probably not more than six or eight have attained to
an absolutely classic rank. These few are not in relations with any
temporary taste; their music might have been written to-day or a century
ago, and it will be as fresh a century hence. No one of the arts has had
fewer great masters. A new composer, therefore, has a right to claim our
attention. If, perchance, we discover that he has the gift of genius,
and is not merely a clever imitator, we cannot rejoice too much.

The work to which we allude is the opera "Omano,"--the libretto in
Italian by Signor Manetta, the music by Mr. L. H. Southard. We shall
not stop now to consider the question, whether American Art is to be
benefited by the production of operas in the Italian tongue; it is
enough to say, that, until we have native singers capable of rendering
a great dramatic work, singers who can give us in English the effects
which Grisi, Badiali, Mario, and Alboni produce in their own language,
we must be content with the existing state of things, and allow our
composers to write for those artists who can do justice to their
conceptions. We hope to live to hear operas in English; but meanwhile we
must have music, and, at present, the Italian stage is the only common

Mr. Southard's opera is founded upon Beckford's Oriental tale, "Vathek,"
with such alterations as are necessary to adapt it for representation.
We are told that the plot is full of dramatic situations, full of human
interest, and that its scenes appeal to all the faculties, ranging
through comedy, ballet, and melodrama, and leading to the awful Hall
of Eblis at last. The principal characters are the Caliph Omano,
_baritone_; Carathis, his mother, _mezzo soprano_; Hinda, a slave in his
harem, _soprano_; Rustam, her lover, _tenor_; and Albatros, _basso_,
a Mephistophelean spirit who tempts the Caliph on to his destruction.
Selections were made from this opera, and were performed by resident
artists, without the aid of stage effects or orchestral accompaniments.
Only the music was given, with as much of the harmony as could be played
on the grand piano by one pair of hands. There could be no severer test
than this. The music is generally Italian in form, especially in the
flowing grace of the _cantabile_ passages, and in the working up of the
climaxes. But we did not heat one of the stereotyped Italian cadenzas,
nor did we fall into old _ruts_ in following the harmonic progressions.
The orchestral figures--the framework on which the melodies are
supported--are new, ingenious, and beautiful. The duets, quartette,
and quintette show great command of resources and the utmost skill in
construction; we can hardly remember any concerted pieces in the modern
opera where the "working up" is more satisfactory, or the effect more
brilliant. How far the music exhibits an absolutely original vein of
melody, it is perhaps premature to say. No composer has ever been free
at first from the influence of the masters whom he most admired. To
mention no later instances, it is well known that Beethoven's early
works are all colored by his recollections of Mozart, and that his own
peculiar qualities were not clearly brought out until he had reached
the maturity of his powers. This seems to be the law in all the arts;
imitation first, self-development and originality afterwards. Happy
are those who do not stop in the first stage! It is certain that Mr.
Southard's music _pleased_, and that some of the most critical of the
audience were roused to a real enthusiasm. And it is to be borne in mind
that the music is cast in a grand mould; it has no prettiness; it is
either great in itself, or wears the semblance of greatness. On the
whole, we are inclined to think that the "Diarist" in Dwight's "Journal
of Music" was not extravagant in saying that no _first_ work since the
time of Beethoven has had so much of promise as the opera "Omano." We
shall look with great interest for its production upon the stage with
the proper accompaniments and scenic effects. It is due to the composer
that this should be done. If the music we heard had been performed by
a company of great artists in the Boston Theatre or in the Academy of
Music, it would have been received with tumultuous applause. The
singers on this occasion gained to themselves great credit by their
conscientious endeavors. They generously offered their services, and
sang with a heartiness that showed a warm interest in the work. One of
them, at least, Mrs. J. H. Long, would have established her reputation
as an accomplished artist, even if she had never appeared in public

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