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Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 10, No. 62, December, 1862 by Various

Part 4 out of 5

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he had kindly forborne to mention his name, since that one night wherein
all our misery grew. I found there what I believed to be his death:
the name and age were his own; the place was nothing,--_he_ might be
anywhere. My mother saw it, and a gladness, yes, a gladness came into
her face: I watched its coming up. She thought she might now tell
Abraham; but no, I held her to the promise. It had but two conditions:
mine was to be perpetual; hers must be so.

"After that I grew pitiful for the poor heart that must have been made
sorrowful by these words that never more would come into it, and so I
picked up the trembling little roots that had been cast out, put them
back into the warm soil, and let them grow: they might join hers now,
for together they could twine around immortal bowers; and, as they grew,
a great longing came up to go out and find this woman-soul who had drawn
out such words from lips sealed forever. But no chance happened: no one
came to our quiet village from the remote town in which she was when
these words, that now were become mine, were penned."

MY HUNT AFTER "THE CAPTAIN."

In the dead of the night which closed upon the bloody field of Antietam,
my household was startled from its slumbers by the loud summons of a
telegraphic messenger. The air had been heavy all day with rumors of
battle, and thousands and tens of thousands had walked the streets with
throbbing hearts, in dread anticipation of the tidings any hour might
bring.

We rose hastily, and presently the messenger was admitted. I took the
envelope from his hand, opened it, and read:--

Hagerstown 17th

To---- H----

Capt. H---- wounded shot through the neck thought not mortal at
Keedysville

WILLIAM G LEDUC

_Through_ the neck,--no bullet left in wound. Windpipe, food-pipe,
carotid, jugular, half a dozen smaller, but still formidable, vessels, a
great braid of nerves, each as big as a lamp-wick, spinal cord,--ought
to kill at once, if at all. _Thought not_ mortal, or _not thought_
mortal,--which was it? The first; that is better than the second would
be.--"Keedysville, a post-office, Washington Co., Maryland." Leduc?
Leduc? Don't remember that name.--The boy is waiting for his money. A
dollar and thirteen cents. Has nobody got thirteen cents? Don't keep
that boy waiting,--how do we know what messages he has got to carry?

The boy _had_ another message to carry. It was to the father of
Lieutenant-Colonel Wilder Dwight, informing him that his son was
grievously wounded in the same battle, and was lying at Boonsborough,
a town a few miles this side of Keedysville. This I learned the
next morning from the civil and attentive officials at the Central
Telegraph-Office.

Calling upon this gentleman, I found that he meant to leave in the
quarter past two o'clock train, taking with him Dr. George H. Gay, an
accomplished and energetic surgeon, equal to any difficult question or
pressing emergency. I agreed to accompany them, and we met in the cars.
I felt myself peculiarly fortunate in having companions whose society
would be a pleasure, whose feelings would harmonize with my own, and
whose assistance I might, in case of need, be glad to claim.

It is of the journey which we began together, and which I finished
apart, that I mean to give my "Atlantic" readers an account. They must
let me tell my story in my own way, speaking of many little matters that
interested or amused me, and which a certain leisurely class of elderly
persons, who sit at their firesides and never travel, will, I hope,
follow with a kind of interest. For, besides the main object of my
excursion, I could not help being excited by the incidental sights
and occurrences of a trip which to a commercial traveller or a
newspaper-reporter would seem quite commonplace and undeserving of
record. There are periods in which all places and people seem to be in
a conspiracy to impress us with their individuality,--in which every
ordinary locality seems to assume a special significance and to claim
a particular notice,--in which every person we meet is either an old
acquaintance or a character; days in which the strangest coincidences
are continually happening, so that they get to be the rule, and not the
exception. Some might naturally think that anxiety and the weariness of
a prolonged search after a near relative would have prevented my taking
any interest in or paying any regard to the little matters around me.
Perhaps it had just the contrary effect, and acted like a diffused
stimulus upon the attention. When all the faculties are wide-awake
in pursuit of a single object, or fixed in the spasm of an absorbing
emotion, they are often-times clairvoyant in a marvellous degree in
respect to many collateral things, as Wordsworth has so forcibly
illustrated in his sonnet on the Boy of Windermere, and as Hawthorne
has developed with such metaphysical accuracy in that chapter of his
wondrous story where Hester walks forth to meet her punishment.

Be that as it may,--though I set out with a full and heavy heart, though
many times my blood chilled with what were perhaps needless and unwise
fears, though I broke through all my habits without thinking about them,
which is almost as hard in certain circumstances as for one of our young
fellows to leave his sweet-heart and go into a Peninsular campaign,
though I did not always know when I was hungry nor discover that I was
thirsting, though I had a worrying ache and inward tremor underlying all
the outward play of the senses and the mind, yet it is the simple truth
that I did look out of the car-windows with an eye for all that passed,
that I did take cognizance of strange sights and singular people, that I
did act much as persons act from the ordinary promptings of curiosity,
and from time to time even laugh very nearly as those do who are
attacked with a convulsive sense of the ridiculous, the epilepsy of the
diaphragm.

By a mutual compact, we talked little in the cars. A communicative
friend is the greatest nuisance to have at one's side during a
railroad-journey, especially if his conversation is stimulating and in.
itself agreeable. "A fast train and a 'slow' neighbor," is my motto.
Many times, when I have got upon the cars, expecting to be magnetized
into an hour or two of blissful reverie, my thoughts shaken up by the
vibrations into all sorts of new and pleasing patterns, arranging
themselves in curves and nodal points, like the grains of sand in
Chladni's famous experiment,--fresh ideas coming up to the surface,
as the kernels do when a measure of corn is jolted in a farmer's
wagon,--all this without volition, the mechanical impulse alone keeping
the thoughts in motion, as the mere act of carrying certain watches in
the pocket keeps them wound up,--many times, I say, just as my brain was
beginning to creep and hum with this delicious locomotive intoxication,
some dear detestable friend, cordial, intelligent, social, radiant, has
come up and sat down by me and opened a conversation which has broken
my day-dream, unharnessed the flying horses that were whirling along
my fancies and hitched on the old weary omnibus-team of every-day
associations, fatigued my hearing and attention, exhausted my voice, and
milked the breasts of my thought dry during the hour when they should
have been filling themselves full of fresh juices. My friends spared me
this trial.

So, then, I sat by the window and enjoyed the slight tipsiness
produced by short, limited, rapid oscillations, which I take to be the
exhilarating stage of that condition which reaches hopeless inebriety
in what we know as sea-sickness. Where the horizon opened widely, it
pleased me to watch the curious effect of the rapid movement of near
objects contrasted with the slow motion of distant ones. Looking from
a right-hand window, for instance, the fences close by glide swiftly
backward, or to the right, while the distant hills not only do not
appear to move backward, but look by contrast with the fences near at
hand as if they were moving forward, or to the left; and thus the whole
landscape becomes a mighty wheel revolving about an imaginary axis
somewhere in the middle-distance.

My companions proposed to stay at one of the best-known and
longest-established of the New-York caravansaries, and I accompanied
them. We were particularly well lodged, and not uncivilly treated. The
traveller who supposes that he is to repeat the melancholy experience of
Shenstone, and have to sigh over the reflection that he has found "his
warmest welcome at an inn," has something to learn at the offices of
the great city-hotels. The unheralded guest who is honored by mere
indifference may think himself blest with singular good-fortune.

If the despot of the Patent Annunciator is only mildly contemptuous in
his manner, let the victim look upon it as a personal favor. The coldest
welcome that a threadbare curate ever got at the door of a bishop's
palace, the most icy reception that a country-cousin ever received
at the city-mansion of a mushroom millionnaire, is agreeably tepid,
compared to that which the Rhadamanthus who dooms you to the more or
less elevated circle of his inverted Inferno vouchsafes, as you step up
to enter your name on his dog's-eared register. I have less hesitation
in unburdening myself of this uncomfortable statement, as on this
particular trip I met with more than one exception to the rule.
Officials become brutalized, I suppose, as a matter of course. One
cannot expect an office-clerk to embrace tenderly every stranger who
comes in with a carpet-bag, or a telegraph-operator to burst into tears
over every unpleasant message he receives for transmission. Still,
humanity is not always totally extinguished in these persons. I
discovered a youth in the telegraph-office of the Continental Hotel, in
Philadelphia, who was as pleasant in conversation, and as graciously
responsive to inoffensive questions, as if I had been his childless
opulent uncle, and my will not made.

On the road again the next morning, over the ferry, into the cars with
sliding panels and fixed windows, so that in summer the whole side of
the car may be made transparent. New Jersey is, to the apprehension of a
traveller, a double-headed suburb rather than a State. Its dull red dust
looks like the dried and powdered mud of a battle-field. Peach-trees are
common, and champagne-orchards. Canal-boats, drawn by mules, swim by,
feeling their way along like blind men led by dogs. I had a mighty
passion come over me to be the captain of one,--to glide back and
forward upon a sea never roughened by storms,--to float where I could
not sink,--to navigate where there is no shipwreck,--to lie languidly
on the deck and govern the huge craft by a word or the movement of a
finger: there was something of railroad intoxication in the fancy, but
who has not often envied a cobbler in his stall?

The boys cry the "N'-York _Heddle_," instead of "Herald"; I remember
that years ago in Philadelphia; we must be getting near the farther end
of the dumb-bell suburb. A bridge has been swept away by a rise of the
waters, so we must approach Philadelphia by the river. Her physiognomy
is not distinguished; _nez camus_, as a Frenchman would say; no
illustrious steeple, no imposing tower; the water-edge of the town
looking bedraggled, like the flounce of a vulgar rich woman's dress that
trails on the sidewalk. The New Ironsides lies at one of the wharves,
elephantine in bulk and color, her sides narrowing as they rise, like
the walls of a hock-glass.

I went straight to the house in Walnut Street where the Captain would be
heard of, if anywhere in this region. His lieutenant-colonel was there,
gravely wounded; his college-friend and comrade in arms, a son of the
house, was there, injured in a similar way; another soldier, brother
of the last, was there, prostrate with fever. A fourth bed was waiting
ready for the Captain, but not one word had been heard of him, though
inquiries had been made in the towns from and through which the father
had brought his two sons and the lieutenant-colonel. And so my search
is, like a "Ledger" story, to be continued.

I rejoined my companions in time to take the noon-train for Baltimore.
Our company was gaining in number as it moved onwards. We had found upon
the train from New York a lovely, lonely lady, the wife of one of our
most spirited Massachusetts officers, the brave Colonel of the ----th
Regiment, going to seek her wounded husband at Middletown, a place lying
directly in our track. She was the light of our party while we were
together on our pilgrimage, a fair, gracious woman, gentle, but
courageous,

--"ful plesant and amiable of port,
--estatelich of manere,
And to ben holden digne of reverence."

On the road from Philadelphia, I found in the same car with our party
Dr. William Hunt, of Philadelphia, who had most kindly and faithfully
attended the Captain, then the Lieutenant, after a wound received at
Ball's Bluff, which came very near being mortal. He was going upon an
errand of mercy to the wounded, and found he had in his memorandum-book
the name of our lady-companion's husband, who had been commended to his
particular attention.

Not long after leaving Philadelphia, we passed a solitary sentry keeping
guard over a short railroad-bridge. It was the first evidence that we
were approaching the perilous borders, the marches where the North and
the South mingle their angry hosts, where the extremes of our so-called
civilization meet in conflict, and the fierce slave-driver of the Lower
Mississippi stares into the stern eyes of the forest-feller from the
banks of the Aroostook. All the way along, the bridges were guarded more
or less strongly. In a vast country like ours, communications play a far
more complex part than in Europe, where the whole territory available
for strategic purposes is so comparatively limited. Belgium, for
instance, has long been the bowling-alley where kings roll cannon-balls
at each other's armies; but here we are playing the game of live
ninepins _without any alley_.

We were obliged to stay in Baltimore over-night, as we were too late for
the train to Frederick. At the Eutaw House, where we found both comfort
and courtesy, we met a number of friends, who beguiled the evening hours
for us in the most agreeable manner. We devoted some time to procuring
surgical and other articles, such as might be useful to our friends, or
to others, if our friends should not need them. In the morning, I found
myself seated at the breakfast-table next to General Wool. It did not
surprise me to find the General very far from expansive. With Fort
McHenry on his shoulders and Baltimore in his breeches-pocket, and the
weight of a military department loading down his social safety-valves, I
thought it a great deal for an officer in his trying position to select
so very obliging and affable an aid as the gentleman who relieved him of
the burden of attending to strangers.

We left the Eutaw House, to take the cars for Frederick. As we stood
waiting on the platform, a telegraphic message was handed in silence to
my companion. Sad news: the lifeless body of the son he was hastening
to see was even now on its way to him in Baltimore. It was no time for
empty words of consolation: I knew what he had lost, and that now was
not the time to intrude upon a grief borne as men bear it, felt as women
feel it.

Colonel Wilder Dwight was first made known to me as the friend of a
beloved relative of my own, who was with him during a severe illness in
Switzerland, and for whom while living, and for whose memory when dead,
he retained the warmest affection. Since that, the story of his noble
deeds of daring, of his capture and escape, and a brief visit home
before he was able to rejoin his regiment, had made his name familiar to
many among us, myself among the number. His memory has been honored by
those who had the largest opportunity of knowing his rare promise, as a
man of talents and energy of nature. His abounding vitality must have
produced its impression on all who met him; there was a still fire about
him which any one could see would blaze up to melt all difficulties and
recast obstacles into implements in the mould of an heroic will. These
elements of his character many had the chance of knowing; but I shall
always associate him with the memory of that pure and noble friendship
which made me feel that I knew him before I looked upon his face, and
added a personal tenderness to the sense of loss which I share with the
whole community.

Here, then, I parted, sorrowfully, from the companions with whom I set
out on my journey.

In one of the cars, at the same station, we met General Shriver, of
Frederick, a most loyal Unionist, whose name is synonymous with a hearty
welcome to all whom he can aid by his counsel and his hospitality. He
took great pains to give us all the information we needed, and expressed
the hope, which was afterwards fulfilled, to the great gratification
of some of us, that we should meet again, when he should return to his
home.

There was nothing worthy of special note in the trip to Frederick,
except our passing a squad of Rebel prisoners, whom I missed seeing, as
they flashed by, but who were said to be a most forlorn-looking crowd of
scarecrows. Arrived at the Monocacy River, about three miles this side
of Frederick, we came to a halt, for the railroad-bridge had been blown
up by the Rebels, and its iron pillars and arches were lying in the bed
of the river. The unfortunate wretch who fired the train was killed by
the explosion, and lay buried hard by, his hands sticking out of the
shallow grave into which he had been huddled. This was the story they
told us, but whether true or no I must leave to the correspondents of
"Notes and Queries" to settle.

There was a great confusion of carriages and wagons at the
stopping-place of the train, so that it was a long time before I could
get anything that would carry us. At last I was lucky enough to light on
a sturdy wagon, drawn by a pair of serviceable bays, and driven by
James Grayden, with whom I was destined to have a somewhat continued
acquaintance. We took up a little girl who had been in Baltimore during
the late Rebel inroad. It made me think of the time when my own mother,
at that time six years old, was hurried off from Boston, then occupied
by the British soldiers, to Newburyport, and heard the people saying
that "the red-coats were coming, killing and murdering everybody as they
went along." Frederick looked cheerful for a place that had so recently
been in an enemy's hands. Here and there a house or shop was shut up,
but the national colors were waving in all directions, and the general
aspect was peaceful and contented. I saw no bullet-marks or other sign
of the fighting which had gone on in the streets. My lady-companion was
taken in charge by a daughter of that hospitable family to which we
had been commended by its head, and I proceeded to inquire for wounded
officers at the various temporary hospitals.

At the United States Hotel, where many were lying, I heard mention of an
officer in an upper chamber, and, going there, found Lieutenant Abbott,
of the Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteers, lying ill with what looked
like typhoid fever. While there, who should come in but the ubiquitous
Lieutenant Wilkins, of the same Twentieth, often confounded with his
namesake who visited the Flying Island, and with some reason, for he
must have a pair of wings under his military upper garment, or he could
never be in so many places at once. He was going to Boston in charge of
the lamented Dr. Revere's body. From his lips I learned something of the
mishaps of the regiment. My Captain's wound he spoke of as less grave
than at first thought; but he mentioned incidentally having heard
a story recently that he was _killed_,--a fiction, doubtless,--a
mistake,--a palpable absurdity,--not to be remembered or made any
account of. Oh, no! but what dull ache is this in that obscurely
sensitive region, somewhere below the heart, where the nervous centre
called the _semilunar ganglion_ lies unconscious of itself until a great
grief or a mastering anxiety reaches it through all the non-conductors
which isolate it from ordinary impressions? I talked awhile with
Lieutenant Abbott, who lay prostrate, feeble, but soldier-like and
uncomplaining, carefully waited upon by a most excellent lady, a
captain's wife, New-England-born, loyal as the Liberty on a golden
ten-dollar piece, and of lofty bearing enough to have sat for that
goddess's portrait. She had stayed in Frederick through the Rebel
inroad, and kept the star-spangled banner where it would be safe, to
unroll it as the last Rebel hoofs clattered off from the pavement of the
town.

Near by Lieutenant Abbott was an unhappy gentleman, occupying a small
chamber, and filling it with his troubles. When he gets well and plump,
I know he will forgive me, if I confess that I could not help smiling
in the midst of my sympathy for him. He had been a well-favored man,
he said, sweeping his hand in a semicircle, which implied that his
acute-angled countenance had once filled the goodly curve he described.
He was now a perfect Don Quixote to look upon. Weakness had made him
querulous, as it does all of us, and he piped his grievances to me in a
thin voice with that finish of detail which chronic invalidism alone can
command. He was starving,--he could not get what he wanted to eat. He
was in need of stimulants, and he held up a pitiful two-ounce phial
containing three thimblefuls of brandy,--his whole stock of that
encouraging article. Him I consoled to the best of my ability, and
afterwards, in some slight measure, supplied his wants. Feed this poor
gentleman up, as these good people soon will, and I should not know him,
nor he himself. We are all egotists in sickness and debility. An animal
has been defined as "a stomach ministered to by organs"; and the
greatest man comes very near this simple formula after a month or two of
fever and starvation.

James Grayden and his team pleased me well enough, and so I made a
bargain with him to take us, the lady and myself, on our further journey
as far as Middletown. As we were about starting from the front of the
United States Hotel, two gentlemen presented themselves and expressed
a wish to be allowed to share our conveyance. I looked at them and
convinced myself that they were neither Rebels in disguise, nor
deserters, nor camp-followers, nor miscreants, but plain, honest men on
a proper errand. The first of them I will pass over briefly. He was
a young man, of mild and modest demeanor, chaplain to a Pennsylvania
regiment, which he was going to rejoin. He belonged to the Moravian
Church, of which I had the misfortune to know little more than what I
had learned from Southey's "Life of Wesley," and from the exquisite
hymns we have borrowed from its rhapsodists. The other stranger was a
New-Englander of respectable appearance, with a grave, hard, honest,
hay-bearded face, who had come to serve the sick and wounded on the
battle-field and in its immediate neighborhood. There is no reason why I
should not mention his name, but I shall content myself with calling him
the Philanthropist.

So we set forth, the sturdy wagon, the serviceable bays, with James
Grayden their driver, the gentle lady, whose serene patience bore up
through all delays and discomforts, the Chaplain, the Philanthropist,
and myself, the teller of this story.

And now, as we emerged from Frederick, we struck at once upon the trail
from the great battle-field. The road was filled with straggling and
wounded soldiers. All who could travel on foot--multitudes with slight
wounds of the upper limbs, the head or face--were told to take up their
beds--a light burden, or none at all--and walk. Just as the battle-field
sucks everything into its red vortex for the conflict, so does it drive
everything off in long, diverging rays after the fierce centripetal
forces have met and neutralized each other. For more than a week there
had been sharp fighting all along this road. Through the streets of
Frederick, through Crampton's Gap, over South Mountain, sweeping at last
the hills and the woods that skirt the windings of the Antietam, the
long battle had travelled, like one of those tornadoes which tear their
path through our fields and villages. The slain of higher condition,
"embalmed" and iron-cased, were sliding off on the railways to their
far homes; the dead of the rank-and-file were being gathered up and
committed hastily to the earth; the gravely wounded were cared for
hard by the scene of conflict, or pushed a little way along to the
neighboring villages; while those who could walk were meeting us, as I
have said, at every step in the road. It was a pitiable sight, truly
pitiable, yet so vast, so far beyond the possibility of relief, that
many single sorrows of small dimensions have wrought upon my feelings
more than the sight of this great caravan of maimed pilgrims. The
companionship of so many seemed to make a joint-stock of their
suffering; it was next to impossible to individualize it, and so bring
it home as one can do with a single broken limb or aching wound. Then
they were all of the male sex, and in the freshness or the prime of
their strength. Though they tramped so wearily along, yet there was rest
and kind nursing in store for them. These wounds they bore would be the
medals they would show their children and grandchildren by-and-by. Who
would not rather wear his decorations beneath his uniform than on it?

Yet among them were figures which arrested our attention and sympathy.
Delicate boys, with more spirit than strength, flushed with fever or
pale with exhaustion or haggard with suffering, dragged their weary
limbs along as if each step would exhaust their slender store of
strength. At the road-side sat or lay others, quite spent with their
journey. Here and there was a house at which the wayfarers would stop,
in the hope, I fear often vain, of getting refreshment; and in one place
was a clear, cool spring, where the little bands of the long procession
halted for a few moments, as the trains that traverse the desert rest by
its fountains. My companions had brought a few peaches along with them,
which the Philanthropist bestowed upon the tired and thirsty soldiers
with a satisfaction which we all shared. I had with me a small flask of
strong waters, to be used as a medicine in case of inward grief. From
this, also, he dispensed relief, without hesitation, to a poor fellow
who looked as if he needed it. I rather admired the simplicity with
which he applied my limited means of solace to the first-comer who
wanted it more than I; a genuine benevolent impulse does not stand on
ceremony, and had I perished of colic for want of a stimulus that night,
I should not have reproached my friend the Philanthropist any more than
I grudged my other ardent friend the two dollars and more which it cost
me to send the charitable message he left in my hands.

It was a lovely country through which we were riding. The hill-sides
rolled away into the distance, slanting up fair and broad to the sun,
as one sees them in the open parts of the Berkshire valley, at
Lanesborough, for instance, or in the many-hued mountain-chalice at the
bottom of which the Shaker houses of Lebanon have shaped themselves like
a sediment of cubical crystals. The wheat was all garnered, and the land
ploughed for a new crop. There was Indian-corn standing, but I saw no
pumpkins warming their yellow carapaces in the sunshine like so many
turtles; only in a single instance did I notice some wretched little
miniature specimens in form and hue not unlike those colossal oranges of
our cornfields. The rail-fences were somewhat disturbed, and the cinders
of extinguished fires showed the use to which they had been applied.
The houses along the road were not for the most part neatly kept; the
garden-fences were poorly built of laths or long slats, and very rarely
of trim aspect. The men of this region seemed to ride in the saddle very
generally, rather than drive. They looked sober and stern, less curious
and lively than Yankees, and I fancied that a type of features familiar
to us in the countenance of the late John Tyler, our accidental
President, was frequently met with. The women were still more
distinguishable from our New-England pattern. Soft, sallow, succulent,
delicately finished about the mouth and firmly shaped about the chin,
dark-eyed, full-throated, they looked as if they had been grown in a
land of olives. There was a little toss in their movement, full of
muliebrity. I fancied there was something more of the duck and less of
the chicken about them, as compared with the daughters of our leaner
soil; but these are mere impressions caught from stray glances, and if
there is any offence in them, my fair readers may consider them all
retracted.

At intervals, a dead horse lay by the road-side, or in the fields,
unburied, not grateful to gods or men, I saw no bird of prey, no
ill-omened fowl, on my way to the carnival of death, or at the place
where it was held. The vulture of story, the crow of Talavera, the "twa
corbies" of the ghastly ballad, are all from Nature, doubtless; but
no black wing was spread over these animal ruins, and no call to the
banquet pierced through the heavy-laden and sickening air.

Full in the middle of the road, caring little for whom or what they met,
came long strings of army-wagons, returning empty from the front after
supplies. James Grayden stated it as his conviction that they had a
little rather run into a fellow than not. I liked the looks of these
equipages and their drivers; they meant business. Drawn by mules mostly,
six, I think, to a wagon, powdered well with dust, wagon, beast, and
driver, they came jogging along the road, turning neither to right nor
left,--some driven by bearded, solemn white men, some by careless,
saucy-looking negroes, of a blackness like that of anthracite or
obsidian. There seemed to be nothing about them, dead or alive, that was
not serviceable. Sometimes a mule would give out on the road; then he
was left where he lay, until by-and-by he would think better of it, and
get up, when the first public wagon that came along would hitch him on,
and restore him to the sphere of duty.

It was evening when we got to Middletown. The gentle lady--who had
graced our homely conveyance with her company here left us. She found
her husband, the gallant Colonel, in very comfortable quarters, well
cared for, very weak from the effects of the fearful operation he had
been compelled to undergo, but showing the same calm courage to endure
as he had shown manly energy to act. It was a meeting full of heroism
and tenderness, of which I heard more than there is need to tell. Health
to the brave soldier, and peace to the household over which go fair a
spirit presides!

Dr. Thompson, the very active and intelligent surgical director of the
hospitals of the place, took me in charge. He carried me to the house of
a worthy and benevolent clergyman of the German Reformed Church, where I
was to take tea and pass the night. What became of the Moravian chaplain
I did not know; but my friend the Philanthropist had evidently made up
his mind to adhere to my fortunes. He followed me, therefore, to the
house of the "Dominic," as a newspaper-correspondent calls my kind host,
and partook of the fare there furnished me. He withdrew with me to the
apartment assigned for my slumbers, and slept sweetly on the same pillow
where I waked and tossed. Nay, I do affirm that he did, unconsciously,
I believe, encroach on that moiety of the couch which I had flattered
myself was to be my own through the watches of the night, and that I
was in serious doubt at one time whether I should not be gradually, but
irresistibly, expelled from the bed which I had supposed destined for
my sole possession. As Ruth clave unto Naomi, so my friend the
Philanthropist clave unto me. "Whither thou goest, I will go; and where
thou lodgest, I will lodge." A really kind, good man, full of zeal,
determined to help somebody, and absorbed in his one thought, he doubted
nobody's willingness to serve him, going, as he was, on a purely
benevolent errand. When he reads this, as I hope he will, let him be
assured of my esteem and respect; and if he gained any accommodation
from being in my company, let me tell him that I learned a lesson from
his active benevolence. I could, however, have wished to hear him laugh
once before we parted, perhaps forever. He did not, to the best of
my recollection, even smile during the whole period that we were in
company. I am afraid that a lightsome disposition and a relish for humor
are not so common in those whose benevolence takes an active turn as in
people of sentiment who are always ready with their tears and abounding
in passionate expressions of sympathy. Working philanthropy is a
practical specialty, requiring not a mere impulse, but a talent, with
its peculiar sagacity for finding its objects, a tact for selecting its
agencies, an organizing and arranging faculty, a steady set of nerves,
and a constitution such as Sallust describes in Catiline, patient of
cold, of hunger, and of watching. Philanthropists are commonly grave,
occasionally grim, and not very rarely morose. Their expansive social
force is imprisoned as a working power, to show itself only through
its legitimate pistons and cranks. The tighter the boiler, the less it
whistles and sings at its work. When Dr. Waterhouse, in 1780, travelled
with Howard, on his tour among the Dutch prisons and hospitals, he
found his temper and manners very different from what would have been
expected. My benevolent companion having already made a preliminary
exploration of the hospitals of the place, before sharing my bed with
him, as above mentioned, I joined him in a second tour through them. The
authorities of Middletown are evidently leagued with the surgeons of
that place, for such a break-neck succession of pitfalls and chasms I
have never seen in the streets of a civilized town. It was getting late
in the evening when we began our rounds. The principal collections of
the wounded were in the churches. Boards were laid over the tops of the
pews, on these some straw was spread, and on this the wounded lay, with
little or no covering other than such scanty clothes as they had on.
There were wounds of all degrees of severity, but I heard no groans
or murmurs. Most of the sufferers were hurt in the limbs, some had
undergone amputation, and all had, I presume, received such attention as
was required. Still, it was but a rough and dreary kind of comfort that
the extemporized hospitals suggested. I could not help thinking the
patients must be cold; but they were used to camp-life, and did not
complain. The men who watched were not of the soft-handed variety of the
race. One of them was smoking his pipe as he went from bed to bed. I saw
one poor fellow who had been shot through the breast; his breathing was
labored, and he was tossing, anxious and restless. The men were debating
about the opiate he was to take, and I was thankful that I happened
there at the right moment to see that he was well narcotized for the
night. Was it possible that my Captain could be lying on the straw in
one of these places? Certainly _possible_, but not probable; but as the
lantern was held over each bed, it was with a kind of thrill that I
looked upon the features it illuminated. Many times, as I went from
hospital to hospital in my wanderings, I started as some faint
resemblance--the shade of a young man's hair, the outline of his
half-turned face-recalled the presence I was in search of. The face
would turn towards me and the momentary illusion would pass away, but
still the fancy clung to me. There was no figure huddled up on its rude
couch, none stretched at the road-side, none toiling languidly along
the dusty pike, none passing in car or in ambulance, that I did not
scrutinize, as if it might be that for which I was making my pilgrimage
to the battle-field.

"There are two wounded Secesh," said my companion. I walked to the
bedside of the first, who was an officer, a lieutenant, if I remember
right, from North Carolina. He was of good family, son of a judge in
one of the higher courts of his State, educated, pleasant, gentle,
intelligent. One moment's intercourse with such an enemy, lying helpless
and wounded among strangers, takes away all personal bitterness towards
those with whom we or our children have been but a few hours before in
deadly strife. The basest lie which the murderous contrivers of this
Rebellion have told is that which tries to make out a difference of race
in the men of the North and South, It would be worth a year of battles
to abolish this delusion, though the great sponge of war that wiped it
out were moistened with the best blood of the land. My Rebel was of
slight, scholastic habit, and spoke as one accustomed to tread carefully
among the parts of speech. It made my heart ache to see him, a man
finished in the humanities and Christian culture, whom the sin of his
forefathers and the crime of his rulers had set in barbarous conflict
against others of like training with his own,--a man who, but for the
curse that it is laid on our generation to expiate, would have been
a fellow-worker with them in the beneficent task of shaping the
intelligence and lifting the moral standard of a peaceful and united
people.

On Sunday morning, the twenty-first, having engaged James Grayden
and his team, I set out with the Chaplain and the Philanthropist for
Keedysville. Our track lay through the South Mountain Gap and led us
first to the town of Boonsborough, where, it will be remembered, Colonel
Dwight had been brought after the battle. We saw the positions occupied
in the Battle of South Mountain, and many traces of the conflict. In one
situation a group of young trees was marked with shot, hardly one having
escaped. As we walked by the side of the wagon, the Philanthropist left
us for a while and climbed a hill, where along the line of a fence he
found traces of the most desperate fighting. A ride of some three hours
brought us to Boonsborough, where I roused the unfortunate army-surgeon
who had charge of the hospitals, and who was trying to get a little
sleep after his fatigues and watchings. He bore this cross very
creditably, and helped me to explore all places where my soldier might
be lying among the crowds of wounded. After the useless search, I
resumed my journey, fortified with a note of introduction to Dr.
Letterman, also with a bale of oakum which I was to carry to that
gentleman, this substance being employed as a substitute for lint.
We were obliged also to procure a pass to Keedysville from the
Provost-Marshal of Boonsborough. As we came near the place, we learned
that General McClellan's headquarters had been removed from this village
some miles farther to the front.

On entering the small settlement of Keedysville, a familiar face and
figure blocked the way, like one of Bunyan's giants. The tall form and
benevolent countenance, set off by long, flowing hair, belonged to the
excellent Mayor Frank B. Fay, of Chelsea, who, like my Philanthropist,
only still more promptly, had come to succor the wounded of the great
battle. It was wonderful to see how his single personality pervaded this
torpid little village; he seemed to be the centre of all its activities.
All my questions he answered clearly and decisively, as one who knew
everything that was going on in the place. But the one question I had
come five hundred miles to ask,--_Where is Captain H.?_--he could not
answer. There were some thousands of wounded in the place, he told
me, scattered about everywhere. It would be a long job to hunt up my
Captain; the only way would be to go to every house and ask for him.
Just then, a medical officer came up.

"Do you know anything of Captain H., of the Massachusetts Twentieth?"

"Oh, yes; he is staying in that house. I saw him there, doing very
well."

A chorus of hallelujahs arose in my soul, but I kept them to myself.
Now, then, for our twice-wounded volunteer, our young centurion whose
double-barred shoulder-straps we have never yet looked upon. Let us
observe the proprieties, however; no swelling upward of the mother,--no
_hysterica passio,_--we do not like scenes. A calm salutation,--then
swallow and bold hard. That is about the programme.

A cottage of squared logs, filled in with plaster, and white-washed. A
little yard before it, with a gate swinging. The door of the cottage
ajar,--no one visible as yet. I push open the door and enter. An old
woman, _Margaret Kitzmuller_ her name proves to be, is the first person
I see.

"Captain H. here?"

"Oh, no, Sir,--left yesterday morning for Hagerstown--in a milk-cart."

The Kitzmuller is a beady-eyed, cheery-looking ancient woman, answers
questions with a rising inflection, and gives a good account of the
Captain, who got into the vehicle without assistance, and was in
excellent spirits.--Of course he had struck for Hagerstown as the
terminus of the Cumberland Valley Railroad, and was on his way to
Philadelphia _via_ Chambersburg and Harrisburg, if he were not already
in the hospitable home of Walnut Street, where his friends were
expecting him.

I might follow on his track or return upon my own; the distance was die
same to Philadelphia through Harrisburg as through Baltimore. But it was
very difficult, Mr. Fay told me, to procure any kind of conveyance to
Hagerstown, and on the other hand I had James Grayden and his wagon to
carry me back to Frederick. It was not likely that I should overtake the
object of my pursuit with nearly thirty-six hours start, even if I
could procure a conveyance that day, In the mean time James was getting
impatient to be on his return, according to the direction of his
employers. So I decided to go back with him.

But there was the great battle-field only about three miles from
Keedysville, and it was impossible to go without seeing that. James
Grayden's directions were peremptory, but it was a case for the higher
law. I must make a good offer for an extra couple of hours, such as
would satisfy the owners of the wagon, and enforce it by a personal
motive. I did this handsomely, and succeeded without difficulty. To
add brilliancy to my enterprise, I invited the Chaplain and the
Philanthropist to take a free passage with me.

We followed the road through the village for a space, then turned off
to the right, and wandered somewhat vaguely, for want of precise
directions, over the hills. Inquiring as we went, we forded a wide creek
in which soldiers were washing their clothes, the name of which we did
not then know, but which must have been the Antietam. At one point we
met a party, women among them, bringing off various trophies they had
picked up on the battle-field. Still wandering along, we were at last
pointed to a hill in the distance, a part of the summit of which was
covered with Indian-corn. There, we were told, some of the fiercest
fighting of the day had been done. The fences were taken down so as to
make a passage across the fields, and the tracks worn within the last
few days looked like old roads. We passed a fresh grave under a tree
near the road. A board was nailed to the tree, bearing the name, as well
as I could make it out, of Gardiner, of a New-Hampshire regiment.

On coming near the brow of the hill, we met a party carrying picks and
spades. "How many?" "Only one." The dead were nearly all buried, then,
in this region of the field of strife. We stopped the wagon, and,
getting out, began to look around us. Hard by was a large pile of
muskets, scores, if not hundreds, which had been picked up and were
guarded for the Government. A long ridge of fresh gravel rose before us.
A board stuck up in front of it bore this inscription, the first part of
which was, I believe, not correct:--"The Rebel General Anderson and 80
Rebels are buried in this hole." Other smaller ridges were marked with
the number of dead lying under them. The whole ground was strewed
with fragments of clothing, haversacks, canteens, cap-boxes, bullets,
cartridge-boxes, cartridges, scraps of paper, portions of bread and
meat. I saw two soldiers' caps that looked as though their owners had
been shot through the head. In several places I noticed dark red patches
where a pool of blood had curdled and caked, as some poor fellow poured
his life out on the sod. I then wandered about in the cornfield. It
surprised me to notice, that, though there was every mark of hard
fighting having taken place here, the Indian-corn was not generally
trodden down. One of our cornfields is a kind of forest, and even when
fighting, men avoid the tall stalks as if they were trees. At the edge
of this cornfield lay a gray horse, said to have belonged to a Rebel
colonel, who was killed near the same place. Not far off were two dead
artillery-horses in their harness. Another had been attended to by
a burying-party, who had thrown some earth over him; but his last
bed-clothes were too short, and his legs stuck out stark and stiff
from beneath the gravel coverlet. It was a great pity that we had no
intelligent guide to explain to us the position of that portion of the
two armies which fought over this ground. There was a shallow trench
before we came to the cornfield, too narrow for a road, as I should
think, too elevated for a water-course, and which seemed to have been
used as a rifle-pit; at any rate, there had been hard fighting in and
about it. This and the cornfield may serve to identify the part of the
ground we visited, if any who fought there should ever look over this
paper. The opposing tides of battle must have blended their waves at
this point, for portions of gray uniform were mingled with the "garments
rolled in blood" torn from our own dead and wounded soldiers. I picked
up a Rebel canteen, and one of our own,--but there was something
repulsive about the trodden and stained relics of the stale
battle-field. It was like the table of some hideous orgy left uncleared,
and one turned away disgusted from its broken fragments and muddy
heel-taps. A bullet or two, a button, a brass plate from a soldier's
belt, served well enough for mementos of my visit, with a letter which
I picked up, directed to Richmond, Virginia, its seal unbroken. "N.C.
Cleaveland County. E. Wright to J. Wright." On the other side, "A few
lines from W.L. Vaughn," who has just been writing for the wife to her
husband, and continues on his own account. The postscript, "tell John
that nancy's folks are all well and has a verry good Little Crop of corn
a growing." I wonder, if, by one of those strange chances of which I
have seen so many, this number or leaf of the "Atlantic" will not sooner
or later find its way to Cleveland County, North Carolina, and E.
Wright, widow of James Wright, and Nancy's folks get from these
sentences the last glimpse of husband and friend as he threw up his arms
and fell in the bloody cornfield of Antietam? I will keep this stained
letter for them until peace comes back, if it comes in my time, and my
pleasant North-Carolina Rebel of the Middletown Hospital will, perhaps,
look these poor people up, and tell them where to send for it.

On the battle-field I parted with my two companions, the Chaplain and
the Philanthropist. They were going to the front, the one to find his
regiment, the other to look for those who needed his assistance. We
exchanged cards and farewells, I mounted the wagon, the horses' heads
were turned homewards, my two companions went their way, and I saw them
no more. On my way back, I fell into talk with James Grayden. Born in
England, Lancashire; in this country since he was four years old. Had
nothing to care for but an old mother; didn't know what he should do, if
he lost her. Though so long in this country, he had all the simplicity
and childlike light-heartedness which belong to the Old World's people.
He laughed at the smallest pleasantry, and showed his great white
English teeth; he took a joke without retorting by an impertinence; he
had a very limited curiosity about all that was going on; he had small
store of information; he lived chiefly in his horses, it seemed to me.
His quiet animal nature acted as a pleasing anodyne to my recurring fits
of anxiety, and I liked his frequent "'Deed I don' know, Sir," better
than I have sometimes relished the large discourse of professors and
other very wise men.

I have not much to say of the road which we were travelling for the
second time. Reaching Middletown, my first call was on the wounded
Colonel and his lady. She gave me a most touching account of all
the suffering he had gone through with his shattered limb before he
succeeded in finding a shelter, showing the terrible want of proper
means of transportation of the wounded after the battle. It occurred to
me, while at this house, that I was more or less famished, and for the
first time in my life I begged for a meal, which the kind family with
whom the Colonel was staying most graciously furnished me.

After tea, there came in a stout army-surgeon, a Highlander by birth,
educated in Edinburgh, with whom I had pleasant, not unstimulating
talk. He had been brought very close to that immane and nefandous
Burke-and-Hare business which made the blood of civilization run cold in
the year 1828, and told me, in a very calm way, with an occasional pinch
from the mull, to refresh his memory, some of the details of those
frightful murders, never rivalled in horror until the wretch Dumollard,
who kept a private cemetery for his victims, was dragged into the light
of day. He had a good deal to say, too, about the Royal College of
Surgeons in Edinburgh, and the famous preparations, mercurial and
the rest, which I remember well having seen there,--the "_sudabit
muitura_,--" and others,--also of our New-York Professor Carnochan's
handiwork, a specimen of which I once admired at the New York College.
But the Doctor was not in a happy frame of mind, and seemed willing to
forget the present in the past: things went wrong, somehow, and the time
was out of joint with him.

Dr. Thompson, kind, cheerful, companionable, offered me half his own
wide bed, in the house of Dr. Baer, for my second night in Middletown.
Here I lay awake again another night. Close to the house stood an
ambulance in which was a wounded Rebel officer, attended by one of their
own surgeons. He was calling out in a loud voice, all night long, as
it seemed to me, "Doctor! Doctor! Driver! Water!" in loud, complaining
tones, I have no doubt of real suffering, but in strange contrast with
the silent patience which was the almost universal rule.

The courteous Dr. Thompson will let me tell here an odd coincidence,
trivial, but having its interest as one of a series. The Doctor and
myself lay in the bed, and a lieutenant, a friend of his, slept on
the sofa. At night, I placed my match-box, a Scotch one, of the
Macpherson-plaid pattern, which I bought years ago, on the bureau, just
where I could put my hand upon it. I was the last of the three to rise
in the morning, and on looking for my pretty match-box, I found it was
gone. This was rather awkward,--not on account of the loss, but of the
unavoidable fact that one of my fellow-lodgers must have taken it. I
must try to find out what it meant.

"By the way, Doctor, have you seen anything of a little plaid-pattern
matchbox?"

The Doctor put his hand to his pocket, and, to his own huge surprise and
my great gratification, pulled out _two_ matchboxes exactly alike, both
printed with the Macpherson plaid. One was his, the other mine, which he
had seen lying round, and naturally took for his own, thrusting it into
his pocket, where it found its twin-brother from the same workshop. In
memory of which event we exchanged boxes, like two Homeric heroes.

This curious coincidence illustrates well enough some supposed cases of
_plagiarism_, of which I will mention one where my name figured. When a
little poem called "The Two Streams" was first printed, a writer in the
New York "Evening Post" virtually accused the author of it of borrowing
the thought from a baccalaureate sermon of President Hopkins, of
Williamstown, and printed a quotation from that discourse, which, as I
thought, a thief or catchpoll might well consider as establishing a
fair presumption that it was so borrowed. I was at the same time wholly
unconscious of ever having met with the discourse or the sentence which
the verses were most like, nor do I believe I ever had seen or heard
either. Some time after this, happening to meet my eloquent cousin,
Wendell Phillips, I mentioned the fact to him, and he told me that _he_
had once used the special image said to be borrowed, in a discourse
delivered at Williamstown. On relating this to my friend Mr. Buchanan
Read, he informed me that _he_, too, had used the image, perhaps
referring to his poem called "The Twins." He thought Tennyson had used
it also. The parting of the streams on the Alps is poetically elaborated
in a passage attributed to "M. Loisne," printed in the Boston "Evening
Transcript" for October 23d, 1859. Captain, afterwards Sir Francis Head,
speaks of the showers parting on the Cordilleras, one portion going to
the Atlantic, one to the Pacific. I found the image running loose in my
mind, without a halter. It suggested itself as an illustration of
the will, and I worked the poem out by the aid of Mitchell's School
Atlas.--The spores of a great many ideas are floating about in the
atmosphere. We no more know where all the growths of our mind came from
than where the lichens which eat the names off from the gravestones
borrowed the germs that gave them birth. The two match-boxes were just
alike, but neither was a plagiarism.

In the morning I took to the same wagon once more, but, instead of James
Grayden, I was to have for my driver a young man who spelt his name
"Phillip Ottenheimer," and whose features at once showed him to be an
Israelite. I found him agreeable enough, and disposed to talk. So I
asked him many questions about his religion, and got some answers that
sound strangely in Christian ears. He was from Wittenberg, and had
been educated in strict Jewish fashion. From his childhood he had read
Hebrew, but was not much of a scholar otherwise. A young person of his
race lost caste utterly by marrying a Christian. The Founder of our
religion was considered by the Israelites to have been "a right smart
man, and a great doctor," But the horror with which the reading of the
New Testament by any young person of their faith would be regarded was
as great, I judged by his language, as that of one of our straitest
sectaries would be, if he found his son or daughter perusing the "Age of
Reason."

In approaching Frederick, the singular beauty of its clustered spires
struck me very much, so that I was not surprised to find "Fair-View"
laid down about this point on a railroad-map. I wish some wandering
photographer would take a picture of the place, a stereoscopic one, if
possible, to show how gracefully, how charmingly, its group of steeples
nestles among the Maryland hills. The town had a poetical look from a
distance, as if seers and dreamers might dwell there. The first sign
I read, on entering its long street, might perhaps be considered as
confirming my remote impression. It bore these words: "Miss Ogle, Past,
Present, and Future." On arriving, I visited Lieutenant Abbott, and the
attenuated unhappy gentleman, his neighbor, sharing between them as my
parting gift what I had left of the balsam known to the Pharmacopoeia as
_Spiritus Vini Gallici_. I took advantage of General Shriver's always
open door to write a letter home, but had not time to partake of his
offered hospitality. The railroad-bridge over the Monocacy had been
rebuilt since I passed through Frederick, and we trundled along over the
track toward Baltimore.

It was a disappointment, on reaching the Eutaw House, where I had
ordered all communications to be addressed, to find no telegraphic
message from Philadelphia or Boston, stating that Captain H. had arrived
at the former place, "wound doing well in good spirits expects to leave
soon for Boston," After all, it was no great matter; the Captain was, no
doubt, snugly lodged before this in the house called Beautiful, at ----
Walnut Street, where that "grave and beautiful damsel named Discretion"
had already welcomed him, smiling, though "the water stood in her eyes,"
and had "called out Prudence, Piety, and Charity, who, after a little
more discourse with him, had him into the family."

The friends I had met at the Eutaw House had all gone but one, the lady
of an officer from Boston, who was most amiable and agreeable, and whose
benevolence, as I afterwards learned, soon reached the invalids I had
left suffering at Frederick. General Wool still walked the corridors,
inexpansive, with Fort McHenry on his shoulders, and Baltimore in his
breeches-pocket, and his courteous aid again pressed upon me his kind
offices. About the doors of the hotel the news-boys cried the papers in
plaintive, wailing tones, as different from the sharp accents of their
Boston counterparts as a sigh from the southwest is from a northeastern
breeze. To understand what they said was, of course, impossible to any
but an educated ear, and if I made out "Stoarr" and "Clipper," it was
because I knew beforehand what must be the burden of their advertising
coranach.

I set out for Philadelphia on the morrow, Tuesday the twenty-third,
there beyond question to meet my Captain, once more united to his brave
wounded companions under that roof which covers a household of as noble
hearts as ever throbbed with human sympathies. Back River, Bush River,
Gunpowder Creek,--lives there the man with soul so dead that his memory
has cerements to wrap up these senseless names in the same envelopes
with their meaningless localities? But the Susquehanna,--the broad,
the beautiful, the historical, the poetical Susquehanna,--the river of
Wyoming and of Gertrude, dividing the shores where

"aye these sunny mountains half-way down
Would echo flageolet from some romantic town,"--

did not my heart renew its allegiance to the poet who has made it lovely
to the imagination as well as to the eye, and so identified his fame
with the noble stream that it "rolls mingling with his fame forever"?
The prosaic traveller perhaps remembers it better from the fact that a
great sea-monster, in the shape of a steamboat, takes him, sitting
in the car, on its back, and swims across with him like Arion's
dolphin,--also that mercenary men on board offer him canvas-backs in the
season, and ducks of lower degree at other periods.

At Philadelphia again at last! Drive fast, O colored man and brother, to
the house called Beautiful, where my Captain lies sore wounded, waiting
for the sound of the chariot-wheels which bring to his bedside the face
and the voice nearer than any save one to his heart in this his hour of
pain and weakness! Up a long street with white shutters and white steps
to all the houses. Off at right angles into another long street with
white shutters and white steps to all the houses. Off again at another
right angle into still another long street with white shutters and white
steps to all the houses. The natives of this city pretend to know one
street from another by some individual differences of aspect; but the
best way for a stranger to distinguish the streets he has been in from
others is to make a cross or other mark on the white shutters.

This corner-house is the one. Ring softly,--for the Lieutenant-Colonel
lies there with a dreadfully wounded arm, and two sons of the family,
one wounded like the Colonel, one fighting with death in the fog of a
typhoid fever, will start with fresh pangs at the least sound you can
make. I entered the house, but no cheerful smile met me. The sufferers
were each of them thought to be in a critical condition. The fourth bed,
waiting its tenant day after day, was still empty. _Not a word from my
Captain._

Then, foolish, fond body that I was, my heart sank within me. Had he
been taken ill on the road, perhaps been attacked with those formidable
symptoms which sometimes come on suddenly after wounds that seemed to be
doing well enough, and was his life ebbing away in some lonely cottage,
nay, in some cold barn or shed, or at the way-side, unknown, uncared
for? Somewhere between Philadelphia and Hagerstown, if not at the latter
town, he must be, at any rate. I must sweep the hundred and eighty miles
between these places as one would sweep a chamber where a precious pearl
had been dropped. I must have a companion in my search, partly to help
me look about, and partly because I was getting nervous and felt lonely.
_Charley_ said he would go with me,--Charley, my Captain's beloved
friend, gentle, but full of spirit and liveliness, cultivated, social,
affectionate, a good talker, a most agreeable letter-writer, observing,
with large relish of life, and keen sense of humor.

He was not well enough to go, some of the timid ones said; but he
answered by packing his carpet-bag, and in an hour or two we were on the
Pennsylvania Central Railroad in full blast for Harrisburg.

I should have been a forlorn creature but for the presence of my
companion. In his delightful company I half forgot my anxieties, which,
exaggerated as they may seem now, ware not unnatural after what I had
seen of the confusion and distress that had followed the great battle,
nay, which seem almost justified by the recent statement that "high
officers" were buried after that battle whose names were never
ascertained. I noticed little matters, as usual. The road was filled in
between the rails with cracked stones, such as are used for Macadamizing
streets. They keep the dust down, I suppose, for I could not think of
any other use for them. By-and-by the glorious valley which stretches
along through Chester and Lancaster Counties opened upon us. Much as I
had heard of the fertile regions of Pennsylvania, the vast scale and the
uniform luxuriance of this region astonished me. The grazing pastures
were so green, the fields were under such perfect culture, the cattle
looked so sleek, the houses were so comfortable, the barns so ample, the
fences so well kept, that I did not wonder, when I was told that this
region was called the England of Pennsylvania. The people whom we saw
were, like the cattle, well-nourished; the young women looked round and
wholesome.

"_Grass makes girls_," I said to my companion, and left him to work out
my Orphic saying, thinking to myself, that, as guano makes grass, it
was a legitimate conclusion that Jehaboe must be a nursery of female
loveliness.

As the train stopped at the different stations, I inquired at each
if they had any wounded officers. None as yet; the red rays of the
battle-field had not streamed off so far as this. Evening found us in
the cars; they lighted candles in spring-candlesticks; odd enough I
thought it in the land of oil-wells and unmeasured floods of kerosene.
Some fellows turned up the back of a seat so as to make it horizontal,
and began gambling or pretending to gamble; it looked as if they were
trying to pluck a young countryman; but appearances are deceptive,
and no deeper stake than "drinks for the crowd" seemed at last to
be involved. But remembering that murder has tried of late years to
establish itself as an institution in the cars, I was less tolerant of
the doings of these "sportsmen" who tried to turn our public conveyance
into a travelling Frascali. They acted as if they were used to it, and
nobody seemed to pay much attention to their manoeuvres.

We arrived at Harrisburg in the course of the evening, and attempted to
find our way to the Jones House, to which we had been commended. By some
mistake, intentional on the part of somebody, as it may have been, or
purely accidental, we went to the Herr House instead. I entered my name
in the book, with that of my companion. A plain, middle-aged man stepped
up, read it to himself in low tones, and coupled to it a literary title
by which I have been sometimes known. He proved to be a graduate of
Brown University, and had heard a certain Phi Beta Kappa poem delivered
there a good many years ago. I remembered it, too; Professor Goddard,
whose sudden and singular death left such lasting regret, was the
Orator. I recollect that while I was speaking a drum went by the church,
and how I was disgusted to see all the heads near the windows thrust out
of them, as if the building were on fire. _Cedat armis toga._ The clerk
in the office, a mild, pensive, unassuming young man, was very polite in
his manners, and did all he could to make us comfortable. He was of a
literary turn, and knew one of his guests in his character of author. At
tea, a mild old gentleman, with white hair and beard, sat next us. He,
too, had come hunting after his son, a lieutenant in a Pennsylvania
regiment. Of these, father and son, more presently.

After tea we went to look up Dr. Wilson, chief medical officer of
the hospitals in the place, who was staying at the Brady House. A
magnificent old toddy-mixer, Bardolphian in hue and stern of aspect, as
all grog-dispensers must be, accustomed as they are to dive through the
features of men to the bottom of their souls and pockets to see whether
they are solvent to the amount of sixpence, answered my question by a
wave of one hand, the other being engaged in carrying a dram to his
lips. His superb indifference gratified my artistic feeling more than it
wounded my personal sensibilities. Anything really superior in its line
claims my homage, and this man was the ideal bar-tender, above all
vulgar passions, untouched by commonplace sympathies, himself a lover of
the liquid happiness he dispenses, and filled with a fine scorn of all
those lesser felicities conferred by love or fame or wealth or any
of the roundabout agencies for which his fiery elixir is the cheap,
all-powerful substitute.

Dr. Wilson was in bed, though it was early in the evening, not having
slept for I don't know how many nights.

"Take my card up to him, if you please."

"This way, Sir."

A man who has not slept for a fortnight or so is not expected to be as
affable, when attacked in his bed, as a French princess of old time
at her morning-receptions. Dr. Wilson turned toward me, as I entered,
without effusion, but without rudeness. His thick, dark moustache was
chopped off square at the lower edge of the upper lip, which implied a
decisive, if not a peremptory, style of character.

I am Doctor So-and-So. of Hub-town, looking after my wounded son. (I
gave my name and said _Boston_, of course, in reality.)

Dr. Wilson leaned on his elbow and looked up in my face, his features
growing cordial. Then he put out his hand, and good-humoredly excused
his reception of me. The day before, as he told me, he had dismissed
from the service a medical man hailing from ----, Pennsylvania, bearing
my last name, preceded by the same two initials; and he supposed, when
my card came up, it was this individual who was disturbing his slumbers.
The coincidence was so unlikely _a priori_, unless some forlorn parent
without antecedents had named a child after me, that I could not help
cross-questioning the Doctor, who assured me deliberately that the fact
was just as he had said, even to the somewhat unusual initials. Dr.
Wilson very kindly furnished me all the information in his power,
gave me directions for telegraphing to Chambersburg, and showed every
disposition to serve me.

On returning to the Herr House, we found the mild, white-haired old
gentleman in a very happy state. He had just discovered his son, in a
comfortable condition, at the United States Hotel. He thought that he
could probably give us some information which would prove interesting.
To the United States Hotel we repaired, then, in company with our
kind-hearted old friend, who evidently wanted to see me as happy as
himself. He went up-stairs to his son's chamber, and presently came down
to conduct us there.

Lieutenant P----, of the Pennsylvania ----th, was a very fresh,
bright-looking young man, lying in bed from the effects of a recent
injury received in action. A grape-shot, after passing through a post
and a board, had struck him in the hip, bruising, but not penetrating or
breaking. He had good news for me.

That very afternoon, a party of wounded officers had passed through
Harrisburg, going East. He had conversed in the bar-room of this hotel
with one of them, who was wounded about the shoulder, (it might be the
lower part of the neck,) and had his arm in a sling. He belonged to the
Twentieth Massachusetts; the Lieutenant saw that he was a Captain, by
the two bars on his shoulder-strap. His name was my family-name; he was
tall and youthful, like my Captain. At four o'clock he left in the train
for Philadelphia. Closely questioned, the Lieutenant's evidence was as
round, complete, and lucid as a Japanese sphere of rock-crystal.

TE DEUM LAUDAMUS! The Lord's name be praised! The dead pain in the
semilunar ganglion (which I must remind my reader is a kind of stupid,
unreasoning brain, beneath the pit of the stomach, common to man and
beast, which aches in the supreme moments of life, as when the dam loses
her young ones, or the wild horse is lassoed) stopped short. There was
a feeling as if I had slipped off a tight boot, or cut a strangling
garter,--only it was all over my system. What more could I ask to assure
me of the Captain's safety? As soon as the telegraph-office opens
to-morrow morning, we will send a message to our friends in Philadelphia,
and get a reply, doubtless, which will settle the whole matter.

The hopeful morrow dawned at last, and the message was sent accordingly.
In due time, the following reply was received:--

"Phil Sept 24 I think the report you have heard that W [the Captain] has
gone East must be an error we have not seen or heard of him here M L H"

DE PROFUNDIS CLAMAVI! He _could_ not have passed through Philadelphia
without visiting the house called Beautiful, where he had been so
tenderly cared for after his wound at Ball's Bluff, and where those whom
he loved were lying in grave peril of life or limb. Yet he _did_ pass
through Harrisburg, going East, going to Philadelphia, on his way
home. Ah, this is it! He must have taken the late night-train from
Philadelphia for New York, in his impatience to reach home. There is
such a train, not down in the guide-book, but we were assured of the
fact at the Harrisburg depot. By-and-by came the reply from Dr.
Wilson's telegraphic message: nothing had been heard of the Captain at
Chambersburg. Still later, another message came from our Philadelphia
friend, saying that he was seen on Friday last at the house of Mrs. K--,
a well-known Union lady, in Hagerstown. Now this could not be true, for
he did not leave Keedysville until Saturday; but the name of the lady
furnished a clue by which we could probably track him. A telegram was
at once sent to Mrs. K--, asking information. It was transmitted
immediately, but when the answer would be received was uncertain, as the
Government almost monopolized the line. I was, on the whole, so well
satisfied that the Captain had gone East, that, unless something were
heard to the contrary, I proposed following him in the late train,
leaving a little after midnight for Philadelphia.

This same morning we visited several of the temporary hospitals,
churches and school-houses, where the wounded were lying. In one of
these, after looking round as usual, I asked aloud, "Any Massachusetts
men here?" Two bright faces lifted themselves from their pillows and
welcomed me by name. The one nearest me was private John B. Noyes, of
Company B, Massachusetts Thirteenth, son of my old college class-tutor,
now the reverend and learned Professor of Hebrew, etc., in Harvard
University. His neighbor was Corporal Armstrong, of the same Company.
Both were slightly wounded, doing well. I learned then and since from
Mr. Noyes that they and their comrades were completely overwhelmed
by the attentions of the good people of Harrisburg,--that the ladies
brought them fruits and flowers, and smiles, better than either,--and
that the little boys of the place were almost fighting for the privilege
of doing their errands. I am afraid there will be a good many hearts
pierced in this war that will have no bullet-mark to show.

There were some heavy hours to get rid of, and we thought a visit to
Camp Curtin might lighten some of them. A rickety wagon carried us to
the camp, in company with a young woman from Troy, who had a basket of
good things with her for a sick brother, "Poor boy! he will be sure to
die," she said. The rustic sentries uncrossed their muskets and let
us in. The camp was on a fair plain, girdled with hills, spacious,
well-kept apparently, but did not present any peculiar attraction for
us. The visit would have been a dull one, had we not happened to get
sight of a singular-looking set of human beings in the distance. They
were clad in stuff of different hues, gray and brown being the leading
shades, but both subdued by a neutral tint, such as is wont to harmonize
the variegated apparel of travel-stained vagabonds. They looked slouchy,
listless, torpid,--an ill-conditioned crew, at first sight, made up of
such fellows as an old woman would drive away from her hen-roost with a
broomstick. Yet these were estrays from the fiery army which has given
our generals so much trouble,--"Secesh prisoners," as a by-stander told
us. A talk with them might be profitable and entertaining. But they were
tabooed to the common visitor, and it was necessary to get inside of the
line which separated us from them.

A solid, square captain was standing near by, to whom we were referred.
Look a man calmly through the very centre of his pupils and ask him for
anything with a tone implying entire conviction that he will grant it,
and he will very commonly consent to the thing asked, were it to commit
_hari-kari_. The Captain acceded to my postulate, and accepted my friend
as a corollary. As one string of my own ancestors was of Batavian
origin, I may be permitted to say that my new friend was of the Dutch
type, like the Amsterdam galiots, broad in the beam, capacious in the
hold, and calculated to carry a heavy cargo rather than to make fast
time. He must have been in politics at some time or other, for he made
orations to all the "Secesh," in which he explained to them that the
United States considered and treated them like children, and enforced
upon them the ridiculous impossibility of the Rebels' attempting to do
anything against such a power as that of the National Government.

Much as his discourse edified them and enlightened me, it interfered
somewhat with my little plans of entering into frank and friendly talk
with some of these poor fellows, for whom I could not help feeling a
kind of human sympathy, though I am as venomous a hater of the Rebellion
as one is like to find under the stars and stripes. It is fair to take
a man prisoner. It is fair to make speeches to a man. But to take a man
prisoner and then make speeches to him while in durance is _not_ fair.

I began a few pleasant conversations, which would have come to something
but for the reason assigned.

One old fellow had a long beard, a drooping eyelid, and a black clay
pipe in his mouth. He was a Scotchman from Ayr, _dour_ enough, and
little disposed to be communicative, though I tried him with the "Twa
Briggs," and, like all Scotchmen, he was a reader of "Burrns." He
professed to feel no interest in the cause for which he was fighting,
and was in the army, I judged, only from compulsion. There was a
wild-haired, unsoaped boy, with pretty, foolish features enough, who
looked as if he might be about seventeen, as he said he was. I give my
questions and his answers literally.

"What State do you come from?"

"Georgy."

"What part of Georgia?"

"_Midway_."

--[How odd that is! My father was settled for seven years as pastor
over the church at Midway, Georgia, and this youth is very probably a
grandson or great-grandson of one of his parishioners.]--

"Where did you go to church, when you were at home?"

"Never went inside 'f a church b't once in m' life."

"What did you do before you became a soldier?"

"Nothin'."

"What do you mean to do when you get back?"

"Nothin'."

Who could have any other feeling than pity for this poor human weed,
this dwarfed and etiolated soul, doomed by neglect to an existence but
one degree above that of the idiot?

With the group was a lieutenant, buttoned close in his gray coat,--one
button gone, perhaps to make a breastpin for some fair traitorous bosom.
A short, stocky man, undistinguishable from one of the "subject race" by
any obvious meanderings of the _sangre azul_ on his exposed surfaces. He
did not say much, possibly because he was convinced by the statements
and arguments of the Dutch captain. He had on strong, iron-heeled shoes,
of English make, which he said cost him seventeen dollars in Richmond.

I put the question, in a quiet, friendly way, to several of the
prisoners, what they were fighting for. One answered, "For our homes."
Two or three others said they did not know, and manifested great
indifference to the whole matter, at which another of their number, a
sturdy fellow, took offence, and muttered opinions strongly derogatory
to those who would not stand up for the cause they had been fighting
for. A feeble, attenuated old man, who wore the Rebel uniform, if such
it could be called, stood by without showing any sign of intelligence.
It was cutting very close to the bone to carve such a shred of humanity
from the body-politic to make a soldier of.

We were just leaving, when a face attracted me, and I stopped the party.
"That is the true Southern type," I said to my companion. A young
fellow, a little over twenty, rather tall, slight, with a perfectly
smooth, boyish cheek, delicate, somewhat high features, and a fine,
almost feminine mouth, stood at the opening of his tent, and as we
turned towards him fidgeted a little nervously with one hand at the
loose canvas, while he seemed at the same time not unwilling to talk. He
was from Mississippi, he said, had been, at Georgetown College, and was
so far imbued with letters that even the name of the literary humility
before him was not new to his ears. Of course I found it easy to come
into magnetic relation with him, and to ask him without incivility
what _he_ was fighting for. "Because I like the excitement of it," he
answered.--I know those fighters with women's mouths and boys' cheeks;
one such from the circle of my own friends, sixteen years old, slipped
away from his nursery and dashed in under an assumed name among the
red-legged Zouaves, in whose company he got an ornamental bullet-mark in
one of the earliest conflicts of the war.

"Did you ever see a genuine Yankee?" said my Philadelphia friend to the
young Mississippian.

"I have shot at a good many of them," he replied, modestly, his woman's
mouth stirring a little, with a pleasant, dangerous smile.

The Dutch captain here put his foot into the conversation, as his
ancestors used to put theirs into the scale, when they were buying furs
of the Indians by weight,--so much for the weight of a hand, so much for
the weight of a foot. It deranged the balance of our intercourse; there
was no use in throwing a fly where a paving-stone had just splashed into
the water, and I nodded a good-bye to the boy-fighter, thinking how
much pleasanter it was for my friend the Captain to address him with
unanswerable arguments and crushing statements in his own tent than
it would be to meet him on some remote picket and offer his fair
proportions to the quick eye of a youngster who would draw a bead on him
before he had time to say _dunder and blixum_.

We drove back to the town. No message. After dinner still no message.
Dr. Cuyler, Chief Army-Hospital Inspector, is in town, they say. Let us
hunt him up,--perhaps he can help us.

We found him at the Jones House. A gentleman of large proportions, but
of lively temperament, his frame knit in the North, I think, but
ripened in Georgia, incisive, prompt, but good-humored, wearing his
broad-brimmed, steeple-crowned felt hat with the least possible tilt on
one side,--a sure sign of exuberant vitality in a mature and dignified
person like him,--business-like in his ways, and not to be interrupted
while occupied with another, but giving himself up heartily to the
claimant who held him for the time. He was so genial, so cordial, so
encouraging, that it seemed as if the clouds, which had been thick all
the morning, broke away as we came into his presence, and the sunshine
of his large nature filled the air all around us. He took the matter in
hand at once, as if it were his own private affair. In ten minutes he
had a second telegraphic message on its way to Mrs. K--at Hagerstown,
sent through the Government channel from the State Capitol,--one so
direct and urgent that I should be sure of an answer to it, whatever
became of the one I had sent in the morning.

While this was going on, we hired a dilapidated barouche, driven by an
odd young native, neither boy nor man, "as a codling when 'tis almost an
apple," who said _wery_ for very, simple and sincere, who smiled faintly
at our pleasantries, always with a certain reserve of suspicion, and a
gleam of the shrewdness that all men get who live in the atmosphere of
horses. He drove us round by the Capitol grounds, white with tents,
which were disgraced in my eyes by unsoldierly scrawls in huge letters,
thus: THE SEVEN BLOOMSBURY BROTHERS, DEVIL'S HOLE, and similar
inscriptions. Then to the Beacon Street of Harrisburg, which looks
upon the Susquehanna instead of the Common, and shows a long front of
handsome houses with fair gardens. The river is pretty nearly a mile
across here, but very shallow now. The codling told us that a Rebel spy
had been caught trying its fords a little while ago, and was now at Camp
Curtin with a heavy ball chained to his leg,--a popular story, but a
lie, Dr. Wilson said. A little farther along we came to the barkless
stump of the tree to which Mr. Harris, the Cecrops of the city named
after him, was tied by the Indians for some unpleasant operation of
scalping or roasting, when he was rescued by friendly savages, who
paddled across the stream to save him. Our youngling pointed out a very
respectable-looking stone house as having been "built by the Indians"
about those times. Guides have queer notions occasionally.

I was at Niagara just when Dr. Rae arrived there with his companions and
dogs and things from his Arctic search after the lost navigator.

"Who are those?" I said to my conductor.

"Them?" he answered. "Them's the men that's been out West, out to
Michig'n, aft' _Sir Ben Franklin_."

Of the other sights of Harrisburg the Brant House or Hotel, or whatever
it is called, seems most worth notice. Its _facade_ is imposing, with a
row of stately columns, high above which a broad sign impends, like a
crag over the brow of a lofty precipice. The lower floor only appeared
to be open to the public. Its tessellated pavement and ample courts
suggested the idea of a temple where great multitudes might kneel
uncrowded at their devotions; but, from appearances about the place
where the altar should be, I judged, that, if one asked the officiating
priest for the cup which cheers and likewise inebriates, his prayer
would not be unanswered. The edifice recalled to me a similar phenomenon
I had once looked upon,--the famous Caffe Pedrocchi at Padua. It was the
same thing in Italy and America: a rich man builds himself a mausoleum,
and calls it a place of entertainment. The fragrance of innumerable
libations and the smoke of incense-breathing cigars and pipes shall
ascend day and night through the arches of his funeral monument. What
are the poor dips which flare and flicker on the crowns of spikes that
stand at the corners of St. Genevieve's filigree-cased sarcophagus to
this perpetual offering of sacrifice?

Ten o'clock in the evening was approaching. The telegraph-office would
presently close, and as yet there were no tidings from Hagerstown. Let
us step over and see for ourselves. A message! A message!

"_Captain H still here leaves seven to-morrow for Harrisburg Penna Is
doing well

Mrs H K_ ----."

A note from Dr. Cuyler to the same effect came soon afterwards to the
hotel.

We shall sleep well to-night; but let us sit awhile with nubiferous, or,
if we may coin a word, nepheligenous accompaniment, such as shall gently
narcotize the over-wearied brain and fold its convolutions for slumber
like the leaves of a lily at nightfall. For now the over-tense nerves
are all unstraining themselves, and a buzz, like that which comes over
one who stops after being long jolted upon an uneasy pavement, makes
the whole frame alive with a luxurious languid sense of all its inmost
fibres. Our cheerfulness ran over, and the mild, pensive clerk was
so magnetized by it that he came and sat down with us. He presently
confided to me, with infinite _naivete_ and ingenuousness, that, judging
from my personal appearance, he should not have thought me the writer
that he in his generosity reckoned me to be. His conception, so far as
I could reach it, involved a huge, uplifted forehead, embossed with
protuberant organs of the intellectual faculties, such as all writers
are supposed to possess in abounding measure. While I fell short of his
ideal in this respect, he was pleased to say that he found me by no
means the remote and inaccessible personage he had imagined, and that I
had nothing of the dandy about me, which last compliment I had a modest
consciousness of most abundantly deserving.

Sweet slumbers brought us to the morning of Thursday. The train from
Hagerstown was due at 11.15 A.M. We took another ride behind the
codling, who showed us the sights of yesterday over again. Being in
a gracious mood of mind, I enlarged on the varying aspects of the
town-pumps and other striking objects which we had once inspected, as
seen by the different lights of evening and morning. After this, we
visited the school-house hospital. A fine young fellow, whose arm had
been shattered, was just falling into the spasms of lockjaw. The beads
of sweat stood large and round on his flushed and contracted features.
He was under the effect of opiates,--why not (if his case was desperate,
as it seemed to be considered) stop his sufferings with chloroform? It
was suggested that it might _shorten life_. "What then?" I said. "Are a
dozen additional spasms worth living for?"

The time approached for the train to arrive from Hagerstown, and we went
to the station. I was struck, while waiting there, with what seemed to
me a great want of care for the safety of the people standing round.
Just after my companion and myself had stepped off the track, I noticed
a car coming quietly along at a walk, as one may say, without engine,
without visible conductor, without any person heralding its approach, so
silently, so insidiously, that I could not help thinking how very near
it came to flattening out me and my match-box worse than the Ravel
pantomimist and his snuff-box were flattened out in the play. The train
was late,--fifteen minutes, half an hour late,--and I began to get
nervous, lest something had happened. While I was looking for it,
out started a freight-train, as if on purpose to meet the cars I was
expecting, for a grand smash-up. I shivered at the thought, and asked
an _employe_ of the road, with whom I had formed an acquaintance a few
minutes old, why there should not be a collision of the expected train
with this which was just going out. He smiled an official smile, and
answered that they arranged to prevent that, or words to that effect.

Twenty-four hours had not passed from that moment when a collision did
occur, just out of the city, where I feared it, by which at least eleven
persons were killed, and from forty to sixty more were maimed and
crippled!

To-day there was the delay spoken of, but nothing worse. The expected
train came in so quietly that I was almost startled to see it on the
track. Let us walk calmly through the cars, and look around us.

In the first car, on the fourth seat to the right, I saw my Captain;
there saw I him, even my first-born, whom I had sought through many
cities.

"How are you, Boy?"

"How are you, Dad?"

* * * * *

Such are the proprieties of life, as they are observed among us
Anglo-Saxons of the nineteenth century, decently disguising those
natural impulses that made Joseph, the Prime-Minister of Egypt, weep
aloud so that the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard,--nay, which
had once overcome his shaggy old uncle Esau so entirely that he fell
on his brother's neck and cried like a baby in the presence of all the
women. But the hidden cisterns of the soul may be filling fast with
sweet tears, while the windows through which it looks are undimmed by a
drop or a film of moisture.

These are times in which we cannot live solely for selfish joys or
griefs. I had not let fall the hand I held, when a sad, calm voice
addressed me by name. I fear that at the moment I was too much absorbed
in my own feelings; for certainly at any other time I should have
yielded myself without stint to the sympathy which this meeting might
well call forth.

"You remember my son, Cortland Saunders, whom I brought to see you once
in Boston?"

"I do remember him well."

"He was killed on Monday, at Shepherdstown. I am carrying his body back
with me on this train. He was my only child. If you could come to my
house,--I can hardly call it my home now,--it would be a pleasure to
me."

This young man, belonging in Philadelphia, was the author of a "New
System of Latin Paradigms," a work showing extraordinary scholarship and
capacity. It was this book which first made me acquainted with him, and
I kept him in my memory, for there was genius in the youth. Some time
afterwards he came to me with a modest request to be introduced to
President Felton, and one or two others, who would aid him in a course
of independent study he was proposing to himself. I was most happy to
smooth the way for him, and he came repeatedly after this to see me and
express his satisfaction in the opportunities for study he enjoyed
at Cambridge. He was a dark, still, slender person, always with a
trance-like remoteness, a mystic dreaminess of manner, such as I never
saw in any other youth. Whether he heard with difficulty, or whether his
mind reacted slowly on an alien thought, I could not say; but his answer
would often be behind time, and then a vague, sweet smile, or a few
words spoken under his breath, as if he had been trained in sick men's
chambers. For such a youth, seemingly destined for the inner life of
contemplation, to be a soldier seemed almost unnatural. Yet he spoke to
me of his intention to offer himself to his country, and his blood must
now be reckoned among the precious sacrifices which will make her soil
sacred forever. Had he lived, I doubt not that he would have redeemed
the rare promise of his earlier years. He has done better, for he has
died that unborn generations may attain the hopes held out to our nation
and to mankind.

So, then, I had been within ten miles of the place where my wounded
soldier was lying, and then calmly turned my back upon him to come once
more round by a journey of three or four hundred miles to the same
region I had left! No mysterious attraction warned me that the heart
warm with the same blood as mine was throbbing so near my own. I thought
of that lovely, tender passage where Gabriel glides unconsciously by
Evangeline upon the great river. Ah, me! if that railroad-crash had been
a few hours earlier, we two should never have met again, after coming so
close to each other!

The source of my repeated disappointments was soon made clear enough.
The Captain had gone to Hagerstown, intending to take the cars at once
for Philadelphia, as his three friends actually did do, and as I took it
for granted he certainly would. But as he walked languidly along, some
ladies saw him across the street, and seeing, were moved with pity,
and pitying, spoke such soft words that he was tempted to accept their
invitation and rest awhile beneath their hospitable roof. The mansion
was old, as the dwellings of gentlefolks should be; the ladies were some
of them young, and all were full of kindness; there were gentle cares,
and unasked luxuries, and pleasant talk, and music-sprinklings from the
piano, with a sweet voice to keep them company,--and all this after the
swamps of the Chickahominy, the mud and flies of Harrison's Landing, the
dragging marches, the desperate battles, the fretting wound, the jolting
ambulance, the log-house, and the rickety milk--cart! Thanks, uncounted
thanks to the angelic ladies whose charming attentions detained him
from Saturday to Thursday, to his great advantage and my infinite
bewilderment! As for his wound, how could it do otherwise than well
under such hands? The bullet had gone smoothly through, dodging
everything but a few nervous branches, which would come right in time
and leave him as well as ever.

At ten that evening we were in Philadelphia, the Captain at the house of
the friends so often referred to, and I the guest of Charley, my kind
companion. The Quaker element gives an irresistible attraction to these
benignant Philadelphia households. Many things reminded me that I was no
longer in the land of the Pilgrims. On the table were _Kool Slaa_ and
_Schmeer Kase_, but the good grandmother who dispensed with such quiet,
simple grace these and more familiar delicacies was literally ignorant
of _Baked Beans_, and asked if it was the Lima bean which was employed
in that marvellous dish of animalized leguminous farina!

Charley was pleased with my comparing the face of the small Ethiop known
to his household as "Tines" to a huckleberry with features. He also
approved my parallel between a certain German blonde young maiden whom,
we passed in the street and the "Morris White" peach. But he was so
good-humored at times, that, if one scratched a lucifer, he accepted it
as an illumination.

A day in Philadelphia left a very agreeable impression of the outside of
that great city, which has endeared itself so much of late to all the
country by its most noble and generous care of our soldiers. Measured by
its sovereign hotel, the Continental, it would stand at the head of our
economic civilization. It provides for the comforts and conveniences,
and many of the elegances of life, more satisfactorily than any American
city, perhaps than any other city anywhere. It is not a breeding-place
of ideas, which makes it a more agreeable residence for average people.
It is the great neutral centre of the Continent, where the fiery
enthusiasms of the South and the keen fanaticisms of the North meet at
their outer limits, and result in a compound that turns neither litmus
red nor turmeric brown. It lives largely on its traditions, of which,
leaving out Franklin and Independence Hall, the most imposing must
be considered its famous water-works. In my younger days I visited
Fairmount, and it was with a pious reverence that I renewed my
pilgrimage to that perennial fountain. Its watery ventricles were
throbbing with the same systole and diastole as when, the blood of
twenty years bounding in my own heart, I looked upon their giant
mechanism. But in the place of "Pratt's Garden" was an open park, and
the old house where Robert Morris held his court in a former generation
was changing to a public restaurant. A suspension-bridge cobwebbed
itself across the Schuylkill where that audacious arch used to leap the
river at a single bound,--an arch of greater span, as they loved to tell
us, than was ever before constructed. The Upper Ferry Bridge was to the
Schuylkill what the Colossus was to the harbor of Rhodes. It had an air
of dash about it which went far towards redeeming the dead level of
respectable average which flattens the physiognomy of the rectangular
city. Philadelphia will never be herself again until another Robert
Mills and another Lewis Wernwag have shaped her a new palladium. She
must leap the Schuylkill again, or old men will sadly shake their heads,
like the Jews at the sight of the second temple, remembering the glories
of that which it replaced.

There are times when Ethiopian minstrelsy can amuse, if it does not
charm, a weary soul,--and such a vacant hour there was on this same
Friday evening. The "opera-house" was spacious and admirably ventilated.
As I was listening to the merriment of the sooty buffoons, I happened to
cast my eyes up to the ceiling, and through an open semicircular window
a bright solitary star looked me calmly in the eyes. It was a strange
intrusion of the vast eternities beckoning from the infinite spaces.
I called the attention of one of my neighbors to it, but "Bones" was
irresistibly droll, and Areturus, or Aldebaran, or whatever the
blazing luminary may have been, with all his revolving worlds, sailed
uncared-for down the firmament.

On Saturday morning we took up our line of march for New York. Mr.
Felton, President of the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore
Railroad, had already called upon me, with a benevolent and sagacious
look on his face which implied that he knew how to do me a service and
meant to do it. Sure enough, when we got to the depot, we found a couch
spread for the Captain, and both of us were passed on to New York with
no visits, but those of civility, from the conductor. The best thing I
saw on the route was a rustic fence, near Elizabethtown, I think, but I
am not quite sure. There was more genius in it than in any structure of
the kind I have ever seen,--each length being of a special pattern,
ramified, reticulated, contorted, as the limbs of the trees had grown. I
trust some friend will photograph or stereograph this fence for me, to
go with the view of the spires of Frederick already referred to, as
mementos of my journey.

I had come to feeling that I know most of the respectably dressed people
whom I met in the cars, and had been in contact with them at some time
or other. Three or four ladies and gentlemen were near us, forming
a group by themselves. Presently one addressed me by name, and, on
inquiry, I found him to be the gentleman who was with me in the pulpit
as Orator on the occasion of another Phi Beta Kappa poem, one delivered
at New Haven. The party were very courteous and friendly, and
contributed in various ways to our comfort.

It sometimes seems to me as if there were only about a thousand people
in the world, who keep going round and round behind the scenes and then
before them, like the "army" in a beggarly stage-show. Suppose I should
really wish, some time or other, to get away from this everlasting
circle of revolving supernumeraries, where should I buy a ticket the
like of which was not in some of their pockets, or find a seat to which
some one of them was not a neighbor?

A little less than a year before, after the Ball's-Bluff accident, the
Captain, then the Lieutenant, and myself had reposed for a night on our
homeward journey at the Fifth-Avenue Hotel, where we were lodged on the
ground-floor, and fared sumptuously. We were not so peculiarly fortunate
this time, the house being really very full. Farther from the flowers
and nearer to the stars,--to reach the neighborhood of which last the
_per ardua_ of three or four flights of stairs was formidable for any
mortal, wounded or well. The "vertical railway" settled that for us,
however. It is a giant corkscrew forever pulling a mammoth cork, which,
by some divine judgment, is no sooner drawn than it is replaced in its
position. This ascending and descending stopper is hollow, carpeted,
with cushioned seats, and is watched over by two condemned souls,
called conductors, one of whom is said to be named Ixion, and the other
Sisyphus.

I love New York, because, as in Paris, everybody that lives in it feels
that it is his property,--at least, as much as it is anybody's. My
Broadway, in particular, I love almost as I used to love my Boulevards.

I went, therefore, with peculiar interest, on the day that we rested at
our grand hotel, to visit some new pleasure-grounds the citizens had
been arranging for us, and which I had not yet seen. The Central Park
is an expanse of wild country, well crumpled so as to form ridges which
will give views and hollows that will hold water. The hips and elbows
and other bones of Nature stick out here and there in the shape of rocks
which give character to the scenery, and an unchangeable, unpurchasable
look to a landscape that without them would have been in danger of being
fattened by art and money out of all its native features. The roads were
fine, the sheets of water beautiful, the bridges handsome, the swans
elegant in their deportment, the grass green and as short as a fast
horse's winter coat. I could not learn whether it was kept so by
clipping or singeing. I was delighted with my new property,--but it
cost me four dollars to get there, so far was it beyond the Pillars of
Hercules of the fashionable quarter. What it will be by-and-by depends
on circumstances; but at present it is as much central to New York
as Brookline is central to Boston. The question is not between Mr.
Olmsted's admirably arranged, but remote pleasure-ground and our Common,
with its batrachian pool, but between his Eccentric Park and our finest
suburban scenery, between its artificial reservoirs and the broad
natural sheet of Jamaica Pond, I say this not invidiously, but in
justice to the beauties which surround our own metropolis. To compare
the situations of any dwellings in either of the great cities with those
which look upon the Common, the Public Garden, the waters of the Back
Bay, would be to take an unfair advantage of Fifth Avenue and Walnut
Street. St. Botolph's daughter dresses in plainer clothes than her
more stately sisters, but she wears an emerald on her right hand and a
diamond on her left that Cybele herself need not be ashamed of.

On Monday morning, the twenty-ninth of September, we took the cars for
_Home_. Vacant lots, with Irish and pigs; vegetable-gardens; straggling
houses; the high bridge; villages, not enchanting; then Stamford; then
NORWALK. Here, on the 6th of May, 1853, I passed close on the heels of
the great disaster. But that my lids were heavy on that morning, my
readers would probably have had no further trouble with me. Two of my
friends saw the car in which they rode break in the middle and leave
them hanging over the abyss. From Norwalk to Boston, that day's journey
of two hundred miles was a long funeral-procession.

Bridgeport, waiting for Iranistan to rise from its ashes with all its
phoenix-egg domes,--bubbles of wealth that broke, ready to be blown
again, iridescent as ever, which is pleasant, for the world likes
cheerful Mr. Barnum's success; New Haven, girt with flat marshes that
look like monstrous billiard-tables, with haycocks lying about for
balls,--romantic with West Rock and its legends,--cursed with a
detestable depot, whose niggardly arrangements crowd the track so
murderously close to the wall that the _peine forte et dure_ must be the
frequent penalty of an innocent walk on its platform,--with its neat
carriages, metropolitan hotels, precious old college-dormitories,
its vistas of elms and its dishevelled weeping-willows; Hartford,
substantial, well-bridged, many-steepled city,--every conical spire an
extinguisher of some nineteenth-century heresy; so onward, by and across
the broad, shallow Connecticut,--dull red road and dark river woven
in like warp and woof by the shuttle of the darting engine; then
Springfield, the wide-meadowed, well-feeding, horse-loving,
hot-summered, giant-treed town,--city among villages, village
among cities; Worcester, with its Diedalian labyrinth of crossing
railroad-bars, where the snorting Minotaurs, breathing fire and smoke
and hot vapors, are stabled in their dens; Framingham, fair cup-bearer,
leaf-cinctured Hebe of the deep-bosomed Queen sitting by the sea-side on
the throne of the Six Nations. And now I begin to know the road, not by
towns, but by single dwellings, not by miles, but by rods. The poles of
the great magnet that draws in all the iron tracks through the grooves
of all the mountains must be near at hand, for here are crossings, and
sudden stops, and screams of alarmed engines heard all around. The tall
granite obelisk comes into view far away on the left, its bevelled
capstone sharp against the sky; the lofty chimneys of Charlestown and
East Cambridge flaunt their smoky banners up in the thin air; and now
one fair bosom of the three-hilled city, with its dome-crowned summit,
reveals itself, as when many-breasted Ephesian Artemis appeared with
half-open _chlamys_ before her worshippers.

Fling open the window-blinds of the chamber that looks out on the waters
and towards the western sun! Let the joyous light shine in upon the
pictures that hang upon its walls and the shelves thick-set with the
names of poets and philosophers and sacred teachers, in whose pages our
boys learn that life is noble only when it is held cheap by the side of
honor and of duty. Lay him in his own bed, and let him sleep off his
aches and weariness. So comes down another night over this household,
unbroken by any messenger of evil tidings,--a night of peaceful rest and
grateful thoughts; for this our son and brother was dead and is alive
again, and was lost and is found.

WAITING.

Drop, falling fruits and crisped leaves!
Ye tone a note of joy to me;
Through the rough wind my soul sails free,
nigh over waves that Autumn heaves.

Such quickening is in Nature's death,
Such life in every dying day,--
The glowing year hath lost her sway,
Since Freedom waits her parting breath.

I watch the crimson maple-boughs,
I know by heart each burning leaf,
Yet would that like a barren reef
Stripped to the breeze those arms uprose!

Under the flowers my soldier lies!
But come, thou chilling pall of snow,
Lest he should hear who sleeps below
The yet unended captive cries!

Fade swiftly, then, thou lingering year!
Test with the storms our eager powers;
For chains are broken with the hours,
And Freedom walks upon thy bier.

REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.

_Eyes and Ears_. By HENRY WARD BEECHER. Boston: Ticknor & Fields, pp.
419.

There is perhaps no man in America more widely known, more deeply loved,
and more heartily hated than the Reverend Henry Ward Beecher. This
little book, fragmentary and desultory as it is, gives us a key
wherewith to unlock the mystery both of the extent of his influence and
the depth of the feelings which he excites. It is but a shower of petals
flung down by a frolicsome May breeze; but the beauty and brilliancy
of their careless profusion furnish a hint of the real strength and
substance and fruitfulness of the tree from which they sprang.

Within the compass of some four hundred pages we have about one hundred
articles, most of which had previously appeared in weekly newspapers.
They embrace, of course, every variety of subject,--grave and gay,
practical and poetical. They are not such themes as come to a man
in silence and solitude, to be wrought out with deep and deliberate
conscientiousness; they are rather such as He around one in his outgoing
and his incoming, in the field and by the way-side, overlooked by the
preoccupied multitude, but abundantly patent to the few who will not
permit the memories or the hopes of life to thrust away its actualities,
and, once pointed out, full of interest and amusement even to the
absorbed and hitherto unconscious throngs. We have here no pale-browed,
far-sighted philosopher, but a ruddy-faced, high-spirited man,
cheerful-tempered, yet not _equilibrious_, susceptible to annoyance,
capable of wrathful outbursts, with eyes to see all sweet sights, ears
to hear all sweet sounds, and lips to sing their loveliness to others,
and also with eyes and ears and lips just as keen to distinguish and
just as hold to denounce the sights and sounds that are unlovely;--and
this man, with his ringing laugh and his springing step, walks cheerily
to and fro in his daily work, striking the rocks here and there by the
way-side with his bright steel hammer, eliciting a shower of sparks from
each, and then on to the next. It is not the serious business of his
life, but its casual and almost careless experiments. He does not wait
to watch effects. You may gather up the brushwood and build yourself
a fire, if you like. His part of the affair is but a touch and go,--
partly for love and partly for fun.

There are places where a severer taste, or perhaps only a more careful
revision, would have changed somewhat. At times an exuberance of spirits
carries him to the very verge of coarseness, but this is rare and
exceptional. The fabric may be slightly ravelled at the ends and
slightly rough at the selvedge, but in the main it is fine and smooth
and lustrous as well as strong. A coarse nature carefully clipped and
sheared and fashioned down to the commonplace of conventionality will
often exhibit a negative refinement, while a mind of real and subtile
delicacy, but of rugged and irrepressible individuality, will
occasionally shoot out irregular and uncouth branches. Yet between the
symmetry of the one and the spontaneity of the other the choice cannot
be doubtful. We are not defending coarseness in any guise. It is always
to be assailed, and never to be defended. It is always a detriment,
and never an ornament. No excellence can justify it. No occasion can
palliate it. But coarseness is of two kinds,--one of the surface, and
one in the grain. The latter is pervading and irremediable. It touches
nothing which it does not deface. It makes all things common and
unclean. It grows more repulsive as the roundness of youth falls away
and leaves its harsh features more sharply outlined. But the other
coarseness is only the overgrowth of excellence,--the rankness of lusty
life. It is vigor run wild. It is a fault, but it is local and temporal.
Culture corrects it. As the mind matures, as experience accumulates,
as the vision enlarges, the coarseness disappears, and the rich and
healthful juices nourish instead a playful and cheerful serenity that
illumines strength with a softened light, that disarms opposition and
delights sympathy, that shines without dazzling and attracts without
offending.

Here arises a fear lest the apologetic nature of our remarks may seem to
indicate a much greater need of apology than actually exists. We have
been led into this line of remark, not so much by a perusal of the
book under consideration, in which, indeed, there is very little, if
anything, to offend, as by the nature of the objections which we have
most frequently heard against this author's productions, both written
and spoken. We do not even confine ourselves to defence, but go farther,
and question whether the allegations of coarseness may not oftener
be the fault of the plaintiff than of the defendant. Is there not a
conventional standard of refinement which measures things by its own
arbitrary self, and finds material for displeasure in what is really
but a sincere and almost unconscious rendering of things as they exist?
There are facts which modern fastidiousness justly enough commands to he
wrapped around with graceful drapery before they shall have audience.
But do we not commit a trespass against virtue, when we demand the same
soft disguises to drape facts whose disguise is the worst immorality,
whose naked hideousness is the only decency, which must be seen
disgusting to warrant their being seen at all? So Mr. Beecher has been
censured for irreverence, when what was called his irreverence has
seemed to us but the tenderness engendered of close connection. Cannot
one live so near to God as that His greatness shall he merged in His
goodness? What would be irreverence, if it came from the head, may be
but love springing up warm from the heart.

One of the strongest characteristics of Mr. Beecher's mind, the one that
has, perhaps, the strongest influence in producing his power over men,
is his quick insight into common things, his quick sympathy with common
minds. He knows common dangers. He understands common interests. He
is sensitive to common sorrows. He appreciates common joys. Without
necessarily being practical himself, he is full of practical
suggestions. He is a leveller; but he levels up, not down. He
continually seeks to lift men from the plane of mere toil and thrift to
the loftier levels of aspiration. He would disinthrall them from what is
low, and introduce them to the freedom of the heights. He would bring
them out of the dungeons of the senses into the domains of taste and
principles. He believes in man, and he battles for men. With him,
humanity is chief: science, art, wealth are its handmaidens. Yet,
writing for ordinary people, he never falls into the sin of declaiming
against extraordinary ones. No part of his power over the poor is
obtained by inveighing against the rich, as no part of his power over
the rich is obtained by pandering to their prejudices or their passions.
He builds up no influence for himself on the ruins of another man's
influence. The elevation which he aims to produce is real, not
factitious,--absolute, not relative. It is the elevation to be obtained
by ascending the mountain, not by digging it away so that the valley
seems no longer low by contrast.

For the manner of his teaching, he is not always gentle, but he is
always sincere. He speaks soft words to persuade; but if that is not
enough, he does not scruple to knock the muck-rake out of sordid hands
with a fine, sudden stroke, if so he may make men look up from the
rubbish under their feet to the flowers that bloom around them and the
stars that glow above and the God that reigns over all.

Thinking of the multitudes of hard-working, weary-hearted people whom he
weekly met with these words of cheer: sometimes homely advice on homely
things; sometimes wise counsels in art; sometimes tender lessons from
Nature; sometimes noble words from his own earnest soul; sometimes
sympathy in sorrow; sometimes strength in weakness; sometimes only the
indirect, but real help that comes from the mere distraction wrought
by his sportiveness, and wild, winsome mirth; but all kindly, hearty,
honest, sympathetic,--indignation softening, even while it surges,
into pity and love, and itself finding or framing excuses for the very
outrage which it lashes: thinking of this, we do not marvel that he has
furrowed for himself so deep a groove in so many hearts. Nor, on the
other hand, is it difficult to see, even from so genial a book as this,
whence polemics are not so much banished as where there is no niche for
them, should they apply, why it is that he is so fiercely opposed.
When a man like Mr. Beecher encounters that which excites his moral
disapprobation, there is no possibility of mistaking him. He flings
himself against it with all the strength and might of his manly,
uncompromising nature. There is no coquetting with the proprieties, no
toning down of objurgation to meet the requirements of personal dignity,
but an audacious and aggressive repugnance of the whole man to the
meanness or malignity. And the very clearness of his vision gives
terrible power to his vituperation. With his keen, bright eye he sees
just where the vulnerable spot is, and with his firm, strong hand he
sends the arrow in. The victim writhes and reels and--does not love the
marksman. And as the victim has a large circle of relatives by birth and
marriage, he inoculates them with his own animosity; and so, at a safe
distance, Mr. Beecher is sometimes considerably torn in pieces. Yet we
have no doubt that by far the greater number of these opponents would,
if once fairly brought within the circle of his influence, acknowledge
the truth as well as the force of his principles; and certainly it is a
matter of surprise that a man with such a magnificent mastery of all the
weapons of attack and defence should be so sparing and discreet in their
use as is Mr. Beecher. In this book, compiled of articles thrown off
upon the spur of the moment, with so much to amuse, to awaken, to
suggest, and to inspire, there is hardly a sentence which can arouse
antagonism or inflict pain. You may not agree with his conclusions, but
you cannot resist his good nature.

Long may he live to do yeoman's service in the cause of the beautiful
and the true!

_History of the War in the Peninsula and in the South of France from
A.D. 1807 to A.D. 1814._ By MAJOR-GENERAL SIR W.F.P. NAPIER, K.C.B.,
etc. In Five Volumes, with Portraits and Plans. New York: W.J.
Widdleton.

A new edition of the great military history of Sir William Napier,
printed in the approved luxurious style which the good examples of the
Cambridge University Press have made a necessity with all intelligent
book-purchasers, calls at the present time for a special word of
recognition. Of the merits and character of the work itself it is
scarcely required that we should speak. An observer of, and participant
in, the deeds which he describes, cautious, deliberate, keen-sighted,
candid, and unsparing, General Napier's book has qualities seldom united
in a single production. Southey wrote an eloquent history of the War in
the Peninsula, perhaps as good a history as an author well-trained in
compositions of the kind could be expected to produce at a distance.
But that was its defect. It lacked that knowledge and judgment of a
complicated series of events which could be acquired only on the field
and by one possessed of consummate military training. On the other hand,
we can seldom look for any laborious work of authorship from a general
in active service. Men of action exhaust their energies in doing, and
are usually impatient of the slow process of unwinding the tangled skein
of events which at the moment they had been compelled to cut with the
sword. It is by no means every campaign which furnishes the Commentaries
of its Caesar. To Sir William Napier, however, we are indebted for a
work which has taken its place as a model history of modern campaigning.
The protracted struggle of the Peninsular War through six full years
of skilful operations, conducted by the greatest masters of military
science, in a country whose topographical features called out the rarest
resources of the art of war, at a time when the military system of
Napoleon was at its height, summing up the experience of a quarter of
a century in France of active military pursuits,--the story of sieges,
marches, countermarches, lines of retreat and defence, followed by the
most energetic assaults, blended with the disturbing political elements
of the day at home and the contrarieties of the battle-field amidst a
population foreign to both armies,--certainly presented a subject or
series of subjects calculated to tax the powers of a conscientious
writer to the uttermost. To furnish such a narrative was the work
undertaken by General Napier. Sixteen years of unintermitted toil were
given by him to the task. He spared no labor of research. Materials were
placed at his disposal by the generals of both armies, by Soult and
Wellington. The correspondence left behind in Spain by Joseph Bonaparte,
written in three languages and partly in cipher of which the key had
to be discovered, was patiently arranged, translated, and at length
deciphered by Lady Napier, who also greatly assisted her husband in
copying his manuscript, which, from the frequent changes made, was in

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