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Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 4, No. 25, November, 1859 by Various

Part 3 out of 5

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all eyes were fixed upon it. At first, it swept on without cohering,
like a cataract of sand; but, on coming in contact with the moister
snow below, it formed into a thousand balls and masses, some rolling
and some sliding, but each gathering bulk and velocity as it went.

By the aid of our glasses we were able to sweep the rough slopes and
precipitous descents below, to the distance of many miles; and,
forgetting De Aery, we watched the development of the phenomenon with
terror. The larger slides gradually absorbed the smaller ones, as
common fish are swallowed by sharks; but those which remained, fattened
and expanded by what they fed on, assumed enormous dimensions. Choosing
different paths, they pursued their course in smoking tracks of
devastation. Rocks, precipices, forests, furnished no obstruction.
Roaring, crashing onward, as though Mars or the Sun had opened its
batteries upon us, those sliding, whirling worlds of snow swept through
valleys large enough to have furnished sites for cities, without a
check, and bore down or over-leaped all obstacles, as easily as a man
would walk over an ant-hill, or some hollow where a toad had burrowed.
Finally they were lost to sight, passing behind intervening spurs or
ridges of the mountain, or becoming hidden in the cloud-mists which lay
heavily about its base; but the sound continued to roll back upon us
for some time, like the roar of distant artillery. I could no longer
wonder at the terror with which the cry of an avalanche is said to fill
the dwellers among the Alps.

As this absorbing pageant of the mountains disappeared, our thoughts
reverted to De Aery. Had he been carried away by the snow-slip? or was
his mangled corse below us among the black crags laid bare by that
catastrophe? Turning my gaze beneath, I discovered, far down, many
hundred feet, a moving object, scarcely bigger than a fly, and, on
bringing my glass to bear upon it, perceived that it was the Frenchman.
He was standing on a bare rib of rock, with his flag still in his hand,
and apparently unharmed. Waving the ensign to attract our attention, at
the same time he shouted with the whole strength of his lungs. But his
voice scarcely reached us, and probably would not alone have attracted
our notice. We replied with encouraging cheers; and the "three times
three," which we had intended for the American eagle, was given on the
spot to De Aery.

But how to rescue him from his perilous condition was indeed a serious
question. The "Flying Cloud," it was obvious, with her great size and
spreading pinions, could not venture among those ticklish quicksands,
whose insecure foundations had just been so strikingly illustrated
before us. Indeed, the slightest jar might precipitate another fall of
snow, and bury the object of our solicitude five hundred feet deep in
its bosom. The sagacity of Mr. Bonflon relieved us from our dilemma. He
hoisted out the small car or tender, and, letting it down with great
care and precision, safely accomplished the object. In the space of
half an hour, De Aery, without a scratch, and, like a gallant Gaul,
rather proud of his adventure than frightened at it, was again restored
to our arms.

Drawing off from our dangerous proximity to the "Old Man of the
Mountain," which had so nearly proved fatal to at least one of our
number, but astonished beyond measure at the novelty of our experiences
and the grandeur of the scenes we had witnessed, we retraced our course
for a short distance, and, gradually lessening the interval between us
and the earth, soon had the satisfaction of hearing the cry of "Land,
ho!" from the look-out man. The valley was in sight where we were to
take in water and enjoy a little picnic on the green grass, ere the
form and smell of Mother Earth, with her homely but blessed realities,
should be quite forgotten.

We effected our landing in complete safety. The spot was a little,
luxurious nook among the lesser hills, with few trees, but full of wild
flowers, wild fruits, and wild grasses. Everything about it was wild,
but cheering and charming, especially to air-wanderers like us. The
foot of the white hunter, or even of the roving Indian, had perhaps
never visited it, nor foraging-parties of the buffalo or deer, for we
saw no signs of them; but birds of varied plumage and song, and troops
of squirrels, with footprints here and there of the grizzly bear, and a
drove of wild turkeys, with red heads aloft, rushing over an eminence
at our left as we approached, and an occasional whir of a rattlesnake
at our feet, sufficiently indicated the kind of denizens by which the
plateau was inhabited.

Here, on the rich sward and delicate mosses, under the shadow of some
willows, we spread out our repast by the side of a clear
mountain-spring; and, to say nothing of old Otard and Schiedam
Schnapps, opened some bottles of Sparkling Catawba, and old Jersey
Champagne, of a remote vintage, which I have now quite forgotten. With
the flow of these beverages flowed our speech, in jovial words and
songs and raillery enough, if not in wit. De Aery, as having by a
hair's breadth just escaped with his life, and in virtue of his
extraordinary feat in leaping five hundred feet or more through a bank
of snow, now that the danger was over, was made the butt of much
pleasantry, which he bore with his usual equanimity and grace.

When these arrowy flights at the expense of the light-hearted Frenchman
had exhausted themselves, I took occasion to inquire of him what his
sensations were during his brief burial. He replied as follows:--

"I thought nothing at all about it. I remember feeling chagrined
because I was making a failure, and clung tight to my flag, fearing to
lose that too. _Mon Dieu!_ It might be expected that one would feel
cold, buried up in ice; but such was not the case. I was hot. The snow
burned my face, as it came in contact with it. As to the ride, it was
pleasant enough, but rather rapid and perplexing to the breath. It was
like sinking into a pit of quicksand, where everything gives way below
one, as though the bottom of the world had fallen out. There was the
struggle of a moment to keep the fine snow out of my mouth and
nostrils, as I drew in my breath, and the next instant my feet came in
contact with the solid rock, where you discovered me. The magnificent
avalanche you describe I know nothing about. I neither heard nor saw
anything of it, only as I afterward examined the marks it had left
behind it. This leads me to suppose that I was a good deal confused at
the time, though I was not aware of it. Indeed, I have an impression of
seeming to turn somersets in my descent, and this may account for it.
But, for the honor of France, I saved my adopted country's flag."

High-minded Gaul! We all praised and honored him, and comforted him for
his disappointment. It was a noble attempt he had made, to nail the
American banner to the head of Mount James, impelled by the loftiest of
motives,--and, like many others of its kind, had for the present
failed. At some other time he might prove more successful; or some
other might achieve the object in his place, and so appropriate his
laurels; but no one would be likely to excel him in his flying leap. In
this he had distanced even the famous traveller at Rhodes.

Having given a couple of hours to this species of recreation, we
weighed anchor, and again got under way. Slowly and smoothly, without a
ripple or a jar, we ascended through the blue ether to our former
altitude, and floated off over those majestic mountain-tops, toward the
west. Loath to part from scenes of such impressive beauty,--scenes,
alone paralleled in our recollection by fabulous tales of Oriental
enchantment,--we gazed behind us at those flashing crests of alabaster,
until they grew small in the distance, and finally were wholly lost to
our sight. With them disappeared the last vestige of the solid earth,
and we were again afloat in space.

The following night and day were passed like their predecessors.
Another night came, and we were over the eastern bound of the State of
California. A few hours more, without accident, would terminate our
remarkable voyage, and set us down in the city of San Francisco. All of
us were brimming high with hope. Though we did not anticipate reaching
the station before one or two o'clock in the morning, and probably
should not disembark before dawn, we were loath to retire to rest. It
was near midnight before all of us were in our berths.

But when at length there, I found it impossible to sleep. The
excitement attendant on the beginning of the trip seemed to have
returned on me with a double force. I listened for some sound to
relieve the awful stillness which, like the wing of Death, seemed to
have settled over the "Flying Cloud"; but there was no soughing of the
wind, as at sea, and no noise to be heard, save the monotonous movement
of the engine and the paddle-wheels; and this, so evenly did they play,
was rather a motion than a sound.

This period of restlessness was succeeded by one of strange
bewilderment, which might have been sleep, or might not Rapidly
changing scenes and fantastic figures, some of them beautiful and some
horrible, flitted before me like a dissolving panorama. A band, as
though of steel wire, seemed to encircle my brain, and to compress it
closer and closer; and the spine, for its whole length, felt as though
subjected to a like crushing pressure.

How long this state of hallucination continued I have no means of
knowing. From it, by a great effort, I suddenly aroused myself, and
returned to my proper senses. Where I was, and all the extraordinary
events of the last few days, were clear in my recollection. But I was
weighed down with weakness, and found, on attempting to speak, that I
had no voice.

Suspecting that I had been stricken by some terrible disease, I
attempted to rise; and, loath to disturb any of my fellow-travellers,
undertook to crawl out upon the upper deck. This, after a good deal of
effort, I accomplished. Lying, therefore,--I could not stand,--I prayed
for a breath of air to relieve my hot and oppressed brow; but in vain.
The atmosphere seemed gone. Chill and dark, the heavens spread out
above me without a twinkle or a smile. The full-moon was there, and
there was no cloud or haze to obscure her light; but she did not shine.
Her white, rayless face was a mockery to the night. The same was true
of the stars. The dazzling canopy was faded out, and Cygnus and the
Great Bear were subdued to pallid points, like patches of white-gray
paper stuck upon a wall.

Floating by the side of the "Flying Cloud," and nearly of her size, I
discovered a dark, irregular object, and dragged myself to the edge of
the deck to investigate it more closely. The two came together, but
without damage or friction. They touched and parted, like substances
nearly at rest in still water. I put out my hand on the strange
visitor, and received a pretty severe shock, as though I had been
subjected to the action of an electric battery. At the same time, a
light, bluish flame ran over its surface, showing me more accurately
its form and dimensions. To the touch, it was solid and cold, like iron
or granite. I pressed upon it, and it yielded like a floating dish. I
tried to break off a fragment, but was unable to separate so much as a
scale.

A moment's reflection convinced me of the nature of this apparent
island in the air. It was an immense aerolite; and with this conviction
came the solution of my own painful state. We had unconsciously passed
beyond the controlling power of the earth's gravitation, into that
region of the upper atmosphere, where, science informs us, these
meteoric stones float in equilibrium, until some accidental impulse
throws them from their balance, when they are precipitated to the
surface of the earth. I must be dying for lack of air. And the man at
the helm, where was he? He must have fallen asleep, and left our vessel
to her own buoyant fancies. And my companions! Bonflon! De Aery! All
ere this might have perished, and the "Flying Cloud," aside from
myself, be bearing into these upper altitudes nothing but a load of
death.

Terror-struck, I dragged myself, with all the speed I could accomplish,
to the stern. There sat the helmsman at his post, but asleep or
insensible. I shook him, but he gave no signs of life. I shouted with
what little strength I had, but in vain.

"Wake up! wake up!" I cried, "or we are lost!"

At length he opened his eyes, but did not move.

"Wake up!" I screamed again. "Breakers ahead, and worse. You have let
the craft run wild. We are above our level. We are all dying for lack
of air."

"Oh, let me sleep!" he murmured. "I must sleep a little while longer.
It can't--can't be morning yet."

By this time, fright, or the necessity of the occasion, was renewing my
strength.

"Dick!" I shouted in his ear, "Dick, you scoundrel! you will murder us
all. Do your duty, or I will shoot you!"

With this I discharged a barrel of my revolver above his head, which,
like my voice in my efforts at hallooing, sounded only as a faint echo
of itself, but, nevertheless, proved sufficient to give his dormant
faculties a shock. He started up, and, though still but half-conscious,
took the helm and gave it the direction I bade him.

From him I hastened to the engineer, whom I found in a like state of
insensibility. I succeeded in arousing him; but it was necessary that
he should be made to comprehend the difficulties of our
situation,--that our craft, water-logged as it were, would float
forever where she was, for all anybody could say to the contrary, until
forced down by the power of the engine alone to lower and life-giving
atmospheric planes. To get him to understand this was not so easy. But
I succeeded in part, and, in my anxiety for my friends, rushed below to
look after their condition.

As I anticipated, I found every one of them in a state of incipient
asphyxia. But the "Flying Cloud" was already descending into denser
air. Oxygen and pressure were performing their mystic work; and within
half an hour I had the pleasure of seeing them all restored to
consciousness and rapidly returning strength. But the renewed lights
exposed a sight almost too frightful to mention. Every man of us was
crimson from escaped blood, which seemed to have oozed forth, like a
pale-red dew, from every pore of our bodies.

Messrs. Bonflon and De Aery, when they came to realize the danger from
which we had so narrowly escaped, were nearly dumb with horror. The
lively Frenchman exhibited a sensibility which the extremity of his
single peril, a day or two before, had failed to call up. He wept
aloud. Mr. Bonflon was circumspect and thoughtful. He did not lose his
Yankee balance; but both of them, each in his own way, overwhelmed me
with expressions of obligation.

But the dangers of this dreadful night--a night which can never pass
from my recollection--were not yet over. We were all gathered in the
main cabin, congratulating each other, next after our escape, on our
rapidly returning strength,--happy in the thought that our trip out,
though sprinkled with danger, was so near a prosperous completion, and
almost momently expecting to hear the stroke of the bell which should
announce to us that the red light to designate our place of landing was
in sight, when, instead of the silver ring of this messenger of peace,
we were startled and horrified by an alarm of fire.

Bonflon and De Aery rushed to the engine-room. A cloud of smoke poured
out from the door by which they disappeared. They were gone only for a
moment; for no man could remain in the hell of flames and vapors into
which they ventured and live. They came out dragging with them the
half-suffocated, scorched, and blazing engineer. How the accident
occurred, it was impossible to divine and useless to inquire. Closing
the door tightly after them to confine the flames, where confinement,
except for the briefest period, among matter so combustible, and
partitions scarcely more formidable than those of a paper bandbox, was
clearly impossible, they threw the burning engineer into our arms, and
themselves took the management of the craft.

De Aery, in this crisis, rose from the man to the hero, almost to a
demigod. His orders rung through the startled air clear and round like
the voice of a golden bell. Bonflon seconded him with coolness and
decision. With us a moment sufficed to extinguish the burning garments
of the engineer; but by that time the flames had burst from the
engine-room, and that part of the beautiful boat was a ragged,
crackling ruin.

Fleeing to the upper deck, and taking refuge in the bow, we became
sensible that we were descending through the air with frightful
rapidity. When the accident occurred, we were already at a low level,
on the look-out for the signal at our station. This circumstance was in
our favor, if anything could be, when a danger so imminent and dreadful
was pressing. Land, like a hazy shadow, was just discoverable in the
dim distance below us; and oh for one foot of it as a place of rest!
But if it were possible to escape the flames, it was clear enough that
we must be dashed in pieces against the solid earth.

De Aery was now the only one remaining in the stern. He was exposed to
great peril, but refused to quit his post while it remained possible to
control in any degree the motions of the vessel. The flames played
about him without shaking his courage or his coolness, and broke
through upon the upper deck and separated him from us with a seething
hedge and whirlpool of fire. We lost sight of him, and supposed he had
perished, when suddenly his voice, issuing from the midst of the
furnace, rung on our ears like a trumpet.

"Up the ropes! quit the ship, or you die, every man of you!" he
shouted; and at the same time we discovered him emerging from the
flames and smoke, and ascending the network which enveloped the balloon
and connected it with the ship. We followed his example; some of our
number--the more timid or the more daring, it would be difficult to say
which--continuing the ascent until they had reached the upper surface
of the gas-chamber, and placed its entire fragile bulk between them and
the hazard they most dreaded.

The momentary refuge afforded by these upper works was scarcely
attained, when the bow, where we had stood but a minute before, and the
whole hull of the "Flying Cloud" with it, blended together in one mass
of surging fire. The appearance in the heavens of this strange sight,
to a watcher at some _rancho_, or in the not distant city of San
Francisco, if such there were, must have afforded a more vivid
illustration of the fall of a blazing star or meteoric wonder than
astronomer has ever put on record.

But I delay the catastrophe. Land and water soon became distinguishable
from each other beneath us, and hills from valleys, and forests from
bare plains. There was little wind, except the fierce currents rushing
upward, produced by the heat of our own conflagration. This, for the
time, subdued everything to itself, and, as we approached the ground,
served by its direction to modify the fury of our descent. The denser
lower atmosphere also contributed to the same end; and, most
fortunately, when we reached the earth, and the collision came, we
struck in water instead of on the land.

Still, the collision was a fierce one. With the mass of fire between
us and the ground directly below, blinded by the smoke and half
suffocated by the heat, we were not conscious of the good fortune that
awaited us, until, with a swoop and a plunge, we found ourselves
submerged, and, with an equal velocity, immediately thrown back again
by the buoyant force of the balloon into the open air. The flood of
fire in which we had descended was instantly extinguished; and we awoke
to a sense of our possible safety in darkness rendered doubly profound
by the contrast.

Daylight was near at hand. By a careful adjustment of our weights we
kept the balloon from rolling, and sustained ourselves above the water
among the netting. As morning came, we discovered we had landed in a
small lake, hardly large enough to be dignified with the name, but
obviously of considerable depth. The shore was not distant: and as the
day was sultry, with a little grateful labor at swimming and towing, on
the part of a few of us, we soon reached it. There we examined into
each other's condition. Scarce one of us but was able to show damage by
fire, or from too rough contact with the fragments of the "Flying
Cloud," which preceded us in our plunge into the lake. But no bones
were broken, and no one badly flayed. The case of the engineer was the
worst; but even he was able to keep upon his feet, and pronounced in no
danger.

No hut or field or sign of inhabitants was to be seen. With mixed
feelings, in which, for the present at least, the sense of personal
safety triumphed over all regrets, even with Messrs. Bonflon and De
Aery, at the shipwreck of so many brilliant hopes, we scuttled that
part of our craft still afloat, and sunk it in the lake; and with weary
footsteps, but unobstructed with baggage, as near as we could determine
by the aid of a compass, took the direction toward San Francisco. A
couple of hours brought us to the _rancho_ of Senor Jose Dianza, who
received us as a band of pilgrims over the Plains, who, at the hands of
robbers and the elements, had lost everything but life, and helped us
on to the city of the land of gold.

It is needless to detain the reader with the particulars of our return.
They were such only as occur to thousands in the rough and circuitous
transit between San Francisco and New York. We came home by the Isthmus
route, and in ships that ploughed the honest waves. We explained our
absence to our disturbed families and friends as best we might; and
some will remember--and if they do not, they can refresh their
recollection by a reference to the public prints--that several missing
gentlemen of some importance in the world, about that time, suddenly
reappeared upon the stage of action.

We resolved that the whole affair in which we had been engaged should
remain forever buried in oblivion. But time and reflection have wrought
a change with me, though I shall not presume to disturb the veil which
covers my associates. I have come to consider the adventure quite too
good to be lost, and the experiment in aerial navigation, which came so
near proving successful, of too much importance to science to be
suppressed. Hence, conquering my repugnance, I have decided, on my own
responsibility, to give these interesting and valuable particulars to
the world.

* * * * *

DOG-TALK.

Exactly,--Dog-Talk. And I sit down to write some of it out, in the
middle of this pleasant month of May, lest, peradventure, if I postpone
my task for a few weeks longer, I may fall in with my memories some
time in the raging days of the dog-star, when the overwhelming sense of
dog, in which, for the true working out of these memories, I must first
dip my mind, may debar me from enjoying to the fullest extent the
bounteous tap of Croton water which tinkles with such rivulet chiming
from the silver (German) faucet into the marble (wash-hand) basin with
which one side of my apartment is adorned. Hydrophobia is one thing,
and hydrophobiaephobia is another.

Although but the mid-time of May, as I have said, the thermometer is
reported at something not far short of eighty degrees, and that in as
much shade as can possibly be had in the street in which I write, which
is a brick street of New York, with one catalpa-tree in it,--a poor,
vegetable fakir, standing on his one leg at a distance of about three
blocks from "our corner," and sprawling out all round with his
shrivelled hands, as if to catch the passing robe of some rambling
breath of fresh air. With a trustful hope that this statement may be
accepted in extenuation of the inevitable platitudinism down the gently
inclined plane of which I feel myself impelled to slide into my
memories, I will endeavor to bring some of the latter to the surface.

I fancy it has been already remarked by writers,--though that will not
prevent me from repeating it,--that, of all the four-footed friends of
man, none, not even that corpulent chap, Elephant, has contributed more
voluminously to the literature of anecdote than that first-rate fellow,
Dog. Let me also take the liberty of recalling, in corroboration of
others who have previously drawn attention to the same fact, that from
the earliest ages we trace Dog as the companion, friend, and ally of
him whom alone he condescends to acknowledge as master, to accept as
tutor, and to sympathize with in the spirit of hostility to obnoxious
things, and in attachment to the sports of the field. It can hardly be
necessary for me to explain that I allude to Man.

Above all other created things, Man is the one that laughs,--a remark,
so far the present writer is aware, entirely original, and vastly more
indicative of genius than the best of the platitudes incidentally
referred to above. Some of the lower animals weep. The deer, for
instance, has been observed to shed tears in the extremity of terror,
and the hard-pressed hare cries like an ill-regulated child; but not
one of them indicates any emotion analogous to the laughter of Man,
excepting Dog. True it is, that we hear of a "horse-laugh." There is a
beast, too, called the "laughing hyena," and a dismal beast he is.
Among the feathered tribes there flourishes an individual named the
"laughing falcon." From inanimate creation the poet has evoked for us
"Minni Haha," or the "laughing water"; and the expression, "it would
make a cat laugh," is frequently made use of in reference to anything
very ridiculous. But in every one of these cases of so-called laughing
things, the sound only of the laughter is there,--the sentiment is
wanting. Not so with Dog, who, when the spirit of fun moves him, smiles
beamingly with his eyes, giggles manifestly with his chops, or laughs
uproariously with his tail, according as the occasion demands.

Yet, with all his wonderful gifts of intellectual ability, we cannot
concede to Dog the possession of the supereminent faculty called
reason,--the faculty which, as an eminent writer--Tupper, I
think--remarks, places Man immeasurably above all the other animals
stationed so much lower down, and by virtue of which he is lord and
master of them all, leading Behemoth over the land with a ring in his
nose, and towing Leviathan across the waters with a harpoon in his
ribs. Fine as the line may appear which separates instinct from the
divine gift of reason, we must see that progress, an essential
consequence of the latter, is denied to the former. It is quite
possible that the dogs which accompanied the first mariner in the first
argosy were educated to fetch and carry, or were even so far
accomplished as to sit up and beg; and it is but little more their
descendants can do at the present day. But what of Man, who weathered
safely the storm of storms in that same Ark? Compare that venerated
bark, as imagined by us from traditionary description, with the least
eligible of the ferry-boats which scud across our crowded rivers, and
we have answer enough for the present, so far as progress is concerned.

Well, if Dog has never invented so much even as a patent rat-trap,--a
thing, you see, that might have saved him some labor,--if he persists
in disregarding the majesty of Fashion, and continues to move about in
society with the same kind of coat on his back as that worn by his
first ancestor, hatless, disaffected of shoes, and totally obtuse to
the amenity of an umbrella,--if, in fact, his only approach to
humanity, as distinguished by apparel, is his occasional adoption of a
collar precisely similar in general effect to those in which Fashion,
empress of Broadway and of a great many other ways, condemns her
wretched votaries to partial strangulation,--well, say I again, in
spite of all this, Dog is prime company. Intimately associated as I
have been from earliest boyhood with many excellent fellows of the
family, from social communion with which I am at present debarred only
by the direful necessity of dwelling in lodgings,--a necessity which,
if distasteful to Man, to Dog, oh, how fatal!--bound, I may say, as I
was for years, not by straps and chains only, but by ties of confident
friendship also, to canine comrades possessing the purest elements of
worth and humor, it is to me a task not altogether devoid of interest
to fall back on such memories as may enable me to chronicle a few
reminiscences of the nobilities and eccentricities of the race.

Before I discourse of individual dogs of the present century, however,
with whom I have had the pleasure of being personally acquainted, let
me reproduce the following short tale of a dog from an old French
volume,--a tome fittingly adorned with ears of that noble animal
innumerable.

Persimel St. Remi was a gentleman of fortune, whose income was derived
principally from large rented farms, the dues arising from which he
sometimes collected himself, in preference to intrusting that important
duty to a steward or agent. On his excursions for that purpose, he was
generally accompanied by a favorite little spaniel, of a kind too small
to be of any service to him as an escort, but inestimable for his
qualities as a companion. One day M. St. Remi had ridden a long way to
collect certain sums of money due him in arrears of rent, but which he
had little expectation of being able to obtain without further trouble.
To his agreeable surprise, however, his tenants paid him the whole
arrears,--an event so unexpected that he could not conceal his
exultation as he clinked the heavy bag of money on the pommel of his
saddle, when cordially taking leave of his farmers. Merle--that was the
little dog's name--was equally delighted; for his moods were always
regulated by those of his master,--such is the mysterious sympathy
between Dog and us; and ever as his master laughed cheerily to the
chink of the gold, on his homeward ride, Merle barked and bounded
alongside of him, clearly understanding that gold is a thing to be
laughed _with_ and not _at_, and that it is no laughing matter to be
without it. This is what the old French writer asserts respecting the
inward sentiments of that small dog. How he arrived at a knowledge of
them, I know not, nor is it any business of mine. Well, Persimel St.
Remi galloped on and on, until they reached the way-side well about
halfway home,--the old stone trough, with the water sparkling into it
from the grotesque spout carved out of the rock. Here he pulled bridle
to water his horse, refreshed him further by slackening the girths of
the saddle, and, unstrapping the bag of gold which was attached to the
holsters, he placed it by his side on the rock, while he splashed his
hands and face in the cool water. By-and-by he drew up the girths,
mounted his horse dreamily, for he was a man of contemplative moods,
and rode away from the way-side well, forgetful of his treasure, which
lay temptingly on the flat rock, ready to the hand of the first comer.
Not so his faithful dog, who, having in vain tried to lift the bag,
which was too heavy for him, ran swiftly after the rider, whose
attention he strove to arouse by barking violently, and careering round
and round the horse when he slackened his pace. Failing thus to attract
notice, he went so far in his zeal as to bite the horse pretty severely
in the fetlock, which caused him to swerve on one side, and wake up his
master to a vague sense of something wrong, the first idea that
occurred to him being that his dog had gone mad. Cases of hydrophobia
had lately occurred in the neighborhood, and St. Remi was convinced of
the seizure by it of his poor dog when they reached the brook which
flowed across the road. Instead of luxuriating and drinking in this, as
he usually did, the spaniel circled away to where it narrowed, and
leaped across it in his run. Then St. Remi, drawing a pistol from his
holsters, fired at and shot his faithful companion, averting his eyes
as he touched the fatal trigger, and galloping rapidly away from the
death-cry that smote upon his ear; and, as he dashed the spurs into his
reeking horse, he invoked maledictions on the money which was the cause
of this unfortunate journey. The money! but where was it? Suddenly he
pulled up his harassed steed, and the unhappy truth flashed upon him:
he had left his treasure by the way-side well, and had shot his
faithful dog for trying to remind him of it. Riding back to the well
with mad speed, he found by traces of blood upon the path that the poor
spaniel had dragged himself thither again to guard his master's gold to
the last. There he found him, stretched out beside the bag of money,
with just strength enough left to raise his head towards his master,
with a look of forgiveness, ere he died.

The chronicler does not state what M. St. Remi did with all that
money,--though we may be safe in supposing that he very exactly knew;
but we would fain hope that he expended a moiety of it in founding a
retreat for decayed dogs, as a monument to the poor little spaniel so
faithful to him in life and in death.

Sporting dogs,--the setter, the pointer, the fox-hound, and all the
several varieties of hound, have had their historians, from Dame
Juliana Berners to Peter Beckford, and that more recent Peter whose
patronymic was Hawker; while, on our side of the Atlantic, the late
"Frank Forester" has reduced kennel-practice to a system from which the
Nimrod of the ramrod may not profitably depart. Apart from history,
however, and from didactic argument, the individual trails of dogs
remarkable in their day have but too rarely been recorded. Certainly
the shepherd's colley has been admirably individualized by the Ettrick
Shepherd; but many a terrier--"a fellow of infinite fancy"--has passed
through the world's worry without ever seeing his name in
print,--unless, indeed, he happened to have fallen among thieves, and
found himself lamp-posted accordingly,--has passed the grizzle-muzzle
period of doghood unbiographied, and gone down to his last burrow
unsung.

Among the regrets with which we are saddled for our omissions, not the
least of mine is now galling me for having neglected to reduce to
writing, on the spot, curious facts which fell under my immediate
notice in the course of many years' companionship with a somewhat
miscellaneous assortment of canine friends,--

"The little dogs and all,
Tray, Blanche, and Sweetheart."

Nevertheless, I will endeavor to bring together in this paper such
stray reminiscences of doggery in general as may occur to me while I
write, illustrating the subject, as I proceed, with occasional passages
from the careers, of humble, but eccentric individuals of the race.

Extinction has been the fate of some varieties of the dog, which have
been either superseded by the progress of machinery, or have gone to
decay in consequence of the annihilation of the animals for the chase
of which they were maintained. When there were wolves in the mosses and
caverns of Ireland, for example, there were wolf-dogs to hunt them. The
last wolf of that country--and _he_ was a wonder, from the then rarity
of the animal--was killed about one hundred and fifty years ago; and
although the breed of hound then known as the Irish wolf-dog--one of
the largest, noblest, and most courageous of the canine race--was kept
up to some extent for nearly a century later, we doubt much whether a
single pure specimen of the variety is now in existence; unless,
indeed, it may so happen that some _ultimus Romanorum_ of the tribe
still licks his patrician chops in the kennels of the Marquis of Sligo,
in the possession of which family the last litter was many years ago
supposed to be.

Reverting to times when I was a boy, I remember me of a generation of
bandy-legged, foxy little curs, long of body, short of limb, tight of
skin, and "scant of breath," which were regarded as the legitimate
descendants of a superseded class,--the Turnspit of good old times. The
daily round of duty of that useful _aide-de-cuisine_ transpired in the
revolution of a wheel, along the monotonous journey of which he
cantered, as a squirrel does in his rolling cage, keeping in motion, by
his professional exertions, the wheels and spinners of the spit upon
which the joint was kept turning before the fire. The tight skin of
this ugly dog was evidently a provision of Nature to secure him from
entanglement with the machinery amid which his business was conducted.
Had a Scotch terrier, for instance, whiskered and plumed, descended
from his own more aristocratic circle to disport himself in that where
turnspit was the principal mover,--the kitchen-wheel,--he might have
found himself cogged, and caught up, and spitted, and associated
promiscuously with leg of mutton as roasted hare; in which capacity he
might eventually have been eaten with currant-jelly and considerable
relish, receiving more honor, perhaps, "in that connection," than had
ever in his lifetime been lavished on him as a member of society.

But Turnspit's profession is a thing of the past, his very existence a
myth. The roasting-jack, with a wind-up weight by which the spit was
turned, cut him out first of all; other inventions further diminished
his importance. But the tea-kettle--which he somewhat resembled in
figure, by-the-by--scalded him clean off the face of creation; for the
bright steam-engine, attached nowadays to the kitchens of our principal
hotels, has given a new turn to affairs, ruling the roast after a
fashion that sets back old Turnspit into the remotest corner under the
backstairs of the Dark Ages. I have alluded to his alleged descendants,
as pointed out to my observation in boyhood; but they were an effete
and degenerate race, purposeless, and wallowing much with the pigs,
whom their grandsires would have recognized only to roast.

In one instance only, and that on this side of the Atlantic, do I
remember having been introduced to any dog whose profession was at all
analogous to that of the turnspit of other days. Falling into
conversation with an old Dutch-Yankee farmer, in a remote and very
rural district, I made some remarks about his dog, which was a very
large, heavy one, of that no-particular-kind happily classified by the
comprehensive natural philosophers of the barn-floor as "yellow dog."
Farmer assured me that this fine fellow--whose name I am ashamed to say
I have forgotten--did all the churning of the farm-dairy by imparting
his motive power to a wheel. This piece of ingenuity, Farmer informed
me, was originally and exclusively an inspiration from the intellect
which animated his, Farmer's, proper clod; nor was he greatly
exhilarated when I narrated to him the tradition of the turnspit, whose
memory, I regret to record, he spurned as that of a "mean cuss,"
destitute of that poetry which dwelleth in the pastoral associations of
the dairy.

Although not strictly in connection with the subject of this article, I
will here relate a story told to me, on the same occasion, by that old
farmer, because it struck me as being rather a good one, and is not
particularly long.

Seeing that I took notice of a smock-frocked rustic employed in
foddering the cattle,--a rustic whose legs and accent were to me
exclusively reminiscent of the pleasant roads and lanes of cheery
Somersetshire,--Farmer informed me that he was a newish importation,
having made his appearance about there early in the previous winter.
While snow, of such quality and in such quantity as they have it in
that region, was yet a novelty to the bumpkin, he was dispatched on
horseback, one day, to the neighboring village, strict instructions
being given him to ride carefully in the middle of the track, as,
treading in the deep snow, the horse might "ball,"--an expression
applied to taking up snow in the hollow of the hoof, which causes the
animal to stumble. An unusually long time elapsed before the messenger
made his appearance from his mission, and then he was seen making his
way painfully through the snow, leading the horse after him by the
bridle.

"What's wrong now?" inquired Farmer, as he glanced at the animal's
knees; "been down, I guess; did Old Horse ball?"

"Noa," replied Bumpkin, "a didn't joost bawl, but a groonted
consoomedly every toime a coom down. Oi thowt a wur a-gwoan to bawl the
last toime we coom down together, and zo oi joost stayed down and
walked 'im whoam."

When doggy men beyond ocean talk about a terrier, they usually
pronounce it _tarrier_, and not _terrier_, as we mostly call him on
this bank of the Atlantic. There is no authority for the former
pronunciation, that I know of, beyond usage, which, however, is much
taken as a standard in England. Thus, an English merchant will talk to
you about his _clarks_, an American about his _clurks_. The French word
_terrier_--derived, of course, from _terre_--signifies not only the
dog, but a burrow in the earth; a kind of retreat in which such dogs
are supposed to pass a portion of their existence, occupied in the
subterrene branches of the chase. It means, also, a land-roll or
register. In Lower Canada, which is essentially France, I recollect the
label, _"Papier Terrier,"_ upon the door of a public-land-office. A
friend of mine, clandestinely and under cover of darkness, removed the
label, substituting for it a scurrilous one setting forth "Pasteboard
Poodle," an announcement which did not appear to convey any particular
idea whatever to the unsettled mind of the haggard provincial _chef du
bureau_, as it flashed upon him next morning in the light of the glad
young autumn day. But, reverting to pronunciation, _tare_-ier would, of
course, more correctly reverberate the sound of the French original
than either of the other usages, while it would possess the advantage
of conveying a suggestion of that proclivity for tearing, so
characteristic of the animal designated by the term. On this important
question the learned philologists wrangle. For my part, I stick to
_tarrier_, which comes "oncommon handy," as the horse-dealer hinted,
when reproved by the Cambridge student for reducing a noble animal
nearly to the level of a donkey by calling him "an 'oss."

And of all the terrier tribe, there is no quainter little fellow than
he of the Island of Skye,--known to his friends and admirers as the
"Skye dog." This little animal, which, in length of spine, shortness of
legs, wildness of hair, and litheness of movement, resembles one of
those long, hirsute caterpillars oft-times to be observed by the happy
rambler in the country, as it promenades across his path, possesses
many distinctive traits, which separate him, in a manner, from Dog in
general, assimilating him somewhat, indeed, to the _ferce_, which find
in rapine and carnage the subsistence which Nature evidently has not
intended that they should realize in communion with man. The peculiar
odor of the fox is his, though in a mitigated degree. He loves to make
a lair under the bushes by tearing up the turf with his teeth and paws,
and to lie in it. He is of a shy and reserved disposition, and usually
more lively at night than by day. These are attributes of beasts of
prey. Unlike all other members of the terrier family, he cares nothing
about rats. He will sit down and bark in a tone of contempt at one
turned out before him in a close passage or room, declining, in fact,
to recognize rats as game, unless entered at them while very young. I
speak only of the pure, unmixed Isle-of-Skye dog, or "tassel terrier,"
as he is sometimes called by rabbit-hunters,--a breed difficult to
obtain in perfection, and one which is particularly scarce in this
country. The proper game or quarry of this animal is the otter, which
he does not hesitate to follow into his very burrow in the river-banks;
nor is he afraid to attack one nearly double his size.

Having, time after time, possessed several of these dogs, verified as
being derived from the best stock on the island, from which their
parents--who understood no language but Gaelic--were brought direct, I
have noted some of their odd, whimsical ways, a few of which I will
illustrate, taking for my exponent one very remarkable little fellow
who was a genuine type of his kind.

This animal was one of the smallest of his family, and of a color
uncommon among them; for they are mostly either of a yellowish dun, or
of that slaty mouse-color known among dog-fanciers as "blue,"--a tint,
by the way, particularly appropriate for a dog of Skye. Sometimes they
are black; but Sambo, better known to his familiars as Sam, was of a
sooty brindle, with a very dark muzzle, and eyes burning out like black
stars from the cloud of shaggy hair that mantled upon his brow. Next to
the shortness of his legs, the length of his body was one of the most
remarkable physical freaks I remember to have observed; neither of
these attributes, however, having a chance of notice in comparison with
the quantity and denseness of his long, soft hair,--for the coat of a
true Skye dog is fleecy, rather than wiry. It was the joint result of
the shortness of his legs and the length of his beard that the fatter
appendage continually swept the ground,--an inconvenience which I once
undertook to remedy by trimming it off short with scissors. No Turk
could have more indignantly resented the process than did that small
quadruped,--his Celtic feelings being so severely wounded by it, in
fact, that he abstained from sustenance for three days, putting himself
into moral sackcloth and ashes for that period by retiring into his
penitential cell under a chest of drawers.

When quite a pup, hardly half-grown, he played a trick unaccountable to
me at this day as it was then. Sam had the run of the house, and he
availed himself of it. On going into the breakfast-room, one morning
early, I observed a singular phenomenon in connection with a large,
cold round of beef, which was the _piece de resistance_ on the table.
It was curious to behold a round of cold beef with a tail, which it
wagged, and feathered, and beckoned with, as if to say, "Come, eat me."
The tail was the tail of Sam, whose body was concealed far down in the
interior of the tower of beef, into which he had cut his way with great
perseverance and success. But the puzzle was, how he got there; for
there was no chair within reach of the table, and he was much too small
to have jumped up on it; while the theory of the servant, who
propounded that he must have climbed up by the table-cloth, tooth over
claw, was wild, and simply entitled to the contempt of any person aware
of the difference between dog and cat. There is but one acceptable
theory on the subject,--that he was down in the caverns of the beef,
_tail and all_, before it was brought up-stairs, and so escaped notice.

Early in life, he contracted--from evil association, perhaps--a vulgar
trick of running after carriages and barking at the horses' heels, a
trick of which I in vain tried to break him. Once, when he was about a
year old, I took him up beside me into a high _caleche_, in which we
were going some distance. The moment the horse started, Sam jumped out
to have a bark at his heels, when, to my horror, the wheel of the
vehicle, in which there were three of us, went right over the middle of
his body, cutting him, apparently, in two; but he was up in a second,
and barking at heels and wheels for half a mile before we could pull up
and get him in again. This accident appeared to decide him in the
choice of a profession, for he devoted himself energetically, from that
hour, to the pursuit and baying-at of all manner of wheeled things
propelled by horse-power.

A rat he would never touch, although I introduced him to one before he
was a year old; he manifested neither fear of the vermin, nor surprise
at it, but simply took no interest in it. He had much pleasure in
worrying cats; but that was owing, I fancy, to a sad discomfiture he
once met with from one. Walking through a suburb one day, with Sammy
trotting before me in dreamy mood, to which he was much given, a small,
but remarkably severe cat made a sudden and very fierce dash at him
from a cottage-door, taking him so completely aback, that he tumbled,
head over tail, into a deep, dirty pool of green, stagnant water, such
as is usually to be seen in the pleasure-grounds environing a
suburbo-Hibernian shanty. His appearance, on emerging from that
cesspool, was the reverse of majestic; but the incident gave him such
an idea on the subject of cats, that he always persecuted them
remorselessly from that day; nor did he ever again walk through a
suburb in any other frame of mind than a particularly wide-awake one,
and with his tail up.

These dogs are curiously sensitive about their dignity, and sometimes
do not recover their elasticity of spirits for several days after
having undergone a process of correction. I recollect a singular
instance of this sensitiveness displayed by Sambo, in which he also
manifested a kind of inferential power wonderfully akin to reason.

One morning, a tumult of dogs in the street drew him to the window, out
of which he looked by jumping on a chair, just as a troop of "curs of
low degree" tore past after a rather genteel-looking dog with a kettle
tied to his tail. They whirled rapidly by in a turmoil of dust, and
clink, and cur-dog yelp, but not so rapidly as to prevent Sam from
perceiving the terrible degradation to which a gentleman-dog had been
subjected. The sight had a visible effect on his spirits, for he
immediately became quite depressed as to tail and mind, a condition
which influenced him for a day or two, after which he again appeared
comparatively cheerful, and took his place in society with his
accustomed cautious conviviality. About a month after this, he was seen
coming very slowly along a lane which led up to the back of the
house,--a course hardly ever taken by him, as he was a parlor-dog, and
considered himself entitled to the freedom of the hall-door. Creeping
on in the shadow of the wall, he arrived with a very crest-fallen
aspect at the kitchen-door, where the cause of his ignominious approach
was made manifest to those who were watching him. _He had a kettle tied
to his tail_. Now this animal must surely have argued in his own mind,
that running away with a tin kettle is a sure way of attracting
undesirable notice; also, that proceeding through a public thoroughfare
with such an appendage is injudicious, and likely to result in
trouble. The circumstance of the runaway dog and the tumult after him
had left its impression upon him; and, travelling on his experience, he
rightly judged that an unpleasant affair of the kind might best be
hushed up by quietly making one's way home through back-lanes and the
kitchen-door.

Skye terriers, when young, are apt to have a bad trick of gnawing and
tearing up articles of wearing apparel, particularly slippers, gaiters,
and such other things as are handy to toss up and catch. The fellow I
am writing about, when very young, destroyed sundry items of my
property in that way. He occupied a buffalo-robe in my room, and I
heard him very busy one night about something, but did not pay much
attention to it, as he was often lively at night. In the morning,
however, on looking for a pair of leather gaiters, I recognized the
remains of them, after much investigation, in a mass of pulp, to which
they had been reduced by the little beast as completely as they could
have been by the most experienced boa-constrictor. This habit I soon
broke him of, by chastising him with the remnants of the worried
article, when there were any left of substance sufficient to weave into
a scourge; nor did he ever recur to it when grown up, except once,
evidencing upon that occasion a remarkable instance of hereditary
instinct.

Some fur caps, and other articles of winter wear, had been shaken out
of their summer quarters for the purpose of beating the moths out of
them and ventilating them generally, with a view to which they were
placed upon the sill of an open window. By some means Sam obtained
access to the room, where he was discovered in the act of mauling a
valuable otter-skin cap, which he had selected out of the whole
collection for his particular amusement. This dog had never seen an
otter; but his ancestors were noted for their game qualities in the
pursuit of that animal, and their speciality must have descended to
him.

Eventually Sambo lost all his self-respect. He became discontented and
addicted to low company, dissipating with vile curs whose owners
enjoyed anything but unblemished reputations,--a fact first notified to
me by a clergyman of my acquaintance who knew him well. The worst of
this was, that he wore a collar with my name engraved on it in full;
and it was a long time before I had an opportunity of redeeming that
misused badge. About the very last time I ever saw him, I think, he
came home with one of his eyes gouged out, a split ear, and other marks
but too suggestive of the tavern brawl. I then deprived him of his
collar; soon after which he returned to his unsettled course of life,
and I never saw him again.

The peculiar, otter-like form of these animals, and the buoyancy given
to them by their long, floating hair, endow them with great facility
for swimming; while the small compass into which they will pack in a
canoe or skiff makes them very useful companions to the sportsman whose
propensities are for paddling about "in the melancholy marshes." I made
an excellent retriever of one of mine by carrying in my pocket a
stuffed snipe, which I would make her hunt up and fetch out of the
weeds into which I had thrown it. She would go back half a mile and
fetch this, when I had hidden it ever so cunningly in a thicket by the
way-side. I also taught her to dive, by making her, while young, fetch
up a little bag of shot from the bottom of a bathtub in my room. By
throwing this into deeper water, gradually, she would soon go down to a
great depth for it. A charge of shot, tied up in a piece of white
kid-glove, with a "neck" left to hold on by, is a good object for the
purpose, as it is readily seen in deep water, and teaches the animal,
besides, to nip gingerly,--a valuable qualification in a retriever. I
remember one of these dogs fetching up from a considerable depth the
watch of a friend of mine, which had slipped out of his pocket into a
clear, still bay, over which he was loitering in his canoe.

From times unrecorded until about twenty years ago, the Skye terrier
awaited confidently his summons to the sphere of rank and fashion.
About that time, the day, which, as the proverb figuratively informs
us, it falls to the lot of each individual of the canine race to enjoy,
began to shine out brightly for the dog of Skye, the first rays of it
that reached him being reflected from no less a luminary than the Crown
of Great Britain; for it was among the Scottish fancies of England's
Queen to adopt as a prime favorite this hitherto obscure quadruped.
Reckoned until that time--if anybody took the trouble of computing him
at all--as one of the ugliest of his race, he at once found himself
invested with all the attributes of a canine Adonis,--a very Admirable
Crichton of dogs,--perfect in intellect, face, figure, and the Hyperion
luxuriance of his copious mane and tail. In our youth, we knew--and
hated--a small, unmitigated snob of a dog called the Pug, a kind of
work-basket bull-dog, diminutive in size, dyspeptic in temper,
disagreeable to contemplate, and distressing to be obliged to admire.
One of the missions in society of Skye Terrier--who, when going before
a high wind, bears no unapt resemblance to a mop or a wisp of tow--was
to mop up Pug, and polish him off the hearth-rug of Fashion; a mission
which he appears to have at least partially accomplished. For now the
black muzzle of Pug is but seldom to be seen protruded from
carriage-window, biding his time for a snap at the first kid-gloved
finger that wags within range of his overlapping tusks in waving
salutation to his dowager mistress,--for, of the dowagers, above all,
he was one of the chronic calamities. Oftener, now, are the well-combed
whiskers and moustaches of Skye Dog to be recognized, dropping over the
drawing-room window-sill, or framed, like a portrait by Landseer, in
the panelled sash of the barouche, out of which he gazes pensively with
the impressive speculation of the true _flaneur_;--yea, for as men of
fashion are, so are their dogs; and so also of the fighting butcher,
who ever has his counterpart in the fighting bull-dog that glowers from
his gory stall.

This exalted value of Skye Dog, in a commercial point of view, has, of
course, given rise to the manufacture of a spurious article; whence it
comes, that, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, the animal palmed
off on the unsophisticated as genuine has nothing of the real stuff in
his constitution, but is simply a shallow imitation, compounded
according to prescription,--one part common cur-terrier to two parts
insignificant French poodle. And so I take leave of the Skye terrier
with a _caveat emptor_ to the purchaser who does not want to be sold
while he buys.

The sense of humor must surely exist in individual dogs; otherwise it
would puzzle me to account for the singular practical jokes played off
by a water-spaniel once possessed by me. This individual, whose name
was Muff, was a rather small-sized one, of the pure Kentish blood;
liver-colored, with a white ring on his neck, and white paws;
close-curled, wicked-eyed, deep-chested, and remarkably powerful for
his size. Professionally a retriever,--and one of great promise,
although never fully tested with the gun,--his leisure hours, which
included every one in the twenty-four, were passed in the invention and
perpetration of curiously regulated mischiefs, with all of which he
took pains to combine an element of the ludicrous. His great spree was
to run amuck into a flock of small children coming out of school. If
there was a dirty crossing hard by, over which they had to pass, he
would wait until they had got half-way, and then, going through them
like a rocket, would chuck them down into the mud, right and left, as
he sped, keeping straight on in his career until far beyond range of
pedagogue's rod. His trick of making a sudden rush at the heels of
unsuspecting persons--and he invariably selected the right sort for his
purpose--might often have got me into ugly scrapes, but for the tact
with which he invariably ignored his master on such occasions. If
pursued, he never came near me for protection, but fled wildly on,
assuming the character of a dog "on the loose," belonging to nobody in
particular, and quite able to take care of himself. He had a decided
objection to street industrials in general, including Italian
organ-grinders and image-sellers. Once I saw him crouching stealthily
after one of the latter, who was passing through an open square with a
tray of casts upon his head; and before I could get up a whistle or
call him off by name, he had darted like a javelin at the legs of the
refugee, startling him so much out of the perpendicular that the
superstructure of plastic art came to the ground with a crash,
top-dressing the sterile soil of the Campus Martius with a coat of
manufactured plaster of Paris. Marius, blubbering over the shattered
chimney-stacks of Carthage, could not have displayed a more touching
classical spectacle than did that modern Roman lamenting to and fro
among the fragments of his collapsed martyrs and ruined saints; nor
were his pangs fully assuaged even by the application of the universal
panacea to an amount more than double the value of his lost wares.

A great difficulty in training this dog was to bring him "to heel,"--a
still greater one to keep him there when he came. If thrashed into his
proper place in his master's wake, he always resented the indignity by
biting him pretty severely in the legs with a savage whimper. This he
invariably did on first leaving the house with me, sometimes nipping me
so severely, after we had gone a short distance, that I have hesitated
whether to go back for a pistol to shoot him, or forward for a
pennyworth of biscuit to buy him off. When told to "hie away," the
extravagance of his joy knew no bounds. He would have been as
invaluable to a tailor as was to the Parisian _decrotteur_ the poodle
instructed by him to sully with his paws the shoes of the passengers;
for, in the exuberance of his gladness, he but too often rent
insufferably the vestments of the hapless pedestrians in his line of
fire. Sometimes he would turn his assaults upon me, and, springing
suddenly at my "wide-awake," take it from my head, trailing it wildly
away through the mud, and dropping it in some place where it would be
difficult to get at it without wading. Then I would have to conciliate
him to fetch it,--a favor not to be obtained without much stratagem and
diplomacy.

One of this dog's abnormal qualities was the bull-dog one of holding on
to his antagonist in a fight. But few dogs of his size were able to
cope with him; and I once saw him, when in grips with a fierce
bull-terrier by a riverside, precipitate the result by dragging his
adversary into the water, and dipping his head under. He would jump off
the highest bridge to fetch out of the water anything thrown in for
him, never failing to bring it to his master's feet,--except once, when
he steadily declined to recover from the raging element a cane with
which I had, some time previously, administered to him a sound
thrashing for some delinquency. On the first occasion of his being
accidentally left behind at a ferry across a very wide and rapid river,
he swam out some distance after the boat; but, finding the enterprise a
rather hopeless one, soon put back again and waited for the next boat,
on board of which he took his place with a tranquil and business-like
air. This he regularly did on subsequent occasions, without risking the
swim; and when on board, he always seated himself on the upper deck and
as far forward as possible, so as to catch early glimpses of his
friends in waiting.

Among the gifts of this clever animal, I must not forget to reckon a
perception of the truthful in Art. I had a walking-stick, upon the
crooked handle of which was carved, with tolerable skill, a pointer's
head. This piece of sculpture was a source of frequent anxiety to
Muff,--his embarrassment apparently arising from the circumstance of
his not having the gift of speech wherewith to deliver himself of an
opinion on the subject. He would sometimes get up from the sunny spot
on the carpet where he lay, walk over to the corner in which the stick
was deposited, contemplate the handle attentively, with his head on one
side, for several minutes, and then, shaking his head doubtfully,
return to his lair with a sigh. Philanthropist as well as critic, he
once saved the life of a dissipated old sergeant of dragoons, to whom
he had taken a fancy, by rushing into a house which the man had just
quitted in a state of intoxication, and so rousing the inmates by his
gestures, that they at once followed him into the road, alongside of
which the beery old _sabreur_ was found prostrate in a pool of water,
setting his face pertinaciously against that hostile element, even to
what was very near being his last gasp.

Large dogs often appear to take a humorous view of the futile attempts
of small ones to accomplish some feat beyond their strength or stature.
A friend of mine once possessed a very large animal of a cross between
the Mount St. Bernard dog and the English mastiff, and as remarkable
for his good-nature as for his great strength and courage. Rambling out
one day, accompanied by this trusty friend, they came upon a group of
rustics engaged in the ignoble diversion of baiting a badger, an animal
much in request among English dog-fanciers as a test for the pluck of
their terriers. "Drawing a badger" is the proper sporting-phrase,--the
animal being chained to a barrel, from the recesses of which he
contends savagely with the fierce little dogs pitted against each other
to drag him out within a given time. Nero looked on at the sport with a
majestic air of contempt, as dog after dog was withdrawn from the
conflict. At length, disgusted with the failures, he watched his
opportunity until the badger made a dive from his den at a retreating
foe, when, snapping him up by the collar, he thundered away down the
road with the barrel flying after, nor ever stopped until he reached
home, nearly a mile away, where he safely deposited badger and barrel
in the immediate vicinity of his private residence in the stable-yard.

One of the worst vices by which a dog can be beset is a propensity for
killing sheep. It is not a common vice, but, where it exists, it
appears to be inveterate and beyond all hope of reform. Shutting up the
delinquent with a dangerous ram has often been recommended as a certain
mode of disgusting him with mutton, should he survive the discipline
inflicted on him by the avenger of the blood of his race. I can recall
but one instance within my experience in which this corrective was
tested. It was in the case of a sulky dog of a breed between the red
Irish setter and something larger, but less patrician, upon whom the
thirst for blood fell at uncertain intervals, impelling him then to
devastate the very sheepfolds of which in his capacity as watch-dog he
might have been considered as _ex officio_ the guardian. This vile
malefactor had been ordered for execution, and the noose was already
coiled for his caitiff neck, when a neighbor of his master's--a great
raiser of sheep--begged for him a reprieve, kindly volunteering the use
of a truculent, but valuable ram belonging to him, for the purpose of
illustrating the homaeopathic theory above alluded to. At nightfall the
ram was brought and turned into a paddock, where he was left fettered
to the dog with a couple of yards of chain. At the dawn of morning the
ram's master approached confidently the arena of discipline, secure of
a result triumphant for his theory. But theory was a delusion in this
instance; for the red dog Tanner sat there alone and surfeited with
mutton,--though there was a good deal of the ram still left.

It is wonderful what an amount of crime can be committed, even
by a small dog, when, like the _Chourineur_ of Eugene Sue, he is
under the glamour of blood. Of this there came to my knowledge a
well-authenticated instance, one for the truth of which I can vouch. A
settler in a remote bush-district had been to the nearest village,
which was many miles from his clearing. It was in March, and the
surface of the snow--which was quite two feet deep--was frozen to a
hard crust, as he travelled homewards in his cutter, accompanied by a
currish dog, not nearly so large as an average pointer. About
nightfall, and when some two miles from home, a herd of nine deer
crossed his track, struggling away into the woods with uncertain
plunges, as the treacherous crust gave way beneath them at every bound.
While they were yet in sight, the dog gave chase, and they all
disappeared into the dark forest together; nor did the dog return to
the call of his master, who, after whistling to him for a short time,
proceeded on his way and drove home without him. Early next morning the
cur made his appearance, glutted and gory, and looking the very picture
of dissipation. Struck by his appearance, they took the back track on
his trail, which led them to a hollow in the bush, where the snow was
much trampled and draggled with blood, and in and around which every
one of the nine deer lay dead, pulled down and throttled by one
miserable cur, who had the mastery over them, because he could run on
the surface of the snow, through which they sunk. The dog's master--at
whose shanty I once stayed when on a fishing-excursion--was much
mortified at the occurrence, as the deer-hunting season was past, and
he was one of Nature's sportsmen, a game-keeper by instinct.

I have but one more anecdote of a dog, for the present; and that is one
for the truth of which I distinctly decline to vouch. It was imparted
to me by a calker, who owned a woolly French poodle, which remarkable
animal, he informed me, used to swim out regularly once a week,--on
Saturday evenings, I think he said,--with a large wisp of tow in his
mouth, upon the ascension of his fleas into which place of refuge, he
would "let it slide" down the current and swim back tranquilly to the
shore, there to slumber away another week in comparative comfort.[1]

[Footnote 1: The calker's dog had probably never read Olaus Magnus,
though that worthy Archbishop wrote something very like dog-Latin; but,
as dwellers on the margin of the "Atlantic," we have too great a
respect for a prelate who believed in the kraaken and the sea-serpent,
not to refer our valued Cynophilist to the Thirty-Ninth Chapter of the
Eighteenth Book _De Gentibus Septentrionalibus_, where he will find the
same story told of the fox.--_Eds. Atlantic._]

Having thus calked my Dog-Talk--bark, in fact--with this very tough bit
of yarn, I now trustfully commit it to the mercies of the "Atlantic."

THE RECKONING.

Your thought may recur with mine
To a certain place in the city,
Where you sometimes have chanced to dine;
If not, why, the more's the pity!

Did you notice the delicate way
Whereby, with the trencher and cup,
Comes a hint of the matter of pay,
In a counter laid _blank side up_?

Now,--not to pervert the intent
Of a courtesy gentle and rare,
Or observance so civilly meant
With disparaging things to compare,--

By the token your messenger brings,
Did such services never suggest
A likeness to manifold things
Of the world, and the flesh, and--the rest?

Command whatsoever you will,
To pamper your folly or pride;
You shall find, that unfailingly, still,
The _counter_ is laid beside,

Silently,--seemingly fair,--
Till an angel the disk shall turn,
And the soul's great debt, the inscription there,
On her vision shall burst and burn!

* * * * *

A TRIP TO CUBA.

MATANZAS.

A hot and dusty journey of some six hours brought us to Matanzas at
high noon. Our companions were Cubans, Spaniards, Americans, and
game-chickens, that travel extensively in these parts, sometimes in
little baskets, with openings for the head and tail, sometimes in the
hands of their owners, secured only by a string fastened to one foot
and passed over the body. They seem to be objects of tender solicitude
to those who carry them; they are nursed and fondled like children, and
at intervals are visited all round by a negro, who fills his mouth with
water, and squirts it into their eyes and under their feathers. They
are curiously plucked on the back and about the tail, where only the
long tail-feathers are allowed to grow. Their tameness in the hands of
their masters is quite remarkable; they suffer themselves to be turned
and held in any direction. But when set down, at any stage of the
journey, they stamp their little feet, stretch their necks, crow, and
look about them for the other cock with most belligerent eyes. As we
have said that the negro of the North is an ideal negro, so we must say
that the game-cock of Cuba is an ideal chicken, a fowl that is too good
to be killed,--clever enough to fight for people who are too indolent
and perhaps too cowardly to fight for themselves,--in short, the
gladiator of the tropics.

Well, as we have said, we and they arrived at our journey's end in the
extreme heat of the day; and having shown our paper and demanded our
trunks, we beat an instantaneous retreat before the victorious monarch
of the skies, and lo! the Ensor House, dirty, bare, and comfortless,
was to us as a fortress and a rock of defence.

Here I would gladly pause, and, giving vent to my feelings, say how
lovely I found Matanzas. But ever since Byron's time, the author is
always hearing the public say, "Don't be poetical," etc., etc.; and in
these days both writer and reader seem to have discovered that life is
too short for long descriptions,--so that, when the pen of a G. P. R.
James, waiting for the inspirations of its master, has amused itself
with sketching a greater or less extent of natural scenery, the rule of
the novel-reader is invariably, "Skip landscape, etc., to event on
thirty-second page." Nevertheless, I will say that Matanzas is
lovely,--with the fair harbor on one hand and the fair hills on the
other, sitting like a mother between two beautiful daughters, who looks
from one to the other and wonders which she loves best. The air from
the water is cool and refreshing, the sky is clear and open, and the
country around seems to beckon one to the green bosom of its shades.
"Ob, what a relief after Havana!" one says, drawing a full breath, and
remembering with a shudder the sickening puffs from its stirring
streets, which make you think that Polonius lies unburied in every
house, and that you nose him as you pass the door and window-gratings.
With this exclamation and remembrance, you lower yourself into one of
Mr. Ensor's rocking-chairs,--twelve of which, with a rickety table and
a piano, four crimson tidies and six white ones, form the furniture of
the Ensor drawing-room,--you lean your head on your hand, close your
eyes, and wish for a comfortable room, with a bed in it. A tolerable
room you shall have; but for a bed, only a cot-bedstead with a sacking
bottom,--further, nothing. Now, if you are some folks that I know, you
will be able to establish very comfortable repose on this slender
foundation, Nature having so amply furnished you that you are your own
feather-bed, bolster, sofa-cushion, and easy-chair, a moving mass of
upholstery, wanting only a frame to be set down in and supported. But
if you should be one of Boston's normal skeletons, pinched in every
member with dyspepsia, and with the mark of the beast neuralgia on your
forehead, then your skin will have a weary time of it, holding your
bones, and you will be fain to entreat with tears the merciful
mediation of a mattress.

Now I know very well that those of my readers who intend visiting Cuba
will be much more interested in statistics of hotels than in any
speculations, poetical or philosophical, with which I might be glad to
recompense their patience. Let me tell them, therefore, that the Ensor
House is neither better nor worse than other American hotels in Cuba.
The rooms are not very bad, the attendance not intolerable, the table
almost commendable. The tripe, salt-fish, and plantains were,
methought, much as at other places. There were stews of meat, onions,
sweet pippins, and _ochra_, which deserve notice. The early coffee was
punctual; the tea, for a wonder, black and hot. True, it was served on
a bare pine table, with the accompaniment only of a bit of dry
bread,--no butter, cake, nor _dulces_. But Mr. Ensor has heard, no
doubt, that sweet things are unwholesome, and is determined, at
whatever cost to his own feelings, to keep them out of the way of his
guests, who are, for the time, his children. Then there is an excellent
English servant called John, whom, though the fair Ensor did berate
him, we must enumerate among the comforts of the establishment. There
is a dark corner about _volantes_, which they are disposed to order for
you at a very unreasonable profit; but as there are plenty of livery
stables at hand, and street _volantes_ passing all the time, it will be
your own fault, if you pay six dollars where you ought to pay three.

The first thing to be done at Matanzas is to drive out and see the
Cumbre, a hill in the neighborhood, and from it the valley of the
Yumori. The road is an improvement on those already described,--the
ruts being much deeper and the rocks much larger; the jolting is
altogether more complete and effective. Still, you remember the
doctrine that the _volante_ cannot upset, and this blind faith to which
you cling carries you through triumphantly. The Cumbre is lofty, the
view extensive, and the valley lovely, of a soft, light green, like the
early leaves and grass of spring, dotted everywhere with the palms and
their dark clusters. It opens far, far down at your feet, and on your
left you see the harbor quiet and bright in the afternoon sun, with a
cheering display of masts and pennons. You would look and linger long,
but that the light will wane, and you are on your way to Jenks his
sugar-plantation, the only one within convenient distance of the town.
Here the people are obviously accustomed to receive visitors, and are
decently, not superfluously, civil. The _major-domo_ hands you over to
a negro who speaks English, and who salutes you at once with,
"Good-bye, Sir!" The boiling here is conducted in one huge, open vat. A
cup and saucer are brought for you to taste the juice, which is dipped
out of the boiling vat for your service. It is very like balm-tea,
unduly sweetened; and after a hot sip or so you return the cup with
thanks. A loud noise, as of cracking of whips and of hurrahs, guides
you to the sugar-mill, where the crushing of the cane goes on in the
jolliest fashion. The building is octagonal and open. Its chief feature
is a very large horizontal wheel, which turns the smaller ones that
grind the cane. Upon this are mounted six horses, driven by as many
slaves, male and female, whose exertions send the wheel round with
sufficient rapidity. This is really a novel and picturesque sight. Each
negro is armed with a short whip, and their attitudes, as they stand,
well-balanced on the revolving wheel, are rather striking. They were
liberal of blows and of objurgations to the horses; but all their cries
and whipping produced scarcely a tenth of the labor so silently
performed by the invisible, noiseless slave that works the
steam-engine. From this we wandered about the avenues, planted with
palms, cocoas, and manifold fruit-trees,--visited the sugar-fields,
where many slaves were cutting the canes and piling them on enormous
ox-carts, and came at last to a great, open field, where many head of
cattle were quietly standing. Our negro guide had not been very lavish
or intelligible in his answers to our numerous questions. We asked him
about these cattle. "Dey cows," he replied. We asked if they gave milk,
and if butter was made on the plantation. He seemed quite puzzled and
confused, and finally exclaimed,--"Dat cows no got none wife." Coming
nearer, we found that the cows were draught oxen, employed in dragging
the canes and other produce of the plantation. Jenks his garden we
found in good order, and beautiful with many plants in full blossom;
but Jenks his house seemed dreary and desolate, with no books, a
wretched print or so, dilapidated furniture, and beds that looked like
the very essence of nightmare. Nothing suggested domestic life or
social enjoyment, or anything--; but as Jenks is perfectly unknown to
us, either by appearance or reputation, we give only a guess in the
dark, and would suggest, in case it may displease him, that he should
refurnish and repaint a little, and diffuse an air of cheerfulness over
his solitary villa, remembering that Americans have imaginations, and
that visitors will be very apt to construct an unknown host from his
surroundings.

The second thing to be done in Matanzas, if you arrive on Saturday, is
to attend military mass at the Cathedral on Sunday morning. This
commences at eight o'clock; but the hour previous may be advantageously
employed in watching the arrival and arrangement of the female
aristocracy of Matanzas. These enter in groups of twos and threes,
carrying their prayer-books, and followed by slaves of either sex, who
bear the prayer-carpet of their mistresses. The ladies are wonderfully
got up, considering the early hour; and their toilettes suggest that
they may not have undressed since the ball of the night before. All
that hoops, powder, and puffery can do for them has been done; they
walk in silk attire, and their hair is what is technically termed
dressed. Some of them bring their children, bedizened like dolls, and
mimicking mamma's gestures and genuflexion in a manner more provoking
to sadness than to satire. If the dressing is elaborate, the crossing
is also. It does not consist of one simple cross, "_in nomine Patris_,"
etc.; they seem to make three or four crosses from forehead to chin,
and conclude by kissing the thumb-nail, in honor of what we could not
imagine. Entering the middle aisle, which is divided from the rest by a
row of seats on either side, they choose their position, and motion to
the dark attendant to spread the carpet. Some of them evince
considerable strategic skill in the selection of their ground. All
being now in readiness, they drop on their knees, spread their
flounces, cross themselves, open their books, and look about them.
Their attendants retire a little, spread a handkerchief on the ground,
and modestly kneel behind them, obviously expecting to be saved with
the family. These are neatly, sometimes handsomely dressed. In this
status things remain until the music of the regiment is heard. With a
martial sound of trumpets it enters the church, and fills the aisles,
the officers taking place within the chancel, and a guard-of-honor of
eight soldiers ranging on either side of the officiating priest. And
now our devotions begin in good earnest; for, simultaneously with the
regiment, the _jeunesse doree_ of Matanzas has made its appearance, and
has spread itself along the two long lines of demarcation which
separate the fair penitents from the rest of the congregation. The
ladies now spread their flounces again, and their eyes find other
occupation than the dreary Latin of their missals. There is, so to
speak, a lively and refreshing time between the youths of both sexes,
while the band plays its utmost, and _Evangel_, _Kyrie_, and _Credo_
are recited to the music of Trovatore and Traviata. That child of four
years old, dressed in white and gold flounces, and white satin boots
with heels, handles her veil and uses her eyes like mamma, eager for
notice, and delighted with the gay music and uniforms. The moment comes
to elevate the Host, thump goes the drum, the guard presents arms, and
the soldiers, instead of kneeling, bend forward, in a most
uncomfortable manner. Another thump, and all that is over; the swords
are returned to their sheaths, and soon, the loud music coming to an
end, the regiment marches out of church, very much as it marched in,
its devotional experiences being known to Heaven alone. Ladies and
lovers look their last, the flounces rise in pyramids, the
prayer-carpets are rolled up, and, with a silken sweep and rush, Youth,
Beauty, and Fashion forsake the church, where Piety has hardly been,
and go home to breakfast. To that comfortable meal you also betake
yourself, musing on the small heads and villanous low foreheads of the
Spanish soldiery, and wondering how long it would take a handful of
resolute Yankees to knock them all into--But you are not a filibuster,
you know.

THE PASEO--THE PLAZA--DINING OUT.

"As this Sunday is Carnival, you cannot do better than drive about the
city, and then go to the Plaza to see the masks. My partner's wife,
with whom you have now so comfortably breakfasted, will call for you in
her _volante_, between five and six o'clock. She will show you the
Paseo, and we will go and see the masks afterwards."

So spoke a banker, who, though not _our_ banker, is our friend, and
whose kind attentions we shall ever recall, when we remember Cuba. So
he spoke, and so it befell. The pretty American lady, Cubanized into
paleness, but not into sallowness, called at the appointed hour, and,
in her company, we visited the principal streets, and the favorite
drive of the Matanzasts. The Paseo is shorter than that of Havana, but
much prettier. We found it gay with _volantes_, whose fair occupants
kept up an incessant bowing and smiling to their friends in carriages
and on horseback. The Cubans are generally good riders, and their
saddle-horses have the easiest and pleasantest gait imaginable. The
heat of the climate does not allow the severe exercise of trot and
gallop, and so these creatures go along as smoothly and easily as the
waves of the sea, and are much better broken to obedience. The ladies
of Matanzas seem to possess a great deal of beauty, but they abuse the
privilege of powder, and whiten themselves with _cascarilla_ to a
degree that is positively ghastly. This _cascarilla_ is formed by the
trituration of eggshells; and the oval faces whitened with it resemble
a larger egg, with features drawn on it in black and red. In spite of
this, they are handsome; but one feels a natural desire to rush in
amongst them with a feather duster, and lay about one a little, before
giving an available opinion of their good looks.

If the Paseo was gay, the streets of the city were gay also; the
windows filled with faces and figures in full dress, with little groups
of children at the feet of the grown people, like the two world-famous
cherubs at the feet of the Madonna di San Sisto. There were crowds of
promenaders too, everywhere, interspersed with parties of maskers, who
went about screaming at the public with high, shrill voices. Leaving
the _volante_, we descend to the Plaza, where is now the height and
centre of movement. We find it flanked on all sides with little movable
kitchens, where good things are cooked, and with tables, where they are
sold and eaten. Fried cakes, fish, and meats seem the predominant bill
of fare, with wine, coffee, and fruits. The masks are circulating with
great animation; men in women's clothes, white people disguised as
negroes, and negroes disguised as whites, prodigious noses, impossible
chins and foreheads; the stream of popular fancy ran chiefly in these
channels. We met processions consisting of a man carrying a rat in a
cage, and shouting out, "Catch this rat!" followed by a perfect
stampede of wild creatures, all yelling, "Catch that rat!" at the top
of their voices. The twanging of the guitar is heard everywhere,
accompanied by the high nasal voices of the natives, in various strains
of monotony. In some spots the music is more lively, accompanied by the
shaking of a gourd filled with dry seeds, which is called _ghiera_, and
whose "chick-a-chick, chick-chick" takes the place of the more poetical
castanets;--here you find one or more couples exhibiting their skill in
Cuban dances, with a great deal of applause and chattering from the
crowd around. Beside those of the populace, many aristocratic groups
parade the Plaza, in full dress, crowned with flowers and jewels;--a
more motley scene can hardly be imagined. Looking up, one sees in
curious contrast the tall palms with which the Plaza is planted, and
the quiet, wondering stars set in the deep tropical heavens.

But in our evening's programme, tea has been omitted; now, what
availeth a Bostonian without his tea? By eight o'clock, we are pensive,
"most like a tired child at a show,"--by half-past eight, stupid,--by
nine, furious. Two hours of folly, taken on an empty stomach, alarm us
for our constitution. A visit to the _cafe_ is suggested and adopted.
It proves to be crowded with people in fancy attire, who have laid
aside their masks to indulge in beer, orgeat, and sherbet. While our
Cuban friends regale themselves with soursop and _zapote_ ice sweetened
with brown sugar, we call for a cup of delicious Spanish chocolate,
which is served with a buttered toasted roll, worthy of all imitation.
Oh, how much comfort is in a little cup of chocolate! what an
underpinning does it afford our spiritual house, a material basis for
our mental operations! In its support, we go it a little longer on the
Plaza, see more masks, hear more guitars and "catch-this-rat!" and
finally return, in a hired _volante_, to the Ensor House, where rest
and the bedless cots await us.

But we have friends in Matanzas, real born Cubans, who will not suffer
us to remain forever in the Ensor House. They send their _volante_ for
us, one day, and we visit them. Their house, of the inevitable Cuban
pattern, is richly furnished; the marbles of the floor are pure and
smooth, the rug ample and velvety; the wainscoting of the walls, so to
speak, is in handsome tiling,--not in mean, washy painting; the cane
chairs and sofas are fresh and elegant, and there is a fine Erard
piano. The master of the house is confined to his room by illness, but
will be happy to see us. His son and daughters speak English with
fluency. They inform us, that the epidemic colds which prevail in Cuban
winters are always called by the name of some recent untoward
occurrence, and that their father, who suffers from severe influenza,
has got the President's Message. We find Don Jose in a bedroom darkened
by the necessary closing of the shutters, there being no other way of
excluding the air. The bedsteads are of gilded iron, with luxurious
bedding and spotless mosquito-nettings. His head is tied up with a silk
handkerchief. He rises from his rocking-chair, receives us with great
urbanity, and expresses his appreciation of the American nation and
their country, which he himself has visited. After a short interview we
leave him, but not until he has placed his house and all it contains
_"a la disposicion de Usted."_ We are then shown the pretty bedroom of
the young ladies, whose toilettes are furnished in silver, the bath
lined with tiling, the study, and the dining-room, where luncheon
awaits us. We take leave, with a kind invitation to return and dine the
next day, which, upon mature deliberation, we accept.

The _volante_ comes for us next day, with Roque, brightest of all
living _caleseros_, fixed in his boots and saddle. After a pleasant
drive we attain the house, and are received by its hospitable inmates
as before. The interval before dinner, a tolerably long one, is filled
up by pleasant chitchat, chiefly in English. The lady of the house does
not, however, profess our vernacular, and to her understanding we lay
siege in French, Italian, and laughter-provoking Spanish. Before dining
we pay a second visit to the host, who is still busy digesting the
President's Message. Obviously, the longer he has it under
consideration, the worse he finds it. He has nausea from its bragging,
his head aches with its loudness, and its emptiness fills him with
wind. We are at our wits' end to prescribe for him, and take our leave
with grave commiseration, telling him that we, too, have had it, but
that the symptoms it produces in the North are a reddening in the cheek
and a spasmodic contraction of the right arm. Now comes great dinner
on. A slave announces it, and with as little ceremony as may be we take
our places. And here we must confess that our friend the banker had
rendered us an important service. For he had said,--"Look not upon the
soup when it is hot, neither let any victuals entice thee to more than
a slight and temporary participation; for the dishes at a Cuban dinner
be many, and the guest must taste of all that is presented; wherefore,
if he indulge in one dish to his special delectation, he shall surely
die before the end." And it came to pass that we remembered this, and
walked through the dinner as on egg-shells, gratifying curiosity, on
the one hand, and avoiding satiety, on the other, with the fear of
fulness, as it were, before our eyes. For, oh, my friends! what pang is
comparable to too much dinner, save the distress of being refused by a
young woman, or the comfortless sensation, in times of economy, of
having paid away a five-dollar gold piece in place of a silver quarter
of a dollar?

But you, Reader, would like more circumstantiality in the account of
this dinner, which united many perfections. It was handsome, but not
splendid,--orderly, but, not stately,--succulent, but not unctuous. It
kept the word of promise to the smell and did not break it to the
taste. It was a dinner such as we shall wish only to our best friends,
not to those acquaintances who ask how we do when they meet us, and
wish we were dead before we part. As for particulars, we should be glad
to impart much useful information and many choice receipts; but the
transitory nature of such an entertainment does not allow one to
improve it as one could wish. One feature we remember, which is that
the whole dinner was placed on the table at once, and so you had the
advantage of seeing your work cut out before you. None of that hope
deferred, when, after being worried through a dozen stews and
_entrees_, you are rewarded at last with an infinitesimal fragment of
the _roti_. Nor, on the other hand, the unwelcome surprise of three
supplementary courses and a dessert, when you have already dined to
repletion, and feel yourself at peace with all the world. Here, all was
fair play; you knew what to expect and what was expected of you. Soup,
of course, came first,--then fish,--then meat stewed with potatoes and
onions,--then other meat with _ochra_ and tomatoes,--then boiled
chicken, which is eaten with a _pilaff_ of rice colored with
saffron,--then delicious sweet potatoes, yams, plantains, and
vegetables of every sort,--then a kind of pepper, brought, we think,
from the East Indies, and intensely tropical in its taste,--then a
splendid roast turkey, and ham strewed with small colored
sugar-plums,--then--well, is not that enough for one person to have
eaten at a stretch, and that person accustomed to a Boston diet? Then
came such a display of sweetmeats as would exercise the mind of a New
England housekeeper beyond all power of repose,--a pudding,--a huge
tart with very thick crust,--cakes of _yuca_,--a dish of cocoanut, made
into a sort of impalpable preserve, with eggs and sugar,--then a course
of fruits,--then coffee, of the finest quality, from the host's own
plantation,--and then we arose and went into the drawing-room, with a
thankful recollection of what we had had, and also a thankful assurance
that we should have no more.

A drive by moonlight was now proposed, to see the streets and the
masks, it being still Carnival. So the _volante_ was summoned, with its
smiling, silent Roque, and the pretty daughter of the house took seat
beside us. The streets around the Plaza proved quite impassable from
the crowd, whose wild movements and wilder voices went nigh to scaring
the well-trained horses. The little lady was accustomed, apparently, to
direct every movement of her charioteer, and her orders were uttered in
a voice high and sweet as a bird-call. "_Dobla al derecho, Roque!
Roque, dobla al derecho_!" Why did not Roque go mad, and
exclaim,--"Yes, Senorita, and to heaven itself, if you bid me so
prettily!" But Roque only doubled as he was bid, and took us hither and
thither, and back to the nest of his lady-bird, where we left her and
the others with grateful regrets, and finally back to the Ensor House,
which on this occasion seemed to us the end of all things.

GAME-CHICKENS--DON RODRIGUEZ--DAY ON THE PLANTATION--DE-PARTURE.

As there are prejudices in Cuba, and elsewhere, touching the
appropriate sphere of woman, Halia was not taken to the cockpit, as she
had demanded and expected,--not to see the chickens fight, but to see
the Spaniards see it.

Forgive her, ye Woman's-Righters, if on this occasion she was weak and
obedient! You would have gone, no doubt,--those of you who have not
husbands; but such as have must know how much easier it is to deal with
the article man in his theoretical than in his real presence. You may
succeed in showing by every convincement, that you are his natural
master and superior, and that there is every reason on earth why you
should command and direct him. "No! ---- ," says the wretch, shaking
his fist, or shrugging his shoulders; and whatever your intimate
convictions may be, the end is, that you do not.

Propitiated by that ready obedience which is safest, dear sisters, in
these contingencies, the proprietor of Halia takes her, one morning, to
see the establishment of a man of fortune in the neighborhood, where
one hundred and forty game-chickens are kept for training and fighting.
These chickens occupy two good-sized rooms, whose walls are entirely
covered with compartments, some two feet square, in each of which
resides a cock, with his little perch and drinking-vessel. They are
kept on allowance of water and of food, lest they should get beyond
fighting-weight. Their voices are uplifted all day long, and on all
moonlight nights. An old woman receives us, and conducts us to the
training-pit, pointing out on the way the heroes of various battles,
and telling us that this cock and the other have won _mucho dinero_,
"much money." Each has also its appointed value;--this cock is worth
forty dollars, this four ounces, this one six ounces,--oh, he is a
splendid fellow! No periodal and sporadic hen-fever prevails here, but
the gallo-mania is the chronic madness of the tropics.

The training-pit is a circular space inclosed with boards, perhaps some
twelve feet in diameter. Here we find the proprietor, Don Manuel
Rodriguez, with a negro assistant, up to the ears in business. Don
Manuel is young, handsome, and vivacious, and with an air of good
family that astonishes us. He receives us with courtesy, finds nothing
unusual in the visit of a lady, but is too much engrossed with his
occupation to accord us more than a passing notice. This is exactly as
we could wish,--it allows us to study the Don, so to speak, _au
naturel_. He is engaged at first in weighing two cocks, with a view to
their subsequent fighting. Having ascertained their precise weight,
which he registers in his pocket-memorandum, he proceeds to bind strips
of linen around their formidable spurs, that in their training they may
not injure each other with them. This being accomplished,--he all the
while delivering himself with great volubility to his black
second,--the two cocks are taken into the arena; one is let loose
there; the negro holds the other, and knocks the free fowl about the
head with it. Sufficient provocation having been given, they are
allowed to go at each other in their own fashion, and their attacks and
breathing-spells are not very unlike a bout of fencing. They flap, fly
at each other, fly over, peck, seize by the neck, let go, rest a
moment, and begin again, getting more and more excited with each round.
The negro separates them, when about to draw blood. And as for Don
Manuel, he goes mad over them, like an Italian _maestro_ over his
favorite pupil. "_Hombre, hombre!_" he cries to the negro, "what a
cock! By Heaven, what a couple! _Ave Maria santisima!_ did one ever see
such spirit? _Santisima Trinidad!_ is there such fighting in all
Matanzas?" Having got pretty well through with the calendar of the
saints, he takes out his watch;--the fight has lasted long enough. One
of the champions retires to take a little repose; another is brought in
his place; the negro takes him, and boxes him about the ears of the
remaining fowl,--brushing him above his head, and underneath, and on
his back, to accustom him to every method of attack. Don Manuel informs
us that the cock made use of in this way is the father of the other,
and exclaims, with an air of mock compassion, _Pobre padre!_ "Poor
father!" The exercise being concluded, he takes a small feather, and
cleans out therewith the throat of either chicken, which proves to be
full of the sand of the arena, and which he calls _porqueria_, "dirt."

We leave Don Manuel about to employ himself with other cocks, and, as
before, too much absorbed to give our departure much notice. Strange to
say, Hulia is so well satisfied with this rehearsal, that she expresses
no further desire to witness the performance itself. We learn
subsequently that Don Manuel is a man of excellent family and great
wealth, who has lavished several fortunes on his favorite pursuit, and
is hurrying along on the road to ruin as fast as chickens' wings can
carry him. We were very sorry, but couldn't possibly interfere.
Meantime, he appeared excessively jolly.

Our kind friends of the dinner were determined to pay us, in their
persons, all the debts of hospitality the island might be supposed to
contract towards strangers and Americans. Arrangements were accordingly
made for us to pass our last day in Matanzas at a coffee-plantation of
theirs, some four miles distant from town. They would send their
travelling _volante_ for us, they said, which was not so handsome as
the city _volante_, but stronger, as it had need to be, for the roads.
At eleven o'clock, on a very warm morning, this vehicle made its
appearance at the door of the Ensor House, with Roque in the
saddle,--Roque with that mysterious _calesero_ face of his, knowing
everything, but volunteering nothing until the word of command. Don
Antonito, he tells us, has gone before us on horseback;--we mount the
_volante_, and follow. Roque drives briskly at first, a slight breeze
refreshes us, and we think the road better than is usual. But wait a
bit, and we come to what seems an unworked quarry of coral rock, with
no perceptible way over it, and Roque still goes on, slowly indeed, but
without stop or remark. The strong horses climb the rough and slippery
rocks, dragging the strong _volante_ after them. The _calesero_ picks
his way carefully; the carriage tips, jolts, and tumbles; the centre of
gravity appears to be nowhere. The breeze dies away; the vertical sun
seems to pin us through the head; we get drowsy, and dream of an uneasy
sea of stones, whose harsh waves induce headache, if not seasickness.
We wish for a photograph of the road;--first, to illustrate the
inclusive meaning of the word; second, to serve as a remembrance, to
reconcile us to all future highways.

Why these people are content to work out their road-tax by such sore
travail of mind and body appeareth to us mysterious. The breaking of
stone in state-prison is not harder work than riding over a Cuban road;
yet this extreme of industry is endured by the Cubans from year to
year, and from one human life to another, without complaint or effort.
An hour or more of these and similar reflections brings us to a bit of
smooth road, and then to the gate of the plantation, where a fine
avenue of palms conducts us to the house. Here resides the relative and
partner of our Matanzas friends, a man of intelligent and humane
aspect, who comes to greet us, with his pleasant wife, and a pretty
niece, their constant guest. This lady has made use of her retirement
for the accomplishment of her mind. She has some knowledge of French
and Italian, and, though unwilling to speak English, is able to
translate from that language with entire fluency. The plantation-house
is very pretty, situated just at the end of the palm-avenue, with all
the flowers in sight,--for these are planted between the palms;--it has
a deep piazza in front, and the first door opens into one large room,
with sleeping-apartments on either side. Opposite this door is another,
opening upon the court behind the house, and between the two our chairs
are placed, courting the draught.--_N.B._ In Cuba, no one shuns a
draught; you ride, drive, sit, and sleep in one, and, unless you are a
Cuban, never take cold. The floor of this principal room is merely of
clay, rubbed with a red powder, which, mixed with water, hardens into a
firm, polished surface. The house has but one story; the timbers of the
roof, unwhitened, forming the only ceiling. The furniture consists of
cane easy-chairs, a dining-table, and a pretty hammock, swung across
one end of the room. Here we sit and talk long. Our host has many good
books in French and Spanish,--and in English, Walter Scott's Novels,
which his wife fully appreciates.

A walk is proposed, and we go first to visit _los negros
chiquitos,--Anglice_, "the small niggers," in their nursery. We find
their cage airy enough; it is a house with a large piazza completely
inclosed in coarse lattice-work, so that the _pequenuelos_ cannot
tumble out, nor the nurses desert their charge. Our lady friend
produces a key, unlocking a small gate which admits us. We found, as
usual, the girls of eight and upwards tending the babies, and one
elderly woman superintending them. On our arrival, African drums,
formed of logs hollowed out, and covered with skin at the end, were
produced. Two little girls proceeded to belabor these primitive
instruments, and made a sort of rhythmic strumming, which kept time to
a monotonous chant. Two other girls executed a dance to this, which,
for its slowness, might be considered an African minuet. The dancing
children were bright-looking, and not ungraceful. Work stops at noon
for a recess; and the mothers run from the field to visit the
imprisoned babies, whom they carry to their own homes and keep till the
afternoon-hour for work comes round, which it does at two P.M. We went
next to the negro-houses, which are built, as we have described others,
contiguous, in one hollow square. On this plantation the food of the
negroes is cooked for them, and in the middle of the inclosed square
stood the cooking-apparatus, with several large caldrons. Still, we
found little fires in most of the houses, and the inmates employed in
concocting some tidbit or other. A hole in the roof serves for a
chimney, where there is one, but they as often have the fire just
before their door. The slaves on this plantation looked in excellent
condition, and had, on the whole, cheerful countenances. The good
proportion of their increase showed that they were well treated, as on
estates where they are overworked they increase scarcely or not at all.
We found some of the men enjoying a nap between a board and a blanket.
Most of the women seemed busy about their household operations. The
time from twelve to two is given to the negroes, besides an hour or two
after work in the evening, before they are locked up for the night.
This time they improve mostly in planting and watering their little
gardens, which are their only source of revenue. The negroes on this
estate had formed a society amongst themselves for the accumulation of
money; and our friend, the manager of the plantation, told us that they
had on his books two thousand dollars to their credit. One man alone
had amassed six hundred dollars, a very considerable sum, under the
circumstances. We visited also the house of the mayoral, or overseer,
whose good face seemed in keeping with the general humane arrangements
of the place,--as humane, at least, as the system permits. The negroes
all over the island have Sunday for themselves; and on Sunday
afternoons they hold their famous balls, which sometimes last until
four o'clock on Monday morning. Much of the illness among the negroes
is owing to their imprudence on these and like occasions. Pneumonia is
the prevalent disease with them, as with the slaves in our own South;
it is often acute and fatal. Everything in Cuba has such a tendency to
go on horseback, that we could not forbear asking if dead men did, and
were told that it was so,--the dead negroes being temporarily inclosed
in a box, and conveyed to the cemetery on the back of a horse. Our
friend, seeing our astonishment, laughed, and told us that the poor
whites were very glad to borrow the burial-horse and box, to furnish
their own funerals.

Dinner was served at four o'clock, quite informally, in the one
sitting-room of the house. A black girl brushed off the flies with a
paper fly-brush, and another waited on table. The dinner was excellent;
but I have already given so many bills of fare in these letters, that I
will content myself with mentioning the novelty of a Cuban
country-dish, a sort of stew, composed of ham, beef, mutton, potatoes,
sweet potatoes, _yuca_, and yams. This is called _Ayacco_, and is a
characteristic dish, like eel-soup in Hamburg, or salt codfish in
Boston;--as is usual in such cases, it is more relished by the
inhabitants than by their visitors. On the present occasion, however,
it was only one among many good things, which were made better by
pleasant talk, and were succeeded by delicious fruits and coffee. After
dinner we visited the vegetable garden, and the well, where we found
Candido, the rich negro who had saved six hundred dollars, drawing
water with the help of a blind mule. Now the philanthrope of our party
was also a phrenologist, and had conceived a curiosity to inspect the
head of the very superior negro who had made all this money; so, at his
request, Candido was summoned from the well, and ordered to take off
his hat. This being removed disclosed the covering of a cotton
handkerchief, of which he was also obliged to divest himself. Candido
was much too well bred to show any signs of contumacy; but the
expression of his countenance varied, under the observation of the
phrenologist, from wonder to annoyance, and from that to the extreme of
sullen, silent wrath. The reason was obvious,--he supposed himself
brought up with a view to bargain and sale; and when informed that he
had a good head, he looked much inclined to give somebody else a bad
one. He was presently allowed to go back to his work; and our
sympathies went with him, as it would probably take some days to efface
from his mind the painful impression that he was to be sold, the last
calamity that can happen to a negro who is in kind hands. We now
wandered through the long avenues of palm and fruit trees with which
the estate was planted, and saw the stout black wenches at their
out-door occupations, which at this time consisted chiefly in raking
and cleansing the ground about the roots of the trees and flowers.
Their faces brightened as their employers passed, and the smaller
children kissed hands. Returned to the house, we paused awhile to enjoy
the evening red, for the sun was already below the horizon. Then came
the _volante_, and with heartfelt thanks and regrets we suffered it to
take us away.

And who had been the real hero of this day? Who but Roque, fresh from
town, with his experience of Carnival, and his own accounts of the
masked ball, the Paseo, and the Senorita's beaux? All that durst
followed him to the gate, and kissed hands after him. _"Adios, Roque!
Roque, adios!"_ resounded on all sides; and Roque, the mysterious one,
actually smiled in conscious superiority, as he nodded farewell, and
galloped off, dragging us after him.

As we drove back to Matanzas in the moonlight, a sound of horses' feet
made us aware that Don Antonito, the young friend who had planned and
accompanied our day's excursion, was to be our guard of honor on the
lonely road. A body-servant accompanied him, likewise mounted. Don
Antonito rode a milk-white Cuban pony, whose gait was soft, swift, and
stealthy as that of a phantom horse. His master might have carried a
brimming glass in either hand, without spilling a drop, or might have
played chess, or written love-letters on his back, so smoothly did he
tread the rough, stony road. All its pits and crags and jags, the pony
made them all a straight line for his rider, whose unstirred figure and
even speech made this quite discernible. For when a friend talks to you
on the trot, much gulping doth impede his conversation,--and there is
even a good deal of wallop in a young lady's gallop. But our friend's
musical Spanish ran on like a brook with no stones in it, that merely
talks to the moonlight for company. And such moonlight as it was that
rained down upon us, except where the palm-trees spread their inverted
parasols, and wouldn't let it! And such a glorification of all trees
and shrubs, including the palm, which we are almost afraid to call
again by name, lest it should grow "stuck up," and imagine there were
no other trees but itself! And such a combination of tropical silence,
warmth, and odor! Even in the night, we did not forget that the
aloe-hedges had red in them, which made all the ways beautiful by day.
Oh! it was what good Bostonians call "a lovely time"; and it was with a
sigh of fulness that we set down the goblet of enjoyment, drained to
the last drop, and getting, somehow, always sweeter towards the bottom.

For it was set down at the Ensor House, which we are to leave to-night,
half-regretful at not having seen the scorpion by which we always
expected to be bitten; for we had heard such accounts of it, patrolling
the galleries with its venomous tail above its head, that we had
thought a sight might be worth a bite. It was not to be, however. The
luggage is brought; John is gratified with a _peso_; and we take leave
with entire goodwill.

I mention our departure, only because it was Cuban and characteristic.
Returning by boat to Havana, we were obliged to be on board by ten
o'clock that evening, the boat starting at eleven. Of course, the
steamer was nowhere but a mile out in the stream; and a little
cockle-shell of a row-boat was our only means of attaining her. How
different, ye good New Yorkers and Bostonians, from your afternoon walk
on board the "Bay State," with valise and umbrella in hand, and all the
flesh-pots of Egypt in--well, in remembrance! After that degree of
squabbling among the boatmen which serves to relieve the feelings of
that habitually disappointed class of men, we chose our craft, and were
rowed to the steamer, whose sides were steep and high out of water. The
arrangements on board were peculiar. The body of the main deck was
occupied by the _gentlemen's_ cabin, which was large and luxurious. A
tiny after-cabin was fitted up for the ladies. In the region of the
machinery were six horrible staterooms, bare and dirty, the berths
being furnished simply with cane-bottoms, a pillow, and one unclean
sheet. Those who were decoyed into these staterooms endured them with
disgust while the boat was at anchor; but when the paddle-wheels began
to revolve, and dismal din of clang and bang and whirr came down about
their ears, and threatened to unroof the fortress of the brain, why,
then they fled madly, precipitately, leaving their clothes mostly
behind them. But I am anticipating. The passengers arrived and kept
arriving; and we watched, leaning over the side, for Don Antonito, who
was to accompany our voyage. Each boat had its little light; and to see
them dancing and toppling on the water was like a fairy scene. At last
came our friend; and after a little talk and watching of the stars, we
betook ourselves to rest.

Many of the Dons were by this time undressed, and smoking in their
berths. As there was no access to the ladies' cabin, save through the
larger one, she who went thither awaited a favorable moment and ran,
looking neither to the right hand nor the left. The small space was
tolerably filled by Cuban ladies in full dress.--_Mem_. They always
travel in their best clothes.--The first navigation among them was a
real balloon-voyage, with collisions; but they soon collapsed and went
to bed. All is quiet now; and she of whom we write has thrown herself
upon the first vacant bed, spreading first a clean napkin on the
extremely serviceable pillow. Sleep comes; but what is this that
murders sleep? A diminutive male official going to each berth, and
arousing its fair occupant with "Dona Teresita," or whatever the name
may be, "favor me with the amount of your passage-money." No comment is
necessary; here, no tickets,--here, no stewardess to mediate between
the unseen captain and the unprotected female! The sanctuary of the sex
invaded at midnight, without apology and without rebuke! Think of that,
_those_ passengers who have not paid their fare, and, when invited to
call at the captain's office and settle, do so, and be thankful! The
male passengers underwent a similar visitation. It is the Cuban idea of
a compendious and economic arrangement.

And here ends our account of Matanzas, our journey thither, stay, and
return. Peace rest upon the fair city! May the earthquake and hurricane
spare it! May the hateful Spanish government sit lightly on its strong
shoulders! May the filibusters attack it with kisses, and conquer it
with loving-kindness! So might it be with the whole island-vale!

* * * * *

THE FIRST AND THE LAST.

It was the last December of the eighteenth century. All night a fierce
northeast snow-storm had been hissing and drifting through the frozen
air, pelting angrily at the shuttered and curtained windows of the
rich, and shrieking with scornful laughter as it forced its way through
the ill-fitting casements and loose doors of the poor, clutching at
them with icy fingers as they cowered over their poor fires, and
spreading over the garret-beds in which they sought to hide from him a
premature shroud of cold white snow.

But with morning the storm ceased, and a little before noon the sun,
peering from behind his clouds, seemed to wink with astonishment at
seeing how much had been done in his absence.

Not only the sun, but Mr. Phineas Coffin, guardian of the "town's
poor," in the town of Newport, was astir, and, standing at the door of
the "poor-'us," bent a contemplative eye upon the progress made by two
stout youths who were clearing the snow from the sidewalks and paths
upon his premises.

Mr. Coffin perceived that a trial of skill and speed was going on
between one of his own pioneers and a lad similarly engaged on behalf
of the next estate. About half-way between the rapidly approaching
competitors stood a rough-hewn block of stone, marking the boundaries
of the two estates.

To first reach this, the winning-post, was evidently the emulous desire
of each. As they approached near and nearer, the snow flew from their
shovels with a force and velocity which would certainly have reminded
Mr. Coffin of a steam snow-plough, had he ever seen or heard, of such a
thing, which he most assuredly never had.

Each boy performed prodigies of skill and valor. The "poor-'us" lad
evidently gained, and his patron did not conceal a wide smile of
satisfaction; the rival looked up, saw it, was stung with generous
rage, threw himself with fury upon his shovel, and in three enormous
plunges laid bare his own side of the post, before "poor-'us" had come
within a foot of it.

Then, clapping his numb fingers upon his thighs, the successful
champion uttered a melodious crow, which so disgusted the spectator
that he was about to retire within doors, when his eyes fell upon a
thinly clad, timid-looking woman who was advancing along the newly
opened path, casting deprecating glances at the two boys, who from
peaceful rivalry were now proceeding to open warfare, carried on with
the ammunition so plentifully spread before them.

Nor was the alarm of the poor woman groundless; for, as she advanced
into the battle-field, she found herself saluted upon the breast with
an immense snow-ball, which, being of loose construction, adhered to
the red broadcloth cloak of the pedestrian, forming a conspicuous and
remarkable ornament to that garment.

"Come, stop that, you young limbs, or I'll----," shouted the chivalric
Phineas, hastily gathering, as he spoke, material for a formidable
missile, which, being completed before the sentence, was used by him as
a ready means of rounding his period, being at once more forcible and
easier to come at than the words which most men would have used.

Besides, Nathaniel, the poorhouse lad, turning round at sound of his
master's voice, presented so fair a mark, with his gaping mouth, that,
half involuntarily, the snow-ball left Mr. Coffin's hand, and the next
instant formed the contents of Nathaniel's open mouth, leaving,
however, a liberal surplusage to ornament his cheeks, chin, and nose.
The recipient of this bulletin choked, spluttered, and pawed at his
face after the manner of a cat who has tried to eat a wasp.

His rival did not seek to conceal the expression of his triumph and
derision, the consequence of which was, that, as soon as "poor-'us"
could see, he fell upon his antagonist, and both immediately
disappeared from view in the bosom of an enormous drift.

"Come right along, Mum," called Mr. Coffin to the horror-stricken
woman, who stood contemplating the spot where a convulsive floundering
and heaving beneath the snow showed that the frozen element had not yet
extinguished the fire of passion in the breasts of the buried
heroes,--"come right along, and don't be scaart of them young uns.
They're dreffal rude, I know; but then boys will be boys."

The woman returned no answer to this time-honored defence of youthful
enormities, but, hurrying on, reached the door, saying,--

"How's your health this morning, Mr. Coffin?"

"Waal, Ma'am, I'm pooty middlln' well, thank ye," replied Phineas,
slowly, and with an evident effort at recollection; then suddenly
added, with more vivacity,--

"Why, it's Widder Janes,--a'n't it? Declare to goodness I didn't know
ye, with yer hood over yer face. Walk in, Miss Janes, and see my
woman,--won't ye?"

"Waal, I dunno as I can stop," replied the widow, beginning,
nevertheless, to shake the snow from her scanty skirts, and to stamp
her numb feet, which were protected from the biting cold by a pair of
old yarn socks, drawn over the shoes.

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