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Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 8, No. 46, August, 1861 by Various

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THE

ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS.

VOL. VIII--AUGUST, 1861.--NO. XLVI.

TREES IN ASSEMBLAGES.

The subject of Trees cannot be exhausted by treating them as individuals
or species, even with a full enumeration of their details. Some trees
possess but little interest, except as they are grouped in assemblages
of greater or less extent. A solitary Fir or Spruce, for example, when
standing in an inclosure or by the roadside, is a stiff and disagreeable
object; but a deep forest of Firs is not surpassed in grandeur by one of
any other species. These trees must be assembled in extensive groups to
affect us agreeably; while the Elm, the Oak, and other wide-spreading
trees, are grand objects of sight, when standing alone, or in any other
situation.

I will not detain the reader with a prolix account of the classification
of trees in assemblages, but simply glance at a few points. The Romans
used four different words to express these distinctions. When they spoke
of a wood with reference to its timber, they used the word _silva_;
_sal[Transcriber's note: remainder of word illegible]_, was a collection
of wild-wood in the mountains; _nemus_, a smaller collection, partaking
of cultivation, and answering to our ideas of a grove; _lucus_ was a
wood, of any description, which was set apart for religious purposes,
or dedicated to some Deity. In the English language we can make these
distinctions intelligible only by the use of adjectives. A _forest_ is
generally understood to be a wild-wood of considerable extent, retaining
all its natural features. A _grove_ is a smaller assemblage of trees,
not crowded together, but possessing very generally their full
proportions, and divested of their undergrowth. Other inferior groups
are designated as _copse_ and _thicket_. The words _park_, _clump_,
_arboretum_, and the like, are mere technical terms, that do not come
into use in a general description of Nature.

Groves, fragments of forest, and inferior groups only are particularly
interesting in landscape. An unbroken forest of wide extent makes but
a dreary picture and an unattractive journey, on account of its gloomy
uniformity. Hence the primitive state of the earth, before it was
modified by human hands, must have been sadly wanting in those romantic
features that render a scene the most attractive. Nature must be
combined with Art, however simple and rude, and associated with human
life, to become deeply affecting to the imagination. But it is not
necessary that the artificial objects of a landscape should be of a
grand historical description, to produce these agreeable effects: humble
objects, indeed, are the most consonant with Nature's sublime aspects,
because they manifest no seeming endeavor to rival them. In the deep
solitary woods, the sight of a woodman's hut in a clearing, of a
farmer's cottage, or of a mere sheepfold, immediately awakens a tender
interest, and enlivens the scene with a tinge of romance.

The earth must have been originally covered with forest, like the
American continent in the time of Columbus. This has in all cases
disappeared, as population has increased; and groves, fragments of
wild-wood, small groups, and single trees have taken its place. Great
Britain, once renowned for its extensive woods, now exhibits only
smaller assemblages, chiefly of an artificial character, which are more
interesting to the landscape-gardener than to the lover of Nature's
primitive charms. Parks, belts, arboretums, and clipped hedge-rows,
however useful as contributing to pleasure, convenience, or science, are
not the most interesting features of wood-scenery. But the customs of
the English nobility, while they have artificialized all the fairest
scenes in the country, and ruined them for the eyes of the poet or the
painter, have been the means of preserving some valuable forests,
which under other circumstances would have been utterly destroyed.
A deer-forest belonging to the Duke of Athol comprises four hundred
thousand acres; the forest of Farquharson contains one hundred and
thirty thousand acres; and several others of smaller extent are still
preserved as deer-parks. Thus do the luxuries of the rich tend, in
some instances, to preserve those natural objects of which they are in
general the principal destroyers.

Immense forests still overspread a great part of Northern Russia,
through which it has been asserted that a squirrel might traverse
hundreds of miles, without touching the ground, by leaping from tree to
tree. Since the general adoption of railroad travelling, however, great
ravages have been made in these forests, and not many years will be
required to reduce them to fragments. In the South of Europe a great
part of the territory is barren of woods, and the climate has suffered
from this cause, which has diminished the bulk of the streams and
increased the severity of droughts. But Nature has established a partial
remedy for the evil arising from the imprudent destruction of forests,
in lofty and precipitous mountains, that serve not only to perpetuate
moisture for the supply of rain to the neighboring countries, but
contribute also to preserve the timber in their inaccessible ravines.
Were it not for this safeguard of mountains, the South of Europe would
ere this have become a desert, from the destruction of its forests, like
Sahara, whose barrenness was anciently produced by the same cause.

Most of the territory of North America is still comparatively a
wilderness; but in the United States the forests have been so
extensively invaded, that they seldom exhibit any distinct outlines, and
few of them possess the character of unique assemblages. They are but
scattered fragments of the original forest, through which the settlers
have made their irregular progress from east to west, diversifying it
with roads, farms, and villages. The recent clearings are palisaded by
tall trees, exhibiting a naked outline of skeleton timber, without any
attractions. It is in the old States only that we see anything like a
picturesque grouping of woods; and here, the absence of art and design,
in the formation and relative disposition of these groups, gives them
a peculiar interest to the lover of natural scenery. There is a charm,
therefore, in New-England landscape, existing nowhere else in
equal degree; but this is rapidly giving place to those artificial
improvements that are destined to ruin the face of the country, which
owes its present attractions to the spontaneous efforts of Nature,
modified only by the unartistic operations of a simple agriculture.

Travelling in a forest, though delightful as an occasional recreation,
is, when continued many hours in succession, unless one be engaged
in scientific researches, very monotonous and wearisome. Even the
productions of a forest are not so various as those of a tract in which
all the different conditions of wildness and culture are intermingled. A
view of an unbroken wilderness from an elevation is equally monotonous.
Wood must be blended with other forms of landscape, with pasture and
tillage, with roads, houses, and farms, to convey to the mind the
most agreeable sensations. The monotony of unbroken forest-scenery is
partially relieved in the autumn by the mixed variety of tints belonging
to the different trees; but this does not wholly subdue the prevailing
expression of dreariness and gloom.

Nothing can surpass the splendor of this autumnal pageantry, as beheld
in the Green Mountains of Vermont and Western Massachusetts, in the
early part of October. This region abounds in Sugar-Maples, which are
very beautifully tinted, and in a sufficient variety of other trees to
delight the eye with every specious hue. A remarkable appearance may
always be observed in Maples. Some trees of this kind are entirely
green, with the exception perhaps of a single bough, which is of a
bright crimson or scarlet. Sometimes the lower half of the foliage will
be green, while the upper part is entirely crimsoned, resembling a spire
of flame rising out of a mass of verdure. In other cases this order is
reversed, and the tree presents the appearance of a green spire
rising out of flame. We see no end to the variety of these apparently
capricious phenomena, which some have explained by supposing the
colored branches to be affected with partial disease that hastens their
maturity: but this can hardly be admitted as the true explanation,
as such appearances exist when no other symptoms of malady can be
discovered.

So much has been said and written of late in regard to the tints of
autumn leaves, that the writer of this cannot be expected to advance
anything new concerning them. Let me remark, however, that these
beautiful tintings are not due to the action of frost, which is, on
the contrary, highly prejudicial to them, as we may observe on several
different occasions. If, for example, a frost should occur in September
of sufficient intensity to cut down the tender annuals of our
gardens,--after this, when the tints begin to appear, the outer portion
of the foliage that was touched by the frost will exhibit a sullied and
rusty hue. The effects of these early frosts are seldom apparent while
the leaves are green, except on close inspection; for a very intense
frost is required to sear and roll up the leaves. Early autumnal frosts
seldom do more than to injure their capacity to receive a fine tint when
they become mature.

The next occasion that renders the injurious effects of frost apparent
is later in the season, after the tints are very generally developed.
Every severe frost that happens at this period impairs their lustre, as
we may perceive on any day succeeding a frosty night, when the woods,
which were previously in their gayest splendor, will be faded to a
duller and more uniform shade,--as if the whole mass had been dipped
into a brownish dye, leaving the peculiar tints of each species dimly
conspicuous through this shading. The most brilliant and unsullied hues
are displayed in a cool, but not frosty autumn, succeeding a moderate
summer. Very warm weather in autumn hastens the coloring process, and
renders the hues proportionally transient. I have known Maple woods,
early in October, to be completely embrowned and stripped of their
leaves by two days of summer heat. Cool days and nights, unattended with
frost, are the favorable conditions for producing and preserving the
beauty of autumnal wood-scenery.

The effects of heat and frost are not so apparent in Oak woods, which
have a more coriaceous and persistent foliage than other deciduous
trees: but Oaks do not attain the perfection of their beauty, until
the Ash, the Maple, and the Tupelo--the glory of the first period of
autumn--have shed a great portion of their leaves. The last-named trees
are in their splendor during a period of about three weeks after the
middle of September, varying with the character of the season.

Oaks are not generally tinted until October, and are brightest near the
third week of this month, preserving their lustre, in great measure,
until the hard frosts of November destroy the leaves. The colors of the
different Oaks are neither so brilliant nor so variegated as those of
Maples; but they are more enduring, and serve more than those of any
other woods to give character to our autumnal landscapes.

It would be difficult to convey to the mind of a person who had never
witnessed this brilliant, but solemn pageantry of the dying year, a
clear idea of its magnificence. Nothing else in Nature will compare
with it: for, though flowers are more beautiful than tinted leaves, no
assemblage of flowers, or of flowering trees and shrubs, can produce
such a deeply affecting scene of beauty as the autumn woods. If we would
behold them In their greatest brilliancy and variety, we must journey
during the first period of the Fall of the Leaf in those parts of the
country where the Maple, the Ash, and the Tupelo are the prevailing
timber. If we stand, at this time, on a moderate elevation affording a
view of a wooded swamp rising into upland and melting imperceptibly into
mountain landscape, we obtain a fair sight of the different assemblages
of species, as distinguished by their tints. The Oaks will be marked, at
this early period, chiefly by their unaltered verdure. In the lowland
the scarlet and crimson hues of the Maple and the Tupelo predominate,
mingled with a superb variety of colors from the shrubbery, whose
splendor is always the greatest on the borders of ponds and
water-courses, and frequently surpasses that of the trees. As the plain
rises into the hill-side, the Ash-trees may be distinguished by their
peculiar shades of salmon, mulberry, and purple, and the Hickories by
their invariable yellows. The Elm, the Lime, and the Buttonwood are
always blemished and rusty: they add no brilliancy to the spectacle,
serving only to sober and relieve other parts of the scenery.

When the second period of the Fall of the Leaf has arrived, the woods
that were first tinted have mostly become leafless. The grouping of
different species is, therefore, very apparent at this time,--some
assemblages presenting the denuded appearance of winter, some remaining
still green, while the Oaks are the principal attraction, with an
intermixture of a few other species, whose foliage has been protected
and the development of their hues retarded by some peculiarity of
situation. Green rows of Willows may also be seen by road-sides in damp
places, and irregular groups of them near the water-courses. The foreign
trees--seldom found in woods--are still unchanged, as we may observe
wherever there is a row of European Elms, Weeping Willows, or a
hedge-row of Privet.

One might suppose that a Pine wood must look particularly sombre in this
grand spectacle of beauty; but it cannot be denied that in those regions
where there is a considerable proportion of Pines the perfection of this
scenery is witnessed. Something is needful to relieve the eye as it
wanders over such a profusion of brilliant colors. Pine woods provide
this relief, and cause the tinted forest groups to stand out in greater
prominence. In many districts where Pines were the original growth, they
still constitute the larger sylvan assemblages, while the deciduous
trees stand in scattered groups on the edge of the forest, and the
contiguous plain. The verdurous Pine wood forms a picturesque groundwork
to set off the various groups in front of it; and the effect of a
scarlet Oak or Tupelo rising like a spire of flame in the midst of
verdure is far more striking than if it stood where it was unaffected by
contrast.

The cause of the superior tinting of the American forest, compared with
that of Europe, has never been satisfactorily explained, though it
seems to be somewhat inexplicably connected with the brightness of the
American climate. It is a subject that has not engaged the attention of
scientific travellers, who seem to have regarded it as worthy only of
the describer of scenery. It may, however, deserve more attention as a
scientific fact than has been generally supposed,--particularly as one
of the phenomena that perhaps distinguish the productions of the eastern
from those of the western coasts of the two grand divisions of the
earth. I have observed that the Smoke-tree, which is a Sumach from
China, and the Cydonia Japonica, are as brightly colored in autumn as
any of our indigenous shrubs; while the Silver-Maple, which, though
indigenous in the Western States, probably originated on the western
coast of America, shows none of the fine tinting so remarkable in the
other American Maples. These facts have led me to conjecture that this
superior tinting of the autumnal foliage may be peculiar to the
eastern coasts both of the Old and the New Continent, in the northern
hemisphere. May not this phenomenon bear some relation to the colder
winters and the hotter summers of the eastern compared with the western
coasts? I offer this suggestion as a query, not as a theory, and
with the hope that it may induce travellers to make some particular
observations in reference to it.

The indigenous trees of America, or rather of the Atlantic side of this
continent, are remarkable not only for their superior autumnal hues,
but also for the shorter period during which the foliage remains on the
trees and retains its verdure. Our fruit-trees, which are all exotics,
retain their foliage long after our forest-trees are leafless; and if
we visit an arboretum in the latter part of October, we may select the
American from the foreign species, by observing that the latter are
still green, while the others are either entirely denuded, or in that
colored array which immediately precedes the fall of the leaf.
The exotics may likewise be distinguished in the spring by their
precocity,--their leaves being out a week or ten days earlier than the
leaves of our trees. Hence, if we take both the spring and autumn into
the account, the foreign, or rather the European species, show a period
of verdure of three or four weeks' greater duration than the American
species. Many of the former, like the Weeping Willow, do not lose
their verdure, nor shed their leaves, until the first wintry blasts of
November freeze them upon their branches and roll them into a crisp.

In a natural forest there is a very small proportion of perfectly formed
trees; and these occur only in such places as permit some individuals to
stand isolated from the rest, and to spread out their branches to their
full extent. When we walk in a forest, we observe several conditions
which are favorable to this full expansion of their forms. On the
borders of a pond or morass, or of an extensive quarry, the trees
extend their branches into the opening, but, as they are cramped on the
opposite side, they are only half developed. But this expansion takes
place on the side that is exposed to view: hence the incomparable beauty
of a wood on the borders of a pond, or on the banks of a river, as
viewed from the water; also of a wood on the outside of an islet in a
lake or river.

Fissures or cavities sometimes occur in a large rock, allowing
a solitary tree that has become rooted there to attain its full
proportions. It is in such places, and on sudden eminences that rise
above the forest-level, on a precipice, for example, that overlooks the
surrounding wood, that the forest shows individual trees possessing the
characters of standards, like those we see by the roadsides and in the
open field. We must conclude, therefore, that a primitive forest must
contain but a very small proportion of perfect trees: these are, for
the most part, the occupants of land cleared by cultivation, and may be
found also among the sparse growth of timber that has come up in pasture
land, where the constant browsing of cattle prevents the formation of
any dense assemblages.

In the opinion of Whately, grandeur is the prevailing character of a
forest, and beauty that of a grove. This distinction may seem to
be correct, when such collections of wood exhibit all their proper
characters: but perfectly unique forms of wood are seldom found in this
country, where almost all the timber is of spontaneous growth. We have
genuine forests; but other forms of wood are of a mixed character, and
we have rather fragments of forest than legitimate groves. In the South
of Europe many of the woods are mere plantations, in which the trees
were first set in rows, with straight avenues, or vistas, passing
directly through them from different points. In an assemblage of this
kind there can be nothing of that interesting variety observed in a
natural forest, and which is manifestly wanting even in woods planted
with direct reference to the attainment of these natural appearances.
"It is curious to see," as Gilpin remarks, "with what richness of
invention, if I may so speak, Nature mixes and intermixes her trees, and
shapes them into such a wonderful variety of groups and beautiful forms.
Art may admire and attempt to plant and to form combinations like hers;
but whoever observes the wild combinations of a forest and compares them
with the attempts of Art has little taste, if he do not acknowledge with
astonishment the superiority of Nature's workmanship."

When a tract is covered with a dense growth of tall trees, especially of
Pines, which have but little underbrush, the wood represents overhead a
vast canopy of verdure supported by innumerable lofty pillars. No one
could enter these dark solitudes without feeling a deep impression of
sublimity, especially if it be an hour of general stillness of the
winds. The voices of animals and of birds, particularly the hammering
of the woodpecker, serve to magnify our perceptions of grandeur. A very
slight sound, during a calm in one of these deep woods, like the
ticking of a clock in a vast hall, has a distinctness almost startling,
especially if there be but little undergrowth. These feeble sounds
afford one a more vivid sense of the magnitude of the place than louder
sounds, that differ less from those we hear in the open plain. The
canopy of foliage overhead and the absence of undergrowth are favorable
to those reverberations which are so perceptible in a Pine wood.

In a grove we experience different sensations. Here pleasantness and
cheerfulness are combined, and the feeling of grandeur is excited only
perhaps by the sight of some noble tree. In a grove the trees are
generally well formed, many of them being nearly perfect in their
proportions. Their shadows are cast separately upon the ground, which is
green beneath them as in an orchard. If we look upon them from a near
eminence, we observe a variety of outlines, and may identify the
different species by their shape, while in the forest we see one
unbroken mass of foliage. A wild-wood is frequently converted into a
grove by clearing it of undergrowth and leaving the space a grassy lawn.
It may then yield us shade, coolness, and other agreeable sensations of
a cultivated wood, but the individual trees always retain their gaunt
and imperfect shapes.

The greater part of the woodland of this country partakes of the
characters of both forest and grove, exhibiting a pleasant admixture of
each, combined with pasture and thicket. In Great Britain the woods are
chiefly groves and parks: a wild-wood of spontaneous growth is now rare
in that country, once renowned for the extent and beauty of its forests.
Most of our American woods are fragments of forest, particularly in
the Western States, where they stand out prominently, and deform
the landscape by presenting a perpendicular front of naked pillars,
unrelieved by any foliage. They remind one of those houses, in the city,
which have been cut asunder to widen a street, leaving the interior
rooms and partition-walls exposed to view. These sections of wood are
the grand picturesque deformity of a country lately cleared. In the
older settlements, a recent growth of wood has in many instances come
up outside of these palisades, serving in a measure to conceal their
baldness.

The most lovely appearances in landscape are caused by the spontaneous
growth of miscellaneous trees, some in dense assemblages and some in
scattered groups, with here and there a few single trees standing in
open space. Such is the scenery of considerable portions of the Atlantic
States, both North and South. These varied assemblages of wood and
shrubbery are the characteristic features of the landscape in the
older villages of New England, and indeed of all the States that were
established before the Revolution. But the New-England system of
farming--so much abhorred by those who wish to bring agriculture to
such a state of improvement as shall make it profitable exclusively
to capitalists--has been more favorable to the sylvan beauty of the
landscape than that of any other part of the continent. At the South,
especially, where agriculture is carried on in large plantations, we see
wide fields of tillage, and forest groups of corresponding size. But the
small and independent farming of New England--as favorable to general
happiness as it is to beautiful scenery--has produced a charming variety
of wood, pasture, and tillage, so agreeably intermixed that one is never
weary of looking upon it. The varied surface of the landscape, in the
uneven parts which are not mountainous, has increased these advantages,
producing an endless multitude of those limited views which may be
termed picturesque.

In no other part of the country are the minor inequalities of surface so
frequent as in New England: I allude to that sort of ruggedness which is
unfavorable to any "mammoth" system of agriculture, and plainly evinces
that Nature and Providence have designed this part of the country for
free and independent labor. Here little meadows, of a few acres in
extent, are common, encircled by green pasture hills or by wood. A
rolling surface is more favorable to grandeur of scenery; but nothing
is more beautiful than landscape formed by hills rising suddenly out of
perfect levels. As it is not my present purpose to treat of landscape in
general, I will simply remark that the barrenness of a great part of the
soil of the Eastern States is favorable to picturesque scenery. This may
seem a paradoxical assertion to those who can see no beauty except
in universal fatness; but unvaried luxuriance is fatal to variety of
scenes, though it undoubtedly encourages the development of individual
growth. An agreeable intermixture of various sylvan assemblages is one
of the effects of a barren soil, containing numerous fertile tracts.
Not having in general sufficient strength to produce timber, it covers
itself with diverse groups of vegetation, corresponding with the
varieties of soil and surface. Thus, in a certain degree, we are obliged
to confess that beauty springs out of Nature's deficiencies.

We live in a latitude and upon a soil, therefore, which are favorable
to the harmonious grouping of vegetation. As we proceed southward, we
witness a constant increase of the number of species gathered together
in a single group. Nature is more addicted at the North to the habit of
classifying her productions and of assembling them in uniform phalanxes.
The painter, on this account, finds more to interest the eye and to
employ his pencil in the picturesque regions of frost and snow; while
the botanist finds more to exercise his observation in the crowded
variety that marks the region of perpetual summer.

But while vegetation is more generally social in high latitudes, several
families of Northern trees are entirely wanting in this quality. Seldom
is a forest composed chiefly of Elms, Locusts, or Willows. Oaks and
Birches are associated in forests, Elms in groves, and Willows in small
groups following the courses of streams. Those Northern trees which are
most eminently social, including the two just named, are the Beech, the
Maple, the Hickory, the coniferous trees, and some others; and by the
predominance of any one kind the character of the soil may be partially
determined. There is no tree that grows so abundantly in miry land,
both North and South upon this continent, as the Red Maple. It occupies
immense tracts of morass in the Middle States, and is the last tree
which is found in swamps, according to Michaux, as the Birch is the last
we meet in ascending mountains. The Sugar-Maple is confined mostly to
the Northeastern parts of the continent. Poplars are not generally
associated exclusively in forests; but at the point where the Ohio
and the Mississippi mingle their waters are grand forests of Deltoid
Poplars, that stamp upon the features of that region a very peculiar
physiognomy.

The characteristics of different woods, composed chiefly of one family
of trees, would make an interesting study; but it would be tiresome
to enter minutely into their details. Some are distinguished by a
superfluity, others by a deficiency of undergrowth. In general, Pine and
Fir woods are of the latter description, differing in this respect
from deciduous woods. These differences are most apparent in large
assemblages of wood, which have a flora as well as a fauna of their own.
The same shrubs and herbaceous plants, for example, are not common to
Oak and to Pine woods. There is a difference also in the cleanness and
beauty of their stems. The gnarled habit of the Oak is conspicuous
even in the most crowded forest, and coniferous woods are apt to be
disfigured by dead branches projecting from the bole. The Birch, the
Poplar, and the Beech are remarkable for the straightness, evenness, and
beauty of their shafts, when assembled in a dense wood.

Some of the most beautiful forests in high latitudes consist of White
Canoe-Birches. We see them in Massachusetts only in occasional groups,
but farther north, upon river-banks, they form woods of considerable
extent and remarkable beauty; and with their tall shafts, and their
smooth white bark, resembling pillars of marble, supporting a canopy of
bright green foliage, on a light feathery spray, they constitute one of
the picturesque attractions of a Northern tour. Nature seems to indicate
the native habitat of this noble tree by causing its exterior to bear
the whiteness of snow, and it would be difficult to estimate its
importance to the aboriginal inhabitants of Northern latitudes. Yellow
Birch woods are not inferior in their attractions: individual trees
of this species are often distinguished among other forest timber by
extending their feathery summits above the level of the other trees.

The small White Birch is never assembled in large forest groups. Like
the Alder, it seems to be employed by Nature for the shading of her
living pictures, and for producing those gradations which are the charm
of spontaneous wood-scenery. In this part of the continent, a Pitch-Pine
wood is commonly fringed with White Birches, and outside of these with
a lower growth of Hazels, Cornels, and Vacciniums, uniting them
imperceptibly with the herbage of the plain. The importance of this
native embroidery is not sufficiently considered by those industrious
plodders who are constantly destroying wayside shrubbery, as if it were
the pest of the farm,--nor by those "improvers," on the other hand, who
wage an eternal warfare against little spontaneous groups of wood, as
if they thought everything outside of the forest an intruder, if it was
planted by accident, and had not cost money before it was placed there.
Give me an old farm, with its stone-walls draped with Poison-Ivy and
Glycine, and verdurous with a mixed array of Viburnums, Hazels, and
other wild shrubbery, harboring thousands of useful birds, and smiling
over the abundant harvests which they surround, before the finest
artistical landscape in the world!

Pines are remarkably social in their habit, and cover immense tracts in
high latitudes, extending southward, on this continent, as far as the
very boundary of the tropics, where they are found side by side with the
Dwarf Palm of Florida. But in the region of the true Palms the Pine is
wanting. It is worthy of remark, however, that in the fossil vegetation
of the Eocene world these two vegetable tribes are found associated.
This fact, it seems to me, should be attributed to the mixing of the
mountain Pines with the Palms of the sea-level, during that revulsion of
Nature by which they were hurled into the same chaotic heap. We are not
obliged to infer from their contiguity in these geological remains, that
the two species ever flourished together in the same region.

Pine woods possess attractions of a peculiar kind: all lovers of Nature
are enraptured with them, and there is a grandeur about them which is
felt at once, when we enter them. Their dark verdure, their deep shade,
their lofty height, and their branches which are ever mysteriously
murmuring, as they are swayed by the wind, render them singularly solemn
and sublime. This expression is increased by the hollow reverberating
interior of the wood, caused by its clearness and freedom from
underbrush. The ground beneath is covered by a matting of fallen leaves,
making a smooth brown carpet, that renders a walk within its precincts
as comfortable as in a garden. The foliage of the Pine is so hard and
durable that in summer we always find the last autumn's crop lying upon
the ground in a state of perfect soundness, and under it that of the
preceding year only partially decayed. The foliage of two summers,
therefore, lies upon the surface, checking the growth of humble
vegetation, and permitting only certain species of plants to flourish
with vigor.

Mushrooms of various forms and sizes spring out of these decayed leaves,
often rivalling the flowers in elegance. Monotropas, uniting some of
the habits of the Fungi with the botanical characters of the flowering
plants, flourish side by side with the snowy Cypripedium and the
singular Coral-Weed. The evergreen Dewberry, a delicate species of
Rubus, trails its glossy leaves over the turfs, and mingles its beaded
fruit with the scarlet berries of the Mitchella. The Pyrola, named
by the Indians Pipsissewa, and regarded by them as a specific for
consumption, suspends its pale purple flowers in beautiful umbels, as if
to invite the feeble invalid to accept its proffered remedies. Variety,
indeed, may be found in these deep shades; but it exists without
that profusion which in more favored situations often benumbs our
susceptibility to the charms of Nature.

The edging of a Pine wood depends on the character of the soil. The
Pitch-Pine, that delights in sandy plains, is embroidered at the North
by White Birches; and if a road be cut through a wood of this kind,
these graceful trees immediately spring up in abundance by the wayside.
If a pond occurs in the middle of a Pine wood, its margin is covered
first with low bushes, such as the Andromeda, the Myrica, and the
sweet-scented Azalea, then Alders and Willows rise between them and the
forest. On the side of the pond that is bounded by high gravelly banks,
the margin will be covered by Poplars and Birches. The White Pine, the
most noble and the most beautiful tree of the whole coniferous tribe,
predominates in the New-England forest; though some wide tracts are
covered with the more homely Pitch-Pines, which are the trees that scent
the atmosphere on damp still days with their delightful terebinthine
odors. The woods in the vicinity of Concord, N.H., on the banks of the
Merrimack, known by the poetic appellation of "The Dark Plains", are
of this description. In still higher latitudes the dark, majestic Firs
become the prevailing timber, and are regarded as typical of sub-arctic
regions, where they are accompanied, as if to form a striking and
cheerful contrast with their melancholy grandeur, by groups of graceful
Birches, and lively, tremulous Poplars.

The Pine-Barrens of the Southern States are celebrated as healthful
retreats for the inhabitants of seaport towns, whither they resort in
summer for security from the prevailing fevers. They are of a mixed
character, consisting of the Northern Pitch-Pine, the Broom-Pine, and
the Cypress, intermixed with Red Maples, Sweet Gums, and other deciduous
trees. The Pines, however, are the dominant growth: but here they do not
grow so compactly as in colder regions, standing widely apart, with a
frequent intervening growth of Willows and shrubbery. The sparseness of
these woods may be in part attributed to the practice of tapping the
trees for their turpentine, which has caused them for a century past to
be gradually thinned by consequent decay. Their tall, gaunt forms and
almost branchless trunks show that they obtained their principal growth
in a dense wood.

The first time I entered one of these Pine-Barrens was some years since,
in the month of June, when vegetation was in its prime, before the
summer droughts had seared the green herbage, and when the flowering
trees and shrubs were in all their glory. During my botanical rambles in
the wood, I was struck with the multitude of beautiful flowers in its
shady retreats,--seeming the more numerous to me, as I had previously
confined my researches to Northern woods. The Phlox grew here in all its
native grace and delicacy, where it had never known the fostering hand
of Art. Crimson Rhexias, called by the inhabitants Deer-Weed, were
distributed among the grassy knolls, like clusters of Picotees.
Variegated Passion-Flowers were conspicuous on the bare white sand that
checkered the ground, displaying their emblematic forms on their low
repent vines, and reminding the wanderer in these almost trackless
solitudes of that Faith which was founded on humility and crowned with
martyrdom. Here, too, the Spiderwort of our gardens, in a meeker form of
beauty and with a paler radiance, luxuriated under the protection of the
wood. Already I observed the predominance of luxuriant vines, indicating
our nearness to the tropic, wreathed gayly over the tall and branchless
trunks of the trees: some, like the Bignonia, in a full blaze of
crimson; others, like the Climbing Fern, draping the trees in continual
verdure.

These Pines constitute a great part of the timber of the flat country
between the mountains and the coast, and render a journey through
that region singularly monotonous and gloomy. In the low grounds, a
considerable proportion of the wood consists of the Southern Cypress, a
graceful and magnificent tree, whose appearance would be very lively
and cheerful, were it not for the abundance of long trailing "moss"
(_usnea_) that hangs, like funereal drapery, from its branches, and
darkens the whole forest. This parasitic appendant wreathes the woods
sometimes almost in darkness, especially in those immense tracts on the
borders of the Mexican Gulf that consist entirely of Cypress. There it
has been poetically styled the "Garlands of Death," as significant of
the fevers that prevail wherever it is abundant.

It is remarkable that the two extremes of climate are distinguished
by the predominance of evergreens in their vegetation. Thus, the
acicular-leaved trees, consisting of Pines and their congeners, mark the
cold-temperate and sub-arctic zones, in north latitude,--while Myrtles,
Magnolias, and other broad-leaved evergreens, mark the equatorial and
tropical regions. The deciduous trees belong properly to the temperate
zones, and constitute, indeed, the most interesting of all arborescent
vegetation.

With regard to the age of forests, it may be affirmed that there are
some undoubtedly in existence which are coeval with the earliest history
of nations; but no individual trees are of such antiquity. Like nations,
the assemblage may be perpetual, while the members that compose it are
constantly perishing, and leaving their places to be supplied by others
of more recent origin. Probably the earth does not contain forests in
which any tree exceeds a thousand years of age, though the oldest forest
extant may be as ancient as the Chinese Empire; for the oldest trees
are not found in dense assemblages, but are probably such as have grown
singly in isolated situations. As soon as a tree in a forest begins to
feel the infirmities of age, its place is usurped by some young and more
vigorous neighbor, and it is gradually deprived of subsistence in this
unequal contest. The tempests and tornadoes, it may be added, which
occasionally sweep over a country, commonly make the oldest and tallest
trees their victims; for events seem to follow the same course in a
forest as in human society. The most vigorous growers at any period
continue to flourish a certain length of time at the expense of others;
but when they have risen above the common level, they become marks for
destruction,--they fall before certain inimical forces that do not reach
their more humble companions.

It was the opinion of Humboldt, that, if any tract of wooded country
deserves to be considered a part of the great "primeval forest", it is
"that boundless district which, in the torrid zone of South America,
connects the river-basins of the Amazon and the Orinoco." This tract,
unequalled in extent by any other forest in the world, occupies an area
of more than a thousand miles square. In this vast chaos of teeming
vegetation, trees of the largest dimensions are connected by an
undergrowth of vines and shrubbery which is almost impenetrable. Immense
rivers and their tributaries intersect the forest in all directions, and
constitute the only avenues of commercial intercourse. This impervious
thicket is like a huge wall, separating near neighbors, rendering them,
as it were, inhabitants of distant regions, and obliging them to make
long and circuitous river journeys before they can hold communication.

Here the leaves of the trees are always green, and flowers appear in
constant succession; but the surface of the ground is without herbage,
for the darkness of the wood is fatal to all humble vegetation. The
small plants are mostly parasites, thousands inserting their roots into
the bark of trees and garlanding them with beauty. Those that take root
in the ground show but few leaves or flowers, until they have clambered
upwards, through the underwood, into the light of heaven. Almost the
only relief afforded the sight, in this vast solitude, comes from the
rivers and other collections of water, over whose expanse the eye revels
with the delight we feel on emerging from the gloom of a cavern. Every
object seems to be struggling to get outside of this chaotic growth,
where it can obtain the genial influence of the sun: for near the
surface of the ground are perpetual shade and hideous entanglement.

In this primeval forest we must not expect to realize any of our
poetical ideas of the primitive residence of the first human family.
Here are no Arcadian scenes of peace and rural felicity. On all sides we
behold an undying competition for light and life, among both plants
and animals. We are reminded here of life in a crowded city, where
the excessive abundance of supplies for human wants imported from the
surrounding country causes a still greater superfluity of population,
and produces a struggle for a livelihood more severe than in a rural
district of gravel and boulders. The oases of this great wilderness are
those places in which there is an absence of the general fertility:
barrenness in such circumstances is a relief,--because it allows both
freedom and repose.

This wood is the nursery of all descriptions of monsters, living chiefly
in trees. On their branches and in their tangled recesses, adorned with
all sorts of foliage and flowers, creatures the most terrible and the
most loathsome are seen crowding and crouching in close proximity to
the most beautiful forms of living things. They fill the air with their
discordant utterances, and allow no permanent silence or tranquillity.
Hours of periodical stillness and repose, occurring mostly at noonday,
and affecting one with a sensation of awful grandeur, by contrast with
the preceding disturbances, are followed, especially in the night, by a
tumultuous roar from the legions of contending animals.

"A universal hubbub wild
Of stunning sounds and voices all confused,
Borne through the hollow dark, assaults the ear
With loudest vehemence."

Even the notes of insects are a deafening crash, like the rattling of
machinery in a cotton-mill. Except in the hush of noonday, the notes of
singing-birds are drowned amidst the howling of monkeys, the whining of
sapajous, the roar of the jaguar, and the dismal hooting of thousands
of wild animals that riot in these awful solitudes. The sight of the
fairest flowers and the most beautiful insects and birds only renders
one more keenly sensitive to the frightful discords that startle and the
perils that surround him.

Similar contrasts are observed in the vegetation of this region, where
the giant trees of the forest are chained in the embraces of vines that
contend with them for existence and finally strangle them. Trees and
other plants are crowded together so promiscuously, that Nature seems to
be striving to collect into one space every possible variety of species.
Trees of the most poisonous and deadly qualities grow side by side with
the Bread-Fruit, the Cocoa-Nut, and the beneficent Cinchona. Here
are the poison and its antidote,--the monster tree and its miniature
epiphyte,--the plant that astonishes by its magnitude, and the one that
delights us by its minuteness. Here, if anywhere on the face of the
earth, may we form some conception of the state of our planet during the
Eocene period, before the world had come under the dominion of the human
race.

But if Nature in this region has manifested an exuberance of animal and
vegetable life, thereby rendering her bounties almost unavailable to
man, there are other parts in which she seems to have provided for his
particular benefit. In these favored regions, we find the Banana, the
Cocoa, and the Date Palm, and other special gifts of Providence to the
inhabitants of the equator. Palms are generally found only in small
groups and plantations, but there are certain species of this family
which are associated in extensive woods, and constitute, in some
respects, one of the most charming descriptions of forest-scenery. The
Dwarf Palms of the sub-tropical regions are chiefly assembled in masses,
of which the Palmetto of Florida and the Chaemerops of the South of
Europe are conspicuous examples. The true Palms are likewise sometimes
associated in forests, though not generally of a social habit. In one
of the most celebrated of these, at the mouth of the Orinoco, composed
chiefly of the Mauritian Palms, the wild Guaranos have established a
national existence. Like monkeys, they live almost wholly in trees,
having their habitations supported either by wooden pillars or by a
matting suspended from tree to tree. In the wet season, when the ground
is inundated, the inhabitants travel about their village in canoes.

The beauty of a grove of Palms has been a favorite theme of travellers.
Humboldt, who saw Nature with the eye of a painter and the feelings of
a poet, amidst all the dry details of science, regards them as the most
beautiful of vegetable productions. It has always seemed to me, however,
that travellers in general have been led to exaggerate the charms of
Nature in the tropics, by observing the remarkable beauty of a few
individual objects. Their susceptibility to be affected by the scenes
presented to their view is likewise exalted by the confinement of their
voyage; they are enraptured with the novelty of everything about them,
by the voluptuousness of the climate and the abundance of delicious
fruits, and always afterwards recur to the scenes of their tropical
visit with an excited imagination.

In countries near the equator, many plants which are herbs in our
latitude assume arborescent forms. Such are the Tree-Grasses, which form
impenetrable forests, equalling some of the Fir woods of the North in
extent, if not in beauty and grandeur. In this part of the world we know
the Ferns only as a low herbaceous tribe of plants, consisting of mere
fronds rising out of the ground. We admire them for their beautifully
compounded leaves, and their colors of red, orange, and russet that
variegate our meadows in June, their garlands of verdure upon the rocky
hills in winter, and the profusion of their frondage in the shady glens
in summer. But in certain parts of the equatorial zone the Ferns put
off the humble guise in which they appear at the North. They no longer
associate with the lowly Violet, allowing themselves to be crowded by
the Hellebore and overtopped by the Meadow Rue; but they rear their
branches aloft and assume the dignity and stature of trees. Man, who
looks down upon them in our own latitude, and tramples them under
his feet, looks in that region far above his head, and beholds their
magnificent fronds spread out like a great tent between him and the
heavens.

Tree-Ferns, though confined principally to the equatorial zone, are
unable to endure the heat of the plains. They occupy an elevation that
affords them the continual temperature of spring, three thousand feet
above the sea,--the region of the lowest stratum of clouds,--where they
receive the benefit of their moisture before it descends to the earth
in showers. Humboldt ranks them with the noblest forms of tropical
vegetation,--less lofty than the Palms, but surpassing them in beauty of
foliage. The arborescent Ferns and Grasses are true specimens of those
plants, of simple organic structure, which are found in the fossil
remains of the early geological periods, and are the only plants now
extant which may be considered the representatives of that epoch, when
the saurians and the mastodons held dominion over the earth, and before
the Angel of Light had descended from heaven to make preparation for a
higher race of beings.

* * * * *

MISS LUCINDA.

But that Solomon is out of fashion I should quote him, here and now, to
the effect that there is a time for all things; but Solomon is obsolete,
and never, no, never, will I dare to quote a dead language, "for raisons
I have," as the exiles of Erin say. Yet, in spite of Solomon and Horace,
I may express my own less concise opinion, that even in hard times, and
dull times, and war times, there is yet a little time to laugh, a brief
hour to smile and love and pity, just as through this dreary easterly
storm, bringing clouds and rain, sobbing against casement and door with
the inarticulate wail of tempests, there comes now and then the soft
shine of a sun behind it all, a fleeting glitter, an evanescent aspect
of what has been.

But if I apologize for a story that is nowise tragic, nor fitted to "the
fashion of these times," possibly somebody will say at its end that I
should also have apologized for its subject, since it is as easy for an
author to treat his readers to high themes as vulgar ones, and velvet
can be thrown into a portrait as cheaply as calico; but of this apology
I wash my hands. I believe nothing in place or circumstance makes
romance. I have the same quick sympathy for Biddy's sorrows with Patrick
that I have for the Empress of France and her august, but rather grim
lord and master. I think words are often no harder to bear than "a blue
bating," and I have a reverence for poor old maids as great as for the
nine Muses. Commonplace people are only commonplace from character, and
no position affects that. So forgive me once more, patient reader, if I
offer to you no tragedy in high life, no sentimental history of fashion
and wealth, but only a little story about a woman who could not be a
heroine.

Miss Lucinda Jane Ann Manners was a lady of unknown age, who lived in a
place I call Dalton, in a State of these Disuniting States, which I
do not mention for good cause. I have already had so many unconscious
personalities visited on my devoted head that but for lucidity I should
never mention persons or places, inconvenient as it would be. However,
Miss Lucinda did live, and lived by the aid of "means," which, in the
vernacular, is money. Not a great deal, it is true,--five thousand
dollars at lawful interest, and a little wooden house, do not imply many
luxuries even to a single-woman; and it is also true that a little fine
sewing taken in helped Miss Manners to provide herself with a few
small indulgences otherwise beyond her reach. She had one or two
idiosyncrasies, as they are politely called, that were her delight.
Plenty of dish-towels were necessary to her peace of mind; without five
pair of scissors she could not be happy; and Tricopherous was essential
to her well-being: indeed, she often said she would rather give up
coffee than Tricopherous, for her hair was black and wiry and curly, and
caps she abhorred, so that of a winter's day her head presented the most
irrelevant and volatile aspect, each particular hair taking a twist on
its own responsibility, and improvising a wild halo about her unsaintly
face, unless subdued into propriety by the aforesaid fluid.

I said Miss Lucinda's face was unsaintly,--I mean unlike ancient saints
as depicted by contemporary artists: modern and private saints are after
another fashion. I met one yesterday, whose green eyes, great nose,
thick lips, and sallow wrinkles, under a bonnet of fifteen years'
standing, further clothed upon by a scant merino cloak and cat-skin
tippet, would have cut a sorry figure in the gallery of the Vatican or
the Louvre, and put the tranquil Madonna of San Sisto into a state of
stunning antithesis; but if Saint Agnes or Saint Catharine was half as
good as my saint, I am glad of it!

No, there was nothing sublime and dolorous about Miss Manners; her face
was round, cheery, and slightly puckered, with two little black eyes
sparking and shining under dark brows, a nose she unblushingly called
pug, and a big mouth with eminently white and regular teeth, which she
said were such a comfort, for they never ached, and never would to the
end of time. Add to this physiognomy a small and rather spare figure,
dressed in the cleanest of calicoes, always made in one style, and
rigidly scorning hoops,--without a symptom of a collar, in whose place
(or it may be over which) she wore a white cambric handkerchief, knotted
about her throat, and the two ends brought into subjection by means of
a little angular-headed gold pin, her sole ornament, and a relic of her
old father's days of widowhood, when buttons were precarious tenures. So
much for her aspect. Her character was even more quaint.

She was the daughter of a clergyman, one of the old school, the last
whose breeches and knee-buckles adorned the profession, who never
"outlived his usefulness," nor lost his godly simplicity. Parson Manners
held rule over an obscure and quiet village in the wilds of Vermont,
where hard-handed farmers wrestled with rocks and forests for their
daily bread, and looked forward to heaven as a land of green pastures
and still waters, where agriculture should be a pastime, and winter
impossible. Heavy freshets from the mountains that swelled their rushing
brooks into annual torrents, and snow-drifts that covered five-rail
fences a foot above the posts and blocked up the turnpike-road for
weeks, caused this congregation fully to appreciate Parson Manners's
favorite hymns,--

"There is a land of pure delight,"

and

"On Jordan's stormy banks I stand."

Indeed, one irreverent, but "pretty smart feller," who lived on the top
of a hill known as Drift Hill, where certain adventurous farmers dwelt
for the sake of its smooth sheep-pastures, was heard to say, after a
mighty sermon by Parson Manners about the seven-times heated furnaces
of judgment reserved for the wicked, that "Parson hadn't better try to
skeer Drift-Hillers with a hot place; 't wouldn't more 'n jest warm 'em
through down there, arter a real snappin' winter."

In this out-of-the-way nook was Lucinda Jane Ann born and bred. Her
mother was like her in many things,--just such a cheery, round-faced
little body, but with no more mind than found ample scope for itself in
superintending the affairs of house and farm, and vigorously "seeing to"
her husband and child. So, while Mrs. Manners baked, and washed, and
ironed, and sewed, and knit, and set the sweetest example of quiet
goodness and industry to all her flock, without knowing she _could_ set
an example, or be followed as one, the Parson amused himself, between
sermons of powerful doctrine and parochial duties of a more human
interest, with educating Lucinda, whose intellect was more like his
own than her mother's. A strange training it was for a young
girl,--mathematics, metaphysics, Latin, theology of the driest sort;
and after an utter failure at Greek and Hebrew, though she had toiled
patiently through seven books of the "Aeneid," Parson Manners mildly
sniffed at the inferiority of the female mind, and betook himself to
teaching her French, which she learned rapidly, and spoke with a pure
American accent, perhaps as pleasing to a Parisian ear as the hiss of
Piedmont or the gutturals of Switzerland. Moreover, the minister had
been brought up, himself, in the most scrupulous refinement of manner;
his mother was a widow, the last of an "old family," and her dainty,
delicate observances were inbred, as it were, in her only son. This sort
of elegance is perhaps the most delicate test of training and descent,
and all these things Lucinda was taught from the grateful recollection
of a son who never forgot his mother, through all the solitary labors
and studies of a long life. So it came to pass, that, after her mother
died, Lucinda grew more and more like her father, and, as she became a
woman, these rare refinements separated her more and more from those
about her, and made her necessarily solitary. As for marriage, the
possibility of such a thing never crossed her mind; there was not a man
in the parish who did not offend her sense of propriety and shock her
taste, whenever she met one; and though her warm, kind heart made her a
blessing to the poor and sick, her mother was yet bitterly regretted at
quiltings and tea-drinkings, where she had been so "sociable-like."

It is rather unfortunate for such a position as Lucinda's, that, as
Deacon Stowell one day remarked to her father, "Natur' will be Natur' as
much on Drift Hill as down to Bosting"; and when she began to feel that
"strong necessity of loving" that sooner or later assails every woman's
heart, there was nothing for it to overflow on, when her father had
taken his share. Now Lucinda loved the Parson most devoutly. Ever since
the time when she could just remember watching through the dusk his
white stockings, as they glimmered across the road to evening-meeting,
and looked like a supernatural pair of legs taking a walk on their own
responsibility, twilight concealing the black breeches and coat from
mortal view, Lucinda had regarded her father with a certain pleasing
awe. His long abstractions, his profound knowledge, his grave, benign
manners, and the thousand daily refinements of speech and act that
seemed to put him far above the sphere of his pastorate,--all these
things inspired as much reverence as affection; and when she wished with
all her heart and soul she had a sister or a brother to tend and
kiss and pet, it never once occurred to her that any of those tender
familiarities could be expended on her father: she would as soon have
thought of caressing any of the goodly angels whose stout legs, flowing
curls, and impossible draperies sprawled among the pictures in the big
Bible, and who excited her wonder as much by their garments as their
turkey-wings and brandishing arms. So she betook herself to pets, and
growing up to the old-maidenhood of thirty-five before her father fell
asleep, was by that time the centre of a little world of her own,--hens,
chickens, squirrels, cats, dogs, lambs, and sundry transient guests of
stranger kind; so that, when she left her old home, and removed to the
little house in Dalton that had been left her by her mother's aunt, and
had found her small property safely invested by means of an old friend
of her father's, Miss Manners made one more journey to Vermont to bring
in safety to their future dwelling a cat and three kittens, an old blind
crow, a yellow dog of the true cur breed, and a rooster with three hens,
"real creepers," as she often said, "none of your long-legged, screaming
creatures."

Lucinda missed her father, and mourned him as constantly and faithfully
as ever a daughter could; but her temperament was more cheerful and
buoyant than his, and when once she was quietly settled in her little
house, her garden and her pets gave her such full occupation that she
sometimes blamed herself for not feeling more lonely and unhappy. A
little longer life or a little more experience would have taught her
better: power to be happy is the last thing to regret. Besides, it would
have been hard to be cheerless in that sunny little house, with its
queer old furniture of three-legged tables, high-backed chairs, and
chintz curtains where red mandarins winked at blue pagodas on a
deep-yellow ground, and birds of insane ornithology pecked at insects
that never could have been hatched, or perched themselves on blossoms
totally unknown to any mortal flora. Old engravings of Bartolozzi, from
the stiff elegances of Angelica Kaufman and the mythologies of Reynolds,
adorned the shelf; and the carpet in the parlor was of veritable English
make, older than Lucinda herself, but as bright in its fading and as
firm in its usefulness as she. Up-stairs the tiny chambers were decked
with spotless white dimity, and rush-bottomed chairs stood in each
window, with a strip of the same old carpet by either bedside; and in
the kitchen the blue settle that had stood by the Vermont fireside now
defended this lesser hearth from the draught of the door, and held under
the seat thereof sundry ironing-sheets, the blanket belonging to them,
and good store of ticking and worsted holders. A half-gone set of
egg-shell china stood in the parlor-closet,--cups, and teapot, and
sugar-bowl, rimmed with brown and gold in a square pattern, and a shield
without blazon on the side; the quaint tea-caddy with its stopper stood
over against the pursy little cream-pot, and held up in its lumps of
sparkling sugar the oddest sugar-tongs, also a family relic;--beside
this, six small spoons, three large ones, and a little silver porringer
comprised all the "plate" belonging to Miss Manners, so that no fear of
burglars haunted her, and but for her pets she would have lived a life
of profound and monotonous tranquillity. But this was a vast exception;
in her life her pets were the great item now;--her cat had its own chair
in the parlor and kitchen; her dog, a rug and a basket never to be
meddled with by man or beast; her old crow, its special nest of flannel
and cotton, where it feebly croaked as soon as Miss Lucinda began to
spread the little table for her meals; and the three kittens had their
own playthings and their own saucer as punctiliously as if they had been
children. In fact, Miss Manners had a greater share of kindness
for beasts than for mankind. A strange compound of learning and
unworldliness, of queer simplicity, native penetration, and common
sense, she had read enough books to despise human nature as it develops
itself in history and theology, and she had not known enough people to
love it in its personal development. She had a general idea that all men
were liars, and that she must be on her guard against their propensity
to cheat and annoy a lonely and helpless woman; for, to tell the truth,
in her good father's over-anxiety to defend her from the snares of evil
men after his death, his teachings had given her opinion this bias, and
he had forgotten to tell her how kindly and how true he had found many
of his own parishioners, how few inclined to harm or pain him. So Miss
Lucinda made her entrance into life at Dalton, distrustful, but not
suspicious; and after a few attempts on the part of the women who
were her neighbors to be friendly or intimate, they gave her up as
impracticable: not because she was impolite or unkind: they did not
themselves know why they failed, though she could have told them; for,
old maid as she was, poor and plain and queer, she could not bring
herself to associate familiarly with people who put their teaspoons
into the sugar-bowl, helped themselves with their own knives and forks,
gathered up bits of uneaten butter and returned them to the plate for
next time, or replaced on the dish pieces of cake half eaten or cut with
the knives they had just introduced into their mouths. Miss Lucinda's
code of minor morals would have forbidden her to drink from the same cup
with a queen, and have considered a pitchfork as suitable as a knife to
eat with, nor would she have offered to a servant the least thing she
had touched with her own lips or her own implements of eating; and she
was too delicately bred to look on in comfort where such things were
practised. Of course these women were not ladies; and though many of
them had kind hearts and warm impulses of goodness, yet that did not
make up to her for their social misdemeanors, and she drew herself
more into her own little shell, and cared more for her garden and her
chickens, her cats and her dog, than for all the humanity of Dalton put
together.

Miss Manners held her flowers next dearest to her pets, and treated them
accordingly. Her garden was the most brilliant bit of ground possible.
It was big enough to hold one flourishing peach-tree, one Siberian crab,
and a solitary egg-plum; while under these fruitful boughs bloomed
moss-roses in profusion, of the dear old-fashioned kind, every deep pink
bud with its clinging garment of green breathing out the richest odor;
close by, the real white rose, which fashion has banished to country
towns, unfolded its cups of pearl flushed with yellow sunrise to the
heart; and by its side its damask sister waved long sprays of bloom
and perfume. Tulips, dark-purple and cream-color, burning scarlet and
deep-maroon, held their gay chalices up to catch the dew; hyacinths,
blue, white, and pink, hung heavy bells beneath them; spiced carnations
of rose and garnet crowded their bed in July and August, heart's-ease
fringed the walks, May honeysuckles clambered over the board-fence,
and monthly honeysuckles overgrew the porch at the back-door, making
perpetual fragrance from their moth-like horns of crimson and
ivory. Nothing inhabited those beds that was not sweet and fair and
old-fashioned. Gray-lavender-bushes sent up purple spikes in the middle
of the garden and were duly housed in winter, but these were the sole
tender plants admitted, and they pleaded their own cause in the breath
of the linen-press and the bureau-drawers that held Miss Lucinda's
clothes. Beyond the flowers, utility blossomed in a row of bean-poles,
a hedge of currant-bushes against the farther fence, carefully tended
cauliflowers, and onions enough to tell of their use as sparing as their
number; a few deep-red beets and golden carrots were all the vegetables
beside: Miss Lucinda never ate potatoes or pork.

Her housekeeping, but for her pets, would have been the proper
housewifery for a fairy. Out of her fruit she annually conserved
miracles of flavor and transparence,--great plums like those in
Aladdin's garden, of shining topaz,--peaches tinged with the odorous
bitter of their pits, and clear as amber,--crimson crabs floating in
their own ruby sirup, or transmuted into jelly crystal clear, yet
breaking with a grain,--and jelly from the acid currants to garnish her
dinner-table or refresh the fevered lips of a sick neighbor. It was a
study to visit her tiny pantry, where all these "lucent sirops" stood in
tempting array,--where spices, and sugar, and tea, in their small jars,
flanked the sweetmeats, and a jar of glass showed its store of whitest
honey, and another stood filled with crisp cakes. Here always a loaf
or two of home-made bread lay rolled in a snowy cloth, and another was
spread over a dish of butter; pies were not in favor here,--nor milk,
save for the cats; salt fish Miss Manners never could abide,--her
savory taste allowed only a bit of rich old cheese, or thin scraps of
hung beef, with her bread and butter; sauces and spices were few in her
repertory, but she cooked as only a lady can cook, and might have
asked Soyer himself to dinner. For, verily, after much meditation and
experience, I have divined that it takes as much sense and refinement
and talent to cook a dinner, wash and wipe a dish, make a bed as it
should be made, and dust a room as it should be dusted, as goes to the
writing of a novel or shining in high society.

But because Miss Lucinda Manners was reserved and "unsociable," as the
neighbors pronounced her, I did not, therefore, mean to imply that she
was inhuman. No neighbor of hers, local or Scriptural, fell ill, without
an immediate offer of aid from her: she made the best gruel known to
Dalton invalids, sent the ripest fruit and the sweetest flowers; and if
she could not watch with the sick, because it interfered with her duties
at home in an unpleasant and inconvenient way, she would sit with them
hour after hour in the day-time, and wait on all their caprices with the
patient tenderness of a mother. Children she always eyed with strange
wistfulness, as if she longed to kiss them, but didn't know how; yet no
child was ever invited across her threshold, for the yellow cur hated to
be played with, and children always torment kittens.

So Miss Lucinda wore on happily toward the farther side of the middle
Ages. One after another of her pets passed away and was replaced, the
yellow cur barked his last currish signal, the cat died and her kittens
came to various ends of time or casualty, the crow fell away to dust and
was too old to stuff, and the garden bloomed and faded ten times over,
before Miss Manners found herself to be forty-six years old, which she
heroically acknowledged one fine day to the census-taker. But it was not
this consciousness, nor its confession, that drew the dark brows so low
over Miss Lucinda's eyes that day; it was quite another trouble, and one
that wore heavily on her mind, as we shall proceed to explain. For Miss
Manners, being, like all the rest of her sex, quite unable to do without
some masculine help, had employed, for some seven years, an old man by
the name of Israel Slater, to do her "chores," as the vernacular hath
it. It is a mortifying thing, and one that strikes at the roots of
Women's Rights terribly sharp blows, but I must even own it, that one
might as well try to live without one's bread-and-butter as without the
aid of the dominant sex. When I see women split wood, unload coal-carts,
move wash-tubs, and roll barrels of flour and apples handily down
cellar-ways or up into carts, then I shall believe in the sublime
theories of the strong-minded sisters; but as long as I see before me
my own forlorn little hands, and sit down on the top stair to recover
breath, and try in vain to lift the water-pitcher at table, just so long
I shall be glad and thankful that there are men in the world, and that
half a dozen of them are my kindest and best friends. It was rather an
affliction to Miss Lucinda to feel this innate dependence, and at first
she resolved to employ only small boys, and never any one of them more
than a week or two. She had an unshaped theory that an old maid was a
match for a small boy, but that a man would cheat and domineer over her.
Experience sadly put to flight these notions for a succession of boys in
this cabinet-ministry for the first three years of her stay in Dalton
would have driven her into a Presbyterian convent, had there been one at
hand. Boy Number One caught the yellow cur out of bounds one day, and
shaved his plumy tail to a bare stick, and Miss Lucinda fairly shed
tears of grief and rage when Pink appeared at the door with the denuded
appendage tucked between his little legs, and his funny yellow eyes
casting sidelong looks of apprehension at his mistress. Boy Number One
was despatched directly. Number Two did pretty well for a month, but his
integrity and his appetite conflicted, and Miss Lucinda found him one
moonlight night perched in her plum-tree devouring the half-ripe fruit.
She shook him down with as little ceremony as if he had been an
apple; and though he lay at Death's door for a week with resulting
cholera-morbus, she relented not. So the experiment went on, till a list
of casualties that numbered in it fatal accidents to three kittens,
two hens and a rooster, and at last Pink himself, who was pent into a
decline by repeated drenchings from the watering-pot, put an end to her
forbearance, and she instituted in her viziership the old man who had
now kept his office so long,--a queer, withered, slow, humorous old
creature, who did "chores" for some six or seven other households, and
got a living by sundry "jobs" of wood-sawing, hoeing corn, and other
like works of labor, if not of skill. Israel was a great comfort to Miss
Lucinda: he was efficient counsel in the maladies of all her pets, had
a sovereign cure for the gapes in chickens, and could stop a cat's fit
with the greatest ease; he kept the tiny garden in perfect order,
and was very honest, and Miss Manners favored him accordingly. She
compounded liniment for his rheumatism, herb-sirup for his colds,
presented him with a set of flannel shirts, and knit him a comforter; so
that Israel expressed himself strongly in favor of "Miss Lucindy," and
she said to herself he really was "quite good for a man."

But just now, in her forty-seventh year, Miss Lucinda had come to grief,
and all on account of Israel and his attempts to please her. About six
months before this census-taking era, the old man had stepped into Miss
Manners's kitchen with an unusual radiance on his wrinkles and in his
eyes, and began without his usual morning greeting,--

"I've got so'thin' for you naow, Miss Lucindy. You're a master-hand for
pets, but I'll bet a red cent you ha'n't an idee what I've got for ye
naow!"

"I'm sure I can't tell, Israel," said she; "you'll have to let me see
it."

"Well," said he, lifting up his coat and looking carefully behind him
as he sat down on the settle, lest a stray kitten or chicken should
preoccupy the bench, "you see I was down to Orrin's abaout a week back,
and he hed a litter o' pigs,--eleven on 'em. Well, he couldn't raise
the hull on 'em,--'t a'n't good to raise more 'n nine,--an' so he said,
ef I'd 'a' had a place o' my own, I could 'a' had one on 'em, but, as't
was, he guessed he'd hev to send one to market for a roaster. I went
daown to the barn to see 'em, an' there was one, the cutest little
critter I ever sot eyes on, and I've seen more 'n four pigs in my
day,--'t was a little black-spotted one, as spry as an ant, and the
dreffullest knowin' look out of its eyes! I fellowshipped it right
off, and I said, says I, 'Orrin, ef you'll let me hev that 'ere
little spotted feller, I'll git a place for him, for I do take to him
consarnedly.' So he said I could, and I fetched him hum, and Miss Slater
and me we kinder fed him up for a few days back, till he got sorter
wonted, and I'm a-goin' to fetch him to you."

"But, Israel, I haven't any place to put him in."

"Well, that a'n't nothin' to hender. I'll jest fetch out them old boards
out of the wood-shed, and knock up a little sty right off, daown by the
end o' the shed, and you ken keep your swill that I've hed before, and
it'll come handy."

"But pigs are so dirty!"

"I don't know as they be; they ha'n't no great conveniences for washin'
ginerally; but I never heerd as they was dirtier 'n other critters,
where they run wild. An' beside, that a'n't goin' to hender, nuther; I
calculate to make it one o' the chores to take keer of him; 't won't
cost no more to you; and I ha'n't no great opportunities to do things
for folks that 's allers a-doin' for me; so't you needn't be afeard,
Miss Lucindy: I love to."

Miss Lucinda's heart got the better of her judgment. A nature that could
feel so tenderly for its inferiors in the scale could not be deaf to the
tiny voices of humanity, when they reached her solitude; and she thanked
Israel for the pig so heartily that the old man's face brightened still
more, and his voice softened from its cracked harshness, as he said,
clicking up and down the latch of the back-door,--

"Well, I'm sure you're as welcome as you are obleeged, and I'll knock up
that 'ere pen right off; he sha'n't pester ye any,--that's a fact."

Strange to say,--yet perhaps it might have been expected from her
proclivities,--Miss Lucinda took an astonishing fancy to the pig. Very
few people know how intelligent an animal a pig is; but when one is
regarded merely as pork and hams, one's intellect is apt to fall into
neglect: a moral sentiment which applies out of Pigdom. This creature
would not have passed muster at a county fair; no Suffolk blood
compacted and rounded him; he belonged to the "racers," and skipped
about his pen with the alacrity of a large flea, wiggling his curly tail
as expressively as a dog's, and "all but speakin'," as Israel said. He
was always glad to see Miss Lucinda, and established a firm friendship
with her dog Fun, a pretty, sentimental, German spaniel. Besides, he
kept tolerably clean by dint of Israel's care, and thrust his long
nose between the rails of his pen for grass, or fruit, or carrot- and
beet-tops, with a knowing look out of his deep-set eyes that was never
to be resisted by the soft-hearted spinster. Indeed, Miss Lucinda
enjoyed the possession of one pet who could not tyrannize over her.
Pink's place was more than filled by Fun, who was so oppressively
affectionate that he never could leave his mistress alone. If she lay
down on her bed, he leaped up and unlatched the door, and stretched
himself on the white counterpane beside her with a grunt of
satisfaction; if she sat down to knit or sew, he laid his head and
shoulders across her lap, or curled himself up on her knees; if she was
cooking, he whined and coaxed round her till she hardly knew whether she
fried or broiled her steak; and if she turned him out and buttoned the
door, his cries were so pitiful she could never be resolute enough to
keep him in exile five minutes,--for it was a prominent article in her
creed, that animals have feelings that are easily wounded, and are of
"like passions" with men, only incapable of expression.

Indeed, Miss Lucinda considered it the duty of human beings to atone to
animals for the Lord's injustice in making them dumb and four-legged.
She would have been rather startled at such an enunciation of her
practice, but she was devoted to it as a practice: she would give her
own chair to the cat and sit on the settle herself; get up at midnight,
if a mew or a bark called her, though the thermometer was below zero;
The tenderloin of her steak or the liver of her chicken was saved for a
pining kitten or an ancient and toothless cat; and no disease or wound
daunted her faithful nursing, or disgusted her devoted tenderness. It
was rather hard on humanity, and rather reversive of Providence, that
all this care and pains should be lavished on cats and dogs, while
little morsels of flesh and blood, ragged, hungry, and immortal,
wandered up and down the streets. Perhaps that they were immortal
was their defence from Miss Lucinda; one might have hoped that her
"other-worldliness" accepted that fact as enough to outweigh present
pangs, if she had not openly declared, to Israel Slater's immense
amusement and astonishment, that _she_ believed creatures had
souls,--little ones perhaps, but souls after all, and she did expect to
see Pink again some time or other.

"Well, I hope he's got his tail feathered out ag'in," said Israel,
dryly. "I do'no' but what hair'd grow as well as feathers in a
sperctooal state, and I never see a pictur' of an angel but what hed
consider'ble many feathers."

Miss Lucinda looked rather confounded. But humanity had one little
revenge on her in the shape of her cat, a beautiful Maltese, with great
yellow eyes, fur as soft as velvet, and silvery paws as lovely to look
at as they were thistly to touch. Toby certainly pleaded hard for Miss
Lucinda's theory of a soul; but his was no good one: some tricksy and
malign little spirit had lent him his share of intellect, and he used it
to the entire subjugation of Miss Lucinda. When he was hungry, he was as
well-mannered and as amiable as a good child,--he would coax, and purr,
and lick her fingers with his pretty red tongue, like a "perfect love";
but when he had his fill, and needed no more, then came Miss Lucinda's
time of torment. If she attempted to caress him, he bit and scratched
like a young tiger, he sprang at her from the floor and fastened on her
arm with real fury; if he cried at the window and was not directly let
in, as soon as he had achieved entrance his first manoeuvre was to
dash at her ankles and bite them, if he could, as punishment for her
tardiness. This skirmishing was his favorite mode of attack; if he was
turned out of the closet, or off the pillow up-stairs, he retreated
under the bed and made frantic sallies at her feet, till the poor woman
got actually nervous, and if he was in the room made a flying leap as
far as she could to her bed, to escape those keen claws. Indeed,
old Israel found her more than once sitting in the middle of the
kitchen-floor with Toby crouched for a spring under the table, his
poor mistress afraid to move, for fear of her unlucky ankles. And this
literally cat-ridden woman was hazed about and ruled over by her feline
tyrant to that extent that he occupied the easiest chair, the softest
cushion, the middle of the bed, and the front of the fire, not only
undisturbed, but caressed. This is a veritable history, beloved reader,
and I offer it as a warning and an example: if you will be an old maid,
or if you can't help it, take to petting children, or donkeys, or even a
respectable cow, but beware of domestic tyranny in any shape but man's!

No wonder Miss Lucinda took kindly to the pig, who had a house of his
own, and a servant, as it were, to the avoidance of all trouble on her
part,--the pig who capered for joy when she or Fun approached, and had
so much expression in his physiognomy that one almost expected to see
him smile. Many a sympathizing conference Miss Lucinda held with Israel
over the perfections of Piggy, as he leaned against the sty and looked
over at his favorite after this last chore was accomplished.

"I say for 't," exclaimed the old man, one day, "I b'lieve that cre'tur'
knows enough to be professor in a college. Why, he talks! he re'lly
doos: a leetle through his nose, maybe, but no more 'n Dr. Colton allers
does,--'n' I declare he appears to have abaout as much sense. I never
see the equal of him. I thought he'd 'a larfed right out yesterday, when
I gin him that mess o' corn: he got up onto his forelegs on the trough,
an' he winked them knowin' eyes o' his'n, an' waggled his tail, an' then
he set off an' capered round till he come bunt up ag'inst the boards. I
tell _you_,--that sorter sobered him; he gin a growlin' grunt, an' shook
his ears, an' looked sideways at me, and then he put to and eet up that
corn as sober as a judge. I swan! he doos beat the Dutch!"

But there was one calculation forgotten both by Miss Lucinda and Israel:
the pig would grow,--and in consequence, as I said before, Miss Lucinda
came to grief; for when the census-taker tinkled her sharp little
door-bell, it called her from a laborious occupation at the sty,--no
more and no less than trying to nail up a board that Piggy had torn down
in struggling to get out of his durance. He had grown so large that Miss
Lucinda was afraid of him; his long legs and their vivacious motion
added to the shrewd intelligence of his eyes, and his nose seemed as
formidable to this poor little woman as the tusk of a rhinoceros: but
what should she do with him? One might as well have proposed to her to
kill and cut up Israel as to consign Piggy to the "fate of race." She
could not turn him into the street to starve, for she loved him; and the
old maid suffered from a constancy that might have made some good man
happy, but only embarrassed her with the pig. She could not keep him
forever,--that was evident; she knew enough to be aware that time
would increase his disabilities as a pet, and he was an expensive one
now,--for the corn-swallowing capacities of a pig, one of the "racer"
breed, are almost incredible, and nothing about Miss Lucinda wanted for
food even to fatness. Besides, he was getting too big for his pen, and
so "cute" an animal could not be debarred from all out-door pleasures,
and tantalized by the sight of a green and growing garden before his
eyes continually, without making an effort to partake of its delights.
So, when Miss Lucinda indued herself with her brown linen sack and
sun-bonnet to go and weed her carrot-patch, she was arrested on the way
by a loud grunting and scrambling in Piggy's quarter, and found to her
distress that he had contrived to knock off the upper board from his
pen. She had no hammer at hand; so she seized a large stone that lay
near by and pounded at the board till the twice-tinkling bell recalled
her to the house, and as soon as she had made confession to the
census-taker she went back,--alas, too late! Piggy had redoubled his
efforts, another board had yielded, and he was free! What a thing
freedom is! how objectionable in practice, how splendid in theory! More
people than Miss Lucinda have been put to their wits' end when "Hoggie"
burst his bonds and became rampant instead of couchant. But he enjoyed
it; he made the tour of the garden on a delightful canter, brandishing
his tail with an air of defiance that daunted his mistress at once, and
regarding her with his small bright eyes as if he would before long
taste her and see if she was as crisp as she looked. She retreated
forthwith to the shed and caught up a broom with which she courageously
charged upon Piggy, and was routed entirely; for, being no way alarmed
by her demonstration, the creature capered directly at her, knocked her
down, knocked the broom out of her hand, and capered away again to the
young carrot-patch.

"Oh, dear!" said Miss Manners, gathering herself up from the
ground,--"if there only was a man here!"

Suddenly she betook herself to her heels,--for the animal looked at her,
and stopped eating: that was enough to drive Miss Lucinda off the field.
And now, quite desperate, she rushed through the house and out of the
front-door, actually in search of a man! Just down the street she saw
one. Had she been composed, she might have noticed the threadbare
cleanliness of his dress, the odd cap that crowned his iron-gray locks,
and the peculiar manner of his walk; for our little old maid had
stumbled upon no less a person than Monsieur Jean Leclerc, the
dancing-master of Dalton. Not that this accomplishment was much in
vogue in the embryo city; but still there were a few who liked to fit
themselves for firemen's balls and sleighing-party frolics, and quite a
large class of children were learning betimes such graces as children in
New England receive more easily than their elders. Monsieur Leclerc had
just enough scholars to keep his coat threadbare and restrict him to
necessities; but he lived, and was independent. All this Miss Lucinda
was ignorant of; she only saw a man, and, with the instinct of the sex
in trouble or danger, she appealed to him at once.

"Oh, Sir! won't you step in and help me? My pig has got out, and I can't
catch him, and he is ruining my garden!"

"Madame, I shall!" replied the Frenchman, bowing low, and assuming the
first position.

So Monsieur Leclerc followed Miss Manners, and supplied himself with a
mop that was hanging in the shed as his best weapon. Dire was the battle
between the pig and the Frenchman. They skipped past each other and back
again as if they were practising for a cotillon. Piggy had four legs,
which gave him a certain advantage; but the Frenchman had most brain,
and in the long run brain gets the better of legs. A weary dance they
led each other, but after a while the pet was hemmed in a corner, and
Miss Lucinda had run for a rope to tie him, when, just as she returned,
the beast made a desperate charge, upset his opponent, and giving a leap
in the wrong direction, to his manifest astonishment, landed in his own
sty! Miss Lucinda's courage rose; she forgot her prostrate friend in
need, and, running to the pen, caught up hammer and nail-box on her way,
and, with unusual energy, nailed up the bars stronger than ever, and
then bethought herself to thank the stranger. But there he lay quite
still and pale.

"Dear me!" said Miss Manners, "I hope you haven't hurt yourself, Sir?"

"I have fear that I am hurt, Madame," said he, trying to smile. "I
cannot to move but it pains me."

"Where is it? Is it your leg or your arm? Try and move one at a time,"
said Miss Lucinda, promptly.

The left leg was helpless, it could not answer to the effort, and the
stranger lay back on the ground pale with the pain. Miss Lucinda took
her lavender-bottle out of her pocket and softly bathed his head and
face; then she took off her sack and folded it up under his head, and
put the lavender beside him. She was good at an emergency, and she
showed it.

"You must lie quite still," said she; "you must not try to move till I
come back with help, or your leg will be hurt more."

With that she went away, and presently returned with two strong men
and the long shutter of a shop-window. To this extempore litter she
carefully moved the Frenchman, and then her neighbors lifted him and
carried him into the parlor, where Miss Lucinda's chintz lounge was
already spread with a tight-pinned sheet to receive the poor man, and
while her helpers put him to bed she put on her bonnet and ran for the
doctor.

Doctor Colton did his best for his patient, but pronounced it an
impossibility to remove him till the bone should be joined firmly, as a
thorough cure was all-essential to his professional prospects. And now,
indeed, Miss Lucinda had her hands full. A nurse could not be afforded,
but Monsieur Leclerc was added to the list of old Israel's "chores," and
what other nursing he needed Miss Lucinda was glad to do; for her kind
heart was full of self-reproaches to think it was her pig that had
knocked down the poor man, and her mop-handle that had twisted itself
across and under his leg, and aided, if not caused, its breakage. So
Israel came in four or five times a day to do what he could, and Miss
Lucinda played nurse at other times to the best of her ability. Such
flavorous gruels and porridges as she concocted! such _tisanes_ after
her guest's instructions! such dainty soups, and sweetbreads, and
cutlets, served with such neatness! After his experience of a
second-rate boarding-house, Monsieur Leclerc thought himself in a
gastronomic paradise. Moreover, these tiny meals were garnished with
flowers, which his French taste for color and decoration appreciated:
two or three stems of lilies-of-the-valley in their folded green leaves,
cool and fragrant; a moss-rosebud and a spire of purple-gray lavender
bound together with ribbon-grass; or three carnations set in glittering
myrtle-sprays, the last acquisition of the garden.

Miss Lucinda enjoyed nursing thoroughly, and a kindlier patient no woman
ever had. Her bright needle flew faster than ever through the cold linen
and flaccid cambric of the shirts and cravats she fashioned, while he
told her, in his odd idioms, stories of his life in France, and the
curious customs both of society and _cuisinerie_, with which last he
showed a surprising acquaintance. Truth to tell, when Monsieur Leclerc
said he had been a member of the Duc de Montmorenci's household,
he withheld the other half of this truth,--that he had been his
_valet-de-chambre_: but it was an hereditary service, and seemed to him
as different a thing from common servitude as a peer's office in the
bedchamber differs from a lackey's. Indeed, Monsieur Leclerc was a
gentleman in his own way,--not of blood, but of breeding; and while he
had faithfully served the "aristocrats," as his father had done before
him, he did not limit that service to their prosperity, but in their
greatest need descended to menial offices, and forgot that he could
dance and ride and fence almost as well as his young master. But a
bullet from a barricade put an end to his duty there, and he hated
utterly the democratic rule that had overturned for him both past
and future, so he escaped, and came to America, the grand resort of
refugees, where he had labored, as he best knew how, for his own
support, and kept to himself his disgust at the manners and customs of
the barbarians. Now, for the first time, he was at home and happy. Miss
Lucinda's delicate fashions suited him exactly; he adored her taste for
the beautiful, which she was unconscious of; he enjoyed her cookery, and
though he groaned within himself at the amount of debt he was incurring,
yet he took courage from her kindness to believe she would not be a hard
creditor, and, being naturally cheerful, put aside his anxieties and
amused himself as well as her with his stories, his quavering songs, his
recipes for _pot-au-feu_, _tisane_, and _pates_, at once economical and
savory. Never had a leg of lamb or a piece of roast beef gone so far
in her domestic experience, a chicken seemed almost to outlive its
usefulness in its various forms of reappearance, and the salads he
devised were as wonderful as the omelets he superintended, or the gay
dances he played on his beloved violin, as soon as he could sit up
enough to manage it. Moreover,--I should say _mostover_, if the word
were admissible,--Monsieur Leclerc lifted a great weight before long
from Miss Lucinda's mind. He began by subduing Fun to his proper place
by a mild determination that completely won the dog's heart. "Women and
spaniels," the world knows, "like kicking"; and though kicks were no
part of the good man's Rareyfaction of Fun, he certainly used a certain
amount of coercion, and the dog's lawful owner admired the skill of the
teacher and enjoyed the better manners of the pupil thoroughly; she
could do twice as much sewing now, and never were her nights disturbed
by a bark, for the dog crouched by his new friend's bed in the parlor
and lay quiet there. Toby was next undertaken, and proved less amenable
to discipline; he stood in some slight awe of the man who tried to teach
him, but still continued to sally out at Miss Lucinda's feet, to spring
at her caressing hand when he felt ill-humored, and to claw Fun's
patient nose and his approaching paws when his misplaced sentimentality
led him to caress the cat; but after a while a few well-timed slaps
administered with vigor cured Toby of his worst tricks, though every
blow made Miss Lucinda wince, and almost shook her good opinion of
Monsieur Leclerc: for in these long weeks he had wrought out a good
opinion of himself in her mind, much to her own surprise; she could not
have believed a man could be so polite, so gentle, so patient, and above
all so capable of ruling without tyranny. Miss Lucinda was puzzled.

One day, as Monsieur Leclerc was getting better, just able to go about
on crutches, Israel came into the kitchen, and Miss Manners went out to
see him. She left the door open, and along with the odor of a pot of
raspberry-jam scalding over the fire, sending its steams of leaf-
and insect-fragrance through the little house, there came in also the
following conversation.

"Israel," said Miss Lucinda, in a hesitating and rather forlorn tone, "I
have been thinking,--I don't know what to do with Piggy. He is quite too
big for me to keep. I'm afraid of him, if he gets out; and he eats up
the garden."

"Well, that _is_ a consider'ble swaller for a pig, Miss Lucindy; but
I b'lieve you're abaout right abaout keepin' on him. He _is_ too
big,--that's a fact; but he's so like a human cre'tur', I'd jest
abaout as lieves slarter Orrin. I declare, I don't know no more 'n a
taown-haouse goose what to do with him!"

"If I gave him away, I suppose he would be fatted and killed, of
course?"

"I guess he'd be killed, likely; but as for fattenin' on him, I'd jest
as soon undertake to fatten a salt codfish. He's one o' the racers, an'
they're as holler as hogsheads: you can fill 'em up to their noses, ef
you're a mind to spend your corn, and they'll caper it all off their
bones in twenty-four haours. I b'lieve, ef they was tied neck an' heels
an' stuffed, they'd wiggle thin betwixt feedin'-times. Why, Orrin, he
raised nine on 'em, and every darned critter's as poor as Job's turkey,
to-day: they a'n't no good. I'd as lieves ha' had nine chestnut
rails,--an' a little lieveser, 'cause they don't eat nothin'."

"You don't know of any poor person who'd like to have a pig, do you?"
said Miss Lucinda, wistfully.

"Well, the poorer they was, the quicker they'd eat him up, I guess,--ef
they could eat such a razor-back."

"Oh, I don't like to think of his being eaten! I wish he could be got
rid of some other way. Don't you think he might be killed in his sleep,
Israel?"

This was a little too much for Israel. An irresistible flicker of
laughter twitched his wrinkles and bubbled in his throat.

"I think it's likely 'twould wake him up," said he, demurely. "Killin's
killin', and a cre'tur' can't sleep over it 's though 't was the
stomach-ache. I guess he'd kick some, ef he _was_ asleep,--and screech
some, too!"

"Dear me!" said Miss Lucinda, horrified at the idea. "I wish he could
be sent out to run in the woods. Are there any good woods near here,
Israel?"

"I don't know but what he'd as lieves be slartered to once as to starve,
an' be hunted down out in the lots. Besides, there a'n't nobody as I
knows of would like a hog to be a-rootin' round amongst their turnips
and young wheat."

"Well, what I shall do with him I don't know!" despairingly exclaimed
Miss Lucinda. "He was such a dear little thing when you brought him,
Israel! Do you remember how pink his pretty little nose was,--just like
a rosebud,--and how bright his eyes looked, and his cunning legs? And
now he's grown so big and fierce! But I can't help liking him, either."

"He's a cute critter, that's sartain; but he does too much rootin' to
have a pink nose now, I expect;--there's consider'ble on't, so I guess
it looks as well to have it gray. But I don't know no more 'n you do
what to do abaout it."

"If I could only get rid of him without knowing what became of him!"
exclaimed Miss Lucinda, squeezing her forefinger with great earnestness,
and looking both puzzled and pained.

"If Mees Lucinda would pairmit?" said a voice behind her.

She turned round to see Monsieur Leclerc on his crutches, just in the
parlor-door.

"I shall, Mees, myself dispose of Piggee, if it please. I can. I shall
have no sound; he shall to go away like a silent snow, to trouble you no
more, never!"

"Oh, Sir! if you could! But I don't see how!"

"If Mees was to see, it would not be to save her pain. I shall have him
to go by _magique_ to fiery land."

Fairy-land, probably! But Miss Lucinda did not perceive the _equivoque_.

"Nor yet shall I trouble Meester Israyel. I shall have the aid of myself
and one good friend that I have; and some night when you rise of the
morning, he shall not be there."

Miss Lucinda breathed a deep sigh of relief.

"I am greatly obliged,--I shall be, I mean," said she.

"Well, I'm glad enough to wash my hands on't," said Israel. "I shall
hanker arter the critter some, but he's a-gettin' too big to be handy;
'n' it's one comfort abaout critters, you ken get rid on 'em somehaow
when they're more plague than profit. But folks has got to be let alone,
excep' the Lord takes 'em; an' He don't allers see fit."

What added point and weight to these final remarks of old Israel was
the well-known fact that he suffered at home from the most pecking and
worrying of wives, and had been heard to say in some moment of unusual
frankness that he "didn't see how't could be sinful to wish Miss Slater
was in heaven, for she'd be lots better off, and other folks too!"

Miss Lucinda never knew what befell her pig one fine September night;
she did not even guess that a visit paid to Monsieur by one of his
pupils, a farmer's daughter just out of Dalton, had anything to do with
this _enlevement_; she was sound asleep in her bed up-stairs, when
her guest shod his crutches with old gloves, and limped out to the
garden-gate by dawn, where he and the farmer tolled the animal out of
his sty and far down the street by tempting red apples, and then Farmer
Steele took possession of him, and he was seen no more. No, the first
thing Miss Lucinda knew of her riddance was when Israel put his head
into the back-door that same morning, some four hours afterward, and
said, with a significant nod,--

"He's gone!"

After all his other chores were done, Israel had a conference with
Monsieur Leclerc, and the two sallied into the garden, and in an hour
had dismantled the low dwelling, cleared away the wreck, levelled and
smoothed its site, and Monsieur, having previously provided himself with
an Isabella-grape-vine, planted it on this forsaken spot, and trained
it carefully against the end of the shed: strange to say, though it was
against all precedent to transplant a grape in September, it lived and
flourished. Miss Lucinda's gratitude to Monsieur Leclerc was altogether
disproportioned, as he thought, to his slight service. He could not
understand fully her devotion to her pets, but he respected it, and
aided it whenever he could, though he never surmised the motive that
adorned Miss Lucinda's table with such delicate superabundance after
the late departure, and laid bundles of lavender-flowers in his tiny
portmanteau till the very leather seemed to gather fragrance.

Before long, Monsieur Leclerc was well enough to resume his classes,
and return to his boarding-house; but the latter was filled, and only
offered a prospect of vacancy in some three weeks after his application;
so he returned home somewhat dejected, and as he sat by the little
parlor-fire after tea, he said to his hostess, in a reluctant tone,--

"Mees Lucinda, you have been of the kindest to the poor alien. I have it
in my mind to relieve you of this care very rapidly, but it is not in
the Fates that I do. I have gone to my house of lodgings, and they
cannot to give me a chamber as yet I have fear that I must yet rely me
on your goodness for some time more, if you can to entertain me so much
more of time?"

"Why, I shall like to, Sir," replied the kindly, simple-hearted old
maid. "I'm sure you are not a mite of trouble, and I never can forget
what you did for my pig."

A smile flitted across the Frenchman's thin, dark face, and he watched
her glittering needles a few minutes in silence before he spoke again.

"But I have other things to say of the most unpleasant to me, Mees
Lucinda. I have a great debt for the goodness and care you to me have
lavished. To the angels of the good God we must submit to be debtors,
but there are also of mortal obligations. I have lodged in your mansion
for more of ten weeks, and to you I pay yet no silver, but it is that I
have it not at present--I must ask of your goodness to wait."

The old maid's shining black eyes grew soft as she looked at him.

"Why!" said she, "I don't think you owe me much of anything, Mr.
Leclerc. I never knew things last as they have since you came. I really
think you brought a blessing. I wish you would please to think you don't
owe me anything."

The Frenchman's great brown eyes shone with suspicious dew.

"I cannot to forget that I owe to you far more than any silver of man
repays; but I should not think to forget that I also owe to you silver,
or I should not be worthy of a man's name. No, Mees! I have two hands
and legs. I will not let a woman most solitary spend for me her good
self."

"Well," said Miss Lucinda, "if you will be uneasy till you pay me, I
would rather have another kind of pay than money. I should like to know
how to dance. I never did learn, when I was a girl, and I think it would
be good exercise."

Miss Lucinda supported this pious fiction through with a simplicity that
quite deceived the Frenchman. He did not think it so incongruous as it
was. He had seen women of sixty, rouged, and jewelled, and furbelowed,
foot it deftly in the halls of the Faubourg St. Germain in his earliest
youth; and this cheery, healthy woman, with lingering blooms on either
cheek, and uncapped head of curly black hair but slightly strewn with
silver, seemed quite as fit a subject for the accomplishment. Besides,
he was poor,--and this offered so easy a way of paying the debt he had
so dreaded! Well said Solomon,--"The destruction of the poor is their
poverty!" For whose moral sense, delicate sensitivenesses, generous
longings, will not sometimes give way to the stringent need of food and
clothing, the gall of indebtedness, and the sinking consciousness of an
empty purse and threatening possibilities?

Monsieur Leclerc's face brightened.

"Ah! with what grand pleasure shall I teach you the dance!"

But it fell dark again as he proceeded,--

"Though not one, nor two, nor three, nor four quarters shall be of value
sufficient to achieve my payment."

"Then, if that troubles you, why, I should like to take some French
lessons in the evening, when you don't have classes. I learned French
when I was quite a girl, but not to speak it very easily; and if I could
get some practice and the right way to speak, I should be glad."

"And I shall give you the real _Parisien_ tone, Mees Lucinda!" said he,
proudly. "I shall be as if it were no more an exile when I repeat my
tongue to you!"

And so it was settled. Why Miss Lucinda should learn French any more
than dancing was not a question in Monsieur Leclerc's mind. It is true,
that Chaldaic would, in all probability, be as useful to our friend as
French; and the flying over poles and hanging by toes and fingers, so
eloquently described by the Apostle of the Body in these "Atlantic"
pages, would have been as well adapted to her style and capacity as
dancing;--but his own language, and his own profession! what man would
not have regarded these as indispensable to improvement, particularly
when they paid his board?

During the latter three weeks of Monsieur Leclerc's stay with Miss
Lucinda he made himself surprisingly useful. He listed the doors against
approaching winter breezes,--he weeded in the garden,--trimmed, tied,
trained, wherever either good office was needed,--mended china with an
infallible cement, and rickety chairs with the skill of a cabinet-maker;
and whatever hard or dirty work he did, he always presented himself at
table in a state of scrupulous neatness: his long brown hands showed no
trace of labor; his iron-gray hair was reduced to smoothest order;
his coat speckless, if threadbare; and he ate like a gentleman, an
accomplishment not always to be found in the "best society," as the
phrase goes,--whether the best in fact ever lacks it is another thing.
Miss Lucinda appreciated these traits,--they set her at ease; and a
pleasanter home-life could scarce be painted than now enlivened the
little wooden house. But three weeks pass away rapidly; and when the
rusty portmanteau was gone from her spare chamber, and the well-worn
boots from the kitchen-corner, and the hat from its nail, Miss Lucinda
began to find herself wonderfully lonely. She missed the armfuls of wood
in her wood-box, that she had to fill laboriously, two sticks at a time;
she missed the other plate at her tiny round table, the other chair
beside her fire; she missed that dark, thin, sensitive face, with its
rare and sweet smile; she wanted her story-teller, her yarn-winder,
her protector, back again. Good gracious! to think of an old lady of
forty-seven entertaining such sentiments for a man!

Presently the dancing-lessons commenced. It was thought advisable that
Miss Manners should enter a class, and, in the fervency of her good
intentions, she did not demur. But gratitude and respect had to strangle
with persistent hands the little serpents of the ridiculous in Monsieur
Leclerc's soul, when he beheld his pupil's first appearance. What reason
was it, O rose of seventeen, adorning thyself with cloudy films of lace
and sparks of jewelry before the mirror that reflects youth and beauty,
that made Miss Lucinda array herself in a brand-new dress of yellow
muslin-de-laine strewed with round green spots, and displace her
customary hand-kerchief for a huge tamboured collar, on this eventful
occasion? Why, oh, why did she tie up the roots of her black hair with
an unconcealable scarlet string? And most of all, why was her dress
so short, her slipper-strings so big and broad, her thick slippers so
shapeless by reason of the corns and bunions that pertained to the feet
within? The "instantaneous rush of several guardian angels" that once
stood dear old Hepzibah Pynchon in good stead was wanting here,--or
perhaps they stood by all-invisible, their calm eyes softened with love
deeper than tears, at this spectacle so ludicrous to man, beholding in
the grotesque dress and adornments only the budding of life's divinest
blossom, and in the strange skips and hops of her first attempts at
dancing only the buoyancy of those inner wings that goodness and
generosity and pure self-devotion were shaping for a future strong and
stately flight upward. However, men, women, and children do not see
with angelic eyes, and the titterings of her fellow-pupils were
irrepressible; one bouncing girl nearly choked herself with her
hand-kerchief trying not to laugh, and two or three did not even try.
Monsieur Leclerc could not blame them,--at first he could scarce control
his own facial muscles; but a sense of remorse smote him, as he saw how
unconscious and earnest the little woman was, and remembered how often
those knotty hands and knobbed feet had waited on his need or his
comfort. Presently he tapped on his violin for a few moments' respite,
and approached Miss Lucinda as respectfully as if she had been a queen.

"You are ver' tired, Mees Lucinda?" said he.

"I am a little, Sir," said she, out of breath. "I am not used to
dancing; it's quite an exertion."

"It is that truly. If you are too much tired, is it better to wait?
I shall finish for you the lesson till I come to-night for a French
conversation?"

"I guess I will go home," said the simple little lady. "I am some afraid
of getting rheumatism; but use makes perfect, and I shall stay through
next time, no doubt."

"So I believe," said Monsieur, with his best bow, as Miss Lucinda
departed and went home, pondering all the way what special delicacy she
should provide for tea.

"My dear young friends," said Monsieur Leclerc, pausing with the
uplifted bow in his hand, before he recommenced his lesson, "I have
observe that my new pupil does make you much to laugh. I am not so
surprise, for you do not know all, and the good God does not robe all
angels in one manner; but she have taken me to her mansion with a leg
broken, and have nursed me like a saint of the blessed, nor with any pay
of silver except that I teach her the dance and the French. They are
pay for the meat and the drink, but she will have no more for her good
patience and care. I like to teach you the dance, but she could teach
you the saints' ways, which are better. I think you will no more to
laugh."

"No! I guess we _won't_!" said the bouncing girl with great emphasis,
and the color rose over more than one young face.

After that day Miss Lucinda received many a kind smile and hearty
welcome, and never did anybody venture even a grimace at her expense.
But it must be acknowledged that her dancing was at least peculiar.
With a sanitary view of the matter, she meant to make it exercise,
and fearful was the skipping that ensued. She chassed on tiptoe, and
balanced with an indescribable hopping twirl, that made one think of a
chickadee pursuing its quest of food on new-ploughed ground; and some
late-awakened feminine instinct of dress, restrained, too, by due
economy, indued her with the oddest decorations that woman ever devised.
The French lessons went on more smoothly. If Monsieur Leclerc's Parisian
ear was tortured by the barbarous accent of Vermont, at least he bore it
with heroism, since there was nobody else to hear; and very pleasant,
both to our little lady and her master, were these long winter evenings,
when they diligently waded through Racine, and even got as far as the
golden periods of Chateaubriand. The pets fared badly for petting in
these days; they were fed and waited on, but not with the old devotion;
it began to dawn on Miss Lucinda's mind that something to talk to was
preferable, as a companion, even to Fun, and that there might be a
stranger sweetness in receiving care and protection than in giving it.

Spring came at last. Its softer skies were as blue over Dalton as in
the wide fields without, and its footsteps as bloom-bringing in Miss
Lucinda's garden as in mead or forest. Now Monsieur Leclerc came to
her aid again at odd minutes, and set her flower-beds with mignonette
borders, and her vegetable-garden with salad herbs of new and
flourishing kinds. Yet not even the sweet season seemed to hurry the
catastrophe that we hope, dearest reader, thy tender eyes have long seen
impending. No, for this quaint alliance a quainter Cupid waited,--the
chubby little fellow with a big head and a little arrow, who waits on
youth and loveliness, was not wanted here. Lucinda's God of Love wore a
lank, hard-featured, grizzly shape, no less than that of Israel Slater,
who marched into the garden one fine June morning, earlier than
usual, to find Monsieur in his blouse, hard at work weeding the
cauliflower-bed.

"Good mornin', Sir! good mornin'!" said Israel, in answer to the
Frenchman's greeting. "This is a real slick little garden-spot as ever I
see, and a pootty house, and a real clever woman too. I'll be skwitched,
ef it a'n't a fust-rate consarn, the hull on't. Be you ever a-goin' back
to France, Mister?"

"No, my goot friend. I have nobody there. I stay here; I have friend
here: but there,--_oh, non! je ne reviendrai pas! ah, jamais! jamais!_"

"Pa's dead, eh? or shamming? Well, I don't understand your lingo; but ef
you're a-goin' to stay here, I don't see why you don't hitch hosses with
Miss Lucindy."

Monsieur Leclerc looked up astonished.

"Horses, my friend? I have no horse!"

"Thunder 'n' dry trees! I didn't say you hed, did I? But that comes o'
usin' what Parson Hyde calls figgurs, I s'pose. I wish't he'd use one
kind o' figgurin' a leetle more; he'd pay me for that wood-sawin'. I
didn't mean nothin' about hosses. I sot out fur to say, Why don't ye
marry Miss Lucindy?"

"I?" gasped Monsieur,--"I, the foreign, the poor? I could not to presume
so!"

"Well, I don't see 's it's sech drefful presumption. Ef you're poor,
she's a woman, and real lonesome too; she ha'n't got nuther chick nor
child belongin' to her, and you're the only man she ever took any kind
of a notion to. I guess 't would be jest as much for her good as yourn."

"Hush, good Is-ray-el! it is good to stop there. She would not to marry
after such years of goodness: she is a saint of the blessed."

"Well, I guess saints sometimes fellerships with sinners; I've heerd
tell they did; and ef I was you, I'd make trial for 't. Nothin' ventur',
nothin' have."

Whereupon Israel walked off, whistling.

Monsieur Leclerc's soul was perturbed within him by these suggestions;
he pulled up two young cauliflowers and reset their places with
pigweeds; he hoed the nicely sloped border of the bed flat to the path,
and then flung the hoe across the walk, and went off to his daily
occupation with a new idea in his head. Nor was it an unpleasant one.
The idea of a transition from his squalid and pinching boarding-house to
the delicate comfort of Miss Lucinda's _menage_, the prospect of so kind
and good a wife to care for his hitherto dreaded future,--all this was
pleasant. I cannot honestly say he was in love with our friend; I must
even confess that whatever element of that nature existed between the
two was now all on Miss Lucinda's side, little as she knew it. Certain
it is, that, when she appeared that day at the dancing-class in a new
green calico flowered with purple, and bows on her slippers big enough
for a bonnet, it occurred to Monsieur Leclerc, that, if they were
married, she would take no more lessons! However, let us not blame him;
he was a man, and a poor one; one must not expect too much from men, or
from poverty; if they are tolerably good, let us canonize them even, it
is so hard for the poor creatures! And to do Monsieur Leclerc justice,
he had a very thorough respect and admiration for Miss Lucinda. Years
ago, in his stormy youth-time, there had been a pair of soft-fringed
eyes that looked into his as none would ever look again,--and they
murdered her, those mad wild beasts of Paris, in the chapel where she
knelt at her pure prayers,--murdered her because she knelt beside an
aristocrat, her best friend, the Duchess of Montmorenci, who had taken
the pretty peasant from her own estate to bring her up for her maid.
Jean Leclerc had lifted that pale shape from the pavement and buried it
himself; what else he buried with it was invisible; but now he recalled
the hour with a long, shuddering sigh, and, hiding his face in his
hands, said softly, "The violet is dead,--there is no spring for her. I
will have now an amaranth,--it is good for the tomb."

Whether Miss Lucinda's winter dress suggested this floral metaphor let
us not inquire. Sacred be sentiment,--when there is even a shadow of
reality about it!--when it becomes a profession, and confounds itself
with millinery and shades of mourning, it is--"bosh," as the Turkeys
say.

So that very evening Monsieur Leclerc arrayed himself in his best, to
give another lesson to Miss Lucinda. But, somehow or other, the lesson
was long in beginning; the little parlor looked so home-like and so
pleasant, with its bright lamp and gay bunch of roses on the table, that
it was irresistible temptation to lounge and linger. Miss Lucinda had
the volume of Florian in her hands, and was wondering why he did not
begin, when the book was drawn away, and a hand laid on both of hers.

"Lucinda!" he began, "I give you no lesson to-night. I have to ask. Dear
Mees, will you to marry your poor slave?"

"Oh, dear!" said Miss Lucinda.

Don't laugh at her, Miss Tender-eyes! You will feel just so yourself
some day, when Alexander Augustus says, "Will you be mine, loveliest of
jour sex?" only you won't feel it half so strongly, for you are young,
and love is Nature to youth, but it is a heavenly surprise to age.

Monsieur Leclerc said nothing. He had a heart after all, and it was
touched now by the deep emotion that flushed Miss Lucinda's face, and
made her tremble so violently,--but presently he spoke.

"Do not!" said he. "I am wrong. I presume. Forgive the stranger!"

"Oh, dear!" said poor Lucinda again,--"oh, you know it isn't that! but
how can you like _me_?"

There, Mademoiselle! there's humility for you! _you_ will never say that
to Alexander Augustus!

Monsieur Leclerc soothed this frightened, happy, incredulous little
woman into quiet before very long; and if he really began to feel a true
affection for her from the moment he perceived her humble and entire
devotion to him, who shall blame him? Not I. If we were all heroes, who
would be _valet-de-chambre_? if we were all women, who would be men? He
was very good as far as he went; and if you expect the chivalries of
grace out of Nature, you "may expect," as old Fuller saith. So it was
peacefully settled that they should be married, with a due amount of
tears and smiles on Lucinda's part, and a great deal of tender sincerity
on Monsieur's. She missed her dancing-lesson next day, and when Monsieur
Leclerc came in the evening he found a shade on her happy face.

"Oh, dear!" said she, as he entered.

"Oh, dear!" was Lucinda's favorite aspiration. Had she thought of it as
an Anglicizing of "_O Dieu_!" perhaps she would have dropped it; but
this time she went on headlong, with a valorous despair,--

"I have thought of something! I'm afraid I can't! Monsieur, aren't you a
Romanist?"

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