Part 3 out of 5
on which they feed,--and also in their distribution over the surface
of the earth, whether circumscribed within certain limited areas
or scattered over a wider range. What is now the nature of these
differences by which we distinguish Species? They are totally distinct
from any of the categories on which Genera, Families, Orders, Classes,
or Branches are founded, and may readily be reduced to a few heads. They
are differences in the proportion of the parts and in the absolute size
of the whole animal, in the color and general ornamentation of the
surface of the body, and in the relations of the individuals to one
another and to the world around. A farther analysis of other Genera
would show us that among Birds, Reptiles, Fishes, and, in fact,
throughout the Animal Kingdom, Species of well-defined natural Genera
differ in the same way. We are therefore justified in saying that the
category of characters on which Species are based implies no structural
differences, but presents the same structure combined under certain
minor differences of size, proportion, and habits. All the specific
characters stand in direct reference to the generic structure, the
family form, the ordinal complication of structure, the mode of
execution of the Class, and the plan of structure of the Branch, all of
which are embodied in the frame of each individual in each Species, even
though all these individuals are constantly dying away and reproducing
others; so that the specific characters have no more permanency in the
individuals than those which characterize the Genus, the Family, the
Order, the Class, and the Branch. I believe, therefore, that naturalists
have been entirely wrong in considering the more comprehensive groups
to be theoretical and in a measure arbitrary, an attempt, that is, of
certain men to classify the Animal Kingdom according to their individual
views, while they have ascribed to Species, as contrasted with the other
divisions, a more positive existence in Nature. No further argument
is needed to show that it is not only the Species that lives in the
individual, but that every individual, though belonging to a distinct
Species, is built upon a precise and definite plan which characterizes
its Branch,--that that plan is executed in each individual in a
particular way which characterizes its Class,--that every individual
with its kindred occupies a definite position in a series of structural
complications which characterizes its Order,--that in every individual
all these structural features are combined under a definite pattern of
form which characterizes its Family,--that every individual exhibits
structural details in the finish of its parts which characterize its
Genus,--and finally that every individual presents certain peculiarities
in the proportion of its parts, in its color, in its size, in its
relations to its fellow-beings and surrounding things, which constitute
its specific characters; and all this is repeated in the same kind of
combination, generation after generation, while the individuals die.
If we accept these propositions, which seem to me self-evident, it is
impossible to avoid the conclusion that Species do not exist in Nature
in any other sense than the more comprehensive groups of the zoological
There is one question respecting Species that gives rise to very earnest
discussions in our day, not only among naturalists, but among all
thinking people. How far are they permanent, and how far mutable? With
reference to the permanence of Species, there is much to be learned from
the geological phenomena that belong to our own period, and that bear
witness to the invariability of types during hundreds of thousands of
years at least. I hope to present a part of this evidence in a future
article upon Coral Reefs, but in the mean time I cannot leave this
subject without touching upon a point of which great use has been made
in recent discussions. I refer to the variability of Species as shown in
The domesticated animals with their numerous breeds are constantly
adduced as evidence of the changes which animals may undergo, and as
furnishing hints respecting the way in which the diversity now observed
among animals has already been produced. It is my conviction that such
inferences are in no way sustained by the facts of the case, and that,
however striking the differences may be between the breeds of our
domesticated animals, as compared with the wild Species of the same
Genus, they are of a peculiar character entirely distinct from those
that prevail among the latter, and are altogether incident to the
circumstances under which they occur. By this I do not mean the natural
action of physical conditions, but the more or less intelligent
direction of the circumstances under which they live. The inference
drawn from the varieties introduced among animals in a state of
domestication, with reference to the origin of Species, is usually this:
that what the farmer does on a small scale Nature may do on a large one.
It is true that man has been able to produce certain changes in the
animals under his care, and that these changes have resulted in a
variety of breeds. But in doing this, he has, in my estimation, in no
way altered the character of the Species, but has only developed its
pliability to the will of man, that is, to a power similar in its
nature and mode of action to that power to which animals owe their very
existence. The influence of man upon Animals is, in other words, the
action of mind upon them; and yet the ordinary mode of arguing upon
this subject is, that, because the intelligence of man has been able to
produce certain varieties in domesticated animals, therefore physical
causes have produced all the diversities among wild ones. Surely, the
sounder logic would be to infer, that, because our finite intelligence
can cause the original pattern to vary by some slight shades of
difference, therefore an infinite intelligence must have established
all the boundless diversity of which our boasted varieties are but the
faintest echo. It is the most intelligent farmer that has the greatest
success in improving his breeds; and if the animals he has so fostered
are left to themselves without that intelligent care, they return
to their normal condition. So with plants: the shrewd, observing,
thoughtful gardener will obtain many varieties from his flowers; but
those varieties will fade out, if left to themselves. There is, as it
were, a certain degree of pliability and docility in the organization
both of animals and plants, which may be developed by the fostering care
of man, and within which he can exercise a certain influence; but the
variations which he thus produces are of a peculiar kind, and do not
correspond to the differences of the wild Species. Let us take some
examples to illustrate this assertion.
Every Species of wild Bull differs from the others in its size; but
all the individuals correspond to the average standard of size
characteristic of their respective Species, and show none of those
extreme differences of size so remarkable among our domesticated
Cattle. Every Species of wild Bull has its peculiar color, and all the
individuals of one Species share in it: not so with our domesticated
Cattle, among which every individual may differ in color from every
other. All the individuals of the same Species of wild Bull agree in the
proportion of their parts, in the mode of growth of the hair, in its
quality, whether fine or soft: not so with our domesticated Cattle,
among which we find in the same Species overgrown and dwarfish
individuals, those with long and short legs, with slender and stout
build of the body, with horns or without, as well as the greatest
variety in the mode of twisting the horns,--in short, the widest
extremes of development which the degree of pliability in that Species
A curious instance of the power of man, not only in developing the
pliability of an animal's organization, but in adapting it to suit his
own caprices, is that of the Golden Carp, so frequently seen in bowls
and tanks as the ornament of drawing-rooms and gardens. Not only an
infinite variety of spotted, striped, variegated colors has been
produced in these Fishes, but, especially among the Chinese, so famous
for their morbid love of whatever is distorted and warped from its
natural shape and appearance, all sorts of changes have been brought
about in this single Species. A book of Chinese paintings showing the
Golden Carp in its varieties represents some as short and stout,
others long and slender,--some with the ventral side swollen, others
hunch-backed,--some with the mouth greatly enlarged, while in others
the caudal fin, which in the normal condition of the Species is placed
vertically at the end of the tail and is forked like those of other
Fishes, has become crested and arched, or is double, or crooked, or has
swerved in some other way from its original pattern. But in all these
variations there is nothing which recalls the characteristic specific
differences among the representatives of the Carp Family, which in their
wild state are very monotonous in their appearance all the world over.
Were it appropriate to accumulate evidence here upon this subject, I
could bring forward many more examples quite as striking as those above
mentioned. The various breeds of our domesticated Horses present the
same kind of irregularities, and do not differ from each other in the
same way as the wild Species differ from one another. Or take the Genus
Dog: the differences between its wild Species do not correspond in the
least with the differences observed among the domesticated ones. Compare
the differences between the various kinds of Jackals and Wolves with
those that exist between the Bull-Dog and Greyhound, for instance, or
between the St. Charles and the Terrier, or between the Esquimaux and
the Newfoundland Dog. I need hardly add that what is true of the Horses,
the Cattle, the Dogs, is true also of the Donkey, the Goat, the Sheep,
the Pig, the Cat, the Rabbit, the different kinds of barn-yard fowl,--in
short, of all those animals that are in domesticity the chosen
companions of man.
In fact, all the variability among domesticated Species is due to the
fostering care, or, in its more extravagant freaks, to the fancies of
man, and it has never been observed in the wild Species, where, on
the contrary, everything shows the closest adherence to the distinct,
well-defined, and invariable limits of the Species. It surely does
not follow, that, because the Chinese can, under abnormal conditions,
produce a variety of fantastic shapes in the Golden Carp, therefore
water, or the physical conditions established in the water, can create a
Fish, any more than it follows, that, because they can dwarf a tree, or
alter its aspect by stunting its growth in one direction and forcing it
in another, therefore the earth, or the physical conditions connected
with their growth, can create a Pine, an Oak, a Birch, or a Maple.
I confess that in all the arguments derived from the phenomena of
domestication, to prove that all animals owe their origin and diversity
to the natural action of the conditions under which they live, the
conclusion does not seem to me to follow logically from the premises.
And the fact that the domesticated animals of all races of men, equally
with the white race, vary among themselves in the same way and differ
in the same way from the wild Species, makes it still more evident that
domesticated varieties do not explain the origin of Species, except, as
I have said, by showing that the intelligent will of man can produce
effects which physical causes have never been known to produce, and that
we must therefore look to some cause outside of Nature, corresponding in
kind, though so different in degree, to the intelligence of man, for
all the phenomena connected with the existence of animals in their wild
state. So far from attributing these original differences among animals
to natural influences, it would seem, that, while a certain freedom of
development is left, within the limits of which man can exercise his
intelligence and his ingenuity, not even this superficial influence is
allowed to physical conditions unaided by some guiding power, since in
their normal state the wild Species remain, so far as we have been able
to discover, entirely unchanged,--maintained, it is true, in their
integrity by the circumstances that were established for their support
by the power that created both, but never altered by them. Nature holds
inviolable the stamp that God has set upon his creatures; and if man
is able to influence their organization in some slight degree, it is
because the Creator has given to his relations with the animals he has
intended for his companions the same plasticity which he has allowed to
every other side of his life, in virtue of which he may in some sort
mould and shape it to his own ends, and be held responsible also for its
The common sense of a civilized community has already pointed out the
true distinction in applying another word to the discrimination of the
different kinds of domesticated animals. They are called Breeds, and
Breeds among animals are the work of man;--Species were created by God.
* * * * *
THE STRASBURG CLOCK.
Many and many a year ago,--
To say how many I scarcely dare,--
Three of us stood in Strasburg streets,
In the wide and open square,
Where, quaint and old and touched with the gold
Of a summer morn, at stroke of noon
The tongue of the great Cathedral tolled,
And into the church with the crowd we strolled
To see their wonder, the famous Clock.
Well, my love, there are clocks a many,
As big as a house, as small as a penny;
And clocks there be with voices as queer
As any that torture human ear,--
Clocks that grunt, and clocks that growl,
That wheeze like a pump, and hoot like an owl,
From the coffin shape with its brooding face
That stands on the stair, (you know the place,)
Saying, "Click, cluck," like an ancient hen,
A-gathering the minutes home again,
To the kitchen knave with its wooden stutter,
Doing equal work with double splutter,
Yelping, "Click, clack," with a vulgar jerk,
As much as to say, "Just see me work!"
But of all the clocks that tell Time's bead-roll,
There are none like this in the old Cathedral;
Never a one so bids you stand
While it deals the minutes with even hand:
For clocks, like men, are better and worse,
And some you dote on, and some you curse;
And clock and man may have such a way
Of telling the truth that you can't say nay.
So in we went and stood in the crowd
To hear the old clock as it crooned aloud,
With sound and symbol, the only tongue
The maker taught it while yet 't was young.
And we saw Saint Peter clasp his hands,
And the cock crow hoarsely to all the lands,
And the Twelve Apostles come and go,
And the solemn Christ pass sadly and slow;
And strange that iron-legged procession,
And odd to us the whole impression,
As the crowd beneath, in silence pressing,
Bent to that cold mechanic blessing.
But I alone thought far in my soul
What a touch of genius was in the whole,
And felt how graceful had been the thought
Which for the signs of the months had sought,
Sweetest of symbols, Christ's chosen train;
And much I pondered, if he whose brain
Had builded this clock with labor and pain
Did only think, twelve months there are,
And the Bible twelve will fit to a hair;
Or did he say, with a heart in tune,
Well-loved John is the sign of June,
And changeful Peter hath April hours,
And Paul the stately, October bowers,
And sweet, or faithful, or bold, or strong,
Unto each one shall a month belong.
But beside the thought that under it lurks,
Pray, do you think clocks are saved by their works?
ARTHUR HUGH CLOUGH.
To win such love as Arthur Hugh Clough won in life, to leave so dear a
memory as he has left, is a happiness that falls to few men. In America,
as in England, his death is mourned by friends whose affection is better
than fame, and who in losing him have met with an irreparable loss.
Outside the circle of his friends his reputation had no large extent;
but though his writings are but little known by the great public of
readers, they are prized by all those of thoughtful and poetic temper
to whose hands they have come, as among the most precious and original
productions of the time. To those who knew him personally his poems had
a special worth and charm, as the sincere expression of a character of
the purest stamp, of rare truthfulness and simplicity, not less tender
than strong, and of a genius thoroughly individual in its form, and full
of the promise of a large career. He was by Nature endowed with subtile
and profound powers of thought, with feeling at once delicate and
intense, with lively and generous sympathies, and with conscientiousness
so acute as to pervade and control his whole intellectual disposition.
Loving, seeking, and holding fast to the truth, he despised all
falseness and affectation. With his serious and earnest thinking was
joined the play of a genial humor and the brightness of poetic fancy.
Liberal in sentiment, absolutely free from dogmatism and pride of
intellect, of a questioning temper, but of reverent spirit, faithful in
the performance not only of the larger duties, but also of the lesser
charities and the familiar courtesies of life, he has left a memory of
singular consistency, purity, and dignity. He lived to conscience, not
for show, and few men carry through life so white a soul.
A notice of Mr. Clough understood to be written by one who knew him well
gives the outline of his life.
"Arthur Hugh Clough was educated at Rugby, to which school he went
very young, soon after Dr. Arnold had been elected head-master. He
distinguished himself at once by gaining the only scholarship which
existed at that time, and which was open to the whole school under the
age of fourteen. Before he was sixteen he was at the head of the fifth
form, and, as that was the earliest age at which boys were then admitted
into the sixth, had to wait for a year before coming under the personal
tuition of the headmaster. He came in the next (school) generation to
Stanley and Vaughan, and gained a reputation, if possible, even greater
than theirs. At the yearly speeches, in the last year of his residence,
when the prizes are given away in the presence of the school and the
friends who gather on such occasions, Arnold took the almost unexampled
course of addressing him, (when he and two fags went up to carry off his
load of splendidly bound books,) and congratulating him on having
gained every honor which Rugby could bestow, and having also already
distinguished himself and done the highest credit to his school at the
University. He had just gained a scholarship at Balliol, then, as now,
the blue ribbon of undergraduates.
"At school, although before all things a student, he had thoroughly
entered into the life of the place, and before he left had gained
supreme influence with the boys. He was the leading contributor to the
'Rugby Magazine'; and though a weakness in his ankles prevented him from
taking a prominent part in the games of the place, was known as the
best goal-keeper on record, a reputation which no boy could have gained
without promptness and courage. He was also one of the best swimmers in
the school, his weakness of ankle being no drawback here, and in his
last half passed the crucial test of that day, by swimming from Swift's
(the bathing-place of the sixth) to the mill on the Leicester road, and
back again, between callings over.
"He went to reside at Oxford when the whole University was in a ferment.
The struggle of Alma Mater to humble or cast out the most remarkable
of her sons was at its height. Ward had not yet been arraigned for his
opinions, and was a fellow and tutor of Balliol, and Newman was in
residence at Oriel, and incumbent of St. Mary's.
"Clough's was a mind which, under any circumstances, would have thrown
itself into the deepest speculative thought of its time. He seems soon
to have passed through the mere ecclesiastical debatings to the deep
questions which lay below them. There was one lesson--probably one
only--which he had never been able to learn from his great master,
namely, to acknowledge that there are problems which intellectually are
not to be solved by man, and before these to sit down quietly. Whether
it were from the harass of thought on such matters which interfered with
his regular work, or from one of those strange miscarriages in the most
perfect of examining machines, which every now and then deprive the best
men of the highest honors, to the surprise of every one Clough missed
his first class. But he completely retrieved this academical mishap
shortly afterwards by gaining an Oriel fellowship. In his new college,
the college of Pusey, Newman, Keble, Marriott, Wilberforce, presided
over by Dr. Hawkins, and in which the influence of Whately, Davidson,
and Arnold had scarcely yet died out, he found himself in the very
centre and eye of the battle. His own convictions were by this time
leading him far away from both sides in the Oxford contest; he, however,
accepted a tutorship at the college, and all who had the privilege of
attending them will long remember his lectures on logic and ethics.
His fault (besides a shy and reserved manner) was that he was much too
long-suffering to youthful philosophic coxcombry, and would rather
encourage it by his gentle 'Ah! you think so?' or, 'Yes, but might not
such and such be the case?'"
Clough was at Oxford in 1847,--the year of the terrible Irish famine,
and with others of the most earnest men at the University he took part
in an association which had for its object "Retrenchment for the sake
of the Irish." Such a society was little likely to be popular with the
comfortable dignitaries or the luxurious youth of the University. Many
objections, frivolous or serious as the case might be, were raised
against so subversive a notion as that of the self-sacrifice of the rich
for the sake of the poor. Disregarding all personal considerations,
Clough printed a pamphlet entitled, "A Consideration of Objections
against the Retrenchment Association," in which he met the careless or
selfish arguments of those who set themselves against the efforts of
the society. It was a characteristic performance. His heart was deeply
stirred by the harsh contrast between the miseries of the Irish poor and
the wasteful extravagance of living prevalent at Oxford. He wrote with
vehement indignation against the selfish pleas of the indifferent and
the thoughtless possessors of wealth, wasters of the goods given them as
a trust for others. His words were chiefly addressed to the young men
at the University,--and they were not without effect. Such views of the
rights and duties of property as he put forward, of the claims of labor,
and of the responsibilities of the aristocracy, had not been often heard
at Oxford. He was called a Socialist and a Radical, but it mattered
little to him by what name he was known to those whose consciences were
not touched by his appeal. "Will you say," he writes toward the end of
this pamphlet, "this is all rhetoric and declamation? There is, I dare
say, something too much in that kind. What with criticizing style and
correcting exercises, we college tutors perhaps may be likely, in the
heat of composition, to lose sight of realities, and pass into the limbo
of the factitious,--especially when the thing must be done at odd times,
in any case, and, if at all, quickly. But if I have been obliged to
write hurriedly, believe me, I have obliged myself to think not hastily.
And believe me, too, though I have desired to succeed in putting vividly
and forcibly that which vividly and forcibly I felt and saw, still the
graces and splendors of composition were thoughts far less present to my
mind than Irish poor men's miseries, English poor men's hardships, and
your unthinking indifference. Shocking enough the first and the second,
almost more shocking the third."
It was about this time that the most widely known of his works, "The
Bothie of Toper-na-Fuosich, a Long-Vacation Pastoral," was written. It
was published in 1848, and though it at once secured a circle of warm
admirers, and the edition was very soon exhausted, it "is assuredly
deserving of a far higher popularity than it has ever attained." The
poem was reprinted in America, at Cambridge, in 1849, and it may be
safely asserted that its merit was more deeply felt and more generously
acknowledged by American than by English readers. The fact that its
essential form and local coloring were purely and genuinely English, and
thus gratified the curiosity felt in this country concerning the social
habits and ways of life in the mother-land, while on the other hand its
spirit was in sympathy with the most liberal and progressive thought
of the age, may sufficiently account for its popularity here. But
the lovers of poetry found delight in it, apart from these
characteristics,--in its fresh descriptions of Nature, its healthy
manliness of tone, its scholarly construction, its lively humor, its
large thought quickened and deepened by the penetrating imagination of
"Any one who has read it will acknowledge that a tutorship at Oriel was
not the place for the author. The intense love of freedom, the deep and
hearty sympathy with the foremost thought of the time, the humorous
dealing with old formulas and conventionalisms grown meaningless, which
breathe in every line of the 'Bothie,' show this clearly enough. He
would tell in after-life, with much enjoyment, how the dons of the
University, who, hearing that he had something in the press, and knowing
that his theological views were not wholly sound, were looking for a
publication on the Articles, were astounded by the appearance of that
fresh and frolicsome poem. Oxford (at least the Oriel common room)
and he were becoming more estranged daily. How keenly he felt the
estrangement, not from Oxford, but from old friends, about this time,
can be read only in his own words." It is in such poems as the "Qua
Cursum Ventus," or the sonnet beginning, "Well, well,--Heaven bless you
all from day to day!" that it is to be read. These, with a few other
fugitive pieces, were printed, in company with verses by a friend, as
one part of a small volume entitled, "Ambarvalia," which never attained
any general circulation, although containing some poems which will take
their place among the best of English poetry of this generation.
"_Qua Cursum Ventus_.
"As ships, becalmed at eve, that lay
With canvas drooping, side by side,
Two towers of sail at dawn of day,
Are scarce long leagues apart descried:
"When fell the night, upsprung the breeze,
And all the darkling hours they plied,
Nor dreamt but each the self-same seas
By each was cleaving side by side:
"E'en so----But why the tale reveal
Of those whom, year by year unchanged,
Brief absence joined anew to feel,
Astounded, soul from soul estranged?
"At dead of night their sails were filled,
And onward each rejoicing steered:
Ah, neither blame, for neither willed,
Or wist, what first with dawn appeared!
"To veer, how vain! On, onward strain,
Brave barks! In light, in darkness too,
Through winds and tides one compass guides:
To that, and your own selves, be true!
"But, O blithe breeze! and O great seas!
Though ne'er, that earliest parting past,
On your wide plain they join again,
Together lead them home at last!
"One port, methought, alike they sought,
One purpose hold where'er they fare:
O bounding breeze! O rushing seas!
At last, at last, unite them there!"
"In 1848-49 the revolutionary crisis came on Europe, and Clough's
sympathies drew him with great earnestness into the struggles which were
going on. He was in Paris directly after the barricades, and in Rome
during the siege, where he gained the friendship of Saffi and other
leading Italian patriots." A part of his experiences and his thoughts
while at Rome are interwoven with the story in his "Amours de Voyage," a
poem which exhibits in extraordinary measure the subtilty and delicacy
of his powers, and the fulness of his sympathy with the intellectual
conditions of the time. It was first published in the "Atlantic Monthly"
for 1858, and was at once established in the admiration of readers
capable of appreciating its rare and refined excellence. The spirit
of the poem is thoroughly characteristic of its author, and the
speculative, analytic turn of his mind is represented in many passages
of the letters of the imaginary hero. Had he been writing in his own
name, he could not have uttered his inmost conviction more distinctly,
or have given the clue to his intellectual life more openly than in the
"I will look straight out, see things, not try to
Fact shall be Fact for me; and the Truth the
Truth as ever,
Flexible, changeable, vague, and multiform
"Ah, the key of our life, that passes all wards,
opens all locks,
Is not _I will_, but _I must_. I must,--I must,
--and I do it."
And still again,--
"But for the steady fore-sense of a freer and
Think you that man could consent to be
circumscribed here into action?
But for assurance within of a limitless ocean
Whose great tranquil depths unconscious
the wind-tost surface
Breaks into ripples of trouble that come and
change and endure not,--
But that in this, of a truth, we have our
being, and know it,
Think you we men could submit to live and
move as we do here?"
"To keep on doing right,--not to speculate only, but to act, not to
think only, but to live,"--was, it has been said, characteristic of the
leading men at Oxford during this period. "It was not so much a part of
their teaching as a doctrine woven into their being." And while they
thus exercised a moral not less than an intellectual influence over
their contemporaries and their pupils, they themselves, according to
their various tempers and circumstances, were led on into new paths of
inquiry or of life. Some of them fell into the common temptations of
an English University career, and lost the freshness of energy and the
honesty of conviction which first inspired them; others, holding their
places in the established order of things, were able by happy faculties
of character to retain also the vigor and simplicity of their early
purposes; while others again, among whom was Clough, finding the
restraints of the University incompatible with independence, gave up
their positions at Oxford to seek other places in which they could more
freely search for the truth and express their own convictions.
It was not long after his return from Italy that he became Professor of
English Language and Literature at University College, London. He filled
this place, which was not in all respects suited to him, until 1852.
After resigning it, he took various projects into consideration, and
at length determined to come to America with the intention of settling
here, if circumstances should prove favorable. In November, 1852,
he arrived in Boston. He at once established himself at Cambridge,
proposing to give instruction to young men preparing for college, or to
take on in more advanced studies those who had completed the collegiate
course. He speedily won the friendship of those whose friendship
was best worth having in Boston and its neighborhood. His thorough
scholarship, the result of the best English training, and his intrinsic
qualities caused his society to be sought and prized by the most
cultivated and thoughtful men. He had nothing of insular narrowness, and
none of the hereditary prejudices which too often interfere with the
capacity of English travellers or residents among us to sympathize with
and justly understand habits of life and of thought so different from
those to which they have been accustomed. His liberal sentiments and his
independence of thought harmonized with the new social conditions in
which he found himself, and with the essential spirit of American life.
The intellectual freedom and animation of this country were congenial
to his disposition. From the beginning he took a large share in the
interests of his new friends. He contributed several remarkable articles
to the pages of the "North American Review" and of "Putnam's Magazine,"
and he undertook a work which was to occupy his scanty leisure for
several years, the revision of the so-called Dryden's Translation of
Plutarch's Lives. Although the work was undertaken simply as a revision,
it turned out to involve little less labor than a complete new
translation, and it was so accomplished that henceforth it must remain
the standard version of this most popular of the ancient authors.
But all that made the presence of such a man a great gain to his new
friends made his absence felt by his old ones as a great loss. In July,
1853, he received the announcement that a place had been obtained for
him by their efforts in the Education Department of the Privy Council,
and he was so strenuously urged to return to England, that, although
unwilling to give up the prospect of a final settlement in America,
he felt that it was best to go home for a time. Some months after his
return he was married to the granddaughter of the late Mr. William
Smith, M.P. for Norwich. He established himself in a house in London,
and settled down to the hard routine-work of his office. In a private
letter written not long after his return, he said,--"As for myself, whom
you ask about, there is nothing to tell about me. I live on contentedly
enough, but feel rather unwilling to be re-Englished, after once
attaining that higher transatlantic development. However, _il faut s'y
soumettre_, I presume,--though I fear I am embarked in the foundering
ship. I hope to Heaven you'll get rid of slavery, and then I shouldn't
fear but you would really 'go ahead' in the long run. As for us and our
inveterate feudalism, it is not hopeful."
In another letter about this time, he wrote,--"I like America all the
better for the comparison with England on my return. Certainly I think
you are more right than I was willing to admit, about the position of
the poorer classes here. Such is my first reimpression. However, it
will wear off soon enough, I dare say; so you must make the most of my
Again, a little later, he wrote,--"I do truly hope that you will get the
North erelong thoroughly united against any further encroachments. I
don't by any means feel that the slave-system is an intolerable crime,
nor do I think that our system here is so much better; but it is clear
to me that the only safe ground to go upon is that of your Northern
States. I suppose the rich-and-poor difficulties must be creeping in at
New York, but one would fain hope that European analogies will not be
quite accepted even there."
His letters were reflections of himself,--full of thought, fancy, and
pleasant humor, as well as of affectionateness and true feeling. Their
character is hardly to be given in extracts, but a few passages may
serve to illustrate some of these qualities.
"Ambrose Philips, the Roman Catholic, who set up the new St. Bernard
Monastery at Charnwood Forest, has taken to spirit-rappings. He avers,
_inter alia_, that a Buddhist spirit in misery held communication with
him through the table, and entreated his confessor, Father Lorraine, to
say three masses for him. Pray, convey this to T---- for his warning.
For, moreover, it remains uncertain whether Father Lorraine did say the
masses; so that perhaps T----'s deceased co-religionist is still in the
Some time after his return, he wrote,--"Really, I may say I am only
just beginning to recover my spirits after returning from the young and
hopeful and humane republic, to this cruel, unbelieving, inveterate old
monarchy. There are deeper waters of ancient knowledge and experience
about one here, and one is saved from the temptation of flying off into
space; but I think you have, beyond all question, the happiest country
going. Still, the political talk of America, as one hears it here, is
not always true to the best intentions of the country, is it?"
Writing on a July day from his office in Whitehall, he says, after
speaking of the heat of the weather,--"Time has often been compared to
a river: if the Thames at London represent the stream of traditional
wisdom, the comparison will indeed be of an ill odor; the accumulated
wisdom of the past will be proved upon analogy to be as it were the
collected sewage of the centuries; and the great problem, how to get rid
In March, 1854, he wrote,--"People talk a good deal about that book of
Whewell's on the Plurality of Worlds. I recommend Fields to pirate it.
Have you seen it? It is to show that Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, etc., are
all pretty certainly uninhabitable,--being (Jupiter, Saturn, etc., to
wit) strange washy limbos of places, where at the best only mollusks
(or, in the case of Venus, salamanders) could exist. Hence we conclude
we are the only rational creatures, which is highly satisfactory, and,
what is more, quite Scriptural. Owen, on the other hand, I believe,
and other scientific people, declare it a most presumptuous essay,--
conclusions audacious, and reasoning fallacious, though the facts are
allowed; and in that opinion I, on the ground that there are more things
in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in the inductive philosophy,
incline to concur."
Of his work he wrote,--"Well, I go on in the office, _operose nihil
agenda_, very _operose_, and very _nihil_ too. For lack of news, I send
you a specimen of my labors."--"We are here going on much as usual,
--occupied with nothing else but commerce and the money-market. I do not
think any one is thinking audibly of anything else."--"I have read with
more pleasure than anything else that I have read lately Kane's Arctic
Explorations, i.e., his second voyage, which is certainly a wonderful
story. The whole narrative is, I think, very characteristic of the
differences between the English and the American-English habits of
command and obedience."
In the autumn of 1857, after speaking of some of the features of the
Sepoy revolt, he said,--"I don't believe Christianity can spread far in
Asia, unless it will allow men more than one wife,--which isn't likely
yet out of Utah. But I believe the old Brahmin 'Touch not and taste not,
and I am holier than thou, because I don't touch and taste,' may be got
rid of. As for Mahometanism, it is a crystallized monotheism, out of
which no vegetation can come. I doubt its being good even for the
March, 1859. "Excuse this letter all about my own concerns. I am pretty
busy, and have time for little else: such is our fate after forty. My
figure 40 stands nearly three months behind me on the roadway, unwept,
unhonored, and unsung, an _octavum lustrum_ bound up and laid on the
shelf. 'So-and-so is dead,' said a friend to Lord Melbourne of some
author. 'Dear me, how glad I am! Now I can bind him up.'"
It was not until 1859 that the translation of Plutarch, begun six years
before, was completed and published. It had involved much wearisome
study, and gave proof of patient, exact, and elegant scholarship.
Clough's life in the Council-Office was exceedingly laborious, and
for several years his work was increased by services rendered to Miss
Nightingale, a near relative of his wife. He employed "many hours, both
before and after his professional duties were over, to aid her in those
reforms of the military administration to which she has devoted the
remaining energies of her overtasked life." For this work he was the
better fitted from having acted, during a period of relief from his
regular employment, as Secretary to a Military Commission appointed by
Government shortly after the Crimean War to examine and report upon the
military systems of some of the chief Continental nations. But at length
his health gave way under the strain of continuous overwork. He had for
a long time been delicate, and early in 1861 he was obliged to give
up work, and was ordered to travel abroad. He went to Greece and
Constantinople, and enjoyed greatly the charms of scenery and of
association which he was so well fitted to appreciate. But the release
from work had come too late. He returned to England in July, his health
but little improved. In a letter written at that time he spoke of Lord
Campbell's death, which had just occurred. "Lord Campbell's death is
rather the characteristic death of the English political man. In the
Cabinet, on the Bench, and at a dinner-party, busy, animated, and full
of effort to-day, and in the early morning a vessel has burst. It is a
wonder they last so long." But of himself he says, in words of striking
contrast,--"My nervous energy is pretty nearly spent for to-day, so I
must come to a stop. I have leave till November, and by that time I hope
I shall be strong again for another good spell of work." After a happy
three weeks in England, he went abroad again, and spent some time
with his friends the Tennysons in Auvergne and among the Pyrenees. In
September he was joined by his wife in Paris, and thence went with her
through Switzerland to Italy. He had scarcely reached Florence before
he became alarmingly ill with symptoms of a low malaria fever. His
exhausted constitution never rallied against its attack. He sank
gradually away, and died on the 13th of November. "I have leave till
November, and by that time I hope I shall be strong again for another
good spell of work." That hope is accomplished;--
"For sure in the wide heaven there is room
For love, and pity, and for helpful deeds."
He was buried in the little Protestant cemetery at Florence, a fit
resting-place for a poet, the Protestant Santa Croce, where the tall
cypresses rise over the graves, and the beautiful hills keep guard
"Every one who knew Clough even slightly," says one of his oldest
friends, "received the strongest impression of the unusual breadth
and massiveness of his mind. Singularly simple and genial, he was
unfortunately cast upon a self-questioning age, which led him to worry
himself with constantly testing the veracity of his own emotions. He has
delineated in four lines the impression which his habitual reluctance to
converse on the deeper themes of life made upon those of his friends who
were attracted by his frank simplicity. In one of his shorter poems he
'I said, My heart is all too soft;
He who would climb and soar aloft
Must needs keep ever at his side
The tonic of a wholesome pride.'
That expresses the man in a very remarkable manner. He had a kind of
proud simplicity about him singularly attractive, and often singularly
disappointing to those who longed to know him well. He had a fear, which
many would think morbid, of leaning much on the approbation of the
world. And there is one remarkable passage in his poems in which he
intimates that men who live on the good opinion of others might even be
benefited by a crime which would rob them of that evil stimulant:--
'Why, so is good no longer good, but crime
Our truest, best advantage, since it lifts us
Out of the stifling gas of men's opinion
Into the vital atmosphere of Truth,
Where He again is visible, though in anger.'
"So eager was his craving for reality and perfect sincerity, so morbid
his dislike even for the unreal conventional forms of life, that a mind
quite unique in simplicity and truthfulness represents _itself_ in his
'Seeking in vain, in all my store,
One feeling based on truth.'
"Indeed, he wanted to reach some guaranty for simplicity deeper than
simplicity itself. We remember his principal criticism on America,
after returning from his residence in Massachusetts, was, that the
New-Englanders were much simpler than the English, and that this was
the great charm of New-England society. His own habits were of the same
kind, sometimes almost austere in their simplicity. Luxury he disliked,
and sometimes his friends thought him even ascetic.
"This almost morbid craving for a firm base on the absolute realities
of life was very wearing in a mind so self-conscious as Clough's, and
tended to paralyze the expression of a certainly great genius. He heads
some of his poems with a line from Wordsworth's great ode, which depicts
perfectly the expression often written in the deep furrows which
sometimes crossed and crowded his massive forehead:--
'Blank misgivings of a creature moving about
in worlds not realized.'
"Nor did Clough's great powers ever realize themselves to his
contemporaries by any outward sign at all commensurate with the profound
impression which they produced in actual life. But if his powers did
not, there was much in his character that did produce its full effect
upon all who knew him. He never looked, even in time of severe trial, to
his own interest or advancement. He never flinched from the worldly loss
which his deepest convictions brought on him. Even when clouds were
thick over his own head, and the ground beneath his feet seemed
crumbling away, he could still bear witness to an eternal light behind
the cloud, and tell others that there is solid ground to be reached in
the end by the weary feet of all who will wait to be strong. Let him
speak his own farewell:--
'Say not the struggle nought availeth,
The labor and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not nor faileth,
And as things have been things remain.
'Though hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
It may be, in yon smoke concealed,
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,
And but for you possess the field.
'For though the tired wave, idly breaking,
Seems here no tedious inch to gain,
Far back, through creek and inlet making,
Came, silent flooding in, the main.
'And not through eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light;
In front the sun climbs slow,--how slowly!
But westward--look! the land is bright.'"
WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH THEM?
We have many precedents upon the part of the "Guardian of Civilization,"
which may or may not guide us. Not to return to that age "whereunto the
memory of man runneth not to the contrary," "the day of King Richard our
grandfather," and to the Wars of the Roses, we will begin with the happy
occasion of the Restoration of King Charles of merry and disreputable
fame. Since he came back to his kingdoms on sufferance and as a
convenient compromise between anarchy and despotism, he could hardly
afford the luxury of wholesale proscription. What the returning
Royalists could, they did. It was obviously unsafe, as well as
ungrateful, to hang General Monk in presence of his army, many of whom
had followed the "Son of the Man" from Worcester Fight in hot pursuit,
and had hunted him from thicket to thicket of Boscobel Wood. But to dig
up the dead Cromwell and Ireton, to suspend them upon the gallows, to
mark out John Milton, old and blind, for poverty and contempt, was both
safe and pleasant. And civilization was guarded accordingly. One little
bit of comfort, however, was permitted. Scotland had been the Virginia
of his day, and Charles had the satisfaction of hearing that the Whigs,
who had betrayed and sold his father, and who had (a far worse offence)
made himself listen to three-hours' sermons, were chased like wild
beasts among the hills, after the defeat of Bothwell Brigg. But what
Charles could not do was permitted to his brother. After the rebellion
of Monmouth was put down, the West of England was turned to mourning.
From the princely bastard who sued in agony and vain humiliation, to the
clown of Devon forced into the rebel ranks,--from the peer who plotted,
to the venerable and Christian woman whose sole crime was sheltering the
houseless and starving fugitive, there was given to the vanquished no
mercy but the mercy of Jeffreys, no tenderness but the tenderness of
But the House of Stuart was not always to represent the side of victory.
Thirty years after the Rout of Sedgemoor, the son of James, whose name
was clouded by rumor with the same stain of spuriousness as that of his
unfortunate cousin, was proclaimed by the Earl of Mar. The Jacobites
were forced to drink to the dregs the cup of bitterness they had so
gladly administered to others. Over Temple Bar and London Bridge the
heads of the defeated rebels bore witness to the guardianship of
civilization as understood in the eighteenth century.
Another thirty years brings us to the landing of Moidart, the rising
of the clans, the fall of Edinburgh and Carlisle, the "Bull's Run" at
Prestonpans, and the panic of London. If we are anxious to guard our
civilization according to Hanoverian precedents, there is one name
commonly given to the Commander-in-chief at Culloden which Congress
should add to the titles it is preparing against McClellan's successful
advance. The "Butcher Cumberland" not only hounded on his troops with
the tempting price of thirty thousand pounds for the Pretender _dead or
alive_, but every adherent of the luckless Jefferson Davis of that day
was in peril of life and wholesale confiscation. The House of Hanover
not only broke the backbone of the Rebellion, but mangled without mercy
We come now, in another thirty years, to the next struggle of England
with a portion of her people. It is impossible, as well as unfair,
to say what might have been done with "Mr. Washington, the Virginia
colonel," and Mr. Franklin, the Philadelphia printer, had they not been
able to determine their own destiny. We can only surmise, by referring
to two well-known localities in New York, the "Old Sugar-House" and the
"Jersey Prison-Ship," how paternally George III was disposed then to
resume his rights. And without disposition to press historic parallels,
we cannot but compare Arnold and Tryon's raid along the south shore of
Connecticut with a certain sail recently made up the Tennessee River to
the foot of the Muscle Shoals by the command of a modern Connecticut
But as we were spared the necessity of testing the royal clemency to the
submitted Provinces of North America, we had better pass on twenty years
to the era of the Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland. In
this country the Irishman need not "fear to speak of '98," and in this
country he still treasures the memory of the whippings and pitch-caps of
Major Beresford's riding-house, and other pleasant souvenirs of the way
in which, sixty years ago, loyalty dealt with rebellion. There is no
inherent proneness to treason in the Hibernian nature, as Corcoran and
the Sixty-Ninth can bear witness; nor is Pat so fond of a riot that he
cannot with fair play be a--well, a good citizen. Yet at home he has
been so "civilized" by his British guardian as to be in a chronic state
of discontent and fretfulness.
We must, however, hasten to our latest precedent,--England in India.
The Sepoy Rebellion had some features in common with our own. It was
inaugurated by premeditated military treachery. It seized upon a large
quantity of Government munitions of war. It only asked "to be let
alone." It found the Government wholly unprepared. But it was the
uprising of a conquered people. The rebels were in circumstances, as in
complexion, much nearer akin to that portion of our Southern citizens
which has _not_ rebelled, and which has lost no opportunity of seeking
our lines "to take the oath of allegiance" or any other little favor
which could be found there. We do not defend their atrocities, although
a plea in mitigation might be put in, that these "were wisely planned to
break the spell which British domination had woven over the native mind
of India," and that they were part of that decided and desperate policy
which was designed to forever bar the way of reconstruction. But toward
the recaptured rebels there was used a course for which the only
precedent, so far as we know, was furnished by that highly civilized
guardian, the Dey of Algiers. These prisoners of war were in cold blood
tied to the muzzles of cannon and blown into fragments. The illustrated
papers of that most Christian land which is overcome with the barbarity
of sinking old hulks in a channel through which privateers were wont to
escape our blockade furnished effective engravings "by our own artist"
of the scene. Wholesale plunder and devastation of the chief city of the
revolt followed. The rebellion was put down, and put down, we may say,
without any unnecessary tenderness, any womanish weakness for the
We have thus established what we believe is called by theologians a
_catena_ of precedents, coming down from the days of the Commonwealth to
our own time. It covers about the whole period of New England history.
And we next propose to ask the question, how far it may be desirable to
be bound by such indisputable authority.
Is it too late to reopen the question, and to retry the issue between
sovereign and rebel, less with respect to ancient and immemorial usage,
and more according to eternal principle? We answer, No. The same power
that enables us to master this rebellion will give us original and final
jurisdiction over it.
But one principle asserts itself out of the uniform coarse of history.
The restoration of the lawful authority over rebels does not restore
them to their old _status_. They are at the pleasure of the conquering
power. Rights of citizenship, having been abjured, do not return
with the same coercion which demands duties of citizenship. Thus, to
illustrate on an individual scale, every wrong-doer is _ipso facto_ a
rebel. He forfeits, according to due course of law, a measure of his
privileges, while constrained to the same responsibility of obedience.
His property is not exempt from taxes because he is in prison, but his
right of voting is gone; he cannot bear arms, but he must keep the
peace, he must labor compulsorily, and attend such worship as the State
provides. In short, he becomes a ward of the State, while not ceasing to
be a member. His inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness were inalienable only so long as he remained obedient and true
to the sovereign. Now this is equally true on the large scale as on the
small. The only difficulty is to apply it to broad masses of men and to
It may not be expedient to try South Carolina collectively, but we
contend that the application of the principle gives us the right.
Corporate bodies have again and again been punished by suspension of
franchise, while held to allegiance and duties.
The simple question for us is, What will it be best to do? The South
may save us the trouble of deciding for the present a part of the many
questions that occur. We may put down the Confederate Government, and
take military occupation. We cannot compel the Southerners to hold
elections and resume their share in the Government. It can go on without
them. The same force which reopens the Mississippi can collect taxes or
exact forfeitures along its banks. If Charleston is sullen, the National
Government, having restored its flag to Moultrie and Sumter, can take
its own time in the matter of clearing out the channel and rebuilding
the light-houses. If a secluded neighborhood does not receive a
Government postmaster, but is disposed to welcome him with tarry hands
to a feathery bed, it can be left without the mails. The rebel we can
compel to return to his duties; if necessary, we can leave him to get
back his rights as he best may.
But we are the representatives of a great political discovery. The
American Union is founded on a fact unknown to the Old World. That fact
is the direct ratio of the prosperity of the parts to the prosperity of
the whole. It is the principle upon which in every community our life
is built. We cannot, therefore, afford to have any part of the land
languishing and suffering. We are fighting, not for conquest, for we
mean to abjure our power the moment we safely can,--not for vengeance,
for those with whom we fight are our brethren. We are compelled by a
necessity, partly geographical and partly social, into restoring a Union
politically which never for a day has actually ceased.
Let us advert to one fact very patent and significant. We have heard
of nearly all our successes through Rebel sources. Even where it made
against them, they could not help telling us (we do not say the _truth_,
for that is rather strong, but) the _news_. Never did two nations at war
know one-tenth part as much of each other's affairs. Like husband and
wife, the two parts of the country cannot keep secrets from one another,
let them try ever so hard. And the end of all will be that we shall know
and respect one another a great deal better for our sharp encounter.
But this necessity of union demands of the Government, imperatively
demands, that it take whatever step is necessary to its own
preservation. It is as with a ship at sea,--all must pull together, or
somebody must go overboard. There can be no such order of things as an
_agreed state of mutiny_,--forecastle seceding from cabin, and steerage
independent of both.
Not only is rebellion to be put down, therefore, but to be kept from
coming up again. It is obvious to every one, not thoroughly blinded by
party, how it did come up. The Gulf States were coaxed out, the Border
States were bullied or conjured out. A few leading men, who had made
the science of political management their own, got the control of the
popular mind. One great secret of their success was their constant
assumption that what was to be done had been done already. It is the
very art of the veteran seducer, who ever persuades his victim that
return is impossible, in order that he may actually make it so. North
Carolina, as one expressively said, "found herself out of the Union she
hardly knew how." Virginia was dragged out. Tennessee was forced out.
Missouri was declared out. Kentucky was all but out. Maryland hung in
the crisis of life and death under the guns of Fort McHenry. In South
Carolina alone can it be said that any fair expression of the popular
will was on the Secession side. The Rebellion was the work of a
governing class, all whose ideas and hopes were the aggrandizement of
their own order. Terrorism opened the way, reckless lying made the game
sure. If any one is inclined to doubt this, let him look at the sway
which Robespierre and his few associates exercised in Paris. Some
seventy executions delivered that great city from its nightmare agony of
months. A dozen resolute, united men, with arms and without scruples,
could seize almost any New England village for a time, provided they
knew just what they wanted to do. Decision and energy are master-keys to
almost most all doors not fortified by Hobbs's patent locks. A party of
tipsy Americans one night stormed a Parisian guard-house, disarmed the
sentry, and sent the guard flying in desperate fear, thinking that a
general _emente_ was in progress. Now one issue of the Rebellion must
be to put down, not only this governing class, but also the system from
which it springs. We have no such class at the North. We can have no
such class. The very collision of interests, the rivalries of trade, the
thousand-and-one social relations, all neutralize each other, are checks
and counterchecks, which, like the particles in a vessel of water,
always tend toward the level of an equilibrium. Two men meet in their
lodge as Odd-Fellows, but they are opponents on "town-meeting day." Two
partners in business are, one the most bitter of Calvinists, and the
other the most progressive of Universalists. Dr. A. and the Rev. Mr. B.
pull asunder the men whom 'Change unites. But with the Southerner of the
governing class it is not so. One sympathy, more potent than any other
can be, leagues them all. All are masters of the Helot race upon which
their success and station are built. It is a living relation, the most
powerful and vital which can bind men together, that sense of authority
borne by the few over the many.
The Norman barons after the Conquest, the Spanish conquerors in Mexico
and Peru, the Englishmen of the days of Clive and Hastings in India, are
all examples of that thorough concentration of strength which must arise
in the conflicts of races. Republics have fallen through their standing
armies. The proprietary class at the South was the most dangerous of
standing armies, for it was disciplined to the use of power night and
day. The overthrow of the Rebellion will to a great degree ruin this
class. But since it is one not founded on birth or culture, but simply
on white blood and circumstance, (for no Secessionist is so fierce as
your converted Northerner,) it cannot fall like the Norman nobility in
the Wars of the Roses, or waste by operation of climate like the
masters of Mexico and Hindostan. It renews itself whenever it touches
slave-soil. That gives it life. We contend that Government must for its
own preservation go to the root of the matter. And we cannot see that
there is any Constitutional difficulty. There are probably not ten
slave-proprietors in the South whom it has not the right to arrest, try,
and hang, for high-treason. Of course, every one can see the practical
difficulty, as well as the manifest folly, of doing this. But if it has
that right toward these individuals, it certainly may say, by Act of
Congress, if we choose, that it will not waive it except upon conditions
which shall secure it from any further trouble. It seems to us fully
within our power. And we will use an illustration that may help to show
what we mean. President Lincoln has no right to require of any citizen
of the United States that he take the temperance-pledge. But suppose a
murderer who has taken life in a fit of drunkenness applies for pardon
to the Executive. The Executive, Governor or President, as the case may
be, may surely then impose that condition before commuting the sentence
or releasing the prisoner. Now the Nation stands toward the Rebels in a
like attitude. It may be good policy to take them back as fast as they
submit, it may be Christian magnanimity to make the way as easy as
possible for their return, but they have no right to come back to
anything but a prison and hard labor for life. Many of them have trebly
forfeited their lives,--as traitors, as deserters from the naval and
military service, and as paroled prisoners who have broken their parole.
And therefore we say, since we cannot deal with all the individuals,
we must deal with the masses, and that in their corporate capacity. If
South Carolina is a sovereign State, is in the Union as a feudal chief
in his king's court, with power to carry from York to Lancaster and from
Lancaster to York his subject vassals, then South Carolina has dared the
hazard of rebellion, and her political head is forfeit.
It is next to be asked, what these conditions are to be. And that is
not to be answered in a breath. That they can have but one result,
emancipation, is a foregone conclusion; but the mode of reaching it is
not so easily determined. A cotton-loaded ship took fire at sea. It
would have been easy to pump in water enough to drown the fire. But the
captain said, "No," for that would swell the bales to such an extent
as to open every seam and start every timber. So with, the ship now
carrying King Cotton: you may indeed quench the fire, but you may
possibly turn the ship inside out into the bargain.
But something we have a right to insist on. We have it, over and above
the Constitutional right shown just now, upon the broad principle of
necessity. Slavery has proved itself a nuisance. Just as we say to the
owner of a bone-boiling establishment, "You poison the air; we cannot
live here; you must go farther off,"--and if a fever break out which can
be clearly traced to that source, we say it emphatically: so now Slavery
having proved itself pestilential, we say, "March!"
We are not disposed, _a la_ Staten Island, to burn down our
yellow-feverish neighbor's house. We will give everybody time to pack
up. We will make up a little purse for any specially hard case which the
removal may show. But stay and be plague-stricken we will no longer; nor
are we disposed to spend our whole income in burning sulphur, saltpetre,
and charcoal to keep out infection. And certainly, when by neglect to
pay ground-rent, or other illegality, the owner of our nuisance has
_forfeited_ his right to stay, no mortal can blame us for taking the
strictest and most decisive steps known to the law to remove him.
AGNES OF SORRENTO.
THE SAINT'S REST.
Agnes entered the city of Rome in a trance of enthusiastic emotion,
almost such as one might imagine in a soul entering the heavenly
Jerusalem above. To her exalted ideas she was approaching not only the
ground hallowed by the blood of apostles and martyrs, not merely the
tombs of the faithful, but the visible "general assembly and church of
the first-born which are written in heaven." Here reigned the appointed
representative of Jesus,--and she imagined a benignant image of a prince
clothed with honor and splendor, who was yet the righter of all wrongs,
the redresser of all injuries, the friend and succorer of the poor and
needy; and she was firm in a secret purpose to go to this great and
benignant father, and on her knees entreat him to forgive the sins of
her lover, and remove the excommunication that threatened at every
moment his eternal salvation. For she trembled to think of it,--a sudden
accident, a thrust of a dagger, a fall from his horse might put him
forever beyond the pale of repentance,--he might die unforgiven, and
sink to eternal pain.
If any should wonder that a Christian soul could preserve within itself
an image so ignorantly fair, in such an age, when the worldliness and
corruption in the Papal chair were obtruded by a thousand incidental
manifestations, and were alluded to in all the calculations of simple
common people, who looked at facts with a mere view to the guidance of
their daily conduct, it is necessary to remember the nature of Agnes's
religious training, and the absolute renunciation of all individual
reasoning which from infancy had been laid down before her as the first
and indispensable prerequisite of spiritual progress. To believe,--to
believe utterly and blindly,--not only without evidence, but against
evidence,--to reject the testimony even of her senses, when set against
the simple affirmation of her superiors,--had been the beginning,
middle, and end of her religious instruction. When a doubt assailed her
mind on any point, she had been taught to retire within herself and
repeat a prayer; and in this way her mental eye had formed the habit
of closing to anything that might shake her faith as quickly as the
physical eye closes at a threatened blow. Then, as she was of a poetic
and ideal nature, entirely differing from the mass of those with whom
she associated, she had formed that habit of abstraction and mental
reverie which prevented her hearing or perceiving the true sense of a
great deal that went on around her. The conversations that commonly
were carried on in her presence had for her so little interest that
she scarcely heard them. The world in which she moved was a glorified
world,--wherein, to be sure, the forms of every-day life appeared,
but appeared as different from what they were in reality as the old
mouldering daylight view of Rome is from the warm translucent glory of
its evening transfiguration.
So in her quiet, silent heart she nursed this beautiful hope of finding
in Rome the earthly image of her Saviour's home above, of finding in the
head of the Church the real image of her Redeemer,--the friend to whom
the poorest and lowliest may pour out their souls with as much freedom
as the highest and noblest. The spiritual directors who had formed the
mind of Agnes in her early days had been persons in the same manner
taught to move in an ideal world of faith. The Mother Theresa had never
seen the realities of life, and supposed the Church on earth to be all
that the fondest visions of human longing could paint it. The hard,
energetic, prose experience of old Jocunda, and the downright way with
which she sometimes spoke of things as a trooper's wife must have seen
them, were repressed and hushed, down, as the imperfect faith of a
half-reclaimed worldling,--they could not be allowed to awaken her
from the sweetness of so blissful a dream. In like manner, when Lorenzo
Sforza became Father Francesco, he strove with earnest prayer to bury
his gift of individual reason in the same grave with his family name
and worldly experience. As to all that transpired in the real world, he
wrapped himself in a mantle of imperturbable silence; the intrigues of
popes and cardinals, once well known to him, sank away as a forbidden
dream; and by some metaphysical process of imaginative devotion he
enthroned God in the place of the dominant powers, and taught himself to
receive all that came from them in uninquiring submission, as proceeding
from unerring wisdom. Though he had begun his spiritual life under the
impulse of Savonarola, yet so perfect had been his isolation from all
tidings of what transpired in the external world that the conflict which
was going on between that distinguished man and the Papal hierarchy
never reached his ear. He sought and aimed as much as possible to make
his soul like the soul of one dead, which adores and worships in ideal
space, and forgets forever the scenes and relations of earth; and he
had so long contemplated Rome under the celestial aspects of his faith,
that, though the shock of his first confession there had been painful,
still it was insufficient to shake his faith. It had been God's will, he
thought, that where he looked for aid he should meet only confusion,
and he bowed to the inscrutable will, and blindly adored the mysterious
revelation. If such could be the submission and the faith of a strong
and experienced man, who can wonder at the enthusiastic illusions of an
innocent, trustful child?
Agnes and her grandmother entered the city of Rome just as the twilight
had faded into night; and though Agnes, full of faith and enthusiasm,
was longing to begin immediately the ecstatic vision of shrines and holy
places, old Elsie commanded her not to think of anything further that
night. They proceeded, therefore, with several other pilgrims who had
entered the city, to a church specially set apart for their reception,
connected with which were large dormitories and a religious order whose
business was to receive and wait upon them, and to see that all their
wants were supplied. This religious foundation is one of the oldest in
Rome; and it is esteemed a work of especial merit and sanctity among the
citizens to associate themselves temporarily in these labors in Holy
Week. Even princes and princesses come, humble and lowly, mingling with
those of common degree, and all, calling each other brother and sister,
vie in kind attentions to these guests of the Church.
When Agnes and Elsie arrived, several of these volunteer assistants were
in waiting. Agnes was remarked among all the rest of the company for her
peculiar beauty and the rapt enthusiastic expression of her face.
Almost immediately on their entrance into the reception-hall connected
with the church, they seemed to attract the attention of a tall lady
dressed in deep mourning, and accompanied by a female servant, with whom
she was conversing on those terms of intimacy which showed confidential
relations between the two.
"See!" she said, "my Mona, what a heavenly face is there!--that sweet
child has certainly the light of grace shining through her. My heart
warms to her."
"Indeed," said the old servant, looking across, "and well it
may,--dear lamb come so far! But, Holy Virgin, how my head swims! How
strange!--that child reminds me of some one. My Lady, perhaps, may think
of some one whom she looks like."
"Mona, you say true. I have the same strange impression that I have seen
a face like hers, but who or where I cannot say."
"What would my Lady say, if I said it was our dear Prince?--God rest his
"Mona, it _is_ so,--yes," added the lady, looking more intently,--"how
singular!--the very traits of our house in a peasant-girl! She is of
Sorrento, I judge, by her costume,--what a pretty one it is! That old
woman is her mother, perhaps. I must choose her for my care,--and, Mona,
you shall wait on her mother."
So saying, the Princess Paulina crossed the hall, and, bending affably
over Agnes, took her hand and kissed her, saying,--
"Welcome, my dear little sister, to the house of our Father!"
Agnes looked up with strange, wondering eyes into the face that was bent
to hers. It was sallow and sunken, with deep lines of ill-health and
sorrow, but the features were noble, and must once have been, beautiful;
the whole action, voice, and manner were dignified and impressive.
Instinctively she felt that the lady was of superior birth and breeding
to any with whom she had been in the habit of associating.
"Come with me," said the lady; "and this--your mother"--she added.
"She is my grandmother," said Agnes.
"Well, then, your grandmother, sweet child, shall be attended by my good
sister Mona here."
The Princess Paulina drew the hand of Agnes through her arm, and, laying
her hand affectionately on it, looked down and smiled tenderly on her.
"Are you very tired, my dear?"
"Oh, no! no!" said Agnes,--"I am so happy, so blessed to be here!"
"You have travelled a long way?"
"Yes, from Sorrento; but I am used to walking,--I did not feel it to be
long,--my heart kept me up,--I wanted to come home so much."
"Home?" said the Princess.
"Yes, to my soul's home,--the house of our dear Father the Pope."
The Princess started, and looked incredulously down for a moment; then
noticing the confiding, whole-hearted air of the child, she sighed and
"Come with me above," she said, "and let me attend a little to your
"How good you are, dear lady!" said Agnes.
"I am not good, my child,--I am only your unworthy sister in Christ";
and as the lady spoke, she opened the door into a room where were a
number of other female pilgrims seated around the wall, each attended by
a person whose peculiar care she seemed to be.
At the feet of each was a vessel of water, and when the seats were all
full, a cardinal in robes of office entered, and began reading prayers.
Each lady present, kneeling at the feet of her chosen pilgrim, divested
them carefully of their worn and travel-soiled shoes and stockings, and
proceeded to wash them. It was not a mere rose-water ceremony, but a
good hearty washing of feet that for the most part had great need of the
ablution. While this service was going on, the cardinal read from the
Gospel how a Greater than they all had washed the feet of His disciples,
and said, "If I, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also
ought to wash one another's feet." Then all repeated in concert the
Lord's Prayer, while each humbly kissed the feet she had washed, and
proceeded to replace the worn and travel-soiled shoes and stockings with
new and strong ones, the gift of Christian love. Each lady then led her
charge into a room where tables were spread with a plain and wholesome
repast of all such articles of food as the season of Lent allowed. Each
placed her _protegee_ at table, and carefully attended to all her wants
at the supper, and afterwards dormitories were opened for their repose.
The Princess Paulina performed all these offices for Agnes with a tender
earnestness which won upon her heart. The young girl thought herself
indeed in that blessed society of which she had dreamed, where the
high-born and the rich become through Christ's love the servants of the
poor and lowly,--and through all the services she sat in a sort of dream
of rapture. How lovely this reception into the Holy City! how sweet thus
to be taken to the arms of the great Christian family, bound together in
the charity which is the bond of perfectness!
"Please tell me, dear lady," said Agnes, after supper, "who is that holy
man that prayed with us?"
"Oh, he--he is the Cardinal Capello," said the Princess.
"I should like to have spoken with him," said Agnes.
"Why, my child?"
"I wanted to ask him when and how I could get speech with our dear
Father the Pope,--for there is somewhat on my mind that I would lay
"My poor little sister," said the Princess, much perplexed, "you do not
understand things. What you speak of is impossible. The Pope is a great
"I know he is," said Agnes,--"and so is our Lord Jesus,--but every soul
may come to him."
"I cannot explain to you now," said the Princess,--"there is not time
to-night. But I shall see you again. I will send for you to come to my
house, and there talk with you about many things which you need to know.
Meanwhile, promise me, dear child, not to try to do anything of the kind
you spoke of until I have talked with you."
"Well, I will not," said Agnes, with a glance of docile affection,
kissing the hand of the Princess.
The action was so pretty,--the great, soft, dark eyes looked so
fawn-like and confiding in their innocent tenderness, that the lady
seemed much moved.
"Our dear Mother bless thee, child!" she said, laying her hand on her
head, and stooping to kiss her forehead.
She left her at the door of the dormitory.
The Princess and her attendant went out of the church-door, where her
litter stood in waiting. The two took their seats in silence, and
silently pursued their way through the streets of the old dimly-lighted
city and out of one of its principal gates to the wide Campagna beyond.
The villa of the Princess was situated on an eminence at some distance
from the city, and the night-ride to it was solemn and solitary. They
passed along the old Appian Way over pavements that had rumbled under
the chariot-wheels of the emperors and nobles of a by-gone age, while
along their way, glooming up against the clear of the sky, were vast
shadowy piles,--the tombs of the dead of other days. All mouldering and
lonely, shaggy and fringed with bushes and streaming wild vines through
which the night-wind sighed and rustled, they might seem to be pervaded
by the restless spirits of the dead; and as the lady passed them, she
shivered, and, crossing herself, repeated an inward prayer against
wandering demons that walk in desolate places.
Timid and solitary, the high-born lady shrank and cowered within herself
with a distressing feeling of loneliness. A childless widow in delicate
health, whose paternal family had been for the most part cruelly robbed,
exiled, or destroyed by the reigning Pope and his family, she felt her
own situation a most unprotected and precarious one, since the least
jealousy or misunderstanding might bring upon her, too, the ill-will
of the Borgias, which had proved so fatal to the rest of her race. No
comfort in life remained to her but her religion, to whose practice she
clung as to her all; but even in this her life was embittered by facts
to which, with the best disposition in the world, she could not shut her
eyes. Her own family had been too near the seat of power not to see all
the base intrigues by which that sacred and solemn position of Head of
the Christian Church had been traded for as a marketable commodity. The
pride, the indecency, the cruelty of those who now reigned in the name
of Christ came over her mind in contrast with the picture painted by
the artless, trusting faith of the peasant-girl with whom she had just
parted. Her mind had been too thoroughly drilled in the non-reflective
practice of her faith to dare to put forth any act of reasoning upon
facts so visible and so tremendous,--she rather trembled at herself for
seeing what she saw and for knowing what she knew, and feared somehow
that this very knowledge might endanger her salvation; and so she rode
homeward cowering and praying like a frightened child.
"Does my Lady feel ill?" said the old servant, anxiously.
"No, Mona, no,--not in body."
"And what is on my Lady's mind now?"
"Oh, Mona, it is only what is always there. To-morrow is Palm Sunday,
and how can I go to see the murderers and robbers of our house in holy
places? Oh, Mona, what can Christians do, when such men handle holy
things? It was a comfort to wash the feet of those poor simple pilgrims,
who tread in the steps of the saints of old; but how I felt when that
poor child spoke of wanting to see the Pope!"
"Yes," said Mona, "it's like sending the lamb to get spiritual counsel
of the wolf."
"See what sweet belief the poor infant has! Should not the head of the
Christian Church be such as she thinks? Ah, in the old days, when the
Church here in Rome was poor and persecuted, there were popes who were
loving fathers and not haughty princes."
"My dear Lady," said the servant, "pray, consider, the very stones have
ears. We don't know what day we may be turned out, neck and heels, to
make room for some of their creatures."
"Well, Mona," said the lady, with some spirit, "I'm sure I haven't said
any more than you have."
"Holy Mother! and so you haven't, but somehow things look more dangerous
when other people say them.--A pretty child that was, as you say; but
that old thing, her grandmother, is a sharp piece. She is a Roman,
and lived here in her early days. She says the little one was born
hereabouts; but she shuts up her mouth like a vice, when one would get
more out of her."
"Mona, I shall not go out to-morrow; but you go to the services, and
find the girl and her grandmother, and bring them out to me. I want to
counsel the child."
"You may be sure," said Mona, "that her grandmother knows the ins and
outs of Rome as well as any of us, for all she has learned to screw up
her lips so tight"
"At any rate, bring her to me, because she interests me."
"Well, well, it shall be so," said Mona.
The morning after her arrival in Rome, Agnes was awakened from sleep
by a solemn dropping of bell-tones which seemed to fill the whole air,
intermingled dimly at intervals with long-drawn plaintive sounds of
chanting. She had slept profoundly, overwearied with her pilgrimage, and
soothed by that deep lulling sense of quiet which comes over one, when,
after long and weary toils, some auspicious goal is at length reached.
She had come to Rome, and been received with open arms into the
household of the saints, and seen even those of highest degree imitating
the simplicity of the Lord in serving the poor. Surely, this was indeed
the house of God and the gate of heaven; and so the bell-tones and
chants, mingling with her dreams, seemed naturally enough angel-harpings
and distant echoes of the perpetual adoration of the blessed. She rose
and dressed herself with a tremulous joy. She felt full of hope that
somehow--in what way she could not say--this auspicious beginning
would end in a full fruition of all her wishes, an answer to all her
"Well, child," said old Elsie, "you must have slept well; you look fresh
as a lark."
"The air of this holy place revives me," said Agnes, with enthusiasm.
"I wish I could say as much," said Elsie. "My bones ache yet with the
tramp, and I suppose nothing will do but we must go out now to all the
holy places, up and down and hither and yon, to everything that goes on.
I saw enough of it all years ago when I lived here."
"Dear grandmother, if you are tired, why should you not rest? I can go
forth alone in this holy city. No harm can possibly befall me here. I
can join any of the pilgrims who are going to the holy places where I
long to worship."
"A likely story!" said Elsie. "I know more about old Rome than you do,
and I tell you, child, that you do not stir out a step without me; so if
you must go, I must go too,--and like enough it's for my soul's health.
I suppose it is," she added, after a reflective pause.
"How beautiful it was that we were welcomed so last night!" said
Agnes,--"that dear lady was so kind to me!"
"Ay, ay, and well she might be!" said Elsie, nodding her head. "But
there's no truth in the kindness of the nobles to us, child. They don't
do it because they love us, but because they expect to buy heaven by
washing our feet and giving us what little they can clip and snip off
from their abundance."
"Oh, grandmother," said Agnes, "how can you say so? Certainly, if any
one ever spoke and looked lovingly, it was that dear lady."
"Yes, and she rolls away in her carriage, well content, and leaves you
with a pair of new shoes and stockings,--you, as worthy of a carriage
and a palace as she."
"No, grandmamma; she said she should send for me to talk more with her."
"_She_ said she should send for you?" said Elsie. "Well, well, that is
strange, to be sure!--that is wonderful!" she added, reflectively. "But
come, child, we must hasten through our breakfast and prayers, and go to
see the Pope, and all the great birds with fine feathers that fly after
"Yes, indeed!" said Agnes, joyfully. "Oh, grandmamma, what a blessed
sight it will be!"
"Yes, child, and a fine sight enough he makes with his great canopy and
his plumes and his servants and his trumpeters;--there isn't a king in
Christendom that goes so proudly as he."
"No other king is worthy of it," said Agnes. "The Lord reigns in him."
"Much you know about it!" said Elsie, between her teeth, as they started
The streets of Rome through which they walked were damp and cellar-like,
filthy and ill-paved; but Agnes neither saw nor felt anything of
inconvenience in this: had they been floored, like those of the New
Jerusalem, with translucent gold, her faith could not have been more
Rome is at all times a forest of quaint costumes, a pantomime of
shifting scenic effects of religious ceremonies. Nothing there, however
singular, strikes the eye as out-of-the-way or unexpected, since no
one knows precisely to what religious order it may belong, or what
individual vow or purpose it may represent. Neither Agnes nor Elsie,
therefore, was surprised, when they passed through the door-way to the
street, at the apparition of a man covered from head to foot in a long
robe of white serge, with a high-peaked cap of the same material drawn
completely down over his head and face. Two round holes cut in this
ghostly head-gear revealed simply two black glittering eyes, which shone
with that singular elfish effect which belongs to the human eye when
removed from its appropriate and natural accessories. As they passed
out, the figure rattled a box on which was painted an image of
despairing souls raising imploring hands from very red tongues of flame,
by which it was understood at once that he sought aid for souls in
Purgatory. Agnes and her grandmother each dropped therein a small coin
and went on their way; but the figure followed them at a little distance
behind, keeping carefully within sight of them.
By means of energetic pushing and striving, Elsie contrived to secure
for herself and her grandchild stations in the piazza in front of the
church, in the very front rank, where the procession was to pass. A
motley assemblage it was, this crowd, comprising every variety of
costume of rank and station and ecclesiastical profession,--cowls
and hoods of Franciscan and Dominican,--picturesque headdresses of
peasant-women of different districts,--plumes and ruffs of more
aspiring gentility,--mixed with every quaint phase of foreign costume
belonging to the strangers from different parts of the earth;--for,
like the old Jewish Passover, this celebration of Holy Week had its
assemblage of Parthians, Medes, Elamites, dwellers in Mesopotamia,
Cretes, and Arabians, all blending in one common memorial.
Amid the strange variety of persons among whom they were crowded, Elsie
remarked the stranger in the white sack, who had followed them, and who
had stationed himself behind them,--but it did not occur to her that his
presence there was other than merely accidental.
And now came sweeping up the grand procession, brilliant with scarlet
and gold, waving with plumes, sparkling with gems,--it seemed as if
earth had been ransacked and human invention taxed to express the
ultimatum of all that could dazzle and bewilder,--and, with a rustle
like that of ripe grain before a swaying wind, all the multitude went
down on their knees as the cortege passed. Agnes knelt, too, with
clasped hands, adoring the sacred vision enshrined in her soul; and as
she knelt with upraised eyes, her cheeks flushed with enthusiasm, her
beauty attracted the attention of more than one in the procession.
"There is the model which our master has been looking for," said a young
and handsome man in a rich dress of black velvet, who, by his costume,
appeared to hold the rank of first chamberlain in the Papal suite.
The young man to whom he spoke gave a bold glance at Agnes and
"Pretty little rogue, how well she does the saint!"
"One can see, that, with judicious arrangement, she might make a nymph
as well as a saint," said the first speaker.
"A Daphne, for example," said the other, laughing.
"And she wouldn't turn into a laurel, either," said the first. "Well,
we must keep our eye on her." And as they were passing into the
church-door, he beckoned to a servant in waiting and whispered
something, indicating Agnes with a backward movement of his hand.
The servant, after this, kept cautiously within observing distance of
her, as she with the crowd pressed into the church to assist at the
Long and dazzling were those ceremonies, when, raised on high like an
enthroned God, Pope Alexander VI. received the homage of bended knee
from the ambassadors of every Christian nation, from heads of all
ecclesiastical orders, and from generals and chiefs and princes and
nobles, who, robed and plumed and gemmed in all the brightest and
proudest that earth could give, bowed the knee humbly and kissed his
foot in return for the palm-branch which he presented. Meanwhile, voices
of invisible singers chanted the simple event which all this splendor
was commemorating,--how of old Jesus came into Jerusalem meek and lowly,
riding on an ass,--how His disciples cast their garments in the way,
and the multitude took branches of palm-trees to come forth and meet
Him,--how He was seized, tried, condemned to a cruel death,--and
the crowd, with dazzled and wondering eyes following the gorgeous
ceremonial, reflected little how great was the satire of the contrast,
how different the coming of that meek and lowly One to suffer and to
die from this triumphant display of worldly-pomp and splendor in His
But to the pure all things are pure, and Agnes thought only of the
enthronement of all virtues, of all celestial charities and unworldly
purities in that splendid ceremonial, and longed within herself to
approach so near as to touch the hem of those wondrous and sacred
garments. It was to her enthusiastic imagination like the unclosing of
celestial doors, where the kings and priests of an eternal and heavenly
temple move to and fro in music, with the many-colored glories of
rainbows and sunset clouds. Her whole nature was wrought upon by the
sights and sounds of that gorgeous worship,--she seemed to burn and
brighten like an altar-coal, her figure appeared to dilate, her eyes
grew deeper and shone with a starry light, and the color of her cheeks
flushed up with a vivid glow,--nor was she aware how often eyes were
turned upon her, nor how murmurs of admiration followed all her
absorbed, unconscious movements. "_Ecco! Eccola_!" was often repeated
from mouth to mouth around her, but she heard it not.
When at last the ceremony was finished, the crowd rushed again out of
the church to see the departure of various dignitaries. There was
a perfect whirl of dazzling equipages, and glittering lackeys, and
prancing horses, crusted with gold, flaming in scarlet and purple,
retinues of cardinals and princes and nobles and ambassadors all in one
splendid confused jostle of noise and brightness.
Suddenly a servant in a gorgeous scarlet livery touched Agnes on the
shoulder, and said, in a tone of authority,--
"Young maiden, your presence is commanded."
"Who commands it?" said Elsie, laying her hand on her grandchild's
"Are you mad?" whispered two or three women of the lower orders to Elsie
at once; "don't you know who that is? Hush, for your life!"
"I shall go with you, Agnes," said Elsie, resolutely.
"No, you will not," said the attendant, insolently. "This maiden is
commanded, and none else."
"He belongs to the Pope's nephew," whispered a voice in Elsie's ear.
"You had better have your tongue torn out than say another word."
Whereupon, Elsie found herself actually borne backward by three or four
Agnes looked round and smiled on her,--a smile full of innocent
trust,--and then, turning, followed the servant into the finest of the
equipages, where she was lost to view.
Elsie was almost wild with fear and impotent rage; but a low, impressive
voice now spoke in her ear. It came from the white figure which had
followed them in the morning.
"Listen," it said, "and be quiet; don't turn your head, but hear what
I tell you. Your child is followed by those who will save her. Go your
ways whence you came. Wait till the hour after the Ave Maria, then come
to the Porta San Sebastiano, and all will be well."
When Elsie turned to look she saw no one, but caught a distant glimpse
of a white figure vanishing in the crowd.
She returned to her asylum, wondering and disconsolate, and the first
person whom she saw was old Mona.
"Well, good morrow, sister!" she said. "Know that I am here on a strange
errand. The Princess has taken such a liking to you that nothing will
do but we must fetch you and your little one out to her villa. I
looked everywhere for you in church this morning. Where have you hid
"We were there," said Elsie, confused, and hesitating whether to speak
of what had happened.
"Well, where is the little one? Get her ready; we have horses in
waiting. It is a good bit out of the city."
"Alack!" said Elsie, "I know not where she is."
"Holy Virgin!" said Mona, "how is this?"
Elsie, moved by the necessity which makes it a relief to open the heart
to some one, sat down on the steps of the church and poured forth the
whole story into the listening ear of Mona.
"Well, well, well!" said the old servant, "in our days, one does
not wonder at anything,--one never knows one day what may come the
next,--but this is bad enough!"
"Do you think," said Elsie, "there is any hope in that strange promise?"
"One can but try it," said Mona.
"If you could but be there then," said Elsie, "and take us to your
"Well, I will wait, for my mistress has taken an especial fancy to your
little one, more particularly since this morning, when a holy Capuchin
came to our house and held a long conference with her, and after he was
gone I found my lady almost in a faint, and she would have it that we
should start directly to bring her out here, and I had much ado to let
her see that the child would do quite as well after services were over.
I tired myself looking about for you in the crowd."
The two women then digressed upon various gossiping particulars, as they
sat on the old mossy, grass-grown steps, looking up over house-tops
yellow with lichen, into the blue spring air, where flocks of white
pigeons were soaring and careering in the soft, warm sunshine.
Brightness and warmth and flowers seemed to be the only idea natural to
that charming weather, and Elsie, sad-hearted and foreboding as she was,
felt the benign influence. Rome, which had been so fatal a place to her
peace, yet had for her, as it has for every one, potent spells of a
lulling and soothing power. Where is the grief or anxiety that can
resist the enchantment of one of Rome's bright, soft, spring days?
The villa of the Princess Paulina was one of those soft, idyllic
paradises which lie like so many fairy-lands around the dreamy solitudes
of Rome. They are so fair, so wild, so still, these villas! Nature in
them seems to run in such gentle sympathy with Art that one feels as if
they had not been so much the product of human skill as some indigenous
growth of Arcadian ages. There are quaint terraces shadowed by clipped
ilex-trees whose branches make twilight even in the sultriest noon;
there are long-drawn paths, through wildernesses where cyclamens blossom
in crimson clouds among crushed fragments of sculptured marble green
with the moss of ages, and glossy-leaved myrtles put forth their pale
blue stars in constellations under the leafy shadows. Everywhere is the
voice of water, ever lulling, ever babbling, and taught by Art to run in
many a quaint caprice,--here to rush down marble steps slippery with
sedgy green, there to spout up in silvery spray, and anon to spread into
a cool, waveless lake, whose mirror reflects trees and flowers far down
in some visionary underworld. Then there are wide lawns, where the
grass in spring is a perfect rainbow of anemones, white, rose, crimson,
purple, mottled, streaked, and dappled with ever varying shade of sunset
clouds. There are soft, moist banks where purple and white violets grow
large and fair, and trees all interlaced with ivy, which runs and twines
everywhere, intermingling its dark, graceful leaves and vivid young
shoots with the bloom and leafage of all shadowy places.
In our day, these lovely places have their dark shadow ever haunting
their loveliness: the malaria, like an unseen demon, lies hid in their
sweetness. And in the time we are speaking of, a curse not less deadly
poisoned the beauties of the Princess's villa,--the malaria of fear.
The gravelled terrace in front of the villa commanded, through the
clipped arches of the ilex-trees, the Campagna with its soft, undulating
bands of many-colored green, and the distant city of Rome, whose bells
were always filling the air between with a tremulous vibration. Here,
during the long sunny afternoon while Elsie and Monica were crooning
together on the steps of the church, the Princess Paulina walked
restlessly up and down, looking forth on the way towards the city for
the travellers whom she expected.
Father Francesco had been there that morning and communicated to her
the dying message of the aged Capuchin, from which it appeared that the
child who had so much interested her was her near kinswoman. Perhaps,
had her house remained at the height of its power and splendor, she
might have rejected with scorn the idea of a kinswoman whose existence
had been owing to a _mesalliance_; but a member of an exiled and
disinherited family, deriving her only comfort from unworldly sources,
she regarded this event as an opportunity afforded her to make expiation
for one of the sins of her house. The beauty and winning graces of her
young kinswoman were not without their influence in attracting a lonely
heart deprived of the support of natural ties. The Princess longed for
something to love, and the discovery of a legitimate object of family
affection was an event in the weary monotony of her life; and therefore
it was that the hours of the afternoon seemed long while she looked
forth towards Rome, listening to the ceaseless chiming of its bells, and
wondering why no one appeared along the road.
The sun went down, and all the wide plain seemed like the sea at
twilight, lying in rosy and lilac and purple shadowy bands, out of
which rose the old city, solemn and lonely as some enchanted island of
dream-land, with a flush of radiance behind it and a tolling of weird
music filling all the air around. Now they are chanting the Ave Maria in
hundreds of churches, and the Princess worships in distant accord, and
tries to still the anxieties of her heart with many a prayer. Twilight
fades and fades, the Campagna becomes a black sea, and the distant city
looms up like a dark rock against the glimmering sky, and the Princess
goes within and walks restlessly through the wide halls, stopping first
at one open window and then at another to listen. Beneath her feet she
treads a cool mosaic pavement where laughing Cupids are dancing. Above,
from the ceiling, Aurora and the Hours look down in many-colored clouds
of brightness. The sound of the fountains without is so clear in the
intense stillness that the peculiar voice of each one can be told. That
is the swaying noise of the great jet that rises from marble shells and
falls into a wide basin, where silvery swans swim round and round in
enchanted circles; and the other slenderer sound is the smaller jet that
rains down its spray into the violet-borders deep in the shrubbery; and
that other, the shallow babble of the waters that go down the marble
steps to the lake. How dreamlike and plaintive they all sound in the
night stillness! The nightingale sings from the dark shadows of the
wilderness; and the musky odors of the cyclamen come floating ever
and anon through the casement, in that strange, cloudy way in which
flower-scents seem to come and go in the air in the night season.
At last the Princess fancies she hears the distant tramp of horses'
feet, and her heart beats so that she can scarcely listen: now she hears
it,--and now a rising wind, sweeping across the Campagna, seems to bear
it moaning away. She goes to a door and looks out into the darkness.
Yes, she hears it now, quick and regular,--the beat of many horses' feet
coming in hot haste along the road. Surely the few servants whom she has
sent cannot make all this noise! and she trembles with vague affright.
Perhaps it is a tyrannical message, bringing imprisonment and death. She
calls a maid, and bids her bring lights into the reception-hall. A
few moments more, and there is a confused stamping of horses' feet
approaching the house, and she hears the voices of her servants. She
runs into the piazza, and sees dismounting a knight who carries Agnes in
his arms pale and fainting. Old Elsie and Monica, too, dismount, with
the Princess's men-servants; but, wonderful to tell, there seems besides
them to be a train of some hundred armed horsemen.
The timid Princess was so fluttered and bewildered that she lost all
presence of mind, and stood in uncomprehending wonder, while Monica
pushed authoritatively into the house, and beckoned the knight to bring
Agnes and lay her on a sofa, when she and old Elsie busied themselves
vigorously with restoratives.
The Lady Paulina, as soon as she could collect her scattered senses,
recognized in Agostino the banished lord of the Sarelli family, a race
who had shared with her own the hatred and cruelty of the Borgia tribe;
and he in turn had recognized a daughter of the Colonnas.
He drew her aside into a small boudoir adjoining the apartment.
"Noble lady," he said, "we are companions in misfortune, and so, I
trust, you will pardon what seems a tumultuous intrusion on your
privacy. I and my men came to Rome in disguise, that we might watch over
and protect this poor innocent, who now finds asylum with you."
"My Lord," said the Princess, "I see in this event the wonderful working
of the good God. I have but just learned that this young person is my
near kinswoman; it was only this morning that the fact was certified to
me on the dying confession of a holy Capuchin, who privately united my
brother to her mother. The marriage was an indiscretion of his youth;
but afterwards he fell into more grievous sin in denying the holy
sacrament, and leaving his wife to die in misery and dishonor, and
perhaps for this fault such great judgments fell upon him. I wish to
make atonement in such sort as is yet possible by acting as a mother to
"The times are so troublous and uncertain," said Agostino, "that she
must have stronger protection than that of any woman. She is of a most
holy and religious nature, but as ignorant of sin as an angel who never
has seen anything out of heaven; and so the Borgias enticed her into
their impure den, from which, God helping, I have saved her. I tried
all I could to prevent her coming to Rome, and to convince her of the
vileness that ruled here; but the poor little one could not believe me,
and thought me a heretic only for saying what she now knows from her own
The Lady Paulina shuddered with fear.
"Is it possible that you have come into collision with the dreadful
Borgias? What will become of us?"
"I brought a hundred men into Rome in different disguises," said
Agostino, "and we gained over a servant in their household, through whom
I entered and carried her off. Their men pursued us, and we had a fight
in the streets, but for the moment we mustered more than they. Some of
them chased us a good distance. But it will not do for us to remain
here. As soon as she is revived enough, we must retreat towards one
of our fastnesses in the mountains, whence, when rested, we shall go
northward to Florence, where I have powerful friends, and she has also
an uncle, a holy man, by whose counsels she is much guided."
"You must take me with you," said the Princess, in a tremor of anxiety.
"Not for the world would I stay, if it be known you have taken refuge
here. For a long time their spies have been watching about me; they
only wait for some occasion to seize upon my villa, as they have on the
possessions of all my father's house. Let me flee with you. I have a
brother-in-law in Florence who hath often urged me to escape to him till
times mend,--for, surely, God will not allow the wicked to bear rule
"Willingly, noble lady, will we give you our escort,--the more so that
this poor child will then have a friend with her beseeming her father's
rank. Believe me, lady, she will do no discredit to her lineage. She was
trained in a convent, and her soul is a flower of marvellous beauty. I
must declare to you here that I have wooed her honorably to be my wife,
and she would willingly be so, had not some scruples of a religious
vocation taken hold on her, to dispel which I look for the aid of the
holy father, her uncle."
"It would be a most fit and proper thing," said the Princess, "thus to
ally our houses, in hope of some good time to come which shall restore
their former standing and possessions. Of course some holy man must
judge of the obstacle interposed by her vocation; but I doubt not the
Church will be an indulgent mother in a case where the issue seems so
"If I be married to her," said Agostino, "I can take her out of all
these strifes and confusions which now agitate our Italy to the court of
France, where I have an uncle high in favor with the King, and who will
use all his influence to compose these troubles in Italy, and bring
about a better day."
While this conversation was going on, bountiful refreshments had been
provided for the whole party, and the attendants of the Princess
received orders to pack all her jewels and valuable effects for a sudden
As soon as preparations could be made, the whole party left the villa of
the Princess for a retreat in the Alban Mountains, where Agostino
and his band had one of their rendezvous. Only the immediate female
attendants of the Princess, and one or two men-servants, left with her.
The silver plate, and all objects of particular value, were buried in
the garden. This being done, the keys of the house were intrusted to a
gray-headed servant, who with his wife had grown old in the family.
It was midnight before everything was ready for starting. The moon cast
silver gleams through the ilex-avenues, and caused the jet of the great
fountain to look like a wavering pillar of cloudy brightness, when the
Princess led forth Agnes upon the wide veranda. Two gentle, yet spirited
little animals from the Princess's stables were there awaiting them, and
they were lifted into their saddles by Agostino.
"Fear nothing, Madam," he said, observing how the hands of the Princess
trembled; "a few hours will put us in perfect safety, and I shall be at
your side constantly."
Then lifting Agnes to her seat, he placed the reins in her hand.
"Are you rested?" he asked.
It was the first time since her rescue that he had spoken to Agnes. The
words were brief, but no expressions of endearment could convey more
than the manner in which they were spoken.
"Yes, my Lord," said Agnes, firmly, "I am rested."
"You think you can bear the ride?"
"I can bear anything, so I escape," she said.
The company were now all mounted, and were marshalled in regular order.
A body of armed men rode in front; then came Agnes and the Princess,
with Agostino between them, while two or three troopers rode on either
side; Elsie, Monica, and the servants of the Princess followed close
behind, and the rear was brought up in like manner by armed men.
The path wound first through the grounds of the villa, with its plats
of light and shade, its solemn groves of stone-pines rising like
palm-trees high in air above the tops of all other trees, its terraces
and statues and fountains,--all seeming so lovely in the midnight
"Perhaps I am leaving all this forever," said the Princess.
"Let us hope for the best," said Agostino. "It cannot be that God will
suffer the seat of the Apostles to be subjected to such ignominy
and disgrace much longer. I am amazed that no Christian kings have
interfered before for the honor of Christendom. I have it from the best
authority that the King of Naples burst into tears when he heard of the
election of this wretch to be Pope. He said that it was a scandal which
threatened the very existence of Christianity. He has sent me secret
messages divers times expressive of sympathy, but he is not of himself
strong enough. Our hope must lie either in the King of France or the
Emperor of Germany: perhaps both will engage. There is now a most holy
monk in Florence who has been stirring all hearts in a wonderful way. It
is said that the very gifts of miracles and prophecy are revived in him,
as among the holy Apostles, and he has been bestirring himself to have