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Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 9, No. 56, June, 1862 by Various

Part 4 out of 5

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The cacique Hatuey understood the Spaniards. He was the first man in
the New World who saw by instinct what an after-age perceived by
philosophical reflection. He should have been the historian of the
Conquest. The Spaniards had destroyed his people, and forced him to fly
to Cuba for safety. There he also undertook a conversion of the natives.
"Do you expect to defend yourselves against this people," he said,
"while you do not worship the same God? This God I know; he is more
powerful than ours, and I reveal him to you." With this he shows them a
little piece of gold. "Here he is; let us celebrate a festival to honor
him, that his favor may be extended to us." The natives hold a solemn
smoking around the Spanish God, which is followed by singing and
dancing, as to one of their own Zemes. Having adroitly concentrated
their attention in this way upon the article of gold, Hatuey the next
morning reassembles the people and finishes his missionary labors. "My
mind is not at ease. There can be no safety for us while the God of the
Spaniard is in our midst. They seek him everywhere. Their devotion is so
great that they settle in a place only for the convenience of worship.
It is useless to attempt to hide him from their eyes. If you should
swallow him, they would disembowel you in the name of religion. Even the
bottom of the sea may not be too far, but there it is that we must throw
him. When he can no longer be found with us, they will leave us in
peace."

Admirable counsel, if the gold in veins, or their own blood, were not
also the object of search. The natives collected all their gold and
threw it into the sea. A party of Spaniards landing upon the island not
long after, Hatuey was taken prisoner, and condemned to be burnt alive
because he refused to be converted!

"Was conduct ever more affronting?
With all the ceremony settled!
With the towel ready"--

and all the other apparatus for a first-class baptism, and the
annexation to Rome and heaven of a tribe! When he was tied to the stake,
and a priest conjured him to profess Christianity and make a sure thing
of paradise, he cut him short with,--

"Are there Spaniards in this place of delights of which you speak?"

"There are indeed, but only good ones."

"The best of them is good for nothing," said the cacique. "I would
rather not go where I might have to meet them."

Dying, he had his preference.

It seems to be one that is innate in the savage mind. An Ojibbeway was
apparently pleased with the new religion that was proffered to him,
and thought of being baptized, but, dreaming that he went up to a fair
prairie covered with numerous trails of white men, without the print
of a single moccasin, was cured of his desire. The Frisian Radbod also
expressed his disgust at the converting methods of Charles the Hammer.
"He had already immersed one of his royal legs in the baptismal font,
when a thought struck him. 'Where are my dead forefathers at present?'
he said, turning suddenly upon Bishop Wolfran. 'In hell, with all other
unbelievers,' was the imprudent answer. 'Mighty well!' replied Radbod,
removing his leg; 'then will I rather feast with my ancestors in the
halls of Woden than dwell with your little starveling band of Christians
in heaven.'"[S] And if he, too, died a heathen, it is certain that one
continued to live in Bishop Wolfran. For it is men of his narrow and
brutal theology who are not yet converted to Christianity, but who get a
dispensation to disgust men with that glorious name.

[Footnote S: Motley's _Dutch Republic_, Vol. I. p. 20.]

So it went on at Hayti. Catholic fetiches vied with the native ones for
ascendency. Ecclesiastics were charged with the management of secular as
well as spiritual matters, for it was the genius of Spain to govern
by the priest. A very few of them understood men, and had a head for
affairs; of these, some were pure, the rest were base, and readily
fraternized with the soldiers and politicians in their selfish policy. A
bad and cruel theology, a narrow priestly mind, became the instruments
of lust and murder.

Guarionex was the chief cacique of a province which comprised the middle
part of the Vega Real. His conversion was undertaken by Friar Roman,
a St. Jeromite, and Joan Borognon, a Franciscan. The cacique listened
attentively to their instructions, but the natives, already alienated
by the excesses of the Spaniards, would neither attend mass nor be
catechized, except upon compulsion. It was the policy of Guarionex to
offer no resistance to the addresses of the priests. But an outrage
committed upon his wife hindered the progress of religion in his
province. He dashed the cross to the ground in fury, and scattered the
utensils. The affrighted priests fled, leaving behind a chapel with some
pictures which they had instructed the converts to regard in offering up
their prayers. Guarionex buried all the pictures, and said over them,
instead of a Pater, "Now you will begin to bear fruit!" Friar Roman says
that a catechumen, digging his _agis_ (sweet pepper) in that field,
found two or three of them grown together in the shape of a cross. The
miracle and the outrage were reported at once, and the six natives who
had buried the pictures at the command of Guarionex were burnt alive!
This was the first _auto-da-fe_ on Haytian soil.

The preaching and the lust went on. But the preaching sometimes
addressed the sinner also. Montesino, a Dominican preacher, attacked the
cruelty of the colonists from the pulpit of San Domingo. He was accused
of treason; that is to say, the king was held to represent the policy
which enslaved and destroyed the Indian. The authorities threatened to
expel the Dominicans from the island, if the preacher did not apologize
and withdraw his charges. Montesino promised soon to preach in another
style. Having filled the church with his malignant audience, he bravely
maintained his position with fresh facts and arguments; he showed that
the system of _repartimientos,_ or partition of the Indians among the
colonists, was more disastrous than the first system, which imposed upon
each cacique a tax and left him to extort it from his subjects. He
urged the policy of interest; for the Indians, unused to labor, died in
droves: they dropped in the fields beneath the whip; they escaped by
whole families to the mountains, and there perished with hunger; they
threw themselves into the water, and killed each other in the forests;
families committed suicide in concert;--there would soon be no laborers,
and the Spaniard could rob and murder, but would not toil. Brave
preacher, worthy mouth-piece of the humane Las Casas, what could he
effect against the terrible exigency of the situation? For here was a
colony, into which all the prisons of Spain had just been emptied to
repair a failing emigration,--men bred in crime coalescing with men
whose awakened passions made them candidates for prison,--the whole
community, with the exception of the preacher and his scattered
sympathizers, animated by one desire, to get the gold, to exhaust the
soil, to glut voluptuous immunity, to fill the veins with a fiery
climate, and to hurry back with wealth enough to feed it more safely in
the privacies of Madrid and Seville. What were preaching and benevolent
intention, where shaven superstition was inculcating the cross by its
weight alone, and bearded ferocity desolated with the sword what the
cross could spare? The discussion which Montesino raised went home to
Spain; but when a board of commissioners, charged to investigate the
subject, advised that all Indians granted to Spanish courtiers, and to
all other persons who did not reside upon the island, should be set
at liberty, the colonists saw the entering wedge of emancipation. The
discontent was so great, and the alternative of slavery or ruin was
so passionately offered to the Government at home, that the system of
_repartimientos_ remained untouched; for the Government felt that it
must choose between the abandonment of the island and the destruction of
those who alone, if judiciously protected, could make it profitable to
retain it.

Protection and amelioration, then, became the cry. In consequence of the
great increase of cattle in the island, it was considered no more than
just that the Indians should no longer be used as beasts of burden. They
were also to have one day in the seven, besides the Church festivals,
for their own use; and intendants were appointed who were to have a
general supervision of their affairs, and to protect them from barbarous
punishments. These regulations were a weir of reeds thrown across a
turbid and tumultuous Amazon.

Las Casas was an eye-witness of the cruelties which he exposed in his
memoirs to the Government, those uncompromising indictments of his own
nation and of the spirit of the age. He had seen the natives slaughtered
like sheep in a pen, and the butchers laid bets with each other upon
their dexterity in cleaving them asunder at a stroke. Children, torn
from the bosoms of their mothers, were brained against the stones, or
thrown into the water with mocking cries,--"That will refresh you!" A
favorite mode of immolation, which had the merit of exciting theological
associations, was to bind thirteen of the natives to as many stakes,
one for each apostle and one for the Saviour, and then to make a
burnt-offering of them. Others were smeared with pitch and lighted.
Sometimes a fugitive who had been recaptured was sent into the forest
with his severed hand,--"Go, carry this letter to the others who have
escaped, with our compliments."

"I have seen," says Las Casas, "five chiefs and several other Indians
roasting together upon hurdles, and the Spanish captain was enraged
because their cries disturbed his _siesta_. He ordered them to be
strangled, that he might hear no more of it. But the superintendent,
whom I know, as well as his family, which is from Seville, more cruel
than the officer, refused to end their torture." He would not be
cheated of his after-dinner luxury, so he gagged them with sticks, and
replenished the fires.[T]

[Footnote T: Llorente's _Oeuvres de Las Casas; Premiere Memoire,
contenant la Relation des Cruautes_, etc.]

Columbus first made use of dogs against the Indians, but merely to
intimidate. They were swift dogs of chase, impetuous and dangerous, but
did not yet deserve to be called blood-hounds. The Spaniards, however,
by frequently using them in the pursuit of escaping natives, without
thinking it worth while to restrain their motions, gradually educated
them to a taste for human blood. From the breed, thus modified, the
West-Indian blood-hound descended, possibly not without admixture with
other savage dogs of French and English breeds which were brought to the
island by their scarcely less savage owners. Many of the dogs which the
Spaniards carried to South America roamed at large and degenerated into
beasts of prey. Soldiers at one time were detailed to hunt them, and
were then nicknamed _Mataperros_, or dog-slayers.

But if the dogs fed upon the Indian's body, the monk was ever vigilant
to save his soul. A woman was holding her child of twelve months, says
Las Casas, when she perceived the approach of the hounds in full cry
after a party of natives. Feeling that she could not escape, she
instantly tied her babe to her leg and then suspended herself from a
beam. The dogs came up at the moment that a monk was baptizing the
child, thus luckily cutting off its purgatory just behind the jaws that
devoured it.

Spaniards were known to feed their dogs, when short of meat, by chopping
off a native's arm and throwing it to them; and a few fed their dogs
exclusively upon native-meat. We have the authority of Las Casas for the
fact, which he took care to have well attested from various sources,
that a Spaniard would borrow a quarter of native from a friend for his
hounds, promising to return it at a favorable opportunity. Somebody
asked one of these generous livers how his housekeeping flourished.
"Well enough," was the reply; "I have killed twenty of these rascally
Indians, and now, thank God, my dogs have something to eat."

The Spaniards paid their gambling debts in natives. If a governor lost
heavily at cards, he would give the winner an order upon some cacique
for a corresponding amount of gold, or natives in default of the metal,
knowing that the gold could no longer be procured. Sometimes the lucky
gambler made the levy without applying to the cacique. The stakes were
not unfrequently for three and four hundred Indians in the early days of
the colonies, when natives were so plenty that one could be bought for
a cheese, or an _arroba_ of vinegar, wine, or lard. Eighty natives were
swapped for a mare, and a hundred for a lame horse. When it began to be
difficult to lay hands upon them, it was only necessary to send for a
missionary, who would gradually collect them for purposes of instruction
and worship. When the habit of attending a chapel was pretty well
confirmed, the building was surrounded, the young and stout ones were
seized and branded, and carried away, with the most attractive females,
for further indoctrination in the Christian arts.

A device of the caciques which was practised in Nicaragua might easily
have been pursued in Hayti. But the account of Las Casas refers to the
former province. When a demand was made upon one cacique to supply
laborers, he would repair to another, and say, "The devil who has me in
his power wants so many men and women. I have no doubt that your devil
will say the same thing to you. Let us arrange the matter. Give me the
facility of procuring my quota in your tribe, and you shall take yours
from my tribe." "It is agreed; for my devil has just made a similar
demand of me." Each cacique would then swear to the Commanders, who were
very nice upon the technicality so long as slaves were plenty, that the
men furnished came from his own district, thus saving his life and his
credit with his people. This was a great convenience; for in all savage
exigencies and dire perils men must study how they can best arrange with
the inevitable.

But it will be too painful to recount the various inventions for
punishing these unhappy children of Nature. The dogs, perhaps, were
merciful, for they killed and ate a native on the spot. Cutting off the
ear and nose was an ordinary barbarity,--in its origin it was a way to
save time in collecting ornaments; shutting fifty or more into a house
and setting it in flames was a favorite method of extemporizing a
bonfire; pricking a crowd of insurgent natives over a precipice into the
sea was an exceptional act of mercy,--they would place one hand over
their eyes and take the plunge. It was a common sport to match
stout Indians with the hounds, and bet upon their wrestling. In the
pearl-fisheries, in rowing galleys, in agriculture, in the mines, in
carrying ship-timber, anchors, and pieces of ordnance, in transporting
produce, the Spaniards wasted the natives as if they were wind-and
water-power which Nature would supply without limit. How can this
ferocity be accounted for? It consulted neither interest nor personal
safety. They raged like men stung to madness by poisonous clouds of
insects; the future received no consideration; plans for improving the
methods of cultivating different crops, or for introducing new staples,
could not be carried out. Once having tasted native blood, like their
own dogs, the hunting mania possessed them, till two millions of
Haytians alone had perished. The population had become so reduced as
early as 1508 that they were obliged to organize great Indian chases on
the main-land, and a Coolie trade sprang up in the Lucayan Islands,
to keep the Haytian mines and plantations supplied with hands. Forty
thousand of these Lucayans were transported, on the assurance of the
Spaniards that they would be restored to the souls of their ancestry,
who had gone to reside in that Mountain-land of the West. Was there
a touch of grim Spanish humor in this inducement to emigrate? For
certainly the Lucayans did very soon rejoin those departed souls.

Wine and the climate maddened these unbridled Europeans. Avarice is a
calculating passion; but here were aimless and exhausting horrors, like
those which swarm in the drunkard's corrupted brain. What were vices at
home became transformed into manias here. The representatives of other
nations were not slow to imitate the example of the possessors of Hayti.
Venezuela was ceded to a company of Germans in 1526, whose object was
simply to strip the country of its treasures. Las Casas tries to believe
that the Spaniards seemed like just men by the side of these new
speculators; but it was not possible to destroy natives faster than was
done in the countries under Spanish rule. The Germans, after all, were
forced to employ Spaniards to pursue the Indians when they attempted
to escape from this new system of farming into the mountains, and they
profited so well by the lessons of their Catholic hunters, that, upon
their departure, they hit upon new expedients for making the natives
productive. The German Governor constructed a great palisaded park, into
which he managed to drive all the Indians of the neighborhood, and then
informed them that they could issue from it only as slaves, unless they
paid a certain ransom, whose value he fixed. They were deliberately
starved into adopting one or the other alternative. Those who could
procure gold were let out to collect it, leaving their wives and
children as pledges of their return. Many of the others preferred to
die of hunger and thirst. When the ransomed natives departed with their
families, the Governor had them pursued, reparked, and subjected to
a repetition of this sponging process, and again a third time, so
admirably did it work. This strikes Las Casas as a refinement of
cruelty, which can be attributed only to the fact that these Germans
were Lutheran heretics, and never assisted at the mass. "This is
the way," he says, "that they conformed to the royal intention of
establishing Christianity in these countries!"

How did the Spaniards conform to it? Rude soldiers became the managers
of the different working gangs into which the Indians had been divided,
and it devolved upon them to superintend their spiritual welfare. Enough
has been said about their brutality; but their ignorance was no less
remarkable. Las Casas complains that they could not repeat the _Credo_,
nor the Ten Commandments. Their ignorance of the former would have been
bliss, if they had been practically instructed in the latter. John
Colmenero was one of these common soldiers who became installed in a
Commandery (_Encomienda_). When the missionaries visited his plantation,
they found that the laborers had not the slightest notions of
Christianity. They examined John upon the subject, and discovered to
their horror that he did not know even how to make the sign of the
cross. "What have you been teaching these poor Indians?" they asked him.
"Why, that they are all going to the Devil! Won't your _signin santin
cruces_ help to teach them that?"[U]

[Footnote U: Llorente, Tom. I. p. 180.]

No doubt it would; for we know how serviceable in that way Ovando found
it, when he plotted to seize the beautiful Anacaona, who governed the
province of Xaragua in Hayti. This he did, and also gave the signal for
a dreadful massacre of her subjects, whom he had beguiled to a military
spectacle, by lifting his hand to the cross of Alcantara that was
embroidered on his dress.

Colmenero had not a head for business like that other Spaniard who
baptized all the inhabitants of a village and took away their idols
of gold, for which he substituted copper ones, and then compelled the
natives to purchase them of him at so many slaves per idol.

"Come, then, caciques and Indians, come!" This was the ordinary style of
proclamation. "Abandon your false gods, adore the God of the Christians,
profess their religion, believe in the gospel, receive the sacrament of
baptism, recognize the King of Castile for your king and master. If you
refuse, we declare war upon you to kill you, to make you slaves, to
spoil you of your goods, and to cause you to suffer as long and as often
as we shall judge convenient,"[V] and for the good of your souls.

[Footnote V: Llorente, Tom. I. p. 28.]

In 1542, Charles V. procured a bull from Pope Paul III. restoring the
Indians to their natural freedom: this he confirmed and despatched to
the island. Las Casas, the Protector of the Indians, had carried his
point at last, but the Indians were beyond protection. The miserable
remnant were no longer of consequence, for the African had begun to till
the soil enriched by so much native blood. Thus ends the first chapter
of the Horrors of San Domingo.

Schoelcher reminds us that the traveller may read upon the tomb of
Columbus at Seville: "Known worlds were not enough for him: he added a
new to the old, _and gave to heaven innumerable souls_."

[To be continued.]

METHODS OF STUDY IN NATURAL HISTORY.

A few miles from the southern extremity of Florida, separated from it by
a channel, narrow at the eastern end, but widening gradually toward the
west, and rendered every year more and more shallow by the accumulation
of materials constantly collecting within it, there lies a line of
islands called the Florida Keys. They are at different distances from
the shore, stretching gradually seaward in the form of an open crescent,
from Virginia Key and Key Biscayne, almost adjoining the main-land, to
Key West, at a distance of twelve miles from the coast, which does not,
however, close the series, for sixty miles farther west stands the
group of the Tortugas, isolated in the Gulf of Mexico. Though they
seem disconnected, these islands are parts of a submerged Coral Reef,
concentric with the shore of the peninsula and continuous underneath the
water, but visible above the surface at such points of the summit as
have fully completed their growth.

This demands some explanation, since I have already said that no Coral
growth can continue after it has reached the line of high-water. But we
have not finished the history of a Coral wall, when we have followed it
to the surface of the ocean. It is true that its normal growth ceases
there, but already a process of partial decay as begun that insures its
further increase. Here, as elsewhere, destruction and construction go
hand in hand, and the materials that are broken or worn away from one
part of the Reef help to build it up elsewhere. The Corals which form
the Reef are not the only beings that find their home there: many other
animals--Shells, Worms, Crabs, Star-Fishes, Sea-Urchins--establish
themselves upon it, work their way into its interstices, and seek a
shelter in every little hole and cranny made by the irregularities of
its surface. In the Zoological Museum at Cambridge there are some large
fragments of Coral Reef which give one a good idea of the populous
aspect that such a Reef would present, could we see it as it actually
exists beneath the water. Some of these fragments consist of a
succession of terraces, as it were, in which are many little miniature
caves, where may still be seen the Shells or Sea-Urchins which made
their snug and sheltered homes in these recesses of the Reef.

We must not consider the Reef as a solid, massive structure throughout.
The compact kinds of Corals, giving strength and solidity to the wall,
may be compared to the larger trees in a forest, which give it shade and
density; but between these grow all kinds of trailing vines, ferns and
mosses, wild flowers and low shrubs, that till the spaces between the
larger trees with a thick underbrush. The Coral Reef also has its
underbrush of the lighter, branching, more brittle kinds, that fill its
interstices and fringe the summit and the sides with their delicate,
graceful forms. Such an intricate underbrush of Coral growth affords an
excellent retreat for many animals that like its protection better than
exposure to the open sea, just as many land-animals prefer the close and
shaded woods to the open plain: a forest is not more thickly peopled
with Birds, Squirrels, Martens, and the like, than is the Coral Reef
with a variety of animals that do not contribute in any way to its
growth, but find shelter in its crevices or in its near neighborhood.

But these larger animals are not the only ones that haunt the forest.
There is a host of parasites besides, principally Insects and their
larvae, which bore their way into the very heart of the tree, making
their home in the bark and pith, and not the less numerous because
hidden from sight. These also have their counterparts in the Reef, where
numbers of boring Shells and marine Worms work their way into the solid
substance of the wall, piercing it, with holes in every direction, till
large portions become insecure, and the next storm suffices to break off
the fragments so loosened. Once detached, they are tossed about in the
water, crumbled into Coral sand, crushed, often ground to powder by the
friction of the rocks and the constant action of the sea.

After a time, an immense quantity of such materials is formed about a
Coral Reef; tides and storms constantly throw them up on its surface,
and at last a soil collects on the top of the Reef, wherever it has
reached the surface of the water, formed chiefly of its own _debris_, of
Coral sand, Coral fragments, even large masses of Coral rock, mingled
with the remains of the animals that have had their home about the
Reef, with sea-weeds, with mud from the neighboring land, and with the
thousand loose substances always floating about in the vicinity of a
coast and thrown upon the rocks or shore with every wave that breaks
against them. Add to this the presence of a lime-cement in the water,
resulting from the decomposition of some of these materials, and we have
all that is needed to make a very compact deposit and fertile soil, on
which a vegetation may spring up, whenever seeds floating from the
shore or dropped by birds in their flight take root on the newly formed
island.

There is one plant belonging to tropical or sub-tropical climates
that is peculiarly adapted by its mode of growth to the soil of these
islands, and contributes greatly to their increase. This is the
Mangrove-tree. Its seeds germinate in the calyx of the flower, and,
before they drop, grow to be little brown stems, some six or seven
inches long and about as thick as a finger, with little rootlets at one
end. Such Mangrove-seedlings, looking more like cigars than anything
else, float in large numbers about the Reef. I have sometimes seen them
in the water about the Florida Reef in such quantities that one would
have said some vessel laden with Havana cigars had been wrecked there,
and its precious cargo scattered in the ocean.

In consequence of their shape and the development of the root, one end
is a little heavier than the other, so that they float unevenly, with
the loaded end a little lower than the lighter one. When they are
brought by the tide against such a cap of soil as I have described,
they become stranded upon it by their heavier end, the rootlets attach
themselves slightly to the soil, the advancing and retreating waves move
the little plant up and down, till it works a hole in the sand, and
having thus established itself more firmly, steadied itself as it were,
it now stands upright, and, as it grows, throws out numerous roots, even
from a height of several feet above the ground, till it has surrounded
the lower part of its stem with a close net-work of roots. Against this
natural trellis or screen all sorts of materials collect; sand, mud,
and shells are caught in it; and as these Mangrove-trees grow in large
numbers and to the height of thirty feet, they contribute greatly to the
solidity and compactness of the shores on which they are stranded.

Such caps of soil on the summit of a Coral Reef are of course very
insecure till they are consolidated by a long period of accumulation,
and they may even be swept completely away by a violent storm. It is
not many years since the light-house built on Sand Key for the greater
security of navigation along the Reef was swept away with the
whole island on which it stood. Thanks to the admirably conducted
Investigations of the Coast-Survey, this part of our seaboard, formerly
so dangerous on account of the Coral Reefs, is now better understood,
and every precaution has been taken to insure the safety of vessels
sailing along the coast of Florida.

I cannot deny myself the pleasure of paying a tribute here to the high
scientific character of the distinguished superintendent of this survey,
who has known so well how to combine the most important scientific aims
with the most valuable practical results in his direction of it. If
some have hitherto doubted the practical value of such researches,--and
unhappily there are always those who estimate intellectual efforts only
by their material results,--one would think that these doubts must be
satisfied now that the Coast-Survey is seen to be the right arm of our
navy. Most of the leaders in our late naval expeditions have been men
trained in its service, and familiar with all the harbors, with every
bay and inlet of our Southern coasts, from having been engaged in the
extensive researches undertaken by Dr. Bache and carried out under his
guidance. Many, even, of the pilots of our Southern fleets are men who
have been employed upon this work, and owe their knowledge of the coast
to their former occupation. It is a singular fact, that at this very
time, when the whole country feels its obligation to the men who
have devoted so many years of their lives to these investigations,
a proposition should have been brought forward in Congress for the
suspension of the Coast-Survey on economical grounds. Happily,
the almost unanimous rejection of this proposition has shown the
appreciation in which the work is held by our national legislature. Even
without reference to their practical usefulness, it is a sad sign, when,
in the hour of her distress, a nation sacrifices first her intellectual
institutions. Then more than ever, when she needs all the culture, all
the wisdom, all the comprehensiveness of her best intellects, should she
foster the institution that have fostered them, in which they have been
trained to do good service to their country in her time of need.

Several of the Florida Keys, such as Key West and Indian Key, are
already large, inhabited islands, several miles in extent. The interval
between them and the main-land is gradually filling up by a process
similar to that by which the islands themselves were formed. The gentle
landward slope of the Reef and the channel between it and the shore are
covered with a growth of the more branching lighter Corals, such as
Sea-Fans, Coral-lines, etc., answering the same purpose as the intricate
roots of the Mangrove-tree. All the _debris_ of the Reef, as well as the
sand and mud washed from the shore, collect in this net-work of Coral
growth within the channel, and soon transform it into a continuous
mass, with a certain degree of consistence and solidity. This forms the
foundation of the mud-flats which are now rapidly filling the channel
and must eventually connect the Keys of Florida with the present shore
of the peninsula.

Outside the Keys, but not separated from them by so great a distance as
that which intervenes between them and the main-land, there stretches
beneath the water another Reef, abrupt, like the first, on its seaward
side, but sloping gently toward the inner Reef, and divided from it by
a channel. This outer Reef and channel are, however, in a much less
advanced state than the preceding ones; only here and there a sand-flat
large enough to afford a foundation for a beacon or a lighthouse shows
that this Reef also is gradually coming to the surface, and that a
series of islands corresponding to the Keys must eventually be formed
upon its summit. Some of my readers may ask why the Reef does not rise
evenly to the level of the sea, and form a continuous line of land,
instead of here and there an island. This is accounted for by the
sensitiveness of the Corals to any unfavorable circumstances impeding
their growth, as well as by the different rates of increase of the
different kinds. Wherever any current from the shore flows over the
Reef, bringing with it impurities from the land, there the growth of the
Corals will be less rapid, and consequently that portion of the Reef
will not reach the surface so soon as other parts, where no such
unfavorable influences have interrupted the growth. But in the course
of time the outer Reef will reach the surface for its whole length and
become united to the inner one by the filling up of the channel between
them, while the inner one will long before that time become solidly
united to the present shore-bluffs of Florida by the consolidation of
the mud-flats, which will one day transform the inner channel into dry
land.

What is now the rate of growth of these Coral Reefs? We cannot, perhaps,
estimate it with absolute accuracy, since they are now so nearly
completed; but Coral growth is constantly springing up wherever it can
find a foothold, and it is not difficult to ascertain approximately the
rate of growth of the different kinds. Even this, however, would give
us far too high a standard; for the rise of the Coral Reef is not in
proportion to the height of the living Corals, but to their solid parts
which never decompose. Add to this that there are many brittle delicate
kinds that have a considerable height when alive, but contribute to the
increase of the Reef only so much additional thickness as they would
have when broken and crushed down upon its surface. A forest in its
decay does not add to the soil of the earth a thickness corresponding to
the height of its trees, but only such a thin layer as would be left by
the decomposition of its whole vegetation. In the Coral Reef, also, we
must allow not only for the deduction of the soft parts, but also for
the comminution of all these brittle branches, which would be broken and
crushed by the action of the storms and tides, and add, therefore, but
little to the Reef in proportion to their size when alive.

The foundations of Fort Jefferson, which is built entirely of Coral
rock, were laid on the Tortugas Islands in the year 1846. A very
intelligent head-work man watched the growth of certain Corals that
established themselves on these foundations, and recorded their rate of
increase. He has shown me the rocks on which Corals had been growing for
some dozen years, during which they had increased at the rate of about
half an inch in ten years. I have collected facts from a variety of
sources and localities that confirm this testimony. A brick placed under
water in the year 1850 by Captain Woodbury of Tortugas, with the view of
determining the rate of growth of Corals, when taken up in 1858 had
a crust of Maeandrina upon it a little more than half an inch in
thickness. Mr. Allen also sent me from Key West a number of fragments
of Maeandrina from the breakwater at Fort Taylor; they had been growing
from twelve to fifteen years, and have an average thickness of about an
inch. The specimens vary in this respect,--some of them being a little
more than an inch in thickness, others not more than half an inch.
Fragments of Oculina gathered at the same place and of the same age are
from one to three inches in length; but these belong to the lighter,
more branching kinds of Corals, which, as we have seen, cannot, from
their brittle character, be supposed to add their whole height to the
solid mass of the Coral wall. Millepore gives a similar result.

Estimating the growth of the Coral Reef according to these and other
data of the same character, it should be about half a foot in a century;
and a careful comparison which I have made of the condition of the Reef
as recorded in an English survey made about a century ago with its
present state would justify this conclusion. But allowing a wide margin
for inaccuracy of observation or for any circumstances that might
accelerate the growth, and leaving out of consideration the decay of the
soft parts and the comminution of the brittle ones, which would subtract
so largely from the actual rate of growth, let us double this estimate
and call the average increase a foot for every century. In so doing, we
are no doubt greatly overrating the rapidity of the progress, and our
calculation of the period that must have elapsed in the formation of the
Reef will be far within the truth.

The outer Reef, still incomplete, as I have stated, and therefore of
course somewhat lower than the inner one, measures about seventy feet in
height. Allowing a foot of growth for every century, not less than seven
thousand years must have elapsed since this Reef began to grow. Some
miles nearer the main-land are the Keys, or the inner Reef; and though
this must have been longer in the process of formation than the outer
one, since its growth is completed, and nearly the whole extent of its
surface is transformed into islands, with here and there a narrow break
separating them, yet, in order to keep fully within the evidence of the
facts, I will allow only seven thousand years for the formation of this
Reef also, making fourteen thousand for the two.

This brings us to the shore-bluffs, consisting simply of another Reef
exactly like those already described, except that the lapse of time has
united it to the main-land by the complete filling up and consolidation
of the channel which once divided it from the extremity of the
peninsula, as a channel now separates the Keys from the shore-bluffs,
and the outer Reef, again, from the Keys. These three concentric Reefs,
then, the outer Reef, the Keys, and the shore-bluffs, if we measure
the growth of the two latter on the same low estimate by which I have
calculated the rate of progress of the former, cannot have reached their
present condition in less than twenty thousand years. Their growth must
have been successive, since, as we have seen, all Corals need the fresh
action of the open sea upon them, and if either of the outer Reefs had
begun to grow before the completion of the inner one, it would have
effectually checked the growth of the latter. The absence of an
incipient Reef outside of the outer Reef shows these conclusions to be
well founded. The islands capping these three do not exceed in height
the level to which the fragments accumulated upon their summits may have
been thrown by the heaviest storms. The highest hills of this part of
Florida are not over ten or twelve feet above the level of the sea, and
yet the luxuriant vegetation with which they are covered gives them an
imposing appearance.

But this is not the end of the story. Travelling inland from the
shore-bluffs, we cross a low, flat expanse of land, the Indian
hunting-ground, which brings us to a row of elevations called the
Hummocks. This hunting-ground, or Everglade as it is also called, is an
old channel, changed first to mud-flats and then to dry land by the same
kind of accumulation that is filling up the present channels, and the
row of hummocks is but an old Coral Reef with the Keys or islands of
past days upon its summit. Seven such Reefs and channels of former times
have already been traced between the shore-bluffs and Lake Okee-cho-bee,
adding some fifty thousand years to our previous estimate. Indeed, upon
the lowest calculation, based upon the facts thus far ascertained as to
their growth, we cannot suppose that less than seventy thousand years
have elapsed since the Coral Reefs already known to exist in Florida
began to grow. When we remember that this is but a small portion of the
peninsula, and that, though we have not yet any accurate information as
to the nature of its interior, yet the facts already ascertained in the
northern part of this State, formed like its Southern extremity of Coral
growth, justify the inference that the whole peninsula is formed of
successive concentric Reefs, we must believe that hundreds of thousands
of years have elapsed since its formation began. Leaving aside, however,
all that part of its history which is not susceptible of positive
demonstration in the present state of our knowledge, I will limit my
results to the evidence of facts already within our possession; and
these give us as the lowest possible estimate a period of seventy
thousand years for the formation of that part of the peninsula which
extends south of Lake Okee-cho-bee to the present outer Reef.

So much for the duration of the Reefs themselves. What, now, do they
tell us of the permanence of the Species by which they were formed? In
these seventy thousand years has there been any change in the Corals
living in the Gulf of Mexico? I answer, most emphatically, _No_.
Astraeans, Porites, Maeandrinas, and Madrepores were represented by
exactly the same Species seventy thousand years ago as they are now.
Were we to classify the Florida Corals from the Reefs of the interior,
the result would correspond exactly to a classification founded upon
the living Corals of the outer Reef to-day. There would be among the
Astraeans the different species of Astraea proper, forming the close
round heads,--the Mussa, growing in smaller stocks, where the mouths
coalesce and run into each other as in the Brain-Corals, but in
which the depressions formed by the mouths are deeper,--and the
Caryophyllians, in which the single individuals stand out more
distinctly from the stock; among Porites, the P. Astroides, with pits
resembling those of the Astraeans in form, though smaller in size,
and growing also in solid heads, though these masses are covered with
club-shaped protrusions, instead of presenting a smooth, even surface
like the Astraeans,--and the P. Clavaria, in which the stocks are
divided in short, stumpy branches, with club-shaped ends, instead of
growing in close, compact heads; among the Maeandrinas we should have
the round heads we know as Brain-Corals, with their wavy lines over the
surface, and the Manacina, differing again from the preceding by certain
details of structure; among the Madrepores we should have the Madrepora
prolifera, with its small, short branches, broken up by very frequent
ramifications, the M. cervicornis, with longer and stouter branches and
less frequent ramifications, and the cup-like M. palmata, resembling
an open sponge in form. Every Species, in short, that lives upon the
present Reef is found in the more ancient ones. They all belong to our
own geological period, and we cannot, upon the evidence before us,
estimate its duration at less than seventy thousand years, during which
time we have no evidence of any change in Species, but on the contrary
the strongest proof of the absolute permanence of those Species whose
past history we have been able to trace.

Before leaving the subject of the Coral Reefs, I would add a few words
on the succession of the different kinds of Polyp Corals on a Reef as
compared with their structural rank and also with their succession in
time, because we have here another of those correspondences of thought,
those intellectual links in Creation, which give such coherence and
consistency to the whole, and make it intelligible to man.

The lowest in structure among the Polyps are not Corals, but the single,
soft-bodied Actiniae. They have no solid parts, and are independent in
their mode of existence, never forming communities, like the higher
members of the class. It might at first seem strange that independence,
considered a sign of superiority in the higher animals, should here be
looked upon as a mark of inferiority. But independence may mean either
simple isolation, or independence of action; and the life of a single
Polyp is no more independent in the sense of action than that of a
community of Polyps. It is simply not connected with or related to the
life of any others. The mode of development of these animals tells us
something of the relative inferiority and superiority of the single ones
and of those that grow in communities. When the little Polyp Coral, the
Astraean or Madrepore, for instance, is born from the egg, it is as free
as the Actinia, which remains free all its life. It is only at a later
period, as its development goes on, that it becomes solidly attached to
the ground, and begins its compound life by putting forth new beings
like itself as buds from its side. Since we cannot suppose that the
normal development of any being can have a retrograde action, we are
justified in believing that the loss of freedom is in fact a stage of
progress in these lower animals, and their more intimate dependence on
each other a sign of maturity.

There are, however, structural features by which the relative
superiority of these animals may be determined. In proportion as the
number of their parts is limited and permanent, their structure is more
complicated; and the indefinite multiplication of identical parts is
connected with inferiority of structure. Now in these lowest Polyps, the
Actiniae, the tentacles increase with age indefinitely, never ceasing to
grow while life lasts, new chambers being constantly added to correspond
with them, till it becomes impossible to count their numbers. Next to
these come the true Fungidae. They are also single, and though they are
stony Corals, they have no share in the formation of Reefs. In these,
also, the tentacles multiply throughout life, though they are usually
not so numerous as in the Actiniae. But a new feature is added to the
complication of their structure, as compared with Actiniae, in the
transverse beams which connect their vertical partitions, though they do
not stretch across the animal so as to form perfect floors, as in some
of the higher Polyps. These transverse beams or floors must not be
confounded with the horizontal floors alluded to in a former article
as characteristic of the ancient Acalephian Corals, the Rugosa and
Tabulata. For in the latter these floors stretch completely across the
body, uninterrupted by vertical partitions, which, if they exist at all,
pass only from floor to floor, instead of extending unbroken through
the whole height of the body, as in all Polyps. Where, on the contrary,
transverse floors exist in true Polyps, they never cut the vertical
partitions in their length, but simply connect their walls, stretching
wholly or partially from wall to wall.

In the Astraeans, the multiplication of tentacles is more definite and
limited, rising sometimes to ninety and more, though often limited to
forty-eight in number, and the transverse floors between the vertical
partitions are more complete than in the Fungidae. The Porites have
twelve tentacles only, never more and never less; and in them the whole
solid frame presents a complicated system of connected beams. The
Madrepores have also twelve tentacles, but they have a more definite
character than those of the Porites, on account of their regular
alternation in six smaller and six larger ones; in these also the
transverse floors are perfect, but exceedingly delicate. Another
remarkable feature among the Madrepores consists in the prominence of
one of the Polyps on the summit of the branches, showing a kind of
subordination of the whole community to these larger individuals, and
thus sustaining the view expressed above, that the combination of many
individuals into a connected community is among Polyps a character of
superiority when contrasted with the isolation of the Actiniae;. In the
Sea-Fans, the Halcyonoids, as they are called in our classification, the
number of tentacles is always eight, four of which are already present
at the time of their birth, arranged in pairs, while the other four are
added later. Their tentacles are lobed all around the margin, and are
much more complicated in structure than those of the preceding Polyps.

According to the relative complication of their structure, these animals
are classified in the following order:--

STRUCTURAL SERIES.

Halcyonoids: eight tentacles in pairs, lobed around the margin; always
combined in large communities, some of which are free and movable like
single animals.

Madrepores: twelve tentacles, alternating in six larger and six smaller
ones; frequently a larger top animal standing prominent in the whole
community, or on the summit of its branches.

Porites: twelve tentacles, not alternating in size; system of connected
beams.

Astraeans: tentacles not definitely limited in number, though usually
not exceeding one hundred, and generally much below this number;
transverse floors. Maeandrines, generally referred to Astraeans, are
higher than the true Astraeans, on account of their compound Polyps.

Fungidae: indefinite multiplication of tentacles; imperfect transverse
beams.

Actiniae: indefinite multiplication of tentacles; soft bodies and no
transverse beams.

If, now, we compare this structural gradation among Polyps with their
geological succession, we shall find that they correspond exactly. The
following table gives the geological order in which they have been
introduced upon the surface of the earth.

GEOLOGICAL SUCCESSION.

Present, Halcyonoids.
Pliocene, \
Miocene, } Madrepores.
Eocene, /
Cretaceous, \ Porites
Jurassic, } and
Triassic, } Astraeans.
Permian, /
Carboniferous, \
Devonian, } Fungidae
Silurian, /

With regard to the geological position of the Actiniae we can say
nothing, because, if their soft, gelatinous bodies have left any
impressions in the rocks, none such have ever been found; but their
absence is no proof that they did not exist, since it is exceedingly
improbable that animals destitute of any hard parts could be preserved.

The position of the Corals on a Reef accords with these series of
structural gradation and geological succession. It is true that we do
not find the Actiniae in the Reef any more than in the crust of the
earth, for the absence of hard parts in their bodies makes them quite
unfit to serve as Reef-Builders. Neither do we find the Fungidae, for
they, like all low forms, are single, and not confined to one level,
having a wider range in depth and extent than other stony Polyps. But
the true Reef-Building Polyps follow each other on the Reef in the same
order as prevails in their structural gradation and their geological
succession; and whether we classify them according to their position on
the Reef, or their introduction upon the earth in the course of time, or
their relative rank, the result is the same.

[Illustration: SUCCESSION ON THE REEF.]

It would require an amount of details that would be tedious to many
of my readers, were I to add here the evidence to prove that the
embryological development of these animals, so far as it is known, and
their geographical distribution over the whole surface of our globe,
show the same correspondence with the other three series. But this
recurrence of the same thought in the history of animals of the same
Type, so that, from whatever side we consider them, their creation and
existence seem to be guided by one Mind, is so important in the study
of Nature, that I shall constantly refer to it in the course of
these papers, even though I may sometimes be accused of unnecessary
repetition.

What is the significance of these coincidences? They were not sought for
by the different investigators, who have worked quite independently,
while ascertaining all these facts, without even knowing that there was
any relation between the objects of their studies. The succession
of fossil Corals has been found in the rocks by the geologist,--the
embryologist has followed the changes in the growth of the living
Corals,--the zooelogist has traced the geographical distribution and the
structural relations of the full-grown animals; but it is only after the
results of their separate investigations are collected and compared that
the coincidence is perceived, and alt find that they have been working
unconsciously to one end. These thoughts in Nature, which we are
too prone to call simply facts, when in reality they are the ideal
conception antecedent to the very existence of all created beings, are
expressed in the objects of our study. It is not the zooelogist who
invents the structural relations establishing a gradation between all
Polyps,--it is not the geologist who places them in the succession
in which he finds them in the rocks,--it is not the embryologist who
devises the changes through which the living Polyps pass as he watches
their growth; they only read what they see, and when they compare their
results they all tell the same story. He who reads most correctly
from the original is the best naturalist. What unites all their
investigations and makes them perfectly coherent with each other is
the coincidence of thought expressed in the facts themselves. In other
words, it is the working of the same Intellect through all time,
everywhere.

When we observe the practical results of this sequence in the position
of Corals on the Reef, we cannot fail to see that it is not a mere
accidental difference of structure and relation, but that it bears
direct reference to the part these little beings were to play in
Creation. It places the solid part of the structure at the base of the
Reef,--it fills in the interstices with a lighter growth,--it crowns the
summit with the more delicate kinds, that yield to the action of the
tides and are easily crushed into the fine sand that forms the soil,--it
makes a masonry solid, compact, time-defying, such a masonry as was
needed by the great Architect, who meant that these smallest creatures
of His hand should help to build His islands and His continents.

THE AUTHOR OF "CHARLES AUCHESTER."

When Mr. Disraeli congratulated himself that in the "Wondrous Tale of
Alroy" he had invented a new style, he scarcely deemed that he had but
spun the thread which was to vibrate with melody under the hand of
another. For in none of his magical sentences is the spell exactly
complete, and nowhere do they drop into the memory with that long slow
rhythm and sweet delay which mark every distinct utterance of Elizabeth
Sheppard. Yet at his torch she lit her fires, over his stories she
dreamed, his "Contarini Fleming" she declared to be the touchstone of
all romantic truth, and with the great freights of thought argosied
along his pages she enriched herself. "Destiny is our will, and our
will is our nature," he says. Behold the key-note of those strangely
beautiful Romances of Temperament of which for ten years we have been
cutting the leaves!

In "Venetia," hint and example were given of working the great ores that
lie in the fields about us; and when Elizabeth Sheppard in turn took up
the divining-rod, it sought no clods of baser metal, but gold-veined
masses of crystal and the clear currents of pure water-streams;--beneath
her compelling power, Mendelssohn--Beethoven--Shelley--lived again and
forever.

The musician who perhaps inspired a profounder enthusiasm during his
lifetime than any other ever did had been missed among men but a few
years, when a little book was quietly laid upon his shrine, and he
received, as it were, an apotheosis. Half the world broke into acclaim
over this outpouring of fervid worship. But it was private acclaim, and
not to be found in the newspapers. To those who, like the most of us in
America, vainly hunger and thirst after the sweets of sound, the book
was an initiation into the very _penetralia_ of music, we mounted and
rested in that sphere from the distastes of too practical life, long
afterwards we seemed to hear the immortal Song of which it spoke, and
our souls were refreshed. There followed this in a year--inscribed
to Mrs. Disraeli, as the other had been to that lady's
husband--"Counterparts": a novel which, it is not too much to say, it is
impossible for human hand to excel;--superior to its predecessor, since
that was but a memorial, while this was the elaboration of an Idea. Here
the real author ceased awhile. Three succeeding books were but fancies
wrought out, grafts, happy thoughts, very possibly enforced work; but
there were no more spontaneous affairs of her own individuality, until
the one entitled "Almost a Heroine." In this work, which treated of the
possible perfection of marriage, the whole womanly nature of the writer
asserted itself by virtue of the mere fact of humanity. After this came
a number of juvenile stories, some commonplace, others infiltrated with
that subtile charm which breathes, with a single exception, through all
her larger books like the perfume of an exotic. Thus in the three novels
mentioned we have all that can be had of Elizabeth Sheppard herself:
in the third, her theory of life; in the second, her aspirations and
opinions; in the first, her passion.

The orphaned daughter of an English clergyman, and self-dependent,
in 1853 she translated her name into French and published "Charles
Auchester,"--a book written at the age of sixteen. That name of hers is
not the most attractive in the tongue, but all must love it who love
her; for, if any theory of transmission be true, does she not owe
something of her own oneness with Nature, of her intimacy with its
depths, of her love of fields and flowers and skies, to that ancestry
who won the name as, like the princely Hebrew boy, they tended the
flocks upon the hills, under sunlight and starlight and ill every wind
that blew? Never was there a more characteristic device than this
signature of "E. Berger"; and nobody learned anything by it. At first it
was presumed that some member of the house of Rothschild had experienced
a softening of the brain to the extent implied by such effusion of
genuine emotion, and it was rather gladly hailed as evidence of the
weakness shared in common with ordinary mortals by that more than
imperial family, the uncrowned potentates of the world,--the subject
and method of the book being just sufficiently remote from every-day
to preserve the unities of the supposition. Gradually this theory was
sought to be displaced by one concerning a German baroness acquainted
neither with Jews nor with music, humored as it was by that foreign
trick in the book, the idioms of another tongue; but the latter theory
was too false on its face to be tenable, and then people left off
caring about it. It is perhaps an idle infirmity, this request for the
personality of authors; yet it is indeed a response to the fact that
there never was one who did not prefer to be esteemed for himself rather
than for his writing,--and, ascending, may we love the works of God and
not the Lord himself? However, none were a whit the wiser for knowing
Miss Sheppard's name. It came to be accepted that we were to have
the books,--whence was no matter; they were so new, so strange, so
puzzling,--the beautiful, the quaint, and the faulty were so interwoven,
that nobody cared to separate these elements, to take the trouble to
criticize or to thank; and thus, though we all gladly enough received,
we kept our miserly voices to ourselves, and she never met with any
adequate recognition. After her first book, England quietly ignored
her,--they could not afford to be so startled; as Sir Leicester Dedlock
said, "It was really--really--"; she did very well for the circulating
libraries; and because Mr. Mudie insists on his three volumes or none
at all, she was forced to extend her rich webs to thinness. It is this
alone that injures "Counterparts" for many;--not that they would not
gladly accept the clippings in a little supplementary pamphlet, but
dissertations, they say, delay the action. In this case, though, that
is not true; for, besides the incompleteness of the book without the
objectionable dissertation, (that long conversation between Miss
Dudleigh and Sarona,) it answers the purpose of very necessary by-play
on the stage during preparation for the last and greatest scene. But had
this been a fault, it was not so much hers as the publishers'. Subject
to the whims of those in London, and receiving no reply to the
communication of her wishes from those in Edinburgh, she must have
experienced much injustice at the hands of her booksellers, and her
title-pages show them to have been perpetually changed. She herself
accepts with delight propositions from another quarter of the globe; the
prospect of writing for those across the water was very enticing to her;
and in one of her letters she says,--"It is my greatest ambition to
publish in America,--to have no more to do personally with English
publishers"; and finding it, after serious illness, impossible to
fulfil this engagement in season, the anxiety, regret, and subsequent
gratitude, which she expressed, evinced that she had been unaccustomed
to the courteous consideration then received.

Working constantly for so many years, she had yet known nothing of her
readers, had felt her literary life to be an utter failure, had thrown a
voice into the world and heard no echo; and when for the first time told
of the admiration she elicited in this country and of one who rejoiced
in her, her face kindled and she desired to come and be among her own
people. Those who have failed to appreciate her can hardly be blamed, as
it is owing entirely to their deficiency; but the cavillers--those who
have ears and hear not--are less excusable. Almost a recluse,--declining
even an interview with her publishers,--in ill-health, in poverty, and
with waning youth, she poured out her precious ointment from alabaster
boxes, and there were not wanting Pharisees. But hampered by precedent
and somewhat barren of enthusiasms as are almost all productions now,
how could we do aught but welcome this spontaneous and ever-fresh
fountain bubbling into the sunlight, albeit without geometrical
restrictions, and bringing as it did such treasures from its secret
sources? Yet, welcomed or not, there is no record of any female
prose-writer's ever having lived who possessed more than a portion
of that genius which permeated Elizabeth Sheppard's whole being.
Genius,--the very word expresses her: in harmony with the great
undertone of the universe, the soul suffused with light. Flower-warmth
and fragrance are on her page, the soft low summer wind seems to be
speaking with you as you read, her characters are like the stars
impersonated, and still, however lofty her nature, always and forever
genial. You catch her own idiosyncrasy throughout, and believe, that,
like Evelyn Hope, she was made of spirit, fire, and dew. When we
remember the very slight effect ever visible to her of all her labor,
there is something sad in the thought of this young soul, thrilled with
its own fervors and buoyant in anticipation, sending forth the first
venture. But then we recognize as well, that she was one of those few to
whom creation is a necessity, that in truth she scarcely needed human
response, and that when men were silent God replied.

Miss Sheppard's style was something very novel. Based, perhaps, on an
admiration of one whose later exploits have dwarfed his earlier in the
general estimation, there was yet no more resemblance than between the
string-courses of a building and its sculptured friezes. Indeed, writing
was not her virtual expression: this may be learned even in her peculiar
way of loving Nature, for it was not so much Nature itself as Nature's
effects that she prized; and between the work now performed and that
awaiting her in some further life one feels the difference that exists
between the soft clay model with its mild majesty, its power clogged and
covered, and the same when it issues in the white radiance of marble.
She does not seem to have been an extensive reader, and certainly no
student, while she totally disregarded all rules and revision. Her
sentences were so long that one got lost in them, and had finally to go
back and clutch a nominative case and drag it down the page with him;
there were ambiguities and obscurities in plenty: her thoughts were so
bright that they darkened her words; one must go through a process of
initiation,--but having mastered the style, one knew the writer. It
was well worth while, this shrouding rhetoric, for beneath it were no
reserves; superficially no one ever kept more out of sight, but the
real reader could not fail to know that here he had the freedom of the
author's nature: and although she somewhere said that a woman "thus
intensely feminine, thus proud and modest, betraying herself to the
world in her writings, is an exception, and one in the whole world the
most rare," she knew not that she sketched herself in that exception.
But there are not elsewhere to be found pages so drenched with beauty as
hers; and for all her vague abstractions of language, and wide, suffused
effects, she possessed yet the skill to present a picture, keenly etched
and vividly colored, in the fewest words, when she chose. Not to mention
Rose and Bernard, who, oddly enough, are a series of the most exquisite
pictures in themselves, bathed in changing and ever-living light, let
us take, for instance, Maria Cerinthia walking in the streets of Paris,
having worn out her mantilla, and with only a wreath of ivy on her
head,--or Clotilda at her books, "looking very much like an old picture
of a young person sitting there,"--or the charming one of Laura's _pas_,
which the little boy afterwards describes in saying, "She quite swam,
and turned her eyes upward,"--or, better, yet, that portrait of a
Romagnese woman: "of the ancient Roman beauty, rare now, if still
remembered, with hair to her knees, wrapping her form in a veil vivid as
woven gold, with the emerald eyes of Dante's Beatrice, a skin of yellow
whiteness, and that mould of figure in which undulating softness
quenches majesty,--the mould of the mystical Lucretia." There are
sea-sketches scattered among these leaves which no painter's brush will
ever equal, and morning and twilight gain new splendor and tenderness
beneath her touch.

But, after all, this was not her style's chief excellence; she cared
little for such pictorial achievements, and in presenting her fancies
she often sacrificed outline to melody; it is necessary for you to feel
rather than to see her meaning. What distinguished her yet more was the
ability by means of this style to interpret music into words. Although
this may not be correct practice, there was never a musical critic who
did not now and then attempt it: musicians themselves never do, because
music is to them nothing to see or to describe, but the air they
breathe, and in fact a state of being. Do you remember that tone-wreath
of heather and honeysuckle? "It was a movement of such intense meaning
that it was but one sigh of unblended and unfaltering melody isolated as
the fragrance of a single flower, and only the perfumes of Nature exhale
a bliss as sweet, how far more unexpressed! This short movement, that in
its oneness was complete, grew, as it were, by fragmentary harmonies,
intricate, but most gradual, into another,--a prestissimo so delicately
fitful that it was like moonlight dancing upon crested ripples; or, for
a better similitude, like quivering sprays in a summer wind. And in less
than fifty bars of regularly broken time--how ravishingly sweet I say
not--the first subject in refrain flowed through the second, and they,
interwoven even as creepers and flowers densely tangled, closed together
simultaneously." And if you have not the book by you, will you pardon
another,--the awful and eternal flow of the Mer de Glace?

"At first awoke the strange, smooth wind-notes of the opening adagio;
the fetterless chains of ice seemed to close around my heart. The
movement had no blandness in its solemnity; and so still and shiftless
was the grouping of the harmonies, that a frigidity, actual as well as
ideal, passed over my pores and hushed my pulses. After a hundred such
tense yet clinging chords, the sustaining calm was illustrated, not
broken, by a serpentine phrase of one lone oboe, pianissimo over the
piano-surface, which it crisped not, but on and above which it breathed
like the track of a sunbeam aslant from a parted cloud. The slightest
possible retardation at its close brought us to the refrain of the
simple adagio, interrupted again by a rush of violoncello-notes, rapid
and low, like some sudden under-current striving to burst through the
frozen sweetness. Then spread wide the subject, as plains upon plains of
_water-land_; though the time was gradually increased. Amplifications of
the same harmonies introduced a fresh accession of violoncelli and oboi
contrasted artfully in syncopation, till at length the strides of the
accelerando gave a glittering precipitation to the entrance of the
second and longest movement.

"Then Anastase turned upon me, and with the first bar we fell into a
tumultuous presto. Far beyond all power to analyze as it was just then,
the complete idea embraced me as instantaneously as had the picturesque
chillness of the first. I have called it tumultuous,--but merely in
respect of rhythm:--the harmonies were as clear and evolved as the
modulation itself was sharp, keen, and unapproachable. Through every bar
reigned that vividly enunciated ideal, whose expression pertains to
the one will alone in any age,--the ideal, that, binding together in
suggestive imagery every form of beauty, symbolizes and represents
something beyond them all.

"Here over the surge-like, but fast-bound motivo--only like those tost
ice-waves, dead still in their heaped-up crests--were certain swelling
crescendos of a second subject, so unutterably if vaguely sweet, that
the souls of all deep blue Alp-flowers, the clarity of all high blue
skies, had surely passed into them, and was passing from them again....

"It was not until the very submerging climax that the playing of
Anastase was recalled to me. Then, amidst long ringing notes of the wild
horns, and intermittent sighs of the milder wood, swept from the violins
a torrent of coruscant arpeggi, and above them all I heard his tone,
keen but solvent, as his bow seemed to divide the very strings with
fire, and I felt as if some spark had fallen upon my fingers to kindle
mine. As soon as it was over, I looked up and laughed in his face with
sheer pleasure."

Nothing of the kind was ever half so delightful, if one excepts Mr.
Dwight's translation of a _Gondel-lied_. As literal description it is
wondrous, but as imagination it equals the music itself. Let us pause
for an instant here and recall the singular inventive and combining
grace with which a Spectacle is always given in these stories. It is
well known that Mendelssohn contemplated an opera upon the "Tempest,"
although he did not live to execute the idea; but how charmingly is
that taken and mingled with what he had already done in the
"Midsummer-Night's Dream," at the festival of the Silver Wedding, when
the lonely tones from age to age frozen on the cups of lilies, the orbed
harmonies bound burning within the roses, the dreaming song thrilled
along the veins of violets, intricate sounds hushed under green gloom
of myrtle-leaves, mourning chords with which the cedars stood
charged,--were all disenchanted and stole forth on longing
wind-instruments and on the splendor of violins, "accumulating in
orchestral richness, as if flower after flower of music were unsheathing
to the sun"!

Yet the unlovely is not to be found within these covers: there was a
quality in the writer's mind like that fervid, all-vivifying sunshine
which so illumines the cities of the desert, so steeps the pavements,
so soaks through the pores of solids, so sharpens angles and softens
curves, as Fromentin tells us, that even squalor borrows brilliant dyes,
and rags and filth lighten into picturesque and burnished glory. And
this is well for the reader, as all have not time for philosophy, nor
can all transmute pain into treasure. But for her, sweet sounds and
sights abound in everything; bird and breeze and bee alike are winged
with melody; the music of the sea satisfies her heart, and there
"the artist-ear,--which makes a spectrum for all sounds that are
not separate, distinguishes the self-same harmonies that govern the
gradations of the orchestra, from deep to deep descending, until sounds
are lost in sound as lights in light";--the trains have their thunderous
music in her hearing; and the bells to which Cecilia listens seem to be
ringing in the last day:--"The ravishing and awful sound of them, which
is only heard by the few,--the passion in their rise and fall,--their
wavering,--their rushing fulness,--drew off all consciousness: most like
the latest and last passion,--the passion of death."

There seems to be no subject which this woman has not pondered deeply.
Her theory of Temperament is an attendant fairy that does marvellous
things for her, and not only apportions natures, but corresponding
bodies, so that we can easily see how the golden age is to return again,
when peradventure deceits shall be impossible, and all the virtues
thrive by mere necessity under the reign of this perfected Science of
the Soul. Yet, roam where she would, there were always two mysteries
that allured her back again, as Thone's curt sentence told,--"_Tonkunst
und Arzenei_"; and to these might be added Race, in defiance of Mr.
Buckle. Assuredly the Hebrew owes acknowledgment to her, and not George
Borrow, with all his weird learning, enters more deeply into the Burden
of Egypt; Browning's appreciation of the gypsy standing alone beside
hers,--Browning, between whose writings and her own a rich sympathy
exists, both being so possessed of fulness. Yet verse could not chain
her wide eloquence in its fetters; and whenever she attempted it, its
music made her thought shapeless. There is one exception to this,
however, and we give it below,--for, inartistic as this mould may seem,
and amorphous as its ideas may be, it is the only instance of any rhymes
fully translating the meaning of music, and it is as full of clinging
pathos and melody as the great creation it paraphrases, and to which no
words will quite respond.

"In gardens where the languid roses keep
Perpetual sweetness for the hearts that smile,
Perpetual sadness for the hearts that weep,
Lonely, unseen, I wander, to beguile
The day that only shines to show thee bright,
The night whose stars burn wan beside thy light,
Adelaida!

"Adelaida! all the birds are singing
Low, as thou passest, where in leaves they lie;
With timid chirp unto their soft mates clinging,
They greet that presence without which they die,--
Die, even with Nature's universal heart,
When thou, her queen, dost in thy pride depart,
Adelaida!

"Depart! and dim her beauty evermore;
Go, from the shivering leaves and lily-flowers,
That, white as saints on the eternal shore,
Stand wavering, beckoning, in the moony bowers,--
Beckon me on where their moist feet are laid
In the dark mould, fast by the alder-shade,
Adelaida!

"Adelaida! 'tis the Grave or Love
Must fight for this great first, last mastery.
I feed in faith on spicy gales above,
Where all along that blue unchanging sky
Thy name is traced;--its sweetness never fails
To sound in streams of peace in spicy gales,
Adelaida!

"Adelaida! woe is me, woe, woe!
Not only in the sky, in starry gold,
I see thy name,--where peaceful rivers flow,
Not only hear its sweetness manifold;
On every white and purple flower 'tis written,
Its echo every aspen-quake hath smitten,
Adelaida!

"Go farther! let me leave thee! I depart!--
Who whispered I would linger by thy side?
Who said it beat so warm, my feeble heart?
Who told, I dared to claim thee as my bride?
Who cried, I roamed without thee all the day
And clasped thee in my dreams? Away, away,
Adelaida!

"I die, but thou shall live; in the loud noon
Thy feet shall crush the long grass o'er my head,
Not rudely, rudely,--gently, gently, soon
Shall tread me heavier down in that dark bed;
And thou shalt know not on whose head they pass,
Whose silent hands, whose frozen heart!--Alas,
Adelaida!"

There are those who in "Charles Auchester," charmed by the simplicity
and truth of that first part called "Choral Life," objected to the rest
on the score of extravagance. But this book records the adoration of
music, and in an age replete with the _dilettanti_ of indifference may
we not thank God for one enthusiast? Yet, indeed, everything about
Mendelssohn was itself extravagant,--his childhood, his youth, his life,
his beauty, his power: should the instrument, then, be tuned lower than
such key-note? And again, to us who live a somewhat commonplace routine,
the life of musical artists, especially abroad, must necessarily seem
redundant; yet it is only that life, natural and actual, into which we
are here inducted. The same is possible to no other class of artists:
even the scholar, buried in his profound studies, must descend from his
abstraction; the poet, the painter, cannot share it: for the latter,
however much he clubs and cliques, is seldom sufficiently dispossessed
of himself; and the other, though he strike out of his heat poems as
immortal as stars, may yet live among clods and feel no thrill returning
on himself. But the musician cannot dwell alone: his art requires that
he should cluster, and the orchestra enforces it; therefore he acts and
reacts like the vibrations ridged within a Stradivarius, he is kept in
his art's atmosphere till it becomes his life, its aura bathes every
trivial thing, and existence which might otherwise be meagre is raised
and glorified. Thus yet more, when we recall that even were the
musician's life not so, still it ought to be, and it is the right of
the author to idealize, one can believe "Charles Auchester" to be but a
faithful transcript. "In proportion to our appreciation of music is also
our appreciation of what is not music," Sarona says; and so faithfully
does this writer prove it, by her attention to minute and usual
circumstances, that one might certainly allow her some exaltation
when touching on one theme,--yet how this exaltation can be called in
question by any who espouse Bettine von Arnim's sublime ravings the
morning after entering Vienna is mysterious. Were the real condition
of these natures--which certainly exist--bared to view, many from their
phlegmatic experience might deem all the nerves to be in a state of
excitation, when in fact they saw only normal and healthy play. It is
true that the power of modulated tones arouses everything most ethereal
and lofty in our composition, and it must therefore be wrong to charge
with extravagance any description of a life in music, which is a life in
the highest, because truly it cannot be extravagant enough, since all
words fail before that of which it discourses,--while it gives you the
sense of the universe and of the eternities, and is to the other arts
what the soul is to the body. And is it not, moreover, the voice of
Nature, the murmur of wind and tree, the thrill of all the dropping
influences of the heavens, the medium of spiritual communication, the
universal language in which all can exchange thought and feeling, and
through which the whole world becomes one nation? Out of the spirit
blossom spirits, Bettine tells us, and we subject ourselves to their
power: "Ah, wonderful mediation of the ineffable, which oppresses the
bosom! Ah, music!" To go further, there is certainly no exaggeration
in Charles Auchester's treatment of his hero; for, reading the
contemporaneous articles of musical journals, you will find them one and
all speaking in even more unrestrained profligacy of praise, recognizing
in the cloud of composers but nine worthy the name of Master, of whom
Mendelssohn was one, and declaring that under his baton the orchestra
was electrified. We all remember the solemnly pathetic and passionate
beauty of Seraphael's burial by night, with the music winding up among
the stars; but did it in reality exceed the actual progress of the dead
Master's ashes from city to city, met in the twilight and the evening by
music, gray-headed Capellmeisters receiving him with singing in the open
midnight, and fresh songs being flung upon his coffin like wreaths with
the sunrise?

There is a wonderful strength exhibited in the sketch of Seraphael from
first to last: not to mention the happiness of the name, of which
this is by no means a single instance, and the fact of his having no
_pramomen_, both of which so insignificant atoms in themselves lift him
at once a line above the level in the reader's sympathy,--it was a most
difficult thing to present such delicacy and lightness, and yet to
preserve "the awful greatness of his lonely genius," as somewhere else
she calls it; but all must confess that it is done, and perfectly. It
is not alone in Seraphael that this strength is shown; a new mould of
character in fiction is given us,--masculine characters which, though
light and airy, are yet brilliant and strong, most sweet, and surcharged
with loveliness. It is this perfect sweetness that constitutes half
the charm of her books,--for in the only one where it is deficient,
"Beatrice Reynolds," the whole fails. One feels sure that it was never
deficient in herself, that her own heart must have been overflowing with
warm and cordial tenderness,--and if any testimony were wanting, we
should have it in her evident love of children. It is only by love that
understanding comes, and no one ever understood children better or
painted them half so well: they are no mites of puny perfection, no
angels astray, no Psyches in all the agonies of the bursting chrysalis,
but real little flesh-and-blood people in pinafores, approached by
nobody's hand so nearly as George Eliot's. They are flawless: the boy
who, having swung himself giddy, felt "the world turning round, as
papa says it does, nurse,"--the other boy, who, immured in studies and
dreams, found all life to be "a fairy-tale book with half the leaves
uncut,"--the charming little snow-drop of a Carlotta, "who would sit
next him, would stick her tiny fork into his face, with a morsel of
turkey at the end of it, would poke crumbs into his mouth with her
finger, would put up her lips to kiss him, would say, every moment, 'I
like you much,--much!' with all Davy's earnestness, though with just
so much of her mother's modesty as made her turn pink and shy, and put
herself completely over the chair into Seraphael's lap when we laughed
at her." And Philippa, and Philippa's conversation, capers, and cat!
an impossibility to those who have never experienced her whirlwinds of
exuberance,--and to those who have, a reproduction of the drollest days
of their existence. Never was there a personage so perfectly drawn,
never such a grotesque storm of noisy health,--the matchless Philippa!
After reading Miss Sheppard's juveniles, you feel that you have been in
most good and innocent company all day; and since it is necessary for
an author to become for the moment that nature of which he writes, this
author must have been something very good and innocent in herself in
order to uphold this strain so long. Of those accessible, the best is
that entitled, "Round the Fire,"--a series of tales purporting to be
told by little girls, and each of extraordinary interest; but the
one she herself preferred is yet with four others in the hands of an
Edinburgh publisher, and perhaps yet in manuscript,--the name of
this being "Prince Gentil, Prince Joujou, and Prince Bonbon, or the
Children's Cities." This reminds one that cities, in the abstract, seem
to have been with her a subject of unceasing wonder and pleasure,--from
Venice, with its shadowy, slippery, silent water-ways to X, that ideal
city of the North; and where is there anything to excel the Picture of
Paris, drawn minutely and colored, his prison-prophecy, Paris as it was
to be created, rather than restored, by Louis Napoleon? "Then he took
from his pocket a strong magnifying-glass, and put it gently into
Rodomant's hand. Rodomant grasped it, and through it gazed long and
eagerly. And from that hieroglyphic mist there started, sudden and
distinct as morn without a cloud, a brilliant bird's-eye view of a
superb and stupendous city, a dream of imaginative architecture, almost
in itself a poem. Each house of each street, each lamp and fountain,
each line of road and pavement, marked as vividly as the glorious
domes, the pointing pillars, grand gates and arches, proud palaces in
inclosures of solemn leafage, the bridges traced like webs of shadow,
the stately terraces and dim cathedrals. Green groves and avenues and
vivid gardens interlaced and divided the city within the walls; and
without, masses of delicate shrubbery, as perfectly defined, were
studded with fair villas of every varied form, melting gradually and
peacefully, as it seemed, to a bright champaign embroidered with fence
and hedge-row.... A sort of visionary pageant unrolled to him, partly
memorial, in part prophetic. He knew he had seen something like it,--but
when and where? What planet boasted that star of cities for strength
and lustre that must surpass new London and old Thebes? For Rodomant had
the mathematical gift of all the highest harmonists, and his brain could
magnify and actualize the elfin-sized images under his eye to their just
and proper proportion in the real." It must have been like heaven, this
city so stilly and so fair,--for, you see, there were no people there.

Miss Sheppard's plots are not conspicuous, for her characters make
circumstance and are their own fate; still her capacity in that line is
finely exhibited by the plot of the opera of "Alarcos." In mere filling
up, having excepted the incident,--always original and delightful,--the
lofty imagination, and the descriptions of wind and weather,--one of her
best points will be found to be costume, a minor thing, but then there
are few who excel in modern millinery. "Salome was beautiful. Her
splendid delicate dress, all rosy folds, skirt over skirt of drapery
falling softly into each other, made her clear skin dazzle in the midst
of them; and the masses of vivid geraniums here and there without their
leaves were not too gorgeous for her bearing,--nor for her hair, in
whose rich darkness geraniums also glowed, long wreaths curling down
into her neck." Rose in white, with wreaths of rubies weighing down her
slender arms;--Adelaida, with her lace robe like woven light on satin
like woven moon-beams, and large water-lilies in her golden hair;--my
Lady Barres, whose dress "consisted almost always of levantine, with
demi-train and under-petticoat of white brocaded silk peeping through
its open front; the hair showing the shape of the head, and confined by
a narrow band of black velvet across the brow, fastened in the morning
with onyx or agate, in the evening with a brilliant only; she always
wore upon her wrists delicate bands of cambric embroidered with
seed-pearl so minutely that it seemed a pattern wrought out of the
threads of the stuff, and little pearl tassels drooped there scarcely
eclipsing her hands in fairness."

But a far stronger point is the power of portraiture. Seraphael having
been identified, people turned their attention to the other cipher.
Disregarding the orchestral similitude of sound in his name, which, by
the way, nobody pronounces as Aronach instructed, they chose to infer
that Charles Auchester himself was the Herr Joachim, that Starwood
Burney stood for Sterndale Bennett, that Diamid Albany meant Disraeli,
that Zelter figured as Aronach, and that Jenny Lind, of whom Mendelssohn
himself said there would not in a whole century be born another being so
gifted, and whom the Italians, those lovers of fair pseudonymes, called
"La Benedetta," is no other than Clara Benette. But these are trivial,
compared with Rodomant and Porphyro. It was daring enough, when
Beckendorf mimicked Prince Metternich; but to undertake and to contrast
Louis Napoleon and Beethoven, without belittling either, pales every
other performance. They tower before us grand and immutable as if cast
in bronze, and so veritable that they throw shadows; the prison-gloom is
sealed on Porphyro's face,--power and purpose indomitable; just as the
"gruesome Emperor" is to-day, we find him in that book,--dark in the
midst of his glory, as enduring as a Ninevite sculpture, strong and
inscrutable as the Sphinx. But his heights topple over with this world's
decline, while the other builds for the eternal aeons. Rodomant,--did
one fail to find his identity, they would yet recognize him in those old
prints, the listening head bent forwards, the features like discords
melting info chords; it is hard to tell how such strength was given in
such slight sentences,--but from the time when he contemptuously tossed
out his tune-fooleries, through the hour when with moonlight fancies "a
serene ecstatic serenade was rippling silently beneath his pen," to that
when the organ burst upon his ear in thunders quenchless and everlasting
as the sea's, he is still Beethoven, gigantic in pride, purity, and
passion. "I dream now," said Rodomant; "like the Spirit of God moving
upon the face of the waters, so stir my shadows, dim shapes of sound,
across the chaos of my fathomless intention." This "Rumour" has never
been reprinted in America; it will, then, be excusable to give here a
scene which Is indeed its climax.

"A spiritual nature has for its highest and hardest temptation a
disposition to outrage, precedent,--sometimes propriety. It is sure
of itself--very likely--but it may endanger the machinery, moral or
tangible, which it employs for agent. Again, who has not dreamed of a
dream? who has not remembered dimly what yet experience contradicts? who
does not confound fact and imagination, to the damage of his reputation
for truth?

"Rodomant was in a lawless frame, a frame he had fixed on himself by his
outrage on precedent; his subsequent excitement had enchanted him more
wildly, and any number of imps and elves were ready to rush at his
silent word from the caverns of his haunted brain. Again, he felt
he must spend his energy, his long idleness reacted on a sudden in
prodigious strength of intellect, it stirred like a giant refreshed.
Long time ago he had dreamed--he had entirely forgotten it was a fact
that he had been told--that, if the whole force of that organ were put
out, the result would be tremendous. He had also _dreamed_--that is,
been assured--that there was a law made to the purpose that the whole
force of the organ was never to be employed. The law had never been
broken, except once;--but there his memories waxed dim and indistinct;
he was at the mercy of his own volition, which resolved on recalling
nothing that could dissuade him from his rash and forbidden longing.
Unknown to himself, perhaps the failure of his design to escape, of
which the princess had assured him, drove him to the crisis of a more
desperate endeavor. But, whether it was so or not, he was unconscious of
it,--so far innocent. He sat down, believing himself alone.... 'Softly,
softly,' mocked his whisper--to himself,--and he touched alone the
whispering reeds, Adelaida held her breath, and chid the beating of her
heart, which seemed louder than the mellow pulse that throbbed in tune
above. The symphony that followed fell like a mighty universal
hush, through which the clarionet-stop chanted, unuttered but
articulate,--'Give to us peace.' Then the hush dissolved into a sea
of sighs: 'Peace, peace!' they yearned, and the mild deep diapason
muttered, 'Peace.' She, the one listener, felt, as it were, her brain
fill soft with tears, her eyes rained them, and her heart, whose pulses
had dropped as calm as dew, echoed the peaceful longing of the whole
heart of humanity. A longing as peaceful in its expression as the peace
it longed for; the creation's travail seemed spent to the edge of joy.

"Suddenly, as light swept chaos, this peaceful fancy was disrupted,--her
heart ravished from its rest, its calm torn from it. Down went the pedal
which forced the whole first organ out at once, and as if shouted by
hosts of men and by myriad angels echoed, pealed the great Hosanna. The
mighty rapture of the princess won her instantly from regret; no peace
could be so glorious as that praise; and vast as was the volume
of sound, the hands that invoked it had it so completely under
control--voluntary control as yet--that it did not swamp her sense; her
spirit floated on the wide stream with harmonious waves towards the
measureless immensity of music at its source. To reach that centre
without a circle,--that perfection which imperfection shadows not,--that
unborn, undying principle, which art tries humbly, falteringly, to
illustrate,--was never given to man on earth; and tries he to attain it,
some fate, of which the chained Prometheus is at once the symbol and the
warning, fastens to his soul for life.

"The princess had bowed her head, and the soft and plenteous waters
of her eyes had dried like dew under the midsummer sun; yet still she
closed her eyes, for her brain felt fixed and alight with a nameless
awe, such as passion lends presentiment.

"Suddenly, in the words of Albericus, there burst overhead a noise like
the roaring of 'enormous artificial golden lions,'--that was the drum:
less, in this instance, like smitten parchment than the crackling roll
of clouds that embrace in thunder. The noise amazed himself,--yet
Rodomant exulted in it, his audacity expanded with it, broke down the
last barrier of reason. He added stop after stop,--at the last and
sixtieth stop, he unfettered the whole volume of the wind. That instant
was a blast, not to speak irreverently, which sounded like the crack
of doom. To her standing stricken underneath, it seemed to explode
somewhere in the roof with a shock beyond all artillery,--to tear up the
ground under her feet, like the spasm of an earthquake,--to rend the
walls, like lightning's electric finger; and to shriek in her ringing
brain the advent of some implacable and dreadful judgment, but not the
doom of all men,--only one, which doom, alas! she felt might be also
hers _in_ his.

"All men and women within a mile had heard the shock, or rather felt it,
and interpreted it in various ways. Only the prince himself--who was
standing on the terrace, and had distinctly perceived the rich vibration
of the strong, but calm, _Hosanna_--interpreted it rightly and directly;
more than that, his animal sagacity told him it was Rodomant, who,
having amused himself, was now _indulging_ the same individual....

"To Adelaida there was something more terrible in the succeeding silence
than in the shock of sound; it had ceased directly, died first into a
discordant groan, which, rising to a scream, was still. She listened
intensely: there was no fall of rattling fragments, the vibration had
been insufficient, or not prolonged enough, to injure the window,--that
had been her first, chief fear. This removed, however, she felt doubly,
desperately anxious. Why did he not come down, or speak, or stir? The
men employed to feed the monstrous machine with wind had all rushed away
together by the back-ladder through which they entered: hence the cause
of the shrieking groan and silence. He was there alone,--for he knew not
that she was there. Oh that he would give some sign!

"In a few minutes a sign was given, but not from him. The princess heard
the grinding of the immense door near the altar; it was opened;
steps entered hurriedly. She heard, next instant, her father's
voice,--impregnated with icy ire, low with smothered hatred, distinct
with the only purpose he ever entertained,--punishment. She flew, with
feet that gave no echo, up the stair on her side of the lobby. Rodomant
was sitting dead-still, with his face in his hands; they looked rigid;
the veins in his forehead, as it showed above his hands, were swollen
and stood out, but colorless as the keys that stretched beneath. His
calmness chilled her blood. She thought him dead, and all within her
that lived seemed to pass out of her in the will, nay, the power also,
to restore him. She grasped his arm. He was not dead, then, for he
sighed,--an awful sigh; it shook him like a light reed in the tempest,
he shuddered from head to foot; he leaned towards her, as if about to
faint, but never removed his close-locked hands from his eyes.... She
had only clasped his arm before; as hand met hand, or touch thrilled
touch, he shivered, his grasping fingers relaxed in their hold on each
other, but closed on hers.... She waited long,--she listened to his
breathing, intermittent with tearless sobs. At last he gasped violently,
a cold tear dropped on her hand, and he thrust it rudely from him.

"'God has taken my punishment into Hiss own hands: yet I defied not Him,
only something made by man, and man himself.' He spoke loudly, yet in
halting words, with gaps of silence between each phrase; then stared
wildly round him, and clapped both his hands upon his ears,--withdrew
them,--closed his ears with his fingers, then dropped his hands, and
cast on her a glance that implored--that demanded--the whole pity of her
heart. 'Have mercy!' were his words; 'I have lost my hearing, and it is
forever!'"

The discrimination of character exercised by Miss Sheppard is very
wonderful. Many as are the figures on her stage, they are never
repeated, and they are all as separate, as finely edged and bevelled,
as gems. The people grow under her pen,--whether you take Auchester,
developing so when first thrown on himself in Germany, and becoming at
length the rare type of manhood which he presents,--or the one change
wrought by years in Miss Benette, just the addition of something that
would have been impossible in any child, a deepened sweetness, that
completest touch of the perfect woman, "like perfume from unseen
flowers, diffusing itself when the wind awakens, while we know neither
whence the windy fragrance comes nor whither it flows." Perhaps this
characterization is most noticeable in "Counterparts," which she called
her small party of opposing temperaments: Salome, so gracious; Rose,
like the spirit of a sunbeam; Sarona, so keen and incisive, his passion
confronting Bernard's sweetness; and Cecilia, who, it is easy to
conjecture, wrote the book. I have always fancied that some mystic
trine was chorded by three beings who, with all their separate gifts,
possessed an equal power and sweetness,--Raphael, Shelley, and
Mendelssohn. And perhaps the same occurred more emphatically to Miss
Sheppard, for after Seraphael she drew Bernard,--Bernard, who is
exceeded by none in the whole range of romance. "Counterparts" is a
novel of ideal life; it is the land of one's dreams and one's delights;
its dwellers are more real to us than the men and women into whose eyes
we look upon the street, they haunt us and enrapture us, they breathe
about us an atmosphere of gentle and delicious melancholy like the soft
azure haze spread over meadow and hills by the faint south-wind. With
fresh incident on every leaf, with a charm in every scene, its spell is
enthralling, and its chapters are enchanted. There is no fault in
it; nothing can be more perfect, nothing more beautiful. One may put
"Consuelo" side by side with "Charles Auchester," but what novel in
the wide world deserves a place by "Counterparts"? It was worth having
lived, to have once thrown broadcast such handfuls of beauty.

Between the publication of Miss Sheppard's second book and "Rumour" two
others were issued,--"Beatrice Reynolds" and "The Double Coronet,"--for
which one wishes there were some younger sister, some Acton or Ellis, to
whom to impute them,--evidently the result of illness, weariness, and
physical weakness, perhaps wrung from her by inexorable necessity, but
which should never have been written. In the last, in spite of its very
Radcliffean air, there are truly terrible things, as Gutilyn and his
green-eyed child bear witness; but the other reminds one, as nearly as a
modern book may do so, of no less a model than the redoubtable "Thaddeus
of Warsaw!" But Miss Sheppard had already written all that at present
there was to say; rest was imperative till the intermittent springs
again overflowed. "Rumour," which approached the old excellence, was no
result of a soul's ardor,--merely very choice work. Notwithstanding,
everything is precious that filters through such a medium, and in
these three publications she found opportunity for expressing many a
conviction and for weaving many a fancy; moreover, she was afraid of
no one, and never minced matters, therefore they are interspersed
with criticisms: she praised Charlotte Bronte, condemned George Sand,
ridiculed Chopin, reproved Elizabeth Browning, and satirized "Punch." In
her last book there was a great, but scarcely a good change of style,
she having been obliged by its thinness to pepper the page with Italics;
still these are only marks of a period of transition, and in spite of
them the book is priceless. Judging from internal evidence, she here
appears to have frequented more society, and the contact of this
carelessly marrying world with her own pure perception of right struck
the spark which kindled into "Almost a Heroine." Here awakens again that
graceful humor which is the infallible sign of health, and which was so
lightly inwrought through the earlier volumes. Reading it over, one is
struck with its earnestness, its truth and noble courage,--one feels
that lofty social novels, which might have infused life and principle
and beauty into the mass of custom, were promised in this, and are now
no longer a possibility. And herein are the readers of this magazine
especially affected; since there is no reason to suppose that the work
promised and begun by her for these pages would not have been the peer
of her best production, some bold and beautiful elucidation of one of
the many mysteries in life; for the lack of appreciation in England was
no longer to concern her, and, unshackled and unrestrained, she could
feel herself surrounded by the genial atmosphere of loving listeners.
But perhaps it was not lawful that she should further impart these great
secrets which she had learned. "I sometimes think," she murmurs, "when
women try to rise too high either in their deeds or their desires, that
the spirit which bade them so rise sinks back beneath the weakness of
their earthly constitution, and never appeals again,--or else that the
spirit, being too strong, does away with the mortal altogether,--they
die, or rather they live again." It was like forecasting her own
horoscope. All suffering seems to have descended upon her,--and there
are some natures whose power of enjoyment, so infinite, yet so deep as
to be hidden, is balanced only by as infinite a power to endure; she
learned anew, as she says, and intensely, "what a long dream of misery
is life from which health's bloom has been brushed,--that irreparable
bloom,--and how far more terrible is the doom of those in whom the
nerve-life has been untoned." Sun-stroke and fever, vibration between
opiates at night and tonics at noon,--but the flame was too strong
to fan away lightly, it must burn itself out, the spirit was too
quenchless,--pain, wretchedness, exhaustion. On one of those delicious
days that came in the middle of this year's April,--warmth and fresh
earth-smells breathing all about,--the wide sprays of the lofty boughs
lying tinged in rosy purple, a web-like tracery upon the sky whose azure
was divine,--the air itself lucid and mellow, as if some star had been
dissolved within it,--on such a day the little foreign letter
came, telling that at length balm had dropped upon the weary
eyelids,--Elizabeth Sheppard was dead.

But in the midst of regret,--since all lovely examples lend their
strength, since they give such grace even to the stern facts of
suffering and death, and since there are too few such records on
Heaven's scroll,--be glad to know that for every throb of anguish, for
every swooning lapse of pain, there was one beside her with tenderest
hands, most careful eyes, most yearning and revering heart,--one into
whose sacred grief our intrusion is denied, but the remembrance of whose
long and deep devotion shall endure while there are any to tell how
Severn watched the Roman death-bed of Keats!

It is impossible to estimate our loss, because it draws upon infinitude;
there was so much growth yet possible to this soul; to all that she was
not she might yet have enlarged; and while at first her audience had
limits, she would in a calm and prosperous future have become that which
she herself described in saying that a really vast genius who is as vast
an artist will affect all classes, "touch even the uninitiated with
trembling and delight, and penetrate even the ignorant with strong, if
transient spell, as the galvanic energy binds each and all who embrace
in the chain-circle of grasping hands, in the shock of perfect
sympathy." Nevertheless, she has served Art incalculably,--Art, which
is the interpretation of God in Nature. And if, as she believed, in
spiritual things Beauty is the gage of immortality, the pledge may yet
be redeemed on earth, ever forbidding her memory to die.

ASTRAEA AT THE CAPITOL.

ABOLITION OF SLAVERY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, 1862.

When first I saw our banner wave
Above the nation's council-hall,
I heard beneath its marble wall
The clanking fetters of the slave!

In the foul market-place I stood,
And saw the Christian mother sold,
And childhood with its locks of gold,
Blue-eyed and fair with Saxon blood.

I shut my eyes, I held my breath,
And, smothering down the wrath and shame
That set my Northern blood aflame,
Stood silent--where to speak was death.

Beside me gloomed the prison-cell
Where wasted one in slow decline
For uttering simple words of mine,
And loving freedom all too well.

The flag that floated from the dome
Flapped menace in the morning air;
I stood, a perilled stranger, where
The human broker made his home.

For crime was virtue: Gown and Sword
And Law their threefold sanction gave,
And to the quarry of the slave
Went hawking with our symbol-bird.

On the oppressor's side was power;
And yet I knew that every wrong,
However old, however strong,
But waited God's avenging hour.

I knew that truth would crush the lie,--
Somehow, sometime, the end would be;
Yet scarcely dared I hope to see
The triumph with my mortal eye.

But now I see it! In the sun
A free flag floats from yonder dome,
And at the nation's hearth and home
The justice long delayed is done.

Not as we hoped, in calm of prayer,
The message of deliverance comes,
But heralded by roll of drums
On waves of battle-troubled air!--

'Midst sounds that madden and appall,
The song that Bethlehem's shepherds knew!--
The harp of David melting through
The demon-agonies of Saul!

Not as we hoped;--but what are we?
Above our broken dreams and plans
God lays, with wiser hand than man's,
The corner-stones of liberty.

I cavil not with Him: the voice
That freedom's blessed gospel tells
Is sweet to me as silver bells,
Rejoicing!--yea, I will rejoice!

Dear friends still toiling in the sun,--
Ye dearer ones who, gone before,
Are watching from the eternal shore
The slow work by your hands begun,--

Rejoice with me! The chastening rod
Blossoms with love; the furnace heat
Grows cool beneath His blessed feet
Whose form is as the Son of God!

Rejoice! Our Marah's bitter springs
Are sweetened; on our ground of grief
Rise day by day in strong relief
The prophecies of better things.

Rejoice in hope! The day and night
Are one with God, and one with them
Who see by faith the cloudy hem
Of Judgment fringed with Mercy's light!

PERE ANTOINE'S DATE-PALM.

A LEGEND OF NEW ORLEANS.

I.

MISS BADEAU.

It is useless to disguise the fact: Miss Badeau is a Rebel.

Mr. Beauregard's cannon had not done battering the walls of Sumter,
when Miss Badeau was packed up, labelled, and sent North, where she
has remained ever since in a sort of aromatic, rose-colored state of
rebellion.

She is not one of your blood-thirsty Rebels, you know; she has the good
sense to shrink with horror from the bare mention of those heathen who,
at Manassas and elsewhere, wreaked their unmanly spite on the bodies
of dead heroes: still she is a bitter little Rebel, with blonde hair,
superb eyelashes, and two brothers in the Confederate service,--if I may
be allowed to club the statements. When I look across the narrow strait
of our boarding-house table, and observe what a handsome wretch she
is, I begin to think that if Mr. Seward doesn't presently take her in
charge, _I_ shall.

The preceding paragraphs have little or nothing to do with what I am
going to relate: they merely illustrate how wildly a fellow will write,
when the eyelashes of a pretty woman get tangled with his pen. So I let
them stand,--as a warning.

My exordium should have taken this shape:--

"I hope and trust," remarked Miss Badeau, in that remarkably scathing
tone which she assumes in alluding to the U.S.V., "I hope and trust,
that, when your five hundred thousand, more or less, men capture my New
Orleans, they will have the good taste not to injure Pere Antoine's
Date-Palm."

"Not a hair of its head shall be touched," I replied, without having the
faintest idea of what I was talking about.

"Ah! I hope not," she said.

There was a certain tenderness in her voice which struck me.

"Who is Pere Antoine?" I ventured to ask. "And what is this tree that
seems to interest you so?"

"I will tell you."

Then Miss Badeau told me the following legend, which I think worth
writing down. If it should appear tame to the reader, it will be because
I haven't a black ribbed-silk dress, and a strip of point-lace around my
throat, like Miss Badeau; it will be because I haven't her eyes and lips
and music to tell it with, confound me!

II.

THE LEGEND.

Near the _levee_ (quay) and not far from the old French Cathedral, in
New Orleans, stands a fine date-palm, some thirty feet high, growing out
in the open air as sturdily as if its roots were sucking sap from their
native earth. Sir Charles Lyell, in his "Second Visit to the United
States," mentions this exotic:--"The tree is seventy or eighty years
old; for Pere Antoine, a Roman Catholic priest, who died about twenty
years ago, told Mr. Bringier that he planted it himself, when he was
young. In his will he provided that they who succeeded to this lot of
ground should forfeit it, if they cut down the palm."

Wishing to learn something of Pere Antoine's history, Sir Charles Lyell
made inquiries among the ancient Creole inhabitants of the _faubourg_.
That the old priest, in his last days, became very much emaciated, that
he walked about the streets like a mummy, that he gradually dried
up, and finally blew away, was the meagre result of the tourist's
investigations.

This is all that is generally known of Pere Antoine. Miss Badeau's story
clothes these bare facts.

When Pere Antoine was a very young man, he had a friend whom he loved as
he loved his eyes. Emile Jardin returned his passion, and the two, on
account of their friendship, became the marvel of the city where they
dwelt. One was never seen without the other; for they studied, walked,
ate, and slept together.

Antoine and Emile were preparing to enter the Church; indeed, they had
taken the preliminary steps, when a circumstance occurred which changed
the color of their lives.

A foreign lady, from some far-off island in the Pacific, had a few
months before moved into their neighborhood. The lady died suddenly,
leaving a girl of sixteen or seventeen entirely friendless and
unprovided for. The young men had been kind to the woman during her
illness, and at her death, melting with pity at the forlorn situation of
Anglice, the daughter, swore between themselves to love and watch over
her as if she were their sister.

Now Anglice had a wild, strange beauty, that made other women seem tame
beside her; and in the course of time the young men found themselves
regarding their ward not so much like brothers as at first. They
struggled with their destiny manfully, for the holy orders which they
were about to assume precluded the idea of love.

But every day taught them to be more fond of her. So they drifted on.
The weak like to temporize.

One night Emile Jardin and Anglice were not to be found. They had
flown,--but whither nobody knew, and nobody, save Antoine, cared.

It was a heavy blow to Antoine,--for he had half made up his mind to run
away with her himself.

A strip of paper slipped from a volume on Antoine's desk, and fluttered
to his feet.

"_Do not be angry_" said the bit of paper, piteously; "_forgive us, for
we love_."

Three years went by. Antoine had entered the Church, and was already
looked upon as a rising man; but his face was pale and his heart leaden,
for there was no sweetness in life for him.

Four years had elapsed, when a letter, covered with outlandish stamps,
was brought to the young priest,--a letter from Anglice. She was dying;
would he forgive her? Emile, the year previous, had fallen a victim to
the fever that raged on the island; and their child, little Anglice, was
likely to follow him. In pitiful terms she begged Antoine to take charge
of the child until she was old enough to enter a convent. The epistle
was finished by another hand, informing Antoine of Madame Jardin's
death; it also told him that Anglice had been placed on a vessel shortly
to leave the island for some Western port.

The letter was hardly read and wept over, when little Anglice arrived.
On beholding her, Antoine uttered a cry of joy and surprise,--she was so
like the woman he had worshipped.

As a man's tears are more pathetic than a woman's, so is his love more
intense,--not more enduring, or half so subtile, but intenser.

The passion that had been crowded down in his heart broke out and
lavished its richness on this child, who was to him, not only the
Anglice of years ago, but his friend Emile Jardin also.

Anglice possessed the wild, strange beauty of her mother,--the bending,
willowy form, the rich tint of skin, the large tropical eyes, that had
almost made Antoine's sacred robes a mockery to him.

For a month or two Anglice was wildly unhappy in her new home. She
talked continually of the bright country where she was born, the fruits
and flowers and blue skies. Antoine could not pacify her. By-and-by she
ceased to weep, and went about the cottage with a dreary, disconsolate
air that cut Antoine to the heart. Before the year ended, he noticed
that the ruddy tinge had fled from her cheek, that her eyes had grown
languid, and her slight figure more willowy than ever.

A physician was called. He could discover nothing wrong with the child,
except this fading and drooping. He failed to account for that. It was
some vague disease of the mind, he said, beyond his skill.

So Anglice faded day after day. She seldom left the room now. Antoine
could not shut out the fact that the child was passing away. He had
learned to love her so!

"Dear heart," he said once, "what is't ails thee?"

"Nothing, _mon pere_"--for so she called him.

The winter passed, the balmy spring air had come, and Anglice seemed to
revive. In her little bamboo chair, on the porch, she swayed to and
fro in the fragrant breeze, with a peculiar undulating motion, like a
graceful tree.

At times something seemed to weigh upon her mind. Antoine noticed it,
and waited. At length she spoke.

"Near our house," said little Anglice, "near our house, on the island,
the palm-trees are waving under the blue sky. Oh, how beautiful! I seem
to lie beneath them all day long. I am very, very happy. I yearned for
them until I grew sick,--don't you think so, _mon pere_?"

"_Mon Dieu_, yes!" exclaimed Antoine, suddenly. "Let us hasten to those
pleasant islands where the palms are waving."

Anglice smiled.

"I am going there, _mon pere!_"

Ay, indeed. A week from that evening the wax candles burned at her feet
and forehead, lighting her on the journey.

All was over. Now was Antoine's heart empty. He had nothing to do but to
lay the blighted flower away.

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