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Atlantic Monthly, Vol. XI., April, 1863, No. LXVI. by Various

Part 2 out of 5

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passed me with a shudder.

"Teaching is a terrible drudgery," I said; "the labor and devotion of
the true teacher are yet unrecognized by the world."

"I am not afraid of the vexations," she replied: "I am very fond of
being with young people; yet I have been taught to think it was happier,
if our affections could be somewhat more concentrated than--In short,
I had better finish an awkward sentence, by saying that I do not feel
quite ready to pledge myself to give up all possibilities connected with
my New-England home."

It was spoken with such sweet ingenuousness that I was only charmed. The
simple sincerity of the confession seemed to me much better than the
flippant jest and pert talk with which I had heard such subjects treated
while making my observations upon what my city-acquaintances had assured
me was good society. Is it not Sterling who exclaims that a luxurious
and polished life without a true sense of the beautiful and the great is
more barren and sad to see than that of the ignorant and the brutalized?
And if this be true, how shall we imagine a greater satisfaction than to
find the fresh truth of Nature set in a polished and graceful form? For
since it is through form that we take cognizance of all we love and all
we believe, it is well that the sign and idea should merge, and come
complete and whole to govern us aright.

I should have no objection to meditating after this manner for a page or
two, as well as further hinting what important nothings sparkled upon
Doctor Dastick's piazza that pleasant summer night. But as I must
curtail this biographical fragment in some part or other, it seems best
to do it about that portion where I may trust that the experience of
every reader will supply the deficiency.

How harshly sounded the creaking of the furniture, and how strangely
commercial and matter-of-fact the voices of the people that announced
the conclusion of the lecture! Mrs. Hunesley managed to get out among
the first, and was heartily glad to see my newly acquired friend,
calling her, "My dear Kate,"--which I thought was a very pretty
name,--and saying that she had not expected her quite so soon.

I looked into the parlor and saw the Prowley party tumbling over chairs,
and scaling settees, in their haste to meet the cooling breezes of the
piazza. But when they finally accomplished their purpose, and I was
advancing with inquiries and congratulations, I started at seeing the
surprise depicted in the countenance of Miss Hurribattle, as she gazed
in the direction where I stood.

"Why, Aunt Patience!" exclaimed a voice at my side.

"Why, Kate Hurribattle!" was the response.

"How in the name of wonder did you get to Foxden?"

"How under the sun did _you_ get to Foxden?"

"Why _I_ am here naturally enough as the guest of my friend Colonel

"And _I_ am here naturally enough as the guest of my friend Mrs.

Now if I had dramatized the little event I have been trying to relate, I
should have reached the precise point where the auditor would button up
his coat, put on his hat, let his patent spring-seat go up with a click,
and begin to leave the theatre with all expedition. What would it matter
to him that I had prepared a circumstantial account of how all petty
objections were got over, or that I had elaborated a peculiarly
felicitous _tag_ which Colonel Prowley would speak at a few backs as
they disappeared into the lobby? The auditor referred to has got an
inkling of how things are to end, and can guess out the particulars as
he hurries off to his business. And here will be observed our decided
advantage in having made sure of the Moral by a vigorous assertion of
the same at the commencement of this narrative; for, thus relieved of
the necessity of a final flutter into the empyrean of ethics, we may
part company in a few easy sentences.

Although the circumstances I have set down, from being awkwardly packed
in a small compass, may not appear to fit into each other with all the
exactness of a dissecting-map, I am sure, that, as they really occurred
spread over a necessary time, they seemed natural and simple enough.
Mrs. Hunesley, Doctor Dastick's favorite niece, was the schoolmate of
Miss Kate Hurribattle, and what more likely than that she should invite
her friend to pass a few weeks with her at her summer-home in the
country? And could there be a greater necessity than that, meeting daily
as we did through those lovely August weeks, she should become--in
short, that I should marry Miss Hurribattle?

And when this foolish little romance, which had taken nebulous outline
in the fancy of Colonel Prowley, suddenly fell at his feet a serious
indubitability, the dear, delighted old gentleman was the first to
declare, that, as our engagement had existed for the last seventy years,
it certainly did not seem worth while to wait much longer. At all
events, we did not wait longer than the following Thanksgiving; since
which period my experience leads me to declare, that, if the Miss
Hurribattle of my great-great-uncle's day was at all comparable to the
member of her family I met at Foxden, my respected relative made a great
mistake in living a bachelor.


You know how a little child of three or four years old kicks and howls,
if it do not get its own way. You know how quietly a grown-up man takes
it, when ordinary things fall out otherwise than he wished. A letter,
a newspaper, a magazine, does not arrive by the post on the morning
on which it had been particularly wished for, and counted on with
certainty. The day proves rainy, when a fine day was specially
desirable. The grown-up man is disappointed; but he soon gets reconciled
to the existing state of facts. He did not much expect that things would
turn out as he wished them. Yes: there is nothing like the habit of
being disappointed, to make a man resigned when disappointment comes,
and to enable him to take it quietly. And a habit of practical
resignation grows upon most men, as they advance through life.

You have often seen a poor beggar, most probably an old man, with some
lingering remains of respectability in his faded appearance, half ask
an alms of a passer-by; and you have seen him, at a word of repulse, or
even on finding no notice taken of his request, meekly turn away: too
beaten and sick at heart for energy; drilled into a dreary resignation
by the long custom of finding everything go against him in this world.
You may have known a poor cripple, who sits all day by the side of the
pavement of a certain street, with a little bundle of tracts in his
hand, watching those who pass by, in the hope that they may give him
something. I wonder, indeed, how the police suffer him to be there: for,
though ostensibly selling the tracts, he is really begging. Hundreds of
times in the long day, he must see people approaching, and hope that
they may spare him a halfpenny, and find ninety-nine out of each hundred
pass without noticing him. It must be a hard school of Resignation.
Disappointments without number have subdued that poor creature into
bearing one disappointment more with scarce an appreciable stir of
heart. But, on the other hand, kings, great nobles, and the like, have
been known, even to the close of life, to violently curse and swear, if
things went against them; going the length of stamping and blaspheming
even at rain and wind, and branches of trees and plashes of mud, which
were of course guiltless of any design of giving offence to these
eminent individuals. There was a great monarch, who, when any little
cross-accident befell him, was wont to fling himself upon the floor, and
there to kick and scream and tear his hair. And around him, meanwhile,
stood his awe-stricken attendants: all doubtless ready to assure
him that there was something noble and graceful in his kicking and
screaming, and that no human being had ever before with such dignity
and magnanimity torn his hair. My friend Mr. Smith tells me that in his
early youth he had a (very slight) acquaintance with a great prince, of
elevated rank and of vast estates. That great prince came very early to
his greatness; and no one had ever ventured, since he could remember,
to tell him he had ever said or done wrong. Accordingly, the prince had
never learned to control himself, nor grown accustomed to bear quietly
what he did not like. And when any one, in conversation, related to him
something which he disapproved, he used to start from his chair, and
rush up and down the apartment, furiously flapping his hands together,
till he had thus blown off the steam produced by the irritation of his
nervous system. That prince was a good man: and so aware was he of
his infirmity, that, when in these fits of passion, he never suffered
himself to say a single word: being aware that he might say what he
would afterwards regret. And though he could not wholly restrain
himself, the entire wrath he felt passed off in flapping. And after
flapping for a few minutes, he sat down again, a reasonable man once
more. All honor to him! For my friend Smith tells me that that prince
was surrounded by toadies, who were ready to praise everything he might
do, even to his flapping. And in particular, there was one humble
retainer, who, whenever his master flapped, was wont to hold up his
hands in an ecstasy of admiration, exclaiming, "It is the flapping of a
god, and not of a man!"

Now all this lack of Resignation on the part of princes and kings comes
of the fact, that they are so far like children that they have not
become accustomed to be resisted, and to be obliged to forego what they
would like. Resignation comes by the habit of being disappointed, and
of finding things go against you. It is, in the case of ordinary human
beings, just what they expect. Of course, you remember the adage,
"Blessed is he who expecteth nothing, for he shall not be disappointed."
I have a good deal to say about that adage. Reasonableness of
expectation is a great and good thing: despondency is a thing to be
discouraged and put down as far as may be. But meanwhile let me say,
that the corollary drawn from that dismal beatitude seems to me
unfounded in fact. I should say just the contrary. I should say,
"Blessed is he who expecteth nothing, for he will very likely be
disappointed." You know, my reader, whether things do not generally
happen the opposite way from that which you expected. Did you ever try
to keep off an evil you dreaded by interposing this buffer? Did you ever
think you might perhaps prevent a trouble from coming by constantly
anticipating it,--keeping, meanwhile, an under-thought that things
rarely happen as you anticipate them, and thus that your anticipation of
the thing might possibly keep it away? Of course you have; for you are
a human being. And in all common cases, a watch might as well think to
keep a skilful watchmaker in ignorance of the way in which its movements
are produced, as a human being think to prevent another human being from
knowing exactly how he will think and feel in given circumstances. We
have watched the working of our own watches far too closely and long,
my friends, to have the least difficulty in understanding the great
principles upon which the watches of other men go. I cannot look inside
your breast, my reader, and see the machinery that is working there: I
mean the machinery of thought and feeling. But I know exactly how it
works, nevertheless; for I have long watched a machinery precisely like

There are a great many people in this world who feel that things are all
wrong, that they have missed stays in life, that they are beaten,--and
yet who don't much mind. They are indurated by long use. They do not try
to disguise from themselves the facts. There are some men who diligently
try to disguise the facts, and who in some measure succeed in doing so.
I have known a self-sufficient and disagreeable clergyman who had a
church in a large city. Five-sixths of the seats in the church were
quite empty; yet the clergyman often talked of what a good congregation
he had, with a confidence which would have deceived any one who had not
seen it. I have known a church where it was agony to any one with an ear
to listen to the noise produced when the people were singing; yet the
clergyman often talked of what splendid music he had. I have known an
entirely briefless barrister, whose friends gave out that the sole
reason why he had no briefs was that he did not want any. I have known
students who did not get the prizes for which they competed, but who
declared that the reason of their failure was, that, though they
competed for the prizes, they did not wish to get them. I have known a
fast young woman, after many engagements made and broken, marry as the
last resort a brainless and penniless blackguard; yet all her family
talk in big terms of what a delightful connection she was making. Now,
where all that self-deception is genuine, let us be glad to see it; and
let us not, like Mr. Snarling, take a spiteful pleasure in undeceiving
those who are so happy to be deceived. In most cases, indeed, such
trickery deceives nobody. But where it truly deceives those who
practise it, even if it deceive nobody else, you see there is no true
Resignation. A man who has made a mess of life has no need to be
resigned, if he fancies he has succeeded splendidly. But I look with
great interest, and often with deep respect, at the man or woman who
feels that life has been a failure,--a failure, that is, as regards
_this_ world,--and yet who is quite resigned. Yes: whether it be the
un-soured old maid, sweet-tempered, sympathetic in others' joys, God's
kind angel in the house of sorrow,--or the unappreciated genius, quiet,
subdued, pleased to meet even one who understands him amid a community
which does not,--or the kind-hearted clever man to whom eminent success
has come too late, when those were gone whom it would have made happy:
I reverence and love, more than I can express, the beautiful natures I
have known thus subdued and resigned.

Yes: human beings get indurated. When you come to know well the history
of a great many people, you will find that it is wonderful what they
have passed through. Most people have suffered a very great deal,
since they came into this world. Yet in their appearance there is no
particular trace of it all. You would not guess, from looking at them,
how hard and how various their lot has been. I once knew a woman, rather
more than middle-aged. I knew her well, and saw her almost every day,
for several years, before I learned that the homely Scotchwoman had seen
distant lands, and had passed through very strange ups and downs, before
she settled into the quiet, orderly life in which I knew her. Yet when
spoken to kindly, by one who expressed surprise that all these trials
had left so little trace, the inward feeling, commonly suppressed, burst
bitterly out, and she exclaimed, "It's a wonder that I'm living at all!"
And it is a wonder that a great many people are living, and looking so
cheerful and so well as they do, when you think what fiery passion, what
crushing sorrow, what terrible losses, what bitter disappointments, what
hard and protracted work they have gone through. Doubtless, great good
comes of it. All wisdom, all experience, comes of suffering. I should
not care much for the counsel of the man whose life had been one long
sunshiny holiday. There is greater depth in the philosophy of Mr.
Dickens than a great portion of his readers discern. You are ready to
smile at the singular way in which Captain Cuttle commended his friend
Jack Bunsby as a man of extraordinary wisdom, whose advice on any point
was of inestimable value. "Here's a man," said Captain Cuttle, "who has
been more beaten about the head than any other living man!" I hail the
words as the recognition of a great principle. To Mr. Bunsby it befell
in a literal sense; but we have all been (in a moral sense) a good deal
beaten about both the head and the heart before we grew good for much.
Out of the travail of his nature, out of the sorrowful history of his
past life, the poet or the moralist draws the deep thought and feeling
which find so straight a way to the hearts of other men. Do you think
Mr. Tennyson would ever have been the great poet he is, if he had not
passed through that season of great grief which has left its noble
record in "In Memoriam"? And a youthful preacher, of vivid imagination
and keen feeling, little fettered by anything in the nature of good
taste, may by strong statements and a fiery manner draw a mob of
unthinking hearers: but thoughtful men and women will not find anything
in all _that_, that awakens the response of their inner nature in its
truest depths; they must have religious instruction into which real
experience has been transfused; and the worth of the instruction will be
in direct proportion to the amount of real experience which is embodied
in it. And after all, it is better to be wise and good than to be gay
and happy, if we must choose between the two things; and it is worth
while to be severely beaten about the head, if _that_ is the condition
on which alone we can gain true wisdom. True wisdom is cheap at almost
any price. But it does not follow at all that you will be happy (in
the vulgar sense) in direct proportion as you are wise. I suppose
most middle-aged people, when they receive the ordinary kind wish at
New-Year's time of a Happy New-Year, feel that _happy_ is not quite the
word; and feel that, too, though well aware that they have abundant
reason for gratitude to a kind Providence. It is not _here_ that we
shall ever be happy,--that is, completely and perfectly happy. Something
will always be coming to worry and distress. And a hundred sad
possibilities hang over us: some of them only too certainly and quickly
drawing near. Yet people are content, in a kind of way. They have learnt
the great lesson of Resignation.

* * * * *

There are many worthy people who would be quite fevered and flurried
by good fortune, if it were to come to any very great degree. It would
injure their heart. As for bad fortune, they can stand it nicely, they
have been accustomed to it so long. I have known a very hard-wrought
man, who had passed, rather early in life, through very heavy and
protracted trials. I have heard him say, that, if any malicious enemy
wished to kill him, the course would be to make sure that tidings of
some signal piece of prosperity should arrive by post on each of six or
seven successive days. It would quite unhinge and unsettle him, he said.
His heart would go: his nervous system would break down. People to whom
pieces of good-luck come rare and small have a great curiosity to know
how a man feels when he is suddenly told that he has drawn one of the
greatest prizes in the lottery of life. The kind of feeling, of course,
will depend entirely on the kind of man. Yet very great prizes, in the
way of dignity and duty, do for the most part fall to men who in some
measure deserve them, or who at least are not conspicuously undeserving
of them and unfit for them. So that it is almost impossible that the
great news should elicit merely some unworthy explosion of gratified
self-conceit. The feeling would in almost every case be deeper and
worthier. One would like to be sitting at breakfast with a truly good
man, when the letter from the Prime-Minister comes in, offering him the
Archbishopric of Canterbury. One would like to see how he would take
it. Quietly, I have no doubt. Long preparation has fitted the man
who reaches that position for taking it quietly. A recent Chancellor
publicly stated how _he_ felt, when offered the Great Seal. His first
feeling, that good man said, was of gratification that he had fairly
reached the highest reward of the profession to which he had given
his life; but the feeling which speedily supplanted _that_ was an
overwhelming sense of his responsibility and a grave doubt as to his
qualifications. I have always believed, and sometimes said, that good
fortune--not so great or so sudden as to injure one's nerves or
heart, but kindly and equable--has a most wholesome effect upon human
character. I believe that the happier a man is, the better and kinder
he will be. The greater part of unamiability, ill-temper, impatience,
bitterness, and uncharitableness comes out of unhappiness. It is because
a man is so miserable that he is such a sour, suspicious, fractious,
petted creature. I was amused, this morning, to read in the newspaper an
account of a very small incident which befell the new Primate of England
on his journey back to London, after being enthroned at Canterbury.
The reporter of that small incident takes occasion to record that
the Archbishop had quite charmed his travelling-companions in the
railway-carriage by the geniality and kindliness of his manner. I have
no doubt he did. I am sure he is a truly good Christian man. But think
of what a splendid training for producing geniality and kindliness he
has been going through for a great number of years! Think of the moral
influences which have been bearing on him for the last few weeks! We
should all be kindly and genial, if we had the same chance of being so.
But if Dr. Longley had a living of a hundred pounds a year, a fretful,
ailing wife, a number of half-fed and half-educated little children, a
dirty, miserable house, a bleak country round, and a set of wrong-headed
and insolent parishioners to keep straight, I venture to say he would
have looked, and been, a very different man in that railway-carriage
running up to London. Instead of the genial smiles that delighted his
fellow-travellers, (according to the newspaper-story,) his face would
have been sour, and his speech would have been snappish; he would have
leaned back in the corner of a second-class carriage, sadly calculating
the cost of his journey, and how part of it might be saved by going
without any dinner. Oh, if I found a four-leaved shamrock, I would
undertake to make a mighty deal of certain people I know! I would put an
end to their weary schemings to make the ends meet. I would cut off all
those wretched cares which jar miserably on the shaken nerves. I know
the burst of thankfulness and joy that would come, if some dismal load,
never to be cast off, were taken away. And I would take it off. I would
clear up the horrible muddle. I would make them happy: and in doing
_that_, I know that I should make them good.

* * * * *

But I have sought the four-leaved shamrock for a long time, and never
have found it; and so I am growing subdued to the conviction that I
never shall. Let us go back to the matter of Resignation, and think a
little longer about _that_.

Resignation, in any human being, means that things are not as you would
wish, and yet that you are content.

Who has all he wishes? There are many houses in this world in which
Resignation is the best thing that can be felt any more. The bitter blow
has fallen; the break has been made; the empty chair is left (perhaps a
very little chair); and never more, while Time goes on, can things be
as they were fondly wished and hoped. Resignation would need to be
cultivated by human beings; for all round us there is a multitude of
things very different from what we would wish. Not in your house, not
in your family, not in your street, not in your parish, not in your
country, and least of all in yourself, can you have things as you would
wish. And you have your choice of two alternatives. You must either
fret yourself into a nervous fever, or you must cultivate the habit of
Resignation. And very often Resignation does not mean that you are at
all reconciled to a thing, but just that you feel you can do nothing
to mend it. Some friend, to whom you are really attached, and whom
you often see, vexes and worries you by some silly and disagreeable
habit,--some habit which it is impossible you should ever like, or ever
even overlook; yet you try to make up your mind to it, because it cannot
be helped, and you would rather submit to it than lose your friend. You
hate the east-wind: it withers and pinches you, in body and soul:
yet you cannot live in a certain beautiful city without feeling the
east-wind many days in the year. And that city's advantages and
attractions are so many and great that no sane man with sound lungs
would abandon the city merely to escape the east-wind. Yet, though
resigned to the east-wind, you are anything but reconciled to it.

Resignation is not always a good thing. Sometimes it is a very bad
thing. You should never be resigned to things continuing wrong, when you
may rise and set them right. I dare say, in the Romish Church, there
were good men before Luther who were keenly alive to the errors and
evils that had crept into it, but who, in despair of making things
better, tried sadly to fix their thoughts upon other subjects: who
took to illuminating missals, or constructing systems of logic, or
cultivating vegetables in the garden of the monastery, or improving the
music in the chapel: quietly resigned to evils they judged irremediable.
Great reformers have not been resigned men. Luther was not resigned;
Howard was not resigned; Fowell Buxton was not resigned; George
Stephenson was not resigned. And there is hardly a nobler sight than
that of a man who determines that he will NOT make up his mind to the
continuance of some great evil: who determines that he will give his
life to battling with that evil to the last: who determines that either
that evil shall extinguish him, or he shall extinguish it. I reverence
the strong, sanguine mind, that resolves to work a revolution to better
things, and that is not afraid to hope it _can_ work a revolution. And
perhaps, my reader, we should both reverence it all the more that we
find in ourselves very little like it. It is a curious thing, and a sad
thing, to remark in how many people there is too much resignation. It
kills out energy. It is a weak, fretful, unhappy thing. People are
reconciled, in a sad sort of way, to the fashion in which things go on.
You have seen a poor, slatternly mother, in a way-side cottage, who has
observed her little children playing in the road before it, in the way
of passing carriages, angrily ordering the little things to come away
from their dangerous and dirty play; yet, when the children disobey
her, and remain where they were, just saying no more, making no farther
effort. You have known a master tell his man-servant to do something
about stable or garden, yet, when the servant does not do it, taking no
notice: seeing that he has been disobeyed, yet wearily resigned, feeling
that there is no use in always fighting. And I do not speak of the not
unfrequent cases in which the master, after giving his orders, comes to
discover that it is best they should not be carried out, and is very
glad to see them disregarded: I mean when he is dissatisfied that what
he has directed is not done, and wishes that it were done, and feels
worried by the whole affair, yet is so devoid of energy as to rest in a
fretful resignation. Sometimes there is a sort of sense as if one had
discharged his conscience by making a weak effort in the direction of
doing a thing, an effort which had not the slightest chance of being
successful. When I was a little boy, many years since, I used to
think this; and I was led to thinking it by remarking a singular
characteristic in the conduct of a school-companion. In those days, if
you were chasing some other boy who had injured or offended you, with
the design of retaliation, if you found you could not catch him, by
reason of his superior speed, you would have recourse to the following
expedient. If your companion was within a little space of you, though a
space you felt you could not make less, you would suddenly stick out one
of your feet, which would hook round his, and he, stumbling over it,
would fall. I trust I am not suggesting a mischievous and dangerous
trick to any boy of the present generation. Indeed, I have the firmest
belief that existing boys know all we used to know, and possibly more.
All this is by way of rendering intelligible what I have to say of my
old companion. He was not a good runner. And when another boy gave him
a sudden flick with a knotted handkerchief, or the like, he had little
chance of catching that other boy. Yet I have often seen him, when
chasing another, before finally abandoning the pursuit, stick out his
foot in the regular way, though the boy he was chasing was yards beyond
his reach. Often did the present writer meditate on that phenomenon, in
the days of his boyhood. It appeared curious that it should afford
some comfort to the evaded pursuer, to make an offer at upsetting the
escaping youth,--an offer which could not possibly be successful. But
very often, in after-life, have I beheld in the conduct of grown-up men
and women the moral likeness of that futile sticking-out of the foot.
I have beheld human beings who lived in houses always untidy and
disorderly, or whose affairs were in a horrible confusion and
entanglement, who now and then seemed roused to a a feeling that this
would not do, who querulously bemoaned their miserable lot, and made
some faint and futile attempt to set things right, attempts which never
had a chance to succeed, and which ended in nothing. Yet it seemed
somehow to pacify the querulous heart. I have known a clergyman, in a
parish with a bad population, seem suddenly to waken up to a conviction
that he must do something to mend matters, and set agoing some weak
little machinery, which could produce no appreciable result, and
which came to a stop in a few weeks. Yet that faint offer appeared to
discharge the claims of conscience, and after it the clergyman remained
long time in a comatose state of unhealthy Resignation. But it is a
miserable and a wrong kind of Resignation which dwells in that man who
sinks down, beaten and hopeless, in the presence of a recognized evil.
Such a man may be in a sense resigned, but, he cannot possibly be

If you should ever, when you have reached middle age, turn over the
diary or the letters you wrote in the hopeful though foolish days when
you were eighteen or twenty, you will be aware how quietly and gradually
the lesson of Resignation has been taught you. You would have got into
a terrible state of excitement, if any one had told you then that you
would have to forego your most cherished hopes and wishes of that time;
and it would have tried you even more severely to be assured that in
not many years you would not care a single straw for the things and the
persons who were then uppermost in your mind and heart. What an entirely
new set of friends and interests is that which now surrounds you!
and how completely the old ones are gone: gone, like the sunsets you
remember in the summers of your childhood; gone, like the primroses that
grew in the woods where you wandered as a boy! Said my friend Smith to
me, a few days ago: "You remember Miss Jones, and all about that? I
met her yesterday, after ten years. She is a fat, middle-aged,
ordinary-looking woman. What a terrific fool I was!" Smith spoke to me
in the confidence of friendship; yet I think he was a little mortified
at the heartiness with which I agreed with him on the subject of his
former folly. He had got over it completely; and in seeing that he was
(at a certain period) a fool, he had come to discern that of which his
friends had always been aware. Of course, early interests do not always
die out. You remember Dr. Chalmers, and the ridiculous exhibition about
the wretched little likeness of an early sweetheart, not seen for forty
years, and long since in her grave. You remember the singular way in
which he signified his remembrance of her, in his famous and honored
age. I don't mean the crying, nor the walking up and down the
garden-walk calling her by fine names. I mean the taking out his card:
not his _carte_; you could understand _that_: but his visiting-card
bearing his name, and sticking it behind the portrait with two wafers.
Probably it pleased him to do so; and assuredly it did harm to no one
else. And we have all heard of the like things. Early affections are
sometimes, doubtless, cherished in the memory of the old. But still,
more material interests come in, and the old affection is crowded out
of its old place in the heart. And so those comparatively fanciful
disappointments sit lightly. The romance is gone. The mid-day sun
beats down, and _there_ lies the dusty way. When the cantankerous and
unamiable mother of Christopher North stopped his marriage with a person
at least as respectable as herself, on the ground that the person was
not good enough, we are told that the future professor nearly went
mad, and that he never quite got over it. But really, judging from
his writings and his biography, he bore up under it, after a little,
wonderfully well.

But looking back to the days which the old yellow letters bring back,
you will think to yourself, Where are the hopes and anticipations of
that time? You expected to be a great man, no doubt. Well, you know you
are not. You are a small man, and never will be anything else; yet
you are quite resigned. If there be an argument which stirs me to
indignation at its futility, and to wonder that any mortal ever regarded
it as of the slightest force, it is that which is set out in the famous
soliloquy in "Cato," as to the Immortality of the Soul. Will any sane
man say, that, if in this world you wish for a thing very much, and
anticipate it very clearly and confidently, you are therefore sure to
get it? If that were so, many a little schoolboy would end by driving
his carriage and four, who ends by driving no carriage at all. I have
heard of a man whose private papers were found after his death all
written over with his signature as he expected it would be when he
became Lord Chancellor. Let us say his peerage was to be as Lord Smith.
There it was, SMITH, C., SMITH, C., written in every conceivable
fashion, so that the signature, when needed, might be easy and imposing.
That man had very vividly anticipated the woolsack, the gold robe, and
all the rest. It need hardly be said, he attained none of these. The
famous argument, you know of course, is, that man has a great longing to
be immortal, and that therefore he is sure to be immortal. Rubbish! It
is not true that any longing after immortality exists in the heart of
a hundredth portion of the race. And if it were true, it would prove
immortality no more than the manifold signatures of SMITH, C., proved
that Smith was indeed to be Chancellor. No: we cling to the doctrine
of a Future Life; we could not live without it; but we believe it, not
because of undefined longings within ourselves, not because of reviving
plants and flowers, not because of the chrysalis and the butterfly,--but
because "our Saviour, Jesus Christ, hath abolished death, and brought
life and immortality to light through the gospel."

There is something very curious, and very touching, in thinking
how clear and distinct, and how often recurring, were our early
anticipations of things that were never to be. In this world, the fact
is for the most part the opposite of what it should be to give force to
Plato's (or Cato's) argument: the thing you vividly anticipate is the
thing that is least likely to come. The thing you don't much care for,
the thing you don't expect, is the likeliest. And even if the event
prove what you anticipated, the circumstances, and the feeling of it,
will be quite different from what you anticipated. A certain little girl
three years old was told that in a little while she was to go with her
parents to a certain city, a hundred miles off,--a city which may be
called Altenburg as well as anything else. It was a great delight to her
to anticipate that journey, and to anticipate it very circumstantially.
It was a delight to her to sit down at evening on her father's knee,
and to tell him all about how it would be in going to Altenburg. It was
always the same thing. Always, first, how sandwiches would be made,--how
they would all get into the carriage, (which would come round to the
door,) and drive away to a certain railway-station,--how they would get
their tickets, and the train would come up, and they would all get into
a carriage together, and lean back in corners, and eat the sandwiches,
and look out of the windows, and so on. But when the journey was
actually made, every single circumstance in the little girl's
anticipations proved wrong. Of course, they were not intentionally made
wrong. Her parents would have carried out to the letter, if they could,
what the little thing had so clearly pictured and so often repeated. But
it proved to be needful to go by an entirely different way and in an
entirely different fashion. All those little details, dwelt on so much,
and with so much interest, were things never to be. It is even so with
the anticipations of larger and older children. How distinctly, how
fully, my friend, we have pictured out to our minds a mode of life, a
home and the country round it, and the multitude of little things which
make up the habitude of being, which we long since resigned ourselves to
knowing could never prove realities! No doubt, it is all right and well.
Even Saint Paul, with all his gift of prophecy, was not allowed to
foresee what was to happen to himself. You know how he wrote that he
would do a certain thing, "so soon as I shall see how it will go with

But our times are in the Best Hand. And the one thing about our lot, my
reader, that we may think of with perfect contentment, is that they
are so. I know nothing more admirable in spirit, and few things more
charmingly expressed, than that little poem by Mrs. Waring which sets
out that comfortable thought. You know it, of course. You should have
it in your memory; and let it be one of the first things your children
learn by heart. It may well come next after, "O God of Bethel": it
breathes the self-same tone. And let me close these thoughts with one of
its verses:--

"There are briers besetting every path,
Which call for patient care:
There is a cross in every lot,
And an earnest need for prayer:
But a lowly heart that leans on Thee
Is happy anywhere!"


There's a flag hangs over my threshold, whose folds are more dear to me
Than the blood that thrills in my bosom its earnest of liberty;
And dear are the stars it harbors in its sunny field of blue
As the hope of a further heaven that lights all our dim lives through.

But now should my guests be merry, the house is in holiday guise,
Looking out through its burnished windows like a score of welcoming eyes.
Come hither, my brothers who wander in saintliness and in sin!
Come hither, ye pilgrims of Nature! my heart doth invite you in.

My wine is not of the choicest, yet bears it an honest brand;
And the bread that I bid you lighten I break with no sparing hand;
But pause, ere you pass to taste it, one act must accomplished be:
Salute the flag in its virtue, before ye sit down with me.

The flag of our stately battles, not struggles of wrath and greed:
Its stripes were a holy lesson, its spangles a deathless creed;
'T was red with the blood of freemen, and white with the fear of the foe,
And the stars that fight in their courses 'gainst tyrants its symbols

Come hither, thou son of my mother! we were reared in the self-same
Thou hast many a pleasant gesture, thy mind hath its gifts and charms;
But my heart is as stern to question as mine eyes are of sorrows full:
Salute the flag in its virtue, or pass on where others rule.

Thou lord of a thousand acres, with heaps of uncounted gold,
The steeds of thy stall are haughty, thy lackeys cunning and bold:
I envy no jot of thy splendor, I rail at thy follies none:
Salute the flag in its virtue, or leave my poor house alone.

Fair lady with silken trappings, high waving thy stainless plume,
We welcome thee to our numbers, a flower of costliest bloom:
Let a hundred maids live widowed to furnish thy bridal bed;
But pause where the flag doth question, and bend thy triumphant head.

Take down now your flaunting banner, for a scout comes breathless and
With the terror of death upon him; of failure is all his tale:
"They have fled while the flag waved o'er them! they've turned to the
foe their back!
They are scattered, pursued, and slaughtered! the fields are all rout
and wrack!"

Pass hence, then, the friends I gathered, a goodly company!
All ye that have manhood in you, go, perish for Liberty!
But I and the babes God gave me will wait with uplifted hearts,
With the firm smile ready to kindle, and the will to perform our parts.

When the last true heart lies bloodless, when the fierce and the false
have won,
I'll press in turn to my bosom each daughter and either son;
Bid them loose the flag from its bearings, and we'll lay us down to rest
With the glory of home about us, and its freedom locked in our breast.




It is raining; and being in-doors, I look out from my library-window,
across a quiet country-road, so near that I could toss my pen into the
middle of it.

A thatched stile is opposite, flanked by a straggling hedge of
Osage-orange; and from the stile the ground falls away in green and
gradual slope to a great plateau of measured and fenced fields,
checkered, a month since, with bluish lines of Swedes, with the ragged
purple of mangels, and the feathery emerald-green of carrots. There are
umber-colored patches of fresh-turned furrows; here and there the mossy,
luxurious verdure of new-springing rye; gray stubble; the ragged brown
of discolored, frost-bitten rag-weed; next, a line of tree-tops,
thickening as they drop to the near bed of a river, and beyond the
river-basin showing again, with tufts of hemlock among naked oaks and
maples; then roofs, cupolas; ambitious lookouts of suburban houses,
spires, belfries, turrets: all these commingling in a long line of
white, brown, and gray, which in sunny weather is backed by purple
hills, and flanked one way by a shining streak of water, and the other
by a stretch of low, wooded mountains that turn from purple to blue, and
so blend with the northern sky.

Is the picture clear? A road; a farm-flat of party-colored checkers; a
near wood, that conceals the sunken meadow of a river; a farther wood,
that skirts a town,--that seems to overgrow the town, so that only a
confused line of roofs, belfries, spires, towers, rise above the wood;
and these tallest spires and turrets lying in relief against a purple
hill-side, that is as far beyond the town as the town is beyond my
window; and the purple hill-side trending southward to a lake-like gleam
of water, where a light-house shines upon a point; and northward, as I
said, these same purple hills bearing away to paler purple, and then to
blue, and then to haze.

Thus much is seen, when I look directly eastward; but by an oblique
glance southward (always from my library-window) the checkered farm-land
is repeated in long perspective: here and there is a farm-house with
its clustered out-buildings; here and there a blotch of wood, or of
orcharding; here and there a bright sheen of winter-grain; and the level
ends only where a slight fringe of tree-tops, and the iron cordon of a
railway that leaps over a marshy creek upon trestle-work, separate it
from Long Island Sound.

To the north, under such oblique glance as can be caught, the farm-lands
in smaller inclosures stretch half a mile to the skirts of a quiet
village. A few tall chimneys smoke there lazily, and below them you see
as many quick and repeated puffs of white steam. Two white spires and
a tower are in bold relief against the precipitous basaltic cliff, at
whose foot the village seems to nestle. Yet the mountain is not wholly
precipitous; for the columnar masses been fretted away by a thousand
frosts, making a sloping _debris_ below, and leaving above the
iron-yellow scars of fresh cleavage, the older blotches of gray, and the
still older stain of lichens. Nor is the summit bald, but tufted with
dwarf cedars and oaks, which, as they file away on either flank, mingle
with a heavier growth of hickories and chest-nuts. A few stunted kalmias
and hemlock-spruces have found foothold in the clefts upon the face of
the rock, showing a tawny green, that blends prettily with the scars,
lichens, and weather-stains of the cliff; all which show under a sunset
light richly and changefully as the breast of a dove.

But just now there is no glow of sunset; raining still. Indeed, I do not
know why I should have described at such length a mere landscape, (than
which I know few fairer,) unless because of a rainy day it is always
in my eye, and that now, having invited a few outsiders to such
entertainment as may belong to my wet farm-days, I should present to
them at once my oldest acquaintance,--the view from my library-window.

But as yet it is only coarsely outlined. We may some day return to it
with a fond particularity; for let me warn the reader that I have that
love of such scenes, nay, for the very verdure of the lawn, that I could
put an ink-mark for every blade of the fresh-springing grass, and yet
feel that the tale of its beauty, and of its emerald wealth, were not
half told.

This day we spend in-doors, and busy ourselves with the whims,
doctrines, and economics of a few


The shelves where they rest in vellum and in dust are only an
arm's-length from the window; so that I can relieve the stiff classicism
of Flaxman's rendering of the "Works and Days," or the tedious iteration
of Columella and Crescenzio, by a glance outside into the rain-cloud,
under which lies always the checkered illustration of the farming of
to-day, and beyond which the spires stand in sentinel.

Hesiod is currently reckoned one of the oldest farm-writers; but there
is not enough in his homely poem ("Works and Days") out of which to
conjure a farm-system. He gives good advice, indeed, about the weather,
about ploughing when the ground is not too wet, about the proper timber
to put to a plough-beam, about building a house, and taking a bride.
But, on the other hand, he gives very bad advice, where, as in Book II.,
(line 244,) he recommends to stint the oxen in winter, and (line 285) to
put three parts of water to the Biblian wine.

Mr. Gladstone notes the fact that Homer talks only in a grandiose way of
rural life and employments, as if there were no small landholders in his
day; but Hesiod, who must have lived within a century of Homer, with
his modest homeliness, does not confirm this view. He tells us a farmer
should keep two ploughs, and be cautious how he lends either of them.
His household stipulations, too, are most moderate, whether on the score
of the bride, the maid, or the "forty-year-old" ploughman; and for
guardianship of the premises the proprietor is recommended to keep "a
sharp-toothed cur."

This reminds us how Ulysses, on his return from voyaging, found seated
round his good bailiff Eumaeus four savage watch-dogs, who straightway
(and here Homer must have nodded) attack their old master, and are
driven off only by a good pelting of stones.

This Eumaeus, by the way, may be regarded as the Homeric representative
farmer, as well as bailiff and swineherd,--the great original of Gurth,
who might have prepared a supper for Cedric the Saxon very much as
Eumaeus extemporized one upon his Greek farm for Ulysses. Pope
shall tell of this bit of cookery in rhyme that has a ring of the

"His vest succinct then girding round his waist,
Forth rushed the swain with hospitable haste,
Straight to the lodgements of his herd he run,
Where the fat porkers slept beneath the sun;
Of two his cutlass launched the spouting blood;
These quartered, singed, and fixed on forks of wood,
All hasty on the hissing coals he threw;
And, smoking, back the tasteful viands drew,
Broachers, and all."

This is roast pig: nothing more elegant or digestible. For the credit of
Greek farmers, I am sorry that Eumaeus has nothing better to offer his
landlord,--the most abominable dish, Charles Lamb and his pleasant
fable to the contrary notwithstanding, that was ever set before a

To return to Hesiod, we suspect that he was only a small farmer--if
he had ever farmed at all--in the foggy latitude of Boeotia, and knew
nothing of the sunny wealth in the south of the peninsula, or of such
princely estates as Eumaeus managed in the Ionian seas. Flaxman has
certainly not given him the look of a large proprietor in his outlines:
his toilet is severely scant, and the old gentleman appears to have lost
two of his fingers in a chaff-cutter. As for Perses, who is represented
as listening to the sage,[A] his dress is in the extreme of classic
scantiness,--being, in fact, a mere night-shirt, and a tight fit at

[Footnote A: Flaxman's _Illustrations of "Works and Days,"_ Plate I.]

But we dismiss Hesiod, the first of the heathen farm-writers, with a
loving thought of his pretty Pandora, whom the goddesses so bedecked,
whom Jove looks on (in Flaxman's picture) with such sharp approval, and
whose attributes the poet has compacted into one resonant line, daintily
rendered by Cooke,--

"Thus the sex began
A lovely mischief to the soul of man."

I next beg to pull from his place on the shelf, and to present to the
reader, my friend General Xenophon, a most graceful writer, a capital
huntsman, an able strategist, an experienced farmer, and, if we may
believe Laertius, "handsome beyond expression."

It is refreshing to find such qualities united in one man at any time,
and doubly refreshing to find them in a person so far removed from the
charities of today that the malcontents cannot pull his character in
pieces. To be sure, he was guilty of a few acts of pillage in the course
of his Persian campaign; but he tells the story of it in his "Anabasis"
with a brave front: his purse was low, and needed replenishment; there
is no cover put up, of disorderly sutlers or camp-followers.

The farming reputation of the General rests upon his "Economics" and
his horse-treatise ([Greek: Hippikae]).

Economy has come to have a contorted meaning in our day, as if it
were only--saving. Its true gist is better expressed by the word
_management_; and in that old-fashioned sense it forms a significant
title for Xenophon's book: management of the household, management of
flocks, of servants, of land, of property in general.

At the very outset we find this bit of practical wisdom, which is put
into the mouth of Socrates, who is replying to Critobulus:--"Those
things should be called goods that are beneficial to the master. Neither
can those lands be called goods which by a man's unskilful management
put him to more expense than he receives profit by them; nor may those
lands be called goods which do not bring a good farmer such a profit as
may give him a good living."

Thereafter (sec. vii.) he introduces the good Ischomachus, who, it
appears, has a thrifty wife at home, and from that source flow in a
great many capital hints upon domestic management. The apartments, the
exposure, the cleanliness, the order, are all considered in such an
admirably practical, common-sense way as would make the old Greek a good
lecturer to the sewing-circles of our time. And when the wife of
the wise Ischomachus, in an unfortunate moment, puts on _rouge_
and cosmetics, the grave husband meets her with this complimentary
rebuke:--"Can there be anything in Nature more complete than yourself?"

"The science of husbandry," he says, and it might be said of the science
in most times, "is extremely profitable to those who understand it;
but it brings the greatest trouble and misery upon those farmers who
undertake it without knowledge." (sec. xv.)

Where Xenophon comes to speak of the details of farm-labor, of
ploughings and fallowings, there is all that precision and particularity
of mention, added to a shrewd sagacity, which one might look for in the
columns of the "Country Gentleman." He even describes how a field should
be thrown into narrow lands, in order to promote a more effectual
surface-drainage. In the midst of it, however, we come upon a stereorary
maxim, which is, to say the least, of doubtful worth:--"Nor is there any
sort of earth which will not make very rich manure, by being laid a due
time in standing water, till it is fully impregnated with the virtue of
the water." His British translator, Professor Bradley, does, indeed,
give a little note of corroborative testimony. But I would not advise
any active farmer, on the authority either of General Xenophon or of
Professor Bradley, to transport his surface-soil very largely to the
nearest frog-pond, in the hope of finding it transmuted into manure. The
absorptive and retentive capacity of soils is, to be sure, the bone just
now of very particular contention; but whatever that capacity may be,
it certainly needs something more palpable than the virtue of standing
water for its profitable development.

Here, again, is very neat evidence of how much simple good sense has
to do with husbandry: Socrates, who is supposed to have no particular
knowledge of the craft, says to his interlocutor,--"You have satisfied
me that I am not ignorant in husbandry; and yet I never had any master
to instruct me in it."

"It is not," says Xenophon, "difference in knowledge or opportunities of
knowledge that makes some farmers rich and others poor; but that which
makes some poor and some rich is that the former are negligent and lazy,
the latter industrious and thrifty."

Next, we have this masculine _ergo_:--"Therefore we may know that those
who will not learn such sciences as they might get their living by, or
do not fall into husbandry, are either downright fools, or else propose
to get their living by robbery or by begging." (sec. xx.)

This is a good clean cut at politicians, office-holders, and other
such beggar craft, through more than a score of centuries,--clean as
classicism can make it: the Attic euphony in it, and all the aroma of

Once more, and it is the last of the "Oeconomica," we give this charming
bit of New-Englandism:--"I remember my father had an excellent rule,"
(_Ischomachus loquitur_,) "which he advised me to follow: that, if ever
I bought any land, I should by no means purchase that which had been
already well-improved, but should choose such as had never been tilled,
either through neglect of the owner, or for want of capacity to do it;
for he observed, that, if I were to purchase improved grounds, I must
pay a high price for them, and then I could not propose to advance their
value, and must also lose the pleasure of improving them myself, or of
seeing them thrive better by my endeavors."

When Xenophon wrote his rural treatises, (including the [Greek:
Kunaegetikos],) he was living in that delightful region of country which
lies westward of the mountains of Arcadia, looking toward the Ionian
Sea. Here, too, he wrote the story of his retreat, and his wanderings
among the mountains of Armenia; here he talked with his friends, and
made other such _symposia_ as he has given us a taste of at the house of
Callias the Athenian; here he ranged over the whole country-side with
his horses and dogs: a stalwart and lithe old gentleman, without a
doubt; able to mount a horse or to manage one, with the supplest of the
grooms; and with a keen eye, as his book shows, for the good points in
horse-flesh. A man might make a worse mistake than to buy a horse after
Xenophon's instructions, to-day. A spavin or a wind-gall did not escape
the old gentleman's eye, and he never bought a horse without proving his
wind and handling him well about the mouth and ears. His grooms were
taught their duties with nice speciality: the mane and tail to be
thoroughly washed; the food and bed to be properly and regularly
prepared; and treatment to be always gentle and kind.

Exception may perhaps be taken to his doctrine in regard to
stall-floors. Moist ones, he says, injure the hoof: "Better to have
stones inserted in the ground close to one another, equal in size to
their hoofs; for such stalls consolidate the hoofs of those standing on
them, beside strengthening the hollow of the foot."

After certain directions for rough riding and leaping, he advises
hunting through thickets, if wild animals are to be found. Otherwise,
the following pleasant diversion is named, which I beg to suggest to
sub-lieutenants in training for dragoon-service:--"It is a useful
exercise for two horsemen to agree between themselves, that one shall
retire through all sorts of rough places, and as he flees, is to turn
about from time to time and present his spear; and the other shall
pursue, having javelins blunted with balls, and a spear of the same
description, and whenever he comes within javelin-throw, he is to hurl
the blunted weapon at the party retreating, and whenever he comes within
spear-reach, he is to strike him with it."

Putting aside his horsemanship, in which he must have been nearly
perfect, there was very much that was grand about the old Greek,--very
much that makes us strangely love the man, who, when his soldiers lay
benumbed under the snows on the heights of Armenia, threw off his
general's coat, or blanket, or what not, and set himself resolutely to
wood-chopping and to cheering them. The farmer knew how.

Such men win battles. He has his joke, too, with Cheirisophus, the
Lacedaemonian, about the thieving propensity of his townspeople, and
invites him, in virtue of it, to _steal_ a difficult march upon the
enemy. And Cheirisophus grimly retorts upon Xenophon, that Athenians are
said to be great experts in stealing the public money, especially the
high officers. This sounds home-like! When I come upon such things, I
forget the parasangs and the Taochians and the dead Cyrus, and seem to
be reading out of American newspapers.

It is quite out of the question to claim Theocritus as a farm-writer;
and yet in all old literature there is not to be found such a lively
bevy of heifers, and wanton kids, and "butting rams," and stalwart
herdsmen, who milk the cows "upon the sly," as in the "Idyls" of the
musical Sicilian.

There is no doubt but Theocritus knew the country to a charm: he knew
all its roughnesses, and the thorns that scratched the bare legs of the
goatherds; he knew the lank heifers, that fed, "like grasshoppers," only
on dew; he knew what clatter the brooks made, tumbling headlong adown
the rocks,--

[Greek: apo tus petras kataleibetai ypsothen ydor]

he knew, moreover, all the charms and coyness of the country-nymphs,
giving even a rural twist to his praises of the courtly Helen:--

"In shape, in height, in stately presence
Straight as a furrow gliding from the

[Footnote B: Elton's translation, I think. I do not vouch for its

A man must have had an eye for good ploughing and a lithe figure, as
well as a keen scent for the odor of fresh-turned earth, to make such a
comparison as that!

Theocritus was no French sentimentalist; he would have protested against
the tame elegancies of the Roman Bucolics; and the _sospiri ardenti_ and
_miserelli aman_ of Guarini would have driven him mad. He is as brisk as
the wind upon a breezy down. His cow-tenders are swart and bare-legged,
and love with a vengeance. There is no miserable tooting upon flutes,
but an uproarious song that shakes the woods; and if it comes to a
matter of kissing, there are no "reluctant lips," but a smack that makes
the vales resound.

It is no Boucher we have here, nor Watteau: cosmetics and rosettes are
far away; tunics are short, and cheeks are nut-brown. It is Teniers,
rather:--boors, indeed; but they are live boors, and not manikin

I shall call out another Sicilian here, named Moschus, were it only
for his picture of a fine, sturdy bullock: it occurs in his "Rape of

"With yellow hue his sleekened body beams;
His forehead with a snowy circle gleams;
Horns, equal-bending, from his brow emerge,
And to a moonlight crescent orbing verge."

Nothing can be finer than the way in which this "milky steer," with
Europa on his back, goes sailing over the brine, his "feet all oars."
Meantime, she, the pretty truant,

"Grasps with one hand his curved projecting horn,
And with the other closely drawn compressed
The fluttering foldings of her purple vest,
Whene'er its fringed hem was dashed with dew
Of the salt sea-foam that in circles flew:
Wide o'er Europa's shoulders to the gale
The ruffled robe heaved swelling, like a sail."

Moschus is as rich as the Veronese at Venice; and his picture is truer
to the premium standard. The painting shows a pampered animal, with
over-red blotches on his white hide, and is by half too fat to breast
such "salt sea-foam" as flashes on the Idyl of Moschus.

Another poet, Aratus of Cilicia, whose very name has a smack of tillage,
has left us a book about the weather [Greek: Dosaemeia] which is
quite as good to mark down a hay-day by as the later meteorologies of
Professor Espy or Judge Butler.

Besides which, our friend Aratus holds the abiding honor of having been
quoted by St. Paul, in his speech to the Athenians on Mars Hill:--

"For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of
your own poets have said: 'For we are also His offspring.'"

And Aratus, (after Elton,)--

"On thee our being hangs; in thee we move;
All are thy offspring, and the seed of Jove."

Scattered through the lesser Greek poets, and up and down the Anthology,
are charming bits of rurality, redolent of the fields and of field-life,
with which it would be easy to fill up the measure of this rainy day,
and beat off the Grecian couplets to the tinkle of the eave-drops. Up
and down, the cicada chirps; the locust, "encourager of sleep," sings
his drowsy song; boozy Anacreon flings grapes; the purple violets and
the daffodils crown the perfumed head of Heliodora; and the reverent
Simonides likens our life to the grass.

Nor will I part company with these, or close up the Greek ranks
of farmers, (in which I must not forget the great schoolmaster,
Theophrastus,) until I cull a sample of the Anthology, and plant it
for a guidon at the head of the column,--a little bannerol of music,
touching upon our topic, as daintily as the bees touch the flowering
tips of the wild thyme.

It is by Zonas the Sardian:--

[Greek: Ai o agete nxouthai oimblaeides akra melissai,

and the rendering by Mr. Hay:--

"Ye nimble honey-making bees, the flowers are in their prime;
Come now and taste the little buds of sweetly breathing thyme,
Of tender poppies all so fair, or bits of raisin sweet,
Or down that decks the apple tribe, or fragrant violet;
Come, nibble on,--your vessels store with honey while you can,
In order that the hive-protecting, bee-preserving Pan
May have a tasting for himself, and that the hand so rude,
That cuts away the comb, may leave yourselves some little food."

Leaving now this murmur of the bees upon the banks of the Pactolus,
will slip over-seas to Tusculum, where Cato was born, who was the oldest
of the Roman writers upon agriculture; and thence into the Sabine
territory, where, upon an estate of his father's, in the midst of the
beautiful country lying northward of the Monte Gennaro, (the Lucretilis
of Horace,) he learned the art of good farming.

In what this art consisted in his day, he tells us in short, crackling
speech;--"_Primum_, bene arare; _secundum_, arare; _tertium_,
stercorare." For the rest, he says, choose good seed, sow thickly, and
pull all the weeds. Nothing more would be needed to grow as good a crop
upon the checkered plateau under my window as ever fattened among the
Sabine Hills.

Has the art come to a stand-still, then; and shall we take to reading
Cato on fair days, as well as rainy?

There has been advance, without doubt; but all the advance in the world
would not take away the edge from truths, stated as Cato knew how to
state them. There is very much of what is called Agricultural Science,
nowadays, which is--rubbish. Science is sound, and agriculture always an
honest art; but the mixture, not uncommonly, is bad,--no fair marriage,
but a monstrous concubinage, with a monstrous progeny of muddy treatises
and disquisitions which confuse more than they instruct. In contrast
with such, it is no wonder that the observations of such a man as Cato,
whose energies had been kept alive by service in the field, and whose
tongue had been educated in the Roman Senate, should carry weight with
them. The grand truths on which successful agriculture rests, and which
simple experience long ago demonstrated, cannot be kept out of view, nor
can they be dwarfed by any imposition of learning. Science may explain
them, or illustrate or extend; but it cannot shake their preponderating
influence upon the crop of the year. As respects many other arts,
the initial truths may be lost sight of, and overlaid by the mass
of succeeding developments,--not falsified, but so belittled as
practically to be counted for nothing. In this respect, agriculture is
exceptional. The old story is always the safe story: you must plough and
plough again; and manure; and sow good seed, and enough; and pull the
weeds; and as sure as the rain falls, the crop will come.

Many nice additions to this method of treatment, which my fine-farming
friends will suggest, are anticipated by the old Roman, if we look far
enough into his book. Thus, he knew the uses of a harrow; he knew the
wisdom of ploughing in a green crop; he had steeps for his seed; he knew
how to drain off the surface-water,--nay, there is very much in his
account of the proper preparation of ground for olive-trees, or
vine-setting, which looks like a mastery of the principles that govern
the modern system of drainage.[C]

[Footnote C: XLIII. "Sulcos, si locus aquosus erit, alveatos esse
oportet," etc.]

Of what particular service recent investigations in science have been to
the practical farmer, and what positive and available aid, beyond what
could be derived from a careful study of the Roman masters, they put
into the hands of an intelligent worker, who is tilling ground simply
for pecuniary advantage, I shall hope to inquire and discourse upon,
some other day: when that day comes, we will fling out the banner of the
nineteenth century, and give a gun to Liebig, and Johnson, and the rest.

Meantime, as a farmer who endeavors to keep posted in all the devices
for pushing lands which have an awkward habit of yielding poor crops
into the better habit of yielding large ones, I will not attempt to
conceal the chagrin with which I find this curmudgeon of a Roman
Senator, living two centuries before Christ, and northward of Monte
Gennaro, who never heard of "Hovey's Root-Cutter," or of the law of
primaries, laying down rules[D] of culture so clear, so apt, so full,
that I, who have the advantages of two thousand years, find nothing in
them to laugh at, unless it be a few oblations to the gods;[E] and this,
considering that I am just now burning a little incense (Havana) to the
nymph Volutia, is uncalled for.

[Footnote D: This mention, of course, excludes the Senator's _formulae_
for unguents, aperients, cattle-nostrums, and pickled pork.]

[Footnote E: CXXXIV. Cato, _De Re Rustica_.]

And if Senator Cato were to wake up to-morrow, in the white house that
stares through the rain yonder, and were to open his little musty vellum
of slipshod maxims, and, in faith of it, start a rival farm in the bean
line, or in vine-growing,--keeping clear of the newspapers,--I make no
doubt but he would prove as thrifty a neighbor as my good friend the

We nineteenth-century men, at work among our cabbages, clipping off the
purslane and the twitch-grass, are disposed to assume a very complacent
attitude, as we lean upon our hoe-handles,--as if we were doing tall
things in the way of illustrating physiology and the cognate sciences.
But the truth is, old Laertes, near three thousand years ago, in his
slouch cap and greasy beard, was hoeing up in the same way his purslane
and twitch-grass, in his bean-patch on the hills of Ithaca. The
difference between us, so far as the crop and the tools go, is, after
all, ignominiously small. _He_ dreaded the weevil in his beans, and _we_
the club-foot in our cabbages; _we_ have the "Herald," and _he_ had
none; _we_ have "Plantation-Bitters," and _he_ had his jug of the
Biblian wine.

M. Varro, another Roman farmer, lies between the same covers "De Re
Rustica" with Cato, and seems to have had more literary tact, though
less of blunt sagacity. Yet he challenges at once our confidence by
telling us so frankly the occasion of his writing upon such a subject.
Life, he says, is a bubble,--and the life of an old man a bubble about
to break. He is eighty, and must pack his luggage to go out of this
world. ("_Annus octogesimus admonet me, ut sarcinas colligam antequam
proficiscar e vita_.") Therefore he, writes down for his wife, Fundania,
the rules by which she may manage the farm.

And a very respectably old lady she must have been, to deal with the
_villici_ and the _coloni_, if her age bore suitable relation to that
of her husband. The ripe maturity of many of the rural writers I have
introduced cannot fail to strike one. Thus, Xenophon gained a strength
in his Elian fields that carried him into the nineties; Cato lived to be
over eighty; and now we have Varro, writing his book out by Tusculum at
eighty, and surviving to counsel with Fundania ten years more. Pliny,
too, (the elder,) who, if not a farmer, had his country-seats, and left
very much to establish our acquaintance with the Roman rural life, was
a hale, much-enduring man, of such soldierly habits and large
abstemiousness as to warrant a good fourscore,--if he had not fallen
under that murderous cloud of ashes from Mount Vesuvius, in the year 79.

The poets, doubtless, burnt out earlier, as they usually do. Virgil,
whom I shall come to speak of presently, certainly did: he died at
fifty-one. Tibullus, whose opening Idyl is as pretty a bit of gasconade
about living in a cottage in the country, upon love and a few
vegetables, as a maiden could wish for, did not reach the fifties; and
Martial, whose "Faustine Villa," if nothing else, entitles him to rural
oblation, fell short of the sixties.

Varro indulges in some sharp sneers at those who had written on the same
subject before him. This was natural enough in a man of his pursuits: he
had written four hundred books!

Of Columella we know scarcely more than that he lived somewhere about
the time of Tiberius, that he was a man of wealth, that he travelled
extensively through Gaul, Italy, and Greece, observing intelligently
different methods of culture, and that he has given the fullest existing
compend of ancient agriculture. In his chapter upon Gardening he warms
into hexameters; but the rest is stately and euphonious prose. In his
opening chapter, he does not forego such praises of the farmer's life
as sound like a lawyer's address before a county-society on a fair-day.
Cincinnatus and his plough come in for it; and Fabricius and Curius
Dentatus; with which names, luckily, our orators cannot whet their
periods, since Columella's mention of them is about all we know of their

He falls into the way, moreover, of lamenting, as people obstinately
continue to do, the "good old times," when men were better than "now,"
and when the reasonable delights of the garden and the fields engrossed
them to the neglect of the circus and the theatres. But when he opens
upon his subject proper, it is in grandiose, Spanish style, (he was
a native of Cadiz,) with a maxim broad enough to cover all possible
conditions:--"_Qui studium agricolationi dederit, sciat haec sibi
advocanda: prudentiam rei, facultatem impendendi voluntatem agendi_."
Or, as Tremellius says,--"That man will master the business, _qui et
colere sciet, et poterit, et volet_."

This is comprehensive, if not encouraging. That "_facultatem
impendendi_" is a tremendous bolster to farming as to anything else; it
is only another shape of the "_poterit_," and the "_poterit"_ only
a scholarly rendering of pounds and pence. As if Tremellius had
said,--That man will make his way at farming who understands the
business, who has the money to apply to it, and who is willing to bleed

With a kindred sagacity this shrewd Roman advises a man to slip upon his
farm often, in order that his steward may keep sharply at his work; he
even suggests that the landlord make a feint of coming, when he has no
intention thereto, that he may gain a day's alertness from the bailiff.
The book is of course a measure of the advances made in farming during
the two hundred years elapsed since Cato's time; but those advances were
not great. There was advance in power to systematize facts, advance in
literary aptitude, but no very noticeable gain in methods of culture.
Columella gives the results of wider observation, and of more persistent
study; but, for aught I can see, a man could get a crop of lentils
as well with Cato as with Columbia; a man would house his flocks and
servants as well out of the one as the other; in short, a man would grow
into the "_facultatem impendendi_" as swiftly under the teachings of the
Senator as of the later writer of the reign of Tiberius.

It is but dull work to follow those teachings; here and there I warm
into a little sympathy, as I catch sight, in his Latin dress, of our
old friend _Curculio;_ here and there I sniff a fruit that seems
familiar,--as the _fraga_, or a _morum;_ and here and there comes
blushing into the crabbed text the sweet name of some home-flower,--a
lily, a narcissus, or a rose. The chief value of the work of Columella,
however, lies in its clear showing-forth of the relative importance
given to different crops, under Roman culture, and to the raising of
cattle, poultry, fish, etc.; as compared with crops. Knowing this, we
know very much that will help us toward an estimate of the domestic life
of the Romans. We learn, with surprise, how little they regarded their
oxen, save as working-animals,--whether the milk-white steers of
Clitumnus, or the dun Campanian cattle, whose descendants show their
long-horned stateliness to this day in the Roman forum. The sheep, too,
whether of Tarentum or of Canusium, were regarded as of value chiefly
for their wool and milk; and it is surely amazing, that men who could
appreciate the iambics of Horace and the eloquence of Cicero should
have shown so little fancy for a fat saddle of mutton or for a mottled
sirloin of beef.

I change from Columella to Virgil, and from Virgil back to some pleasant
Idyl of Tibullus, and from Tibullus to the pretty prate of Horace about
the Sabine Hills; I stroll through Pliny's villa, eying the clipped
box-trees; I hear the rattle in the tennis-court; I watch the tall Roman

"Grandes virgines proborum colonorum"--

marching along with their wicker-baskets filled with curds and
fresh-plucked thrushes, until there comes over me a confusion of times
and places.

--The sound of the battle of to-day dies; the fresh blood-stains
fade; and I seem to wake upon the heights of Tusculum, in the days of
Tiberius. The farm-flat below is a miniature Campagna, along which I
see stretching straight to the city the shining pavement of the Via
Tusculana. The spires yonder melt into mist, and in place of them I see
the marble house-walls of which Augustus boasted. As yet the grander
monuments of the Empire are not built; but there is a blotch of cliff
which may be the Tarpeian Rock, and beside it a huge hulk of building on
the Capitoline Hill, where sat the Roman Senate. A little hitherward are
the gay turrets of the villa of Maecenas, and of the princely houses on
the Palatine Hill, and in the foreground the stately tomb of Cecilia
Metella. I see the barriers of a hippodrome, (where now howling
jockeys make the twilight hideous); a _gestatio_, with its lines
of cherry-trees, is before me, and the velvety lavender-green of
olive-orchards covers the hills behind. Vines grow upon the slope

"Neve tibi ad solem vergant vineta cadentem,"--

twining around, and flinging off a great wealth of tendrils from their
supporting-poles (_pedamenta_). The figs begin to show the purple bloom
of fruitage, and the _villicus_, who has just now come in from the
_atriolum_, reports a good crop, and asks if it would not be well to
apply a few loads of marl (_tofacea_) to the summer fallow, which Cato
is just now breaking up with the Campanian steers, for barley.

Scipio, a stanch Numidian, has gone to market with three asses loaded
with cabbages and asparagus. Villicus tells me that the poultry in the
fattening-coops (as close-shut as the Strasburg geese)[F] are doing
well, and he has added a _soupcon_ of sweetening to their barley-gruel.
The young doves have their legs faithfully broken, ("_obteras crura_")
and are placidly fattening on their stumps. The thrush-house is properly
darkened, only enough light entering to show the food to some three or
four thousand birds, which are in course of cramming for the market. The
_cochlearium_ has a good stock of snails and mussels; and the little
dormice are growing into fine condition for an approaching Imperial

[Footnote F: "Locus ad hanc rem desideratur maxime calidus, et minimi
luminis, in quo singulae caveis angustioribus vel sportis inclusae
pendeant aves, sed ita coarctatae, _ne versari posslnt_."--Columella,
Lib. VIII. cap. vii.]

Villicus reports the clip of the Tarentine sheep unusually fine, and
free from burrs. The new must is all a-foam in the _vinaria;_ and around
the inner cellar (_gaudendem est!_) there is a tier of urns, as large as
school-boys, brimming with ripe Falernian.

If it were not stormy, I might order out the farm-chariot, or
_curriculum_, which is, after all, but a low, dumpy kind of horse-cart,
and take a drive over the lava pavement of the Via Tusculana, to learn
what news is astir, and what the citizens talk of in the forum. Is all
quiet upon the Rhine? How is it possibly with Germanicus? And what of
that story of the arrest of Seneca? It could hardly have happened, they
say, in the good old days of the Republic.

And with this mention, as with the sound of a gun, the Roman pastoral
dream is broken. The Campagna, the olive-orchards, the _columbarium_,
fall back to their old places in the blurred type of Columella. The
Campanian steers are unyoked, and stabled in the text of Varro. The
turrets of the villa of Maecenas, and of the palaces of Sylla and the
Caesars, give place to the spires of a New-England town,--southward of
which I see through the mist a solitary flag flying over a soldiers'
hospital. It reminds of nearer and deadlier perils than ever environed
the Roman Republic,--perils out of which if the wisdom and courage of
the people do not find a way, some new Caesar will point it with the

Looking northward, I see there is a bight of blue in the sky; and a lee
set of dark-gray and purple clouds is folding down over the eastern
horizon,--against which the spires and the flag show clearer than ever.
It means that the rain has stopped; and the rain having stopped, my
in-door work is done.

* * * * *


The reader whose eye is arrested by my title will doubtless anticipate a
romance on that ever-old, ever-new theme of a certain god with a torch
leading two souls bound together by iron concealed in flower-wreaths,
until, alas! life seems ordinary enough to be symbolized by _tin_,--of
the tin-wedding entering into the refiner's fire, and, by sure
transmutation, rising from the baser metal to the paler, but purer
silver,--of the subtile alchemy of years, which, in human life's great

"Transmute, so potent are the spells they know
Into pure gold the silver of to-day."

Perhaps, reader, you are not altogether to be disappointed; and yet, for
the present, it is only a glass of sparkling wine I wish you to take
with me. You will please read on that delicate strip of paper around the
bottle's neck the name in gilt,--"Golden Wedding." At once you
grow transcendental, and suppose that some German vine-dresser in
Catawba-land--by the way, Gerritt Smith's gardener is a nephew of
Schiller!--was dreaming of the marriage of the Sun with the Vine, his
darling plant, in whose juice linger and sparkle the light and joy of
many faded days. But no, it was named from a real Golden Wedding.

Let me take you--as the clairvoyants say--to a large, sooty, toiling
city in the West. From street to street you shall go, and see but little
to excite your admiration, unless you are a constant believer that _work
is worship_. But here, in the centre of the city, is a noble old mansion
with its beautiful park around it, which a traveller who saw it once
compared to a pearl on the breast of a blacksmith. Here it was that the
Golden Wedding took place.

Who that was there can ever forget it? In my own memory that throng of
the worthy, the beautiful, the gay of a great city will stand as the one
fulfilment which Fate has given me of many Oriental promissory dreams,
most of which she has failed to honor. In that great company you might
have traced all the circles of that city's growth, as you may trace a
tree's history in its rings. That lady there was the first white baby
born here, where now over two hundred thousand human beings reside. Here
are the pioneers who filled the first log-huts on the city's site,
until they overflowed through the roofs. And here is an inner circle of
children, and an outer one of grandchildren, about the two who are the
heart of this beautiful celebration. Can that lovely, erect, blooming
lady be a bride of fifty years? Looking at her, one would say it is a
great and unnecessary mistake of ours to grow old. But more closely must
we look at that quaint old man by her side. Lately he has passed away;
but every day of his long life left a trace worthy to be noted well. His
eighty years and twenty-five days of life comprise an epitome of the
history and growth of a great community. Not so would you at first
interpret that plain old man; though, to a knowing eye, that eye, clear
with looking at the duty that lies nearest, that mouth, telling of
patient, unimpulsive energy, that broadness about the brow, would be
guaranties of a marked life.

And now for my story, which you must let me tell in a rambling way; for
any systematic biography of that man would be like putting one of his
own Catawba-vines into your herbarium.

I introduce you to a fair-haired, handsome youth, on the deck of a small
steamboat, which is bearing him to his fortune in the great West. He is
penniless. His father was wealthy; but in the war he was a Tory, and, in
the confiscation of his property, his sin was visited upon his son. But
he was not the boy to repine, with youth and the great West before him.
And now as from the steamer's deck he sees a fine landscape with a few
log-houses on it, he believes that it is one day to be a great city, and
concludes to stop there. So he is put ashore with his trunk.

He has already determined to study law. He goes to the one judge
who resides there, and is taken as a student into his office. More
log-houses are built; a court-house is erected; and presently that
institution at sight of which the shipwrecked Englishman fell on his
knees and thanked God he was in a Christian land--the gallows--made its
appearance. So the young man had a fair practice.

The records of the West, if they are ever written, will testify how
often whimsical Fortune thrusts her favors on men against their will.
This very judge with whom our youth studied law became environed with
pecuniary difficulties, and wished once to satisfy a claim of a few
hundred dollars by deeding away a sheep-pasture of a few acres, which
was of no sort of use to him. But when he went to get his wife's
signature to the conveyance, she burst into tears; she knew, she said,
that the pasture was worthless; but she had in her childhood heard there
the tinkling of the bells of her father's sheep; it was very foolish,
she knew, but now that they had all passed away, the bells over in the
pasture tinkled on in her memory, and she hated to give it up. The kind
husband would not insist, but went sadly to his work. It was not long
before the sheep-pasture was worth a million dollars! Sentiment, you
see, is not always an unproductive article.

But this case was scarcely so curious as that which presently thrust a
goodly capital on the hands of our young law-student. His first case in
the court was that of a horse-thief, whom he induced a jury to acquit.
When he came to his client for a fee, the scapegrace whispered that
he had nothing on earth wherewith to pay the fee except two old
whiskey-stills and--_a horse_. When he heard this last word, the
lawyer's conscience gave him a twinge. After a moment's reflection, he
said,--"You will need the horse; and you had best make him take you as
far as possible from this region of country. I must be satisfied with
the whiskey-stills." It was not for a long time that he thought even to
inquire about the stills. When he did so, he found them in possession
of a man who implored him not to take them away, and promised to pay
something for them. Finding that he could not do this, he begged our
hero to accept as payment for them a few acres of barren land, which,
with great reluctance, he agreed to do. Erelong the tide of emigration
set westward, and this land is to-day worth two million dollars!

But his subsequent life showed that the man's fortune was not luck; for
by economy, not by hoarding,--by foresight, and a generous trust to all
laborers who wished to lease lands, his wealth grew to nearly fifteen
million dollars.

When he found that he had enough to live comfortably upon, he retired
from the bar, and devoted himself to horticulture. He found that the
region in which he lived was adapted to the growth of the vine, and
began his experiments, which, during his life, extended to the culture
of more than forty varieties. He laid before the community, from time to
time, a report of his successes, he called on all to come and taste the
wines he made, until the tidings went over the earth, and from Germany,
France, Italy, came vine-dressers and wine-makers, who covered every
hill-side for miles around him with vintages.

Those who came from afar to inquire into this new branch of industry,
for which he had opened the way, were surprised to meet the
millionnaire, the Catawba-Prince, in his plain garb and with his humble

How many stories I could tell you of this unintentional, odd homeliness
of manner and life, from which he never departed, and which those around
him found it impossible to depart from, even in respect to the style of
the coffin in which he was laid, and the procession which followed him
to the beautiful cemetery! His dress was always that of a man of the
humblest fortunes; and Dame Gossip says that he was so fond of his old
coat, that, when a change became absolutely necessary, his daughters
were obliged to prepare the new one, and substitute it for the old
whilst he was asleep, so that in the morning he should put it on
unconsciously, or, if he discovered the change; must wear the new or
none. The same dame has it that a youth, who afterward became his
son-in-law, having caught sight somewhere of one of the old man's
daughters, desired to know her, and that, in the park, which was open to
all, he met the old gentleman, whom he supposed to be the gardener, and
offered him a bribe, if he would bring the lady out among the roses. The
old man accepted the bribe, and returned with the lady, whom, with a
sly twinkle of the eye, he introduced as "my daughter" to the blushing
youth. And again it is told, that once, on a very warm day, the old man,
having to wait for a friend, sat down on a stone just outside of his own
gate, took off his hat, and, closing his eyes, dozed a little. When he
got up, he found a silver quarter in his hat. Whether it was put there
by some one who really thought he was an object of charity, or by a wag,
the old man appreciated the joke, and, with a smile, put it into the
pocket out of which had to come forty thousand dollars for annual taxes.
These stories may or may not be true; but in some sense such stories
have a certain truth, whether invented or not. They can live and
circulate only in a community where they are characteristic of the
person of whom they are told. Generous men are not pursued by stories of
parsimony; mean men never hear even untrue stories of their generosity.

And this last remark leads me to speak of the relation in which the
wealthiest man of the West stood to the throngs of the poor and the
suffering who surrounded him.

If, in the city, you had gone to the President of the Boorioboola-Gha
Sewing-Circle, or to the Tract-Society Rooms, or to the clergy, and
inquired whether the city's richest man was charitable, you would have
received an ominous shrug in reply. Vainly have they gone to him for any
such charities. Vainly did they go to him for some "poor, but worthy and
Christian woman."

"I will give nothing," he replied; "there are enough who will give to
her; what I have to give shall go to the _unworthy_ poor, whom none
will help,--the Devil's poor, Sir,--those whom Christians leave to the

Many a minister has been sorely puzzled by the receipt of a fifty-dollar
bill "for the relief of the depraved." His office was constantly
thronged with outcasts, who were generally relieved by small sums. In
his relations with these people, his simplicity and eccentricity were
noted by all who knew him. Among many stories which I know to be true, I
select the following.

Some six or eight years ago the winter was very cold; the river was
frozen, and all the "wharf-rats" were thrown out of work. A near
relative of the old gentleman came to the city, and passed the night at
his house. After tea he sauntered to the office to take a quiet cigar.
To his surprise, he found it filled with a crowd--more than fifty--of
brawny, beastly-looking men. The presence of the childlike old man, his
face beaming with shrewdness and kindly humor, seemed alone to keep them
from being a mob. His manner to them said,--"You poor wretches, I know
how reckless you are; yet I am not sure but I should be as bad, had I
been exposed to the same bad influences." These houseless vagrants had
been coming every night, while the river was frozen, to get a dime for a
night's lodging.

The young man had been forced by the unpleasantness of the crowd to go
and enjoy his cigar outside. As he sat there, the ugly crowd filed out
quietly, each with his dime, (the clerk distributing,) till the last
man. He seemed to feel very ill-used, and was scarcely clear of the
door-way before he gave vent to his indignation:--"I'll be d----d, if I
don't let Old ---- know that I won't be put off with a five-cent piece
and a three-cent piece! Let me ketch him out, and I'll mash his," etc.,

Glowing with righteous indignation, and glad of the opportunity, the
young relative rushed in and exclaimed,--

"Mr. ----! I have had many occasions to remonstrate with you on your
indiscriminate charities, your encouragement of beggary and vice. The
wretch who went out last is breathing threats of personal violence
against you, because he has been put off with a five-cent piece and a
three-cent piece!"

How was the indignant remonstrant mortified, when the old man simply
turned his head to the clerk and said,--

"Mark, why did you not give that man his dime?"

"I had given out all the dimes, Sir, and I gave him all I had left."

"See that he gets his extra two cents the next time he comes. I have no
doubt I should have been mad, if I had been in his place."

A forlorn-looking man once came and asked for help.

"I am afraid to give you money. I think I know how you will spend it."

Of course the man protested that strong drink was an abomination unto
him,--that what his nature most craved was "pure, fresh milk."

The old man, with a look in which it would be hard to say whether
shrewdness or credulity predominated, at once hastened to the
milk-cellar and returned with a glass of milk; the fellow swallowed the
dose with an eager reluctance quite comical to behold, but which excited
no movement in the muscles of the old gentleman's face.

On a raw, wet winter's day, a loafer applied for a pair of shoes. He had
on an old, shambling pair, out at both toes. The old Wine-Prince was
sitting with a pair of slippers on, and had his own shoes warming at the

"Well," said he to the applicant, "you do look rather badly off, for
such a cold, wet day; here, see if these shoes will fit you," handing
his own.

The fellow tried them on and pronounced them a complete fit, and went on
his way rejoicing. The clerk was amused, half an hour after, to see the
old gentleman searching for his shoes and wondering what had become of
them. He was reminded that he had given them to the beggar. On further
inquiry, he found that he had no other pair in the house.

The following significant story was told me by the son of the old man. I
present it in nearly his own words.

"Adjoining me in the country lives an old German who nearly seventy
years ago was _sold_ in New York for his passage. A confectioner of
Baltimore bought him for seven years' service, and he went with his
master to fulfil his obligation. When his time was out, he turned his
face towards the setting sun, and started to seek his fortune. On
arriving in Pittsburg, having no money, he engaged to 'work his way'
down the river on a flat-boat. He stopped at the little village, as our
city then was, and opened a shop. He was skilful, and succeeded. He came
to my father, and bought, on ten years' credit, a place in the country,
where, in course of time, he built a house, and, with my father's
assistance, planted a vineyard. He then gave up all other business but
that of the vine-dresser.

"One day, in the autumn, a few years ago, I overtook the old man on
horseback, on his way to town. After wishing me a cheery good-morning,
he said,--

"'I am on my way to town, to sell your father my wine.'

"'He will be glad to get it; he is buying wine, and yours is made so
carefully that he will be glad to have it.'

"'I mean to sell it to him for fifty cents a gallon.'

"'Oh,' said I, 'don't offer it at that. I know he is paying double that

"'Nevertheless, I mean to sell it to him for half a dollar.'

"I looked inquiringly.

"'Well, Sir, I was but a boy when I left Germany; but I was old
enough to remember that a man, after a hard day's work, could go to a
wine-house, and for two cents could get a tumblerful. It did him good,
and he went home to his family fresher and brighter for his wine. He
was never drunk, and never wasted his earnings to appease a diseased
appetite. I want to see that state of things brought about here. Our
poor people drink whiskey. I want them to have cheap wine in its place.
Fifty cents a gallon will pay me well this year for my capital and
labor, and next year I think I can sell it for forty cents.'

"'But, my friend, see how this will work. You will sell your wine to Mr.
---- for fifty cents; and he will send it to his wine-cellar, and they
will bottle it and sell it for all they can get.'

"'That's _their_ lookout,' said the Teuton; 'I shall have done my duty.'

"It was rather hard to get an advantage of my father, but I thought now
I had him. On reaching the city, I sought him out, and told the story
with all its circumstances.

"'Now, Sir, in presence of the example of this old German,--sold in New
York for his passage, faithfully fulfilling the years of his servitude,
working his way to a small competency by savings and industry,--will you
dare to let the world hear of you, a rich man, making a profit on wine?'

"The old man's eye dropped an instant, then he said,--

"'My son, Heaven knows I do not wish to make money out of wine. I have
given much time and much money for the last fifty years to make this
doubtful experiment successful. I have paid high prices for wine, and
used all other means in my power to make it remunerative,--to induce
others to plant vineyards. If I should now take your suggestion and
bring wine down to a low price, I should ruin the enterprise. But let
the extended cultivation of the grape be once firmly established, and
then competition will bring it low enough.'

"'Well,' said I, 'that may be good worldly wisdom; but I like the spirit
of the old Dutchman better, after all.'

"'There I agree with you; for once, you are right.'"

A most careful accountant has shown that his contributions to
grape-culture amounted to one-fourth of his whole fortune: a clear loss
to him, but not to the public.

Though the lips of Christendom repeat, Sunday after Sunday, the warning
that the left hand should not know what the right hand doeth, yet it is
very apt to judge of a man's liberality by the paragraphs concerning him
in the newspapers. The old gentleman once gave his city several acres of
land for an observatory which was to be erected; and there is no doubt
that he had reason to conclude, as have others, that it was the worst,
as it was the most public, charity of his life. That his private
charities were numerous and without self-crediting, the present writer
_happens_ to know. Once, after going through the great wine-cellar where
millions were coined, I went through the barracks in the upper portion
of the same building, where a wretched tenantry of the Devil's poor
lived in squalor. Each of these families was required to pay room-rent
to the millionnaire. As I passed along, I found one man and woman in
wrathful distress. They must pay their rent, or be turned out of their
rooms. The rent was two or three dollars. I said,--

"The old gentleman will not turn you out."

"You do not know him; he will be sure to, if we do not pay him every

I determined to search him out and represent the case. I could not find
him; but before I concluded my search, I found that the poor people had
been compelled to sell a table and some chairs to pay the rent. The next
day I saw them again, and found them heartily abusing the old man as
"a stingy brute," who would "sell the chairs from under them." Yet I
observed that they had _a new table and three new chairs_. When I asked
them how they came by them, they said they had been sent by an unknown
hand, which they supposed to be mine. A thought struck me, and after
some trouble I ferreted out the fact, that, although the rich old man
had, for reasons connected with the good order of the barracks,
always exacted every cent of the rent from each tenant, whatever the
consequences, he had many times, as in this case, secretly returned more
than it had cost them to pay it. They were left to believe him a hard
man, and often attributed his benefits to societies and persons whose
charity would have been stifled by the whiskey-stench of their rooms.

Thus, then, went on his life, until the day when the Golden Wedding
was to be celebrated. That year, the sons, with the vine-dressers, the
bottlers, corkers, and all, gathered together and said,--

"Come, now! let us this year make a wine that shall be like the nectar
for a true man's soul!"

So, with one accord, they gathered the richest grapes, and selected from
them; then they made the wine-press clean and sweet, and cast the grapes
therein. One great hiss,--a spurt of gold flushed with rubies,--and all
that is acrid is left, all that is rich and sweet is borne away, to be
labelled "GOLDEN WEDDING."

And now, as I taste it, it seems to me flavored beyond all earthly wine,
as if it were the expression of an humble and faithful man, who had a
legitimate object, which he obtained by steadfastness. The wine-makers
maintain, that wine, though long confined in bottles, sympathizes still
with the vines from which it was pressed; and when the season of the
flowering of vines comes, it is always agitated anew. Surely the Catawba
must ever sparkle afresh, when in it, as now, we pledge the memory of
the brave and wise pioneer whose life climbed to its maturity along with
the purple clusters which so had garnered the frost and sunshine of a
life as well as of the seasons.


With what interest do we look upon any relic of early human history!
The monument that tells of a civilization whose hieroglyphic records we
cannot even decipher, the slightest trace of a nation that vanished and
left no sign of its life except the rough tools and utensils buried
in the old site of its towns or villages, arouses our imagination and
excites our curiosity. Men gaze with awe at the inscription on an
ancient Egyptian or Assyrian stone; they hold with reverential touch the
yellow parchment-roll whose dim, defaced characters record the meagre
learning of a buried nationality; and the announcement, that for
centuries the tropical forests of Central America have hidden within
their tangled growth the ruined homes and temples of a past race, stirs
the civilized world with a strange, deep wonder.

To me it seems that to look on the first land that was ever lifted above
the waste of waters, to follow the shore where the earliest animals and
plants were created when the thought of God first expressed itself
in organic forms, to hold in one's hand a bit of stone from an old
sea-beach, hardened into rock thousands of centuries ago, and studded
with the beings that once crept upon its surface or were stranded there
by some retreating wave, is even of deeper interest to men than the
relics of their own race, for these things tell more directly of the
thoughts and creative acts of God.

Standing in the neighborhood of Whitehall, near Lake George, one may
look along such a sea-shore, and see it stretching westward and sloping
gently southward as far as the eye can reach. It must have had a very
gradual slope, and the waters must have been very shallow; for at that
time no great mountains had been uplifted, and deep oceans are always
the concomitants of lofty heights. We do not, however, judge of this by
inference merely; we have an evidence of the shallowness of the sea
in those days in the character of the shells found in the Silurian
deposits, which shows that they belonged in shoal waters.

Indeed, the fossil remains of all times tell us almost as much of the
physical condition of the world at different epochs as they do of its
animal and vegetable population. When Robinson Crusoe first caught sight
of the footprint on the sand, he saw in it more than the mere footprint,
for it spoke to him of the presence of men on his desert island. We
walk on the old geological shores, like Crusoe along his beach, and the
footprints we find there tell us, too, more than we actually see in
them. The crust of our earth is a great cemetery where the rocks are
tombstones on which the buried dead have written their own epitaphs.
They tell us not only who they were and when and where they lived, but
much also of the circumstances under which they lived. We ascertain
the prevalence of certain physical conditions at special epochs by the
presence of animals and plants whose existence and maintenance required
such a state of things, more than by any positive knowledge respecting
it. Where we find the remains of quadrupeds corresponding to our
ruminating animals, we infer not only land, but grassy meadows also, and
an extensive vegetation; where we find none but marine animals, we know
the ocean must have covered the earth; the remains of large reptiles,
representing, though in gigantic size, the half aquatic, half
terrestrial reptiles of our own period, indicate to us the existence
of spreading marshes still soaked by the retreating waters; while the
traces of such animals as live now in sand and shoal waters, or in mud,
speak to us of shelving sandy beaches and of mud-flats. The eye of the
Trilobite tells us that the sun shone on the old beach where he
lived; for there is nothing in Nature without a purpose, and when so
complicated an organ was made to receive the light, there must have been
light to enter it. The immense vegetable deposits in the Carboniferous
period announce the introduction of an extensive terrestrial vegetation;
and the impressions left by the wood and leaves of the trees show
that these first forests must have grown in a damp soil and a moist
atmosphere. In short, all the remains of animals and plants hidden in
the rocks have something to tell of the climatic conditions and the
general circumstances under which they lived, and the study of fossils
is to the naturalist a thermometer by which he reads the variations of
temperature in past times, a plummet by which he sounds the depths of
the ancient oceans,--a register, in fact, of all the important physical
changes the earth has undergone.

But although the animals of the early geological deposits indicate
shallow seas by their similarity to our shoal-water animals, it must not
be supposed that they are by any means the same. On the contrary, the
old shells, crustacea, corals, etc., represent types which have existed
in all times with the same essential structural elements, but under
different specific forms in the several geological periods. And here
it may not be amiss to say something of what are called by naturalists
_representative types_.

The statement that different sets of animals and plants have
characterized the successive epochs is often understood as indicating
a difference of another kind than that which distinguishes animals now
living in different parts of the world. This is a mistake. There are
so-called representative types all over the globe, united to each other
by structural relations and separated by specific differences of
the same kind as those that unite and separate animals of different
geological periods. Take, for instance, mud-flats or sandy shores in the
same latitudes of Europe and America; we find living on each animals of
the same structural character and of the same general appearance,
but with certain specific differences, as of color, size, external
appendages, etc. They represent each other on the two continents.
The American wolves, foxes, bears, rabbits, are not the same as the
European, but those of one continent are as true to their respective
types as those of the other; under a somewhat different aspect they
represent the same groups of animals. In certain latitudes, or under
conditions of nearer proximity, these differences may be less marked.
It is well known that there is a great monotony of type, not only among
animals and plants, but in the human races also, throughout the Arctic
regions; and the animals characteristic of the high North reappear under
such identical forms in the neighborhood of the snow-fields in lofty
mountains, that to trace the difference between the ptarmigans, rabbits,
and other gnawing animals of the Alps, for instance, and those of the
Arctics, is among the most difficult problems of modern science.

And so is it also with the animated world of past ages; in similar
deposits of sand, mud, or lime, in adjoining regions of the same
geological age, identical remains of animals and plants may be
found, while at greater distances, but under similar circumstances,
representative species may occur. In very remote regions, however,
whether the circumstances be similar or dissimilar, the general aspect
of the organic world differs greatly, remoteness in space being thus in
some measure an indication of the degree of affinity between different
faunae. In deposits of different geological periods immediately
following each other we sometimes find remains of animals and plants so
closely allied to those of earlier or later periods that at first sight
the specific differences are hardly discernible. The difficulty of
solving these questions, and of appreciating correctly the differences
and similarities between such closely allied organisms, explains the
antagonistic views of many naturalists respecting the range of existence
of animals, during longer or shorter geological periods; and the
superficial way in which discussions concerning the transition of
species are carried on is mainly owing to an ignorance of the conditions
above alluded to. My own personal observation and experience in these
matters have led me to the conviction that every geological period
has had its own representatives, and that no single species has been
repeated in successive ages.

The laws regulating the geographical distribution of animals and their
combination into distinct or zoological provinces called faunae with
definite limits are very imperfectly understood as yet; but so closely
are all things linked together from the beginning till to-day that I am
convinced we shall never find the clue to their meaning till we carry on
our investigations in the past and the present simultaneously. The same
principle according to which animal and vegetable life is distributed
over the surface of the earth now prevailed in the earliest geological
periods. The geological deposits of all times have had their
characteristic faunae under various zones, their zoological provinces
presenting special combinations of animal and vegetable life over
certain regions, and their representative types reproducing in different
countries, but under similar latitudes, the same groups with specific

Of course, the nearer we approach the beginning of organic life, the
less marked do we find the differences to be, and for a very obvious
reason. The inequalities of the earth's surface, her mountain-barriers
protecting whole continents from the Arctic winds, her open plains
exposing others to the full force of the polar blasts, her snug valleys
and her lofty heights, her table-lands and rolling prairies, her
river-systems and her dry deserts, her cold ocean-currents pouring down
from the high North on some of her shores, while warm ones from tropical
seas carry their softer influence to others,--in short, all the
contrasts in the external configuration of the globe, with the physical
conditions attendant upon them, are naturally accompanied by a
corresponding variety in animal and vegetable life.

But in the Silurian age, when there were no elevations higher than
the Canadian hills, when water covered the face of the earth with the
exception of a few isolated portions lifted above the almost universal
ocean, how monotonous must have been the conditions of life! And what
should we expect to find on those first shores? If we are walking on a
sea-beach to-day, we do not look for animals that haunt the forests or
roam over the open plains, or for those that live in sheltered valleys
or in inland regions or on mountain-heights. We look for Shells, for
Mussels and Barnacles, for Crabs, for Shrimps, for Marine Worms, for
Star-Fishes and Sea-Urchins, and we may find here and there a fish
stranded on the sand or tangled in the sea-weed. Let us remember, then,
that, in the Silurian period, the world, so far as it was raised above
the ocean, was a beach, and let us seek there for such creatures as God
has made to live on sea-shores, and not belittle the Creative work,
or say that He first scattered the seeds of life in meagre or stinted
measure, because we do not find air-breathing animals when there was
no fitting atmosphere to feed their lungs, insects with no terrestrial
plants to live upon, reptiles without marshes, birds without trees,
cattle without grass, all things, in short, without the essential
conditions for their existence.

What we do find--and these, as I shall endeavor to show my readers, in
such profusion that it would seem as if God, in the joy of creation, had
compensated Himself for a less variety of forms in the greater richness
of the early types--is an immense number of beings belonging to the four
primary divisions of the Animal Kingdom, but only to those classes whose
representatives are marine, whose home then, as now, was either in the
sea or along its shores. In other words, the first organic creation
expressed in its totality the structural conception since carried out in
such wonderful variety of details, and purposely limited then, because
the world, which was to be the home of the higher animals, was not yet
made ready to receive them.

I am fully aware that the intimate relations between the organic and
physical world are interpreted by many as indicating the absence, rather
than the presence, of an intelligent Creator. They argue, that the
dependence of animals on material laws gives us the clue to their origin
as well as to their maintenance. Were this influence as absolute and
unvarying as the purely mechanical action of physical circumstances
must necessarily be, this inference might have some pretence to
logical probability,--though it seems to me unnecessary, under any
circumstances, to resort to climatic influences or the action of any
physical laws to explain the thoughtful distribution of the organic and
inorganic world, so evidently intended to secure for all beings what
best suits their nature and their needs. But the truth is, that, while
these harmonious relations underlie the whole creation in such a manner
as to indicate a great central plan, of which all things are a part,
there is at the same time a freedom, an arbitrary element in the mode of
carrying it out, which seems to point to the exercise of an individual
will; for, side by side with facts, apparently the direct result of
physical laws, are other facts, the nature of which shows a complete
independence of external influences.

Take, for instance, the similarity above alluded to between the fauna of
the Arctics and that of the Alps, certainly showing a direct relation
between climatic conditions and animal and vegetable life. Yet even
there, where the shades of specific difference between many animals
and plants of the same class are so slight as to battle the keenest
investigators, we have representative types both in the Animal and
Vegetable Kingdoms as distinct and peculiar as those of widely removed
and strongly contrasted climatic conditions. Shall we attribute the
similarities and the differences alike to physical causes? Compare, for
example, the Reindeer of the Arctics with the Ibex and the Chamois,
representing the same group in the Alps. Even on mountain-heights of
similar altitudes, where not only climate, but other physical conditions
would suggest a recurrence of identical animals, we do not find the

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