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Atlantic Monthly, Vol. XI., February, 1863, No. LXIV. by Various

Part 3 out of 5

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But the present design is a plea for justice, not a fresh charge.
The pulpit is to teach religion in application to life. But when we
reflect what life is, how deep in the soul, how wide in the world,
how complicated and delicate in its affairs and ties,--and when, we
consider what religion is, the whole truth of heaven respecting
all the operations of earth,--a kindly judgment is required for
unavoidable short-comings and ministerial mistakes. With different
ages, sexes, experiences, states of mind, degrees of intelligence and
impressibleness in a congregation, it is a rare felicity for a sermon
to reach all its members with equal impressiveness or acceptance. Who
ever heard a uniform estimate of any discourse? There seems almost a
curse upon the preacher's office from its very greatness, so that it
is never finished, and no portion of it can be done perfectly well and
secure against all objection. If he try to unfold the deep things
of the Spirit, and bring his best thoughts, which he would not throw
away, before his audience, though in language clearer than many a
chapter of Paul's Epistles, _some_ will call the topic obscure, and
complain that their children cannot understand it, quoting, perhaps,
the old sentence, that all truth necessary to salvation is so plain
that he who runs may read, and the wayfaring man, though a fool,
cannot err therein, and commending superficial homilies on other
tongues to censure whatever is profound from his. But should the
poor occupant of the desk venture to emulate this eulogized sonorous
exhortation, exerting himself to come down to the ignorant and the
young, there will be _some_ to stigmatize that, too, as a sort of
trifling and disrespect to mature minds. He has by a senior now and
then been blamed for excessive attention to the lambs of his flock,
and annoyed with the menace to stay away, if they were especially
to be noticed. If a visitation of special grace or an exaltation of
physical strength make the mortal incumbent happy in his exposition,
so that he is listened to with edification and delight, it is, by
some, not passed over to his credit at the ebb-tide of his power. Half
the time the house is not half full, as though the institution which
all order to be conducted nobody but he is bound to shoulder. If the
preacher labor to express the mysterious relationship between God and
Christ, the divine and human nature, he will be considered by _some_
a sectarian, controversialist, or heretic. If he unfold what is
above all denominational disputes, he will be fortunate to escape
accusations of transcendentalism, pantheism, spiritualism. If, lucky
man, he go scot-free of such indictment, a last stunning stroke, in
the gantlet he runs, will be sure to fetch him up, in the vague and
unanswerable imputation of being _very peculiar in his views_. If
he insist on the miracles as literal facts, he will be laughed at as
old-fashioned in one pew; if he slight them, he will be mourned over
as unsound in the next. Men grumble at taxes and tolls; alas! nobody
is stopped at so many gates and questioned in so many ways as he. If
he take in hand the tender matter of consoling stricken hearts, the
ecstasy of his visions will not save his topic from being regarded by
some as painful, and by others as a mere shining of the moon. He will
receive special requests not to harrow up the feelings he only meant
to bind up in balm. He may be informed of an aversion, more or less
extensive, to naming the _grave_ or _coffin_ and what it contains,
though he only puts one foot by pall or bier to plant the other in
paradise. If he turn the everlasting verities he is intrusted with to
events transpiring on the public stage, though he never sided with any
party in his life, and has no more committed himself to men than did
his Master, _some_ will be grieved at his _preaching politics_. His
head has throbbed, his heart ached, his eyes were hot and wet
once before he uttered himself; but he must suffer and weep worse
afterwards, because he went too far for one man and not far enough for
another. He is told, one day, that he is too severe on seceders, and
the next, ironically, that, with such merciful sentiments towards
them, he ought always to wear a cravat completely white. One man is
amused at his sermon, and another thinks the same is sad. He will be
asked if he cannot give a little less of one thing or more of another,
as though he were a dealer in wares or an exhibiter of curious
documents for a price, and could take an article from this or that
shelf, or a paper from any one of a hundred pigeon-holes, when, if he
be a servant of the Lord and organ of the Holy Ghost, he has no choice
and is shut up to his errand,--necessity is laid upon him, woe is unto
him if he deliver it not, but, like another Jonah, flee to Tarshish
when the Lord tells him to go to Nineveh and cry against its
wickedness; and he feels through every nerve that truth is not a
thing to be carried round as merchandise or peddled out at all to suit
particular tastes, to retain old friends or win new ones, hard as it
may go, to the anguish of his soul, to lose the good-will of those he
loves, and whose distrust is a chronic pang, though they come to love
him again all the more for what he has suffered and said. But if,
passing by discussions of general interest, and exposing himself
to the hint of being behind the times, he grapple with the sins
immediately about him, board the false customs of society and trade,
and strike with the sword of the Lord at private vices and family
faults, he will be blamed as very _personal_, and be apprised of his
insults to those of whom in his delivery he never thought, as he may
never preach _at_ anybody, or even _to_ anybody, in his most direct
thrusting, more than to himself, reaching others only through his own
wounded heart. Meantime, some of his ecclesiastical constituents
will suspect him, in his local ethics, of leniency to wide-spread
corruption; and professed philanthropists will brand him as a trimmer
and coward, recreant, fawning, and dumb,--the term _spaniel_ having
been flung at one of the best men and most conscientious ministers
that ever lived, simply because he could not vituperate as harshly
as some of his neighbors. Some would have him remember only those in
bonds; others say they cannot endure from him even the word _slavery_.
Blessed, if, from all these troubles, he can, for solace, and with a
sense of its significance, bethink himself of Christ's saying to
his disciples, "Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!"
Thrice blessed, if he have an assurance and in that inward certificate
possess the peace which passeth understanding!

I intend not, by my simple story, which has in it no fiction, to add
to the lamentations of the old prophet, nor will allow Jeremiah to
represent all my mood. It is perfectly fit the laity should criticize
the clergy. The minister,--who is he but one of the people, set apart
to particular functions, open to a judgment on the manner of their
discharge, from which no sacred mission or supposed apostolic
succession can exempt, the Apostles having been subject to it
themselves? Under their robes and ordinances, in high-raised desks,
priest and bishop are but men, after all. Ministers should be grateful
for all the folk's frankness. Only let the criticism be considerate
and fair; and in order to its becoming so, let us ascertain the
perfect model of their calling. Did not their Master give it, when he
said, "The field is the world"? If so, then to everything in the world
must the pulpit apply the moral law. What department of it shall be
excused? _Politics_,--because it embraces rival schools in the same
worshipping body, and no disinterested justice in alluding to its
principles can be expected from a preacher, or because whoever
disagrees with his opinions must be silent, there being on Sunday and
in the sanctuary no decency allowed of debate or reply, and therefore
whatever concerns the civil welfare and salvation of the community is
out of the watchman's beat now, though God so expressly bade him warn
the city of old? _Commerce_,--because a minister understands nothing
of the elements and necessities of business, and must blunder in
pointing to banks and shops or any transactions of the street, though
an old preacher, called Solomon, in his Proverbs refers so sharply to
the buyer and the seller? _Pleasure_,--because the servant of the Lord
cannot be supposed to sympathize with, but only to denounce, amusement
which poor tired humanity employs for its recreation, though Miriam's
smiting of her timbrel, which still rings from the borders of the
raging Red Sea, and David's dancing in a linen ephod with all his
might before the Lord, when the ark on a new cart came into the
city, were a sort of refreshment of triumphant sport? _The social
circle_,--because of course he cannot go to parties or comprehend the
play of feeling in which the natural affections run to and fro,
and should rather be at home reading his Bible, turning over his
Concordance, and writing his sermon, letting senate and dance, market
and exchange, opera and theatre, fights and negotiations go to the
winds, so he only comes duly with his _exegesis_ Sunday morning to his
place? In short, is the minister's concern and call of God only, with
certain imposing formalities and prearranged dogmas, to greet in their
Sunday-clothes his friends who have laid aside their pursuits and
delights with the gay garments or working-dress of the week, never
reminding them of what, during the six days, they have heard or where
they have been? "No!" let him say; "if this is to be a minister, no
minister can I be!" For what is left of the field the Lord sends the
minister into? It is cut up and fenced off into countless divisions,
to every one of which some earthly-agent or interest brings a
title-deed. The minister finds the land of the world, like some vast
tract of uncivilized territory, seized by wild squatters, owned and
settled by other parties, and, as a famous political-economist said
in another connection, there is no cover at Nature's table for him.
As with the soldier in the play, whose wars were over, _his_
"occupation's gone."

What is the minister, then? A ghost, or a figure like some in the
shop-window, all made up of dead cloth and color into an appearance of
life? Verily, he comes almost to that. But no such shape, no spectre
from extinct animation of thousands of years ago, like the geologist's
skeletons reconstructed from lifeless strata of the earth, can answer
the vital purposes of the revelation from God. Of no pompous or
abstract ritual administration did the Son of God set an example. He
had a parable for the steward living when _He_ did; He called
King Herod, then reigning, _a fox_, and the Scribes and Pharisees
hypocrites; He declared the prerogatives of His Father beyond Caesar's;
He maintained a responsibility of human beings coextensive with the
stage and inseparable from the smallest trifle of their existence. He
did not limit His marvellous tongue to antiquities and traditions. He
used the mustard-seed in the field and the leaven in the lump for His
everlasting designs. His finger was stretched out to the cruel stones
of self-righteousness flying through the air, and phylacteries of
dissimulation worn on the walk. He was so _political_, He would have
saved Jerusalem and Judea from Roman ruin, and wept because He could
not, with almost the only tears mentioned of His. Those who teach in
His name should copy after His pattern.

"_Confine yourselves to the old first Gospel, preach Christianity,
early Christianity_," we ministers are often told. But what is
Christianity, early or late, and what does the Gospel mean, but a rule
of holy living in every circumstance now? Grief and offence may come,
as Jesus says they must; misapplications and complaints, which are
almost always misapprehensions, may be made; but are not these better
than indifference and death? No doubt there is a prudence, and still
more an impartial candor and equity, in treating every matter, but
no beauty in timid flight from any matter there is to treat. The
clergyman, like every man, speaks at his peril, and is as accountable
as any one for what he says. He ought justly and tenderly to remember
the diverse tenets represented among his auditors, to side with
no sect as such, to give no individual by his indorsement a mean
advantage over any other, nor any one a handle of private persecution
by his open anathema. Moreover, he should abstain from that
particularity in secular themes which so easily wanders from all
sight of spiritual law amid regions of uncertainty and speculative
conjecture. He should shun explorations less fit for prophets than for
experts. He should lay his finger on no details in which questions of
right and wrong are not plainly involved. He must be public-spirited;
he cannot be more concerned for his country and his race, that
righteousness and liberty and love may prevail, than divine seers have
ever been, as their books of record show; but, if he becomes a mere
diplomatist, financier, secretary-of-state, or military general, in
his counsels or his tone, he evacuates his own position, flees as
a craven from his post, and assumes that of other men. Yet it is an
extreme still worse for him to resort to lifeless generalities of
doctrine and duty, producing as little effect as comes from electric
batteries or telegraphic wires when no magnetic current is established
and no object reached. What section, of the world should evade or defy
the law of God?

O preachers, beware of your sentimental descant on the worth of
goodness, the goodness of being good, and the sinfulness of sin,
without specifying either! It is a blank cartridge, or one of
treacherous sand instead of powder, or a spiked gun, only whose
priming explodes without noise or execution. Let nobody dodge the sure
direction of that better than lead or iron shot with which from you
the conscience is pierced and iniquity slain. Suffer not the statesman
to withdraw his policy, nor the broker his funds, nor the captain the
cause he fights for, from the sentence of divine truth on the good or
evil in all the acts of men.

The preacher, however, as he pronounces or reports that sentence, must
never forget the bond he is under in his own temper to the spirit of
impartial love. Whatever is vindictive vitiates his announcement all
the more that he cannot be rebuked for it, as he ought to be, on the
spot. Only let not the hearers mistake earnestness for vindictiveness.
If kindly and with intense serenity he communicates what he has
struggled long and hard to attain, then for their own sake, if not for
his, they should beware of visiting him either with silent distrust or
open reproach. He, just like them, must stand or fall according to his
fidelity to the oracles of God. Only, once more, let him and let
the Church comprehend that those oracles are not summed up in any
laborious expounding of verbal texts. "The letter killeth," unless
itself enlivened through the immediate Providence.

To be true to God, the preacher must be true to his time, as the
Prophets, Jesus, and the Apostles were to theirs. The pulpit dies of
its dignity, when it creeps into the exhausted receiver of foregone
conclusions, and has nothing to say but of Adam and Pharaoh, Jew
and Gentile, Palestine and Tyre so far away. Its decorum of being
inoffensive to others is suicidal for itself. It is the sleep of
death for all. As the inductive philosopher took all knowledge for
his province, it must take all life. We have, indeed, a glorious and
venerable charter of inestimable worth in our map of the religious
history of mankind through centuries that are gone. We must study
the true meaning of the Bible, _the book_ and chief collection of
the records of faith, precious above all for the immortal image and
photograph, in so many a shifting light and various expression, of
the transcendent form of divinity through manhood in Him to be ever
reverently and lovingly named, Jesus Christ. But there is a spirit in
man. "The word of God," says an Apostle, "is not bound"; nor can it
be wholly bound up. The Holy Spirit of God that first descended never
died, and never ceased to act on the human soul. The day of miracles
is not past,--or, if none precisely like those of Jesus are
still wrought, miracles of grace, the principal workings of the
supernatural, of which external prodigies are the lowest species, are
performed abundantly in the living breast. Jesus Himself, after all
the sufficient and summary grandeur of His instructions, assures
His followers of the Spirit that would come to lead them, beyond
whatsoever He had said, into all truth. In that dispensation of the
Spirit we live. Its sphere endures through all change, impregnable.
It is "builded far from accident." No progress of earthly science can
threat or hurt its eternal proportions. It is the supreme knowledge,
and to whoever enters it a whisper comes whose only response is the
confession of our noble hymn,--

"True science is to read Thy name."

Much is said of a contradictory relation of science to faith. But the
statement is a misnomer. True faith is the lushest science, even the
knowledge of God. Putting fishes or birds, shells or flowers, stones
or stars, in a circle or a row is a lower science than the sublime
intercommunication of the soul by prayer and love with its Father.
Mere physical, without spiritual science, has no bottom to hold
anything, and no foundation of peace. The king of science is not the
naturalist as such, but the saint conversing with Divinity,--not so
much Humboldt or La Place as Fenelon or Luther. So far as the progress
of outward science saps accredited writings, they must give way, or
rather any false conceptions of Nature they imply must yield, leaving
whatever spirituality there is in them untouched. But this is from
no essential contradiction between science and religious faith. What
faith or religion is there in believing the world was made in six
days? Less than in calculating, with Agassiz, by the coral reefs of
Florida, that to make one bit of it took more than sixty thousand
years. Religious faith, what is it? It is the trembling transport with
which the soul hearkens and gives itself up to God, in sympathy with
all likewise entranced souls. But from such consecrated listening to
the voice of Deity, fresh in our bosom or echoed from without by those
He has inspired, we verify the rule already affirmed, and fetch
advice and command for all the affairs of life. It is emphatically
the minister's duty thus to join the vision to the fact, that they
may strike through and through one another. Certainly, so the true
minister's speech should run. Let him stand up and boldly say, or
always imply, "I so construe it; and if the _Church_ interpret it
otherwise, the Church is no place for me. If the _world_ will accept
no such method, the world is no place for me. I see not why I was
born, or what with Church or world I have to do. From Church and world
I should beg leave to retire, trusting that God's Universe, somewhere
beyond this dingy spot, is true to the persuasion of His mind. I must
apply religion universally to life, or not at all. If, when my country
is in peril, I cannot bring her to the altar and ask that she may be
lifted up in the arms of a common supplication,--if, in the terrible
game of honesty with political corruption, when '_Check_' is said
to the adverse power, I cannot wish and pray that '_Checkmate_' may
follow,--when some huge evil, sorely wounded, in its fierce throes
spreads destruction about, as the dying monster in Northern seas casts
up boat-loads of dying men who fall bruised and bleeding among the
fragments into the waves with the threshing of its angry tail, if
then I cannot hope that the struggle may be short, and the ship of the
Republic gather back her crew from prevailing in the conflict to sail
prosperous with all her rich cargo of truth and freedom on the voyage
over the sea of Time,--if no sound of the news-boy's cry must mix with
the echoes of solemn courts, and no reflection of wasting fires in
which life and treasure melt can flash through their windows, and
no deeds of manly heroism or womanly patriotism are to have applause
before God and Christ in the temple,--if nothing but some preexisting
scheme of salvation, distinct from all living activity, must absorb
the mind,--then I totally misunderstand and am quite out of my place.
Then let me go. It is high time I were away. I have stayed too long
already." Such should be the speech of the minister, knowing he is
not tempted to be a partisan, and is possessed with but an over-kind
sensibility to dread any ruffling of others' feelings or discord with
those that are dear.

In the first year of a young minister's service, Dr. Channing besought
him to let no possible independence of parochial support relax his
industry: a needless caution to one not constituted to feel seductions
of sloth, in whom active energy is no merit, and who can have no
motive but the people's good. What else is there for him to seek?
There is no by-end open, and no virtue in a devotedness there is no
lure to forego. There is no position he can covet, as politicians are
said to bid for the Presidency. But one thing is indispensable: he
must tell what he thinks; he is strong only in his convictions; the
sacrifice of them he cannot make; it were but his debility, if he did;
and the treasury of all the fortunes of the richest parish were no
more than a cipher to purchase it from any one who, quick as he may
be to human kindness, may have a more tremulous rapture for the
approbation of God.

After all, to his profession and parish the preacher is in debt.
Exquisite rewards his work yields. If controversy arise on some point
with his friends, there may, after a while, be no remnant of hard
feeling,--as there are heavy cannonades, and no bit of wadding picked
up. Those who have striven with or defamed may come to cherish him all
the more for their alienation. Those who could not hear him, or, when
they heard, thought him too long, or what they heard did not like, may
own with him, out of their discontent, closer and sweeter bonds. His
business is expansive in its nature. The seasons of human life in
broad representation are always before him. How many moral springs and
summers, autumns and winters he sees, till he can hardly tell whether
his musing on this curious existence be memory or hope, retrospect
of earth or prospect of heaven! and he begins to think the spiritual
world abolishes distinctions of spheres and times, as parents, that
were his lambs, bring their babes to his arms, and, even in the
flesh, his mortal passing into eternal vision, he beholds, as in
vivid dreaming, other parents leading their children on other shores,
unseen, though hard by. Where, after a score or two of years, is his
church? He has several congregations,--one within the dedicated walls,
one of emigrants whom his fancy instead of the bell assembles, and
a third of elders and little ones gone back through the shadow of
mystery whence they came. In what abides of the flock nothing remains
as it was. Wondrous transformations snow maturity or decline in the
very forms that, to his also changing eye and hand, once wore soft
cheeks and silken locks. In his experience, miracle is less than
creation and lower than truth. He cannot credit Memory's ever losing
her seat, he has such things to remember. The best thereof can never
be written down, published, uttered by orators, or blown from the
trumpet of Fame, whose "brave instrument" must put up with a meaner
message and inferior breath. Out of his affections are born his
beliefs; earth is the cradle of his expectancy and persuasion of
heaven; and not otherwise than through the glass of his experience
could he have sight of a sphere of ineffable glory for better growth
than Nature here affords in all her gardens and fields.

So let the preacher stand by his order. But let him be just, also, to
the constituency from which it springs. Hearty and cheerful, though
obscure worker, let him be. Let him fling his weaver's shuttle still,
daily while he lives, through the crossing party-colored threads of
human life, till, in his factory too, beauty flows from confusion,
contradiction ends in harmony, and the blows with which each one has
been stricken form the perfect pattern from all. There is a unity
which all faithful labor, through whatever jars, consults and creates.
Of all criticisms the resultant is truth; be the conflicts what they
may, the issue shall be peace; and one music of affection is yet
angelically to flow from the many divided notes of human life. Who is
the _minister_, then? No ordained functionary alone, but every man or
woman that has lived and served, loved and lamented, and now, for such
ends, suffers and hopes.

THE GHOST OF LITTLE JACQUES.

How quiet the saloon was, that morning, as I groped my way through the
little white tables, the light chairs, and the dimness of early dawn
to the windows. It was my business to open the windows every morning,
finding my way down as best I could; for it was not permitted to light
the gas at that hour, and no candles were allowed, lest they should
soil the furniture. This morning the glass dome which brightened the
ceiling, and helped to lighten the saloon, was of very little effect,
so cloudy and dusk was the sky. The high houses which shut in the
strip of garden on all sides reflected not a ray of light. A
chill struck through me, as I passed along the marble pavement; a
saloon-dampness, empty, vault-like, hung about the fireless, sunless
place; and the plashing of the fountain which dripped into the marble
basin beyond--dropping, dropping, incessantly--struck upon my ear like
water trickling down the side of a cave.

It had never occurred to me to think the place lonely or dreary
before, or to demur at this morning operation of opening it for the
day; a tawdry, gilded, showy hall, it had seemed to me quite a grand
affair, compared with those in which I had hitherto found employment.
Now I shuddered and shivered, and felt the task, always regarded as a
compliment to my honesty, to be indeed hard and heavy enough.

It might have been--yet I was not a coward--that the little coffin
in that little room at the end of the saloon had something to do with
this uneasiness. On each side of that narrow room (which opened upon a
long hall leading to the front of the building) were the small windows
looking out upon the garden, which I always unbolted first. I say I
do not know that this presence of death had anything to do with my
trepidation. The death of a child was no very solemn or very uncommon
thing in my master's family. He had many children, and, when death
thinned their ranks, took the loss like a philosopher,--as he was,--a
French philosopher. He philosophized that his utmost exertions could
not do much more for the child than bequeath to him just such a
life as he led, and a share in just such a saloon as he owned; and
therefore, if a priest and a coffin insured the little innocent
admission into heaven without any extra charge, he would not betray
such lack of wisdom as to demur at the proposition. Therefore, very
quietly, since I had been in his employ, (about a twelvemonth,) three
of his children, one by one, had been brought down to that little room
at the end of the saloon, and thence through the long hall, through
the crowded street out to some unheard-of burying-ground, where a pot
of flowers and a painted cross supplied the place of a head-stone.
The shop was not shut up on these occasions: that would have been an
unnecessary interference with the comfort of customers, and loss
of time and money. The necessity of providing for his little living
family had quite disenthralled Monsieur C---- from any weakly
sentimentality in regard to his little dead family.

So I do not know why I shuddered, being also myself somewhat of a
philosopher,--of such cool philosophy as grows out inevitably from the
hard and stony strata of an overworked life. The sleeper within
was certainly better cared for now than he ever had been in life.
Monsieur's purse afforded no holiday-dress but a shroud; three of
these in requisition within so short a time quite scanted the wardrobe
of the other children. Little Jacques had always been a somewhat
restless and unhappy baby, longing for fresh air, and a change which
he never got; it seemed likely, so far as the child's promise was
concerned, that the "great change" was his only chance of variety, and
the very best thing that could have happened to him.

And yet, after all, there was something about his death which
individualized it, and hung a certain sadness over its occurrence that
does not often belong to the death of children, or at least had not
marked the departure of his two stout little brothers. Scarlet-fever
and croup and measles are such every-day, red-winged, mottled angels,
that no one is appalled at their presence; they take off the little
sufferer in such vigorous fashion, clutch him with so hearty a
grip, that one is compelled to open the door, let them out, and
feel relieved when the exit is made. It is only when some dim-eyed,
white-robed shape, scarcely seen, scarcely felt, steps softly in and
steals away the little troublesome bundle of life with solemn eye and
hushed lip, that we have time to pause, to look, to grieve.

This little Jacques, when I came to his father's house, was a rampant,
noisy, cunning child, with the vivacity of French and American blood
mingling in his veins, and filling him with strongest tendencies to
mischief, and prompting elfish feats of activity. He was not by any
means a fascinating child,--in fact, no children ever fascinated
me,--but this little fellow was rather disagreeable, a wonder to his
father, a horror to his mother, and a great annoyance generally;
we were all rather cross with him, and he was universally put down,
thrust aside, and ordered out of the way.

This was the state of affairs when I came. It was little Jacques, with
a high forehead, white, tightly curling hair, and mischief-full blue
eye, who made himself translator of all imaginable inquisitorial
French phrases for my benefit,--who questioned, and tormented,
and made faces at me,--who pulled my apron, disappeared with my
carpet-bag, and placed a generous slice of molasses-candy upon the
seat of my chair, when I sat down to rest myself.

Little Jacques ardently loved a sly fishing-expedition on the edge
of the marble fountain-basin, and had lured one or two unthinking
gold-fish to destruction with fly and a crooked pin. He would sit
perched up there at an odd chance, when his father was away, and he
dared venture into the saloon,--his little bare feet twinkling against
the water, his plump figure curled up into the minutest size, but
ready for a spring and a dart up-stairs at the shortest notice of
danger. This piscatory propensity had been severely punished by both
Monsieur and Madame C----, who could not afford to encourage such an
expensive Izaak Walton; but there was no managing the child. He
seemed to possess an impish capability of eluding detection and angry
denunciations. To be sure, circumstances were against any very strict
guard being kept over the youngster. Madame C---- was a very weak
woman, a very weak woman indeed,--she declared that such was the
case,--a nervous, dispirited woman, whom everything troubled, who
could not bear the noise and tramp of life, and altogether sank under
it. Destiny had had no mercy on her weakness, however, and had left
her to get along with an innumerable family of children, a philosophic
husband, who took all her troubles coolly, and a constant demand
for her services either in the shop or at the cradle. She could not,
therefore, have patience with the incessant anxiety which little
Jacques excited by his pranks.

One day Madame C---- had gone out for a walk, leaving the children
locked in a room above, five of them, two younger and two older
than Jacques; and these together had been in a state of riotous
insurrection the whole morning. Little Jacques was not of a
disposition to submit to ignominious imprisonment, when human
ingenuity could devise means of escape; while his brothers were
running wild together, he soberly hunted up another key, screwed and
scraped and got it into the key-hole; it turned, and he was out.

Half an hour afterwards, his mother, returning, caught the unfortunate
fugitive contemplatively perched on the edge of the fountain-basin. In
such a frenzy of anger as only unreasonable people are subject to,
she caught the child, shivering with terror, and thrust him into the
water. The gold-fish splashed and swirled, and the water streamed over
the sides of the basin. It was only an instant's work; snatching up
the forlorn fisher, she shook him unmercifully, and set him upon the
floor, dripping and breathless. I saw nothing of them until night.
His mother had then recovered her usual peevishness, weakness, and
inefficiency; the ebullition of energy had entirely subsided. I was
curious to know whether the summary punishment had had any effect upon
Jacques; but he was asleep, as soundly as usual after a day's hard
frolic.

My curiosity was likely to be gratified to satiety. A strange change
came over the little fellow after this. To one accustomed to his apish
activity, and to being annoyed by it, there was something plaintive
in the fact of having got rid of that trouble. The child was silent,
mopish, "good," as his mother said, congratulating herself on the
effect of her summary visitation upon the offender.

When, however, a month passed without any return of the evil
propensities, this continued quiescence grew to be something ghostly,
and, to people who had only their own hands to depend on for a living,
a subject of anxiety and alarm: it was expensive to clothe and feed a
child who promised but little service in future.

"The _enfant_ will never come to anything," said Monsieur; "we could
better have spared him than Jean."

To which his wife shook her head, and solemnly assented.

The '_enfant_,' however, gave no signs of taking the hint. Day after
day his little ministerial head and flaxen curls were visible over
the top of his old-fashioned arm-chair, and day after day his food was
demanded, and his appetite was as good as ever.

Watching the child, whose blue eyes, now the mischief was out of them,
grew utterly vacant of expression, I unaccountably to myself came to
feel an uncomfortable interest in, a morbid sympathy with him,--an
uneasy, unhappy sympathy, more physical than mental.

No fault could have been found with the motherly carefulness and
attention of Madame C----. It was charmingly polite and French. But
the sight of her preparing the child's food, or coaxing him
with unaccustomed delicacies and _bonbons_, grew to be utterly
distasteful,--an infliction so nervously annoying that I could not
overcome it. A secret antipathy which I had nourished against Madame
seemed to be germinating; every action of hers irritated me, every
sound of her sharp, yet well-modulated voice gave me a tremor. The
truth was, that plunge into the water, taking place so unexpectedly in
my presence, had startled and upset me almost as completely as if it
had befallen myself. A hard-working woman had no business with such
nerves. I knew that, and tried to annihilate them; but the more I
cut them down, the more they bled. The thing was a mere trifle,--the
fountain-basin was shallow, the water healthy,--nothing could be more
healthy than bathing,--and, at any rate, it was no affair of mine.
Yet my mind in some unhealthy mood aggravated the circumstances, and
colored everything with its own dark hue.

I could not give up my place, of course not; I was not likely to get
so good a situation anywhere else; I could not risk it; and yet the
servitude of horror under which I was held for a few weeks was almost
enough to reconcile one to starvation. Only that I was kept busy
in the shop most of the time, and had little leisure to observe the
course of affairs, or to be in Madame's society, I should have given
warning,--foolishly enough,--for there was not a tangible thing of
which I had to complain. But a shapeless suspicion which for some days
had been brooding in my mind was taking form, too dim for me to
dare to recognize it, but real enough to make me feel a miserable
fascination to the house while little Jacques still lived, a magnetic,
uncomfortable necessity for my presence, as though it were in some
sort a protection against an impending evil.

Such suspicion I did not, of course, presume to name, scarcely
presumed to think, it seemed so like an unnatural monstrosity of my
own mind. But when, one morning, the child died, holding in his
hands the _bonbons_ his mother had given him, and Madame C----, all
agitation and frenzy and weeping, still contrived to extract them from
the tightly closed, tiny fists, and threw them into the grate, I felt
a horrid thrill like the effect of the last scene in a tragedy. _I
knew that the bonbons were poisoned_.

So that is the reason I shuddered as I passed through the saloon.

Throwing open the window, a dim light flickered through, and a sickly
ray fell upon the fountain. It shivered upon the dripping marble
column in its centre, and struck with an icy hue the water in the
basin below. The fountain was not in my range of vision from the
window; but I often turned to look at it as I opened the shutters,
thinking it a pretty sight when the drops sparkled in the misty light
against the background of the otherwise darkened room. It pleased my
imagination to watch the effect produced by a little more or a little
less opening of the shutters,--a nonsensical morning play-spell, which
quite enlivened me for the sedate occupations of the day. It was,
however, not imagination now which whispered to me that there was
something else to look at beside the jet of water and the shadowy
play of light. Stooping down upon the fountain-brink, absorbed in
contemplating the gold-fish swimming below, and with its naked little
feet touching the water's edge, a tiny figure sat. My first thought
(the first thoughts of fear are never reasonable) was, that some child
from up-stairs had stolen down unawares, (as children are quite as
fond as grown folks of forbidden pleasures,) to amuse itself with the
water. But the children were not risen yet, and the saloon was too
utterly dark and dismal at that hour to tempt the bravest of them.
Second thoughts reminded me of that certainty, and I looked again. The
figure raised its head from its drooping posture, and gazed vacantly,
out of a pair of dim blue eyes, at me. The eyes were the eyes of
little Jacques.

I do not know how I should have been so utterly overcome, but I
started up in terror as I felt the dreamy phantom-gaze fixed upon me,
raising my hands wildly above my head. The hammer which I held in my
hand to drive back the bolts of the shutters flew from my grasp and
struck the great mirror,--the new mirror which had just been bought,
and was not yet hung up. All the savings of a year were shivered to
fragments in an instant. My horror at this catastrophe recalled my
presence of mind; for I was a poor woman, dependent for my bread on
the family. Poor women cannot afford to have fancies; some prompt
reality always startles them out of dream or superstition. My
superstition fled in dismay as I stooped over the fragments of
the looking-glass. What should I do? Where should I hide myself? I
involuntarily took hold of the mirror with the instinctive intention
of turning it to the wall. It was very heavy; I could scarcely lift
it. Pausing a moment, and looking forward at its shattered face in
utter anguish of despair, I saw again, repeated in a hundred jagged
splinters, up and down in zigzag confusion, in demoniac omnipresence,
the uncanny eye, the spectral shape, which had so appalled me. The
little phantom had arisen, its slim finger was outstretched,--it
beckoned, slowly beckoned, growing indistinct, it receded farther and
farther out from the saloon towards the shop.

The fascination of a spell was upon me; I turned and followed the
retreating figure. The shutters of the show-window were not yet taken
down, but thin lines of light filtered through them,--light enough to
see that the apparition made its way to a forbidden spot slyly haunted
by the little boy in his days of mischief,--a certain shelf where a
box of some peculiar sort of expensive confections was kept. I had
seen his mother, with unwonted generosity, give the child a handful of
these a day or two before his death. I could go no farther. A mighty
fear fell upon me, a dimness of vision and a terrible faintness; for
that child-phantom, gliding on before, stopped like a retribution at
that very spot, and, raising its little hand, pointed to that very
box, glancing upward with its solemn eye, as, rising slowly in the
air, it grew indistinct, its outlines fading into darkness, and
disappeared.

I did not fall or faint, however; I hastened out to the saloon again.
The door of the little room where the coffin stood was open, and
Madame stepping out, looked vaguely about her.

"Madame! Madame!" I cried, "oh, I have seen--I have seen a terrible
sight!"

Madame's face grew white, very white. She grasped me harshly by the
arm.

"What _are_ you talking about, you crazy woman? You are getting quite
wild, I think. Do you imagine you can hide your guilt in that way?"
and she shook me with a savage fierceness that made my very bones
ache. "This is carrying it with a high hand, to be sure, to flatter
yourself that such wilful carelessness will not be discovered. Do you
suppose," she cried, pointing to the fragments of glass, "that _my_
nerves could feel a crash like that, and I not come down to see what
had happened?"

She spoke so volubly, and kept so firm a grip of my arm, that I could
not get breath to utter a word of self-defence,--indeed, what defence
could I make? Yet I should say, from my mistress's singular manner,
that _she_ had seen that vision too, so wild were her eyes, so haggard
her face.

Little Jacques was buried. His attentive parents enjoyed a
carriage-ride, with his miniature coffin between them, quite as
well as if the little fellow had accompanied them alive and full of
mischief.

Outside matters, as Monsieur said, being now off his mind, he could
attend to business again.

The mirror belonged to "business." I had been writhing under that
knowledge all the morning of their absence.

Monsieur took the sight of his despoiled glass as calmly as Diogenes
might have viewed a similar disaster from his tub. Monsieur's
philosophy was grounded upon common sense. He knew that the frame
was valuable. He knew also that I had saved enough to pay for the
accident. I knew it, too, and was well aware that he would exact
payment to the uttermost farthing. Monsieur, therefore, was quite
cool. He laughed loudly at Madame's excitement, and the feverish
account she gave of my fright, my deceitfulness, and pretending to see
what nobody else saw.

"Little Jacques!" I heard him exclaim, as I entered the room,
shrugging his shoulders with such a contemptuously good-natured
sneer as only a Frenchman can manufacture; and raising both his hands
derisively, he went off with vivacity to his business.

In the morning I left. Monsieur endeavored to persuade me to stay. But
my business there was finished. I was quite as cool as Monsieur,--in
fact, a little chilly. I was determined to go. Madame was determined
also; we could no longer get along together; each hated and feared
the other; and Madame C---- having used overnight what influence she
possessed to bring her husband to see the necessity of my departure,
his objections were not very difficult to remove.

I could not afford to be out of work, that was true, and it might take
me a long time to get it; but I was tired to death, and glad of any
excuse for a little rest. What, after all, if I did lie by for a
little while? there was not much pleasure or profit either way.

I should not grow rich by my work; I could not grow much poorer
by being idle. The past year, which I had spent in the service of
Monsieur and Madame C----, had been one of constant annoyance and
irritating variety of employment. I had grown fretful in the constant
hurry and drive, and the baneful atmosphere of Madame's peevishness.
Body and soul cried out for a season of release, which never in all my
life of service had I thought of before.

I had my desire now. I had put away my bondage. I had ceased my
unprofitable labor. The rest I had so long craved was at hand. I might
take a jubilee, a siesta, if I pleased, of half a year, and nobody be
the wiser. I was responsible to nobody. Nobody had any demands upon
my time or exertion. Free! I stood in a vacuum; no rush of air, no
tempest or whirlpool stirred its infinite profundity. At length I
was at peace,--a peace which seemed likely to last as long as my slim
purse held out; for employment was not easy to obtain. Did I enjoy it?
Did I lap myself in the long-desired repose in thankful quiescence
of spirit? Perhaps,--I cannot tell; restlessness had become a chronic
disease with me. I felt like a ship drifted from its moorings: the
winds and the tides were pleasant; the ocean was at lull; but the ship
rocked aimless and unsteady upon the waters. The heavy weights of
life and activity so suddenly withdrawn left painful lightness akin to
emptiness. The broken chains trailed noisily after me. The time hung
heavily which I had so long prayed for. Long years of monotonous
servitude had made a very machine of me. I could only rust in
inaction. Some other power, to rack and grind and urge me on, was
necessary to my very existence.

So it happened, that, at last, my holiday having spun out to the end
of my means, I left the city, and engaged work at very low wages in
a country-village. The situation and the remuneration were not in
the least calculated to stimulate ambition or avarice; and I remained
obscurely housed, incessantly busy, and coarsely clothed and fed, in
this place, for two years. They were not long years either. I had
no hard taskmaster, however hard my task, no uneasy, unexplainable
apprehensions, no moody forebodings of evil, no troublesome children
to distress me. At the end of that time I heard of a better situation,
and returned to the city.

I had been engaged about a twelvemonth in my new place, a very
pleasant little shop, though the pay was less and the work harder
than I had had with Monsieur C----, when, one morning, standing at the
shop-window, I saw that gentleman pass: very brisk, very spruce, very
plump he looked. Glancing in, (I flatter myself that a show-window
arranged as I could arrange it would attract any one's eye,) he espied
me. A speedy recognition and a long conversation were the result. It
was early morning, and we had the store to ourselves. Monsieur was
very friendly. His business was very good. Poor Madame! he wished
she could have lived to see it; but she was gone, poor soul! out of a
world of trouble. And Monsieur plaintively fixed his eyes on the black
crape upon his hat. The unhappy exit took place a few months after my
departure. The children had gone to one or another relative. Monsieur
was all alone; he had been away since then himself, had been doing as
well as a bereaved man could do, and, having saved a snug little sum,
had returned to buy out the old stand, and reestablish himself in the
old place. No one was with him; he wished he could get a good hand to
superintend the concern, now his own hands were so full. It would be a
good situation for somebody. In short, Monsieur came again and again,
until, as I was poor and lonely, and had almost overworked myself
just to keep soul and body together, whose union, after all, was of
no importance to any one save myself, and as I was quite glad to
find some one else who was interested in the preservation of the
partnership, I consented to be his wife. It was a very sensible and
philosophic arrangement for both of us. We could make more money
together than apart, and were stout and well able to help each other,
if only well taken care of. So we settled the business, and settled
ourselves as partners in the saloon.

Three years had passed, and we were in the old place still. We had
been very busy that day. Many orders to fill, many customers to wait
upon. Monsieur, completely worn out, was sound asleep on the sofa
up-stairs. It was late; I was very much fatigued, as I descended,
according to my usual custom, to see that everything was safe about
the house and shop. The place was all shut and empty; the lights were
all out. A cushioned lounge in one corner of the saloon--_my_ saloon
now--attracted my weary limbs, and I threw myself upon it, setting the
lamp upon a marble table by its side. With a complacent sense of rest
settling upon me, I drowsily looked about at the dim magnificence of
loneliness which surrounded me. The night-lamp made more shadow than
shine; but even by its obscured rays one who had known the old place
would have been struck with the wonderful improvement we had made. So
I thought. It was almost like a palace, gilded, and mirrored, and hung
with silken curtains. Monsieur and I had thriven together, had worked
hard and saved much these many years to produce the change. But the
change had been, as everything we effected was, well considered, and
had proved very profitable in the end. Better reception-rooms brought
better customers; higher prices a higher class of patronage. It
was very pleasant, lying there, to reflect that we were actually
succeeding in the world; and a pleasant and quiet mood fell upon me,
as, hopeful of the future, I looked back at the past. I thought of my
old days in that saloon; I thought of little Jacques. Little Jacques
was still a thought of some horror to me, and I generally avoided any
allusion to him. But to-night, in this subdued and contemplative mood,
I even let the little phantom glide into my reverie without being
startled. I even speculated on the old theme which had so haunted
me. I wondered whether my suspicions had been correct, and
whether--whether Madame C---- was guilty of sending her little son
before her into the other world. So thinking,--I might have been
almost dreaming,--a slight rustle in the shop aroused me. I was not
alarmed; my nerves are now much healthier, and I wisely make a point
of not getting them unstrung by violent movements, or unaccustomed
feats of activity, when anything astonishing happens. I therefore
lifted my head calmly and looked about,--it might be a mouse. The
noise ceased that instant, as if the intruder were aware of being
observed. Mice sometimes have this instinct. We had some valuable
new confections, which I had no desire should be disposed of by such
customers. So, taking up my lamp, and peering cautiously about me, I
proceeded to the shop. The light flickered,--flickered on something
tall and white,--something white and shadowy, standing erect,
and shrinking aside, behind the counter. My heart stood still;
a sepulchral chill came over me. My old self, trembling,
angry, foreboding, stepped suddenly within the niche whence the
self-confident, full-grown, sensible woman had vanished utterly. For
an instant, I felt like a ghost myself. It seemed natural that ghosts,
if such there were, should spy me out, and appall my heart with their
presence. For there, in that old, haunted spot, where long years ago
the spectre of little Jacques had lifted its menacing finger, stood
the form of Marie, Madame C----. I knew it well; shuddering and
shivering myself, more like an intruder than one intruded upon, I laid
my hand upon the chill marble counter for support. It was no creation
of imagination; the figure laid its hand also upon the marble, and,
stretching over its gaunt neck, stood and peered into my eyes.

"Madame C----! Madame C----!" I cried; "what in the name of God would
you have of me?"

"Nothing," she answered,--"nothing of you,--and nothing in the name
of God. Oh, you need not shudder at me,--Christine C----! I know _you_
well enough. You haven't got over your old tricks yet. I'm no ghost,
though. Mayhap you'd rather I'd be, for all your nerves, eh?"--and she
shook her head in the old vengeful, threatening way.

It was true enough. "What evil atmosphere surrounded me? What fell
snare environed me? I looked about like a hunted animal brought to
bay,--like a robber suddenly entrapped in the midst of his ill-gotten
gains. For this was no dead woman, but a living vengeance, more
terrible than death, brought to my very door. Some unseen power, it
seemed, full of evil influence, full of malignant justice, stretched
its long arms through my life, and would not let me by any means
escape to peace, to rest. A direful vision of horrible struggles yet
to come--of want, despair, disgrace in reservation--sickened my soul.

"I will call--I will call," said I, gasping,--"I will call Monsieur
C----; he"----

"Don't, don't, I beg of you!" she cried, catching me by the sleeve,
with a sardonic laugh; low, whispering, full of direful meaning, it
stealthily echoed through the saloon. "Don't disturb the good man. He
sleeps so soundly after his well-spent days! _He_ doesn't have any bad
dreams, I fancy,--rid of such a troublesome, vicious wife,--a wife who
harassed her husband to death, and murdered her little boy,--he sleeps
sound, doesn't he? And yet--I declare, in the name of God, Christine
C----,"--and she lifted up her bony finger like an avenging
fate,--"_he did it_!"

I had been endeavoring to calm myself while this woman of spectral
face and form stared at me with her maniac eye across the counter. I
had succeeded. At any rate, this was a tangible horror, and could be
grappled with; it was not beyond human reach, a shadowy retribution
from the invisible world. To face the circumstances, however
repulsive, is less depressing than to await in suspense the coming
of their footsteps, and the descent of that blow we know they will
inflict. I had always found that policy best which was bravest. I
remembered this now. Dropping my high tone, and soothing my excited
features, I beckoned the woman and gave her a chair; I took a chair
myself, wrapping a shawl close about me to repress the shivering I
could not yet overcome, and I and that woman, returned from the grave,
as it seemed to me, sat calmly down in business-fashion, and held a
long conversation.

Madame C---- had loved her husband with that sort of respectful,
awe-filled affection which lower natures experience towards those
which are a grade above them. She had loved her children, too,
although they were her torment. Her inability to manage or keep
them in order fretted and irritated her excessively. Monsieur, as a
philosopher, could not understand the anomaly, that a woman who was
perpetually unhappy and ill-tempered, while her children, young,
buoyant, and mischievous, were about her, should sympathize with
and care for them when sick. He could not understand her
conscience-stricken misery when little Jacques drooped after her
severity towards him. Monsieur was a kind husband, however, and a wise
man in many things. He had studied much in his youth, chiefly medical
works, of which he had quite a collection. He could not understand
the whimsical nervousness of women, but, when so slight a thing as a
child's illness appeared to be the cause of it, could unhesitatingly
undertake to remove the difficulty. He had prescribed attentively
for the two children who died before Jacques, thereby rendering them
comfortable and quiet, and saving quite an item in the doctor's bill.

When little Jacques fell ill, and Madame fretted incessantly about
his loss of vigor and vivacity, Monsieur, with fatherly kindness,
undertook, in the midst of his pressing business, to give the child
his medicine, which had to be most carefully prepared. Sometimes the
powders were disguised in _bonbons_, the more agreeably to dose
the patient little fellow; these were prepared with Monsieur's own
fatherly hands, and during his absence were once in a while left
for Madame to administer. Madame had great faith in these
medicines,--great faith in her husband's skill; but the child's
disease was obstinate, very; no progress could be discovered. It was
a comforting thought, at least, that, if his recovery was beyond
possibility, something had been done to soothe his pain and quiet
the vexed spirit in its bitter struggle with dissolution. Yes, the
medicines were certainly very quieting,--so quieting, so death-like
in their influence,--she could not tell how a suspicion (perhaps the
strange expression of the child's eye, when they were administered)
glided into her imagination (having so great a reverence for her
husband, it took no place in her mind for an instant,--it was merely a
spectral, haunting shadow) that these things were getting the child
no better,--that they were not medicine for keeping him here, but for
helping him away. This suspicion, breathing its baleful breath across
her mind, weak, vacillating, incapable of energetic action, had
rendered her miserable, morose, irritable, more so than ever before.
Yet little Jacques in his last hour hankered for the medicine, and
craved feverishly the delicate powder, the sweet confection, his
father prepared for him.

While inwardly brooding over this unnamed terror, and cowering before
this shapeless thought which loomed in the darkness of her mental
gloom, an idea entered her mind that I, too, was suspicious that
something was going wrong,--that I was watching,--waiting the evil to
come. The child died. Her fear for him was utterly superseded by fear
for her husband. What if I should find him out and betray him? The
anxiety occasioned by this possibility made her hate me. The agony
of her little one's departure, the fear of some dire discovery, the
consciousness of guilt near enough of vicinage almost to seem her
own, combined to nearly distract her mind, and it seemed like a joyful
relief when I departed. The sudden release from that constant pressure
of fear (she knew I could do nothing against them without money,
credit, or friends) made her ill for a time, quite ill, she said. She
knew not what was done for her during this sickness,--who nursed her,
or who gave her medicine. But one morning, on waking from what seemed
a long sleep, in which she had dreamed strangely and talked wildly,
she beheld Monsieur, smiling kindly, standing beside her bed with a
vial and a spoon in his hand.

"It is a cordial, my dear, which will strengthen and bring you round
again very soon. You need a sedative,--something to allay fever and
excitement."

"Is it little Jacques's medicine?"

"Quite similar, my dear,--not the powders,--the liquid. Equally
soothing to the nerves, and promotive of sleep."

She turned her face away. She had slept long enough. She thanked
Monsieur, not daring to look up, but capriciously refused to touch
little Jacques's medicine.

"And Monsieur," she said, "Monsieur was very angry. He said I was a
disobedient wife, who did not wish to get well, but desired to be a
constant expense and trouble to her husband.

"And so, Christine C----, I trembled and shook, and let fall words I
never meant to have uttered to Monsieur, and I said he had killed
the child, and wished to kill me, that he might marry Mademoiselle
Christine. I did not say any more that day. In the morning, Monsieur
and I discoursed together again. I declared I would get well and go
away. Oh! Monsieur knew well I would not betray him. He was willing,
very willing to consent to my departure. He cared for me well, and
gave me much money; and I went away to my old aunt, who lived in
Paris. I have been dead,--I have died to Monsieur. I should never have
returned, but that my good aunt is gone. When I buried her,--shut her
kind eyes, and wrapped her so snugly in her shroud,--I thought it a
horrible thing to be living without a soul to care for me, or comfort
me, or even to wrap me up as I did her when the time was come. I felt
then a thirsty spirit rising within me to see my old place where I had
comfort and shelter long ago, and to see my children. I have been to
see them: they are in B----; they did not know me there. I did not
tell them who I was. I have been faithful to my promise. I tell no one
but you, Christine C----, who have stepped into my place, and stolen
away my home. A prettier home you have made of it for a prettier wife;
but it's the old place yet, with the old stain upon it."

Wishing to consider a moment what I should do, half paralyzed, like
one who is stricken with death, I left that other ME, (for was she not
also my husband's wife?) apparently exhausted, lying upon the sofa,
and went wearily up-stairs, with heavy steps, like one whose life
has suddenly become a weight to him. What, indeed, _should_ I do?
Starvation and misery stared me in the face. If I left the house,
casting its guilt and its comfort behind me, where could I go? I could
do nothing, earn nothing now. My reputation, now that we were so lone
established, would be entirely gone. And if I left all for which I had
labored so hard, for another to enjoy, would that better the matter?
Great God! would _anything_ help me? Before me in terrific vision
rose a dim vista of future ruin, of ineffectual years writhing in the
inescapable power of the law, of long trial, of horrible suspense, of
garish publicity, of my name handed from mouth to mouth, a forlorn,
duped, degraded thing, whose blighted life was a theme of newspaper
comment and cavil. These thoughts swept over me as a tempest sweeps
over the young tree whose roots are not firm in the soil, whose
writhing and wrestling are impotent to defend it from certain
destruction. There was no one I loved especially, no one I cared for
anxiously, to relieve the bitter thoughts which centred in myself
alone. Monsieur awoke as I was sitting thus, in ineffectual effort to
compose myself. Seeing me sitting near him, still dressed, the door
open, and the light burning, he inquired what was the matter. I had
something below requiring his attention, I said, and, taking up the
lamp, ushered him down-stairs. My chaotic thoughts were beginning to
settle themselves,--to form a nucleus about the first circumstance
that thrust itself definitely before them. That poor wretch waiting
below,--that forsaken, abject, dishonored wife,--I would confront him
with her, and charge him with his guilt. Opening the saloon-door, I
stepped in before him. The lamp which I had left upon the stand was
out, and the slender thread of light which fell from the one in my
hand, sweeping across the gloom, rested upon the deserted sofa. The
saloon was empty; no trace, no sign could be discovered of any human
being. The hush, the solemnity of night brooded over the place.
Monsieur mockingly, but unsteadily, inquired what child's game I
was playing,--he was too tired to be fooled with. He spoke hotly and
quickly, as he never had spoken to me before,--like one who has long
been ill at ease, and deems a slight circumstance portentous.

So I turned upon him, with all the bitterness in my heart rising to
my tongue. I told him the story. I charged him with the guilt. He
listened in silence; marble-like he stood with folded arms, and heard
the conclusion of the whole matter. When I was silent, he strode up
to me, and, stooping, peered into my face steadily. His teeth were
clenched, his eyes shot fire; otherwise he was calm, quite composed.
He said, quietly,--

"Would you blame me for making an angel out of an idiot?"

Monsieur's philosophy was too subtile for me. GUILTY seemed a coarse
word to apply to so fine a nature.

He denied having attempted to injure his wife in any way.

"Women are all fools," he said; "they are all alike,--go just as
they are led, and do just as they are taught. They cannot think
for themselves. They have no ideas of justice but just what the law
furnishes them with. It was silly to complain; it argued a narrow mind
to condemn merely because the laws condemn. In that case all should
be acquitted whom the laws acquit,--did we ever do this? Would his
darling Jacques, happy, angelic, condemn his parent for releasing him
from the drudgery of life? Was it not better to play on a golden harp
than to be a confectioner? Were not all men, in fact, more or less
slayers of their brothers? Was I not myself guilty in attributing
to Madame a deed in my eyes worthy of death, and of which she was
innocent? It was only those whose courage induced them to venture a
little farther who received condemnation. In some way or other,
every soul is wearing out and overtasking somebody else's soul, and
shortening somebody's days. A man who should throw his child into the
water, in order to save him from being burned to death, would not
be arraigned for the fierce choice. Little Jacques, if he had lived,
would have lingered in misery and imbecility. Was a lingering death of
torture to be preferred by a tenderhearted woman to one more rapid and
less painful, where the certainty of death left only such preference?
Ah, well! it was consolation that his little son was safe from all
vicissitude, whatever might befall his devoted father!" and Monsieur
wiped his eyes, and drew out a little miniature he always carried in
his bosom. It was the portrait of little Jacques.

Well, as I have said, Monsieur was a philosopher, and I was a
philosopher; and yet I must have been a woman incapable of reason,
incapable of comprehending an argument; for the thought of this thing,
and of being in the presence of a man capable of such a deed, made me
uneasy, restless, unhappy, as though I were in some sort a partaker of
the crime. I could not sleep; I was haunted with horrific dreams; and
when, in few days, among the "accidents" the death of an unknown woman
was recorded, whose body had drifted ashore at night, and I recognized
by the description poor, unknown, uncared-for Madame C----, a wild
fever burned in my veins, a frenzy of anguish akin to remorse, as if
_I_ had wronged the dead, and sent her drifting, helpless, out to the
unknown world. A pitiable soul, who preferred misery for her portion,
rather than betray the man she loved, or become partaker of his crime,
had crept back, after years of self-imposed absence, with death in her
heart, to see the old place and the new wife,--and how had I received
her? With horror and shuddering, as though she were some guilty thing,
to be held at arm's-length. Not as one woman, generous, forgiving,
hoping for mercy hereafter, should receive another, however erring. It
was a sad boon, perhaps, she had endowed me with; yet it was all she
prized and cherished.

With a nobleness of magnanimity, a passionate self-sacrifice, which
none but a woman could be capable of, Madame C---- had divested
herself of all peculiarities of clothing by which she could be
identified. It was only by recognizing the features, and a singular
scar upon the forehead, that I knew it was herself. She was buried by
stranger hands, however; we dared not come forward to claim her.

The excitement attendant on this miserable death, and the
circumstances which preceded it, laid me, for the first time in my
life, upon a sick-bed. I was unconscious for many weeks of anything
save intolerable pain and intolerable heat. A fiery agony of fever
leaped in my veins, and scorched up my life-blood. I believe Monsieur
cared for me, and nursed me attentively during this illness.

The fever left me; exhausted, spent, my life shrunken up within me, my
energy burned out, a puny, spiritless remnant of the strong woman who
lay down upon that couch, I lay despondent, vacant of all interest in
the world hitherto so exciting to me. I had not seen Monsieur since
this apparent commencement of recovery. A great, good-natured nurse
kept watch over me, and fed me with spiritless dainties, tasteless,
unsatisfying.

One day, when my senses began to settle a little, and things began
to take shape again, I asked for Monsieur. He came and stood at my
bedside.

"Christine," said he, "you have no faith in my power of making angels.
I have not made one of you. Being divided in our theories, we will
divide our earthly goods. We will part. Should you as a woman deem it
your duty to inform against me, I shall not think it wrong. I shall
bear it as a philosopher. You have no proof, you can substantiate
nothing; but it may be a satisfaction. I do not understand women;
therefore I cannot tell."

"Monsieur," I answered, "leave it to God to fill His heaven as He
thinks best. He has not invited your assistance; neither has He
invited me to avenge Him. Since He does not punish, dare I invade His
prerogative?"

And we did not part.

We will live together in peace, we said, and the past shall be utterly
forgotten; shall not a whole lifetime of unwavering rectitude atone
for this one crime?

I accepted my fate,--weakly, in the dread of poverty, in the horror
of disgrace, shrinking within myself with the secret thrust upon me.
I said we are all the makers of our own destiny, and there is
nothing supernatural in life. If this course is best and wisest in my
judgment, nothing evil will come of it. I said this, ignorant of the
mystery of existence, and inexperienced in that subtile power which
penetrates all the windings and turnings of humanity, searching out
hidden things,--the Purifier, and the Avenger, allotting to each one
his portion of bitterness, his inexorable punishment. "We will live
together in peace": it was the thought of a sudden moment of fervor,
which overleaped the dreary length of life, and assumed to compass the
repentance of a whole existence in a single day.

But destiny holds always in store its retribution. God suffers no
dropped stitches in the web of His universe, and the smallest truth
evaded, the least wretch neglected, will surely be picked up again
in the unending circle that is winding its certain thread around all
beings, connecting by invisible links the most insignificant chances
with the most significant events.

When I said we will be one, we will endure together, I thought that
so, in my enduring strength, I could bear up whatever burden came. I
know not how, by what invisible process, the load which I had lifted
to my shoulders grew into leaden heaviness,--heavy, heavy, like the
weight of some dead soul resting its lifeless shape upon my living
spirit, till I staggered under the unbearable presence. I had doomed
myself to stand side by side, to work hand in hand with guilt, to feel
hourly the dread lest in some moment of frenzy engendered by the dumb
anguish within me I might betray the secret whose rust was eating into
my soul, and shriek out my misery in the ears of all men.

Monsieur, seeing me grow thin and pale, declared that I must have a
change, I must go somewhere, to the sea-shore. To the sea-shore! No,
I would not go to the sea-shore, or to any other shore; a stranded
vessel, I could not struggle from the place of shipwreck.

Monsieur grew vexed and anxious, when I stubbornly shook my head. And
when week after week I still refused, he grew strangely uneasy. I had
better go; if I would not go alone, he would go with me, shut up the
shop, and take a holiday.

I considered the matter that day. The project was a wild one; at this
busiest season of the year, it would be an injury to our business.
And what might the neighbors say? It might lead them to unpleasant
suspicions. We were not popular among them. No, it would not do.

I explained this to Monsieur very calmly at the supper-table. His
face was pale and quiet as usual. He did not interrupt me. When I
concluded, he rose as if he would go out, but turning back suddenly
and striking the table with his clenched fist,--

"God!" he exclaimed. "Woman would you see me die like a dog? The
neighbors! for all I know, they have got me at their finger-ends
now,--the vile rabble! That old hag, Madame Justine, at the
ribbon-shop below,--some demon possessed her to look out that night
when SHE came crawling home. She noted her well with her greedy eyes;
some one _so_ like my dear first wife, she told me. There is mischief
and death in her eyes. She knows or guesses too much."

"What can she guess?" I asked; "she has only lately come into the
neighborhood."

In answer to this, Monsieur informed me that she professed to
have been an old friend of his wife's, who, in times gone by, half
bewildered with her troubles, had probably dropped many unguarded
words in this woman's presence. Madame C---- had died (to her old
home) while this woman was away on a visit. "Ah!" she said, "she had
her misgivings many a time. Did the same doctor attend Madame C----
who prescribed for little Jacques? _He_ ought to be hung, then. Ah,
well, if all men had their deserts, she knew many things that would
hang some folks who looted all fair and square, and held their guilty
heads higher than their neighbors."

"Well?" I said.

"Well!--you women are so virtuous, you have no mercy, Madame. Go,
hang--go, drown the wretch who comes under the malediction of the
ladies! Oh, there is nothing too hard for him! And this one owed me a
grudge lately about a mistake,--a little mistake I made in an account
with her, and would not alter because I thought it all right."

The preparations were going on silently and steadily that night. I
would go anywhere now, anything would I do, to escape the fate whose
stealthy footsteps were tracking us out. Well I knew, that, once in
the power of the law, its firm grasp would wrest every secret from
the deepest depths where it was hidden. Once out of the city, we could
readily take flight, if immediate danger threatened.

The doors were all closed; the trunks stood corded in the hall. I was
down-stairs, getting the silver together. Monsieur was in his room,
packing up his medicine-chest. There was no weakness in my nerves
now, no trembling in my limbs. I was determined. While thus engaged,
pausing a moment amid the light tinkle of the silver spoons, I thought
I heard footsteps in the saloon above. Softly ascending the stairs, I
met Monsieur at the door. He had come down under the same impression,
that some one was walking in the saloon, still holding in his hand the
tiny cup in which he measured his medicines. It was full, and Monsieur
carried it very carefully, as, opening the door, he looked cautiously
about. Nothing stirred; all was silent as death; and walking forward
toward the fountain, he straightened himself up, and his white face
flushed as he said in a whisper,--

"Christine, everything is ready. We are safe yet; we shall escape.
Once away, we will never return to this doomed place, let what will
come of it. Yes, I am certain that we shall escape!"

Monsieur took a step forward as he said this, and stood transfixed.
The light shook which he held in his hand, as if a strong wind
had passed over it; his eye quailed; his cheek blanched to ghastly
whiteness. I thought that undue excitement had brought on a
fainting-fit of some kind, and was stooping to dip my hands in the
water and bathe his forehead, when I saw, distinctly, like a white
mist in the darkness, a visible shape sitting solemn upon the
basin-edge; the room was very dim, and the falling spray fell over the
shape like a weeping-willow, yet my eyes discerned it clearly. Oh, it
was no dream that I had dreamed in my young days long ago! That little
figure was no stranger to my vision, no stranger to the changeless
waterfall. Did Monsieur see it also? He stood close beside the
fountain now, with his face towards the spectre. The tiny cup in his
hand fell from the loosened fingers down into the water; a lonely
gold-fish, swimming there, turned over on its golden side and floated
motionless upon the surface.

I scarcely noticed this, for, at the time, I heard the knob of the
shop-door turn quickly, and the door was shaken violently. It was
probably the night-watchman going his rounds; but, in my alarm and
excitement, I thought we were betrayed. I stepped swiftly to the door,
and pushed an extra bolt inside.

"Monsieur!" I cried, under my breath, "hide! hide yourself! Quick! in
the name of Heaven!"

But he did not answer, and, hastening to his side, I saw the faint
outlines of that shadowy visitant growing indistinct and disappearing.
As it vanished, Monsieur turned deliberately toward me; his eyes were
clear, the faintness was over; his voice was grave and steady, as he
said,--

"Christine! I have seen it. It is the warning of death. There is
no future and no escape for me. The retribution is at hand,"--and
stooping swiftly down, he lifted the tiny cup brimming to his lips.
"Go you," he said, huskily, "to the sea-shore. I have an errand
elsewhere."

In the morning came the officers of justice; my dim eyes saw them, my
ears heard unshrinking their stern voices demanding Monsieur C----. I
did not answer; I pointed vaguely forward; and forward they marched,
with a heavy tramp, to where the one whom they were seeking lay prone
upon the marble floor, his head hanging nervelessly down over the
water. He had been arrested by a Higher Power. Monsieur C---- was
dead.

BOSTON HYMN.

The word of the Lord by night
To the watching Pilgrims came,
As they sat by the sea-side,
And filled their hearts with flame.

God said,--I am tired of kings,
I suffer them no more;
Up to my ear the morning brings
The outrage of the poor.

Think ye I made this ball
A field of havoc and war,
Where tyrants great and tyrants small
Might harry the weak and poor?

My angel,--his name is Freedom,
Choose him to be your king;
He shall cut pathways east and west,
And fend you with his wing.

Lo! I uncover the land
Which I hid of old time in the West,
As the sculptor uncovers his statue,
When he has wrought his best.

I show Columbia, of the rocks
Which dip their foot in the seas
And soar to the air-borne flocks
Of clouds, and the boreal fleece.

I will divide my goods,
Call in the wretch and slave:
None shall rule but the humble,
And none but Toil shall have.

I will have never a noble,
No lineage counted great:
Fishers and choppers and ploughmen
Shall constitute a State.

Go, cut down trees in the forest,
And trim the straightest boughs;
Cut down trees in the forest,
And build me a wooden house.

Call the people together,
The young men and the sires,
The digger in the harvest-field,
Hireling, and him that hires.

And here in a pine state-house
They shall choose men to rule
In every needful faculty,
In church, and state, and school.

Lo, now! if these poor men
Can govern the land and sea,
And make just laws below the sun,
As planets faithful be.

And ye shall succor men;
'T is nobleness to serve;
Help them who cannot help again;
Beware from right to swerve.

I break your bonds and masterships,
And I unchain the slave:
Free be his heart and hand henceforth,
As wind and wandering wave.

I cause from every creature
His proper good to flow:
So much as he is and doeth,
So much he shall bestow.

But, laying his hands on another
To coin his labor and sweat,
He goes in pawn to his victim
For eternal years in debt.

Pay ransom to the owner,
And fill the bag to the brim.
Who is the owner? The slave is owner,
And ever was. Pay him.

O North! give him beauty for rags,
And honor, O South! for his shame;
Nevada! coin thy golden crags
With Freedom's image and name.

Up! and the dusky race
That sat in darkness long,--
Be swift their feet as antelopes,
And as behemoth strong.

Come, East, and West, and North,
By races, as snow-flakes,
And carry my purpose forth,
Which neither halts nor shakes.

My will fulfilled shall be,
For, in daylight or in dark,
My thunderbolt has eyes to see
His way home to the mark.

THE SIEGE OF CINCINNATI.

The live man of the old Revolution, the daring Hotspur of those
troublous days, was Anthony Wayne. The live man to-day of the great
Northwest is Lewis Wallace. With all the chivalric clash of the
stormer of Stony Point, he has a cooler head, with a capacity for
larger plans, and the steady nerve to execute whatever he conceives.
When a difficulty rises in his path, the difficulty, no matter what
its proportions, moves aside; he does not. When a river like the Ohio
at Cincinnati intervenes between him and his field of operations,
there is a sudden sound of saws and hammers at sunset, and the
next morning beholds the magic spectacle of a great pontoon-bridge
stretching between the shores of Freedom and Slavery, its planks
resounding to the heavy tread of almost endless regiments and
army-wagons. Is a city like Cincinnati menaced by a hungry foe,
striding on by forced marches, that foe sees his path suddenly blocked
by ten miles of fortifications thoroughly manned and armed, and he
finds it prudent, even with his twenty thousand veterans, to retreat
faster than he came, strewing the road with whatever articles impede
his haste. Some few incidents in the career of such a man, since he
has taken the field, ought not to be uninteresting to those for whom
he has fought so bravely; and we believe his services, when known,
will be appreciated, otherwise we will come under the old ban against
Republics, that they are ungrateful.

While returning from New York at the expiration of a short leave of
absence, the first asked for since the beginning of the war, General
Wallace was persuaded by Governor Morton to stump the State of Indiana
in favor of voluntary enlistments, which at that time were progressing
slowly. Wallace went to work in all earnestness. His idea was to
obtain command of the new levies, drill them, and take them to the
field; and this idea was circulated throughout the State. The result
was, enlisting increased rapidly; the ardor for it rose shortly into
a fever, and has not yet abated. Regiments are still forming, shedding
additional lustre upon the name of patriotic Indiana.

General Wallace was thus engaged when the news was received from
Morgan of the invasion of Kentucky by Kirby Smith. All eyes turned
at once to Governor Morton, many of whose regiments were now ready to
take the field, if they only had officers to lead them. Wallace came
promptly to the Governor's assistance, and offered to take command of
a regiment for the crisis. His offer was accepted, and he was sent to
New Albany, where the Sixty-Sixth Indiana was in camp. In twelve
hours he mustered it, paid its bounty money, clothed and armed it, and
marched it to Louisville. Brigadier-General Boyle was in command of
Kentucky. Wallace, who is a Major-General, reported to him at the
above-named city, and a peculiar scene occurred.

"General Boyle," said Wallace, "I report to you the Sixty-Sixth
Indiana Regiment."

"Who commands it?" asked the General.

"I have that honor, Sir," was the reply.

"You want orders, I suppose?"

"Certainly."

"It is a difficult matter for me," said Boyle. "I have no right to
order you."

"That difficulty is easily solved," Wallace replied, with
characteristic promptness. "I come to report to you as a Colonel. I
come to take orders as such."

General Boyle consulted with his Adjutant-General, and the result was
_a request_ that General Wallace would proceed to Lexington with his
command. Here was exhibited the ready, self-sacrificing spirit of
a true patriot: he did not stand and wait until he could find the
position to which his high rank entitled him, but stepped into the
place where he could best and quickest serve his country in her hour
of peril.

While Wallace was still at the railway-station, he received an order
from General Boyle, putting him in command of all the forces in
Lexington. Here was a golden opportunity for our young commander. What
higher honor could be coveted than to relieve the brave Morgan,
pent up as he was with his little army in the mountain-gorges of the
Cumberland? The idea fired the soul of Wallace, and he pushed on to
Lexington. But here he was sadly disappointed. He found the forces
waiting there inadequate to the task: instead of an army, there were
only three regiments. He telegraphed for more troops. Indiana and Ohio
responded promptly and nobly. In three days he received and brigaded
nine regiments and started them toward the Gap.

No one but an experienced soldier, one who has indeed tried it, can
conceive of the labor involved in such an undertaking. The material in
his hands was, to say the best of it, magnificently _raw_. Officers,
from colonels to corporals, brave though they might be as lions, knew
literally nothing of military affairs. The men had not learned even to
load their guns. Companies had to be led, like little children, by
the hand as it were, into their places in line of battle. There was
no cavalry, no artillery. It happened, however, that guns, horses, and
supplies intended for Morgan at the Gap were in depot at Lexington.
Then Wallace began to catch a glimpse of dawn through the dark tangle
of the wilderness. Some kind of order, prompt and immediate, must be
forced out of this chaos; and it came, for the master-spirit was there
to arrange and compel. He mounted several hundred men, giving them
rifles instead of sabres. He manned new guns, procuring harness and
ammunition for them from Louisville. Where there were no caissons, he
supplied wagons. But his regiments were not his sole reliance; he is
a believer in riflemen, a fighting class of which Kentucky was full.
These he summoned to his assistance, and was met by a ready and hearty
response: they came trooping to him by hundreds. Among others,
Garrett Davis, United States Senator, led a company of Home-Guards to
Lexington. In this way General Wallace composed, or rather improvised
a little army, and all without help, his regular staff being absent,
mostly in Memphis.

"Kentucky has not been herself in this war," exclaimed General
Wallace; "she must be aroused; and I propose to do it thoroughly."

"How will you do it?" asked a skeptic.

"Easily enough, Sir. Kentucky has a host of great names. Kentuckians
believe in great names. It is to this tune that the traitors have
carried them to the field against us. I will take with me to the field
all the men living, old and young, who have made those names great.
Buckner took the young Crittendens and Clays; by Heaven, I'll take
their fathers!"

"But they can't march."

"I'll haul them, then."

"They can be of no service in that way."

"But the magic of their names!" exclaimed Wallace. "What will the
young Kentuckians say, when they hear John J. Crittenden, Leslie
Combs, Robert Breckenridge, Tom Clay, Garrett Davis, Judge Goodloe,
and fathers of that kind, are going down to battle with me?"

The skeptics held their peace.

General Wallace now constituted a volunteer staff. Wadsworth, M.C.
from Maysville district, was his adjutant-general. Brand, Gratz,
Goodloe, and young Tom Clay were his aids. Old Tom Clay, John J.
Crittenden, Leslie Combs, Judge Goodloe, Garrett Davis, were all
prepared and going, when General Wallace was suddenly relieved of his
command by General Nelson.

Without instituting any comparison between these two generals, it
is enough to say that the supersession of Wallace by Nelson at that
moment was most unfortunate and untimely, as the sequel proved,
fraught as it was with disastrous consequences. The circumstances were
these.

Scott's Rebel cavalry had whipped Metcalf's regiment of Loyalists at
Big Hill, some twelve or fifteen miles beyond Richmond, Kentucky,
and followed them to within four miles of that town, where they were
stopped by Lenck's brigade of infantry. The affair was reported to
Wallace, with the number and situation of the enemy. He at once took
prompt measures to meet the exigence of the situation. He could throw
Lenck's and Clay's brigades upon the Rebel front; the brigade at
Nicholasville could take them in flank by crossing the Kentucky River
at Tatt's Ford; while, by uniting Clay Smith's command with that of
Jacob, then _en route_ for Nicholasville, he could plant seventeen
hundred cavalry in their rear between Big Hill and Mount Vernon.

The enemy at this time were at least twenty miles in advance of their
supports, and a night's march would have readily placed the several
forces mentioned in position to attack them by daylight. This was
Wallace's plan,--simple, feasible, and soldier-like. All his orders
were given. A supply-train with extra ammunition and abundant rations
was in line on the road to Richmond. Clay's brigade was drawn up ready
to move, and General Wallace's horse was saddled. He was writing a
last order in reference to the city of Lexington in his absence, and
directing the officer left in charge to forward regiments to him at
Richmond as fast as they should arrive, when General Nelson came and
instantly took the command. Fifteen minutes more and General Wallace
would have been on the road to Richmond to superintend the execution
of his plan of attack. The supersession was, of course, a bitter
disappointment; yet he never grumbled or demurred in the least, but,
like a true soldier who knows his duty, offered that evening to serve
his successor in any capacity, a generosity which General Nelson
declined. The well-conceived plan which Wallace had matured failed for
the simple reason, that, instead of marching to execute it that night,
as common sense would seem to have dictated, Nelson did not leave
Lexington until the next day at one o'clock; and at daylight, when the
attack was to have been made, the Rebel leader, Scott, discovered his
danger, and wisely retreated, finding nobody in his rear. The result
was, Nelson went to Richmond and was defeated. It is possible that
the same result might have followed Wallace; but by those competent to
judge it is thought otherwise.

He had a plan adapted to the troops he was leading, who, although very
raw, would have been invincible behind breastworks, as American troops
have always shown themselves to be. Wallace never intended arraying
these inexperienced men in the open field against the veteran troops
of the Rebels. Neither did he intend they should dig. He had collected
large quantities of intrenching tools, and was rapidly assembling
a corps of negroes, nearly five hundred of whom he had already in
waiting in Morgan's factory, all prepared to follow his column, armed
with spades and picks. In Madison County he intended getting at least
five hundred more. "I will march," he said, "like Caesar in Gaul, and
intrench my camp every night. If I am attacked at any time in too
great numbers, I can drop back to my nearest works, and wait for
reinforcements." Such was his plan, and those who know him believe
firmly that he could have been at the Cumberland Gap in time not only
to succor our little army there, but to have prevented the destruction
and evacuation of that very important post.

Wallace, finding himself thus suddenly superseded, his plans ignored,
and his voluntary service bluffly refused, left Lexington for
Cincinnati. While there the Battle of Richmond was fought, the
disastrous results of which are still too fresh in the public mind to
require repeating. Nelson, who did not arrive upon the field until the
day was about lost, and only in time to use his sword against his own
men in a fruitless endeavor to rally them, received a flesh-wound,
and hastened back the same night to Cincinnati, leaving many dead and
wounded on the field, and thousands of our brave boys prisoners to be
paroled by the Rebels. These are simple matters of record, and are not
here set down in any spirit of prejudice, or to throw a shadow upon
the memory of the misguided, unfortunate, but courageous Nelson.

At this juncture General Wallace was again ordered to Lexington, this
time by General Wright, a general whose gentlemanly bearing in all
capacities makes him an ornament to the American army. Wallace was
ordered thither to resume command of the forces; but on arriving
at Paris, the order was countermanded, and he was sent back to take
charge of the city of Cincinnati. Shrewdly suspecting that our forces
would evacuate Lexington, he hastened to his new post. General Wright
was at that time in Louisville. On his way back, Wallace was asked by
one of his aids,--

"Do you believe the enemy will come to Cincinnati?"

"Yes," was the reply. "Kirby Smith will first go to Frankfort. He must
have that place, if possible, for the political effect it will have.
If he gets it, he will surely come to Cincinnati. He is an idiot, if
he does not. Here is the material of war,--goods, groceries, salt,
supplies, machinery, etc.,--enough to restock the whole bogus
Confederacy."

"What are you going to do? You have nothing to defend the city with."

"I will show you," was the reply.

Within the first half-hour after his arrival in Cincinnati, General
Wallace wrote and sent to the daily papers the following proclamation,
which fully and clearly develops his whole plan.

"PROCLAMATION.

"The undersigned, by order of Major-General Wright, assumes command of
Cincinnati, Covington, and Newport.

"It is but fair to inform the citizens, that an active, daring, and
powerful enemy threatens them with every consequence of war; yet the
cities must be defended, and their inhabitants must assist in the
preparation.

"Patriotism, duty, honor, self-preservation, call them to the labor,
and it must be performed equally by all classes.

"First. All business must be suspended at nine o'clock to-day. Every
business-house must be closed.

"Second. Under the direction of the Mayor, the citizens must, within
an hour after the suspension of business, (ten o'clock, A.M.,)
assemble in convenient public places ready for orders. As soon as
possible they will then be assigned to their work.

"This labor ought to be that of love, and the undersigned trusts and
believes it will be so. Anyhow, it must be done.

"The willing shall be properly credited; the unwilling promptly
visited. The principle adopted is, Citizens for the labor, soldiers
for the battle.

"Third. The ferry-boats will cease plying the river after four
o'clock, A.M., until further orders.

"Martial law is hereby proclaimed in the three cities; but until they
can be relieved by the military, the injunctions of this proclamation
will be executed by the police.

"LEWIS WALLACE,
"Maj.-Gen'r'l Commanding."

Could anything be bolder and more to the purpose? It placed Cincinnati
under martial law. It totally suspended business, and sent every
citizen, without distinction, to the ranks or into the trenches.
"Citizens for labor, soldiers for battle," was the principle
underlying the whole plan,--a motto by which he reached every
able-bodied man in the metropolis, and united the energies of forty
thousand people,--a motto original with himself, and for which he
should have the credit.

Imagine the astonishment that seized the city, when, in the morning,
this bold proclamation was read,--a city unused to the din of war and
its impediments. As yet there was no word of an advance of the enemy
in the direction of Cincinnati. It was a question whether they would
come or not. Thousands did not believe in the impending danger; yet
the proclamation was obeyed to the letter, and this, too, when there
was not a regiment to enforce it. The secret is easy of comprehension:
it was the universal confidence reposed in the man who issued the
order; and he was equally confident, not only in his own judgment, but
in the people with whom he had to deal.

"If the enemy should not come after all this fuss," said one of the
General's friends, "you will be ruined."

"Very well," he replied; "but they will come. And if they do not, it
will be because this same fuss has caused them to think better of it."

The ten days ensuing will be forever memorable in the annals of the
city of Cincinnati. The cheerful alacrity with which the people rose
_en masse_ to swell the ranks and crowd into the trenches was a sight
worth seeing, and being seen could not readily be forgotten.

Here were the representatives of all nations and classes. The sturdy
German, the lithe and gay-hearted Irishman, went shoulder to shoulder
in defence of their adopted country. The man of money, the man of law,
the merchant, the artist, and the artisan swelled the lines hastening
to the scene of action, armed either with musket, pick, or spade.
Added to these was seen Dickson's long and dusky brigade of colored
men, cheerfully wending their way to labor on the fortifications,
evidently holding it their especial right to put whatever impediments
they could in the northward path of those whom they considered their
own peculiar foe. But the pleasantest and most picturesque sight of
those remarkable days was the almost endless stream of sturdy men who
rushed to the rescue from the rural districts of the State. These
were known as the "Squirrel-Hunters." They came in files numbering
thousands upon thousands, in all kinds of costumes, and armed with all
kinds of fire-arms, but chiefly the deadly rifle, which they knew so
well bow to use. Old men, middle-aged men, young men, and often mere
boys, like the "minute-men" of the old Revolution, they left the
plough in the furrow, the flail on the half-threshed sheaves, the
unfinished iron upon the anvil,--in short, dropped all their peculiar
avocations, and with their leathern pouches full of bullets and their
ox-horns full of powder, poured into the city by every highway and
by-way in such numbers that it seemed as if the whole State of Ohio
were peopled only with hunters, and that the spirit of Daniel Boone
stood upon the hills opposite the town beckoning them into Kentucky.
The pontoon-bridge, which had been begun and completed between sundown
and sundown, groaned day and night with the perpetual stream of
life all setting southward. In three days there were ten miles of
intrenchments lining the hills, making a semicircle from the river
above the city to the banks of the river below; and these were thickly
manned from end to end, and made terrible to the astonished enemy by
black and frowning cannon. General Heath, with his twenty thousand
Rebel veterans, flushed with their late success at Richmond, drew up
before these formidable preparations, and deemed it prudent to take
the matter into serious consideration before making the attack.

Our men were eagerly awaiting their approach, thousands in rifle-pits
and tens of thousands along the whole line of the fortifications,
while our scouts and pickets were skirmishing with their outposts in
the plains in front. Should the foe make a sudden dash and carry any
point of our lines, it was thought by some that nothing would prevent
them from entering Cincinnati.

But for this also provision was made. The river about the city, above
and below, was well protected by a flotilla of gun-boats improvised
from the swarm of steamers which lay at the wharves. A storm of shot
and shell, such as they had not dreamed of, would have played upon
their advancing columns, while our regiments, pouring down from the
fortifications, would have fallen upon their rear. The shrewd leaders
of the Rebel army were probably kept well posted by traitors within
our own lines in regard to the reception prepared for them, and,
taking advantage of the darkness of night and the violence of a
thunder-storm, made a hasty and ruinous retreat. Wallace was anxious
to follow them, and was confident of success, but was overruled by
those higher in authority.

The address which he now published to the citizens of Cincinnati,
Covington, and Newport was manly and well-deserved. He said,--

"For the present, at least, the enemy has fallen back, and your cities
are safe. It is the time for acknowledgments. I beg leave to make you
mine. When I assumed command, there was nothing to defend you with,
except a few half-finished works and some dismounted guns; yet I was
confident. The energies of a great city are boundless; they have only
to be aroused, united, and directed. You were appealed to. The answer
will never be forgotten. Paris may have seen something like it in her
revolutionary days, but the cities of America never did. Be proud that
you have given them an example so splendid. The most commercial of
people, you submitted to a total suspension of business, and without
a murmur adopted my principle, 'Citizens for labor, soldiers for
battle.' In coming times, strangers viewing the works on the hills of
Newport and Covington will ask, 'Who built these intrenchments? You
can answer, 'We built them.' If they ask, 'Who guarded them?' you
can reply, 'We helped in thousands.' If they inquire the result, your
answer will be, 'The enemy came and looked at them, and stole away in
the night.' You have won much honor. Keep your organizations ready to
win more. Hereafter be always prepared to defend yourselves.

"LEWIS WALLACE,
"Maj.-Gen'r'l."

It can safely be claimed for our young General, that he was the moving
spirit which inspired and directed the people, and thereby saved
Cincinnati and the surrounding cities, and, in the very face of Heath
and his victorious horde from Richmond, organized a new and formidable
army. That the citizens fully indorsed this was well exemplified on
the occasion of his leading back into the metropolis a number of her
volunteer regiments when the danger was over. They lined the streets,
crowded the doors and windows, and filled the air with shouts of
applause, in honor of the great work he had done.

In writing this notice of Wallace and the siege, we have had no
intention to overlook the services of his co-laborers, especially
those rendered to the West by the gallant Wright, who holds command
of the department. The writer has attempted to give what came directly
under his own observation, and what he believes to be the core of the
matter, and consequently most interesting to the public.

JANE AUSTEN.

In the old Cathedral of Winchester stand the tombs of kings, with
dates stretching back to William Rufus and Canute; here, too, are the
marble effigies of queens and noble ladies, of crusaders and warriors,
of priests and bishops. But our pilgrimage led us to a slab of black
marble set into the pavement of the north aisle, and there, under the
grand old arches, we read the name of Jane Austen. Many-colored as the
light which streams through painted windows, came the memories which
floated in our soul as we read the simple inscription: happy hours,
gladdened by her genius, weary hours, soothed by her touch; the
honored and the wise who first placed her volumes in our hand; the
beloved ones who had lingered over her pages, the voices of our
distant home, associated with every familiar story.

The personal history of Jane Austen belongs to the close of the last
and the beginning of the present century. Her father through forty
years was rector of a parish in the South of England. Mr. Austen was
a man of great taste in all literary matters; from him his daughter
inherited many of her gifts. He probably guided her early education
and influenced the direction of her genius. Her life was passed
chiefly in the country. Bath, then a fashionable watering-place, with
occasional glimpses of London, must have afforded all the intercourse
which she held with what is called "the world." Her travels were
limited to excursions in the vicinity of her father's residence.
Those were days of post-chaises and sedan-chairs, when the rush of
the locomotive was unknown. Steam, that genie of the vapor, was yet a
little household elf, singing pleasant times by the evening fire, at
quiet hearthstones; it has since expanded into a mighty giant, whose
influences are no longer domestic. The circles of fashion are changed
also. Those were the days of country-dances and India muslins; the
beaux and belles of "the upper rooms" at Bath knew not the whirl of
the waltz, nor the ceaseless involvements of "the German." Yet the
measures of love and jealousy, of hope and fear, to which their hearts
beat time, would be recognized to-night in every ballroom. Infinite
sameness, infinite variety, are not more apparent in the outward than
in the inward world, and the work of that writer will alone be lasting
who recognizes and embodies this eternal law of the great Author.

Jane Austen possessed in a remarkable degree this rare intuition. The
following passage is found in Sir Walter Scott's journal, under date
of the fourteenth of March, 1826:--"Read again, and for the third time
at least, Miss Austen's finely written novel of 'Pride and Prejudice.'
That young lady had a talent for describing the involvements and
feelings and characters of ordinary life, which is to me the most
wonderful I ever met with. The Big Bow-wow strain I can do myself
like any now going; but the exquisite touch which renders ordinary
commonplace things and characters interesting from truth of the
description and the sentiment is denied to me." This is high praise,
but it is something more when we recur to the time at which Sir Walter
writes this paragraph. It is amid the dreary entries in his journal
of 1826, many of which make our hearts ache and our eyes overflow. He
read the pages of Jane Austen on the fourteenth of March, and on the
fifteenth he writes, "This morning I leave 39 Castle Street for the
last time." It was something to have written a book sought for by him
at such a moment. Even at Malta, in December, 1831, when the pressure
of disease, as well as of misfortune, was upon him, Sir Walter was
often found with a volume of Miss Austen in his hand, and said to a
friend, "There is a finishing-off in some of her scenes that is really
quite above everybody else."

Jane Austen's life-world presented such a limited experience that it
is marvellous where she could have found the models from which she
studied such a variety of forms. It is only another proof that the
secret lies in the genius which seizes, not in the material which is
seized. We have been told by one who knew her well, that Miss Austen
never intentionally drew portraits from individuals, and avoided,
if possible, all sketches that could be recognized. But she was so
faithful to Nature, that many of her acquaintance, whose characters
had never entered her mind, were much offended, and could not be
persuaded that they or their friends had not been depicted in some
of her less attractive personages: a feeling which we have frequently
shared; for, as the touches of her pencil brought out the light
and shades very quietly, we have been startled to recognize our own
portrait come gradually out on the canvas, especially since we are not
equal to the courage of Cromwell, who said, "Paint me as I am."

In the "Autobiography of Sir Egerton Brydges" we find the following
passage: it is characteristic of the man:--

"I remember Jane Austen, the novelist, a little child. Her mother was
a Miss Leigh, whose paternal grandmother was a sister of the first
Duke of Chandos. Mr. Austen was of a Kentish family, of which several
branches have been settled in the Weald, and some are still remaining
there. When I knew Jane Austen, I never suspected she was an
authoress; but my eyes told me that she was fair and handsome, slight
and elegant, with cheeks a little too full. The last time, I think,
I saw her was at Ramsgate, in 1803; perhaps she was then about
twenty-seven years old. Even then I did not know that she was addicted
to literary composition."

We can readily suppose that the spheres of Jane Austen and Sir Egerton
could not be very congenial; and it does not appear that he was ever
tempted from the contemplation of his own performances, to read her
"literary compositions." A letter from Robert Southey to Sir Egerton
shows that the latter had not quite forgotten her. Southey writes,
under the dale of Keswick, April, 1830:--

"You mention Miss Austen; her novels are more true to Nature, and have
(for my sympathies) passages of finer feeling than any others of
this age. She was a person of whom I have heard so much, and think so
highly, that I regret not having seen her, or ever had an opportunity
of testifying to her the respect which I felt for her."

A pleasant anecdote, told to us on good authority in England, is
illustrative of Miss Austen's power over various minds. A party of
distinguished literary men met at a country-seat; among them was
Macaulay, and, we believe, Hallam; at all events, they were men of
high reputation. While discussing the merits of various authors, it
was proposed that each should write down the name of that work of
fiction which had given him the greatest pleasure. Much surprise and
amusement followed; for, on opening the slips of paper, _seven_ bore
the name of "Mansfield Park,"--a coincidence of opinion most rare, and
a tribute to an author unsurpassed.

Had we been of that party at the English country-house, we should have
written, "The _last_ novel by Miss Austen which we have read"; yet,
forced to a selection, we should have named "Persuasion." But we
withdraw our private preference, and, yielding to the decision of
seven wise men, place "Mansfield Park" at the head of the list, and
leave it there without further comment.

"Persuasion" was her latest work, and bears the impress of a matured
mind and perfected style. The language of Miss Austen is, in all her
pages, drawn from the "wells of English undefiled." Concise and clear,
simple and vigorous, no word can be omitted that she puts down,
and none can be added to heighten the effect of her sentences. In
"Persuasion" there are passages whose depth and tenderness, welling
up from deep fountains of feeling, impress us with the conviction that
the angel of sorrow or suffering had troubled the waters, yet had left
in them a healing influence, which is felt rather than revealed. Of
all the heroines we have known through a long and somewhat varied
experience, there is not one whose life-companionship we should so
desire to secure as that of Anne Elliot. Ah! could she also forgive
our faults and bear with our weaknesses, while we were animated by
her sweet and noble example, existence would be, under any aspect, a
blessing. This felicity was reserved for Captain Wentworth. Happy man!
In "Persuasion" we also find the subtle Mr. Elliot. Here, as with Mr.
Crawford in "Mansfield Park," Miss Austen deals dexterously with the
character of a man of the world, and uses a nicer discernment than is
often found in the writings of women, even those who assume masculine
names.

"Emma" we know to have been a favorite with the author. "I have drawn
a character full of faults," said she, "nevertheless I like her."
In Emma's company we meet Mr. Knightley, Harriet Smith, and Frank
Churchill. We sit beside good old Mr. Woodhouse, and please him by
tasting his gruel. We walk through Highbury, we are patronized by Mrs.
Elton, listen forbearingly to the indefatigable Miss Bates, and take
an early walk to the post-office with Jane Fairfax. Once we found
ourselves actually on "Box Hill," but it did not seem half so real as
when we "explored" there with the party from Highbury.

"Pride and Prejudice" is piquant In style and masterly in portraiture.
We make perhaps too many disagreeable acquaintances to enjoy ourselves
entirely; yet who would forego Mr. Collins, or forget Lady Catherine
de Bourgh, though each in their way is more stupid and odious than any
one but Miss Austen could induce us to endure. Mr. Darcy's character
is ably given; a very difficult one to sustain under all the
circumstances in which he is placed. It is no small tribute to the
power of the author to concede that she has so managed the workings
of his real nature as to make it possible, and even probable, that a
high-born, high-bred Englishman of Mr. Darcy's stamp could become the
son-in-law of Mrs. Bennet. The scene of Darcy's declaration of love
to Elizabeth, at the Hunsford Parsonage, is one of the most remarkable
passages in Miss Austen's writings, and, indeed, we remember nothing
equal to it among the many writers of fiction who have endeavored to
describe that culminating point of human destiny.

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