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Atlantic Monthly, Volume 3, Issue 15, January, 1859 by Various

Part 2 out of 5

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could not simulate those looks and tones,--no, nor that tumult of
feeling which had made his heart throb so wildly beneath my hand. He
loved me,--that was certain; and no matter how great his anger or his
indignation, my refusal must have cut him to the soul. And the charge I
had made would rankle, too. These thoughts were my comfort when John
told me, with grief and surprise, that his brother had joined the
Arctic expedition under Dr. Kane. I knew it was for no light cause he
would forsake the career just opening so brightly before him.

John and I were married in December, as had been our intention. We led
a quiet, but to him a happy, life. He often wondered at my content with
home and its seclusion, and owned what fears he had felt, before our
marriage, lest I, accustomed to gayety and excitement, should weary of
him, the thoughtful, book-loving man. It seemed he had made up his mind
to all manner of self-sacrifice in the way of accompanying me to
parties, and having guests at our own house. I did not exact much from
him; I cared little for the gay world in which William no longer moved.
I read with John his favorite books; I interested myself in the
sciences which he pursued with such enthusiasm. It was no part of my
plan to inflict unnecessary misery on any one, and I strove with all my
power to make happy the man whom I had chosen. I succeeded fully; and
when we sat on the piazza in the moonlight, my head resting on his
shoulder, my hand clasped in his, he would tell me how infinitely
dearer the wife had grown to be than even the lover's fancy had
portrayed her.

And my thoughts were far away from the bland airs and brightening moon
amid the frozen solitudes of the North. Where was William? what was he
doing? did he think of me? and how? What if he should perish there, and
we should never meet again? Life grew blank at the thought; I put it
resolutely away.

I had drunk of the cup of vengeance; it was sweet, but did not satisfy.
I longed for a fuller draught; but might it not be denied to my fevered
lips? Perhaps, amid the noble and disinterested toils of the
expedition, his heart would outgrow all love for me, and when we met
again I should see my power was gone. I pondered much on this; I
believed at last that the solitude, the isolation, would be not
unpropitious to me. From the little world of the ice-locked vessel his
thoughts would turn to the greater world he had left, and I should be
remembered. When he returned we should be much together. His mother was
dead; our house was the only place he could call his home. Not even for
me, I felt assured, would he cast off the love of his only brother. I
had not done with him yet. So quietly and composedly I awaited his

He came at last, and his manner when we met smote me with a strange
uneasiness. It was not the estrangement of a friend whom I had injured,
but the distant politeness of a stranger. Was my influence gone? I
determined to know, once for all. When we chanced to be alone a moment
I went to his side. "William," I asked, laying my hand on his arm, and
speaking in a tender, reproachful tone, "why do you treat me so?"

With a quick, decided motion, he removed my hand,--then looked down on
me with a smile. "'You are strangely obtuse,'" he said, quoting my own
words of two years before. "What can Mrs. Haughton desire from a base
fortune-hunter with whom she is unhappily connected by marriage, but a
humility that does not presume on the relationship?"

I saw a bold stroke was needed, and that I must stoop to conquer. "Oh,
William," I said, sorrowfully, "you called me vindictive once, but it
is you who are really so. I was unhappy, harassed, distracted

"Between what?"

"I do not know--I mean I cannot tell you," I stammered, with
well-feigned confusion. "Can you not forgive me, William? Often and
often, since you left me that day, I have wished to see you, and to
tell you how I repented my hasty and ungenerous words. Will you not
pardon me? Shall we not be friends again?"

"I am not vindictive," he said, more kindly,--"least of all toward you.
But I cannot see how you should desire the friendship of one whom you
regard as a mercenary hypocrite. When you can truthfully assure me that
you disbelieve that charge, then, and not till then, will I forgive you
and be your friend."

"Let it be now, then," I said, joyfully, holding out my hand. He did
not reject it;--we were reconciled.

William had come home ill; the hardships of the expedition and the
fearful cold of the Arctic Zone had been too much for him. The very
night of his return I noticed in his countenance a frequent flush
succeeded by a deadly pallor; my quick ear had caught, too, the sound
of a cough,--not frequent or prolonged, but deep and hollow. And now,
for the first time in my long and dreary toil, I saw the path clear and
the end in view.

Every one knows with what enthusiasm the returned travellers were
hailed. Amid the felicitations, the praises, the banquets, the varied
excitements of the time, William forgot his ill-health. When these were
over, he reopened his office, and prepared to enter once more on the
active duties of his profession. But he was unfit for it; John and I
both saw this, and urged him to abandon the attempt for the
present,--to stay with us, to enjoy rest, books, society, and not till
his health was fully reestablished undertake the prosecution of

"You forget, my good sister," he laughingly said to me one day,--(he
could jest on the subject now,)--"that I have not the fortune of our
John,--I did not marry an heiress, and I have my own way to make. I had
got up a few rounds of the ladder when an adverse fate dragged me down.
Being a free man once more, I must struggle up again as quickly as may

"Oh, for that matter," I returned, in the same tone, "I had some part,
perhaps, in the adverse fate you speak of; so it is but fair that I
should make you what recompense I can. I am an admirable nurse; and you
will gain time, if you will deliver yourself up to my care, and not go
back to Coke and Chitty till I give you leave. Seriously, William, I
fear you do not know how ill you are, and how unsafe it is for you to
go on with business."

He yielded without much persuasion, and came home to us. Those were
happy days. William and I were constantly together. I read to him, I
sung to him, and played chess with him; on mild days I drove him out in
my own little pony-carriage. Did he love me all this time? I could not
tell. Never by look or tone did he intimate that the old affection yet
lived in his heart. I fancied he felt as I with him,--perfect content
in my companionship, without a thought or wish beyond. We were made for
each other; our tastes, our habits of mind and feeling, fully
harmonized; had we been born brother and sister, we should have
preferred each other to all the world, and, remaining single for each
other's sakes, have passed our lives together.

So the time wore on, sweetly and placidly, and only I seemed to notice
the failure in our invalid; but I watched for it too keenly, too
closely, to be blinded. The occasional rallies of strength that gave
John such hope, and cheered William himself so greatly, did not deceive
me; I knew they were but the fluctuations of his malady. Changes in the
weather, or a damp east wind, did not account to me for his relapses; I
knew he was in the grasp of a fell, a fatal disease; it might let him
go awhile, give him a little respite, as a cat does the mouse she has
caught,--but he never could escape,--his doom was fixed.

But you may be sure I gave him no hint of it, and he never seemed to
suspect it for himself. One could not believe such blindness possible,
did we not see it verified in so many instances, year after year.

Often, now, I thought of a passage in an old book I used to read with
many a heart-quake in my girlish days. It ran thus:--"Perhaps we may
see you flattering yourself, through a long, lingering illness, that
you shall still recover, and putting off any serious reflection and
conversation for fear it should overset your spirits. And the cruel
kindness of friends and physicians, as if they were in league with
Satan to make the destruction of your soul as sure as possible, may,
perhaps, abet this fatal deceit." We had all the needed accessories:
the kind physician, anxious to amuse and fearful to alarm his
patient,--telling me always to keep up his spirits, to make him as
cheerful and happy as I could; and the cruel friends--I had not far to
seek for them.

For a time William came down-stairs every morning, and sat up during
the greater part of the day. Then he took to lying on the sofa for
hours together. At last, he did not rise till afternoon, and even then
was too much fatigued to sit up long. I prepared for his use a large
room on the south side of the house, with a smaller apartment within
it; to this we carried his favorite books and pictures, his easy-chair
and lounge. My piano stood in a recess; a guitar hung near it. When all
was finished, it looked homelike, pleasant; and we removed William to
it, one mild February day.

"This is a delightful room," he said, gazing about him. "How pleasant
the view from these windows will be as spring comes on!"

"You will not need it," I said, "by that time."

"I should be glad, if it were so," he replied; "but I am not quite so
sanguine as you are, Juanita."

He did not guess my meaning; how should he, amused, flattered, kept
along as he had been? To him, life, with all its activities, its
prizes, its pleasures, seemed but a little way removed; a few weeks or
months and he should be among them again. But I knew, when he entered
that room, that he never would go forth again till he was borne where
narrower walls and a lowlier roof should shut him in.

I had an alarm one day. "Juanita," said the invalid, when I had
arranged his pillows comfortably, and was about to begin the morning's
reading, "do not take the book we had yesterday. I wish you would read
to me in the Bible."

What did this mean? Was this proud, worldly-minded man going to humble
himself, and repent, and be forgiven? And was I to be defrauded thus of
my just revenge? Should he pass away to on eternal life of holiness and
joy,--while I, stained through him and for his sake with sins
innumerable, sank ever lower and lower in unending misery and despair?
Oh, I must stop this, if it were not yet too late.

"What!" I said, pretending to repress a smile, "are you getting alarmed
about yourself, William? Or is Saul really going to be found among the
prophets, after all?"

He colored, but made no reply. I opened the Bible and read two or three
of the shorter Psalms,--then, from the New Testament, a portion of the
Sermon on the Mount.

"It must have been very sweet," I observed, "for those who were able to
receive Jesus as the true Messiah, and his teachings as infallible, to
hear these words from his lips."

"And do you not so receive them?" William asked.

"We will not speak of that; my opinion is of no weight."

"But you must have thought much of these things," he persisted; "tell
me what result you have arrived at."

"Candidly, then," I said, "I have read and pondered much on what this
book contains. It seems to me, that, if it teaches anything, it clearly
teaches, that, no matter how we flatter ourselves that we are doing as
we choose, and carrying out our own designs and wishes, we are all the
time only fulfilling purposes that have been fixed from all eternity.
Since, then, we are the subjects of an Inexorable Will, which no
entreaties or acts of ours can alter or propitiate, what is there for
us to do but simply to bear as best we can what comes upon us? It is a
short creed."

"And a gloomy one," he said.

"You are right; a very gloomy one. If you can rationally adopt a
cheerfuller, pray, do it. I do not wish for any companion in mine."

There was silence for a time, and then I said, with affectionate
earnestness, "Dear William, why trouble yourself with these things in
your weak and exhausted state? Surely, the care of your health is
enough for you, now. By-and-by, when you have in some measure regained
your strength, look seriously into this subject, if you wish. It is an
important one for all. I am afraid I gave you an overdose of anodyne
last night, and am to blame for your low spirits of this morning. Own,
William," I said, smilingly, "that you were terribly hypped, and
fancied you never could recover."

He looked relieved as I spoke thus lightly. "I should find it sad to
die," he said. "Life looks bright to me even yet."

This man was a coward. He dreaded that struggle, that humiliation of
spirit, through which all must pass ere peace with Heaven is achieved.
Yet more, perhaps, he dreaded that deeper struggle which ensues when we
essay to tear Self from its throne in the heart, and place God thereon.
As he said, life looked bright to him; and all his plans and purposes
in life were for himself, his own advancement, his own well-being. It
would have been hard to make the change; and he thought it was not
necessary now, at least.

No more was said upon the subject. Our days went on as before. There
was a little music, some light reading, an occasional call from a
friend,--and long pauses of rest between all these. And slowly, but
surely, life failed, and the soul drew near its doom.

I knew now that he loved me still; he talked of it sometimes when he
woke suddenly, and did not at once remember where he was; I saw it,
too, in his look, his manner; but we never breathed it to each other,
and he did not think I knew.

One night there was a great change; physicians were summoned in haste;
there were hours of anxious watching. Toward morning he seemed a little
better, and I was left alone with him. He slumbered quietly, but when
he awoke there was a strange and solemn look in his face, such as I had
never seen before. I knew what it must mean.

"When Dr. Hammond comes, let me see him alone," he whispered.

I made no objection; nothing could frustrate my purpose now.

The physician came,--a kind old man, who had known us all from infancy.
He was closeted awhile with William; then he came out, looking deeply

"Go to him,--comfort him, if you can," he said.

"You have told him?" I asked.

"Yes,--he insisted upon hearing the truth, and I knew he had got where
it could make no difference. Poor fellow! it was a terrible blow."

I wanted a few moments for reflection; I sent John in my stead. I
locked myself in my own room, and tried to get the full weight of what
I was going to do. I was about to meet him who had rejected my heart's
best love, no longer in the flush and insolence of health and strength,
but doomed, dying,--with a dark, hopeless eternity stretching out
before his shuddering gaze. And when he turned to me in those last
awful moments for solace and affection, I was to tell him that the girl
he loved, the woman he adored, had since that one night kept the
purpose of vengeance hot in her heart,--that for years her sole study
had been to baffle and to wound him,--and that now, through all those
months that she had been beside him, that he had looked to her as
friend, helper, comforter, she had kept her deadly aim in view. _She_
had deceived him with false hopes of recovery; _she_ had turned again
to the world the thoughts which he would fain have fixed on heaven;
while he was loving her, she had hated him. She had darkened his life;
she had ruined his soul.

Oh, was not this a revenge worthy of the name?

I went to him. He was sitting in the great easy-chair, propped with
pillows; John had left the room, overcome by his feelings. Never shall
I forget that face,--the despair of those eyes.

I sat down by him and took his hand.

"The Doctor has told you?" I murmured.

"Yes,--and what is this world which I so soon must enter? I believe too
much to have one moment's peace in view of what is coming. Oh, why did
I not believe more before it was too late?"

I kept silence a few minutes; then I said,--

"Listen, William,--I have something to tell you."

He looked eagerly toward me;--perhaps he thought even then, poor dupe,
that it was some word of hope, that there was some chance for his

Then I told him all,--all,--my lifelong hatred, my cherished purpose.
Blank amazement was in the gaze that he turned upon me. I feared that
impending death had blunted his senses, and that he did not fully

"You will remember now what I once told you," I cried, with savage joy;
"for so surely as there is another world, in that world shall you live,
and live to suffer, and to remember in your anguish why you suffer, and
to whose hand you owe it."

He understood well enough now. "Fiend!" he exclaimed, with a look of
horror, and started to his feet. The effort, the emotion, were too
much. Blood gushed from his lips; a frightful spasm convulsed his
features; he fell back; he was gone!

Yes,--he was gone! And my life's work was complete!

I cannot tell what happened after that. I suppose they must have found
him, and laid him out, and buried him; but I remember nothing of it.
Since then I have lived in this great, gloomy house, with its barred
doors and windows. Never since I came here have I seen a face that I
knew. Maniacs are all about me; I meet them in the halls, the gardens;
sometimes I hear the fiercer sort raving and dashing about their cells.
But I do not feel afraid of them.

It is strange how they all fancy that the rest are mad, and they the
only sane ones. Some of them even go so far as to think that _I_ have
lost my reason. I heard one woman say, not long ago,--"Why, she has
been mad these twenty years! She never was married in her life; but she
believes all these things as if they were really so, and tells them
over to anybody who will listen to her."

Mad these twenty years! So young as I am, too! And I never married, and
all my wrongs a maniac's raving! I was angry at first, and would have
struck her; then I thought, "Poor thing! Why should I care? She does
not know what she is saying."

And I go about, seeing always before me that pallid, horror-stricken
face; and wishing sometimes--oh, how vainly!--that I had listened to
him that bright October day,--that I had been a happy wife, perchance a
happy mother. But no, no! I must not think thus. Once I look at it in
that way, my whole life becomes a terror, a remorse. I will not, must
not, have it so.

Then let me rejoice again, for I have had my revenge,--a great, a
glorious revenge!

* * * * *


It was the autumn of the year;
The strawberry-leaves were red and sere;
October's airs were fresh and chill,
When, pausing on the windy hill,
The hill that overlooks the sea,
You talked confidingly to me,
Me, whom your keen artistic sight
Has not yet learned to read aright,
Since I have veiled my heart from you,
And loved you better than you knew.

You told me of your toilsome past,
The tardy honors won at last,
The trials borne, the conquests gained,
The longed-for boon of Fame attained:
I knew that every victory
But lifted you away from me,--
That every step of high emprise
But left me lowlier in your eyes;
I watched the distance as it grew,
And loved you better than you knew.

You did not see the bitter trace
Of anguish sweep across my face;
You did not hear my proud heart beat
Heavy and slow beneath your feet;
You thought of triumphs still unwon,
Of glorious deeds as yet undone;--
And I, the while you talked to me,
I watched the gulls float lonesomely
Till lost amid the hungry blue,
And loved you better than you knew.

You walk the sunny side of Fate;
The wise world smiles, and calls you great;
The golden fruitage of success
Drops at your feet in plenteousness;
And you have blessings manifold,--
Renown, and power, and friends, and gold;
They build a wall between us twain
Which may not be thrown down again;--
Alas! for I, the long years through,
Have loved you better than you knew.

Your life's proud aim, your art's high truth
Have kept the promise of your youth;
And while you won the crown which now
Breaks into bloom upon your brow,
My soul cried strongly out to you
Across the ocean's yearning blue,
While, unremembered and afar,
I watched you, as I watch a star
Through darkness struggling into view,
And loved you better than you knew.

I used to dream, in all these years,
Of patient faith and silent tears,--
That Love's strong hand would put aside
The barriers of place and pride,--
Would reach the pathless darkness through,
And draw me softly up to you.
But that is past. If you should stray
Beside my grave, some future day,
Perchance the violets o'er my dust
Will half betray their buried trust,
And say, their blue eyes full of dew,
"She loved you better than you knew."

* * * * *


Facts, and figures representing facts, are recognized as stubborn
adversaries when arrayed singly in an argument; in aggregate, and in
generalizations drawn from aggregates, they are often unanswerable.

To the nervous reader it may seem a startling, and to the reformatory
one a melancholy fact, that every soul in these United States has
provided for him annually, and actually consumes, personally or by
proxy, between six and seven pounds of coffee, and a pound of tea;
while in Great Britain enough of these two luxuries is imported and
drunk to furnish every inhabitant, patrician or pauper, with over a
pound of the former, and two of the latter.

Coffee was brought to Western Europe, by way of Marseilles, in 1644,
and made its first appearance in London about 1652. In 1853, the
estimated consumption of coffee in Great Britain, according to official
returns, was thirty-five million pounds, and in the United States, one
hundred and seventy-five million pounds, a year.

Tea, in like manner, from its first importation into England by the
Dutch East India Company, early in the seventeenth century, and from a
consumption indicated by its price, being sixty shillings a pound, has
proportionately increased in national use, until, in 1854, the United
States imported and retained for home consumption twenty-five million
pounds, and England fifty-eight million pounds.

Two centuries have witnessed this almost incredible advance. The
consumption of coffee alone has increased, in the past twenty-five
years, at the rate of four _per cent. per annum_, throughout the world.

We pay annually for coffee fifteen millions of dollars, and for tea
seven millions. Twenty-two millions of dollars for articles which are
popularly accounted neither fuel, nor clothing, nor food!

"What a waste!" cries the reformer; "nearly a dollar apiece, from every
man, woman, and child throughout the country, spent on two useless

Is it a waste? Is it possible that we throw all this away, year after
year, in idle stimulation or sedation?

It is but too true, that the instinct, leading to the use of some form
of stimulant, appears to be universal in the human race. We call it an
instinct, since all men naturally search for stimulants, separately,
independently, and unceasingly,--because use renders their demands as
imperious as are those for food.

Next to alcohol and tobacco, coffee and tea have supplied more of the
needed excitement to mankind than any other stimulants; and, taking the
female sex into the account, they stand far above the two former
substances in the ratio of the numbers who use them.

In Turkey coffee is regarded as the essence of hospitality and the balm
of life. In China not only is tea the national beverage, but a large
part of the agricultural and laboring interest of the country is
engaged in its cultivation. Russia follows next in the almost universal
use of tea, as would naturally result from its proximity and the common
origin of a large part of its population. Western Europe employs both
coffee and tea largely, while France almost confines itself to the
former. The _cafes_ are more numerous, and have a more important social
bearing, than any other establishments in the cities of France. Great
Britain uses more tea than coffee. The former beverage is there thought
indispensable by all classes. The poor dine on half a loaf rather than
lose their cup of tea; just as the French peasant regards his
_demi-bouteille_ of Vin Bleu as the most important part of his meal.

Tea first roused the rebellion of these American Colonies; and tea made
many a half Tory among the elderly ladies of the Revolution. It has,
indeed, been regarded, and humorously described by the senior Weller,
as the indispensable comforter and friend of advanced female life. Dr.
Johnson was as noted for his fondness for tea as for his other excesses
at the table. Many sober minds make coffee and tea the _pis a tergo_ of
their daily intellectual labor; just as a few of greater imagination or
genius seek in opium the spur of their ephemeral efforts. In the United
States, the young imbibe them from their youth up; and it is quite as
possible that a part of the nation's nervousness may arise from this
cause, as it is probable that our wide-spread dyspepsia begins in the
use of badly-cooked solid food, immediately on the completion of the
first dentition.

All over this country we drink coffee and tea, morning and night; at
least, the majority of us do. They are expensive; their palpable
results to the senses are fleeting; they are reported innutritious;
nay, far worse, they are decried as positively unwholesome. Yet we
still use them, and no one has succeeded in leading a crusade against
them at all comparable with the onslaughts on other stimulants, made in
these temperance days. The fair sex raises its voice against tobacco
and other masculine sedatives, but clings pertinaciously to this

It becomes, then, an important question to decide whether the choice of
civilization is justified by experience or science,--and whether some
effect on the animal economy, ulterior to a merely soothing or
stimulant action, can be found to sanction the use of coffee and tea.
And this is a question in so far differing from that of other
stimulants, that it is not to be discussed with the moralist, but
solely with the economist and the sanitarian.

More even than us, economically, does it concern the overcrowded and
limited states of Europe, where labor is cheap, and the necessaries of
life absorb all the efforts, to decide whether so much of the earnings
of the poor is annually thrown away in idle stimulation.

It concerns us in a sanitary point of view, more than in any other way,
and more than any other people. We are rich, spare in habit, and of
untiring industry. We can afford luxurious indulgences, we are very
susceptible to nervous stimuli, and we overwork.

Our national habit is feeble. Debility is recognized as the prevailing
type of our diseases. Nervous exhaustion is met by recourse to all
kinds of stimulation. We are apt to think coffee and tea as harmless,
or rather as slow in their deleterious action, as any. Are they nothing

As debility marks the degeneration of our physical constitution, so
does a morbid sensitiveness at all earthly indulgence, a tendency to
reform things innocent, although useless, betray the weakness of the
moral health of our day. An ascetic spirit is abroad; our amateur
physiologists look rather to a mortification than an honest building-up
of the flesh. They prefer naked muscle to rounded outline, and seek
rather to test than to enjoy their bodies. Fearing to be Epicureans,
they become Spartans, as far as their feebler organizations will allow
them, and very successful Stoics, by the aid of Saxon will. By a faulty
logic, things which in excess are hurtful are denied a moderate use.
Habits innocent in themselves are to be cast aside, lest they induce
others which are injurious.

There is but little danger that Puritan antecedents and a New England
climate should tend to idle indulgence or Epicurean sloth. We think
there is a tendency to reform too far. We confess our preference for
the physique of Apollo to that of Hercules. We acknowledge an amiable
weakness for those bounties of Nature which soothe or comfort us or
renew our nervous energy, and which, we think, injure us no more than
our daily bread, if not immoderately used.

Science almost always finds some foundation in fact for popular
prejudices. For years, men have continued wasting their substance on
coffee and tea, insisting that they strengthened as well as comforted
them, in spite of the warnings of the sanitarian, who looked on them
solely as stimulants or sedatives, and of the economist, who bewailed
their extravagant cost.

Physiology, relying on organic chemistry, has at least justified by
experiment the choice of the civilized world. Coffee and tea had been
regarded by the physiologist and the physician as stimulants of the
nervous system, and to a less extent and secondarily of the
circulation, and that was all. To fulfil this object, and to answer the
endless craving for habitual excitants of the cerebral functions, they
had been admitted reluctantly to the diet of their patients, rather as
necessary evils than as positive goods. It was reserved for the
all-searching German mind to discover their better qualities; and it is
only within the last five years, that the self-sacrificing experiments
of Dr. Boecker of Bonn, and of Dr. Julius Lehmann, have raised them to
their proper place in dietetics, as "Accessory Foods." This term, which
we borrow from the remarkable work on "Digestion and its Derangements,"
by Dr. Thomas K. Chambers, of London, is only the slightest of the many
obligations which we hasten to acknowledge ourselves under to this
author, as will appear from citations in the course of this article.

The labors of earlier physiologists and chemists, as Carpenter, Liebig,
and Paget, had resulted in the classification of nutritive substances
under different heads, according to the purposes they served in the
physical economy. Perhaps the most convenient, though not an
unexceptionable division, is into the Saccharine, Oleaginous,
Albuminous, and Gelatinous groups. The first includes those substances
analogous in composition to sugar, being chemically composed of
hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen. Such are starch, gum, cellulose, and so
forth, which are almost identical in their ultimate composition, and
admit of ready conversion into sugar by a simple process of vital
chemistry. The oleaginous group comprises all oily matters, which are
even purer hydro-carbons than the first-mentioned class. The third, or
albuminous group, includes all substances closely allied to albumen,
and hence containing a large proportion of nitrogen in addition to the
other three elements. The last group consists also of nitrogenized
substances, which resemble gelatine in many of their characteristics.
The first two groups are called non-azotized, as they contain no
nitrogen; the last two, azotized, containing nitrogen. "All articles of
food that are to be employed in the production of heat must contain a
larger proportion of hydrogen than is sufficient to form water with the
oxygen that they contain, and none are appropriate for the maintenance
of any tissues (except the adipose) unless they contain nitrogen."
Hence the obvious restriction of the first two classes to the
heat-producing function, and of the last two (or azotized) to the
reparation of the tissues.

We have, then, the two natural divisions of calorifacient and plastic
foods: the one adapted to sustain the heat of the body, and enable us
to maintain a temperature independent of that of the medium we may be
in; the other to build up, repair, and preserve in their natural
proportions the various tissues, as the muscular, fibrous, osseous, or
nervous, which compose our frames. These two kinds of food we must have
in due proportion and quantity in order to live. Neither the animal nor
the vegetable kingdom furnishes the one to the exclusion of the other.
We derive our supplies of each from both. More than this, we consume
and appropriate certain incidental elements, which find their place and
use in the healthy system. Iron floats in our blood, sulphur lies
hidden in the hair and nails, phosphorus scintillates unseen in the
brain, lime compacts our bones, and fluorine sets the enamelled edges
of our teeth. At least one-third of all the known chemical elements
exist in some part of the human economy, and are taken into the stomach
hidden in our various articles of food. This would seem enough for
Nature's requirements. It is enough for all the brute creation. As men,
and as thinkers, we need something more.

In all the lower orders of creation the normal state is preserved.
Health is the rule, and sickness the rare exception. Demand and supply
are exactly balanced. The contraction of the voluntary muscles, and the
expenditure of nervous power consequent on locomotion, the temperate
use of the five senses, and the quiet, regular performance of the great
organic processes, limit the life and the waste of the creature. But
when the brain expands in the dome-like cranium of the human being, a
new and incessant call is made on the reparative forces. The nervous
system has its demands increased a hundred-fold. We think, and we
exhaust; we scheme, imagine, study, worry, and enjoy, and
proportionately we waste.

In the rude and primitive nations this holds good much less than among
civilized people. Yet even among them, the faculties whose possession
involves this loss have been ever exercised to repair it by artificial
means. In the busy life of to-day how much more is this the case!
Overworked brains and stomachs, underworked muscles and limbs, soon
derange the balance of supply and demand. We waste faster than
enfeebled digestion can well repair. We feel always a little depressed;
we restore the equilibrium temporarily by stimulation,--some with
alcohol and tobacco, others with coffee and tea. Now it is to these
last means of supply that the name has been given of "accessory foods."

"Accessories are those by whose use the moulting and renewing (that is,
the metamorphosis) of the organic structures are modified, so as best
to accommodate themselves to required circumstances. They may be
subdivided into those which _arrest_ and those which _increase_
metamorphosis." It is under the former class that are placed alcohol,
sugar, coffee, and tea. Again, says Dr. Chambers,--"Not satisfied with
the bare necessaries," (the common varieties of plastic and
calorifacient food,) "we find that our species chiefly are inclined by
a _soi-disant_ instinct to feed on a variety of articles the use of
which cannot be explained as above; they cannot be found in the
organism; they cannot, apparently, without complete disorganization, be
employed to build up the body. These may be considered as extra diet,
or called accessory foods..... These are what man does not want, if the
protracting from day to day his residence on earth be the sole object
of his feeding. He could live without them, grow without them, think,
after a fashion, without them. A baby does. Would he be wise to try and
imitate it?

"Thus, there is no question but that easily assimilable brown meat is
the proper food for those whose muscular system is subjected to the
waste arising from hard exercise; and if plenty of it is to be got, and
the digestive organs are in sufficiently good order to absorb enough to
supply the demand, it completely covers the deficiency. Water, under
these circumstances, is the best drink; and a 'total abstainer,' with
plenty of fresh meat, strong exercise, and a vigorous digestion, will
probably equal anybody in muscular development. But should the
digestion not be in such a typical condition, should the exercise be
oversevere and the victuals deficient, then the waste must be limited
by some arrester of metamorphosis; if it is not, the system suffers,
and the man is what is called 'overworked.'.... Intellectual labor also
exercises the demand for food, and at the same time, unfortunately,
injures the assimilating organs; so that, unless a judicious diet is
employed, waste occurs which cannot be replaced."

Waste, we may be told, is life, and the rapidity of change marks the
activity of the vital processes. True, if each particle consumed is at
once and adequately replaced. Beyond that point, let the balance once
tend to over-consumption, and we approach the confines of decay. Birds
live more and faster than men, and insects probably most of all; yet
many of the latter are ephemeral.

Every-day experience had long pointed to the recurring coincidence,
that, of the annual victims of pulmonary consumption, few were to be
found among the habitual consumers of ardent spirits. Science
volunteered the explanation, that alcohol supplied a hydro-carbonaceous
nutriment similar to that furnished by the cod-liver oil, which,
serving as fuel, spared the wasting of the tissues, just in proportion
to its own consumption and assimilation. Other aid it was supposed to
lend, by stimulating the function of nutrition to renewed energy. Later
investigations have proved that it exercises a yet more important
influence as an arrester of metamorphosis. It was on arriving at this
conclusion, that Dr. Boecker was led to institute a series of careful
experiments to determine the influence of water on the physical
economy, and the real value of salt, sugar, coffee, tea, and other
condiments, as articles of food. "The experimenter appears to have used
the utmost precision, and details so conscientiously the mode adopted
of making his estimates, that additional knowledge may perhaps alter
the conclusions drawn, but can never diminish the value of the
experiments." They are not open to the objections of mistaken
sensations, and honest, though ludicrous, misapprehension of fallible
symptoms, to which the testing of drugs homeopathically is liable, and
of which another instance has just occurred in London, in the "proving"
of the new medicinal agent, gonoine. They rather resemble in accuracy a
quantitative, as well as a qualitative, analysis. We will cite first
the experiments on tea, and quote from the interesting narrative of Dr.

"After Dr. Boecker had determined by some preliminary trials what
quantity of food and drink was just enough to satiate his appetite
without causing loss of weight to his body,--that is to say, was
sufficient to cover exactly the necessary outgoings of the
organism,--he proceeded to special experiments, in which, during
periods of twenty-four hours, he took the amount of victuals
ascertained by the former trials.

"The first set of the first series of experiments consists of seven
observations, of twenty-four hours' duration each, in the months of
July and August, with three barely sufficient meals _per diem_, in
quantities as nearly equal each day as could be managed, and only
spring-water to drink. The second set comprises the same number of
observations in August, September, and October, under similar
circumstances, except that infusion of tea, drunk cold, was taken
instead of plain water.

"Each day there are carefully recorded" qualitative and quantitative
analyses of the excretions,--estimates of "the amount of insensible
perspiration, and of expired carbonic acid,--the quickness of
respiration,--the beats of the pulse,--together with accurate notes of
the duration of bodily exercise in the open air, the loss of weight of
the whole body, the general feelings, and the circumstances,
thermometric, barometric, and meteoric, under which the observations
are taken.

"A second series of seventeen experiments of equal duration were made,
and at a different time of year, so as to answer the question, which
might arise, as to whether the season made any difference."

In these experiments similar observations and records are made as
previously, "under the three following circumstances, namely: while
taking tea as an ordinary drink, on the days immediately following the
leaving it off, and on other days when it was not taken."

"A third series, of four experiments, was also made during four fasts
of thirty-six hours each--two with water only, and two with tea to

"In the following particulars, all the three series so entirely
coincide, that the conclusions will be set down as general deductions
from the whole.

"Tea, in ordinary doses, has not any effect on the amount of carbonic
acid expired, the frequency of the respirations, or of the pulse."

Obviously, then, it is not with reference to the heat-producing
function that we can look upon tea as in any sense a nutriment; and if
it causes no saving of carbon, its effects must be sought in checking
some other waste, or in the less consumption of nitrogen. The pulse,
and hence the respiration, are unaltered; for the two great processes
of circulation and aeration of the blood are interdependent functions,
and have, in health, a definite ratio of activity one with the other.
As a nervous stimulant, tea in excess will, as we all know, produce an
exaltation of the action of the heart, amounting in some persons to a
painful and irregular palpitation. No such result seems to follow its
moderate use.

"The loss by perspiration is limited by tea." This seems, at first,
contrary to common experience, as the sensible perspiration produced by
several cups of warm tea is a familiar fact to all tea-drinkers. That
this effect is wholly owing to the warmth of the mixture, it being
drunk usually in hot infusion or decoction, was pointed out long since
by Cullen. Tea limits perspiration, perhaps, by the astringent action
of the tannin which it contains,--of which more hereafter. What is
saved by limiting perspiration? Water, largely; carbonic acid, in
considerable amount; ammonia (a nitrogenized substance;) salts of soda,
potash and lime, and a trace of iron, all in quantities minute, to be
sure, but to be counted in the aggregate of arrest of metamorphosis.

But the great fact which establishes tea as an arrester of the change
of tissue is, that its use diminishes remarkably the amount of nitrogen
thrown off by the excretions, specially destined to remove that
element, when in excess, from the system. "We have before called
attention to the fact, that an indispensable component of plastic food,
by which alone the tissues are repaired, is nitrogen. By a
chemico-vital process, nitrogen builds up and is incorporated in the
tissues. Nitrogen, again, is one of the resulting components of the
change of tissue. This element forms a large part of the effete
particles which are rejected on accumulation from such change or waste.
That a less amount is excreted by the tea-drinker, when similar
quantities are ingested, the weight and plumpness of the body remaining
undiminished the while, is proof of the slower change of tissue which
takes place under the modifying influence of tea. The importance of
this effect we shall presently see.

"In the first series of experiments, the daily allowance of food,
though less copious on the tea days, was more nitrogenized, and
nitrogen also was taken in as theine. Yet, in spite of this, the
quantity thrown off in twenty-four hours was nearly a _gramme_ less
than on the water days. Still more strikingly is this shown in the days
of complete fast, when pure spring-water is seen to cause a greater
loss of nitrogen than infusion of tea, in spite of the supply of
nitrogen contained in the latter. The difference also is seen to exist
in spite of an increased amount of bodily exercise."

As final deductions from these experiments, there result, first, "that,
when the diet is sufficient, the body _is_ more likely to gain weight
when tea is taken than when not"; second, "that, when the diet is
_insufficient_, tea _limits_ very much _the loss of weight_ thereby

A set of experiments made by Dr. Lehmann are parallel with these. They
exhibit the effects of coffee on the excretion of phosphorus, chloride
of sodium, (common salt,) and nitrogen. If less full than Dr. Boecker's,
they appear to be equally accurate, and more complete in showing the
separate actions of the several constituents of coffee. It would be
tedious to the general reader to follow them in detail, and we shall
avail ourselves of the brief _resume_ of Dr. Chambers.

"First,--Coffee produces on the organism two chief effects, which it is
very difficult to connect together,--namely, the raising the activity
of the vascular and nervous systems, and protracting remarkably the
decomposition of the tissues. Second,--that it is the reciprocal
modifications of the specific actions of the empyreumatic oil and
cafeine contained in the bean which call forth the stimulant effects of
coffee, and therefore those peculiarities of it which possess
importance in our eyes,--such as the rousing into new life the soul
prostrated by exertion, and especially the giving it greater
elasticity, and attuning it to meditation, and producing a general
feeling of comfort. Third,--that the protraction of metamorphic
decomposition which this beverage produces in the body is chiefly
caused by the empyreumatic oil, and that the cafeine only causes it
when it is taken in larger quantity than usual. Fourth,--that cafeine
(in excess) produces increased action of the heart, rigors, headache, a
peculiar inebriation, delirium, and so on. Fifth,--that the
empyreumatic oil (in excess) causes perspirations, augmented activity
of the understanding, which may end in irregular trains of thought,
restlessness, and incapacity for sleep."

It follows that both the active elements of the coffee-berry are
necessary to insure its grateful effects,--that the volatile and
odorous principle alone protracts decomposition,--and that careful
preparation in roasting and decocting are essential to secure the full
benefits of it as a beverage.

It would be difficult to overestimate the practical importance of these
results. They raise coffee and tea from the rank of stimulants to that
of food,--from idle luxuries to real agents of support and lengthening
of life. Henceforth the economist can hear of their increasing
consumption without a regret. The poor may indulge in them, not as
extravagant enjoyments, but practical goods. The cup of tea, which is
the sole luxury of their scanty meal, lessens the need for more solid
food; it satisfies the stomach, while it gladdens the heart. It saves
them, too, the waste of those nitrogenized articles of food which
require so much labor and forethought to procure. The flesh meats and
the cereals, which contain the largest amounts of this requisite of
organic life, are always the dearest articles of consumption. Certainly
it is not as positive nutriment that we recommend the use of coffee and
tea; for although they contain a relatively large amount of nitrogen,
that supply can be better taken in solid food. Their benefit is
two-fold. While they save more than enough of the waste of tissue to
justify their use as economical beverages, they supply a need of the
nervous system of no small importance. They cheer, refresh, and
console. They thus fill a place in the wants of humanity which common
articles of food cannot, inasmuch as they satisfy the cravings of the
spirit as well as of the flesh.

We have before attempted to show that the human race is liable to a
peculiar and constant waste from the development of the nervous system,
and that the body has to answer for the labor of the mind. At first
thought, we shall find it difficult to appreciate the endless vigilance
and activity of the brain. Like the other organisms which possess a
proper nervous system, man carries on the common organic processes of
life with a regularity and unfailing accuracy which seem to verge on
the mechanical forces, or to be, at least, automatic. All habitual
voluntary acts by repetition become almost automatic, or require no
perceptibly distinct impulse of the will. When we emerge from this
necessary field of labor, we come to those functions peculiar to the
proper brain. Here all is continual action. Thought, imagination, will,
the conflicting passions, language, and even articulation, claim their
first impulse from the nervous centre. The idlest reverie, as well as
the most profound study, taxes the brain. That distinguishing attribute
of man can almost never rest. In sleep, to be sure, we find a seeming
exception. Then only its inferior portion remains necessarily at work
to supervise the breathing function. Yet we know that we have often
dreamed,--while we do not know how often we fail to recall our dreams.
The duality of the cerebrum may also furnish a means of rest in all
trivial mental acts. Still, the great demands of the mind upon the
nervous tissues remain. And it is these losses which may be peculiarly
supplied by the nervous stimulants. Such are coffee and tea. Common
nutrition by common food, and particularly the adipose and phosphatic
varieties, nourishes nerve tissue, no doubt, as gluten and fibrine do
muscle. But the stimulants satisfy temporarily their pressing needs,
and enable them to continue their labors without exhaustion. Reacting
again upon the rest of the body, they invigorate the processes of
ordinary nutrition; for whatever rests or stimulates the nerve
proportionately refreshes and vitalizes the tissues which it supplies.

It would be curious and well worth while to follow out the peculiar
connection between the use of coffee and the excretion of phosphorus,
which has been before hinted at. Other experiments of Dr. Boecker prove
sugar to be a great saver of the phosphates, and hence of bone,--which
affords, at least, a very plausible reason for the instinctive fondness
of children for sweets, during the building portion of their lives.

In exhausting labors, long-continued exposure, and to insure
wakefulness, the uses of coffee and tea have long been practically
recognized by all classes. The sailor, the trapper, and the explorer
value them even above alcohol; and in high latitudes we are assured of
their importance in bracing the system to resist the rigors of the
Arctic winter.

There is of course, as in all human history, another side of this
picture. Abuse follows closely after use. The effects of the excessive
employment of nervous stimulants in shaking the nerves themselves, and
in impairing digestion, are too familiar to need description. Yet even
here abuse is not followed by those terrible penalties which await the
drunkard or the opium-eater. Idiosyncrasy, too, may forbid their use;
and this is not very rare. As strengtheners and comforters of the
average human system, however, they have no superiors, and none others
are so largely used.

It is a little singular that the active principles of coffee and tea
are probably identical,--no more so, however, than the marvellous
similarity of starch, gum, and sugar, or other chemical wonders. They
have been called cafeine and theine, respectively. They are azotized,
and contain quite a marked amount of nitrogen. Chemically, they consist
of carbon 19, hydrogen 10, nitrogen 4, oxygen 4. Some allowance is
therefore to be made for them as plastic food.

This peculiar principle (theine) is also found in the leaves of the
_Ilex Paraguayensis_, or Paraguay tea, used in South America, as a

"Good black tea contains of theine from 2.00 to 2.13 per cent.
Coffee-_leaves_ contain of theine from 1.15 to 1.25 per cent.
Paraguay tea contains of theine from 1.01 to 1.23 per cent.
The coffee-berry a mean of 1.00 per cent.

"Besides the theine and the essential oils, which latter give the aroma
of the plants, there is contained in both coffee and tea a certain
amount of difficultly soluble vegetable albumen, and in the latter,
especially, a large quantity of tannin. Roasting renders volatile the
essential oil of the coffee-berry. The tea-leaf, infused for a short
time, parts with its essential oil, and a small portion of alkaloid,
(theine,) a good deal of which is thrown away with the grounds. If it
stands too long, or is boiled, more indeed is got out of it, but an
astringent, disagreeable drink is the result. The boiling of coffee
extracts all its oil and alkaloid too, and, when it is drunk with the
grounds, allows the whole nutriment to be available. Even when
strained, it is clearly more economical than tea."

Roasted coffee is a powerful deodorizer, also. This fact is familiarly
illustrated by its use in bar-rooms; and it might be made available for
other purposes.

The cost and vast consumption of coffee and tea have made the
inducements to adulterate them very great. The most harmless form, is
the selling of coffee-grounds and old tea-leaves for fresh coffee and
tea. There is no security in buying coffee ready-ground; and we always
look at the neat little packages of it in the grocers' windows with a
shudder. Beans and peas we have certainly tasted in ground coffee. The
most fashionable adulteration, and one even openly vaunted as
economical and increasing the richness of the beverage, is with the
root of the wild endive, or chicory. Roasted and ground, it closely
resembles coffee. It contains, however, none of the virtues of the
latter, and has nothing to recommend it but its cheapness. The leaves
of the ash and the sloe are used to adulterate tea. They merely dilute
its virtues, without adding any that are worth the exchange.

The coffee-tree is a native of Ethiopia or Abyssinia. Bruce tells us
that the nomad tribes of that part of Africa carry with them, in
crossing deserts on hostile expeditions, only balls of pulverized
roasted coffee mixed with butter. One of these as large as a
billiard-ball keeps them, they say, in strength and spirits during a
whole day's fatigue, better than a loaf of bread or a meal of meat. The
Arabs gave the first written account of coffee, and first used it in
the liquid form. Burton, in his "Anatomy of Melancholy," mentions it as
early as 1621. "The Turks have a drink they call coffee, (for they use
no wine,)--so named of a berry as black as soot, and as bitter, which
they sip up as warm as they can suffer, because they find by experience
that that kind of drink, so used, helpeth digestion and procureth

The coffee-tree reaches a height of from six to twelve feet, and when
fully grown much resembles the apple-tree. Its leaves are green all the
year; and in almost all seasons, blossoms and green and ripe fruit may
be seen on the same tree at the same time. When the blossom falls,
there springs from it a small fruit, green at first, red when ripe, and
under its flesh, instead of a stone, is the bean or berry we call
coffee. "It has but recently become known by Europeans that the leaves
of the coffee-plant contain the same essential principle for which the
berries are so much valued. In Sumatra, the natives scarcely use
anything else. The leaves are cured like tea. And the tree will produce
leaves over a much larger _habitat_ than it will berries." Should the
decoction of the leaves prove as agreeable as that of the berry, we
shall have a much cheaper coffee; though it remains to be proved that
they contain the essential oil as well as the cafeine.

The coffees of Java, Ceylon, and Mocha are most esteemed. The
quantities produced are quite limited. Manila and Arabia together give
less than 4,500 tons. Cuba yields 5,000 tons _per annum_; St. Domingo,
18,000; Ceylon and the British East Indies, 16,000; Java, 60,000; and
Brazil, 142,000. Yet, in 1774, a Franciscan friar, named Villaso,
cultivated a single coffee-tree in the garden of the convent of San
Antonio, in Brazil. In the estimates for 1853, we find that Great
Britain consumes 17,500 tons; France, 21,500; Germany, (Zollverein),
58,000; and the United States, about 90,000 tons. It is worth remarking
how small is the comparative consumption of tea in France. The
importation of tea for 1840 was only 264,000 kilogrammes (less than
600,000 pounds).

In Asia, coffee is drunk in a thick farinaceous mixture. With us the
cup of coffee is valued by its clearness. We generally drink it with
sugar and milk. The French with their meals use it as we do,--but after
dinner, invariably without milk (_cafe noir_). And we would suggest to
the nervous and the dyspeptic, who do not want to resign the luxury of
coffee, or to whom its effects as an arrester of metamorphosis are
beneficial, that when drunk on a full stomach its effects upon the
nerves are much less felt than when taken fasting or with the meals.

In the consumption of tea the United States rank next to Great Britain.
Tea is the chief import from China into this country. The tea-plant
flourishes from the equator to the forty-fifth parallel of latitude;
though it grows best between the twenty-third and the twenty-fifth
parallels. Probably it can be successfully cultivated in our Southern
States. Mr. Fortune considers that all varieties of tea are derived
from the same plant. Other authorities say that there are two species,
the green and the black,--_Thea viridis_ and _Thea Bohea_. This point
is yet unsettled. Tea is grown in small, shrub-like plantations,
resembling vineyards. As it is a national beverage, certain localities
are as much valued for choice varieties as are the famous vintage-hills
and slopes of Southern France. The buds and the leaves are used; and
there are three harvestings,--in February, April, and June. The young,
unfolded buds of February furnish the "Youi" and "Soumlo," or "Imperial
Teas." These are the delicate "Young Hysons" which we are supposed to
buy sometimes, but most of which are consumed by the Mandarins.
Souchong, Congo, and Bohea mark the three stages of increasing size and
coarseness in the leaves. Black tea is of the lowest kind, with the
largest leaves. In gathering the choicer varieties, we are told on
credible authority that "each leaf is plucked separately; the hands are
gloved; the gatherer must abstain from gross food, and bathe several
times a day." Many differences in the flavor and color of green and
black teas are produced by art. Mr. Fortune says of green tea, that "it
has naturally no bloom on the leaf, and a much more natural color. It
is dyed with Prussian blue and gypsum. Probably no bad effects are
produced. There is no foundation for the suspicion that green tea owes
its verdure to an inflorescence acquired from plates of copper on which
it is curled or dried. The drying-pans are said to be invariably of
sheet-iron." We drink our tea with milk or sugar, or both, and always
in warm infusion. In Russia, it is drunk cold,--in China, pure; in Ava,
it is used as a pickle preserved in oil.

It would be improper not to notice, finally, the moral effect of
coffee- and tea-drinking. How much resort to stronger stimulants these
innocent beverages prevent can be judged only by the weakness of human
nature and the vast consumption of both.

* * * * *


When the little white-headed country-boy of an inland farmstead lights
upon a book which shapes his course in life, five times out of six the
volume of his destiny will turn out to be "Robinson Crusoe." That
wonderful fiction is one of the servants of the sea,--a sort of
bailiff, which enters many a man's house and singles out and seizes the
tithe of his flock. Or rather, cunning old De Foe,--like Odusseus his
helmet, wherewith he detected the disguised Achilles among the
maids-of-honor,--by his magic book, summons to the service of the sea
its predestined ones. Why is it, but from a difference in blood and
soul, that the sea gets its own so surely? The farmer's sons grow up
about the fireside, do chores together, together range the woods for
squirrels, woodchucks, chestnuts, and sassafras, go to the same
"deestrick-school," and succeed to the same ambitions and hopes.
Reuben, the first-born, comes in due time to the care of the paternal
acres and oxen. Simeon, Dan, Judah, Benjamin, and the rest, grow up and
emigrate to Western clearings. Levi, it may be, pale, thoughtful Levi,
sees other fields "white to harvest," and struggles up through a New
England academy-and college-education, to find a seat in the
lecture-rooms of Andover, and to hope for a pulpit hereafter. But
Joseph, the pet and pride of the household,--what becomes of him?
Unlucky little duck! why could he not go "peeping" at the heels of the
maternal parent with his brother and sister biddies? Why must he be
born with webbed toes, and run at once to the wash-tub, there to make
nautical experiments with walnut-shells?

I know why the boys of a seaport-town take kindly to the water. All the
birds of the shore are something marine, and their table-flavor is apt
to be fishy. We youngsters, who were rocked to sleep with the roar of
the surf in our ears,--one wall of whose play-room was colored in blue
edged with white, in striking contrast with the peaceful green of the
three other sides,--who have many a night lain warm in bed and listened
to the distant roll of a sea-chorus and the swinging tramp of a dozen
jolly blue-jackets,--we whose greatest indulgence was a sail with Old
Card, _the_ boatman _par excellence_,--we who knew ships, as the
farmer's boy knows his oxen, before we had mastered the
multiplication-table,--it is not strange that we should take kindly to
salt water. So, too, all along the lovely "fiords" of Maine, in the
villages which cluster about the headlands of Essex, in the brown and
weather-mossed cottages which dot the white sands of Cape Cod, by the
southern shore of Long Island, wherever the sea and the land meet, the
boy grows up drawing into his lungs the salt air, which passes in
Nature's mysterious alchemy into his blood, so that he can never wholly
disown his birthright. But what is it that draws from the remote inland
the predestinate children of the deep?

Poor little Joseph! he tries to slip along with the others; but when
the holiday comes, instinct takes him straight to the mill-pond, there
to construct forbidden rafts and adventure contraband voyages. The
best-worn page of his Malte-Brun Geography is that which treats the
youthful student to a packet-passage to England. He can tell the names
of all islands, capes, and bays; but ask him the boundaries of Bohemia
or Saxony, the capitals of Western States, and down he goes to the foot
of the class. Thus it continues awhile, till, after a fracas at school,
or a neglected duty on the farm, or similar severance of the bonds of
home, Master Joe may be seen trudging along the dusty seaport-highway,
in a passion of tears, but with a resolute heart, and an ever-deepening
conviction that he must go on, and not back.

Then there is another class,--the poetical, dreamy adventurer, to whom
the sea beckons in every white Undine that rises along the beaches of a
moonlight night, to whom it calls in that mournful and magic undertone
heard only by those who love and listen. These do not often run away to
go to sea; they prefer to voyage genteelly in yachts or packet-ships,
and, if the impulse be very strong, will get a commission in the navy.
However, if circumstances compel a Tapleyan "coming out strong," they
will sometimes face their work, and that right nobly; for there is
nowhere that gentle blood so tells as at sea. The utter absence of all
sham or room for sham brings out true and noble qualities as well as
mean and selfish ones. For ordinary work, one man's muscle is as good
as another's. It is only when the time of trial comes,--when the
volunteers are called to man the boat that is to venture through the
wild seas to pick off the crew of a foundering wreck,--"when the
jerking, slatting sail overhead must be got in somehow," though topmast
and yard and sail may go any minute,--when the quailing mate or
frightened captain dares not _order_ men to all but certain death, and
still less dares to _lead_,--then it is, when the lives of all hang on
the heroism of one, that the good blood will assert itself.

Then there is the class who are _sent_ to sea,--scapegraces all. The
alternative is not unfrequently the one of which Dr. Johnson chose the
other side. The Doctor being _sans question_ a landsman, _he_ never
saw, we warrant, any resemblance to fore and main and mizzen in the
three spires of Litchfield. But the Doctor, not being a scamp, was not
compelled to choose. Many another is not so well off. Like little boys
who are sent to school, they learn what they learn from pretty much the
same motive. Sometimes they turn out good and gallant men; but not
often does it reform a man who is unfit for the shore to dispatch him
to sea. If there are any vices he does not carry with him, they are
commonly to be had dog- and dirt-cheap at the first port his ship

Then, last of all, there is a large and increasing class who _get_ to
sea. They fall into the calling, they cannot tell how; they continue in
it, they cannot tell why. Some have friends who would rescue them, if
they could; others have no friend, no home, no nationality even, the
pariahs of the sea, sullen, stupid, and broken-down, burnt-out shells
of men, which the belaying-pin of some brutal or passionate mate
crushes into sudden collapse, or which the hospital duly consigns to
the potter's field.

There is a popular idea of the sailor, which, beginning at the lowest
note of the gamut, with the theatrical and cheap-novelist mariner, runs
up its do-re-mi with authors, preachers, public speakers, reformers,
and legislators, but always in the wrong key. There is no use in making
up an ideal of any class; but if you must have one, let it be of an
extinct class. It does not much harm to construct horrible
plesiosaurians from the petrified scales we dig out of a coal-mine or
chalk-pit; but when it comes to idealizing the sea-serpent, who winters
at the Cape Verds and summers at Nahant, it is a serious matter. For
the love of Agassiz, give us true dimensions or none.

So, too, fancy Greeks and Romans may be ever preferable to the true
Aristophanic or Juvenalian article,--imaginary Cavaliers or Puritans
not at all hard to swallow,--but ideal sailors, why in the world must
we bear them, when we can get the originals so cheaply? When the
American "Beggar's Opera" was put upon the stage, "Mose" stepped
forward, the very impersonation of the Bowery. If it was low, it was at
least true, a social fact. But the stage sailor is not as near
probability as even the stage ship or the theatrical ocean. He is a
relic of the past,--a monstrous compound out of the imperfect gleanings
of the Wapping dramatists of the last century. Yet all those who deal
with this character of the sailor begin upon the same false notion. In
their eyes the seaman is a good-natured, unsophisticated, frank,
easy-going creature, perfectly reckless of money, very fond of his
calling, unhappy on shore, manly, noble-hearted, generous to a degree
inconceivable to landsmen. He is a child who needs to be put in
leading-strings the moment he comes over the side, lest he give way to
an unconquerable propensity of his to fry gold watches and devour
bank-notes, _a la sandwich_, with his bread and butter.

With this theory in view, all sorts of nice schemes are set forward for
the sailor, and endless are the dull and decorous substitutes for the
merriment or sociability of his favorite boarding-house, and wonderful
are the schemes which are to attract the nautical Hercules to choose
the austere virtue and neglect the rollicking and easy-going vice.
Beautiful on paper, admirable in reports, pathetic in speeches,--all
pictorial with anchors and cables and polar stars, with the light-house
of Duty and the shoals of Sin. But meanwhile the character of the
merchant-marine is daily deteriorating. More is done for the sailor now
by fifty times than was done fifty years ago; yet who will compare the
crews of 1858 with those of 1808?

There are many reasons for this change, and one is Science. That which
always makes the rich richer and the poor poorer, and which can be made
to restore the lost equilibrium in a higher civilization only by the
strong pressure of an enlightened Christianity, has been at work upon
the sea. Columbus sailed out of Palos in a very different looking craft
from the "Great Republic." The Vikings had small knowledge of taking a
lunar, and of chronometers set by Greenwich time. Sir Humphrey Gilbert,
when he so gallantly and piously reminded his crew that "heaven was as
near by sea as on land," was sitting in the stern of a craft hardly so
large as the long-boat of a modern merchantman. Yet the modern time
does not give us commanders such as were of old, still less such
seamen. Science has robbed the sea of its secret,--is every day bearing
away something of the old difficulties and dangers which made the
wisest head and the strongest arm so dear to their fellows, which gave
that inexpressible sense of brotherhood. Science has given us the
steamship,--it has destroyed the sailor. The age of discovery is
closing with this century. Up to the limits of the ice-fields, every
shore is mapped out, every shoal sounded. Not only does Science give
the fixed, but she is even transferring to her charts the variable
features of the deep,--the sliding current, the restless and veering

The personal qualities which were once needed for the sea-service are
fast passing away. The commander or the master needs no longer to lean
upon his men, or they to trust in him. He wants drudges, not
shipmates,--obedient, active drudges,--men who can be drilled to quick
execution of duty, even as in a machine the several parts. The navy is
manned after this pattern; but there is a touchstone which sharpens the
edge dulled with routine,--the touchstone of war. When the time comes
that the drum-tap calls to quarters, and the decks are strewn with
sand,--when with silence as of the grave, fore and aft, the frigate
moves stately and proud into the line of her adversaries' fire, then it
is that the officer and the man meet face to face, and the awful truth
of battle compels them to own their common brotherhood. The
merchant-service has few such exigencies. The greater the size of the
ship, the greater the number of the crew. The system of
shipping-offices and outfitters breaks up almost all the personal
contact between master and men. They come on board at the hour of
sailing. A gang of riggers, stevedores, or lightermen work the vessel
into the stream. A handful of boosy wretches are bundled into the
forecastle, and as many more rolled, dead-drunk, into their bunks, to
sleep off their last spree. The mates are set to the task of dragooning
into order the unruly mass. Half the men have spent their advance, and
mean to run as soon as the ship arrives. They intend to do as little as
they can,--to "soger," and shirk, and work against the ship all they
can. The captain cares only to make a quick passage and get what he can
out of the crew. Community of interest there is none. Brutal authority
is pitted against sullen discontent.

In the old days of the little white-headed farmer's boy's dreams, there
were discovery and trading-ships sailing into unknown seas, and finding
fairy islands never visited before. There were savages to trade
with,--to fight with, it might be. There were a thousand perils and
adventures that called for all the manly and ennobling qualities both
of generous command and loyal obedience. It was a point of honor to
stick by ship and captain while ship and captain remained to stick by;
for the success of a voyage depended on such mutual trust and help. But
now where is the sea's secret? There is hardly a square league of water
which has not been sailed over. Find an island large enough to land a
goat upon, and you will find it laid down in the charts,--and, if it be
only far enough south, a Stonington sealer at anchor under its lee, or
a New Bedford whaler's crew ashore picking up drift-wood. Where are the
old dangers of the sea? We are fast learning to calculate for the
storms, and to run from them. Steam-frigates have ended forever the
pirates of the Spanish Main. The long, low, black schooner, which could
sail dead to windward through the pages of the cheap "yellow-covers,"
and the likeness of which sported its skull and crossbones on the said
covers, is to be met with nowhere else. Neither the Isle of Pines nor
the numberless West India keys know her or her romantic commander any

The relations of trade, too, have changed with the changes of Science.
We were once gathered with the group of travellers who are wont to
smoke the cigar of peace beside the pilot-house of one of our noble
Sound steamers. As we rounded the Battery and sped swiftly up the East
River, the noblest avenue of New York, lined with the true palaces of
her merchant-princes,--an avenue which by its solid and truthful
architecture half atones for the flimsiness of its land structures,--as
we passed the ocean steamships lying at the "Hook," the sea-captains
about me began to talk of the American triumphs of speed. "They say to
the Englishmen now," said one, "that we're going to take the berths out
of the 'Pacific.'" (She had just made the then crack passage.) "When
the English fellows ask, 'What for?'--they say, 'Because Collins
intends to run her for a day-boat." This extravaganza raised a laugh;
but one of the older brethren shook his head solemnly and sadly. "It's
all very well," said he; "but what with a steamer twice a week, and
your telegraph to New Orleans, they know what's going on at Liverpool
as well as if they were at Prince's Dock. It don't pay now to lay a
week alongside the levee on the chance of five cents for cotton."

It was a text that suggested a long homily. The shipmaster was degraded
from his old position of the merchant's friend, confidential agent, and
often brother-merchant. He was to become a mere conductor, to take the
ship from port to port. No longer identified with the honor and success
of a great and princely house, with the old historic kings of the
Northwest Coast, or of Canton, or of Calcutta, he sinks into a mere
navigator, and a smuggler of Geneva watches or Trench embroideries.

We state facts. Thus much has Science done to deteriorate the men of
the sea. It has robbed them of all the noblest parts of their calling.
It has taken away the spirit of adventure, the love of enterprise, and
the manly spirit which braved unknown dangers. It has destroyed their
interest by its new-modelling of trade; it has divided labor, and is
constantly striving to solve the problem, How to work a ship without
requiring from the sailor any courage or head-work, or anything, in
short, but mere muscle. It interferes with the healthful relations of
officer and man. The docks of Liverpool are a magnificent work, but
they necessitate the driving of the seaman from his ship into an
atmosphere reeking with pollution. The steam-tugs of New York are a
wonderful convenience, but they help to further many a foul scheme of
the Cherry-Street crimps and land-sharks.

For all this Science owes a remedy. It must be in a scientific way. We
have indicated some of the leading causes of the decline of the
seaman's character. The facts are very patent. Step into any
shipping-office, or consult any sea-captain of your acquaintance, and
you will have full evidence of what we say.

The remedy must not be outside the difficulty. You may build "Bethels"
into which the sailor won't come, and "Homes" where he won't stay,
distribute ship-loads of tracts, and scatter Bibles broadcast, but you
will still have your work to do. The Bethel, the Home, and the Bible
are all right, but they are for the shore, and the sailor's home is on
the sea. It points an address prettily, no doubt, to picture a group of
pious sailors reading their Bibles aloud of a Sunday afternoon, and
entertaining each other with profound theological remarks, couched in
hazy nautical language. But what is the real truth of the case? It may
be a ship close-hauled, with Cape Horn under her lee,--all hands on
deck for twelve hours,--sleet, snow, and storm,--the slide over the
forecastle hatchway,--no light below by which to make out a line even
of the excellent type of the American Bible Society, and on deck a gale
blowing that would take the leaves bodily out of any book short of a
fifteenth-century folio,--this, with the men now reefing and now
shaking out topsails and every other thing, as the gale rages or lulls,
in the hope of working to windward of certain destruction.

The remedy, to be effectual, must touch the seaman's calling. It is of
no use to appeal to his better nature, if he hasn't any. If you make a
drudge and a beast of him, you can't do him much good by preaching at
him. The working of the present system is, that there are afloat a set
of fellows who are a sort of no-countrymen. Like the beach-combers of
the Pacific, they have neither country, home, nor friends, and are as
different from the old class of American sailors as the _condottiere_
from the loyal soldier. Let the navigation-laws be enforced first of
all, and see that the due proportion of the crews of every ship be
native-born. Let the custom-house protections be no longer the farce
they are,--where a man who talks of "awlin haft the main tack" is set
down as a native of Martha's Vineyard, and his messmate, who couldn't
say "peas" without betraying County Cork, is permitted to hail from the
interior of Pennsylvania. Let the ship-owners combine (it is for their
interest) to do away with the whole body of shipping-agents, middlemen,
and land-sharks. Jack will take his pleasure ashore,--you can't help
that; and perhaps so would you, Sir, after six months of "old horse"
and stony biscuit, with a leaky forecastle and a shorthanded crew. Jack
will take his pleasure, and that in ways we may all of us object to;
but, for Heaven's sake, break up a system of which the whole object is
to degrade the man into the mere hack of a set of shore harpies. Do not
leave him in the hands of those whom you are now permitting to combine
with you to clear him out as swiftly as possible, and then dispatch him
to sea. Let the captains ship their own crews on board the ship, and do
away with the system of advances. But, at any rate, do learn to treat
the sailor as if he were not altogether a fool. He has sense, plenty of
it, shrewd, strong, common sense, and more real gentlemanly feeling
than we on shore generally suppose, a good deal of faith, and certain
standing principles of sea-morality. But at the same time he has
prejudices and whims utterly unaccountable to men living on shore. He
will forfeit one or two hundred dollars of wages to run from a ship and
captain with which he can find no fault. He will ship the next day in a
worse craft for smaller wages. You cannot understand his impulses and
moods and grievances till you see them from a forecastle point of view.

It may be that Science will solve the riddle by casting aside the works
and improvements of a thousand years,--the "wave line," the spar, the
sail, and all,--and with them the men of the sea. It may be that
"Leviathans" will march unheedingly _through_ the mountain waves,--that
steam and the Winans's model will obliterate old inventions and labors
and triumphs. Blake and Raleigh and Frobisher and Dampier may be known
no more. The poetry and the mystery of the sea may perish altogether,
as they have in part. Out of the past looks a bronzed and manly face;
along the deck of a phantom-ship swings a square and well-knit form. I
hear, in memory, the ring of his cheerful voice. I see his alert and
prompt obedience, his self-respecting carriage, and I know him for the
man of the sea, who was with Hull in the "Constitution" and Porter in
the "Essex." I look for him now upon the broad decks of the magnificent
merchantmen that lie along the slips of New York, and in his place is a
lame and stunted, bloated and diseased wretch, spiritless, hopeless,
reckless. Has he knowledge of a seaman's duty? The dull sodden brain
can carry the customary orders of a ship's duty, but more than that it
cannot. Has he hopes of advancement? His horizon is bounded by the bar
and the brothel. A dog's life, a dog's berth, and a dog's death are his

The old illusion still prevails and has power over little towheaded
Joseph on the Berkshire interval. It will not prevail much longer. It
is fast yielding to the power of facts. The Joes of next year may run
from home in obedience to the planetary destiny which casts their
horoscope in Neptune, but they will not run to the forecastle. We shall
have officers and men of a different class,--the Spartan on the
quarter-deck, the Helot in the forecastle. We have it now. A story of
brutal wrong on shipboard startles the public. A mutiny breaks out in
the Mersey, and a mate is beaten to death, and we wonder why the
service is so demoralized. The story could be told by a glance at the
names upon the shipping-papers. The officers are American,--the men are
foreigners, blacks, Irish, Germans, non-descripts, but hopelessly
severed from the chances of the quarter-deck. The law may interpose a
strong arm, and keep the officer from violence, the men from mutiny. We
may enact a Draconian code which shall maintain a sullen and revengeful
order upon the seas, but all fellowship and mutual helpfulness are
gone. When the day of trial comes,--the wreck, the fire, the
leak,--subordination is lost, and every man scrambles for his own
selfish safety, leaving women and children to the flames and the waves.
Why is it that ships, dismasted, indeed, but light and staunch, are so
often found rolling abandoned on the seas? It is the daily incident of
our marine columns. I have been told by an old shipmaster, how, when he
was a young mate, his ship was dismasted on the Banks of Newfoundland,
on a voyage to Europe. The captain had been disabled and the vessel was
leaking. He came into command. But in those days men never dreamed of
leaving their ship till she was ready to leave them. They rigged
jury-masts, and, under short canvas and working at the pumps, brought
their craft to the mouth of Plymouth Harbor. The pilot demanded
salvage, and was refused leave to come on board. The mate had been into
that port before, was a good seaman and a sharp observer, and he took
his vessel safely to her anchorage himself, rather than burden his
owners with a heavy claim. Captains and mates will not now-a-days
follow that lead, because they cannot trust their men, because with
every emergency the _morale_ of the forecastle is utterly gone.

For all this there is of course no universal panacea. Nor do I believe
that legislation will much help the matter. The common-law of the seas,
well carried out by competent courts of admiralty, is better than many
statutes. For emergencies require extraordinary powers and a wide
discretion. There can be no divided rule in a ship. But if every man
know his place and his duty, and none overstep it, there will come
thereof successful and happy voyages. There must be discipline,
subordination, and law. The republican theory stops with the shore.
"Obey orders, though you break owners," is the Magna Charta of the
main. This can be well and wisely carried out only with some
homogeneity of the ship's company, with a community of feeling and a
community of interest. Everybody who has been off soundings knows, or
ought to know, the difference between things "done with a will" and
"sogering." If it be important on land to adjust the relations of
employer and employed, it is doubly important on the sea, where the
peril and the privation are great. For it is a hard life, a life of
unproductive toil, that oftenest shows no results while accomplishing
great ends. It cannot be made easy. The gale and the lee-shore are the
same as when the sea-kings of old dared them and did battle with them
in the heroic energy of their old Norse blood. The wet, the cold, the
exposure must be, since you cannot put a Chilson's furnace into a
ship's forecastle, nor wear India-rubbers and carry an umbrella when
you go aloft. But men will brave all such discomforts and the attendant
perils with a hearty delight, if you will train up the right spirit in
them. Better the worst night that ever darkened off Hatteras, than the
consumption-laden atmosphere of the starving journeyman-tailor's
garret, the slow inhalation of pulverized steel with which the
needle-maker draws his every breath! The sea's work makes a man, and
leaves him with his duty nobly done, a man at the last. Courage, loyal
obedience, patient endurance, the abnegation of selfishness,--these are
the lessons the sea teaches. Why must the shore make such diabolical
haste and try such fiendish ingenuity to undo them? The sea is pure and
free, the land is firm and stable,--but where they meet, the tide rises
and falls, leaving a little belt of sodden mud, of slippery, slimy
weeds, where the dead refuse of the sea is cast up to rot in the hot
sun. Something such is the welcome the men of the sea get from that
shore which they serve. Into this Serbonian bog between them and us we
let them flounder, instead of building out into their domain great and
noble piers and wharves, upon which they can land securely and come
among us.

Some years ago, a young scholar was led to step forth from his natural
sphere into the forecastle of a merchantman. No quarrel with the world,
no romantic fancy, drove him thither, but a plain common-sense purpose.
He saw what he saw fairly, and he has told the tale in a volume which,
for picturesque clearness, vigor, and manly truthfulness, will scarcely
find its equal this side the age of Elizabeth. He owed it to the sea,
for the sea gave him health, self-reliance, and fearlessness, and that
persistent energy which saved him from becoming that which elegant
tastes and native refinement make of too many of our young men, a mere
literary or social _dilettante_, and raised him up to be a champion of
right, a chivalrous defender of the oppressed, whose name has honored
his calling. His book was an effort in the right direction. By that we
of the land were brought nearer to those to whom this country owes so
much, its merchant-seamen. But we want more than the work, however
noble, of one man. We want the persistent and Christian interest in the
elevation of the seaman of every man who is connected with his calling.
We do not want a Miss-Nancyish nor Rosa-Matildan sentimentalism, but a
good, earnest, practical handling of the matter. We call our merchants
princes. If wealth and lavish expenditure make the prince, they are,
indeed, fit peers of Esterhazy or Lichtenstein. But the true princely
heart looks after the humblest of its subjects. When the poor of Lyons
were driven from their homes by the flooded Rhone, Louis Napoleon urged
his horse breast-deep into the tide to see with his own eyes that his
people were thoroughly rescued. The merchant whose clippers have coined
him gold should spare more than a passing thought upon the men who hung
over the yards and stood watchful at the wheel. England's earls can
afford to look after the toiling serfs in their collieries; the
patricians of New York and Boston might read as startling a page as
ever darkened a Parliamentary Blue-book, with a single glance into
Cherry and Ann Streets.

For a thousand years the Anglo-Saxon race has been sending its
contributions to the nation of the Men of the Sea. Ever since the
Welshman paddled his coracle across Caernarvon Bay, and Saxon Alfred
mused over the Danish galley wrecked upon his shore, each century has
been adding new names of fame to the Vikings' bead-roll. Is the list
full? has Valhalla no niche more for them? and must the men of the sea
pass away forever? If it must be so,--it must. _Che sara sara_. But if
there is no overruling Fate in this, but only the working of casual
causes, it is somebody's care that they be removed. In almost all
handicrafts and callings the last thirty years have wrought a vast and
rapid deterioration of the men who fill them. Machinery, the boasted
civilizer, is the true barbarizer. The sea has not escaped. Its men are
not what the men of old were. The question is, Can we let them go?--can
they be dispensed with among the elements of national greatness?

Passing fair is Venice, but she sits in lonely widowhood in the
deserted Adriatic. Amalfi crouches under her cliffs in the shame of her
poverty. The harbors of Tyre and Carthage are lonesome pools. They tell
their own story. When the men of the sea no longer find a home or a
welcome on the shore,--when they are driven to become the mere
hirelings who fight the battles of commerce, like other hirelings they
will serve beneath the flag where the pay and the provant are most
abundant. The vicissitudes of traffic are passing swift in these latter
days; and it does not lie beyond the reach of a possible future that
the great commercial capitals of the Atlantic coast may be called to
pause in their giddy race, even before they have rebuilded the
Quarantine Hospital, or laid the capstone of the pharos of Minot's

* * * * *


The song-sparrow has a joyous note,
The brown thrush whistles bold and free;
But my little singing-bird at home
Sings a sweeter song to me.

The cat-bird, at morn or evening, sings
With liquid tones like gurgling water;
But sweeter by far, to my fond ear,
Is the voice of my little daughter.

Four years and a half since she was born,
The blackcaps piping cheerily,--
And so, as she came in winter with them,
She is called our Chicadee.

She sings to her dolls, she sings alone,
And singing round the house she goes,--
Out-doors or within, her happy heart
With a childlike song o'erflows.

Her mother and I, though busy, hear,--
With mingled pride and pleasure listening,--
And thank the inspiring Giver of song,
While a tear in our eye is glistening.

Oh! many a bird of sweetest song
I hear, when in woods or meads I roam;
But sweeter by far than all, to me,
Is my Chicadee at home.

* * * * *



22,728, Five Hundred and Fifty-First St., }
New York, June 1, 1858. }

Dear Don Bobus,--I see that you have been Christian enough to send my
last letter to "The Atlantic Monthly," and that the editors of that
famous work have confirmed my opinion of their high taste by printing
it. Your disposition of my MSS. I do not quarrel with; although it must
be regarded in law as an illegal liberty, inasmuch as the Court of
Chancery has decided that a man does not part with property in his own
letters merely by sending them; but I ask permission to hint that your
conduct will acquire a certain graceful rotundity, if you will remit to
me in current funds the munificent sum of money which the whole-souled
and gentlemanly proprietors--pardon the verbal habits of my humble
calling!--have without doubt already remitted to you. _Pecunia prima
quaerenda, virtus post nummos_. Mind you, I do not expect to be as well
paid as Sannazarius.

"Who the deuse was he?" I hear you growling.

My dear Iberian friend, I really thought that you knew everything; but
I find that you have set up for an Admirable Crichton upon an
inadequate capital. Know, then, that a great many years ago
Sannazarius--never mind who he was,--I do not justly know,
myself--wrote an hexastich on the city of Venice, and sent it to the
potent Senators of that moist settlement. It was as follows:--

"Viderat Adriacis Venetam Neptunus in undis
Stare urbem et toti ponere jura mari.
Nunc mihi Tarpeias quantumvis, Jupiter, arces,
Objice, et ilia tui moenia Martis, ait;
Sic Pelago Tibrim praefers; urbem aspice utramque,
Illam homines dices, hanc posuisse deos."

Which may be liberally rendered thus:--

When sea-faring Neptune saw Venice well-founded
And stiffly coercing the Adrian main,
The jolly tar cried, in a rapture unbounded:
"Why, d--ash my eyes, Jove, but I have you again;
You may boast of your city, and Mars of his walling;
But while I'm afloat, I'll stick to it that mine
Beats yours into rope-yarn in spite of your bawling,
Just as snuffy old Tiber is flogged by the brine;
And he who the difference cannot discern
Is a lob-sided lubber from bowsprit to stern.

"Very free, indeed!" you will say. It might have been worse, if I had
staid at college a year or two longer, or if I had been elevated to a
place in the Triennial Catalogue,--thus:

V. Gubernator, Lit. Hum. Prof.,
e Cong., Praeses Rerumpub. Foed., A.B.
Yal., M.D. Dart., D.D. Dart., P.D.
V. Mon., etc., etc., etc.

I have put myself down _stelliger_, because it is certain, that, after
obtaining all the above honors, if not an inmate of the cold and silent
tomb, I should be false to my duties as a member of society, and a
nuisance to my fellow-creatures. The little anachronism of translating
after being translated you will also pardon; and talking of the tomb,
let us return to Sannazarius. I pray that your nicely noble nose may
not be offended by the tarry flavor of my version. You will find the
Latin in Howell's "Survey of Venice," 1651,--a book so thoroughly
useless, and so scarce withal, that I am sure it must be in your
library. By the way, as you have written travels in all parts of this
and other worlds, without so much as stirring from your arm-chair, and
have calmly and coolly published the same, I must quote to you the
rebuke of Howell, who says, "He would not have adventured upon the
remote, outlandish subject, had he not bin himself upon the place; had
he not had practicall conversation with the people of whom he writes."
This veracious person very properly dedicated his book to the saints in
Parliament assembled, many of whom had, soon after, ample leisure for
perusing the fat folio. Nor is it perfectly certain that you have read
the book, although you may own it; since it is your sublime pleasure to
collect books like Guiccardini's History, which somebody went to the
galleys rather than read through.

But let us return, my dear Bobus, to the money question. Know, then,
that the Sannazarian performance above quoted, so different from the
language of the malignant and turbaned Turks, filled with rapture the
first Senator and the second Senator and all the other Senators
mentioned in Act I., Scene 3, of "Othello," so that, in grand
committee, and, for all I know to the contrary, with Brabantio in the
chair, they voted to the worthy author a reward of three hundred
zechins, or, to state it cambistically in our own beloved Columbian
currency, $1,233.20,--this being the highest literary remuneration upon
record, if we except the untold sums lavished by "The New York Blotter"
upon the fascinating author of "Steel and Strychnine; or, the Dagger
and the Bowl." But as we have had enough of Sannazarius, let us leave
him with the gentle hope that his check was cashed in specie at the
Rialto Bank, and that he made a good use of the money.

Now, dear Don, in the great case of Virtue _vs_. Money, I appear for
the defendant. Confound Virtue, say I, and the whole tribe of the
Virtuous! I am as weary of both as was that sensible Athenian of
hearing Aristides called _The Just_; and if I had been there, and a
legal voter, I know into which box my humble oyster-shell would have
been plumped. Such was the vile, self-complacent habit of the
Athenians, that I suspect the best fellows then were not good fellows
at all. And what did the son of Lysimachus make by being recalled from
banishment? He died so poor, that he was buried at the public charge,
and left a couple of daughters as out-door pensioners upon public
charity. The Athenians, I aver, were a duncified race; and it would
have pleased me hugely to have been in the neighborhood when Alcibiades
rescinded his dog's charming tail,--a fine practical protest, although
unpleasant to the dog. Virtue may be well enough by way of variety; but
for a good, steady, permanent pleasure, commend me to Avarice! Yes, O
my Bobus, I, who was once, as to money, "still in motion of raging
waste," and, like Timon, "senseless of expense,"--I, who have many a
time borrowed cash of you with amiable recklessness, and have never
asked you to take it back again,--I, who have had many a race with the
constable, and have sometimes been overtaken,--I, who have in my callow
days spoken disrespectfully of Mammon in several charming copies of
verses,--I am waxing sordid. I am for the King of Lydia against Solon.
How do I know that the insolent Cyras was not blandished out of his
bloodthirsty intention of roasting his deposed brother by a little cash
which the son of Gyges had saved out of the wide, weltering wreck of
his wealth, and had concealed in his boots? Royal palms were not wholly
free from _pruritus_ even then. Why has this silly world still
persisted in putting long ears upon Midas? I do not know whether he
sang better or worse than Apollo; and I am sure it is much better, and
bespeaks more sense, to play the flute ill than to play it well. Depend
upon it, his Majesty of Phrygia has been very much abused by the
mythologists. With that particular skill of his, during an epidemic of
the _brevitas pecuniaria_, (_Angl._ shorts,) he would have been just
the person to coax into one's house of accompt, at five minutes before
two o'clock in the afternoon, to work a little involuntary
transmutation,--to change the coal-scuttle into ingots, and the ruler
into a great, gorged, glittering _rouleau_. So little would his
auricular eccentricity have hindered his welcome, that I verily believe
he would have been heartily received, if he had come with ensanguined
chaps straight from the pillory, and had left both ears nailed to the

Don't talk to me about filthy lucre! Pray, when would Sheikh Tahar,
that eminent Koordish saint, have become convinced that he was a great
sinner, if they had not carried about the contribution-boxes in the
little New England churches? Do you think it has cost nothing to
demonstrate to the widows of Scindiah the folly of _suttee_? Don't you
know that it has been an expensive work to persuade the Khonds of
Goomsoor to give up roasting each other in the name of Heaven? Very
fine is Epictetus,--but wilt he be your bail? Will Diogenes bring home
legs of mutton? Can you breakfast upon the simple fact that riches have
wings and use them? Can you lunch upon _vanitas vanitatum_? Are loaves
and fishes intrinsically wicked? As for Virtue, we have the opinion of
Horace himself, that it is viler than the vilest weed, without fortune
to support it. Poets, of all men, are supposed to live most easily upon
air; and yet, Don Bob, is not a fat poet, like Jamie Thomson, quite
likely, although plumper than beseems a bard, to be ten thousand times
healthier in his singing than my Lord Byron thinning himself upon cold
potatoes and vinegar? Do you think that Ovid cuts a very respectable
figure, blubbering on the Euxine shore and sending penitential letters
to Augustus and afterward to Tiberius? He was a poor puppy, and as well
deserved to have three wives as any sinner I ever heard of. Don't you
think, that, if the cities of Smyrna, Chios, Colophon, Salamis, Rhodes,
Argos, and Athens had given over disputing about the birthplace of the
author of the "Iliad" and other poems, and had "pooled in" a handsome
sum to send him to a blind asylum, it would have been a sensible
proceeding? Do you think Milton would have written less sublimely, if
he had been more prosperous? Do you think Otway choking, or Hudibras
Butler dying by inches of slow starvation, pleasant to look upon? Are
we to keep any terms with the thin-visaged jade, Poverty, after she has
broken down a great soul like John Dryden's? That is a very foolish
notion which has so long and so universally prevailed, that a poet
must, by the necessity of the case, be poor. David was reckoned an
eminent bard in his day, and he was a king; and Solomon, another sweet
singer, was a king also. Depend upon it, no man sings, or thinks, or,
if he be a man, works, the worse for being tolerably provided for in
basket and pocket-money.

Objectively considered, I say that there is not in this world a sadder
sight, one so touchingly suggestive of departed joys, departed never to
return, as a pocketbook, flat, planed, exenterated, crushed by the
elephantine foot of Fate,--nor is there one so ridiculous, inutile,
impertinent, possibly reproachful and disagreeably didactic. Think of
it, Don Bob,--for you in your day, as I in mine, have seen it. 'Tis so
much leather stripped from the innocent beast, and cured and colored
and polished and stamped to no purpose,--with a prodigious show of
empty compartments, like banquet-halls deserted. It has a clasp to
mount guard over nothing,--a clasp made of steel digged from the bowels
of the earth, and smelted and hammered and burnished, only to keep
watch and ward after the thief has made his visit leisurely. 'Tis an
egregious chaos. 'Tis an absurd vacuum. To make it still more
unpleasant, there are your memoranda. You are reminded that upon
Thursday last you purchased butter flavous, or chops rosy; but where is
hint, sign, direction, or instruction touching the purchase of either
upon Thursday next? How much would it have helped poor Belisarius, in
his sore estate, if he had kept a record of his household expenses, as
my friend Minimus does? By the same token, he sometimes makes odd
misentries, pious figurative fictions, in order to save the feelings of
Mrs. Minimus, who is auditor-general and comptroller of the household.
And speaking of Belisarius, just fancy the hard fate of that gallant
and decayed soldier! Figure him left naked by the master whom he had
served so well, crying out for a beggarly _obolus_! Now this, you must
know, was one of the least respectable coins of ancient times, being of
about the value of one farthing sterling. If the poor man had got his
battered old helmet full of them, the ponderous alms would not have
driven the wolf gaunt and grinning many paces from his squalid
home,--always admitting that he had any home, however squalid, to crawl
into at sunset. And how often he crouched and whined, white-headed and
bare-headed all day, and did not get a _lepton_ (which was, in value,
thirty-one three hundred thirty-sixths of an English farthing) for his
pains! 'Tis such a pitiful story, that I am truly glad that the eminent
German scholar, Nicotinus of Heidelberg, in his work upon the Greek
Particle, has pretty clearly shown (Vol. xxviii. pp. 2850 to 5945) that
the story may be regarded as a myth, illustrating the great, eternal,
and universal danger of ultimate seediness, in which the most
prosperous creatures live. And just think of Napoleon squabbling about
wine with Sir Hudson Lowe,--the hero of Areola, without courage enough
to hang himself. Now you will notice, my dear friend, that he did not
lose his dignity, until, with true British instinct, they took away his
cash, and even opened his letters to confiscate his remittances. He
should have hidden the imperial spoons in a secret pocket. He should,
at least, have saved a sixpence wherewithal to buy Mr. Alison.

You may think, dear Don, that my views are exceedingly sordid. I
readily admit that all the philosophy and poetry, and I suppose I must
add the morality, of the world are against me. I know that it is
prettier to turn up one's nose at ready cash. I have not found, indeed,
that for the poetical pauper, in his proper person, the world, whether
sentimental or stolid, has any deep reverence. Will old Jacob Plum, who
lives on an unapproachably high avenue,--his house front and his heart
of the same material,--and who made two mints of money in the patent
_poudrette_, come to my shabby little attic in Nassau Street, and ask
me to dinner simply because "The Samos (Ill.) Aristarchean" has spoken
with condescending blandness of my poems? I know that Miss Plum dotes
upon my productions. I know that she pictures me to herself as a
Corydon in sky-blue smalls and broad-brimmed straw hat, playing elegies
in five flats, or driving the silly sheep home through the evening
shades. Now, whatever else I may be, I am not that. I keep my
refinement for gala-days; I do not shave, because I would save
sixpences; I do not wear purple and fine linen. I should be a woful
disappointment to Mistress Plum: for I like beer with my beef, and a
heart-easing tug at my pipe afterwards; and as for the album, we should
never get along at all, for I have too much respect for poetry to write
it for nothing. But if I have not wholly escaped the shiftlessness and
improvidence of my vocation,--if I have never rightly comprehended the
noble maxim, "A penny saved is a penny gained," (which cannot in rigid
mathesis be true, because by saving the penny you miss the enjoyment:
that is, half-and-half, chops, or cheese, which the penny aforesaid
would purchase; so that the penny saved is no better than pebbles which
you may gather by the bushel upon any shore,)--if I like to haunt Old
Tom's, and talk of politics and poetry with the dear shabby set who
nightly gather there, and are so fraternally blind to the holes in each
other's coats,--why it is all a matter between myself and Mrs. Potter,
and perhaps the clock. We have a good, stout, manly supper,--no Apician
kickshaws, the triumphs of palate-science,--no nightingales' tongues,
no peacocks' brains, no French follies,--but just a rasher or so, in
its naked and elegant simplicity. Montaigne's cook, who treated of his
art with a settled countenance and magisterial gravity, would have
turned his nose skyward at our humble repast; and he would have cast
like scorn upon that to which Milton with such charming grace invited
his friend, in one of those matchless sonnets which make us weep to
think that the author did not write a hundred of them. But Montaigne's
cook may follow his first master, the late Cardinal Caraffa, to that
place where there will always be fire for his saucepans! The epicures
of Old Tom's would deal very crisply with that spit-bearing Italian, or
his shade, should it appear to them. We are not very polished, but most
of us could give hints to men richer than we can hope to be of a wiser
use of money than the world is in any danger of witnessing. There is
Old Sanders, the proof-reader,--"Illegitimate S." we call him,--who
knows where there is an exquisite black-letter Chaucer which he pants
to possess, and which he would possess, were it not for a fear of Mrs.
Sanders and a tender love of the little Sanderses. There is young
Smooch,--he who smashed the Fly-Gallery in "The Mahlstick" newspaper,
and was not for a moment taken in by the new Titian. There is
Crosshatch, who has the marvellous etching by Rembrandt, of which there
are only three copies in the world, and which he will not sell,--no,
Sir,--not to the British Museum. There is Mr. Brevier Lead, who has in
my time successively and successfully smitten and smashed all the
potentates, big and little, of Europe, and who has in his museum a
wooden model of the Alsop bomb. Give them money, and Sanders will
rebuild and refurnish the Alexandrian Library,--Smooch will bid every
young painter in America reset his palette and try again,--and Brevier
Lead will be fool enough to start a newspaper upon his own account,
and, while his purse holds out to bleed, will make it a good one. But
until all these high and mighty things happen,--until we come into our
property,--we must make the best of matters. I know a clever Broadway
publisher, who, if I were able to meet the expenses, would bring out my
minor poems in all the pomp of cream-laid paper, and with all the
circumstance of velvet binding, with illustrations by Darley, and with
favorable notices in all the newspapers. I should cut a fine figure,
metaphorically, if not arithmetically speaking; whereas my farthing
rush-light is now sputtering, clinkering, and guttering to waste, and
all because I have not a pair of silver snuffers. If you wish me to
move the world, produce your lever! Your wealthy bard has at least
audience; and if he cannot sing, he may thank his own hoarse throat,
and not the Destinies.

For myself, dear Don Bob, having come into my inheritance of oblivion
while living,--having in vain called upon Fame to sound the trumpet,
which I am sure is so obstinately plugged that it will never syllable
my name,--having resolutely determined to be nobody,--I do not waste my
sympathy upon myself, but generously bestow it upon a mob of fine
fellows in all ages, who deserved, but did not grasp, a better fortune.
All that live in human recollection are but a handful to the tribes
that have been forgotten. You will be kind enough, my sardonic friend,
to repress your sneers. I tell you that a great many worthy gentlemen
and ladies have been shouldered out of the Pantheon who deserved at
least a corner, and who would not while living have given sixpence to
insure immortality, so certain were they of monuments harder than
brass. The murrain among the poets is the severest. For, in the first
place, a fine butterfly may have a pin stuck through his stomach even
while living. There are Bavius and Maevius, who have been laughed at
since Virgil wrote his Third Eclogue. Now why does the world laugh?
What does the world know of either? They were stupid and malevolent,
were they? Pray, how do you know that they were? You have Virgil's word
for it. But how do you know that Virgil was just? It might have been
the east wind; it might have been an indigestion; it might have been
Virgil's vanity; it might have been all a mistake. When a man has once
been thoroughly laughed down, people take his stupidity for granted;
and although he may grow as wise as Solomon, living he is considered a
fool, dying he is regarded as a fool, and dead he is remembered as a
fool. Do you not suppose that very responsible folk were pilloried in
the "Dunciad"? My own opinion is, that a person must have had some
merit, or he would not have been put there at all. How many of those
who laugh at Dennis and Shadwell know anything of either? And let me
ask you if the Pope set had such a superabundance of heart, that you
would have been willing, with childlike confidence, to submit your own
verses to their criticism? For myself, I am free to say that I have no
patience with satirists. I never knew a just one. I never heard of a
fair one. They are a mean, malicious, murdering tribe,--they are a
supercilious, dogmatical, envious, suspicious company,--knocking down
their fellow-creatures in the name of Virtue for their own
gratification,--mere Mohawks, kept by family influence out of the

But of all Mohawks, Time is the fiercest. If I were upon the high road
to fame, if I had honestly determined to win immortality or perish in
the attempt, I should look upon the gentleman with no clothing except a
scanty forelock, and with no personal property save his scythe and
hour-glass, as my greatest enemy,--and I should behold the perpetual
efforts made to kill him with perfect complacency. This, I know, is not
regarded as a strictly moral act; for this murderer of murderers is
very much caressed by those who, in the name of Moses, would send a
poor devil to his hempen destiny for striking an unlucky blow. How
continually is it beaten upon the juvenile tympanum,--"Be careful of
Time,"--"Time is money,"-"Make much of Time"! Certainly, I do not know
what he has done to merit consideration so tender. The best that can be
said of old Edax Rerum is that he has an unfailing appetite, and is not
very fastidious about his provender,--and that, if he does take heavy
toll of the wheat, he also rids the world of no small amount of chaff.
But 'tis such a prodigious maw!

You think, Don Bob, that you know the name of every man who has
distinguished himself since the days of Deucalion and Pyrrha. Let us
see how much you know. I believe that in your day you had something to
do with the new edition of the Aldine Poets. I therefore ask you, in
the name of an outraged gentleman, who is too dead to say much for
himself, why you left out of the series my friend Mr. Robert Baston.
You have used Baston very ill. Baston was an English poet. Baston lived
in the fourteenth century, and wove verses in Nottingham. When proud
Edward went to Scotland, he took Baston along with him to sing his
victories. Unhappily, Bruce caged the bird, and compelled him to amend
his finest poems by striking out "Edward," wherever the name of that
revered monarch occurred, and inserting "Robert," which, as I have
said, he was obliged to do,--and a very ridiculous mess the process
must have made of Mr. Baston's productions. This is all I know of
Baston; but is not this enough to melt the toughest heart? No wonder he
prologued his piping after the following dismal fashion:--

"In dreary verse my rhymes I make,
Bewailing whilst such theme I take."

However, Baston was a monk of the Carmelite species, and I hope he bore
his agonies with religious bravery.

And now let us make a skip down to Charles Aleyn, _temp._ Charles I.
"of blessed memory." A Sidney collegian of Cambridge, he began life as
an usher in the celebrated school of Thomas Farnably,--another great
man of whom you never heard, O Don!--a famous school, in Goldsmith's
Rents, near Red-Cross Street, in the Parish of St. Giles, Cripplegate.
Those were stirring times; but Aleyn managed to write, before he died,
in 1640, a rousing great poem, intituled, "The Battailes of Crescey and
Poictiers, under the Fortunes and Valour of King Edward the Third of
that Name, and his Sonne, Edward, Prince of Wales, surnamed The Black."
8vo. 1633. Let me give you a taste of his quality, in the following
elaborate catalogue of the curiosities of a battle-field:--

"Here a hand severed, there an ear was cropped;
Here a chap fallen, and there an eye put out;
Here was an arm lopped off, there a nose dropped;
Here half a man, and there a less piece fought;
Like to dismembered statues they did stand,
Which had been mangled by Time's iron hand."

This is prosaic enough, and might have been written by a surgical
student; but this is better:--

"The artificial wood of spears was wet
With yet warm blood; and trembling in the wind,
Did rattle like the thorns which Nature set
On the rough hide of an armed porcupine;
Or looked like the trees which dropped gore,
Plucked from the tomb of slaughtered Polydore."

So much for Mr. Charles Aleyn.

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