Part 5 out of 6
he must perish," answered Bart. "He will demand new food."
Towards the close of the term, there came into the court-room, one
day, a man of giant mould: standing head and shoulders above his
fellows, broad shouldered, deep chested, with a short neck and large
flat face, a regal brow, and large, roomy head in which to work out
great problems. He had light grayish blue, or blueish gray eyes, and a
scarlet mark disfiguring one side of his face. The proceedings paused,
and men gathered about him. His manner was bland, his smile, that
took up his whole face, very pleasant. Bart knew that this was J.R.
Giddings, just home from Washington, where he had already overhauled
the Seminole war, and begun that mining into the foundation of things
that finally overthrew slavery.
During the term Bart heard him before the court and jury, and found
him a dullish, heavy speaker, a little as he thought the indifferently
good English parliamentary speaker might be. He often hesitated for a
word, and usually waited for it; sometimes he would persist in having
it at once, when he would close his eyes very tight, and compel it.
His manner and gesture could not be called good, and yet Bart felt
that he was in the presence of a formidable man.
His mind was one of a high order, without a scintilla of genius or any
of its elements. He had a powerful grasp, and elude, as it might, he
finally clutched the idea or principle sought it never escaped him:
and he never rested until its soul and blood were his, or rejected
as useless, after the application of every test. It was a bad day
for slavery when Giddings determined to enter Congress. Cool, shrewd,
adroit, wary and wily, never baffled, never off his guard and never
bluffed; with a reserve of power and expedients always sufficient,
with a courage that knew no blenching, he moved forward. He had more
industry and patience, and was a better lawyer than Wade, but was
his inferior as an advocate. They were opposed in the case in which
Giddings appeared, and Bart already felt that in the atmosphere of the
contest was the element of dislike on the part of Wade, and of cool,
watchful care on the part of Giddings. Wade made two or three headlong
onsets, which were received and parried with bland, smiling coolness.
From his manner no one could tell what Giddings thought of his case or
Two or three evenings after, an informal "reception," as it would now
be called, was held at the Giddings residence, to which the students
and nearly everybody else went. It was a pleasant greeting between
friends and neighbors, and a valued citizen, just home after a half
year's absence. Nothing could be more kind and natural than the
manner of Mr. Giddings, supported by motherly Mrs. Giddings, and the
accomplished Miss Giddings, who had spent the winter with her father
at Washington. She was like her father, in mind and person, softened
and sweetened and much more gracious by sex; tall, graceful, and with
the easy presence and manner of society and cultivation.
Bart was taken to her, and taken by her at once. She seemed like an
old acquaintance, and spoke in the kindest terms of his brother, told
him of Washington, its society and customs, and called him Barton at
once, as if they were to be on the best of terms. Bart could see that
she was plain, but he forgot that in a moment, and it never occurred
to him again.
In the course of the evening she returned to him, and said she wished
to introduce him to a young lady friend, whom she was sure he would
like on her own account, and on that of his brother, to whom she was
to have been all that woman might be. It took Bart's breath away. He
was unaware that his brother had ever been engaged, or wished to be,
to any lady.
"She knows you are in Jefferson," said Miss Giddings, "and has wanted
very much to see you."
She conducted him into a small sitting-room, and leading: him up to
a young lady in black, introduced him to Miss Aikens--Ida Aikens. The
young lady came forward, gave him her little hand, and looked him full
and sadly in the face. "You are like him," she said, "and I have much
wanted to see you."
"I received a letter from you," said Bart, "and fear my answer was a
poor one. Had I known you better, I could have written differently.
My brother was more to me than most brothers can be, and all who were
dear to him come at once into my tenderest regard."
"You could not answer my letter better than you did. I never had a
brother, and nothing can be more grateful to me than to meet you as we
They sat, and he held the hand that belonged to his dead brother, and
that the hand of lover was never again to clasp. Gentle in deeds of
charity and tenderness, it would linger in its widowed whiteness until
it signalled back to the hand that already beckoned over the dark
Strangers who saw them would have taken them for lovers. They were of
nearly the same age. She, with dark, luminous eyes, and hair colored
like Haidee's, matched well with the dark gray and light brown. What a
world of tender and mournful sweetness this interview opened up to the
hungry heart of Bart--the love of a sweet, thoughtful, considerate,
intellectual and cultivated sister, unselfish and pure, to which no
touch or color of earth or passion could come. How fully and tenderly
he wrote of her to his mother, and how the unbidden wish came to his
heart to tell another of her, and as if he had the right to do so.
Miss Aikens was a young lady of high mental endowments, and great
force of character, cultivated in the true sense of culture, and
very accomplished. How sad and bitter seemed the untimely fate of his
brother; and the meeting of this sweet and mourning girl lent another
anguish to his heart, that was so slow in its recovery from that blow.
The court ran on, grew irksome, and passed. Bart saw something more of
Sartliff, and felt a melancholy interest in him. He also saw much of
Ida, whom he could not help liking, and something of Miss Giddings,
whom he admired.
THE OLD STORY.
On the morning after Wade's return from the Geauga Court, upon
entering the office, where Bart found him and Ranney and Case, and one
or two others, there was the sudden hush that advises a new arrival
that he has been a subject of remark.
"Good morning, Mr. Wade."
"Good morning, Ridgeley."
"You returned earlier than you anticipated?"
"Yes. How do you come on?"
"About the old way. Did you see my old client, Cole," the King?"
"Old King Cole? Yes, I saw that worthy, and they say on the other side
that they can't try the case under a year, perhaps."
"Well, we defend, and our defence will be as good then as ever," said
"The suit was commenced to save the statute of limitations," said
Wade; "and if any defence exists I fear it will be in chancery."
"My dear sir, we will make a defence at law," was the decided answer.
"I saw some of your friends over there," said Wade, "who made many
enquiries about you."
"They are kind." said Bart.
"Of course you know Judge Markham?" said Wade.
Bart bowed. "He is a very honorable and high minded man!" Bart bowed
again. "He spoke of you in the very highest terms, and I was very glad
to hear him."
"You are very kind," said Bart.
"And by the way." pursued Mr. Wade, "I heard a little story: the Judge
has a very beautiful daughter," looking directly at Bart, who bowed to
this also. "It seems that the girl in going home from somewhere, got
lost in the woods, and wandered off into a devil of a big forest there
is down there, covering two or three townships. It was in the night
of that awful storm in April, and she went miles away, and finally
overcome, lay down to die, and was covered with the snow, when a young
chap found her--God knows how--took her up, carried her across the
Chagrin River, or one of its branches, in under some rocks, built a
fire, and brought her to, and finally got her to a man's house in the
woods, sent word to her father, and went off. Do you know anything
about it? The story is, that you are the chap who did it."
All eyes were on Bart.
"I heard something of it," said he, smiling. "I came off the evening
after this marvel; and in the stage two ladies were full of it.
They made it a little stronger than your version. I think there were
several wild animals in theirs. We stopped at a tavern two or three
miles on, when somebody told the old lady that I was 'the chap that
did it;' but as I had told her that this Bart wasn't much of a fellow,
she was inclined to doubt her informant. The old lady stopped in
Chardon, and you must have heard her story."
"The young lady herself said that you saved her," said Wade, with his
usual directness. "What do you say to that?"
"If the young lady was in a condition to know," replied Bart, "I
should take her word for it." And passing into the back room he closed
"What the devil is there in it?" said Wade. "It is just as I say. Has
he ever said a word about it?"
"Not a word," said the young men.
"I met Miss Markham a year ago, when I was in Newbury, at a sugar
party," said Ranney. "She is one of the most beautiful girls I ever
saw, and superior in every way. Bart was not there--he wouldn't go;
and I remember her talking about him, with Henry. When we got back we
undertook to tell him what she said, and he wouldn't hear a word."
"The fact is," said Case, decidedly, "her father is rich, and she is
proud and ambitious. Bart wasn't good enough for her, and he has taken
his revenge by saving her life, and now he won't yield an inch."
"They say he came off and won't have anything to do with them," said
"That's it," said Case, "and I glory in his spunk. They have just
found out their mistake."
During the day Bart was asked by Wade if he had yet seen Mr. Windsor;
and replied that he had not, but that he was anxious to do so, as his
brother always spoke of him with gratitude, as one who had been very
kind to him. Mr. Wade said that the day before he had seen Windsor,
who expressed a wish to meet Henry's brother, and thought he would
come to Jefferson in a day or two, when he would call on him. Bart was
much gratified, and remarked that he was doing quite a business on his
THE OLD STORY OVER AGAIN.
"Mr. Ridgeley," asked Miss Giddings, "what is this delightful little
romance about the rich Judge's beautiful daughter, and the chivalrous
young law student? I declare, if it does not bring back the days of
knight-errantry, and makes me believe in love and heroism." It was
one evening at her father's where Bart had called with his newly found
sister Ida, to whom he was quite attentive.
The young man looked annoyed in spite of his good breeding. "Has he
told you the story?"--to Miss Aikens.
"Not a word of it," said the latter. "You know," she then said to Miss
Giddings, "that some things so pleasant to hear may not be pleasant
for a party concerned to tell about."
"Forgive me, Mr. Ridgeley. It never occurred to me that this could be
of that sort, but as it was so delightful as told to me, I wanted to
know if it was an actual occurrence, in this humdrum world."
"I suppose," said Ida, "that a great many beautiful and heroic events
are very prosy and painful to the actors therein, and they never dream
the world will give them the gloss of romance."
"Ladies," said the young man, with a gay and mocking air, "hear the
romance of the Judge's daughter, and the poor student--certainly a
_very_ poor student. There was a rich, powerful and proud Judge; he
had an only daughter, more beautiful than a painter's dream, and proud
as a princess born. In the neighborhood was a poor and idle youth, who
had been the Judge's secretary, and had been dismissed, and who loved
the proud and beautiful maiden, as idle and foolish youths sometimes
do. The beautiful maiden scorned him with a scorn that banished him
from her sight, for he was prouder than Judge and daughter, both.
While disporting with her damsels among the spring flowers in the
forest, one day, the beautiful maiden wandered away and became lost
in the heart of an interminable wood, more wild and lonely than that
which swallowed up the babes of the old ballad. Day passed and night
came, and in its bosom was hidden a fierce tempest of wind and hail
and snow. The poor maiden wandered on, and on, and on, until she came
upon the banks of a dart, cold river; wild and lost amid tempest and
storm, she wandered down its banks, until, in despair, chilled and
benumbed without heart or hope, she laid her down to die, and the pure
snow covered her. Her father, the proud Judge, and his friends, were
searching for her miles away.
"A little boy told the story to the poor student, who hurried into
the forest, and under the inspiration of his scorned love, ran and ran
until he found the swooning maiden under the snow, took her up in his
arms, placed his garments upon her, and bore her through the cold
and rapid stream, found a shelter under the rocks on the other side,
kindled a fire, gave the maiden, proud no longer, a cordial, warmed
and restored her, made her a couch of moss and dried leaves, and while
she slept he watched over her until the day dawned. Then he conducted
her to a wood-chopper's cabin in the forest, where she was tenderly
cared for. The poor, proud youth would hear no thanks from the maiden.
He sent a note, without his name, to the proud Judge, telling him
where his daughter could be found; and never saw the beautiful maiden,
or proud rich Judge afterwards. This, ladies," with the same gay
banter, "is the romance of the Judge's daughter and the poor student."
"And I suspect," said Miss Giddings, seriously, "that it is about
the literal truth of the affair, and it is more romantic than I had
* * * * *
"Barton has made the acquaintance of poor Sartliff," said Ida, willing
to introduce a new subject, "and was much struck by him."
"Do you think he is actually shattered?" asked Miss Giddings.
"I really have no opinion. His mind moves in such unaccustomed
channels: we find it in such unusual haunts, that nobody can tell
whether it remains healthy or not. It works logically enough, granting
his premises. Of course he is under delusions--we should call them
mistakes merely, if they occurred in ordinary speculations; but with
him, in his abnormal pursuits, they are to be expressed under the
vapory forms of delusions."
"Oh, it is the saddest sight to see this young man, with a nature so
richly endowed, asking only for light, and the right way; to see
him turning so blindly from the true given light, and searching with
simple earnestness along sterile, rocky byways and thorny hedges, to
find the path or opening that conducts back to a true starting place.
He opens his bosom to sun and air, and bares his feet to the earth,
thinking that inspiration will, through some avenue, reach his senses,
and so inform him. It is the most pitiful spectacle that the eye can
see," said Ida, pathetically.
"Like a kind spirit sent from heaven to earth," said Bart, "who,
having forgotten his message, can never find his way back; but is
doomed to wander up and down the uncongenial region, searching in vain
for the star-beam by which he descended."
"My father has quite given him up," said Miss Giddings; "he says he
passed long since the verge of healthy thought and speculation. I used
to think that possibly some new and powerful stimulus, such as might
spring from some new cause--"
"Love, for instance," suggested Bart.
"Yes, love, for instance. I declare, Mr. Ridgeley, you think as a
"Do women really think? I thought their minds were so clear and
strong that thought was unnecessary, and they were always blest with
"Well, sir, some of them are obliged to think--when they want to be
understood by men, who don't have intuitions, and can't go at all
without something to hold up by--and a woman would think, perhaps,
that if Sartliff could fall in love--"
"And if he can't he isn't worth the saving," interjected Bart.
"Exactly; and if he could, that through its medium he might be brought
back to a healthy frame of mind, or a healthy walk of mind. There,
Mr. Ridgeley, I have got out with that, though rather limpingly, after
"And a forcible case you have made. Here is a man crazy about Nature;
you propose as a cure for that, to make him mad about a woman. And
"Well, love is human--or inhuman," said Miss Giddings; "if the former,
marriage is the specific; if the latter, his lady-love might get lost
in a wood, you know."
"Yes, I see. Poor Sartliff had better remain where he is, winking and
blinking for the lights of Nature," said Bart.
"I remember," interposed Ida, "that he and your brother, among the
matters they used to discuss, disagreed in their estimate of authors.
Sartliff could never endure N.P. Willis, for instance."
"A sign," said Miss Giddings, "that he was sane then, at least.
Willis, in Europe, is called the poet's lap-dog, with his ringlets and
"I believe he had the pluck to meet Captain Marryatt," said Bart.
"Was that particularly creditable?" asked Miss Giddings.
"Well, poets' lap-dogs don't fight duels, much; and Miss Giddings, do
you think a lap-dog could have written this?" And taking up a volume
of Willis, he turned from them and read "Hagar." As he read, he seemed
possessed with the power and pathos of the piece, and his deep voice
trembled under its burthen. At the end, he laid the book down, and
walked to a window while his emotion subsided. His voice always had a
strange power of exciting him. After a moment's silence, Miss Giddings
said, with feeling:
"I never knew before that there was half that force and strength
in Willis. As you render it, it is almost sublime. Will you read
Taking up the book, he read "Jepthah's Daughter:" reading it with less
feeling, perhaps, but in a better manner.
"I give it up," said Miss Giddings, "though I am not certain whether
it is not in you, rather than in Willis, after all."
"Six or seven years ago, when my brother Henry came home and gathered
us up, and rekindled the home fires on the old hearth," said Bart, "he
commenced taking the _New York Mirror_, just established by George
P. Morris, assisted by Fay and Willis. Fay, you know, has recently
published his novel, 'Norman Leslie,' the second volume of which flats
out so awfully. At that time these younger men were in Europe; and
we took wonderfully to them, and particularly to Willis's 'First
Impressions,' and 'Pencillings by the Way.' To me they were authentic,
and opened the inside of English literary society and life, and I came
to like him. The language has a wonderful flexile power and grace in
his hands; and I think he has real poetry in his veins, much more than
John Neal, or Dr. Drake, though certainly less than Bryant. Yet there
is a kind of puppyism about the man that will probably prevent his
ever achieving the highest place in our literature."
"You are a poet yourself, Mr. Ridgeley, I understand," said Miss
"I like poetry, which is a totally different thing from the power to
produce it; this I am sure I have not," was the candid answer.
"You have tried?"
"Most young men with a lively fancy and fervid feelings, write verses,
I believe. Here is Mr. Case, quite a verse writer, and some of his
lines have a tone or tinge of poetry."
"Would you like literature for a pursuit?"
"I like books, as I like art and music, but I somehow feel that our
state of society at the West, and indeed our civilization, is not ripe
enough to reach a first excellence in any of these high branches of
achievement. Our hands are thick and hard from grappling with the
rough savagery of our new rude continent. We can construct the strong
works of utility, and shall meet the demands for the higher and better
work when that demand actually exists."
"But does not that demand exist? Hasn't there been a clamor for
the American novel? A standing advertisement--'Wanted, the American
Novel'--has been placarded ever since I can remember; and I must
forget how long that is," said Miss Giddings.
"Yes, I've heard of that; but that is not the demand that will compel
what it asks for. It will be the craving of millions, stimulating
millions of brains, and some man will arise superior to the herd, and
his achievement will challenge every other man of conscious powers,
and they will educate and ripen each other till the best, who is never
the first, will appear and supply the need. No great man ever appeared
alone. He is the greatest of a group of great men, many of whom
preceded him, and without whom he would have been impossible. Homer,
alone of his group, has reached us; Shakespeare will live alone of his
age, four thousand years hence."
"But, Mr. Ridgeley, our continent and our life, with our fresh, young,
intense natures, seem to me to contain all the elements of poetry, and
the highest drama," said Miss Giddings.
"So they seem to us, and yet how much of that is due to our
egotism--because it is ours--who can tell? Of course there is any
amount of poetry in the raw, and so it will remain until somebody
comes to work it up. There are plenty of things to inspire, but the
man to be inspired is the thing most needed."
"So that, Mr. Ridgeley," said Ida, "we may not in our time hope for
the American novel, the great American epic, or the great American
"Well, I don't know that these will ever be. That will depend upon our
luck in acquiring a mode and style, and habit of thought, and power
of expression of our own, which for many reasons we may never have. An
American new writes as much like an Englishman as he can--and the more
servile the imitation, the better we like him--as a woman writes like
a man as nearly as she possibly can, for he is the standard. What
is there in Irving, that is not wholly and purely English? And so of
Cooper; his sturdiness and vigor are those of a genuine Englishman,
and when they write of American subjects, they write as an Englishman
would; and if better, it is because they are better informed."
"Mr. Ridgeley," said Miss Giddings, "can't you give us an American
"'When the little fishes fly
Like swallows in the sky,'
An American will write an American book," said Bart, laughing. "But
your question is a good answer to my solemn twaddle on literature."
"No, I don't quite rate it as twaddle," said Ida.
"Don't you though?" asked Bart.
"No," seriously. "Now what is the effect of our American literature
upon the general character of English literature? We certainly add to
"And much to its value, I've no doubt," said Bart. "Well, with
increased strength and vigor, we shall begin by imperceptible degrees,
to modify and change the whole, and the whole will ultimately become
Americanized, till the English of this continent, partaking of its
color and character, imparts its tone and flavor finally to the whole
everywhere. I have not much faith in a purely American literature,
notwithstanding Miss Giddings' advertisement."
"Mr. Ridgeley," said Miss Giddings, "your notions are depressing. I
don't believe in them, and will oppose my woman's intuitions to your
"My dear Miss Giddings," said Bart, laughing, "you value my notions
quite as highly as I do; and I wouldn't take the criticisms of a young
man who ran away from the only college he ever saw, and who has only
heard the names of a few authors."
"I wont. They are not American; and yet there seems to be force in
ABOUT LAWYERS, AND DULL.
Mr. Giddings was always much interested in all young men, and put
himself in their way and society, and while he affected nothing
juvenile, no man could make himself more winning and attractive to
them. It was said by his enemies, who were of his political household,
that in this, as in all else, he was politic; that he sought out and
cultivated every young man in the circle of his acquaintance; made
himself familiar with his make-up; flattered and encouraged him
with little attentions; sent him speeches and books, and occasional
letters, and thus attached nearly all the rising young men of
Northeastern Ohio to himself personally. This may have been one source
of his great and long continued popularity and strength; he thoroughly
educated at least one generation of voters.
However that may be, he was much in the old office where he had done
so much effective work, and laid the foundations of his position at
the bar, which was with those of the first in the State.
He associated on terms of the pleasantest intimacy with the young men,
and early evinced a liking for Bart, who, poor fellow, was ready to
like anybody who would permit him.
Mr. Giddings was at pains to impress them with the absolute
impossibility of even moderate success at the bar, without industry,
while with it, mediocrity of talents would insure that. "Of the whole
number who were admitted," he said, "about ten or fifteen per cent.
succeeded; and one in a hundred became eminent. Undoubtedly the
greatest lawyer in the world did not possess the greatest intellect;
but he must have been among the most industrious. Brilliant parts
may be useful; they are always dangerous. The man who trusts to the
inspiration of genius, or his capacity to get advantage by ingenious
management in court, will find himself passed by a patient dullard.
The admiring world who witness some of the really fine intellectual
performances that sometimes occur in court, haven't the faintest
conception as to when the real work was done, nor at all what it
consisted in; nor when and how the raw material was gathered and
worked up. The soldier in war is enlisted to fight, but really a small
part of his time is spent in battle; almost the whole of it is in
preparation, training, gathering material, manoeuvring, gaining
strategic advantages, and once in a while producing a field day, which
tests the thoroughness of the preparation. This illustrates the value
of absolute thoroughness in the preparation of cases. A good case is
often lost, and a bad one gained, wholly by the care or negligence in
their preparation. You really try your cases out of court."
Barton asked why it was that, while the world generally admired and
respected the bar, there was a distrust of its honesty?--at which
there was a general smile.
"Because," said Mr. Giddings, "there really are unworthy members of
it; and the bar, like the ministry and the medical faculty, being
comparatively a small body, is tried by its failures. The whole
is condemned in the person of a few; while a majority--the bulk of
men--estimate themselves by their successes. One great man sheds
glory on his race, while one villain is condemned alone. The popular
judgment, that lawyers are insincere and dishonest, because they
appear on both sides of a case, with equal zeal, when there can be but
one right side, is not peculiar to the bar. It should be remembered
that learned and pious divines take opposite sides of all doctrinal
points of Scripture, and yet nobody thinks of questioning their
"When both are wrong," put in Wade.
"Now there are, nominally at least, two sides in a law suit--certainly
two parties. One party goes to Frank, here, and tells his side, most
favorably to himself, and gets an opinion in his favor, and a suit is
commenced. The other tells his side to me, for instance, and on his
statement I think he has a good defence. From that moment each looks
for evidence and law to sustain his side, and to meet the case made
by the other; and invariably we come to the final trial, each honestly
thinking he is right. We try the case zealously and sincerely, and the
one who is finally beaten, feels that injustice has been done. It is
the first task of an advocate to convince himself, and unless he has
already done that, he may not expect to convince court and jury; and
a man must be a poor advocate, or have a very bad case, who fails
to convince himself, however he may fare with a jury. You need never
expect to convince your opponent; he is under a retainer not to agree
"There is another thing about it," said Wade. "The bar and writers
talk about the ethics of the bar, and legal morality, and all that
nonsense, until there is an impression, both among lawyers and the
public, that there is one rule for lawyers and another for the rest of
mankind--that we are remitted to a lower standard of honesty. This is
all bosh; there can be but one standard of right and wrong; and that
which is wrong out of court, cannot be right in it. I'll have but one
rule. A man who will lie to a court or a jury, will lie anywhere--he
is a liar."
"Will you submit to that rule?" asked Giddings, laughing.
"I always have," said Wade, "and I wont have any other. Now of all
men, a lawyer can the least afford to be dishonest; for a taint, a
doubt of his honor, ruins him; and there cannot be a more honorable
body of men in the world, and never was, than the fair majority of the
bar. The habit of contesting in open court, in the face of the
world, engenders an honorable, manly highmindedness, free from the
underhanded jealousy and petty wars of the doctors. If a man lies, or
is mean, he is pretty certain to be detected and exposed at once. A
lawyer cannot afford to lie and be mean. And besides, I have observed
that there is really no healthy, manly development of intellect,
without a healthy, manly development of the moral nature."
"Now, Frank," said Mr. Giddings, "why not go a step further, and
perfect the man, and say that religion should add its strength and
grace, as a crown?"
"Well, Gid, I've no objection to your religion--that is, I have no
objection to religion--I don't know about yours--but I have known a
good many religious men who were very bad men, and I have known a good
many bad men to get religion, who did not mend their morals. If a man
is a good man, it don't hurt him to join a church, as far as I know;
and a bad man usually remains bad."
"Well, Frank, leave these young men to form their own opinions."
"Certainly; I did not broach the subject."
"They ought to become better lawyers than we are," said Mr. Giddings.
"Their means of education are far in advance; the increase of new and
valuable text-books, the great progress in the learning and competency
of the courts, as well as the general rapid improvement of the people
in intelligence, are all in their favor; they ought to be better
lawyers and better Christians."
"They couldn't well be worse," was the bluff response of Wade.
The young men remained pondering the remarks of their seniors.
"Well, boys," said Ranney, "you've heard the ideas of two observing
men. They give you the result of their experience on two or three very
important practical points; what do you think of it?"
"Ransom," said the ready Case, "is thinking who and what must be the
one hundred, of whom he is to be the one. They would be a sad sight."
"And Case," rejoined the ever irate Ransom, "that if John Doe and
Richard Roe, with a declaration in ejectment, could only be turned
into doggerel, he would be an eminent land lawyer."
"What has happened to Ransom?" asked Kennedy.
"I don't know," replied Case; "he has sparkled up in this same way,
two or three times. Can it be that an idea has been committed to his
skull, lately? If one has, a _habeas corpus_ must be sued out for its
delivery. Solitary confinement is forbidden by the statutes of Ohio."
"Never you mind the idea," said Ransom. "I mean to find a lawyer in
good practice, and go into partnership with him at once."
"Now, Ransom," said Case, still gravely, "you are a very clever
fellow, and devilish near half witted; and you would allow such a man,
whom you thus permitted to take himself in with you, one third or one
fourth of the proceeds of the first year."
"I would have no trouble about that," said Ransom, not quite feeling
the force of Case's compliment.
"Well," said Ranney, "I suspect that generally lawyers, desirable as
partners, if they wish them, will be already supplied, and then, when
one could secure an eligible connection of this kind, the danger is,
that he would be overshadowed and dwarfed, and always relying on his
senior, would never come to a robust maturity. Well, Kennedy, what do
"Not much; I hope to be able to work when admitted. I mean to find
some good point further West, where there is an opening, and stop and
wait. I don't mean to be a failure."
"Ridgeley, what are your views?"
"Modest, as becomes me; I don't think I am to be counted in any
hundred, and so I avoid unpleasant comparisons. I don't mean to look
long for an opening, or an opportunity; I would prefer to make both.
I would begin with the first thing, however small, and do my best with
it, and so of every other thing that came, leaving the eminence and
places to adjust themselves. I intend to practice law, and, like
Kennedy, I don't mean to fail."
"Mr. Ranney," continued Bart, "what is the reason of this universal
failure of law students?"
"I think the estimate of Giddings is large," said Ranney. "but of
all the young men who study law, about one half do it with no settled
purpose of ever practising, and, of course, don't. Of those who do
intend to practice, one half never really establish themselves in it.
That leaves one fourth of the whole number, who make a serious and
determined effort at the bar, and one half of these--one eighth of the
whole--succeed; and that brings out about as Giddings estimated."
"Well, on the whole, that is not a discouraging view," said Bart, "and
for one, I am obliged to you."
Nevertheless, he pondered the whole matter, and turned to face calmly
as he had before, the time when his novitiate should end, and he
should actually enter upon his experiment.
"Now, Case, this is a serious matter. A young and utterly unknown man,
without money, friends, acquaintances or books, and doubtful whether
he has brains, learning and capacity, in some small or large town,
attacks the world, throws down his gage--or rather nails it up, in the
shape of a tin card, four by twelve inches, with his perfectly obscure
name on it. Think of it! Just suppose you have a little back room, up
stairs, with a table, two chairs, half a quire of paper, an inkstand,
two steel pens, Swan's Treatise, and the twenty-ninth volume of Ohio
Statutes. You would be very busy arranging all this array of things,
and would whistle cheerfully till that was accomplished, and then you
would grow sad, and sit down to wait and think--"
"Of the rich Judge's beautiful daughter," broke in Case.
"And wait," continued Bart.
"Oh, Bart! I glory in your pluck and spunk," said Case, "and I think
of your performance as Major Noah said of Adam and Eve: 'As touching
that first kiss,' said he, 'I have often thought I would like to have
been the man who did it; but the chance was Adam's.'"
"Ridgeley seems to be taken in hand by Miss Giddings," said Kennedy;
"that would not be a bad opening for an ambitious man."
"Of the ripe years of twenty-three," put in Case. "The average age
would be about right. She has led out one or two of each crop of law
students since she was sixteen."
"What has been the trouble?" asked Kennedy.
"I don't know. They came, and went--
'Their hold was frail, their stay was brief,
Restless, and quick to pass away'--
while she remains," replied Case. "Bart seems to be a new inspiration,
and she is as gay and lively as a spring butterfly."
"And worth forty young flirts," observed Ransom.
"Oh, come, boys!" cried Bart, "hold up. Miss Giddings is an attractive
woman, full of accomplishment and goodness--"
"And experience," put in Case.
"Who permits me to enjoy her society sometimes," continued Bart. "The
benefit and pleasure are wholly mine, and I can't consent to hear her
spoken of so lightly."
"Bart is right, as usual," said Case, gravely; "and I don't know of
anything more unmanly than the way we young men habitually talk of
"Except the way they talk of us," said Kennedy.
"You would expect a lady to speak in an _un_manly way," remarked Bart.
"Of course, if we are ever spoken of by them, it is in our absence;
but I'll venture that they seldom speak of us at all, and then in
ignorance of our worst faults. We are not likely to receive injustice
at their hands."
"Bart, you must always have been lucky," said Ransom.
"I am doing my best not to be conceited and vain, and find it
confounded hard work," was the frank, good-natured reply.
Mrs. Ridgeley received the following:
"JEFFERSON, June 8, 1838.
"_Dear Mother_:--A strange thing has happened to me, for which I am
indebted to Henry; indeed, I am destined to trade upon his capital.
You remember how kind he said a Mr. Windsor was to him, employing him
to transact small business matters for him, and paying him largely,
besides making him useful and valuable presents? He seems to have
been dissatisfied with himself for not doing more, and I am to be the
recipient of his bounty in full.
"He called to see me about a week ago; and then two or three days
after, he sent a carriage for me, and I have just returned. He is very
wealthy, an old bachelor, lives elegantly, is a thoroughly educated
man, and not eccentric, except in his liking to Henry, which he
transfers to me. He is without near relations, and has had a history.
Now he insists on advancing to me enough to carry me through, clothing
me, and starting me with a fine library. He says I must go East to
a law school at least a year, and so start from a most favorable and
"It took my breath away. It seems fairly wrong that I should permit
myself to take this man's money, for whom I have done nothing, and
to whom I can make no return, and whose money I might never repay.
He laughed, and said I was very simple and romantic. Wasn't the money
his? and couldn't he do what he pleased with it? and if he invested it
in me, nobody was harmed by it. I told him I might be; I am not
sure that I should be safe with the pressure and stimulus of poverty
removed from me.
"Moreover he had purchased an elegant watch, to be given to Henry, on
his marriage with poor Miss Aikens, of whom I told you; and this he
insists on my taking and wearing, with a chain big and long enough to
hang me in. I told him if he wanted to give it away, that it should,
I thought, properly go to Miss A.--to whom, by the way, I gave that
beautiful pin. I cannot wear anything that was Henry's, and this would
be one objection to wearing this watch. Mr. Windsor said it certainly
was never intended for Ida; that it had never been Henry's, that it
was mine, and I had to bring it away. I feel guilty, and as if I had
swindled or stolen, or committed some mean act; and as I hold it to my
ear, its strong beat reproaches me like the throb of a guilty heart.
"What can I do? Your feelings are right, and your judgment is good.
I can't afford to be killed with a weight of obligation, nor must I
remit or relax a single effort. This may stimulate me more. If I were
to relax and lie down now, and let another carry me, I should deserve
the scorn and contempt I have received.
"Write me upon this, and don't mention it to the Colonel.
"I have made the acquaintance of Miss Giddings, who is very kind to
me; and she and Ida furnish that essential element of ladies' society
which you desired I should have. I confess I don't care much for
men; but I have so little to give in return for the kindness of
these noble, refined and intellectual ladies, that here again I am
a receiver of alms. No matter; women never receive any proper return
from men, any way.
"Ask Ed and George to write, and tell me all the little pleasant
details of the farm life and home. How tender and sweet and dear it
all is to me; and what a gulf seems to have opened between me and all
"Ever with love, dear mother,
Mrs. Ridgeley received and read the letter in the store. While she was
absorbed in it. Mrs. Markham came in, and was struck by the expression
of her face. As she finished the perusal, she discovered Mrs. Markham,
and her look of recognition induced the latter to approach her. The
incidents of the last few weeks had silently ripened the liking of
the two women into a very warm and cordial feeling. As Mrs. Markham
approached, the other gave her her hand, and held out Bart's letter.
Mrs. Markham received it, and as her eye ran over it, Mrs. Ridgeley
could easily see the look of pleasure and warmth that lit up her face.
"Oh, by all means," she said, "tell him not hesitate a moment.
Providence has sent him a friend, and means, and his pride should not
be in the way of this offer."
"He is proud," said Mrs. Ridgeley, gravely; "but it is not wholly
pride that makes him hesitate."
"Pardon me," said Mrs. Markham, "I don't mean to blame him; I
sympathize with even his pride, and admire him for the very qualities
that prevented his allowing us to aid him, and I hope those high
qualities will never lose a proper influence over him."
The mother was a little more than appeased.
"Am I to read the rest?"
And she resumed. A little graver she looked at one or two lines, and
then the sweet smile and light came back to her face; and she handed
back the letter.
"What a treasure to you this son must be," she said; and she again
urged her to write to Bart at once, and induce him to accept the kind
offer made to him.
Mrs. Ridgeley explained who Miss Aikens was, and her relations to
Henry; that Miss Giddings was the daughter of the member of Congress,
&c. Mrs. Markham had noticed that Bart spoke of them as "ladies," and
not as young ladies, though what mental comment she made upon it was
People in the country go by the almanac, instead of by events, as in
cities; and May quickened into June, June warmed into July, and ran on
to fervid August. Quiet ruled in the Ridgeley cottage, rarely broken,
save when Julia galloped up and made a pleasant little call, had a
game of romps with George, a few quick words with Edward; an enquiry,
or adroit circumlocution, would bring out Bart's name, which the young
lady would hear with the most innocent air in the world. She always
had some excuse; she was going, returning to, or from some sick
person, or on some kind errand. Once or twice later, young King, of
Ravenna, accompanied her; and still later, Mr. Thorndyke was riding
with her frequently.
It was observed that while her beauty had perfected, if possible, the
character of her face had deepened, and a tenderer light was in her
eyes. As the time came for Bart's examination, she carelessly remarked
that he would be home soon, and was told that he had decided to take
a short course in the Albany law-school, and would go directly from
Jefferson; that when he left in the spring, he had determined not to
return to Newbury until the end of a year; but that his mother might
expect him certainly at that time. Julia was turning over a bound
volume of the _New York Mirror_, and came upon a Bristol board, on
which was a fine pen-and-ink outline head of Bart. She took it up and
asked Mrs. Ridgeley if she might have it. "Certainly," was the answer,
"if you wish it," and she carried it away. After leaving the house
she discovered on the other side, a better finished and more artistic
likeness of herself in crayon, with her hair falling about her neck
and shoulders; and surrounding it, two or three outlines of her
features in profile, which she recognized by the hair--one of poor
Bart's "ships" that had escaped the general burning.
* * * * *
Barton decided to avail himself of the kindness of Mr. Windsor,
and quietly made his arrangements accordingly. The summer was very
pleasant to him. He devoted himself with his usual ardor to his books,
but gave much of his leisure to Ida, who began to feel the approach of
a calamity that gradually extinguished the light in her eyes. She
was already suffering--although not anticipating a serious result--a
pressure in the forehead, and a gradual impairing of vision, without
pain. Under its shadow, that no medical art could dissipate, she found
a wonderful solace in the tender devotion of her newly found brother,
who read to her, walked with her, and occasionally rode with her, in
all tender, manly ways surrounding her with an atmosphere of kind
and loving observances, which she more than repaid, with the strong,
healthy and pure womanly influence, which she exercised over him.
Late one wondrously beautiful August night, as Bart was returning from
a solitary stroll, he was suddenly joined by Sartliff, bare-headed
and bare-footed, who placed his hand within his arm, and turning him
about, walked him back towards the wood. Bart had not seen him for
weeks, and he thought his face was thinner and more haggard, and his
eyes more cavernous than he had ever seen them.
"What progress are you making?" asked Bart, quietly.
"I am getting increase of power. I don't know that I need light;
I think I want strength. I hear the voices oftener, and they are
wonderfully sweeter; I find that they consist of marvelous musical
sounds, and I can distinguish some notes; meanings are conveyed by
them. If I could only comprehend and interpret them. I shall in time
if I can hold out. I find as the flesh becomes more spirit-like, that
this power increases. If I only had some fine-fibred soul who
could take this up where I must leave it! Barton, you believe God
communicates with men through other than his ordinary works?"
"I don't know; I see and hear God in the wondrous symbols of nature;
when they say that he speaks directly, I don't feel so certain. I am
so made up, that the very nature, the character and quality of the
evidence, is unequal to the facts to be proven, and so to produce
conviction. If a score of you were to say to me, that in the forest
to-day, you saw a fallen and decayed tree arise and strike down new
roots, and shoot out new branches, and unfold new foliage and flowers,
I would not believe it: Nor, though five hundred men should swear
that they saw a grave heave up, and its tenant come forth to life and
beauty, would I believe. The quality of the evidence is not equal to
sustain the burthen of the fact to be established, and it does not
help the matter, that alleged proofs come to me through uncertain
historical media. Yet I can't say that I disbelieve. Who can say that
there is not within us a religious spiritual faculty, or a set of
faculties, that take impressions, and receive communications,
not through the ordinary perceptions and convictions of the mere
mind--that sees and hears, retains and transmits, loves, hopes and
worships, in a spiritual or religious atmosphere of its own; whose
memories are superstitions, whose realizations are extatic visions,
and whose hopes are the future of blessedness; and that it is through
these faculties that religious sentiments are received, transmitted
and propagated, and to which God speaks and acts, spirit to spirit, as
matter to matter? Who can tell how many sets of faculties are possible
to us? We may have developed only a few of the lowest. I sometimes
fancy that I feel the rudiments of a higher and finer set within me.
Who shall say that I have them not?"
"Go on, Barton; I like to hear you unfold yourself," said Sartliff.
"I can't," said Bart, "I can only vaguely talk about what I so vaguely
"Barton," said Sartliff, "go with me; let me impart to you what I
know; perhaps you have a finer and subtler sense than I had. At any
rate I can help you. You can be warned by my failures and blunders,
and possess yourself of my small gains. I know I have taken some
steps. I shall last long enough to place you well on the road. You are
silent. Do you think me crazy--mad?"
"No, not that, nor do I think that we have occupied all the fields
of human knowledge. We are constantly acquiring a faculty to see new
things and to take new meanings from the common and old. Nature has
not yet delivered her full speech to man. She can communicate only as
he acquires the power to receive. This idea of finding new pathways,
and new regions and realms, with new powers, of finding an opening
from our day into the more effulgent, with new strange and glorious
creatures, with new voices and forms, with whom we may communicate, is
alluring, and may all lay within the realm of possibility. I don't say
that to dream of it, is to be mad."
"It is possible," said Sartliff with fervor. "I have seen the forms
and heard the voices."
"And to what purpose do you pursue these mystical studies and
"Partly for the extacy and glory of the present, mainly for the
ultimate good to the races of men, when the new and powerful agencies
that come of the wisdom and strength which will be thus acquired, the
powers within and about us, are developed and employed for the common
good; and man is emancipated from his sordid slavery to the gross and
physical of his worst and lowest nature, and when woman through this
emancipation takes her real position, glorified, by the side of her
glorified companion; when she seeks to be wife and mother, with free
choice to be other--what a race will spring from them! Strong, brave,
beautiful men, great, radiant, beautiful women, like the first
mothers of the race, bringing forth their young, with the same joy and
gladness, as that with which they receive their young bridegrooms."
"Go and help me find the way for our common race."
He had turned, and stood with intent eyes burning into the soul of the
young man. "I have faith in you. Of all the young men I have met, you
have exhibited more capacity to comprehend me than any other, and I am
beginning to feel the need of help," said Sartliff, plaintively.
"God alone can help you," said Bart, "I cannot. You believe in this;
to me it is a dream, with which my fancy, when idle, willingly toys. I
like to talk with you. I sympathise with you; I cannot go with you. I
will not enter upon your speculations. Don't think me unkind."
"I don't," said Sartliff, "nor do I blame you. You are young and
gifted, and opportunities will come to you; and distinction and fame,
and some beautiful woman's love await you, and God bless you." And he
There was always something about Sartliff that stimulated, but at the
same time excited an apprehension in Bart, who regarded him as past
recall to healthy life, and he felt a sense of relief when he was
alone; but the old, melancholy chords continued to vibrate, and Bart
returned to the village under a depression that lingered about him for
At the September term of the Supreme Court, Mr. Ranney presented the
certificates and applications for the admission of Case, Ransom,
and Bart on the first day, and they were, as usual, referred to a
Committee of the whole bar, for examination and report.
The Committee met that evening in the Court room, the Supreme Judges,
Wood and Lane, being present.
Old Webb, of Warren, whom Case ought to have sketched in his rough
outlines as the senior of the bar, turned suddenly to Bart, the
youngest of the applicants, and asked him if a certain "estate could
exist in Ohio?"
After a moment's reflection, Bart answered that it could not.
Bart explained the nature and conditions of the estate, and said that
one of them was rendered impossible by a statute; and explained how.
A good deal of surprise was expressed at this; the statute was called
for, and on its being placed in his hands, Bart turned to it, read the
law, and showed its application.
Wood said, "Judge Lane, I think this young man has decided your
Hamilton Co. case for you."
Some general conversation ensued, and when it subsided, old Webb
said, "Well! well! young man, we may as well go home, when we get such
things from a law student." And they did not ask him another question.
The examination was over at last. Case had acquitted himself well,
and Ransom tolerably. Bart was mortified and disgusted. This was the
extent then of the ordeal; all his labor, hard study, and anxiety,
ended in this!
The next morning, on the assembling of the Court, the three young men
were admitted, sworn in, and became attorneys and counsellors at law,
and solicitors in chancery, authorized to practise in all the courts
of Ohio. All this was made to appear by the clerk's certificate, under
the great seal of the Supreme Court of the State, tied with a blue
ribbon, and presented to each of them.
It tended not much to relieve Bart, to know that the question he had
so summarily disposed of had much excited and disturbed the legal
world of Middle and Southern Ohio; that the best legal minds had been
divided on it; and that a case had just been reserved for the court in
bane, which turned on this very point.
It was over; he had his diploma, but he felt that in some way it was a
What a longing came to him to go to Newbury; and he was half mad and
wholly sad to think that one face would come to him with the sweet,
submissive, reproachful, arch expression, it wore when he forbid its
owner to speak, one memorable morning, in the woods and snow; and he
found himself wondering if what Ida told him might by any possibility
be true; he knew it could not be, and so put it all away.
He took Ida over to Mr. Windsor's for a long day's visit, made a few
calls, packed his trunk, bade Miss Giddings, who did not hesitate to
express her sorrow at his departure, a regretful good-bye, and the
next morning rode to Ashtabula, and there took a steamer down the
I am glad to have him off my hands for six months; and when he falls
under them next time, seriously, I will dispose of him.
It will be remembered that Greer was a somewhat ambiguous character,
about whom and whose movements some suspicions were at times afloat;
but these did not much disturb him or interrupt his pleasant relations
with the pleasant part of the world.
He was at Jefferson during the first term of the Court while Bart was
there, and it so happened that there was a prosecution pending against
a party for passing counterfeit money; who finally gave bail and
never returned to take his trial; but nobody connected Greer with
that matter. He was also there after Bart was admitted, and had an
interview with the young lawyer, professionally, which was followed by
some consequences to both, hereafter to be mentioned.
Just before this last visit, a man by the name of Myers--Dr. Myers--a
young man of fine address and of fair position, was arrested in Geauga
for stealing a pair of valuable horses. The arrest created great
astonishment, which was increased when it was known that in default of
the heavy bail demanded he had been committed to the jail at Chardon.
This was followed by the rumor of his confession, in which it was said
that he implicated Jim Brown, of Akron, and various parties in other
places, and also Greer, and, as some said, Bart Ridgeley, all of whom
belonged to an association, many members of which had been arrested.
The rumors produced much excitement everywhere, and especially in the
south part of Geauga; and the impression was deepened and confirmed
by an article in the _Geauga Gazette_, issued soon after Myers was
committed. With staring head-lines and exclamation points, it stated
that Dr. Myers, since his imprisonment, had made a full confession,
which it gave in substance, as above. Bart was referred to as a young
law student at Jefferson, and a resident of the south part of the
county, who, as was said, had escaped, and it was supposed that he had
gone East, where the officers had gone in pursuit. Most of the others
had been arrested.
Mrs. Ridgeley had caught something of the first rumor in her far off
quiet home; but nobody had told her of Barton's connection with it,
nor did her neighbors seem inclined to talk with her about the general
subject. As usual, one of the boys went to the Post Office on the
day of the arrival of the Chardon paper; and brought in not only that
journal, but the rumor in reference to Barton. His mother read and
took it all in, and was standing in blank amazement and indignation,
when Julia came flashing in, and found her still mutely staring at the
"Oh, Mrs. Ridgeley! Mrs. Ridgeley!" exclaimed the aroused girl,
seizing her hands; "it is all false--every word of it--about Barton!
Every single word is a lie!"
"I know it is; but how can that be made to appear? Men will believe
it, if it is false!"
"Never! No one will ever believe evil of him. He is now surrounded
by the best and truest of men; and when this wretched Myers is tried,
everything will be made clear. I knew you would see this paper, and
I came at once to tell you what I know of Barton's connection with
Greer. Please listen;" and she told her of the old rumor about them,
and of her journey to Ravenna, to see the latter, and showed her his
note, addressed to her father.
The quick mind of the elder lady appreciated it as it was stated to
her; and another thing, new and sudden as a revelation, came to her;
and with tears in her eyes, and a softened and illuminated face,
she turned to Julia, a moment since so proud and defiant, and now so
humble and subdued, with averted eyes and crimsoned face: "Oh, Julia!"
and passed one arm around the slender girl.
"Please! please!" cried her pleading voice, with her face still
away. "This is my secret--you will not tell--let him find it out for
"Certainly; I will leave to him the joy of hearing it from you," said
the elder, in her inmost soul sympathizing with the younger.
What a deep and tranquil joy possessed the heart of the mother, and
with what wonder she contemplated the now conscious maiden! and how
she wondered at her own blindness! And so the threatening cloud broke
for her: broke into not only a serene peace, but a heartfelt joy and
gratitude; and she parted with Julia with the first kiss she had ever
bestowed upon her.
At the ensuing fall term of the Geauga Common Pleas, Myers was
indicted for horse-stealing. The prosecuting officer refused to make
terms with him, and permit him to escape, on condition of furnishing
evidence against others, as he had hoped when he made his confession;
and when arraigned, he plead not guilty, and upon proper showing, his
case was continued to the next term, in January.
A great crowd from all parts of the adjacent country, and many from a
distance, had assembled to witness the trial of Myers. The region of
Eastern Ohio had, like many new and exposed communities, suffered
for years from the occasional depredations of horse thieves. It was
supposed that an organization existed, extending into Pennsylvania.
The horses taken were traced to the mountain region in that State,
where they disappeared; and although Greer and Brown were never before
connected with this branch of industry, it was thought that the horses
in question, which had been intercepted, were in the regular channels
of the trade, which it was hoped, would now be broken up. One
noticeable thing at the court was the presence of Greer, who
apparently came and went at pleasure. He was cool and elegant as
usual, and seemingly unconcerned and a little more exclusive. His
being at large was much at variance with the understood programme, and
necessitated its reconstruction. Little was said about Bart, and it
was apparent that the public mind had returned to a more favorable
tone towards him.
FINDING THE WAY.
On an early December evening, in a bright, quiet room, at the Delavan
House, in Albany, sat Bart Ridgeley alone, thoughtfully and sadly
contemplating a manuscript, that lay before him, which ran as follows:
"UNIONVILLE, Nov. 27, 1838.
"_My Dear Bart_:--Poor Sartliff has, it seems, finally found the way.
It was that short, direct, everlasting old way, so crowded, which
everybody finds, and nobody loses or mistakes. You told me of your
last interview with him, as did he, not long after you left. It seemed
to have depressed him. He spoke of you as one who could have greatly
aided him, but did not blame you.
"The next time I saw him, I found him much changed for the worse.
He was thin and haggard--more so than I had ever seen him. His old
hopefulness and buoyancy were gone, and he was given to very gloomy
and depressing views of things. He thought he had made great progress,
in fact had reached a new discovery, and it was not in the least
"He finally concluded that the grand and wondrously beautiful spirits
that he seemed to get glimpses of, and whose voices he used to hear,
were really convict spirits, or angels, imprisoned on or banished
to this earth, for a period of years, or for eternity, for crimes
committed in the sun, or some less luminous abode; and I presume are
cutting up here, much after their old way. Though it must be conceded
that this world is a place of severe punishment.
"He went on to a more depressing view of us mortals, and said he
had concluded that our souls were also the souls of beings who had
inhabited some more favored region of the universe, also sent here for
punishment; and that each was compelled to enter and inhabit a human
body, for the lifetime of that body; and to suffer by partaking of
all of its wretched, sensual, and degrading vicissitudes; and that
whenever the soul is sufficiently punished, the body dies and permits
it to escape.
"I suggested that it made no difference where the soul came from, if
there was one, nor how many bodies it had inhabited; and that it made
against his idea, that the soul was older than the body; for if it
was, it would be conscious of that pre-existence. He said that every
soul did at times have a consciousness of existence in another and
older form, which was very dark from its transgressions. But he took
the part of the native body against this alien soul, and felt hurt and
grieved that our world was a mere penal colony--a penitentiary for
all the scabbed and leprous souls and spirits of the rest of God's
creation. It was bad economy; and he grieved over it as a deep and
irreparable personal injury.
"This was a month ago; and I never saw him again. He wandered off down
into the neighborhood of Erie, where he had many acquaintances, took
less care of himself, went more scantily clad, was more abstemious in
diet, and more and more disregarded the conditions of human existence.
Finally, his mind became as wandering as his body.
"He wanted nothing, asked for nothing, rejected food, and refused
shelter, and as often as taken in and cared for, he managed to escape,
and wander away, feebly and helplessly, from human association and
ministration. He complained to himself that his great mother, Nature,
had deserted him, a helpless child, to wander and perish in the
wilderness. He said he had gone after her, until weary, starving,
and worn, he must lie down and die. He had called after her until
his voice had sunk to a wail; and he finally died of a child's
heart-broken sense of abandonment and desertion.
"He was found one day, nearly unconscious, with the tears frozen in
his eyes, and on being cared for, wailed his life out in broken sobs.
"Let us not grieve that he has found rest.
"I am too sad to write of other things, and you will be melancholy
over this for a month.
SOME THINGS PUT AT REST.
At the January term of the Court, the case of Ohio _vs._ Myers, came
up; and the defendant failing on his motion to continue, the case was
brought on for trial, and a jury was sworn. His principal counsel was
Bissell, of Painesville, a man of great native force and talent, and
who in a desperate stand-up fight, had no superior at that time in
Northern Ohio. He expected to exclude the confession, on the ground
that Myers had been induced to make it upon representations that it
would be for his advantage to do so; and if this could be got out of
the way, he was not without the hope of finding the other evidence of
the State too weak to work a conviction.
The interest in the case had not abated, and a great throng of people
were in attendance.
Hitchcock, with whom Henry Ridgeley was in company at the time of his
death, then an able lawyer, was the prosecuting officer, aided by the
younger Wilder, who had succeeded Henry as his partner.
Wilder was a young lawyer of great promise, and was the active man in
the criminal cases.
He stated the case to the court and jury, saying among other things,
that he would not only prove the larceny by ordinary evidence, but
by the confession of the prisoner himself. Bissell dropped his heavy
brows, and remarked in his seat, "that he would have a good time doing
Wilder called one of the officers who made the arrest, proved that
fact, and then asked him the plump question, in a way to avoid
a leading form, whether the prisoner made a confession? Bissell
objected, on the ground that before he could answer, the defendant
had a right to know whether he was induced to make it, by any
representations from the witness or others.
Wilder answered, that it did not yet appear that a confession had been
made. If it should be shown that one had, it would be then time to
discuss its admissibility; and so the court ruled; and the witness
answered that Myers did make a full confession. Wilder directed him
to state it, Bissell again objected, and although Wilder urged that he
had a right to go through with his witness, and leave the other side
to call out the inducement, if any, on cross-examination, the court
ruled that the circumstances under which the confession was made was
a preliminary matter that the defendant had a right to show. When the
witness answered to Bissell, that he told Myers after his arrest that
they knew all about the larceny, but did not know who his accomplices
were, and that if he would tell all about them he would undoubtedly
be favored; and that then the defendant told his story. Upon this
statement, Wilder cross-examined the witness, and managed to extract
several items of the confession, when the court held that the
confession was inadmissible.
Myers drew a breath of relief, but Bissell's brow did not clear. He
knew that the State had gained all it expected to; it had proved
that a confession was made, which was about as bad as the confession
itself. Under this cloud, Wilder called his other evidence, which of
itself, was very inconclusive, and which, with the added weight that a
confession had been made, left much uncertainty as to the result, and
Bissell was girding himself for the final struggle. Wilder then
called the name of John T. Greer--when the head of Myers dropped, and
midnight fell upon the brow of Bissell.
Placidly and serenely, that gentleman answered the call, and took the
stand--seemingly the only unconcerned gentleman present. He said that
he knew Myers well--had known him for years; that on the morning
after the larceny, he saw him and another man, at McMillan's, near
Youngstown; that they brought with them a pair of horses, which he
described exactly as the stolen horses, and that Myers told him they
got them the night before, at Conant's barn in Troy; that he denounced
Myers to his face as a horse thief, and threatened to expose him.
This evidence produced a prodigious sensation. Bissell put the witness
through a savage cross-examination. In answer to the questions, he
said that Myers and himself, and others, belonged to an association,
of which Jim Brown was the head, for manufacturing paper currency and
coin, and supplying it at various points; had never passed a dollar
himself; that he broke with Myers because he was a thief, and no
gentleman; that the association had never had any connection with
running off horses, &c.
"To whom did you first disclose this act of Myers?"
"To a young lawyer at Jefferson, in his private room."
"Who was he?"
"Barton Ridgeley." Great sensation, and men looked at one another.
"Did he belong to your financial association?"
"Why did you go to him?"
"I had a little acquaintance with him, and had great confidence in
him. I wanted to consult somebody, and I went to him." He went on to
say that he consulted him as a lawyer and not as a friend; that when
he told Ridgeley of the association, which was drawn out of him by a
cross-examination, Ridgeley told him at once, that while he would
not use this against the witness, he certainly would against his
associates. That soon after Mr. Wade came in, and he found out that
Ridgeley had managed to send for him. That Ridgeley then insisted
that he should tell the whole story to Mr. Wade, and he did. That Wade
called in a United States Deputy Marshal, and induced the witness to
make an affidavit, when the Marshal went to Columbus, got warrants,
and arrested Brown and others.
He was asked what fee he paid young Ridgeley, and he answered,
nothing. He offered him a liberal fee, and he refused it. He
understood Ridgeley had gone East, but did not know; nor who furnished
him with money.
The prosecution rested.
Wade was present, and Bissell called him; and in answer to Wilder,
said he proposed to contradict Greer. Wilder replied, that although
he was not entitled to such a privilege, yet he had no objection; and
Wade, in the most emphatic way, corroborated Greer throughout. He said
that Ridgeley was at that time at the Albany law-school, and would
soon be back to answer for himself; and when asked if he was not poor,
answered, that friends always came to such young men, with a glance at
the bench, where Markham sat with Humphrey. The perfect desperation of
his case alone warranted Bissell in calling Wade, with whose testimony
the trial closed; and on the verdict of guilty, Myers was sentenced
to the Penitentiary for ten years. And for the third or fourth time
Barton's acquaintances were disposed to regard him as a hero.
It was not in nature, particularly in young man-nature, that such a
creature as Julia should ripen into womanhood without lovers. In her
little circle of Newbury, boys and girls loved her much alike, and
with few shades of difference on account of sex. No youth of them
dreamed of becoming her suitor; not even Barton, whom I have sketched
in vain, if it is not apparent that it would not have been over
presumption in him, to dream of anything.
Of the numerous, and more or less accomplished young men from
other places, who had met and admired her, two had somewhat singled
themselves out, as her admirers, both of whom, I fear, had a good way
passed the pleasant, though dangerous, line of admiration.
Young King, of Ravenna, a frank, handsome, high-spirited youth, had
for a long time been at no pains to conceal his partiality; so far
from that, he had sought many occasions to evince in a modest, manly
way, his devotion. His observing sister, Julia's warm and admiring
friend, had in vain looked wise, lifted her finger, and shaken her
warning head at him. He would inevitably have committed himself,
had not the high-souled and generous Julia, by her frank, ingenuous
woman's way with him, made him see and feel in time the uselessness of
a more ardent pursuit; and so content himself with the real luxury of
her friendship. The peril to him was great, and if for a time he was
not unhappy, he had a grave and serious mood, that lasted many months.
She had a real woman's warm, unselfish friendship for him, which
has much of the sweetness and all the purity and unselfishness of a
sister's love; and all unconscious as she seemed, that he could wish
for more or other, she succeeded in placing him in the position of a
devoted and trusted friend.
Thorndyke, the fourth or fifth of aristocratic generations, of a good
old colonial strain, elegant to a fault, and refined to uselessness,
of tastes and pursuits that took him out of the ordinary atmosphere;
languid more for the want of a spur, than from lack of nerve and
ability; and unambitious for want of an object, rather than from want
of power to climb, was really smothered by the softness and luxury of
his surroundings, rather than reduced by the poverty and feebleness of
his nature; had really the elements of manly strength and elevation,
and had misfortune or poverty fallen upon him, early, he would
undoubtedly have developed into a man of the higher type, like the
first generations of his family.
Like every man he was struck as much as he could be, with Julia, and
when he saw her in the rudeness of pioneer surroundings, he began
by pitying her, and finally ended by pitying himself. When it first
occurred to him to carry her out of the woods, to the actual world,
and real human life, he was not a little surprised. She was not born
in Boston, nor did her father's family date back to the flood, but her
mother's did. Indeed, that came over with it.
In revolving this grave matter, the only factors to be considered,
were Mr. Thorndyke's own judgment, taste and inclinations, and Julia
has matured in these pages, to a small purpose, or Mr. T. was much
less a man than I have supposed, if these parties should not finally
unite in consenting to the alliance. Of course, Miss Julia could be
had, both of herself and parents, for the asking. But his fastidious
notions could alone be satisfied with a gentlemanly course of
gradually warming and more devoted attentions, with all the forms and
observances, so far as the disadvantages of her surroundings would
permit. It was some time in the last summer, that he had made up a
definite judgment in the premises under which he commenced his lambent
action. During the autumn he often met King at her father's, and the
young men occasionally made up small parties with Julia and Nell or
some other young ladies for rides and excursions. Towards winter, King
was less at Newbury; and as winter approached, Mr. Thorndyke seemed
left to monopolize the time and society of Julia. So gracious, frank
and open was her invariable manner to him, that he could not for a
moment doubt that after a gentlemanly lapse of time, and a course of
rides, calls, walks and teas, he might in his own way dispose of the
His splendid gray, "West Wind," was no mean companion for Prince, and
many a gallop they had together, and Thorndyke was a gentlemanly rider
and drove well, and during the winter he often drove Julia out in a
In a moment of weakness it occurred to him that West Wind and Prince
would go well in double harness, and he proposed to Julia to match
them for a drive.
"What!" exclaimed that young lady, "put Prince in harness? make a
draught horse of him?"
"With West Wind--certainly. Why not?"
"Because I don't choose it. There is but one man in the world who
shall drive Prince, and I am sure he will not want to."
"I presume Judge Markham don't care to drive him?"
"I presume he don't;" laughing and blushing.
That was the end of that, and not overly pleasing to the gentleman. It
was apparent, that she was disinclined to match the horses.
And March was coming, and Julia was sweet and arch and gracious, and
at times as he came to know her better, he thought a little grave and
pensive. This was certainly a good sign; and somehow, he found himself
now often watching and calculating the signs, and somehow again they
did not seem to deepen or change, or indicate much. He could not on
the whole convince himself that he had made much progress, except that
he should ask her at some time and she would accept him, and he
was certainly approaching that time. The matter in hand had become
absorbing--very: and he knew he was very much interested in it; and
the laugh of the beautiful girl was as rich, musical and gay as ever,
though he some how fancied, that it was a little less frequent; and
once or twice something had been dropped about some day early in
April, at which there was a little flutter in Julia. What could it be?
did she think he was slow? He would speak, and put an end to it. But
he didn't, and somehow he could not. He might do it any day; but did
not. At any event, before that April, something should be asked and
answered--but how answered?
The sleigh was left under cover, the roads hardened in the March sun
and wind, and several horseback excursions had been made. Toward the
close of the month, on their return one day, Thorndyke, who had been
unusually silent, suddenly asked Julia if she would be at leisure
that evening, at about eight; and might he call? She answered that she
would be at home, and as he knew, he was quite at liberty to call. He
said that he had something quite particular which he wished to say to
her, and that of course she must know what it was.
"Indeed! If I must know what it is, you must, by the same rule, know
what I will say in reply. Let us consider the thing said and answered,
and then your business call can be one of pleasure."
"I had hoped that it might possibly be one of pleasure."
The girl, looked grave for a moment, and then turning in her best
manner to her escort--
"Mr. Thorndyke, I think I had better tell you the little story of my
horse. If we ride slow, I will have time before we reach the gate."
With a little increase of color, "It is not much of a story, but you
may see a little moral in it."
"Certainly, I shall be glad to hear it. No doubt it will interest me."
"You see his name is Prince."
"I hear that is his name."
"You will see presently that is not his whole name."
"Silver-sticks! Please attend, sir. His name is Prince Arthur."
"Named after a gentleman who lived a few years ago; who dined off 'a
table round,' and who was thought to be unfortunate in his lady."
"No, sir. He was named for a man who may have been called after that
personage; and whose life shows that the old legend may have been
true, and this Arthur is not unfortunate in his lady," with a
softening voice, and deepening blush on her averted face.
"Have you never heard the story of the lost girl? who less than a year
ago, bewildered and distracted, wandered away into the endless woods,
in the night, mid darkness and storm; and who, o'ercome with fright
and weariness and cold, lay down to die, and was covered over with
snow; and that a young man with strength and courage, was conducted by
God to her rescue, and carried her over an icy stream, and revived and
restored her to her father and mother. Did you ever hear of that?" Her
voice was low, deep, and earnest. He bowed.
"My father gave him this horse, and he gave him to me, and I gave him
that young man's name. Prince is a prince among horses, and that youth
is a prince among men," proudly, and with increasing color.
"I thought that young man's name was Bart Ridgeley," very much
"Arthur Barton Ridgeley. Prince bears his first name, and he bears
me;" lowering her voice and turning away.
"A very pleasant arrangement, no doubt," querulously.
"Very pleasant to me," very sweetly.
"It seems to me I have heard something else about this Arthur Barton
Ridgeley, Esq.; and not quite so much to his credit." Oh dear! But
then he was hardly responsible.
"I presume you have. And you heard it with the same ears with which
you hear everything disconnected with your precious self. Were their
acuteness equal to their length, you would also have heard, that in
this, as in everything else, he was true and noble." The voice was
shaken a little by two or three emotions, and tears sprang to her eyes
and dried there.
When Thorndyke recovered, they had reached Judge Markham's gate; and
springing unaided from her saddle, Julia turned to him with all her
grace and graciousness fully restored.
"Many thanks for your escort, Mr. Thorndyke. I shall expect you at
At about that hour, a boy from Parker's brought her the following
"_Miss Markham_:--Pardon, if you can, my rudeness of this afternoon.
Kindly remember the severity of my punishment. Believe me capable of
appreciating a heroic act; and the womanly devotion that can alone
reward it. From my heart, I congratulate you.
"With the profoundest respect.
As she read, a softer light, almost a mist, came into the eyes of the
"I fear I have done this man a real injustice."
The March term of the Court at Chardon was at the beginning of its
third and last week. The important case in ejectment of Fisk _vs_.
Cole, was reached at the commencement of the second, and laid over for
the absence of defendant's counsel. This directly involved the title
of Cole to his land; a title that had been loosely talked about, and
generally supposed to be bad.
In the fall of 1837, a stranger by the name of Fisk appeared in the
country, placed a deed of the land in question on record; gave Cole
notice to quit, commenced his suit, and leisurely proceeded to take
his evidence in Conn, and Mass., and get ready for the trial. Bart's
trial of Coles's first case had rendered the latter an object of
interest; and it was generally felt that the new case was one of great
oppression and hardship; and popular opinion and sympathy were wholly
with Cole, and all the more so, as the impression was that he would
lose his land.
The people of Newbury, however, really believed that if Bart would
return and take the case in hand, in some way, he would win it; but
the Court had commenced, the case was called, and he still lingered in
the East. In the spring before he left Newbury, he had spent much time
in examining the case, looking up the witnesses, and with such aid as
his brother, the Colonel, could give, their names had been obtained
and they were all subpoenaed to attend. Among them were two or three
old hunters and soldiers, on the Western frontier.
Ford was in the case, and had made up the issue, and at the trial,
Bart had intended to secure the aid of Wade or Hitchcock. Except
himself, no one knew much of the case, and none had confidence that
Cole would prevail in the trial, and a general feeling of despondency
prevailed as to his prospect. On the afternoon of the third Monday,
Bart reached Chardon, from Albany, secured a room, assembled his
witnesses, talked up the matter with the old hunters, and by his
quiet, modest confidence, and quick, ready knowledge of all the
details, he at once put a new aspect upon the defence. Wade was also
in Chardon, and on that evening, Bart laid his programme before him
and Ford, who were not more than half convinced, and it was arranged
that Bart should go forward with the case, to be backed and sustained
by his seniors.
On the next morning he made his first appearance in Court, and in
person, air and manner, he had become one to arrest attention, in a
crowd, such as thronged the court room; and when his name transpired,
he was at once identified as a prominent person in the detection and
arrest of Brown & Co., whose name had become widely known; and men
scanned him with unusual interest. Some noticed and commented upon the
brown moustache, that shaded the rather too soft and bland mouth; and
observed the elegant tone of his dress, which, when it was examined,
resolved itself rather into the way his clothes were worn. Ford
introduced him to the lawyers present, with whom his quiet, modest
manner deepened the impression made by his person. As he took his
seat, his eye fully met the eager gaze of Judge Markham, from the
bench. Bart felt the earnest, anxious look of the Judge, and the Judge
thought he saw a shadow of sadness in the frank eyes of Bart.
A case on trial ran until late in the afternoon, when Fisk _vs_. Cole
was called, was ready, and a jury sworn. Mr. Kelly, of Cleveland,
appeared for the plaintiff, a very accomplished lawyer and a courteous
gentleman. He produced the record of the old Conn. Land Co., an
allotment and map of the lands showing that the tract in dispute was
originally the property of one John Williams. He then made proof of
the death of Williams, and that certain parties were his heirs-at-law;
and produced and proved a deed from these to the plaintiff. This made
what lawyers call a paper title, when the plaintiff rested his case.
For the defendant, Barton said he would produce and prove a deed
from John Williams, junior, only child of Williams, mentioned by the
plaintiff, to the defendant, directly, dated January, 1816, under
which he took possession of the land in January, 1817; and that he
also found a man in possession of the premises, who had possessed and
claimed the land for years, and whose right he purchased. It would
thus appear, whatever might be said of his written title, that he had
complete right by possession, adverse to the plaintiff, for twenty
"You will do well if you sustain that claim," said Kelly,
"I shall labor for your commendation," was Bart's pleasant reply.
The deed was proven, as well as the relationship of John and John,
Jr. Bart also produced a book of the Probate records of Geauga County,
which he said contained a record of the administration of one Hiram
Fowler, which he might want to refer to, for a date, thereafter, and
if the Court would permit, he would refer to, if it became necessary.
He wished the record to be considered in evidence, for what it was
competent to prove.
"Certainly," from the Court, who made a note of it.
He then proved that Cole left Massachusetts early in the spring of
1817, but failed to show when he reached Ohio, whether in 1817, or
1818. One man remembered to have seen Hiram Fowler at work for him
on a tree fence, along the back line of it, during the summer of his
arrival on the land. He also made proof, that at a very early day,
tree fences were about at least three sides of the land, thus forming
a cattle range, and evidencing possession and occupancy. He then
called McConough, of Bainbridge, and men bent eagerly forward to
gaze at the old Indian hunter, who had been a sharp-shooter on the
ill-fated "Lawrence," in Perry's sea fight, off Put-in-Bay, and who
was also with Gen. Harrison at the Thames; a quiet, compact, athletic,
swarthy man, a little dull and taciturn. He said he was first on the
ground in 1810 or 1811, and found a man by the name of Basil Windsor,
who lived in a small cabin by the spring, near which he had then two
small apple trees. He was there again, with John Harrington, in 1816.
They drove a herd of elk through an opening, into and through Basil's
yard, at the south side, and back into the woods north, until they
came to a tree fence, when they turned east, and were headed off by
another hedge, and the elk were too tired to get over; and there
in the angle they killed two or three, when it came on dark. That
Harrington lit a fire, staid by the slaughtered elk through the night,
to keep the wolves from devouring them, and that he, McConough, went
and staid with Basil. That Basil was a sort of hermit, who lived in
the woods and kept two or three cows. That on their way to Court a few
days ago, he and Harrington went to the premises of Cole, and found
his house near the old Basil spring, and that one of the apple trees
was still standing there. The other had been recently cut down.
Harrington, a still more celebrated hunter and pioneer, and who
furnished a good idea of old Leatherstocking, and who was with
Winchester at the battle of River Raisin, from which he escaped,
and was one of Harrison's scouts, had been often at Basil Windsor's.
Hunters often found shelter there. He was there both before and after
the war; and he fully corroborated McConough.
Old Bullock was then called, a heavy-framed, sluggish giant, of that
strong, old-fashioned type of head and face, now nearly out of date.
He, too, had served in the army, and was a famous hunter and trapper.
He knew Basil, a man who avoided others, and who had met with
misfortunes "down country." "He had hunted and trapped all through
the woods about him, and knew of his having had fences to confine his
cows. Knew Cole; he came in in 1817, 18 or 19, couldn't tell which.
Cole showed him his deed; went with him to find his land, and found
it was the same on which Basil was living. Went with him to see Basil,
who thought it was hard. He said that the land was his'n. He had a
hundred and sixty acres; showed no deed or writin's. Cole finally
bought him out--his right, and 'betterments;' and gave him a horse and
harness, and we went down to Square Punderson's, to git writin's made,
and he wa'n't to home, and none was made. Basil took the horse and
left, and Cole moved into the old cabin. I knew about the slash
fences, and ketched a spotted fawn once, hid in one on 'em. I used
to cross over by the big maples, by the spring run, where Coles's two
children were buried, to go to my traps."
Bullock was put under a sharp cross-examination, but his story was not
shaken. He had a plenty of good-natured, lazy force, and took care
of himself. A witness brought in a short section of one of the apple
trees, which had twenty-nine rings showing its age, which made a
Several other witnesses swore that when they were boys, they used
to hunt for cattle, on the bottoms, to the north of Cole's land, and
often got on to the old tree fences, to listen for the cow-bells. And
Bart rested his case.
One branch of this defence looked ugly. The defendant had not clearly
proven that he in person took possession of the land in time to
perfect his title by adverse possession. But he had shown another man
in possession, of some of the property, at least, and claiming it, and
he had purchased this right, whatever it was, had gone in under him,
and so succeeded to his possession, and right, if he had any.
This took the plaintiff by surprise, and when the defendant rested, he
and his counsel were on the alert to meet it. A note came in from the
outside, and the plaintiff and his counsel retired under leave of the
Court, for consultation. Meanwhile Judge Markham and the President,
who had taken much interest in the case, engaged in an earnest
conversation. Then Judge Markham came down from the bench, and calling
Bart to him, shook him warmly by the hand, and introduced him to Judge
Humphrey, and his associates. All of which the jury observed.
Upon resuming the case, the plaintiff produced his depositions, and
proved that the defendant's grantor, John Williams, Junior, was the
reputed natural son of Williams, of the Land Company, &c.; also called
witnesses to show that Cole came into the county in 1818. An attempt
was then made to impeach Bullock, which failed. Ward was then put on
the stand, and swore that he met Basil Hall, on a certain time, who
told him that he had no claim, right or title to the land whatever. He
also swore that he saw Hiram Fowler at work, mending the tree fence,
on the north, the summer that Cole came in.
Bart, who had evinced rare skill in the examination of his own
witnesses--a more difficult thing, by the way, than to cross-examine
those of an adversary--put him through a sharp and stinging
cross-examination. Under pretence of testing his memory, and of
showing bias, he took him over the whole course, and it appeared that
if he ever had the conversation he claimed with Basil, it must
have been after his sale to Cole; and got from him such damaging
statements, that it could be fairly claimed to the jury that the whole
case was prosecuted in the interest of Ward. If so, this would exclude
his testimony wholly. This was in the dark legal days, when not only
were parties excluded from giving evidence, but a pecuniary interest
in the result of the suit to the value of one mill, would render a man
incompetent as a witness.
Ward had not expected to appear as a witness at all, and though a
shrewd man, he came upon the stand not well knowing the legal ground
he was upon; and the questions came so thick upon each other, that
they fairly took his breath. If plaintiff objected to a question,
it was at once withdrawn, and another instantly put, so that he was
rather confused, than aided, by his counsel's interference.
It was certainly a relief to both Kelly and Ward, when the latter,
tattered and battered, was permitted, with the ironical thanks of
Bart, to retire; and the plaintiff's rebutting evidence closed. Bart
called two or three to sustain Bullock, and rested also. This was near
the close of Wednesday.
Mr. Kelly then arose, and delivered the opening of the final argument
to the jury, contenting himself with presenting his own case. He
only glanced at the case of defense, and said he would reserve full
argument on this, as he might, until he had heard from the other side.
As Bart arose to commence, the Court said:
"Mr. Ridgeley, we will hear you in the morning. Mr. Sheriff, adjourn
the Court until to-morrow morning."
At the opening of the Court on Thursday, the court room was crowded.
The interest in the case was general, and the character of the
facts, and principal witnesses for the defense, was such as appealed
powerfully to the memories and early associations of the people, and
there was an earnest desire to hear the speech of the young advocate,
whose management of the case had so far, won for him the heartiest
When the jury had answered to their names, "Mr. Ridgeley, proceed with
your argument," said Judge Humphrey. The young man rose, bowed to the
Court and jury, and stood silent a moment, with his eyes cast down,
and it was at first thought on his rising for his speech, that he
was laboring under embarrassment. When he raised his eyes, however,
embarrassed as he certainly was, and commenced with a low sweet voice,
it was discovered that his faltering was due mainly to the emotions
of sensibility. Nature had been liberal in bestowing many of
the qualifications of a great advocate upon him. He had a strong
compelling will, when he chose to exercise it, which in the conflicts
of the bar often prevails, and courage of a chivalrous cast, which
throws a man impetuously and audaciously upon strong points, and
enables him to gain a footing by the boldness and force of his onset.
Barton was one to lead a forlorn hope, or defend a pass single handed,
against a host. Without something of this quality, a great advocate is
With a warm, poetic imagination, Nature had given him quick perceptive
powers, and the faculty of expressing his thoughts without apparent
effort, in simple, strong language, as well defined, and sharply
cut as a cameo. Beyond this, and better than all, was a tender,
sympathetic sensibility; which, if it sometimes overmastered him, made
him the master of others. The commonest things in his hands took
the motion and color of living things. It was not the mere sensuous
magnetism of powerful physical nature; but it excited the higher
intellectual sympathies, which in turn awoke and captivated the
reasoning and reflective organs, that found themselves delightfully
conducted along a natural and logical course, that led them
unconsciously to inevitable conclusions and convictions, ere the
danger was perceived, or an alarm was sounded.
On the present occasion, he had not been on his feet five minutes ere
it was felt that a real power, of an unusual order, was manifesting
The case was not one framed or arranged with any vulgar reference to
a forensic display. Cases never will get themselves up for any
such occasion; and if the lawyer waits for such a case, he will die
unknown. Cases spring out of dry, hard contentions, with nothing
but vulgar surroundings; and it is to these, that the real advocate
applies himself, breathes upon them the breath of genius and creative
power, and clothes them with life, and interest, and beauty, endows
them with his own soul and imagination, and lifts them from the
level of the common to the height of the remarkable, the unusual, and
sometimes of the wonderful; and endeavors to establish between them,
and a jury and himself, the bonds of intense sympathy, upon which
their emotions and sensibilities will come and go, as did the angels
on the dream-ladder of the patriarch.
In the advocate's hour of strength and glory, the formulas of the
law burst their mouldy cerements and leap forth into life, tender
and beautiful to protect, or awful to warn or punish. Mysteries are
unfolded, secrets reveal themselves, hidden things are proclaimed, and
courts and juries, awed and abashed, yet elevated and inspired, accept
and act upon his conclusions as infallible. For one hour he touches
the pinnacle of human achievement.
After all, the effectiveness of the advocate is not so much in what
he says, as in the way he says it. One man with real strength arises
outside, and batters and bangs with real power, deals forcible blows,
and yet does not carry his point; while another, with less intellect,
gets up within the charmed circle of the sympathies, by the warm,
human side of a jury, whom they don't think of resisting, and could
not if they tried.
The speaker usually rises a little outside of the subject, on a sort