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Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science by Various

Part 4 out of 5

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she'll think thee's a-gittin'low-minded. Neow, Jim, my 'dvice is
good; an' ef thee'll take it, an' not go on with this thing no furder,
thee'll both be glad on it arterwa'ds. 'Spesh'ly 's she ain't very
rugged, an' sickly gals had oughter hev rich husbands."

"But, father, Sairy an' me loves o' 'nother."

"Oh, wal, then it's tew late ter say nothin'," said the old man with
a mingled sigh and smile as, raising his basket of quahaugs to his
shoulder, he walked off, pressing his bare feet into the yielding sand
with the firm but clumsy tread of vigorous old age. The rough hat
of plaited straw was pushed back from a brow that with a cultivated
nature would have been considered as evidence of considerable
intellectual power, but, as it was, only showed the probable truth
of the opinion of his neighbors, that "Stephen Starbuck was a shrewd,
common-sense ole feller."

Jim was of a little finer grade than his father, having inherited some
of the traits of his gentle mother, but the young Hercules could by no
means have been mistaken for an Apollo; neither did his somewhat heavy
features bear the expression of unselfish loyalty which would have
given better promise than any mere refinement of features or manner
for the future happiness of Sarah Macy. But she found nothing wanting
in her lover as she stood on the cliff-head gazing down upon him.
Sarah knew that the man she loved was not considered her equal, but
because she loved him she believed him capable of becoming all that
she or others could desire. There is in the world no faith so absolute
as that of a woman in the possibilities of the man she loves. Had
Sarah read of Sir Galahad--but this was in 1779, and the fame of the
search for the Holy Grail had not reached the popular ear--she would
have said to herself, "My Jim is just so pure and holy." Had "her Jim"
been a Royalist during the English Revolution, Prince Rupert's laurels
would not have been unshared. Had Jim been a Puritan--though the
little Quaker maiden did not love Puritans over well, and did not
fancy her Jim as fighting on that side--England's Protector would
not have borne the name of Cromwell. Or if Jim were not one of the
peace-loving Friends, and would enlist in the present struggle for
liberty, the fame of Commodore James Starbuck should soon eclipse that
of Paul Jones.

Not for the world would Sarah have given voice to the heretical
desire, but in her inmost heart was even now a wish that her dear Jim
held religious opinions that would not interfere with his showing
to the country how talented, noble and valiant he was; while the
fair-haired, sunburnt, indolent young Hercules idly gazing out to sea
was fired with no higher ambition for himself than to be able soon
to erect on the Head another small house like that of his father, to
which he might bring "the sweet little girl who loved him, so much."
For Sarah had committed the common mistake of loving women, and had
let Jim see how dear he was to her. So now, instead of dwelling on his
love for her and scheming how he might be worthy of her heart, he was
fully satisfied with himself, and inclined to grumble at Fortune for
not at once bestowing the trifle he asked at her hands.

"Jim, how long's thee goin' ter stan' there? If the water _is_ pretty,
thee can see it any day, so 't ain't worth while to look at it all day
ter a time."

As, the sweet tones floated down the cliff Jim turned lazily to smile
up at the speaker, and, raising his heavy basket of quahaugs, came
leisurely up the steep sand-path, which seemed to shrink from his
weight at every step: "Wal', Sairy, I wa'n't a-thinkin' much o' the
water: I was a-thinkin' o' thee, an' o' what fayther said a little
spell ago."

"What was that, Jim?" Sarah's tone was a little anxious, for she knew
that there was a jealousy among some of the islanders of the facts
that her father had brought with him a few heavy articles of "real
mahogany furnitur," and that her stepmother had always been able to
hire others to do her spinning and weaving, and even to "help her at
odd spells with the heft o' the housework."

"Oh, nothin'," replied Jim, passing his free arm carelessly round the
girl's waist--"othin', undly th' old story 'beout heow we'd best not
merry, 'cause by'm-by thee'll git ter feelin' better nor me."

"But thee don't believe him, Jim? Thee knows better. Thee knows,"
adding this with the sweet and sincere but often sadly mistaken
humility of love--"thee knows thou art better than me. Thou art so
grand and so noble! If folks only knew thee better they would wonder
at thee fur puttin' up wi' me. I wish I could make thee a better wife.
But, Jim, if I ain't very strong, I'm pretty good at contrivin', an'
I don't believe but what I can manage so's to git along a'most as well
as them that's tougher."

"Git along? O' course thee'll git along," answered Jim patronizingly.
"I telled mother th'other day that I didn't cafe ef thee wa'n't 's
strong as Mary Allen: thee was a good deal smarter, an' I'd be willin'
tu resk but what I'd hev as little waitin' on ter dew fur thee 's fur
her. Besides"--and here a gleam of real if shallow affection sprang
from Jim's eyes as he looked down at the loving creature by his
side--"besides, I'd _like_ to take care o' thee, Sairy--I would

It is said that the sky has no color of its own--that the deep blue
we think so beautiful is only owing to the atmosphere through which we
view it. To Sarah this very slight expression of her lover's care
for her bore more weight than the most passionate protestations of
affection could have done to a colder nature, for it was colored by
the glowing tints of her own warm love; and when the two parted that
day she carried with her a sweet, satisfying sense of being beloved by
the "best man on the earth" even as she loved him; while he whistled
cheerily over his net-mending, thinking "what a sweet little thing it
was!" "how pretty its eyes were!" and "how kitten-like its ways!" and
only checked his whistling once in a while to wonder whether the day
would ever really come when "Sairy would feel herself better than
him," and to think it also a little hard that old Thomas Macy was "so
sot agin' the match" that he would give his daughter no portion but an
outfit of clothes and household linen. "He might jest's well's not,"
reasoned Jim to himself, "give us a little lift: I guess he would if
Sairy's own mother was alive; but them step-mothers never wants to
give nothin' ter the fust wives' childern." In which opinion Jim did
the second Mrs. Macy much injustice, for it was owing solely to her
influence that Sarah's father had consented to provide his daughter
with even a new dress in which to be married to "that big, lazy boy
o'old Steve Starbuck's."

Meantime, sad, gentle old Mrs. Starbuck had been turning over
many things in her mind. She felt her son's defects; she knew that
warm-hearted, imaginative Sarah Macy would be doing a foolish thing to
marry Jim--as foolish a thing as in her inmost heart she felt, rather
than acknowledged, that she herself had done when she married Jim's
father. But the mother-heart longed that her son should grow to be
what she desired (and what poor Sarah thought he already was), and she
hoped much from the elevating influence of so good a wife.

So, as she sat knitting, while Jim and his father sat, hats on heads
and pipes in mouths, mending their nets, old Mrs. Starbuck had "made a
plan." "Father," said, she at last, "I've be'n thinkin'--"

"Yay," replied the old man gruffly but not unkindly--"yay, I 'spect
so. Thee's pooty nigh allus a-thinkin' o' suthin. What is it neow?
Eout with it!"

"I've be'n thinkin' that Jim's all the child we've got--"

"Wal, yay. Hain't had no other--not's I knows on. What o' that?"

"Well, I was a-thinkin' that, that bein' so, an' Jim an' Sairy
thinkin' so much o' 'nother, it wa'n't o' no use fur them ter keep
waitin' along year eout an' year in fur a chance tu keep house by
'emselves. They'd best git married right off an' come an' live along
o' us."

"W'y, ole woman!"

"W'y, mother!"

"Yay; I hear both on ye," said the gentle old mother with a half
smile. "I s'posed likely ye'd think strange on't at fust; but ye
h'ain't no need ter, fur it's a sens'ble thing ter dew, an' yell see't
so when ye've thought on't a spell: see if ye don't."

So well was the proposal liked that very soon the simple ceremony of
the Friends made James and Sarah husband and wife; and for a while all
seemed happiness in the humble cottage on the cliff--cottage so humble
that it scarcely deserved even that lowly name.

Sarah Macy's father owned one of the largest dwellings on Nantucket--a
two-story "double house" with two rooms on each side of a broad hall
running through the house from front to rear. On one side of this hall
was the "best bedroom," ghostly with tightly-closed white shutters
and long white dimity curtains to the "four-poster" and shining white
sanded floor, and the "best-room," terrible in its grandeur of cold
white walls, straight hard sofa, "spider-legged" table, grenadier-like
chairs and striped woolen carpet underlaid with straw. In the rear, on
the other side of the hall, was the kitchen with its big brick oven,
its yawning fireplace overhung with corpulent iron pots or shining
copper kettles depending from numerous gallows-like cranes; with its
glittering copper, brass and pewter utensils arrayed on snowy-shelves;
with its spotless tables, Its freshly-sanded floor and its
heavily-beamed, whitewashed ceiling, from which hung many a bunch of
savory herbs or string of red pepper-pods or bunch of seed-corn, or
perhaps even a round-backed ham, to get a little browner in the smoke
that would sometimes pour out from the half-ignited mass of peat. In
front of the kitchen was the "living-room," in one corner of which
stood a carved high-post bedstead--glory of the Macys and envy of
their neighbors--with its curtains of big figured chintz, brown
sunflowers sprawling over a white ground, drawn aside in the daytime
to display the marvelous patchwork of the quilt beneath. Fuel was
scarce even then on the sandy isle; and economy compelled Mr. and
Mrs. Macy to make use of this living-room as a bedchamber also, since
Thomas Macy confessed to "bein rather tender," and to liking a warm
room to sleep In, though his neighbors often insinuated that he was
killing himself by the Indulgence. And indeed the heat must have been
stifling when we consider the size of the fireplace, nine feet wide by
four deep, with a yawning throat, through which the rain poured freely
down on stormy nights, putting out the best arranged mass of coals,
ashes and peat, and, in spite of the little gutter purposely made
round the broad brick hearth, sometimes overflowing and drenching
a portion of the neat rag carpet, in which, with true Quaker
consistency, no gay-colored fragment had been allowed a place.

In striking contrast to all this magnificence was the lowly home to
which James Starbuck brought his happy bride. This little house was
"double" also--that Is, it was entered in the centre by a small square
passage just big enough for the outer door to swing in. On one side
of this entry was a tiny parlor, as dismal as rag carpet, fireless
hearth, dingy paper and dark-green paper shades to the small windows
could make it. On the other side of the entry was the tiny and cold
bedroom of the senior Starbucks. In the centre of the house rose a
massive chimney, big enough to retain all the heat from a dozen fires.
Across the rear of parlor, chimney and bedroom ran the long, low
sunshiny kitchen. At one end of this certain ladder-like stairs
conducted to the loft, which had served Jim for a "roosting-place"
ever since he had grown big enough to be trusted o' nights so far
away from his mother. On Sarah's advent into the family the
dismal "best-room" was made habitable by the addition of a
"four-poster"--which Mrs. Starbuck senior regretted was only of
cherry-wood and not carved--and by sundry little feminine contrivances
of Sarah's own.

I said that for a time all seemed to go on happily in this humble
home. And the seeming would have been reality had Jim possessed the
faith in his wife which she had in him. True, he loved and believed in
her after his fashion, and his mother was a strong ally on his wife's
side; but Jim had one fatal weakness of character. He resented the
slightest look that was anything but simple admiration on the part of
his wife. A strong nature is not afraid of censure, but a weak one,
pleading sensitiveness, is easily roused to small retaliations,
repaying what is good in intention with what is evil. Jim, as his
father had truly told him, was "not the pootiest-mannered feller a gal
ever see," and in the daily home-life this became apparent to Sarah
as it had never been in all the years they had been near neighbors.
Naturally, she wished her husband to be pleasing to her father, and at
last ventured to hint, as delicately as she could, at various little
points in which improvements might be made. At first Jim did not seem
very restless under such reproofs, given, as they were, with many
a loving kiss and winsome look; but as months went on his wife's
caresses were more carelessly received, and her hinted corrections
with more of resentment. One evening stately old Thomas Macy had
"happened in," and Jim had greatly grieved his wife by his curt,
uncivil manner to her father. After he had gone Sarah spoke in a low
tone and kindly as always, but with more spirit than she had ever
before manifested or felt, of her husband's disrespectful ways to the

For a moment after his wife had ceased, Jim sat with his hat
pulled closely over his eyes, fiercely biting into the apple he was
eating--biting and throwing the bits into the glowing mass of peat on
the hearth. Then he sprang to his feet, exclaiming, "I see! It's all
come true, what ev'rybody said. Thee thinks thee an' thy folks is
better'n me an' my folks, an' keeps all the time a-naggin' on me. I
wish I'd merried Mary Allen! I won't stan' no more o' this talk. If I
ain't to be maaster o' my own house I won't stay in't." (The house was
his father's, but angry men never think of such trifles.) And waxing
pitiful of himself, he continued in a broken and injured tone, "The
bed o' the sea's the bes' place fur a man whose own wife's got tew big
feelin' ter put up wi' his ways."

With this dignified burst of eloquence the angry fellow flung himself
out of the house, letting in at the door as he went a dash of cold,
sleety rain and a gust of wind that put out the flickering tallow dip
that was enabling Sarah to take the last stitches in the tiny
white slip that now fell from her fingers. Too sorely wounded for
resentment, too fond of her husband to wish even his parents to see
him in the light in which he was now revealed to her, Sarah silently
stooped to recover her work, and as she did so her hand was met under
the table by a sympathizing pressure from that of her mother-in-law.
This was too much, and, laying her head in the elder woman's lap,
poor Sarah wept without restraint; while the mother sorrowfully and
tenderly stroked her soft brown tresses. The father, quietly puffing
at his pipe, seemed to take no notice, only now and then glancing with
kindly eye covertly from under his hat-brim at the two grieving women.

Silently, but for the roaring of the wind and surf and fitful dashing
of the rain, the hours passed on till the high clock in the kitchen
corner sharply struck eleven. This was a late hour for those times,
and a faint fear began to come upon them all. Could it be that Jim had
really meant what he said? "Had he--" And the two women looked blankly
at each other. Not a word had been uttered, but each felt the other's

The father rose and said with a well-affected yawn, "Guess likely
Jim's went deown ter Uncle Will'amses, an' they thought as 't's so
stormy he'd bes' not come back. So guess I'll jest go eout ter the
shed and git some more peat, fur ter keep the fire."

Thus leaving the mother and wife partially reassured, the old
father slipped out and down the track, cut deeply in the sand by the
one-horse carts, to "Uncle Will'amses," as fast as the storm would
permit. But no Jim had been seen there; and still more anxiously the
stout old man fought his way back against winds that seemed strong"
enough to blow him like a feather over the cliff's edge, and against
the spray which shot up from the beach below, smitten by the sounding
surf, clear over the high top of Sankota Head.

Reaching his door during a brief lull in the wind, he heard faintly
but distinctly the booming of guns fired by a ship in distress. "It
mus' be some vessil on the shoals, an' mos' likely Jim's heard her an'
got some o' th' other boys, an' 's went off in 's boat ter help her.
Poor soul!" With this comforting reflection the father cheered the
watchers inside, who had grown fearfully anxious, as the clock had
long ago struck for midnight.

"We mus' build a fire on the Head ter light 'em," said the old man.
"There hed oughter be a light'us here, but 's there ain't none, we
mus' dew the bes' we kin,"

So saying, he harnessed the horse--almost as old as himself--and with
the aid of the two women loaded the sled with dry wood and started
with it to the cliff, while the mother and daughter followed behind as
best they might, struggling to keep alive without being set on fire
by the coals in the iron pot which they carried between them. It was
a weary half mile, wind, spray and rain all contending against the
feeble folk who had come out to help back to land and home the brave
fellows who had gone to succor the distressed. They made all the more
sure that this was the case, because Jim's new boat, the pride and joy
of his life, was not to be found at the spot where he had only that
day drawn, it high above the reach of even such a storm as this, ready
for building over it on the morrow its winter house of pine-boughs and

At last a fire was kindled; and leaving the women to watch it, old
Stephen took several weary trips back to the cottage after fuel,
making serious inroads upon a stock at the best not too large to meet
the demands of the coming winter. The flame, fanned by the blast even
more than dashed by the spray and rain, sprang upward, casting its
ruddy lances of light backward over the sandy downs, destitute even
then of tree or shrub to break the force of the gale, and forward over
the frothing white tops and deep, black troughs of waves that seemed
to the excited eyes of the watching women like so many separate fiends
leaping upward and stretching out white hands to clutch helpless
victims and hurry them to the hell beneath. And all the while the
surf thundered at the foot of the trembling cliff. No form could be
discovered through the darkness beyond the near neighborhood of the
shore; and but for the flash of the gun, which was seen continually,
though its sound was but seldom heard above the surf and the wind, the
watchers would have thought there was no ship near.

By and by the rain ceased, but there was no moon, and impenetrable
wind-clouds still hid the stars. Out through the blackness of the
night the flame-light quivered in long, bright streams over the
endless lines of ever-advancing waves, but revealed to the watchers
no ship, no boat, no tokens even of wreck, only the ceaseless reaching
upward of the beckoning white hands; and the wind bore no sound, save
at intervals the dull distant boom of the cannon. But ever the solemn
surf thundered on the beach below, and the sand-cliff trembled and
crumbled beneath its resounding blows.

The old man, who, with a seaman's owl-like eyesight, kneeled intently
gazing out through the darkness in the direction of the flash,
suddenly exclaimed, "I don't un'erstan' it! That air ship hadn't
oughter be in 'stress off where she is. She ain't on no shoal, nor
nothin'. She's jest a-lyin' tew. An' I don't see no signs o' no boats
nuther; an's fur's I kin see, them folks is a firin' off that air gun
jest fur the musicalness on't. Blast 'em! Come, gals: we mought as
well be walkin' along hum as ter stop a-yawpin' here in the wind an'
spray, a-burnin' up the winter's kindlin' fur folks 'at's a-foolin' on
us. 'Spesh'ly as I think she's a Britisher. Blast her!"

The old Quaker was not accustomed to use strong language of any sort,
but evidently the human nature in him was so powerful in this instance
that he could not help indulging in the most emphatic admissible

But the mother and wife were not so easily satisfied. In their eyes
the strange ship and all on board her were not of as much consequence
as the unworthy missing Jim, whose fate they associated with it.
Jim's boat, they said, was gone. No one could have taken her but Jim
himself. He would never have put out on such a night as this save to
go to the help of the distressed ship; and if he was on the water, the
light burning on Sankota Head would guide him safely back. So, in the
midst of spray and wind, the three kneeled on the cliff and kept the
blaze alight till the rising dawn made it useless, when, to the dismay
of the watchers, the ship hoisted sail and bore away. She showed no
colors, but the old islander, once a whaler, declared that she was a
British man-o'-war.

But where was Jim? The unanswering surf still boomed at the foot of
the cliff, though the height of the waves was rapidly diminishing, and
the water was gradually assuming the peculiarly bland expression that
often comes after a storm, reminding one of the cat that has "eaten
the canary," but there was no sign of incoming boat or men.

Chilled to the bone with the wind and cold sea-spray of the November
night, and to the heart with sorrow and disappointment, the three
returned to the lonely house. Running to meet them came Mary Allen,
breathlessly crying, "Where's Eben and Jim?"

Poor Sarah could not answer, but the brave old mother, a veteran in
sorrows, replied with trembling lips, "We don't know anythin' o' thy
brother, Mary; an' Jim hain't b'en hum sence las' night. His boat's
gone, an' we thought he might ha' went out to help the ship that was
a-firin' all night. But she's sailed off this mornin' all right; an'
father, he says she was a Britisher an' undly a-firin' ter fool us
folks. So I don't know nothin' about it," uttering the last words in a
drearily hopeless tone that gave them exceeding pathos.

For a moment Mary stood in dismay; then she cried wildly, "Oh, they're
drowned, they're drowned! Jim come deown ter eour heouse las' night
a-sayin' he'd heard the firin' o' a ship in 'stress, an' askin' Eb
ter go with him an' help him git his boat eout, an' telled me ter run
along deown to Zack Tumnaydoo's An' ax Zack an' Ellery ter go with
'em. An' I did, an' that's the las' anybody's seen o' any one on 'em.
Oh dear! oh dear!" And wringing her hands, the sobbing girl ran back
as quickly as she had come to impart to her mother and sisters the
full extent of her evil tidings.

The cold, sad, desolate weeks and months that now rolled slowly on
are to this day remembered on Nantucket as those of the "hard winter."
Provisions were scarce, fuel was difficult to obtain, the harbor
was frozen over, so that few fish could be taken there, and all
communication with "the main" was cut off by British cruisers. In
January the cherished old horse was killed because there was no longer
hay to feed him, and even oats were "too precious to be fed to dumb
beasts." In February the stalwart old Stephen lay grimly down to die,
saying pityingly, "It's time, gals: I can't dew ye no more good by
stayin'; an' I'm so tired."

The day succeeding the silent funeral, where two women had dropped the
few tears that were left them to shed, good old Thomas Macy came and
took his daughter and her mother to his own home. And in windy, still
frozen March the wail of a tiny baby was heard in the house.

Under all the trouble the two brave women made no moan. Silently
clinging together, never losing sight of each other for more than a
few moments at a time, they yet said nothing of their greatest grief,
that Jim should have disappeared with such unworthy words on his lips
and thoughts in his heart, until, a few days after the baby's birth,
Sarah said to her mother, "I know he's not dead. If he'd ha' died,
he'd ha' come back and told me he was sorry. Fur I dew think he'd be
sorry. Don't thee, mother?" And the mother nodded assent and smiled
through her tears.

But, in truth, they had a more substantial reason than poor Sarah's
wistful fancy for thinking that Jim was living. When the ice broke up,
his boat was found in a little cove, where it had floated right-side
up, without any serious injury except the carrying away of the sails.
Of course this discovery roused new hopes in the homes of the missing
men. It did not "stand to reason" that four big strong, temperate
young fellows, brought up to the hardy, amphibious island-life, had
all fallen overboard, any more than it "stood to sense" that the boat
had upset and then righted of itself. Besides, "none of the boy's
corpuses had ever floated up." So the Tucketers took courage and
felt sure that, whatever had become of the missing men, they were not

But still the slow months came and went, till the summer and autumn
and another winter had passed by; and patient old Rachel Starbuck grew
daily a little quieter and a little grayer; and the brave young wife
grew a little stronger to bear, but not a whit less loving or prone to
suffer, and stately old Thomas Macy grew daily more gentle and pitying
in his ways as he looked long at the winsome face of the happy, wee
grandchild, that throve and crowed and tried to utter sweet little
hesitating words as gayly as if the world had never a sin, a sorrow or
a weakness in it.

One day Sarah and her mother had carried the baby down to the small
cottage at the back of the cliff, whither they went to attend to
some little household matter; for, although they did not mention the
subject, even to themselves, they still kept all there in readiness
against Jim's coming home. Here, in the soft May sunshine, the
red-frocked baby was sitting on the green turf step, playing with
some "daffies," first of the season, which Sarah had plucked from the
little garden in the rear. The mother and daughter were in the house,
when both were alarmed by a scream from the usually merry child. A man
had it closely clasped in his arms, kissing it and calling it between
half-choked sobs his "own pretty, pretty baby." The man was thin,
pock-marked, bald, and clad in a ragged uniform of a British sailor,
but to the faithful, longing eyes of mother and wife there was no
mistaking their Jim.

It was long ere the story could be told, but at last they learned that
on that sad November night Jim and his companions had gone out to the
relief of the signaling ship. She was, as old Stephen had conjectured,
a British man-o'-war. Being short of hands, and having on board as
pilot a renegade native of the island, who knew where a ship could
"lay-to" in safety, she had taken advantage of the storm to attract
strong men within the range of her guns, then to command them to
surrender, and thus to impress them into "His Majesty's service" as
"able seamen."

For a long time Jim had managed to keep alive his resentful feelings
toward his wife, accusing of being the source of all his misfortunes
the poor little woman who was loving and longing so sincerely for him.
But when illness came he could hold out no longer. "I made up my mind
then," said he, "that if ever I got hum agin, I'd go deown on my knees
an' ax pardin' o' my Sairy."

But she had never been angry, and was now only too thankful that Jim
and his friends had escaped safely.

"Ah!" said Jim in telling his adventures, "we hed a clus run on 't,
Sairy, but thee'd better believe that air British navy's a fust-rate
place fur larnin' a feller ter know when he's well off. An' Sairy,
when I longed so fur thee an' mother, an' thought o' what a wretch I
was to speak so ter the dearest little woman in the world, I c'u'd see
that I hadn't knowed when I was well off."

Jim's was not an unselfish kind of repentance, but it was the best it
was in his nature to offer, and Sarah had long ago learned that her
Jim was not the saint and hero she had once dreamed, but only a weak
and common-place man; and she asked for nothing higher from him. To
his best she had a right, and with that she was content, smiling on
her husband with eyes full of a love as tender and true as when in the
old days she had gazed down upon her lover from the cliff-head, while
the mother laid her hand softly on his scanty hair, and said solemnly,
"May God keep thee thus, my son!" adding, after a moment's pause,
"But I wish thy fayther was here to see." And a tender silence for
the memory of the rough but kindly-natured old man fell over them all;
while the baby, reconciled to the stranger, poked her little fingers
in the marks on his face, and cried because she could not get them




The eastern sky is just beginning to assume that strange neutral tint
which tells of the approaching dawn when we open the heavy hall door
and step out into the crisp, frosty air. No moonlight hunting for me,
with the cold, deceitful light making phantom pools of every white
sand-patch in the road, and ghostly logs and boulders of every
wavering shadow. You are always gathering up your reins for leaps
over imaginary fence-panels, which your horse goes through like a
nightmare, and always unprepared for the real ones, which he clears
when you are least expecting it. If the cry bears down on you, and you
rein up for a view, the fox is sure to dodge by invisibly under cover
of some dark little bay, and you get home too late for a morning nap
and too early for the breakfast, which you have been longing after for
the last two hours. Then, too, your horse has lost his night's rest,
and will be jaded for two days in consequence. No: the time to throw
the dogs off for a fox-hunt is that weird hour which the negroes
significantly call "gray-day:" it is the surest time to strike a
trail, and by the time Reynard begins to dodge and double there will
be plenty of light to ride by and to get a good view. If the fox gets
away or the cover is drawn without a find, you are always sure of
having your spirits raised by the cheerful sunrise: by the time you
get home, tired and spattered, the ladies are down stairs ready to
make pretty exclamations over the brush or to chaff you pleasantly
for your want of success; and then there is just time to get your hair
brushed and your clothes changed before the mingled aromas of fried
sausage and old Java put the keen edge on your already whetted

A ride across country after a rattling pack of English hounds on
a thoroughbred hunter with a field of red-coated squires is an
experience which few hunters on this side of the water have ever
enjoyed, but with the incidents of which every reader of English
novels is familiar. The chase of the red fox in Maryland or Virginia
has some features in common with the British national sport, but that
of the gray fox in the more southern States differs materially from
both. The latter animal is smaller and possessed of less speed and
endurance than his more northern brother, but he is far more common
and quite as cunning. He makes shorter runs, but over very different
ground, always keeping in the woods and dodging about like a rabbit,
so that a different style of horse and a different method of riding
are required for his capture. There is no risk of breaking your neck
over a five-barred gate or a stone wall, but you may be hung in a
grapevine, or knocked out of the saddle by a low limb, or have your
knee scraped against a tree-trunk. It is true you may catch your fox
in twenty minutes, and three hours is an extraordinary run, but then
you may catch four or five between daylight and ten o'clock of an
autumn morning.

The horses stretch their necks toward the stables and whinny as they
think of the bundles of untasted fodder: the dogs require no notes
of the horn to rouse them, for they know the signs and are already
capering about in eager merriment, throwing their heads into the air
occasionally to utter a long and musical bay. This wakes up the
curs about the negro-yard, and their barking stirs up the geese, the
combined chorus rousing all the cocks in the various poultry-houses,
so that we ride off amid a hub-bub of howling, cackling, neighing and
crowing which would awaken the Seven Sleepers. We are first at the
meet, and the old woods ring with the mellow, winding notes of
our horns--no twanging brass reeds in the mouth-pieces, but honest
cow-horn bugles, which none but a true hunter can blow. The hounds
grow wild at the cheering sound, and howl through every note of the
canine gamut; the echoes catch the strain and fling it from brake to
bay; the dying cadence strengthens into an answering blast, and the
party is soon increased to half a dozen bold riders and twenty eager
dogs. Venus, the beautiful "flag-star of heaven," is just toning her
brilliancy into harmony with the pale light which creeps slowly up
from the eastern horizon, and some wakeful crow in the pine-thicket
gives an answering caw to the goblin laugh of the barred owl in the
cypress, as we leap our horses into a field of sedge and cheer on the
dogs to their work. For half an hour we ride in silence save the
words of encouragement to the hounds, which are snuffing about
unsuccessfully and whipping the hoar-frost with their tails from the
dry yellow stems of the grass. Now and then some eager young dog opens
on the trail of a rabbit which has started from its form, but the
crack of a whip restrains him, and the other hounds pay no attention
to him. Suddenly a sharp, quick yelp comes from the farthest corner of
the field, and the older dogs stop instantly and raise their heads
to listen. Hark to old Blucher! There he is again, and the whole pack
give tongue and dash off to the call which never deceives them. We
catch a glimpse of the old fellow's white throat as he trots about in
a zigzag course, poking his tan muzzle into every clump of tall grass
and giving tongue occasionally as he sniffs the cold trail. Presently
a long, quavering cry comes from old Firefly; again and again Blucher
opens more and more eagerly; another and another dog takes it up, and
the trot quickens into a lope. The trail grows warmer as they follow
the line of fence, and just as we settle ourselves in the saddle for
a run it all stops and the dogs are at fault. But Blucher is hard to
puzzle and knows every trick of his cunning game. Running a few panels
down the fence, he rears up on it and snuffs the top rail, and then,
with a yell of triumph, dashes over it into the woods, with the whole
pack in full cry at his heels. A ringing cheer announces that the
fox has "jumped," and the field scatters in pursuit. Two only, the
subscriber being one, follow the dogs with a flying leap. Some dash
off in search of a low panel, others to head off the cry through the
distant gate, while others stop to pull the rails and make a gap.
For ten minutes we keep well behind the hounds, with a tight rein and
heads bent to avoid the hanging oak limbs. But the fox has turned and
plunged into a brake which no horse can go through, and we draw up
and listen to decide where we can head him off with the greatest
certainty; then turn in different directions and spur through the
young black-jacks. Ah! there he goes, with dragging brush and open
mouth, and the pack, running close enough together to be covered by
a table-cloth, not sixty yards behind him. I am in at the death this
time, for he cannot run a hundred yards farther, and the brush is
mine, for there's no one else in sight. With a savage burst the dogs
dash after him into the thicket and then--dead silence, not a yelp,
as they scatter and run backward and forward, nosing under every dead
leaf and up the trunk of every tree. The fault is complete, and the
young dogs give it up and lie down panting, while the older hounds try
every expedient to puzzle out the trail and take up the scent again.
He certainly has not treed, there is neither earth nor hollow to hide
him, and yet the scent has gone! And it never came back. If any reader
can tell what became of that fox, he is a wiser man than I. Certain
it is that we never heard of him again; and for aught I know to the
contrary, he may have been that identical Japanese animal which turns
into tea-kettles and vanishes in puffs of smoke. It does not take
long, however, to make another find, and we go home after a three
hours' chase with two fine brushes and appetites which would ruin any
hotel-keeper in a week.

After breakfast a walk to the cotton-houses would be in order, for the
successful planter is he who trusts nothing to the overseer which can
have his personal supervision, and he must excuse himself to such of
his guests as prefer a cigar by the library fire to an hour spent in
observing the details of plantation work. In the days of which I write
horse-power was preferred to steam, and negro-power to both; and few
planters of the fine black-seed cotton could be convinced that any
"power-gin" could be invented which would not injure the long, silky
"staple" or fibre of the lint. The old-time "foot-gins" were used
exclusively, and the gin-house was a place of curious interest to all
visitors. In one end of the long room was the huge pile of seed-cotton
which was to pass through the rollers as the first step toward
its preparation for the market. How simply does a sudden stroke of
inventive genius solve a problem which wise men have regarded as
insoluble! Not much more than a century ago a commission of practical
English _savans_ discouraged the cultivation of a textile fabric
which "might be useful but for the impossibility of clearing it of the
seeds!" But the foot-gin appeared on the scene, and indigo went down
before cotton. Ranged along the walls of the room are some twenty
rough wooden frames, looking like a compromise between a straw-cutter
and a sewing-machine, each furnished with two strong rollers operated
by a treadle and acting precisely like those of a clothes-wringer.
Behind each of these machines stands a man or woman with one
ever-moving foot upon the treadle-board, feeding the seed-cotton from
a large bag to the greedy rollers, which seize it and pass the lint
in fleecy rolls into another bag prepared for it, while the seed, like
shirt-buttons touched by the afore-mentioned wringer, rolls off from
the hither side to form a pile upon the floor. Thence it will be
carted to the seed-house to be rotted into manure for the next crop,
there being no better fertilizer for cotton than a compost of which
it forms the base. A portion of it, however, will be reserved to
be boiled with cow-peas and fed to the milch-cattle, no food being
superior to its rich, oily kernel in milk-producing qualities. The
negro mothers use it largely in decoction as a substitute for cocoa,
and the white mothers under similar circumstances having it parched
and ground like coffee, when it makes an exceedingly palatable and
nutritious beverage. The "green-seed" or short-staple variety is far
inferior to the black for this purpose, and produces white, sticky,
cottony-looking butter; indeed, most dairywomen insist that "you
can pick the lint out of it." The ginned cotton is carried to the
platforms, where it is "specked" by the women--leaves, dirt and other
impurities being picked out by hand--and spread out to dry and bleach
in the sun; thence we follow it to the "moting-room," where it is
thoroughly and finally overhauled, every minute particle of dirt or
other foreign matter and every flock of stained and discolored cotton
being picked out. This room is always in the second story, and at one
end of it a circular hole is cut in the floor; through this hole hangs
the bag of strong, close gunny-cloth, very different from the coarse
covering which suffices for the lower grades of "short-staple,"
supported by a stout iron hoop larger by some inches than the hole
in the floor, and to which the end of the bag is securely sewed. The
cotton is thrown into this bag and packed with an iron rammer by a man
who stands in it, his weight assisting in the packing, each bag being
made to contain upward of four hundred pounds.

Everything seeming to go on as it ought and all the necessary orders
and directions being given, we walk out to take a look at the poultry.
There are fowls in abundance and superabundance, but our kind host
is most proud of his flock of three hundred white turkeys; and a
beautiful sight they are, scattered over the grassy lawn. Ranging, as
these fine birds will, over a mile or two of woods abounding in their
wild brethren, convenient mistakes were often made by the pineland
gunners, whose rifles were always ready to pick off a stray gobbler
without waiting to know whether he was wild or tame, and so the old
gentleman introduced the white stock to prevent the possibility of
such errors. For a similar reason no ducks were raised except those
which wear top-knots. It is no unusual thing for wild gobblers and
mallards to come up with the tame stock to the poultry-yard, and
the bronze feathers and shy habits of many of the young turkeys show
evidence of their free parentage.

It is just impossible for a city man to remain indoors in the country
with the broad fields, the shady woods, the bright blue sky and
the merry pipe of birds calling him out to active exercise and
unaccustomed sport. He is sure to think himself a sportsman, even if
uncertain whether the shot or powder should first enter the gun;
and if an old hand at the trigger, his uneasiness while in the house
becomes almost painful. Every article of hunting-gear is
overhauled again and again; boots are greased, shot-pouches filled,
powder-charges remeasured, guns cleaned and ramrods oiled; and I
once had a fine Manton--as sweet a piece as ever came to the
shoulder--almost ruined by an eager friend, who, after going through
all this during a stormy morning, insisted on taking off the locks
and triggers, just to while away the time. The introduction of the
breech-loader most happily obviates all this, since such lagging hours
may now be occupied in charging and crimping cartridges. But there is
nothing to detain us longer to-day: the "Bob Whites" are waiting for
us among the pea-vines, and the snipe among the tussocky grass of the
old rice-field. Di and Sancho have caught sight of the guns, and are
capering about in the wildest excitement, for it is a long time since
they have seen anything more "gamey" than a city pigeon. Birding over
good dogs is the very poetry of field-sports. The silken-haired setter
and the lithe pointer are as far the superiors of the half-savage
hound as the Coldstream Guards are of the Comanches. The hound has no
affection and but little intelligence, and the qualities which make
him valuable are purely those of instinct. The long, hungry cry with
which he follows the deer and the sharp, angry yelp which he utters
when chasing the fox tell plainly that the motives which prompt him
thus to use his delicate nose and unwearying powers of endurance are
precisely those which carry the Indian to the hunt or on the war-path.
He hunts for any master who will cheer him on, has no tactics but to
stick to the trail and give tongue as long as the scent will lie, and
must be whipped off the game when caught to prevent his devouring
it on the spot. The setter, on the other hand, is intelligent,
affectionate and faithful. If properly trained and reared, he loves
his master and will hunt for no one else, learns to understand human
language to an astonishing degree and exhibits reasoning powers of no
mean order. He hunts purely for sport, understands the habits of his
game, and regulates his tactics accordingly, and delivers the birds
uninjured to his master, sometimes controlling his appetite and
carrying the game long distances for this purpose. I have frequently
discovered that my dogs, brought up in the house, understood words
which had never been taught them. My old favorite Di always answers
the dinner-bell and stands near my chair for odd scraps. Being
somewhat annoyed one day by her eagerness, I said playfully, "Go to
the kitchen and tell Annie to feed you." She at once rushed off and
scratched the kitchen door until the girl opened it, and then stood by
the tray of scraps looking at her and wagging her tail. Wanting one of
my little sons one evening, I said, "Di, go find the boys!" She rushed
off, looking and smelling about their usual haunts, but returned
unsuccessful. I scolded and sent her a second and third time, with the
same result: a few minutes after she came quietly behind me with the
_hat_ of my youngest boy in her mouth: she had taken it from a table
in the passage, and her wagging tail said plainly, "Will this answer?
It's the best I can do." The same dog will creep carefully upon
partridges, and stand as if cut in marble lest they should fly, but
will chase turkeys at full speed, giving tongue like a hound, and then
lie still for hours while they are called up and shot, nor will she
ever confound the different habits of the two birds or the different
methods of hunting them.

Such are the highly-bred and intelligent animals which are eagerly
waiting for us to-day--Di, with her white coat, soft as wavy silk, her
chestnut ears and one spot on the back alone marring its snowy purity;
Sancho, jet black, with "featherings" like a King Charles spaniel.
They are over the fence already, and tearing about the field so
recklessly in the exuberance of their joy that they must certainly
startle any game which may be there. The timid little field-buntings
glide away on silent wing through the grass; the meadow-larks rise
with gentle flappings and sail off with that easy flight so tempting
to very young wing-shots; now and then a flock of doves whistle off
too far for a certain shot, and clouds of crow-blackbirds rise with
hoarse chirps and seek less public feeding-grounds; a rabbit dashes
off from a brier-patch and both dogs rush pell-mell at his heels, but
a single note from the whistle brings them to a sudden halt and makes
them look thoroughly ashamed of themselves. Off they go again, as
wild as deer; but suddenly Di's whole action changes: crouching to the
ground and beating her sides rapidly with her tail, she runs hither
and thither, snuffing eagerly in the grass. Now Sancho comes up and
catches the cold trail, for a covey has certainly been in that place
to-day. Most probably they rose from the spot, frightened by the swoop
of a hawk, and made for the nearest cover, for the dogs can do nothing
with the scent. But that little whiff of the exciting effluvia has
brought them down to their work, and a beautiful sight it is as they
quarter the ground with quickly-beating tails and noses high in the
air, crossing and recrossing the wind in zigzag lines and concentric
circles, hunting the ground so closely that no trail, however cold,
can escape their keen sense of smell. A wave of the hand to Sancho,
and the sagacious fellow is off toward the far corner of the field,
when suddenly Di stops in mid-career with a jerk that must try every
sinew in her frame. The birds are right under her nose, and she dares
not move a muscle, but stands as if changed into stone, her eyes
starting with excitement, her nostrils expanded, her feathery stern
quivering stiffly out behind and every line of her figure standing out
like whipcord. "Toho!" The black dog catches the sound and turns his
head: he sees her rigid form, and backs her where he stands as firmly
as if he too had the scent. There is no hurry, for the dogs are true
as steel and will stand there as long as the frightened birds lie,
while the latter, obedient to the instinct of sudden terror, will
cower where they are for an hour, with their heads drawn back, their
mottled breasts pressed to the earth and their legs gathered under
them, ready to spring into the air. We cock our guns, agree to shoot
respectively at the birds which go right or left or straight before
us, and then advance to flush the covey ourselves. The staunch dog
never winces as we pass her: two paces, three, a sudden rush and whirr
as of many wings, five sharp reports in quick succession and four
birds down! Another, wild with fright, rises straight up for twenty
feet and darts off behind us, but his beautiful head droops as the
crack of my last barrel resounds on the air and a cloud of feathers
floats downward. The shot has struck him in the line of flight, and he
goes to the ground with a bounce, some thirty yards away, as if hurled
there by a vigorous arm. The well-trained dogs come to the "Down!
charge!" while we reload our guns, and then seek the dead birds and
bring them carefully in to us.

Leaving the broken covey to be worked up on our return, we push on to
another part of the large pea-field, where, perched upon the topmost
limb of a tall dead pine, we see a red-tailed hawk engaged in quiet
observation. There is no surer sign of birds, but it takes close
hunting to find them, for they dare not move about while their savage
enemy is on the watch. As we approach the hawk stretches out his neck,
jerks his wings two or three times and oscillates his ungainly body,
and then, with a loud scream of angry disappointment, he is off. The
tree stands in a little piece of sedge, not far from a dense growth of
pine-saplings, and we know that the moment the hawk left his perch the
birds started for the cover, and our only chance for shooting is to
head them off and turn them. The dogs have struck the running trail,
and their action is totally different from what it was with the first
covey. Crouching flat to the ground, they glide after the startled
birds with a snake-like movement, now stopping, now running swiftly
in. Suddenly Di leaves the trail and dashes off at full speed to the
right. Making a wide circuit, she skirts the pines, and, turning short
round, comes to a firm stand in the very face of the retreating covey,
while Sancho lies prone with his nose between his paws. It is an
old trick of hers thus to "huddle" running birds, and we follow her
example, come up behind her, and get six with four barrels as the
birds rise in a bunch.

But if the reader follows us too closely, he will have all the fatigue
of a long tramp without the compensation of healthful excitement
and full game-pockets. Thirty-five fine birds in a pile on the
pantry-table offer a capital _raison d'etre_ for weary feet and soiled
fingers when we reach home just in time for the supper-bell. There
have been some arrivals while we were gone, for Christmas is near at
hand, and the old house is filling up with guests. To-morrow the "St.
John's Hunting-Club" has its monthly deer-hunt and dinner at Black
Oak, and we need a good night's rest to prepare us for an experience
the omission of which would render imperfect any truthful reminiscence
of life at the old plantation.

During the months spent at the plantation there is little social
visiting among the gentlemen, and, except on Sundays and occasions
of public meetings, the various local clubs offer their only
opportunities for seeing each other, Another object--at least, under
the old _regime_--was to bring together those who occupied somewhat
different social positions. Formerly the clubs were strictly
exclusive, and, indeed, this feature was never lost, but in every
community there would be some _novi homines_, clever men many of them,
whom the old gentry were quite willing to recognize, though a marked
difference in culture prevented family visiting. These could be
admitted to membership, and at the club-house could be met on equal
terms. The hunting feature was always preserved, though few of the
older members ever joined in the sport. Under the rules there was a
place, a day and an hour for the weekly meet; and I remember when it
was a safe thing to be at "the White Bridge" on the Santee Canal any
Saturday morning at nine o'clock. Somebody was sure to be there with
dogs and driver, prepared for a "wallet-hunt"--i.e., an all-day hunt
with wallets at the crupper well filled with hunter's cheer. Once a
month the club met for dinner, each member "finding" in turn, and
on that day a single drive, or at most two, was all that could be
enjoyed. The club-house was a plain frame building in the woods, with
a huge fireplace at each end, heavy stationary pine table extending
the length of the room, and broad soft-pine benches. The dishes,
wines, liquors and cigars were all specified in the rules, the
finder being allowed two extra dishes at will, and supplying all the
crockery, cutlery and glass. The kitchen was a rough shed close to the
cool and shaded spring of pure, clear water. Being myself but a guest,
I have not the privilege of extending an invitation to the reader;
so, by his leave, we will drop the present tense and I will assume the
part of _raconteur_. How vividly do the scenes of that day come back
through the highways of memory, crowded as they are with experiences
of more than twenty varied years! As I rode up to the bridge on that
bright December morning I found a party which promised rare sport.
There was Kit Gillam with his crooked nose, and Tom Clifton with his
deadly Manton and fine cry of dogs, and cheery Jack Parker, who hunted
only for the good company, and whose gun was as likely as not to be
unloaded when the deer came out to him. Two drives were decided on
which might be relied on for shooting, and yet were small enough to
give ample time for reaching the club-house before dinner.

As we rode toward our stands I thought it a good chance to settle
a point which had long excited my curiosity. "Kit," said I, "I have
often wondered how your nose got out of plumb. What caused it?"

"When I was a little bit of a boy I fell down and stepped on it."

This very satisfactory explanation brought us to our ground, and
we were soon at our respective stands and listening eagerly for the
trail-notes of the old hounds. The deer have regular runs, from which
they rarely deviate, and which do not vary in the course of years.
These are guarded by the standers while the game is driven down
from the opposite direction. A large drive may have a dozen of these
stands, by one of which the deer will almost certainly pass, but which
one nobody knows. Quiet is absolutely necessary and a cigar is fatal
to sport, but concealment is useless, as these animals see imperfectly
in daylight.

I had not to wait long before I caught the distant cheering and
hand-clapping of the drivers as they encouraged the dogs to hunt.
In the quiet of the sombre woods every sound was distinctly audible.
Suddenly three or four quick, sharp yelps brought my gun to the
"ready," and the hammers clicked as a burst of music followed. But
above the clamor of the hounds came the crack of the driver's whip,
and his voice, mellowed by distance, was heard in angry tones: "Come
back yah, you good-for-nuttin', wutless lee' rabbit-dog, you! I sway
maussa ha' for shoot da' puppy 'fore he spile ebery dog in de pack!"

Soon, however, came another open, deep and musical, and there was no
mistaking old Drummer's trail-note: then Killbuck joined in, and then
the cry became general. For a while the broken, quavering tongue tells
that the dogs are only trailing and the deer is still cowering in his
bed, or perhaps has sneaked out of the drive at the first sound of the
horn. Hark! what a burst! They had "started" within two hundred yards
of me. The next moment there was a rustle of leaves, and a yearling
doe dashed by. I am not a dead shot, and have nothing to say about
that first barrel, but the second sent her down and over with a roll
that almost broke her neck. The dogs were stopped and the deer
thrown over the pommel of one of the boys, and we rode on to try the
Brunswick swamp. The boy had assured us that "One pow'ful big buck bin
in day (there) las' night. I see all he track gwine in, an' I nebber
see none come out."

We were soon strung along the narrow dam across which the game was to
be forced by the drivers, who had to make their way through an ugly
bog among cypress "knees" and dense brier-patches. Jack Parker stood
next to me, fidgeting about uneasily, because it was against rules to
talk on stand. Jack's prominent feature was his nose, and he had
an incorrigible trick of blowing it "out loud" whenever there was a
particular reason for keeping perfectly quiet. The dogs had begun
to open, and their loose, scattering trail-notes indicated turkeys.
Looking directly before me, I saw seven noble gobblers stepping
cautiously toward my stand. Their glossy breasts glittered with
coppery lustre in the straggling sunbeams as, with drooping wings and
expanded tails, they advanced, looking fearfully about and uttering
their low alarm-notes, "Quit! quit! quit!" Three more steps will make
a certain shot, and--out rang Jack's nasal clarion, loud and clear as
the _morte_ at a fox-chase. I looked round in horror, and there
stood my hunter complacently eying me and flourishing his white silk
handkerchief, while his gun leaned against a tree ten paces distant:
"Expect I'd better go back to my stand, eh? Are those dogs barking at
a deer?"

I jumped to my feet for a snap-shot at the old gobbler which flew over
me, making a clear miss. Bang! bang! went two more guns; a woodcock
whistled up from the bog and two swamp-rabbits dashed into the
brier. The dogs came out, shaking the water from their coats, and the
spattered drivers rode through the creek. There was not a feather to
show, and of course everybody was "down" on Jack, but with an air of
deep injury he put it off on me with the question, "Why didn't you
tell me the turkeys were coming? How can a fellow help having a cold?"

We reached the club-house just in time to take our seats as dinner was
served, and were in capital condition to enjoy the rich mutton, the
fat turkey, the juicy home-cured ham and the rare old madeira which
graced the board. This last was a specialty with the gentlemen of
those days, and probably no cellars in the world could boast choicer
vintage than the "Newton & Gordon" and "Old Leacock" which cheered the
table of that "hunting-club." There were stronger liquors, too, though
these were chiefly used as appetizers before dinner. The moderate use
of brandy was universal, but the drunkenness which blots these days of
prohibitory laws was comparatively rare. Few ever left the club-house
"disguised" by liquor except the young men, who then, as now and
always, would occasionally indulge in a "frolic." With the clearing of
the board came the regular and volunteer toasts, and then an hour of
"crop-talk" and "horse-talk" and hunting-stories over the wine and
cigars. With the departure of the older members came the inevitable
quarter-race, with its accompaniment of riding feats which would have
done credit to a Don Cossack. The equestrian performance was commenced
by Kit Gillam (who now dismounts and leads over every little
ditch) forcing his active chestnut up the wooden steps and into
the club-room, and rearing him on the dining-table. Then came a
leaping-match over a ten-railed fence, resulting in the barking of
some shins and the demolition of sundry panels of rail. Joe Keating,
the wildest rider I ever knew, had emptied his tumbler too often, and
insisted on running his horse home through the woods. An hour after
he was overtaken trudging along the road, perfectly sober, with the
saddle on his shoulders and the bridle over his arm.

"Why, Joe, where's your horse?"

"Dead!" was the laconic reply.

Sure enough. He had run full against a huge pine, and the horse had
gone down with a broken skull. He never tried it again.

Christmas Eve has come at last, and the old plantation is in all its
glory. Carriage after carriage has deposited its freight of blooming
girls and merry-eyed children at the broad, open hall-door. There is
not a vacant stall in the stables, nor an unoccupied bedroom among all
the seventeen of the spacious mansion. The broad dinner-table is
set diagonally in the long dining-room, and to-morrow, at least, the
guests will have to take two turns at filling its twenty seats, while
the children go through the same manoeuvre in the pantry. Where they
will all sleep to-night is a mystery which none can unravel save the
busy, hospitable "lady of the manor;" but it makes little
difference, for there will be little sleeping done. The day passes
in riding-parties and rowing-parties and similar amusements, as
each freely follows the bent of his inclination. "Brass," the negro
fiddler, has been summoned, and "Newport" comes with his stirrup and
steel for the "triangle" accompaniment, and the merry feet of the
dancers are soon keeping time to the homely but inspiriting music. The
"German" and the "Boston" have not usurped the places of the old-time
cotillon, quadrille and Virginia reel, and the dance is often varied
by romping games of "Blindman's Buff," "Move-House" and "Stage-Coach,"
in which old and young unite with equal zest.

But this is not the limit of the fun. From time immemorial Christmas
Eve has been licensed for the performance of all sorts of tricks,
and demure little faces are flitting about convulsed by the effort to
conceal the merry sense of mischief. The stockings are duly hung for
Saint Nicholas, and the holly, with its glossy leaves and scarlet
berries, stands ready to be planted in the parlor, to bloom to-morrow
into all kinds of rich flowers and gift-fruit. At nine o'clock the
work of arranging the Christmas tree begins. The ladies retire, and
after a quiet smoke by the roaring hall-fire the gentlemen follow
suit. To bed, but not to sleep. Jack Parker is the first man ready,
and bounces into the best bed to secure the softest place; but the
bars have been skillfully removed, and he is the centre of a rather
mixed pile on the floor. I feel another, to be sure that all is right,
and slip cozily between the sheets, but some graceless little wretch
has placed a walking-cane "athwart-ships," which nearly breaks my
back. None escape. Some find their sheets strewed with chaff or
cockle-burs, some find no sheets at all. At midnight a fearful roar
comes from the girls' room, followed by pretty shrieks and terrible
confusion; but it is only the old Cochin rooster, which was slyly shut
up in the empty chimney-place before they retired, indulging in his
first crow.

Daylight puts an end to all sleep, for the boys are on the piazza
ready to welcome Christmas with innumerable packages of fire-crackers.
We rise to find our pantaloons sewed up, our boots stuffed with wet
cotton, our tooth-brushes dusted with quinine and our _cafe noir_
sweetened with salt. These practical jokes are all taken in good
part and made to contribute to the jollity of the season. At
the breakfast-table lumps of cracked marble serve admirably for
loaf-sugar, except that the hottest coffee will not dissolve them, and
boiled eggs tempt the appetite only to disappoint with their sawdust
filling. Then all assemble on the piazza to witness the merriment
of the crowd of negroes who have assembled to claim little gifts of
tobacco and sugar and to receive the annual glass of whisky which a
time-honored custom bestows. The liquor is served in a wine-glass, and
swallowed eagerly by men, women and boys from ten years old upward.
Then they disperse to get their portion of the Christmas beef which
has been slaughtered for their special benefit, and we prepare for
service at the parish church, which stands among the shadows of the
old forest oaks an easy walk from the house. There the solemn services
temper and soften, but do not check or lessen, the joy and good-will
which so well become the season, and which find their appropriate
manifestation in all kinds of innocent amusement. The religious and
the social observances of the day react each upon the other, and
harmonize most admirably in the impressions which they produce. The
interchange of gifts and tokens around the Christmas tree follows
most appropriately, and the Christmas feast is marked by profuse
hospitality and keen enjoyment unmarred by riot or excess.

Ah, well! there are piles of dusty memories in the old cockloft still
untouched, but I shall rummage no more to-night. The scenes which have
floated past me with the wreathing smoke of my cigar are green and
fragrant to me with a freshness which time can never blight, but they
never can harden into reality again for any mortal experience. They
have gone into the irretrievable past with a state of things which
some may regret and others rejoice in, and well will it be if the new
_regime_ shall supply their places with other pictures which twenty
years hence it may be no less pleasant to remember.




From the 27th to the 30th of September all Stuttgart flocks to
Cannstatt for the _Volksfest_; and this year every good Wuertemberger
was bound to feel an additional interest in the fete on account of
the opening ceremony, the inauguration of a statue to the late king,
Wilhelm I.--and "well beloved," one is tempted to add from the way
in which his people still speak of him. "The old king" and "this one"
they say with an inflection of voice anything but flattering to
the latter. Our landlady assures us that let the weather look as
threatening as it would, the sun always contrived to burst out when in
former times the late king rode into the arena to give the prizes; and
she is evidently by no means certain it will not pour all three days
of the fair this year. However, to judge from the skies, "this one" is
not so bad as he might be: the sun shines propitious on him too, and
consequently on us as we set forth to see what we can see. The second
is the great day, as the prizes are then distributed; but already on
Monday the booths and shows were on the field, and Cannstatt was gay
with banners and wreaths and garlands of green. The carpenters were
still hard at work hammering at seats for us to occupy next day,
but the wonderful triumphal arch stood quite completed and worthy of
sincere admiration. No one knows who has not seen it worked into an
architectural design how beautiful a string of onions can be, how
gorgeous a row of vegetable-marrows, how delicate a cluster of
turnips. It sounds puerile, but it was lovely nevertheless. Imagine a
temple-like construction all composed of odorous pine, with an arched
portal on either hand, and then every line and curve, every niche and
pillar and balustrade, defined with glowing fruit. It was looped in
festoons and hung in tassels of red and white and gold: the arms of
Wuertemberg even were traced in yellow corn, while above it all rose
a graceful column, a mosaic from base to summit of every fruit that
autumn can bring to perfection.

That was the great show: after that, mammoth cucumbers and carrots or
rows of agricultural implements did not detain us long. The next best
thing was to see the booths and the crowd on the outskirts of the
exhibition. There the circus was in full blast, and triumphant,
brazen-throated opposition to all smaller attractions that had
ventured into that neighborhood. The performing dogs in red petticoats
were reduced to making an appearance before their tent to entice
spectators, and Harlequin and Columbine had to shout themselves hoarse
inviting people to come in and split with laughter for sixpence. Those
who did not aspire to a seat under painted canvas gathered round a
melancholy bear dancing a _pas seul_ on the grass with heartbroken
gravity. Then came the _Schuetzhallen_, where the marksmen stationed
themselves three feet from the target and cracked away at it with no
other visible effect than that produced on a monkey doing its tricks
close by: at every shot the poor little creature stopped fiddling and
looked over its shoulder with a distressed air of "If I'm not hit this
time!" Hand-organs, penny trumpets and rattles quite drowned the voice
of a street-songstress with a large assortment of vocal music before
her, from which she was giving the public a selection. Whether the
songs had any reference to the pictures that formed her background we
did not discover, but, at all events, the latter were tragic in the
extreme. "The twenty-four-year-old murderer of his mother and six
brothers and sisters" was there portrayed in a neat suit of black,
with a hatchet in his hand and a very irresolute expression of
countenance, while the various members of his family, seen through
the open bedroom doors, awaited their fate in peaceful slumber. The
booths, with toys, gingerbread, sausages, cheese and light literature
tastefully intermingled, went on and on like the restaurants that
lined each side of the long avenue. Around primitive tables family
parties clinked foaming glasses and hailed with demonstrative
hospitality any stray cousin who chanced that way. In one of the last
of these improvised _Trinkhallen_ we came upon a young man and maiden
who had the place quite to themselves. Her brown parasol kept the
sun off them both, and it was of no sort of consequence that they had
nothing more interesting than the back of a shed to look at. Future
prospects were the only ones they cared for: the present had no need
of anything but a faint beeriness, conducive to day-dreaming.

As we get into the carriage again our coachman says we must see the
new statue. Accordingly, we drive through the town and halt before it
in the square. It is very fine, glowing like gold from the mint.
The king sits his charger well, and gazes majestically at nothing in
particular: still, one must be a little critical, and we imagine the
horse's tail is not quite right. But then is not the whisk of a tail
in bronze almost impossible to conceive of? If the artist suffers no
severer censure than that, he will probably call himself a happy
man. The inscription on the pedestal of the statue reads, "From his
grateful people." High and low have contributed to it, and gladly.
"That was a man!" says our driver. He was a soldier under him, and
knows. And in fact the old king seems to have been always doing
something for the country, so that the gratitude is not without a
cause. The inhabitants of Cannstatt have special reason to remember
him kindly: he himself was grateful to them and showed it. In the
troublous times of 1848 he was sadly in need of money: Ludwigsburg
(another satellite of Stuttgart) refused it, while Cannstatt came
up to the mark handsomely. The royal creditor never forgot that. He
instituted the _Volksfest_ as a sort of memorial, and Cannstatt is
proud and prosperous, while Ludwigsburg is like a city of the dead.
So the coachman affirms; and once conversation is opened between us it
flows without intermission. His head is over his shoulder all the way
as we roll back to the city under the beautiful trees of the palace
grounds. "If the old king had been living, Wuertemberg would never have
joined in the last war: he would have told Prussia to fight it out by
herself." Apropos of the war, we ask what he thinks of Bismarck.
He evidently thinks a great deal of him, though not perhaps in the
generally accepted sense of that expression. He states as a fact that
there _are_ limits, leaving it to us to understand that the chancellor
of the empire has overstepped them. He declares further that a
Prussian, and especially a Berliner, is always to him an obnoxious
member of society through his insisting on knowing everything (except
his own place) better than anybody else. "Now, there was the Prussian
general before this last one," he continues, changing from politics
to court-gossip (naturally, since 1870, military matters in Wuertemberg
flourish under Prussian auspices): "the first ball he went to at the
palace he asked the queen to dance! _Our_ queen!! And then he took his
whole family, and they sat in chairs that never were meant for them,
so that the king had to say to him next day, "Mr. General, first come
I, and then my ministers, and then this one, and then that one, and
_then_ you." He went back to Berlin soon after. It is pleasanter to
sit one's self down where one doesn't belong than to be set down
by somebody else." Our driver chuckles, and then bursts out afresh,
"Asking the _queen_ to dance!" He certainly has perfect faith in his
own stories.

We saw the successor of that presumptuous military man next day
among the greater and lesser lights that revolve around the throne of
Wuertemberg. We ourselves were stationary, crowded into the foremost of
the tiers of seats that rose surrounding the immense enclosure, and
in the best place for observation, close by the royal pavilion.
The hills, bright in the sun and velvet in shadow, made a natural
amphitheatre beyond, a little church with its pretty tower looked
picturesquely down from a neighboring height, and the whole place
was gay with flags and branches, glittering uniforms and gorgeous
liveries. We were to see the _hohe Herrschaften_ come in at the
farthest entrance and drive around directly before our seats. As the
trumpets flourish and the first magnificence sweeps by we hear all
about us, "The princess Vera," and "No, the duchess of Uhra," and "Is
it?" "Isn't it?" "Which is it?" till we finally settle down to the
serene conclusion that it is either one or the other. There is no
mistaking the queen, however, with the outriders, six superb black
horses and postilions in scarlet and gold. The Majesty herself looks
pale and resigned, bending to the right and left in answer to the
bows and _hochs._ Our neighbors "the Weimars" come in full force. A
superfluous prince of that family appears to have drifted to these
regions, and makes our street aristocratic for us. Young Weimar looks
uncommonly well in his hussar uniform, and the old prince and his wife
and daughter are resplendent. We met them later that same day in town,
but they had taken off their best clothes, and truth compels us sadly
to admit that we should hardly have known them.

In the course of time, after various false alarms on our part, the
band confidently strikes up "God Save the King!" and there is a
flashing and prancing in the distance that creates a great stir. The
citizen guard, a stately body of burghers, rides out with the king on
this day of all the year, and comes caracoling by in fine style, he in
the midst bowing and smiling. And now, after the _Herrschaften--hohe_
and _hoechste_--come the animals. First, horses haughtily stepping,
and then splendid bulls with wreaths on their horns and garlands round
their--waists shall we say?--are led before the king, standing at the
foot of the steps and handing the prizes to the farmers, who present
themselves, ducking and scraping. It seems a shame to tie up the
creatures' legs so, and put rings through their noses: some have
even a cloth bound over their heads; and if all these precautionary
measures are necessary, it ought to be a relief when the procession of
mild cows begins, They look out amiably from under the floral crowns
that have slipped low on their brows, or turn with half-conscious
pride to the handsome little calves that trot beside them. The sheep,
seeking to attract too early the notice of royalty, dash out in a
flock, and are driven back with jeering and hooting, as they deserve
to be. Then the pigs stagger by: their garlands are excessively
unbecoming. Such of the family of swine as are too young to stagger
are wheeled in handcarts in the rear; and so the ceremonies are
closed, except for a couple of races which take place immediately, and
with no great eclat. The burgher races these are called, while on the
third and last day are the officers' races. The rain prevented our
attending them, and we consoled ourselves, hearing it intimated by
those who had been at Ascot and Longchamps that we had not lost a
great deal.



The threads from which the tissue of history is being woven are ever
in unceasing and rapid motion in the hands of the Fates. But these
deities for the most part love to work unseen, like the bees. It is
only when the spinning is going on with exceptional rapidity and
vigor that the movements of the threads and the characteristics of the
operation can be observed on the surface of social life, Such is
the case in these days at Rome, and it is not necessary to watch the
actions of governments or listen to the discussions of legislative
chambers in order to assure one's self of the fact. One cannot walk
the streets without having the phenomena which are the outward and
visible signs of it thrust in a thousand ways on the observation
of our senses. The other day I read a whole chapter of contemporary
history compressed into the appearance of a pair of wheels engaged in
their ordinary daily duty in the streets. It was in that central and
crowded part of the city which is between the church of the Gesu and
the Farnese palace, a labyrinth of tortuous streets and lanes,
not often visited by foreigners unless when bent on some special
expedition of sight-seeing. There are no sidewalks for foot-passengers
in these streets. They are narrow, very tortuous and very crowded.
Foot-passengers and vehicles of all sorts find their way along as best
they may in one confused mass. It was there I saw the historic pair
of wheels in question. They were attached to the barrow of a
coster-monger, who was retailing a stock of onions, carrots and
"cavolo Romano" which he had just purchased at the neighboring market
of the "Campo de' Fiori." His wares, I fear, had been selected from
the refuse of the market, and he and his barrow were in a state of
dilapidated shabbiness that matched his stock in trade. But not so the
wheels on which his barrow was supported. They were wheels of the most
gorgeous description. The spokes and the circumference were painted
of the most brilliant scarlet, and the entire nave was gilded so as
to have the appearance of a solid mass of gold. It is impossible to
imagine anything more _bizarre_ than the effect of these magnificent
wheels doing the work of carrying such an equipage. Nevertheless,
the apparition seemed to attract very little attention in the crowded
street. The grand scarlet and gilded wheels flamed along among the
crowd of shabby men and shabby vehicles with their load of onions and
cabbages, and scarcely anybody turned his head to stare at them. I
suppose the denizens of the district were used to the apparition of
them. To me they looked as if they had been the originals from
which Guido Reni painted those of the car in which he has placed the
celebrated Aurora of his world-famous fresco. They were solidly and
heavily built wheels--very barbarous an English carriage-builder would
have considered them in their heavy and clumsy magnificence--but they
were very gorgeous. What could be the meaning of their appearance in
public under such circumstances? I was walking with an Italian friend
at the time, who saw my state of amazement at so strange a phenomenon,
and explained it all by a single remark.

"Yes," said he, "there go a pair of His Eminence's wheels. They are
sharing the fortunes of their late master in a manner that is at once
dramatic and historical."

The wheels from a cardinal's carriage! Of course they were. How was
it possible that such wheels should be mistaken for any other in the
world? A few years ago, when pope and cardinals had not yet suffered
the horrible eclipse which has overtaken them, one of the most notable
features of the Roman streets and suburban roads used to consist
of the carriages of the members of the Sacred College taking their
diurnal drive. It was not etiquette for a cardinal to walk in the
streets, or indeed anywhere else, without his carriage following him.
There was no mistaking these barbarously gorgeous vehicles. They were
all exactly like each other, and unlike any other carriages to be
seen in the nineteenth century--heavy, clumsy, coarsely built and
gorgeously painted of the most flaming scarlet, and largely gilded.
They were drawn by long-tailed black horses covered with heavy harness
richly plated with silver, or something that looked like it, and
driven by a coachman whose livery, always as shabby as magnificent,
was as heavily laden with huge masses of worsted lace of the kind that
used to be placed on carriage-linings some five-and-twenty years ago.
Two similarly bedizened footmen always stood on the monkey-board
at the rear, who descended and walked behind His Eminence and
his chaplain when the cardinal left his carriage to get his
constitutional. Ichabod! Ichabod! The glory has departed! Such
cavalcades are no longer to be seen crawling along the Via Appia,
or following His Eminence on a fine and sunny afternoon about four
o'clock as he walks on the footpath between the Porta Pia and the
Basilica of St. Agnes in search of an appetite for his dinner. The
world will never see such carriages and such servants any more. _Fuit
Ilium!_ I thought of the old lines on the "high--mettled racer," and
of "imperial Caesar, dead and turned to clay, stopping a hole to keep
the wind away." To see such splendor reduced to the service of such
vile uses! Yes, as my Italian friend said, "There go the cardinal's
wheels," and it is impossible not to feel sure that the phenomenon
is symbolical of the way the cardinal is going himself. When an
institution, a dignity, a social arrangement of any sort, has grown
to be purely ornamental, has become so splendid that its splendor has
come to be the essence of it, it will no longer be able to exist shorn
of its splendor, however much it may in its origin have been adapted
for use rather than for show. The wheels were heavy, cumbrous and
ill put together; they were not well adapted for the costermonger's
purpose, and will probably fall to pieces before long. Their fate is
a type of that of their once master. That ornamental individual, shorn
of his ornamental character, is useless. His _raison d'etre_ is gone
as entirely as Othello's occupation was. And it will probably not be
long before the fate of the cardinal's wheels overtakes the cardinal

The second little bit of street incident which recently occurred to me
was in itself less striking, but seemed to me to symbolize changes of
yet higher moment and wider significance. This time what I saw was in
the Ghetto. Many of my readers probably know what the Ghetto at Rome
is, but untraveled stayers-at-home may very excusably never have heard
of it. The Ghetto is the Jews' quarter in Rome--the district in which
they were for many generations compelled to reside and to be locked
in by night, and where from habit the greater part, especially of the
poorer members of the Jewish community, still live. As will be easily
believed, it is the worst and most wretched quarter of the city--the
lowest physically as well as morally--and inundated with tolerable
certainty every year by the rising of the Tiber. The dilapidated and
filthy streets of the other parts of old papal Rome used to look
clean and spruce by comparison with the lurid and darksome dens of
the Ghetto. There are Ghettos in London--streets where the children of
Israel congregate, not in obedience to any law old or new, but drawn
together by mutual attraction and similarity of occupation. And the
occupations there are very much of the same nature as those pursued
in the Ghetto of Rome--the buying and selling of old clothes and
second-hand property of all sorts, the preparation and distribution of
fried fish, and here and there a little usury. But the _genius loci_
here impresses on the trade in discarded odds and ends a peculiar
character of its own. A much larger number of old pictures figure
among the hoards of useless "property" than would be the case
elsewhere. The constant decay of noble and once wealthy families
furnishes to the second-hand market a much more abundant supply of
the remains of articles that were once rich and rare in their day--old
damask hangings torn from walls that have witnessed the princely
revelry of many a generation; rich brocades and stuffs that have made
part of the moving pageant in the same saloons; lace of the finest
and rarest from the vestments of deceased prelates, whose heirs, as
regards such property, have probably been their serving-men; purple
and scarlet articles from the wardrobes of cardinals and princes of
the Church; and odds and ends of various sorts widely different in
kind from aught that could be found in similar repositories in other
cities. And another specialty of the Roman Ghetto is that it is not
altogether easy to obtain a sight of the miscellaneous treasures of
this rag-fair. Partly because the low-lying and narrow lanes of the
Ghetto are too murky and filthy to permit of the advantageous exposure
of the merchandise in question; partly, probably, from an habitual
consciousness on the part of the dealers that the details of their
traffic in all its particulars are not of a nature to be safely
submitted to the public eye; partly from that secretiveness which is
the natural result of living for many generations from father to son
under the tyranny of an alien race, whose bitterly hostile prejudices
were but little restrained by law or justice; and partly also, no
doubt, from the genuine Roman laziness, which in its perfection is
capable of overriding even Jewish keenness of trade,--the Jew brokers
of the Ghetto are often unwilling to show their hidden stores to the
first comer. Some amount of diplomacy and some show of the probability
of effecting an advantageous deal must be had recourse to in order to
attain the purpose of the explorer.

On the recent occasion to which I have referred these difficulties had
been overcome, and I had made my way into the interior of one of
the dens I have described in the company of a lady friend who is a
confirmed and irreclaimable lace-hunter, and who in pursuit of her
game would have confronted worse obstacles than any that we had
to encounter. For, in truth, the exterior appearance and the
entrance-chambers are the worst part of the Ghetto dwellings. One is
curiously reminded of the old mediaeval stories of Jewish dwellings,
where the utmost squalor and poverty of exterior was a mere blind for
an interior gorgeous with every manifestation of wealth and luxury. I
will not say that much of the latter is to be found in the dwellings
of the Ghetto, but a degree of comfortable decency and indications
of the possession of capital may be met with which the exterior
appearances would not have led one to anticipate. Well, we had reached
the third floor of one of these sinister-looking abodes, conducted by
a fat old Jewess with a pair of huge black eyes, a large smooth face
as yellow as a guinea, and a vast development of bust clad in dirty
white wrappers of some sort. A door on the landing-place jealously
locked with two huge keys admitted us into a suite of three good-sized
rooms crammed from floor to ceiling with a collection of articles more
heterogeneous than can easily be conceived--far more so than can be

Those who have ever accompanied a lady lace-hunter when she has struck
a promising trail know that the business in hand is likely to be a
somewhat long one. My companion on the present occasion very soon
convinced the Jewess that she knew quite as much about the matter as
she, the dealer, did. But I presume that some of the old yellow stores
produced were "the real thing;" for my friend and the old Jewess soon
became immersed in an eager and, as it seemed to me interminable,
discussion as to qualities, condition and values. Meantime, I had to
amuse myself as best I might by looking at the multifarious objects.
I must content myself with mentioning one article, the appearance
of which in such a place struck me as strange and not a little
significant. It was simply an old parasol, very much faded and a
little tattered, but not such a parasol as your fair hands ever
carried, my dear madam, nor such as the once equally fair hands of any
generation of your ancestors ever carried. The article in question was
more like the shelter which we see represented in Chinese paintings as
carried over the heads of persons of high rank among the Celestials.
It was very large, not much curved into the shape of a dome when
expanded, very clumsily and coarsely put together, but of gorgeous
magnificence of material. It was made of a very thick and rich damask
silk, additionally ornamented by embroidery in gold and silver thread,
and the handle and points of the supports were richly gilt. In a word,
I perceived at once, not being a novice in such matters, that the
article before me was one of the canopies used for holding over the
"Host" when the holy sacrament is carried by the priest through the
streets to a dying person. It needs but a moment's reflection on the
Roman Catholic theory of the sacrament of the "Last Supper" to be
aware of the extremely sacred nature of the uses to which this parasol
had been put, and of the associations connected with it. Nevertheless,
I found this bit of sacred church property in the hands of a Jew
broker, exposed to sale for a few francs to the first comer, heretic,
scoffer or infidel, that might take a fancy to buy it. This would
hardly have been the case when the pope was absolute master of Rome
and of all in it. The thing could not have happened save by the
dishonesty and cynical disbelief of some priest, and indeed probably
of more than one. And, upon the whole, it struck me as a second
curious indication of the somewhat breakneck speed with which the
threads of history are spinning themselves in these days and in these



A great deal of discussion has recently taken place on the subject of
medical education in the United States. To a foreigner, or to one not
acquainted with the influences that have led to and have kept up this
discussion, it might seem to be the result of a spontaneous outburst
of popular feeling, earnestly demanding much-needed progress. Really,
however, the very reverse is the case; and the revolutionists are
those whose _kind_ and _sympathetic_ interest in the welfare of the
community is prompted solely by selfish considerations. The changes
urged by these self-condemning philanthropists are not demanded by the
medical profession nor by the public; neither have they been, nor will
they be, sustained by both or by either. This assertion is clearly
proved by the experience of the University of Pennsylvania, In 1846
the American Medical Association recommended to all medical colleges
certain changes and improvements in their courses of instruction.
In consequence of this recommendation the University of Pennsylvania
extended its session to six months: not a _single medical college in
the country followed_ its progressive lead, and after continuing the
experiment for six years at great pecuniary loss, it was reluctantly
obliged to retrace its steps, and to return to the old standard as to
length of session. During the period of this advance the classes of
the University fell off greatly, and the classes of other medical
schools correspondingly increased. Even medical men sent their sons
to other medical schools, to save the time and money necessary for the
longer course. Indeed, medical men, as a rule, have sought to evade
the restrictions as to length of time of study, etc. more than any
other class; and the statement, that the "student usually dates his
medical studies from the time he buys his first _Chemistry_" applies
more frequently to the sons of _physicians_ than to any others. Hence,
I declare that these proposed changes are not demanded by the medical
profession nor by the public.

The writer of a recent article in _Lippincott's Magazine_ (Dr. H.C.
Wood) on "Medical Education in the United States" seems to have
been so lost in admiration at the methods of instruction followed in
European medical colleges as to be utterly blind to the good in the
system of medical education as it exists in this country--a system the
_necessary_ result of our political, social, financial and territorial
conditions; a system which, though in the abstract may not be the
best, is certainly, judging from its results, the best _possible_
under our peculiar circumstances. This much abused system of
medical education (only greatly improved in its extent and
thoroughness--improvements developed by the constant advances in
knowledge) is the same system which has produced the great medical
men of the United States during the past seventy-five years--medical
practitioners whose success has been surpassed by none in Europe;
surgeons whose skill has been, and is, world-wide in reputation;
authors whose works are standard authorities everywhere. It is the
same system of medical instruction--I quote verbatim (italics mine)
from this article that holds it up to scorn--which "accomplished such
_splendid results_ during the late rebellion." The writer says: "The
great resources of the medical profession were proved during the
civil war, when there was created in a few months a service which
for magnitude and efficiency has rarely if ever been equaled. Indeed,
military medicine was raised by it to a point _never reached before
that time in Europe_ and the results achieved have, in many points,
_worked a revolution in science_." After this frank declaration of the
inestimable value and glorious results of American medical education,
the writer draws the _logical_(?) sequence that it (American medical
education) is responsible for a case of most heartrending malpractice,
which he relates, compared to which the Japanese hari-kari were
merciful mildness, and approaching more nearly the tortures by
crucifixion as administered by this same _kind-hearted_ people. With
about as much reason and justice might he conclude that the _American
system_ of Sunday-school education is lamentably inferior to that of
Great Britain, _because_(!) Jesse Pomeroy was a possibility in that
most respectable town of Boston.

Dr. Wood alludes to the ignorance of the American medical student,
and makes a statement "not founded on the authority of official
publication," in which he endeavors to show that from "six to ten
per cent." of American medical students have an ignorance of vulgar
fractions and rudimentary astronomy that would exclude them from an
ordinary infant-school. Every one familiar with the students attending
our first-class American medical colleges knows perfectly well that
in origin and in culture they compare favorably with the young men
engaged in the study of law and divinity, or with those entering upon
mercantile or manufacturing pursuits. True, there are some imperfectly
educated, but certainly not "six or ten per cent." destitute of
that knowledge taught even in _American_ infant-schools, and without
knowing, and without the statement "being founded on the authority of
any official publication," I _infer_ that in _Europe_, owing to their
"better methods," similar knowledge is communicated to the average
European child many months _before its birth_.

Next follows a comment on the poverty of the American medical student.
Dr. Wood says: "Even worse than this, however, is the fact that the
summer between the winter courses is often not spent in study, but
in idleness, or, not rarely, in acquiring in the school-room or
harvest-field the pecuniary means of spending the subsequent winter in
the city." Alas! this _is_ too true. Providence seems to have ordained
that our young _American_ doctors are not always reared in the lap of
luxury and wealth as the fittest preparation for the trials, hardships
and self-denials of their future lives. It is also true that some
_other_ young American professional men have been compelled "in the
school-room or harvest-field" to acquire the means to prosecute their
professional studies. Daniel Webster, the son of a New England farmer,
taught school at Fryeburg, Maine, "upon a salary of about one dollar
per diem." "His salary was all saved ... as a fund for his _own
professional_ education and to help his brother through college."
"During his residence at Fryeburg, Mr. Webster borrowed (he was too
poor to buy) Blackstone's _Commentaries_." Mr. Webster's great rival,
Henry Clay, also was compelled to resort to the "school-room and
harvest-field to obtain the pecuniary means," etc. etc. etc. The son
of the poor widow with seven children "applied himself to the labor of
the field with alacrity and diligence;" "and there yet live those who
remember to have seen him oftentimes riding his sorry horse, with a
rope bridle, no saddle, and a bag of grain." "By the familiar name
of the Mill-boy of the Slashes do these men ... perpetuate the
remembrance of his lowly yet dutiful and unrepining employments."
American biography is so filled with similar instances, showing how
the great characters of her great men acquired their development and
strength in the stern gymnasium of poverty, even in "the school-room
and harvest-field," that I could fill volumes with the glowing
records. The youngest American school-boy recognizes Abraham Lincoln
and Henry Wilson in this _American_ galaxy. Whose heart has not been
stirred by the life-story of the great Hugh Miller, the stonecutter's
pick earning for him humble means, thereby enabling him to acquire
that learning which made his name a household word even in America.
Truth, then, as I have remarked, obliges me to admit that we have in
our medical colleges some young men who labor "in harvest-fields and
school-rooms" in order that they may honorably pay their way, rather
than eat the bread or accept the gratuities of pauperism.

Last March there graduated at the medical department of the University
of Pennsylvania one of these self-supporting young men. He was the son
of a missionary clergyman: the father was poor in pocket, but the son
was not poor in spirit. During the interval between his winter courses
of lectures, rather than be a burden to his father, rather than accept
gratuitous instruction from the school, he went into the coal regions
of Pennsylvania and worked in a coal-mine, as a common miner, to
procure funds to enable him to complete his professional studies;
and, _strange_ as it may seem, this young miner passed an excellent
examination, and received the unanimous vote of the medical faculty
for his degree. I mention this case, but every year there are several
similar; and we always find that the school-teachers and miners are by
no means at the foot of the graduating class.

Concerning clinical teaching, we have the following statement:
"The clinical teaching in an American hospital is comprised in the
following routine: Once or twice a week, from one to five hundred men
being congregated in an amphitheatre, the professor lectures upon a
case brought into the arena, perhaps operates, and when the hour has
expired the class is dismissed. Evidently, under such circumstances
there cannot be the training of the senses, the acquiring of a
knowledge of the hourly play of symptoms of disease and of familiarity
with the proper handling of the sick and wounded, which is of such
vital importance, and which can be the outcome only of daily contact
with patients." What can the writer of this sentence mean? Certainly,
no one knows better than he does that such _is not_ the practice in
the hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, in Bellevue and in
many other large hospitals, where clinics and dispensary services
are held for _several hours daily_ throughout the year, and where the
student has furnished him abundant opportunities four "acquiring a
knowledge of the ... symptoms of disease, ... of handling the sick and
wounded," etc. etc. That the American medical student profits by these
opportunities, and learns his clinic lessons well, is proved by the
unexpected and evidently unintended testimony which occurs toward the
close of the article, where Dr. Wood says, "The great resources of the
medical profession in America were proved during the civil war, when
there was created in a _few months_ a service which for _magnitude_
and _efficiency_ has _rarefy if ever been equaled_. Indeed, military
medicine was raised by it to a point _never reached before_ that time
_in Europe_, and the results achieved have in many points worked a
_revolution in science_." The italics in this quotation are mine, as
they also are in those which follow.

But (says the article under review) "the largest proportion of our
prominent physicians have educated themselves after graduation." As
if this were an extraordinary or unusual circumstance! Certainly,
they have; and so have all prominent men in all professions and all
pursuits of life, in every age and every country, not even excepting
the much-lauded men of Great Britain and the continent of Europe. What
young lawyer is entrusted with an important cause immediately after
admission to the Bar? And as the young doctor (according to the
aforesaid showing) "gains his first practical knowledge while serving
as a hospital resident, under the supervision of experienced men,"
so the young lawyer, _even in Great Britain_, must gain _his_ first
practical knowledge by constant attention at the courts, and by
diligently following the proceedings of his preceptor's and other
offices. Even the young clergyman, whose business it is to save
_souls_, has to do very much as the young doctor does, and, like him,
is often "thrown at once on his own resources, gaining his experience
without supervision, and at the _expense_ of the _poorer classes_,
who _naturally_ fall to his charge, and whose ignorance precludes them
from an even approximately correct estimate of" his fitness. "It is
one of the saddest features of our system that the famed skill of our
best" _(clergymen)_ "should so often be acquired at such a cost."

What can be more unphilosophical and illogical than to compare the
young doctor, or any other young professional man, to a new piece of
machinery, fresh from the manufactory, complete and perfect in all
its parts? And yet something like this is _attempted_ in the article
before us. Even as Minerva sprang from the brain of Jove the complete
and perfect goddess of learning, so would our Utopian writer have
the young doctors to come from the brains of their medical professors
complete and perfect; only, if his idea be correct, their medical
professors have so little brains that the annual graduating medical
classes of the United States would be immediately reduced from
the frightful army of three thousand "legalized murderers" to the
comparatively small and easily counted number of _one graduate_ (of
course, springing from one head). No; the young doctor, at graduation,
cannot be compared to a new, complete and perfect machine fresh from
the manufactory; rather, let him be compared to the young marsupial
creature at birth, extremely rudimentary, whose natural, and hence
fittest, place is the parental pouch, but which in due time becomes
the vigorous and well-developed specimen. I suppose, if I compare
the young doctor to the young marsupial, I should also say that _his_
protecting parental pouch, in which he acquires growth and vigor, is
the hospital where he goes after graduation, or the practice which he
sees under his preceptor's supervision.

The article continues: "The remarks which follow do not apply to
the medical department of Harvard College or to _one or two other
schools_" (the italics are mine); and farther on it continues: "In
other words, Harvard has copied the European plan of medical teaching
in some of its essential features, and as a consequence its medical
diploma is the _only one_ issued by _any prominent medical American_
college which is a _guarantee_ that its possessor has been well
educated in the science and practice of medicine." Where can we
find meekness and modesty like this?--modesty as becoming as it
is unexpected and surprising, seeing that the writer fills _two_
professorships in the University of Pennsylvania, Does he hang his
head so low in his--I was about to say _singular_--self-abasement
(but, considering, the _two_ professorships, I suppose I should say
_doubled_ self-abasement) that he cannot see? or are his eyes so
blinded by the effulgence of "Harvard" and "European" plans that he
fails to recognize and appreciate the immense advantages offered by
his own home institutions? I do not propose to make any invidious
remarks concerning Harvard, but I maintain that an _honest_ and _just_
comparison of the schools, of their requirements, of the character of
their teachings and the facilities they furnish their students, _must_
show that modesty alone prevented Professor "H.C. Wood, Jr., M.D.,"
also excepting from his sweeping denunciations the two great schools
of Philadelphia, though I only speak for and defend the medical
department of the University of Pennsylvania from an attack unjust,
uncalled-for and untrue.


The party opposed to any reforms in medical education has, of course,
a right to be heard, and Dr. Penrose is well entitled to represent it
both by his position and by the evident heartiness with which he is
prepared to defend the existing system at every point. In impugning
the motives of those who have attacked it he lays himself open to an
obvious retort; but it is sufficient to remark that the contest is
not of a nature to call for or justify the use of personalities, which
could serve only to divert attention from the real issues.

The arguments put forward by Dr. Penrose may be summarized as follows:
1st, that the proposed changes are not demanded either by the public
or by the profession; 2d, that the present system is the best possible
in a nation constituted like ours; 3d, that the preparatory education
of our medical students is equal to that of law or divinity students,
or of young men entering upon mercantile or manufacturing pursuits;
4th, that in certain cases obstacles in the way of a regular and
thorough training have been overcome and success achieved in spite of
them; and 5th, that it is unavoidable and proper that medical men, as
well as members of other professions, should educate themselves after

It will be observed that none of these arguments except the last,
which is based on a mere verbal ambiguity, touches the two subjects
discussed in Dr. Wood's article--namely, the _need_ of reform and the
_methods_ by which, if practicable, it is to be effected. Dr. Penrose
does not venture to assert that the existing system is perfect, or
to deny that the suggested changes are in the nature of improvements.
What he wishes us to believe is that the system, whatever its defects,
is as good a one as Americans have a right to demand, and that it is
so closely interwoven with our political and social institutions as to
admit of no separate handling. Similar arguments are frequently urged
against the desire to raise the standard and widen the avenues of the
"higher education." We are thus taught to regard ourselves as a poor
and struggling nation with no claim to the possession of intellectual
luxuries, or as having bound ourselves to forego any aspirations to an
equality with other nations in respect of culture when we secured the
advantages of popular government and its social concomitants. It would
seem, however, to be a sounder, as it is certainly a more gratifying
belief, that precisely because we have attained these advantages
it will be easier for us to appropriate all the benefits which
civilization has to offer--possible for us to make more rapid strides
than have been made by other nations, impeded by a diversity of
interests and conflicts between the government and the people. No
doubt the comparative youthfulness of the nation will account for
our backward condition in certain respects; but surely it is time to
abandon this and every similar plea as an argument against any attempt
at progress.

We have not space, and for the reasons indicated we see no necessity,
to discuss Dr. Penrose's positions in detail. It will be sufficient
to notice generally what seems to us their inherent weakness. His
assertion that no changes are _now_ demanded by the public or the
profession is, he thinks, "clearly proved" by the fact that thirty
years ago some that were introduced in the University of Pennsylvania
at the suggestion of the American Medical Association ended in
failure. But what this experience really proves is, that the defects
of the system were even then admitted, while the remedies are still to
be applied. At Harvard this has been done; and the question for other
medical schools is whether they are to follow the example or to
be deterred by a bugbear--whether, for example, the University of
Pennsylvania, after raising her scientific and art departments to
a higher level, shall be content to let her medical school remain
stationary. It is the opinion of intelligent physicians who are not
parties to this controversy that the experiment which failed in 1846
would succeed now. The new plan adopted at Harvard, which exacts
three years of study, and embraces lectures, recitations, clinical
conferences and written examinations of the most stringent character,
has, we are informed, attracted a class of very superior men. Compared
with the effort made here in 1846, this change may be described as a
revolution, and it has proved a success.

We are at a loss to understand what Dr. Penrose wishes to prove by his
citation of cases in which eminence has been reached--chiefly, it
is to be noticed, in politics or the law--by persons who have
had insufficient opportunities for study. If the disadvantage was
imaginary, where was the merit of overcoming it? If it was real, as
most people would admit, what is the objection to insisting on it as
such? In the great majority of cases it is _not_ overcome, and the
result is, that the country is overstocked with men engaged in the
practice of professions for which they are inadequately qualified. As
to the skill that is gained by practice, the ripe knowledge that may
result from experience, this cannot without a confusion of terms
be described as "education." It will in general be most surely and
rapidly acquired by those who have received the best training, and
the great object of our higher educational institutions should be
to provide such training--not, by maintaining a low standard, to
facilitate the efforts of those who, from whatever cause, would find
it difficult to meet the demands of a higher one. Such persons may
have a claim to encouragement and assistance in their endeavors to
reach the mark; but they have no right to expect that the distance
shall be regulated to suit their convenience.

Dr. Wood's admissions in regard to the excellence of the army medical
service during the war are seized upon with natural exultation by his
opponent, who draws from them a legitimate inference in favor of the
general status of medical skill and knowledge throughout the country.
If Dr. Wood really intended to say--what his language, we confess,
would seem to imply--that the service attained its high state of
efficiency in a few months, we do not well see how he is to resist the
conclusion thus pressed upon him. But we conceive the truth to be that
either his phraseology or his recollection of the facts was at fault.
It is well known that at the beginning of the war it was impossible to
find competent surgeons in anything like the number that was
needed, and that the examining boards were consequently forced to be
ridiculously lenient. We know of an able surgeon who after a battle
found that he had not a single assistant in his corps who could be
trusted to perform an operation. This state of matters was the direct
result of the imperfect education given in the schools. Not one man in
ten who leaves them has ever been practically exercised in operations
on the cadaver, and the proportion was still smaller before the war.
It is easy therefore to understand, while it would be painful to
recall, the circumstances under which the great bulk of our army
surgeons acquired the requisite proficiency. The ultimate success
of our medical service, like the final triumph of our armies, was
preceded by many woeful blunders and mishaps, and, like that, was due
in great measure to a lavish outlay which would scarcely have been
possible in any European war, and to the general devotion and united
efforts which drew out all the resources of the country, of whatever
kind, and directed them to the furtherance of a single aim.


In looking over the contents of the old newspapers of this country, of
which there was a considerable number as early as the year 1730, one
is specially struck by the number of advertisements of slave sales and
of runaway slaves, apprentices and servants. The following are common

"To be sold, a very likely Negro woman about 30 years of Age, has been
in this city about 10. She is a fine Cook, has been brought up to all
sorts of House Work, and speaks very good English. She has had the
small Pox, and has now a Young Child. Enquire further concerning
her and the Conditions of Sale of Mary Kippen, or the Printer
hereof."--_New York Weekly Journal_, May 9, 1735.

"Just arrived from _Great Britain_, and are to be Sold on board the
Ship Alice and Elizabeth, Capt. _Paine_ Commander several likely
_Welch_ and _English_ Servant Men, most of them Tradesmen. Whoever
inclines to purchase any of them may agree with said Commander, or Mr.
_Thomas Noble_, Merchant, at Mr. Hazard's, in New York; where also
is to be Sold several Negro Girls and a Negro Boy, and likewise good
_Cheshire_ Cheese."--_New York Gazette_, Sept. 11, 1732.

Here is a notice from the same paper, date 1735, which shows very
clearly the position of the apprentice one hundred and forty years

"Run away on the 5th. Instant from John Bell of the city of New York
Carpenter, an Apprentice Boy named James Harding, aged about 19 years,
being a tall well-set Lad of a Fresh Complexion, he wears a Wig, he
is spley-footed and shuffles with his feet as he Walks, has a Copper
coloured Kersey Coat with large flat white Mettle Buttons, a grey
Duroy Coat lined with Silk, it is pretty much faded by wearing, a
broad blue striped Waistcoat and Breeches and a pair of blue striped
Tickin Breeches, in warm weather he often bleeds at the nose."
Then follows the offer of forty shillings to any one who will give
information whereby his master, John Bell, can regain possession of
the runaway.

That the women of that time were strong-minded, or at least that they
were disposed to assist in the reformation of bad husbands, is shown
by the following from the same journal, date December 31, 1733. The
subject, or victim, was one William Drinkwater, living near New York,
who had proved quarrelsome with his neighbors and abusive to his wife:
"The good Women of the Place took the Matter into Consideration and
laid hold of an Opportunity, to get him tied to a Cart, and there with
Rods belaboured him on his Back, till, in striveing to get away, he
pulled one of his Arms out of Joint, and then they unti'd him. Mr.
_Drinkwater_ Complained to Sundrie Magistrates of this useage, but all
he got by it was to be Laughed at; Whereupon he removed to New Milford
where we hear he proves a good Neighhour and a loving Husband. _A
Remarkable Reformation ariseing from the Justice of the good Women._"

Another advertisement indicates a toilet article now out of fashion:

"To be Sold by _Peter Lynch_, near Mr. _Rutgers_ Brewhouse, very good
Orange Butter, it is excellent for Gentlewomen to comb up their Hair
with, it also cures Children's sore Heads."

The next sounds quite as odd:

"_James Munden_ Partner with _Thomas Butwell_ from London, Maketh
Gentlewomens Stays and Childrens Coats in the Newest Fashion, that
Crooked Women and Children will appear strait," Same paper, date
February, 1735.

It is a curious fact that the deaths at that time, both in the New
York and New England papers, were announced not by the names of the
deceased, but by the churches to which they belonged. For example:
"Buried in the city last week, _viz._, Church of England 26, Dutch 24,
Lutheran 2, French 1, Presbyterians 3. The number of Blacks we
refer till Next Week."--_New England Weekly Journal_, Nov. 1, 1731.
Sometimes the number is recorded as four or five, or even less:
therefore the record must be very imperfect, and there seems to have
been no notice taken of those who were not buried from any church.



Dante and his Circle; with the Italian Poets preceding him.
Edited and translated in the original Metres by Dante Gabriel
Rossetti. Revised and rearranged edition, Boston: Roberts

Dante is so great a figure in Italian literature that he hides from
sight the host of minor poets who preceded him, and throws his own
contemporaries so into the shade that we are apt to think that Italian
poetry began with him, and that its second exponent is Petrarch. Such
a view is to be regretted, not only because it overlooks much that
is in itself valuable, but because it attributes to a period of
slow development a phenomenal character. There were many poets worth
listening to before the great Florentine wrote the _New Life_ or the
_Divine Comedy_, and many whom he listened to and praised, although
his prophetic foresight told him that he would one day bear their
glory from them.

It was to make us acquainted with these forgotten singers that Mr.
Rossetti wrote some years ago his charming book. _The Early Italian
Poets_, which, after being long out of print, he now presents to us in
a revised and rearranged edition. The author's wish is not merely to
give us a glimpse of the quaint conceits of a school that continued in
Italy the waning influence of the Troubadours, but to open to us the
intimate social life of the literary men of that period as reflected
in their vague Platonic rhapsodies, their friendly letters, their
jests and quarrels, their joy and sadness. Interwoven with all this
are stately _canzoni_, and dainty sonnets full of quaint conceits,
like that wherein Jacopo da Lentino (1250) sings _Of his Lady in

I have it in my heart to serve God so
That into Paradise I shall repair--
The holy place through the which everywhere
I have heard say that joy and solace flow.
Without my lady I were loath to go--
She who has the bright face and the bright hair--
Because if she were absent, I being there,
My pleasure would be less than naught, I know.
Look you, I say not this to such intent
As that I there would deal in any sin:
I only would behold her gracious mien,
And beautiful soft eyes, and lovely face,
That so it should be my complete content
To see my lady joyful in her place.

We seem, in turning over these pages, to see the brilliant,
ever-changing current of Italian thirteenth and fourteenth century
life--from Palermo, where Frederick II. held an almost Oriental
court, to the communes of Central Italy, the best type of which is
the merchant-city of the Arno, whose sons in those days could fight as
well as wield the yardstick, and sing in strains that have rarely
been equaled. In the first division of the work the great poet and his
friends are brought vividly before us from the time when, a sensitive
child, his eyes first beheld Beatrice and his new life began, to the
painful hours of bereavement and exile. The poet, it is known, made
a curious sonnet out of a dream he had after his first meeting with
Beatrice, and, in accordance with the fashion of the day, sent it to
various well-known poets, asking them to interpret his vision. The
answers are all given here; and among those whose attention was thus
attracted to the precocious youth was one whom he calls his "first
friend," Guido Cavalcanti--after Dante one of the most interesting
literary personages of the day. Rash and chivalrous, we can follow him
in his poems from the time he made his pilgrimage to the shrine of St.
James, and fell in love on the way with Mandetta of Toulouse, to the

Book of the day: