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Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, April, 1876. by Various

Part 4 out of 5

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Only Leam began to look pitifully mournful and desolate, and to shrink
back into a solitude which Edgar never invaded, and whence even Alick
was banished; and Edgar was irritable, unpleasant, moody, would
take no interest in the approaching marriage, and, save that his
settlements on Josephine were liberal, seemed to hold himself
personally aggrieved by her choice, and conducted himself altogether
as if he had been injured somehow thereby, and his wishes disregarded.

He was very disagreeable, and caused Joseph many bitter hours, till
at last he took a sudden resolution, and to the relief of every one
at the Hill went off to London, promising to be back in time for
"that little fool's wedding with her sentimental muff," as he
disrespectfully called his sister and Sebastian Dundas, but giving no
reason why he went, and taking leave of no one--not even of Adelaide,
nor yet of Leam.



In he city of Whampo'
Live Joss-pidgin-man[2] name Coe:
Mister Coe he missionaly,[3]
Catchee one cow-chilo,[4] Maly.

Father-man he leadee[5] book,
Maly talkee with the cook:
Good olo[6] father talkee Josh,[7]
But China-woman talkee bosh.

Bym'by Maly gettee so
She only Pidgin-English know,[8]
And father-man he solly[9] see
She thinkee leason[10] like Chinee.

One day some flin[11] flom[12] Boston come
And askee, "Mister Coe at home?"
He servant go to opee door,
But Maly lun[13] chop-chop[14] before.

An' stlanger[15] say when in he come,
"Is Mister Coe, my dear, at home?"
And Maly answer velly tlue,
"My thinkee this tim no can do."[16]

He olo father, still as mouse,
Chin-chin Joss topsidey house:[17]
Allo tim he make Joss-pidgin,[18]
What you Fan-kwai[19] callee 'ligion.

He gentleum much stare galow[20]
To hearee girley talkee so;
And say, "Dear child, may I inquire
Which form of faith you most admire?"

And Maly answer he request:
"My like Chinee Joss-pidgin best:
My love Kwan-wan[21] with chilo neat,
And Joss-stick[22] smellee velly sweet."

"Afong, our olo cook down stairs,
Make teachee Maly Chinee players:[23]
Say, if my chin-chin Fo[24]--oh joy!--
Nex time my born, my bornee boy!"[25]

"An' then my gettee nicey-new
A ittle dacket[26]--towsers too--And
And lun about with allo[27] boys,
In bu'ful boots that makee noise."

Tear come in he gentleum eyes,
And then he anger 'gin to lise:[28]
He wailo[29] scoldee Mister Coe
For 'glectin' little Maly so.

An' Mister Coe feel velly sore,
So go an' scoldy comprador;
An' comprador, with hollor[30] shook,
Lun[31] downy stairs and beatee cook.

And worsey allo-allo pain,
Maly go Boston homo 'gain:
No filee-clackers[32] any more,
Nor talk with cook and comprador.


If Boston girley be let go,
She sartin sure to b'lieve in Fo,
And the next piecee of her plan
Is to lun lound[33] and act like man.

So, little chilos,[34] mind you look,
And nevee talkee with the cook:
You make so-fashion, first you know
You catchee sclape,[35] like Maly Coe.


[Footnote 1: "The Ballad of Mary Coe."]

[Footnote 2: _Joss-pidgin-man_, clergyman.]

[Footnote 3: Missionary.]

[Footnote 4: Had a female child.]

[Footnote 5: _Leadee_ or _leedee_, read.]

[Footnote 6: _Olo_, old.]

[Footnote 7: _Talkee Josh_ (or Joss), converses on religion.]

[Footnote 8: _Pidgin-English_, the patois spoken in China,
meaning business-English, _pigeon_ being the ordinary Chinese
pronunciation of English.]

[Footnote 9: _Solly_, sorry.]

[Footnote 10: _Leason_, reason.]

[Footnote 11: _Flin_, friend.]

[Footnote 12: _Flom_, from.]

[Footnote 13: _Lun_, run.]

[Footnote 14: _Chop-chop_, fast.]

[Footnote 15: _Stlanger_, stranger.]

[Footnote 16: "I think it can't be done"--i.e., "You cannot see him."]

[Footnote 17: _Chin-chin Joss top-sidey house_, he is praying up

[Footnote 18: Devotion.]

[Footnote 19: _Fan-kwai_, foreigner; lit. "foreign devil."]

[Footnote 20: _Galow, galaw_ or _gala_, a meaningless word, but much

[Footnote 21: _Kwan-wan_, a Chinese female divinity represented with a
babe in her arms.]

[Footnote 22: _Joss-stick_, a stick composed of fragrant gum, etc.,
burnt as incense.]

[Footnote 23: Prayers.]

[Footnote 24: _Chin-chin Fo_, worship Buddha.]

[Footnote 25: Chinese women believe that by frequent repetition of
a prayer to Fo they can secure the privilege of being born again as

[Footnote 26: _Dacket_, jacket.]

[Footnote 27: _Allo_, all.]

[Footnote 28: _Lise_, rise.]

[Footnote 29: _Wailo_, run, go.]

[Footnote 30: Horror.]

[Footnote 31: Run.]

[Footnote 32: Fire-crackers.]

[Footnote 33: Run round.]

[Footnote 34: Children.]

[Footnote 35: Scrape.]



MARITZBURG. November, 1875.

The weather at the beginning of this month was lovely and the climate
perfection, but now (I am writing on its last day) it is getting very
hot and trying. If ever people might stand excused for talking about
the weather when they meet, it is we Natalians, for, especially at
this time of year, it varies from hour to hour. All along the coast
one hears of terrible buffeting and knocking about among the shipping
in the open roadsteads which have to do duty for harbors in these
parts; and it was only a few days ago that the lifeboat, with the
English mail on board, capsized in crossing the bar at D'Urban. The
telegram was--as telegrams always are--terrifying in its vagueness,
and spoke of the mail-bags as "floating about." When one remembers the
vast size of the breakers on which this floating would take place, it
sounded hopeless for our letters. They turned up, however, a few days
later--in a pulpy state, it is true, but quite readable, though
the envelopes were curiously blended and engrafted upon the letters
inside--so much so that they required to be taken together, for it
was impossible to separate them. I had recourse to the expedient
of spreading my letters on a dry towel and draining them before
attempting to dissever the leaves. Still, we were all only too
thankful to get our correspondence in any shape or form, for precious
beyond the power of words to express are home-letters to us, so far
away from home.

But to return to our weather. At first it was simply perfect. Bright
hot days--not too hot, for a light breeze tempered even the midday
heat--and crisp, bracing nights succeeded each other during the first
fortnight. The country looked exquisitely green in its luxuriant
spring tints over hill and dale, and the rich red clay soil made a
splendid contrast on road and track with the brilliant green on either
hand. Still, people looked anxiously for more rain, declaring that not
half enough had fallen to fill tanks or "shuits" (as the ditches are
called), and it took four days of continuous downpour to satisfy these
thirsty souls even for the moment. Toward the middle of the month the
atmosphere became more oppressive and clouds began to come up in thick
masses all round the horizon, and gradually spread themselves over the
whole sky. The day before the heaviest rain, though not particularly
oppressive, was remarkable for the way in which all manner of animals
tried to get under shelter at nightfall. The verandah was full of big
frogs: if a door remained open for a moment they hopped in, and then
cried like trapped birds when they found themselves in a corner. As
for the winged creatures, it was something wonderful the numbers in
which they flew in at the windows wherever a light attracted them.
I was busy writing English letters that evening: I declare the
cockroaches fairly drove me away from the table by the mad way in
which they flung themselves into my ink-bottle, whilst the smell of
singed moths at the other lamp was quite overpowering. Well, after
this came rain indeed--not rain according to English ideas, but a
tropical deluge, as many inches falling in a few hours as would fill
your rain-gauges for months. I believe my conduct was very absurd that
first rainy night. The little house had just been newly papered, and
as the ceiling was not one to inspire confidence, consisting as it did
merely of boards roughly joined together and painted white, through
which and through the tiles beyond the sky could be seen quite
plainly, I suffered the gravest doubts about the water getting in and
spoiling my pretty new paper. Accordingly, whenever any burst of rain
came heavier than its immediate predecessor, I jumped out of bed in a
perfect agony of mind, and roamed, candle in hand, all over the
house to see if I could not detect a leak anywhere. But the
unpromising-looking roof and ceiling stood the test bravely, and not a
drop of all that descending downpour found its way to my new walls.

By the way, I must describe the house to you, remarking, first of all,
that architecture, so far as my observation extends, is at its lowest
ebb in South Africa. I have not seen a single pretty building of any
sort or kind since I arrived, although in these small houses it would
be so easy to break by gable and porch the severe simplicity of the
unvarying straight line in which they are built. Whitewashed outer
walls with a zinc roof are not uncommon, and they make a bald and
hideous combination until kindly, luxuriant Nature has had time to
step in and cover up man's ugly handiwork with her festoons of roses
and passion-flowers. Most of the houses have, fortunately, red-tiled
roofs, which are not so ugly, and mine is among the number. It is so
squat and square, however, that, as our landlord happens to be
the chief baker of Maritzburg, it has been proposed to christen it
"Cottage Loaf," but this idea requires consideration on account of the
baker's feelings. In the mean time, it is known briefly as "Smith's,"
that being the landlord's name. It has, as all the houses here have, a
broad projecting roof extending over a wide verandah. Within are four
small rooms, two on either side of a narrow passage which runs from
one end to the other. By a happy afterthought, a kitchen has been
added beyond this extremely simple ground-plan, and on the
opposite side a corresponding projection which closely resembles a
packing-case, and which has been painted a bright blue inside and out.
This is the dining-room, and evidently requires to be severely handled
before its present crude and glaring tints can be at all toned down.
At a little distance stands the stable, saddle-room, etc., and a good
bedroom for English servants, and beyond that, again, among large
clumps of rose-bushes, a native hut. It came up here half built--that
is, the frame was partly put together elsewhere--and it resembled a
huge crinoline more than anything else in its original state. Since
that, however, it has been made more secure by extra pales of bamboo,
each tied in its place with infinite trouble and patience by a knot
every inch or two. The final stage consisted of careful thatching
with thick bundles of grass laid on the framework, and secured by
long ropes of grass binding the whole together. The door is the very
smallest opening imaginable, and inside it is of course pitch dark.
All this labor was performed by stalwart Kafir women, one of whom, a
fearfully repulsive female, informed my cook that she had just been
bought back by her original husband. Stress of circumstances had
obliged him to sell her, and she had been bought by three other
husband-masters since then, but was now resold, a bargain, to her
first owner, whom, she declared, she preferred to any of the others.
But few as are these rooms, they yet are watertight--which is a great
point out here--and the house, being built of large, awkward blocks
of stone, is cool and shady. When I have arranged things a little, it
will be quite comfortable and pretty; and I defy any one to wish for a
more exquisite view than can be seen from any corner of the verandah.
We are on the brow of a hill which slopes gently down to the hollow
wherein nestles the picturesque little town, or rather village, of
Maritzburg. The intervening distance of a mile or so conceals the
real ugliness and monotony of its straight streets, and hides all
architectural shortcomings. The clock-tower, for instance, is quite a
feature in the landscape, and from here one cannot perceive that the
clock does not go. Nothing can be prettier than the effect of the
red-tiled roofs and white walls peeping out from among thick clumps
of trees, whilst beyond the ground rises again to low hills with deep
purple fissures and clefts in their green sides. It is only a couple
of years since this little house was built and the garden laid out,
and yet the shrubs and trees are as big as if half a dozen years had
passed over their leafy heads. As for the roses, I never saw anything
like the way they flourish at their own sweet will. Scarcely a leaf is
to be seen on the ugly straggling tree--nothing but masses of roses of
every tint and kind and old-fashioned variety. The utmost I can do
in the way of gathering daily basketsful appears only in the light of
judicious pruning, and next day a dozen blossoms have burst forth to
supply the place of each theft of mine. And there is such a variety
of trees! Oaks and bamboos, blue gums and deodars, seem to flourish
equally well within a yard or two of each other, and the more distant
flower-beds are filled with an odd mixture of dahlias and daturas,
white fleur-de-lis and bushy geraniums, scarlet euphorbias and
verbenas. But the weeds! They are a chronic eyesore and grief to every
gardener. On path and grass-plat, flower-bed and border, they flaunt
and flourish. "Jack," the Zulu refugee, wages a feeble and totally
inadequate warfare against them with a crooked hoe, but he is only a
quarter in earnest, and stops to groan and take snuff so often that
the result is that our garden is precisely in the condition of the
garden of the sluggard, gate and all. This hingeless condition of the
gate, however, is, I must in fairness state, neither Jack's nor our
fault. It is a new gate, but no one will come out from the town to
hang it. That is my standing grievance. Because we live about a mile
from the town it is next to impossible to get anything done. The town
itself is one of the shabbiest assemblages of dwellings I have
ever seen in a colony. It is not to be named on the same day with
Christchurch, the capital of Canterbury, New Zealand, which ten years
ago was decently paved and well lighted by gas. Poor sleepy Maritzburg
consists now, at more than forty years of age (Christchurch is not
twenty-five yet), of a few straight, wide, grass-grown streets, which
are only picturesque at a little distance on account of their having
trees on each side. On particularly dark nights a dozen oil-lamps
standing at long intervals apart are lighted, but when it is even
moderately starlight these aids to finding one's way about are
prudently dispensed with. There is not a single handsome and hardly a
decent building in the whole place. The streets, as I saw them after
rain, are veritable sloughs of despond, but they are capable of being
changed by dry weather into deserts of dust. It is true, I have only
been as yet twice down to the town, but on both visits it reminded me
more of the sleepy villages in Washington Irving's stories than of a
smart, modern, go-ahead colonial "city." There are some fairly good
shops, but they make no show outside, and within the prices of most of
the articles sold are nearly double the same things would bring either
at Melbourne or at Christchurch. As D'Urban is barely a month away
from London in point of communication, and New Zealand (when I knew
it) nearly treble the distance and time, this is a great puzzle to me.

A certain air of quaint interest and life is given to the otherwise
desolate streets by the groups of Kafirs and the teams of wagons which
bring fuel and forage into the town every day. Twenty bullocks drag
these ponderous contrivances--bullocks so lean that one wonders how
they have strength to carry their wide-spreading horns aloft; bullocks
of a stupidity and obstinacy unparalleled in the natural history of
horned beasts. At their head walks a Kafir lad called a "forelooper,"
who tugs at a rope fastened to the horns of the leading oxen, and in
moments of general confusion invariably seems to pull the wrong string
and get the whole team into an inextricable tangle of horns and yokes.
Sometimes of a quiet Sunday morning these teams and wagons I see
"out-spanned" on the green slopes around Maritzburg, making a
picturesque addition to the sylvan scenery. Near each wagon a light
wreath of smoke steals up into the summer air, marking where some
preparation of "mealies" is on foot, and the groups of grazing
oxen--"spans," as each team is called--give the animation of animal
life which I miss so sadly at every turn in this part of the world.

In Maritzburg itself I only noticed two buildings which made the least
effect. One is the government house, standing in a nice garden and
boasting of a rather pretty porch, but otherwise reminding one--except
for the sentinel on duty--of a quiet country rectory: the other is a
small block comprising the public offices. The original idea of this
square building must have come from a model dairy. But the crowning
absurdity of the place is the office of the colonial secretary,
which stands nearly opposite. I am told that inside it is tolerably
comfortable, being the remains of an old Dutch building: outside, it
can only be compared to a dilapidated barn on a bankrupt farm,
and when it was first pointed out to me I had great difficulty,
remembering similar buildings in other colonies, in believing it was a
public office.

The native police look very smart and shiny in their white suits, and
must be objects of envy to their black brethren on account of their
"knobkerries," the knobbed sticks which they alone are permitted to
carry officially in their hands. The native loves a stick, and as he
is forbidden to carry either an assegai--which is a very formidable
weapon indeed--or even a knobkerry, only one degree less dangerous,
he consoles himself with a wand or switch in case of coming across
a snake. You never see a Kafir without something of the sort in his
hand: if he is not twirling a light stick, then he has a sort of rude
reed pipe from which he extracts sharp and tuneless sounds. As a race,
the Kafirs make the effect of possessing a fine _physique_: they walk
with an erect bearing and a light step, but in true leisurely savage
fashion. I have seen the black race in four different quarters of the
globe, and I never saw one single individual move quickly of his
own free will. We must bear in mind, however, that it is a new and
altogether revolutionary idea to a Kafir that he should do any work at
all. Work is for women--war or idleness for men; consequently, their
fixed idea is to do as little as they can; and no Kafir will work
after he has earned money enough to buy a sufficient number of wives
who will work for him. "Charlie," our groom--who is, by the way, a
very fine gentleman and speaks "Ingeliss" after a strange fashion
of his own--only condescends to work until he can purchase a wife.
Unfortunately, the damsel whom he prefers is a costly article, and her
parents demand a cow, a kettle and a native hut as the price of her
hand--or hands, rather--so Charlie grunts and groans through about
as much daily work as an English boy of twelve years old could manage
easily. He is a very amusing character, being exceedingly proud,
and will only obey his own master, whom he calls his great inkosi
or chief. He is always lamenting the advent of the inkosi-casa, or
chieftainess, and the piccaninnies and their following, especially the
"vaiter," whom he detests. In his way, Charlie is a wag, and it is as
good as a play to see his pretence of stupidity when the "vaiter"
or French butler desires him to go and eat "sa paniche." Charlie
understands perfectly that he is told to go and get his breakfast of
mealy porridge, but he won't admit that it is to be called "paniche,"
preferring his own word "scoff;" so he shakes his head violently and
says, "Nay, nay, paniche." Then, with many nods, "Scoff, ja;" and
so in this strange gibberish of three languages he and the Frenchman
carry on quite a pretty quarrel. Charlie also "mocks himself" of the
other servants, I am informed, and asserts that he is the "indema"
or headman. He freely boxes the ears of Jack, the Zulu refugee--poor
Jack, who fled from his own country, next door, the other day, and
arrived here clad in only a short flap made of three bucks' tails.
That is only a month ago, and "Jack" is already quite a _petit maitre_
about his clothes. He ordinarily wears a suit of knickerbockers and
a shirt of blue check bound with red, and a string of beads round his
neck, but he cries like a baby if he tears his clothes, or still worse
if the color of the red braid washes out. At first he hated civilized
garments, even when they were only two in number, and begged to be
allowed to assume a sack with holes for the arms, which is the Kafir
compromise when near a town between clothes and flaps made of the
tails of wild beasts or strips of hide. But he soon came to delight in
them, and is now always begging for "something to wear."

I confess I am sorry for Jack. He is the kitchen-boy, and is learning
with much pains and difficulty the _wrong language_. My cook is
also French, and, naturally, all that Jack learns is French, and
not English. Imagine poor Jack's dismay when, after his three years'
apprenticeship to us is ended, he seeks perhaps to better himself,
and finds that no one except madame can understand him! Most of
their dialogues are carried on by pantomime and the incessant use,
in differing tones of voice, of the word "Ja." Jack is a big,
loutish young man, but very ugly and feeble, and apparently under the
impression that he is perpetually "wanted" to answer for the little
indiscretion, whatever it was, on account of which he was forced to
flee over the border. He is timid and scared to the last degree, and
abjectly anxious to please if it does not entail too much exertion.
He is, as it were, apprenticed to us for three years. We are bound to
feed and clothe and doctor him, and he is to work for us, in his own
lazy fashion, for small wages. The first time Jack broke a plate his
terror and despair were quite edifying to behold. Madame called him
a "maladroit" on the spot. Jack learned this word, and after his work
was over seated himself gravely on the ground with the fragments of
the plate, which he tried to join together, but gave up the attempt at
last, announcing in his own tongue that it was "dead." After a little
consideration he said slowly, several times, "Maldraw, ja," and hit
himself a good thump at each "ja." _Now_, I grieve to say, Jack
breaks plates, dishes and cups with a perfectly easy and unembarrassed
conscience, and is already far too civilized to care in the least for
his misfortunes in that line. Whenever a fowl is killed--and I came
upon Jack slowly putting one to death the other day with a pair of
nail-scissors--he possesses himself of a small store of feathers,
which he wears tastefully placed over his left ear. A gay ribbon, worn
like a bandeau across the forehead, is what he really loves. Jack
is very proud of a tawdry ribbon of many colors with a golden ground
which I found for him the other day, only he never can make up his
mind where to wear it; and I often come upon him sitting in the shade
with the ribbon in his hands, gravely considering the question.

The Pickle and plague of the establishment, however, is the boy Tom,
a grinning young savage fresh from his kraal, up to any amount
of mischief, who in an evil hour has been engaged as the baby's
body-servant. I cannot trust him with the child out of my sight for a
moment, for he "snuffs" enormously, and smokes coarse tobacco out of
a cow's horn, and is anxious to teach the baby both these
accomplishments. Tom wears his snuff-box--which is a brass cylinder
a couple of inches long--in either ear impartially, there being huge
slits in the cartilage for the purpose, and the baby never rests till
he gets possession of it and sneezes himself nearly into fits. Tom
likes nursing Baby immensely, and croons to him in a strange buzzing
way which lulls him to sleep invariably. He is very anxious, however,
to acquire some words of English, and I was much startled the other
day to hear in the verandah my own voice saying, "What is it, dear?"
over and over again. This phrase proceeded from Tom, who kept on
repeating it, parrot-fashion--an exact imitation, but with no idea of
its meaning. I had heard the baby whimpering a little time before, and
Tom had remarked that these four words produced the happiest effect in
restoring good-humor; so he learned them, accent and all, on the spot,
and used them as a spell or charm on the next opportunity. I think
even the poor baby was puzzled. But one cannot feel sure of what
Tom will do next. A few evenings ago I trusted him to wheel the
perambulator about the garden-paths, but, becoming anxious in a very
few minutes to know what he was about, I went to look for him. I found
him grinning in high glee, watching the baby's efforts at cutting his
teeth on a live young bird. Master Tom had spied a nest, climbed the
tree, and brought down the poor little bird, which he presented to
the child, who instantly put it into his mouth. When I arrived on the
scene Baby's mouth was full of feathers, over which he was making a
very disgusted face, and the unhappy bird was nearly dead of fright
and squeezing, whilst Tom was in such convulsions of laughter that
I nearly boxed his ears. He showed me by signs how Baby insisted on
sucking the bird's head, and conveyed his intense amusement at the
idea. I made Master Tom climb the tree instantly and put the poor
little half-dead creature back into its nest, and sent for Charlie to
explain to him he should have no sugar--the only punishment Tom cares
about--for two days. I often think, however, that I must try and
find another penalty, for when Tom's allowance of sugar is stopped he
"requisitions" that of every one else, and so gets rather more
than usual. He is immensely proud of the brass chin-strap of an old
artillery bushy which has been given to him. He used to wear it across
his forehead in the favorite Kafir fashion, but as the baby always
made it his first business to pull this shining strap down over Tom's
eyes, and eventually over Tom's mouth, it has been transferred to his

These Kafir-lads make excellent nurse-boys generally, and English
children are very fond of them. Nurse-girls are rare, as the Kafir
women begin their lives of toil so early that they are never very
handy or gentle in a house, and boys are easier to train as servants.
I heard to-day, however, of an excellent Kafir nurse-maid who was
the daughter of a chief, and whose only drawback was the size of
her family. She was actually and truly one of _eighty_ brothers and
sisters, her father being a rich man with twenty-five wives. That
simply means that he had twenty-five devoted slaves, who worked
morning, noon and night for him in field and mealy-patch without
wages. Jack the Zulu wanted to be nurse-boy dreadfully, and used to
follow Nurse about with a towel rolled up into a bundle, and another
towel arranged as drapery, dandling an imaginary baby on his arm,
saying plaintively, "Piccaninny, piccaninny!" This Nurse translated
to mean that he was an experienced nurse-boy, and had taken care of a
baby in his own country, but as I had no confidence in maladroit Jack,
who chanced to be very deaf besides, he was ruthlessly relegated to
his pots and pans.

It is very curious to see the cast-off clothes of all the armies of
Europe finding their way hither. The natives of South Africa prefer an
old uniform coat or tunic to any other covering, and the effect of a
short scarlet garment when worn with bare legs is irresistibly droll.
The apparently inexhaustible supply of old-fashioned English coatees
with their worsted epaulettes is just coming to an end, and being
succeeded by ragged red tunics, franc-tireurs' brownish-green jackets
and much-worn Prussian gray coats. Kafir-Land may be looked upon as
the old-clothes shop of all the fighting world, for sooner or later
every cast-off scrap of soldier's clothing drifts toward it. Charlie
prides himself much upon the possession of an old gray great-coat, so
patched and faded that it may well have been one of those which toiled
up the slopes of Inkerman that rainy Sunday morning twenty years ago;
whilst scampish Tom got well chaffed the other day for suddenly making
his appearance clad in a stained red tunic with buff collar and cuffs,
and the number of the old "dirty Half-hundred" in tarnished metal on
the shoulder-scales. "Sir Garnet," cried Charlie the witty,
whilst Jack affected to prostrate himself before the grinning imp,
exclaiming, "O great inkosi!"

Charlie is angry with me just now, and looks most reproachfully my way
on all occasions. The cause is that he was sweeping away sundry huge
spiders' webs from the roof of the verandah (the work of a single
night) when I heard him coughing frightfully. I gave him some
lozenges, saying, "Do your cough good, Charlie." Charlie received them
in both hands held like a cup, the highest form of Kafir gratitude,
and gulped them all down on the spot. Next day I heard the same
dreadful cough, and told F---- to give him some more lozenges. But
Charlie would have none of them, alleging he "eats plenty to-morrow's
yesterday, and dey no good at all;" and he evidently despises me and
my remedies.

If only there were no hot winds! But the constant changes are so
trying and so sudden. Sometimes we have a hot, scorching gale all day,
drying and parching one's very skin up, and shriveling one's lovely
roses like the blast from a furnace: then in the afternoon a dark
cloud sails suddenly up from behind the hills to the west. It is over
the house before one knows it is coming: a loud clap of thunder shakes
the very ground beneath one's feet, others follow rapidly, and a
thunderstorm bewilders one for some ten minutes or so. A few drops of
cold rain fall to the sound of the distant thunder, now rolling away
eastward, which yet "struggles and howls at fits." It is not always
distant, but we have not yet seen a real thunderstorm; only a few of
these short, sudden electrical disturbances, which come and go
more like explosions than anything else. A few days ago there was a
duststorm which had a very curious effect as we looked down upon it
from this hill. All along the roads one could watch the dust being
caught up, as it were, and whirled along in dense clouds, whilst the
poor little town itself was absolutely blotted out by the blinding
masses of fine powder. For half an hour or so we could afford to
watch and smile at our neighbors' plight, but soon we had to flee
for shelter ourselves within the house, for a furious hot gale drove
heavily up behind the dust and nearly blew us away altogether. Still,
there was no thunderstorm, though we quite wished for one to cool
the air and refresh the parched and burnt-up grass and flowers. Such
afternoons are generally pretty sure to be succeeded by a cold night,
and perhaps a cold, damp morning; and one can already understand
that these alternations during the summer months are apt to produce
dysentery among young children. I hear just now of a good many such
cases among babies.

I have been so exceedingly busy this month packing, arranging and
settling that there has been but little time for going about and
seeing the rather pretty environs of Maritzburg; besides which, the
weather is dead against excursions, changing as it does to rain or
threatening thunderstorms nearly every afternoon. One evening we
ventured out for a walk in spite of growlings and spittings up above
among the crass-looking clouds. Natal is not a nice country, for women
at all events, to walk in. You have to keep religiously to the road
or track, for woe betide the rash person who ventures on the grass,
though from repeated burnings all about these hills it is quite short.
There is a risk of your treading on a snake, and a certainty of your
treading on a frog. You will soon find your legs covered with small
and pertinacious ticks, who have apparently taken a "header" into your
flesh and made up their minds to die sooner than let go. They must
be the bull-dogs of the insect tribe, these ticks, for a sharp needle
will scarcely dislodge them. At the last extremity of extraction
they only burrow their heads deeper into the skin, and will lose this
important part of their tiny bodies sooner than yield to the gentlest
leverage. Then there are myriads of burs which cling to you in green
and brown scales of roughness, and fringe your petticoats with their
sticky little lumps. As for the poor petticoats themselves, however
short you may kilt them, you bring them back from a walk deeply
flounced with the red clay of the roads; and as the people who wash do
not seem to consider this a disadvantage, and take but little pains to
remove the earth-stains, one's garments gradually acquire, even when
clean, a uniform bordering of dingy red. All the water at this time
of year is red too, as the rivers are stirred up by the heavy summer
rains, and resemble angry muddy ditches more than fresh-water streams.
I miss at every turn the abundance of clear, clean, sparkling water
in the creeks and rivers of my dear New Zealand, and it is only after
heavy rain, when every bath and large vessel has been turned into a
receptacle during the downpour, that one can compass the luxury of
an inviting-looking bath or glass of drinking-water. Of course this
turbid water renders it pretty difficult to get one's clothes properly
washed, and the substitute for a mangle is an active Kafir, who makes
the roughly-dried clothes up into a neat parcel, places them on a
stone and dances up and down upon them for as long or short a time as
he pleases. Fuel is so enormously dear that the cost of having clothes
ironed is something astounding, and altogether washing is one of
the many costly items of Natalian housekeeping. When I remember the
frantic state of indignation and alarm we were all in in England three
years ago when coals rose to L2 10s. a ton, and think how cheap I
should consider that price for fuel here, I can't help a melancholy
smile. Nine solid sovereigns purchase you a tolerable-sized load of
wood, about equal for cooking purposes to a ton of coal; but whereas
the coal is at all events some comfort and convenience to use, the
wood is only a source of additional trouble and expense. It has to be
cut up and dried, and finally coaxed and cajoled by incessant use of
the bellows into burning. Besides the price of fuel, provisions of all
sorts seem to me to be dear and bad. Milk is sold by the quart bottle:
it is now fourpence per bottle, but rises to sixpence during the
winter. Meat is eightpence a pound, but it is so thin and bony, and
of such indifferent quality, that there is very little saving in that
respect. I have not tasted any really good butter since we arrived,
and we pay two shillings a pound for cheesy, rancid stuff. I hear that
"mealies," the crushed maize, are also very dear, and so is forage for
the horses. Instead of the horses being left out on the run night and
day, summer and winter, as they used to be in New Zealand, with an
occasional feed of oats for a treat, they need to be carefully housed
at night and well fed with oaten straw and mealies to give them a
chance against the mysterious and fatal "horse-sickness," which
kills them in a few hours. Altogether, so far as my very limited
experience--of only a few weeks, remember--goes, I should say that
Natal was an expensive place to live in, owing to the scarcity and
dearness of the necessaries of life. I am told that far up in the
country food and fuel are cheap and good, and that it is the dearness
and difficulty of transport which forces Maritzburg to depend for
its supplies entirely on what is grown in its own immediate vicinity,
where there is not very much land under cultivation; so we must look
to the coming railway to remedy all that.

If only one could eat flowers, or if wheat and other cereals grew as
freely and luxuriously as flowers grow, how nice it would be! On the
open grassy downs about here the blossoms are lovely--beautiful lilies
in scarlet and white clusters, several sorts of periwinkles, heaths,
cinnerarias, both purple and white, and golden bushes of citisus or
Cape broom, load the air with fragrance. By the side of every "spruit"
or brook one sees clumps of tall arum lilies filling every little
water-washed hollow in the brook, and the ferns which make each ditch
and water-course green and plumy have a separate shady beauty of their
own. This is all in Nature's own free, open garden, and when the least
cultivation or care is added to her bounteous luxuriance a magnificent
garden for fruit, vegetables and flowers is the result; always
supposing you are fortunate enough to be able to induce these lazy
Kafirs to dig the ground for you.

About a fortnight ago I braved the dirt and disagreeables of a
cross-country walk in showery weather--for we have not been able to
meet with a horse to suit us yet--and went to see a beautiful garden
a couple of miles away. It was approached by a long double avenue of
blue gum trees, planted only nine years ago, but tall and stately as
though a century had passed over their lofty, pointed heads, and with
a broad red clay road running between the parallel lines of trees. The
ordinary practice of clearing away the grass as much as possible round
a house strikes an English eye as bare and odd, but when one hears
that it is done to avoid snakes, it becomes a necessary and harmonious
adjunct to the rest of the scene. In this instance I found these
broad smooth walks, with their deep rich red color, a very
beautiful contrast to the glow of brilliant blossoms in the enormous
flower-beds. For this garden was not at all like an ordinary garden,
still less like a prim English parterre. The beds were as large as
small fields, slightly raised and bordered by a thick line of violets.
Large shrubs of beautiful semitropical plants made tangled heaps of
purple, scarlet and white blossoms on every side; the large creamy
bells of the datura drooped toward the reddish earth; thorny shrubs of
that odd bluish-green peculiar to Australian foliage grew side by side
with the sombre-leaved myrtle. Every plant grew in the most liberal
fashion; green things which we are accustomed to see in England in
small pots shoot up here to the height of laurel bushes; a screen of
scarlet euphorbia made a brilliant line against a background formed by
a hedge of shell-like cluster-roses, and each pillar of the verandah
of the little house had its own magnificent creeper. Up one standard
an ipomea twined closely; another pillar was hidden by the luxuriance
of a trumpet-honeysuckle; whilst a third was thickly covered by an
immense passion-flower. In shady, damp places grew many varieties
of ferns and blue hydrangeas, whilst other beds were filled by gay
patches of verbenas of every hue and shade. The sweet-scented verbena
is one of the commonest and most successful shrubs in a Natal garden,
and just now the large bushes of it which one sees in every direction
are covered by tapering spikes of its tiny white blossoms. But the
feature of this garden was roses--roses on each side whichever way you
turned, and I should think of at least a hundred different sorts.
Not the stiff standard rose tree of an English garden, with its few
precious blossoms, to be looked at from a distance and admired with
respectful gravity. No: in this garden the roses grow as they might
have grown in Eden--untrained, unpruned, in enormous bushes covered
entirely by magnificent blossoms, each bloom of which would have won
a prize at a rose-show. There was one cloth-of-gold rose bush that
I shall never forget--its size, its fragrance, its wealth of
creamy-yellowish blossoms. A few yards off stood a still bigger and
more luxuriant pyramid, some ten feet high, covered with the large,
delicate and regular pink bloom of the souvenir de Malmaison. When I
talk of _a_ bush I only mean one especial bush which caught my eye. I
suppose there were fifty cloth-of-gold and fifty souvenir rose bushes
in that garden. Red roses, white roses, tea roses, blush-roses, moss
roses, and, last not least, the dear old-fashioned, homely cabbage
rose, sweetest and most sturdy of all. You could wander for acres and
acres among fruit trees and plantations of oaks and willows and
other trees, but you never got away from the roses. There they were,
beautiful, delicious things at every turn--hedges of them, screens of
them and giant bushes of them on either hand. As I have said before,
though kept free from weeds by some half dozen scantily-clad but
stalwart Kafirs with their awkward hoes, it was not a bit like a trim
English garden. It was like a garden in which Lalla Rookh might have
wandered by moonlight talking sentimental philosophy with her minstrel
prince under old Fadladeen's chaperonage, or a garden that Boccaccio
might have peopled with his Arcadian fine ladies and gentlemen. It was
emphatically a poet's or a painter's garden, not a gardener's garden.
Then, as though nothing should be wanting to make the scene lovely,
one could hear through the fragrant silence the tinkling of the little
"spruit" or brook at the bottom of the garden, and the sweet song of
the Cape canary, the same sort of greenish finch which is the parent
stock of all our canaries, and whose acquaintance I first made in
Madeira. A very sweet warbler it is, and the clear, flute-like notes
sounded prettily among the roses. From blossom to blossom lovely
butterflies flitted, perching quite fearlessly on the red clay walk
just before me, folding and unfolding their big painted wings. Every
day I see a new kind of butterfly, and the moths which one comes upon
hidden away under the leaves of the creepers during the bright noisy
day are lovely beyond the power of words. One little fellow is a great
pet of mine. He wears pure white wings, with vermilion stripes drawn
in regular horizontal lines across his back, and between the lines are
shorter, broken streaks of black, which is at once neat and uncommon;
but he is always in the last stage of sleepiness when I see him.

I am so glad little G---- is not old enough to want to catch them all
and impale them upon corks in a glass case; so the pretty creatures
live out their brief and happy life in the sunshine, without let or
hinderance from him.

The subject of which my mind is most full just now is the purchase of
a horse. F---- has a fairly good chestnut cob of his own; G----
has become possessed, to his intense delight, of an aged and
long-suffering Basuto pony, whom he fidgets to death during the day
by driving him all over the place, declaring he is "only showing
him where the nicest grass grows;" and I want a steed to draw my
pony-carriage and to carry me. F---- and I are at dagger's drawn on
this question. He wants to buy me a young, handsome, showy horse of
whom his admirers predict that "he will steady down presently," whilst
my affections are firmly fixed on an aged screw who would not turn
his head if an Armstrong gun were fired behind him. His owner says
Scotsman is "rising eleven:" F---- declares Scotsman will never see
his twentieth birthday again. F---- points out to me that Scotsman has
had rough times of it, apparently, in his distant youth, and that he
is strangely battered about the head, and has a large notch out of one
ear. I retaliate by reminding him how sagely the old horse picked his
way, with a precision of judgment which only years can give, through
the morass which lies at the foot of the hill, and which must be
crossed every time I go into town (and there is nowhere else to go).
That morass is a bog in summer and a honey-comb of deep ruts and
holes in winter, which, you must bear in mind, is the dry season here.
Besides his tact in the matter of the morass, did I not drive Scotsman
the other day to the park, and did he not comport himself in the
most delightfully sedate fashion? You require experience to be on the
lookout for the perils of Maritzburg streets, it seems, for all
their sleepy, deserted, tumble-down air. First of all, there are the
transport-wagons, with their long span of oxen straggling all across
the road, and a nervous bullock precipitating himself under your
horse's nose. The driver, too, invariably takes the opportunity of a
lady passing him to crack his whip violently, enough to startle any
horse except Scotsman. Then when you have passed the place where the
wagons most do congregate, and think you are tolerably safe and
need only look out for ruts and holes in the street, lo! a furious
galloping behind you, and some half dozen of the "gilded youth" of
Maritzburg dash past you, stop, wheel round and gallop past again,
until you are almost blinded with dust or smothered with mud,
according to the season. This peril occurred several times during
my drive to and from the park, and I can only remark that dear old
Scotsman kept his temper better than I did: perhaps he was more
accustomed to Maritzburg manners.

When the park was reached at last, across a frail and uncertain wooden
bridge shaded by large weeping willows, I found it the most
creditable thing I had yet seen. It is admirably laid out, the natural
undulations of the ground being made the most of, and exceedingly well
kept. This in itself is a difficult matter where all vegetation runs
up like Jack's famous beanstalk, and where the old proverb about the
steed starving whilst his grass is growing falls completely to the
ground. There are numerous drives, made level by a coating of smooth
black shale, and bordered by a double line of syringas and oaks,
with hedges of myrtle or pomegranate. In some places the roads run
alongside the little river--a very muddy torrent when I saw it--and
then the oaks give way to great drooping willows, beneath whose
trailing branches the river swirled angrily. On fine Saturday
afternoons the band of the regiment stationed here plays on a clear
space under some shady trees--for you can never sit or stand on the
grass in Natal, and even croquet is played on bare leveled earth--and
everybody rides or walks or drives about. When I saw the park there
was not a living creature in it, for it was, as most of our summer
afternoons are, wet and cold and drizzling; but, considering that
there was no thunderstorm likely to break over our heads that day, I
felt that I could afford to despise a silent Scotch mist. We varied
our afternoon weather last week by a hailstorm, of which the stones
were as big as large marbles. I was scoffed at for remarking this, and
assured it was "nothing, absolutely nothing," to _the_ great hailstorm
of two years ago, which broke nearly every tile and pane of glass in
Maritzburg, and left the town looking precisely as though it had been
bombarded. I have seen photographs of some of the ruined houses, and
it is certainly difficult to believe that hail could have done so much
mischief. Then, again, stories reach me of a certain thunderstorm one
Sunday evening just before I arrived in which the lightning struck a
room in which a family was assembled at evening prayers, killing the
poor old father with the Bible in his hand, and knocking over every
member of the little congregation. My informant said, "I assure you
it seemed as though the lightning were poured out of heaven in a jug.
There were no distinct flashes: the heavens appeared to split open and
pour down a flood of blazing violet light." I have seen nothing like
this yet, but can quite realize what such a storm must be like, for I
have observed already how different the color of the lightning is. The
flashes I have seen were exactly of the lilac color he described, and
they followed each other with a rapidity of succession unknown in
less electric regions. And yet my last English letters were full of
complaints of the wet weather in London, and much self-pity for the
long imprisonment in-doors. Why, those very people don't know what
weather inconveniences are. If London streets are muddy, at all events
there are no dangerous morasses in them. No matter how much it rains,
people get their comfortable meals three times a day. _Here_, rain
means a risk of starvation (if the little wooden bridge between us and
the town were to be swept away) and a certainty of short commons.
A wet morning means damp bread for breakfast and a thousand other
disagreeables. No, I have no patience with the pampered Londoners,
who want perpetual sunshine in addition to their other blessings, for
saying one word about discomfort. They are all much too civilized and
luxurious, and their lives are made altogether too smooth for them.
Let them come out here and try to keep house on the top of a hill
with servants whose language they don't understand, a couple of
noisy children and a small income, and then, as dear Mark Twain says,
"they'll know something about woe."


An invitation to take dinner with a friend in the State's prison
was something new and exciting to a quiet little body like me, and I
re-read Ruth Denham's kindly-worded note to that effect, and thought
how odd it was that we should meet again in this way after ten years'
separation and all the changes that had intervened in both our lives.
We had parted last on the night of our grand closing-school party,
after having been friends and fellow-pupils for five years. She was
then fifteen, and the prettiest, brightest and cleverest girl at
Lynnhope. I was younger, and felt distinguished by her friendship, and
heart-broken at the idea of losing her, for she was going abroad with
her family, while I remained to complete my studies at the institute.

I had plenty of letters the first year, but then her father died, and
with him went his reputed fortune. A painful change occurred in the
position of the Welfords in consequence, and Ruth became a teacher, as
I heard, until she met and married a young man from the West, whither
she returned with him immediately after the ceremony. She had written
to me once after becoming Ruth Denham, and her letter was kind and
cordial as her old self, but the correspondence thus renewed soon
ceased. I was also an orphan, but a close attendant at the couch of
my invalid aunt; and Ruth's new strange life was too crowded with
pressing duties to permit her to write regularly to her girlhood's
companion, whom she had not seen for years. My aunt had now recovered
so far as to indulge a taste for travel. We were on our way by the
great railroad to the Pacific coast, and we stopped at the small
capital of one of the newest States to discover that Ruth Denham was
a resident there, the wife of the lieutenant-governor, who was
consequently the warden of the State prison. The note I held in my
hand was in answer to one I had despatched to her an hour before
by the hands of a Chinaman from the hotel, and it was as glad and
affectionate as I could wish:

"My husband is quite ill with sciatica, which completely
lames him, as well as causing him intense pain. I am his only
attendant, or I would fly to you at once, my dearest Jenny. I
am so sorry you leave by the midnight train for San Francisco
to-morrow, but must be content to see you as much of the
day as you can spare us, and hope for a longer visit on your
return. We dine at four: may I not send the carriage for you
as early as two o'clock?

"Your loving friend,


I had my aunt's permission to leave her, and was ready at the
appointed hour to find the carriage there to the minute; and a very
comfortable, easy conveyance it proved over one of the worst roads I
ever traveled on.

The prison was about a mile from the outskirts of the straggling town,
which boasted two or three fine State buildings, in strong contrast
with its scattering and mostly mean and shambling dwellings. Some
hot springs had been discovered near the site, and over them had been
erected a wooden hotel and baths of the simplest order of architecture
and on the barest possible plan of ornament or comfort. Just beyond
this edifice was the prison, situated at the rise of one hill and
under the shadow of another and more considerable one. It was built of
a softish, light-colored stone dug from a neighboring quarry, as the
driver told me, and looking even at a cursory glance too destructible
and crumbling to secure such desperate and determined inmates.

"They used to keep 'em in a sort o' wooden shed," said my driver,
alluding to the prisoners, "until they got this shebang fixed up.
Pretty smart lot of chaps they were, for they built it themselves
mostly, and made good time on it, too."

It was surrounded by a high wooden fence, within which a stone wall of
the same material as the building was in course of construction.

"If it wasn't Sunday," said my companion as we drove through the
guarded gate, "you could see 'em at work, for they're putting up their
defences, and doing it first-rate, too."

I had only time for a glance at the inside of the enclosure. We were
already at the principal entrance, which was a wide door opening into
a hall, with a staircase leading up to the second floor. On the right
hand was a strongly-grated iron door opening into the main corridor
between the cells: the other side seemed to be devoted to offices and
quarters for the guards. I saw knots of men about, but only the two
at the entrance appeared to be armed, and they had that lounging, easy
air, that belongs to security and the absence of thought. It was in
every respect opposite to my preconceived idea of a penitentiary, and
all recollection of its first design fled when I saw Ruth's cheery
face, bright and handsome as ever, beaming on me from the first
landing, and felt her warm, firm arms clasping me in an embrace of
affectionate welcome. It was my friend's home, and nothing else, from
that moment, and a very pretty, daintily-ordered home it was. She had
five rooms on the second floor, with a kitchen below: this was her
parlor in front, a bright, well-furnished room, tastefully ornamented
with pictures, some of which I recognized as her own paintings in our
school-days; and here was her dining-room to the left, with a small
guest-chamber that she hoped I would occupy when I returned. The other
rooms on the west of the parlor were hers and Nellie's--Oh, I had not
seen Nellie, her five-year-old, nor her dear husband, who was so much
better to-day, though he could not rise without difficulty; and would
I therefore come and see him?

As Ruth gave me thus a passing glance at her household arrangements,
I saw through the open door of an apartment back of the dining-room a
light shower of plaster fall to the ground, marking the oilcloth that
covered the floor, and for one instant sending out into the hall a
puff of whitish dust.

"Oh, that is one of the effects of our terribly dry climate," said
Ruth, following my glance and noticing the dust: "every little while
portions of our walls crumble and fall in like that. There is no
doubt a sad litter in Mr. Foster the clerk's room, where that shower
occurred: he has gone to the city for the day, however, and it can be
cleared before his return. Here is my husband, Jenny."

In a recess by the parlor window, on a lounge, Mr. Denham was trying
to disguise the necessity for keeping his tortured limb extended by an
appearance of smiling ease. He was a handsome, frank-faced man, with
a firm, fearless eye and a gentle, kindly mouth, and I could readily
understand my friend's look of sweet content when I saw him and her
child Nellie, who was hanging over her papa with the fond protecting
air of a precocious nurse. I sat down quickly beside them to prevent
my host's attempting to rise, and the hour that elapsed before dinner
flew by in interesting conversation.

"I am so sorry I had to go for a little while," said Ruth, returning
to announce that meal, "but my good Wang-Ho is sick to-day, and I had
to help him a little."

"Where is Lester, Ruth?" asked her husband.

"Oh, he is kind and helpful as ever, but he does not understand making
dessert, you know, Edward."

"That's true, and Miss Jane will excuse you, I am sure, for she and
I have been reviewing the principal features of pioneer-life, and she
professes herself rather in love with it than otherwise."

"It is all so fresh and enjoyable, despite its discomforts and
inconveniences," I said; "and need I quote a stronger argument in its
favor than yourself, my dear Ruth? You seem perfectly happy, and I
really cannot see why you should not be so."

She had her golden-haired little girl in one arm, and she laid the
other hand caressingly on her husband's shoulder, "There is none:
I _am_ happy," she said in a low, earnest tone; and then added
laughingly, "or I shall be as soon as Edward gets well of sciatica and
Wang-Ho recovers from his chills."

Mr. Denham begged us to go before him, and his wife led the way to the

"Poor fellow!" she whispered, "he suffers horribly when he moves, and
I tried to persuade him to have his dinner sent into the parlor, but
in honor of your presence he will come, and he doesn't want us to see
him wince and writhe under the effort."

Just as we entered the dining-room a young man came in by another
door, carrying a tray with dishes. I had seen plenty of Chinamen,
but this was not one, nor could I reconcile his appearance with the
position of a servant. He was tall, well-made, and his face, though
unnaturally pale, was decidedly good-looking. He wore a pair of coarse
gray pantaloons with a remarkable stripe down one leg, but had on a
beautifully clean and fine, white shirt fastened at the throat with a
diamond button. The weather was warm, and he was without coat or vest,
and had a sash of red knitted silk, such as Mexicans wear, round his

Ruth took the dishes from him and placed them on the table. "Please
tell Wang-Ho about the coffee, Lester," she said as he retired.

"Is that man a servant, Ruth?" I asked in an astonished whisper.

"No," she replied in the same low tone: "he is a murderer condemned
for life."

Mr. Denham hobbled in and slid down upon a seat. I appreciated his
gallant attention, but it was painful to see the effort it cost:
besides, much as I had seen, and familiar as I was becoming with
pioneer life, to be waited on at dinner by a young and handsome
murderer condemned to prison for life was a sensation new and
startling, and I was full of curiosity as to the nature of his crime
and the peculiar administration of the Western penal code that made
house-servants of convicts. Seeing my perturbation, Ruth evidently
intended to relieve it by the explanatory remark of "He is a 'trusty,'
Jenny dear," but really threw no light whatever on the subject.

It was a very nice dinner, served tastefully and with a home comfort
about everything connected with the table that seemed most unlike
a prison. Mr. Denham's intelligence and cheerfulness added to the
delusion that I was enjoying the hospitalities of a cultivated Eastern
home. He and his wife had kept themselves thoroughly familiar with all
topics of general interest through the medium of periodicals, and had
much to ask about the actual progress of improvements they had read of
and the changes occurring among dear and familiar Eastern scenes.

Lester came in again with the empty tray, and quietly gathered the
plates from the table preparatory to placing dessert. I wanted to look
at him--indeed, a fascination I could not resist drew my eyes to his
face like a magnet--yet, somehow, I dared not keep them there: the
consciousness of meeting his glance, and feeling that I should then be
ashamed of my curiosity, made them drop uneasily every time he turned;
and once when I found his gaze rest on me an instant, I felt myself
color violently under the quiet look of his steel-gray eyes.

One thing was very observable in the little group: the child Nellie
was intensely fond of the man, and he himself seemed to entertain and
constantly endeavor to express an exalted admiration for Mr. Denham.
While the latter was speaking Lester's animated looks followed every
word and gesture: he anticipated his unexpressed wishes, and watched
to save him the trouble of moving or asking for anything.

"No, no, Nellie, stay and finish your dinner: Lester is not quite
ready for you yet." Her mother said this in reference to the child's
eagerness to follow the trusty attendant from the room, and her
neglect of her meal in consequence. "Nellie is in the habit of
carrying up the sugar and cream for the coffee, and she thinks Lester
cannot possibly get on if she does not assist," said Ruth in smiling
explanation as Nellie hastened after him.

The next instant there was the mingled sound of a heavy fall or
succession of falls outside, and one quick, stifled scream from the

"The dumb-waiter, quick! It has broken from its weights and scalded
Nell with the hot coffee," cried Ruth, making a spring toward the door
by which Lester had gone out.

Her husband, forgetting his lameness, was instantly at her side, but
some force held the door against them both, and abandoning it after
the first effort, the father turned hurriedly to the one leading
into the hall. I sat nearest that, and in the excitement I had moved
quickly aside, so that when it was flung violently open the moment
before my host the governor of the prison reached it, I was thrust
back against the wall, from which place, half dead with fright, I saw
the hall crowded with convicts, the foremost of whom held a pistol
directly toward Mr. Denham's head.

It snapped with a sharp report, and when the smoke cleared I found
Mr. Denham had dodged the fire and was closed in a scuffle with the
villain for the weapon. A dozen more seemed to spring on him from the
threshold; I heard his wife's cry of agony; and then the door at the
other side burst in, and Lester, with his gray eyes gleaming like a
flame, bounded over the body of a bloody convict that fell from his
grasp as he broke into the room. Quick as thought he caught up one
of the heavy chairs in his hands, and bringing it down with desperate
force on the heads of the governor's assailants, felled one, while the
other staggered back and dropped his pistol. Mr. Denham caught it
like a flash, and fired it in the face of a wretch who was aiming
at Lester's heart. The convicts fell back, and over their bodies the
governor and his aid sprang into the crowded hall.

"The child! the child! O God! my little daughter!" It was Ruth's voice
in tones of such anguish and terror as I never before heard uttered by
human voice.

She was looking from the window into the yard below, and there she
beheld Nellie lifted up as a shield against the guns of the guards by
a party of the escaping convicts. The little creature was deadly white
and perfectly silent: her great blue eyes were wide and frozen with
fright, and her little hands were clasped in entreating agony and
stretched toward her mother.

"Stand behind me and shoot them down, governor," cried Lester, dealing
steady blows with the now broken chair, and trying to make his own
body a shield for Mr. Denham. The governor continued to fire on the
convicts, who were pouring in a steady stream down the stairs from
out of the room where I had seen the shower of dust, and through the
ceiling of which, as it was afterward, proved, they had cut a hole,
and so escaped from the upper corridor of the prison.

I tried to hold Ruth in my arms, for in her frenzy to reach her child
she had flung up the window and endeavored to drop from it at the risk
of her life. "They will not dare to hurt her: God will protect her
innocent life," was all I could say, when a random ball from below
struck the window-frame, and, glancing off, stunned without wounding
the wretched mother. She fell, jarred by the shock, and I drew her as
well as I could behind the door, on the other side of which lay the
two bleeding prisoners who had tried to take her husband's life.

Groans, shouts, curses, yells and pistol-shots sounded in the hall and
on the stairs; only the back of the chair remained in Lester's grasp,
but heaps of men felled by its weight and crushed by their struggling
fellows had tumbled down and been kicked over the broken balustrade to
the hall below.

The guards had rallied from their surprise, and sparing the escaped
for the sake of the precious shield they bore, turned their fire upon
the escaping, cutting them off until the whole corridor below was
blocked with wounded, dead and dying. One more man appeared at the
clerk's door: he was a powerful fellow with a horse-pistol and a
stone-hammer. Lester had staggered back from a flying iron bar aimed
at his head by a villain he struck at without reaching, and who had
bounded down the stairs to receive his death from the guard's musket
at the door. The prisoner with the horse-pistol saw his advantage,
and, cursing the governor in blasphemous rage, aimed at him as he
fled. Recovering himself, Lester struck for his arm, but not soon
enough to stop the fire: the charge reached its object, but not his
heart, as it was meant to do. It glanced aside, and Mr. Denham's
pistol dropped: his right arm fell maimed at his side; but the field
was clear, and Lester, catching the fallen pistol, went down the
stairs over the bodies in a series of flying leaps.

"Where's my wife?" exclaimed Mr. Denham, turning round dizzily and
trying to steady his head with his uninjured hand. "Tell her I've gone
for Nellie;" and he made an effort to rush after Lester, but,
reaching the top of the stairs, dropped suddenly upon a convict's body
stretched there by his own pistol. Then I saw by the reddish hole
in his trousers just below the knee that he had been wounded before,
though he did not know it, and was now streaming with blood.

"Where's Nell? where's Edward?" asked Ruth, sitting up with a ghastly
face, and looking at me in a bewildered stare.

"All right, all safe, tell the lady," cried a clear, exulting voice
from below: "here's sweet little Miss Nellie, without a scratch on

It was Lester's shout from the yard, and it rang through all the

"Do you hear, Ruth? do you hear?" I screamed, beside myself with joy
and thankfulness. "He has saved your husband a dozen times, that hero,
and now he brings back your child to you. Oh, what a noble fellow! how
I envy him his feelings!"

He was in the room by this time with Nellie in his arms: he heard me
and gave me just one look. I never saw him again, but I never shall
forget it, for it revealed the long agony of a blighted life that
moment struggling into hope again through expiation. He did not wait
for Ruth's broken cry of gratitude, but was gone as soon as the child
was in her arms.

"Come, boys," I heard him cry cheerily outside, "lend a hand to help
the governor to his room: he's got a scratch or two, and the doctor's
coming to dress them. He will be all right again before we can get
things set straight round here."

Governor Denham's wounds were not so slight as Lester hoped, but they
were not dangerous, and when, to prevent my aunt's alarm for my safety
(for the news of "the break" spread rapidly through the town), I
parted from my friends before nightfall and rode back to the hotel
as I had come, I left three of the most excitedly grateful and happy
people behind me I had ever seen.

"I suppose it is no use to urge it further, Ruth darling," said her
husband as we parted, "but I really wish you would go to San Francisco
with our friend and let Nellie have a chance to forget the shock
she has endured. You need the change too, if you would ever think of

"It is because I do think of myself that I prefer to remain where I am
happiest," said Ruth decidedly. "As for Nell, she is a pioneer child,
and will soon be as merry and fearless as ever. But, Jenny dear, we
owe you an apology for the novel dinner-party we have given you. When
you come back it will seem like a frightful dream, and not a reality,
we shall all be so quiet and orderly again." As we stood alone in the
hall, from which every sign of the late terrible conflict had been
removed save the bloodstains that had sunk into the stone beyond the
power of a hasty washing to obliterate, Ruth said in a low whispering
tone that was full of pent-up feeling, "I told you that Lester was
a murderer condemned for life, Jenny, but there were extenuating
circumstances in connection with his crime. That is not his name we
call him by: I do not even know his real one, but I am convinced that
he belongs to educated and reputable people, and that he suffers the
keenest remorse for the wild life that led him so terribly astray. He
became desperately attached to a Spanish girl, who was married as a
child to a brutal fellow who deserted her, and she thought him dead.
She and Lester were to be married, I believe, when the missing husband
reappeared and tormented them both. The girl he treated shockingly,
and it was in a fit of rage at his abuse of her that Lester killed
him; but appearances were all against the deed, and he was convicted
of murder in the second degree and sentenced for life. Edward is kind
and discriminating, and he pitied him. Lester told his story freely,
and my husband gained his lasting gratitude by taking care of the
wretched girl and paying her passage in a vessel bound for her native
town in Mexico. The only favor we could show him here was to separate
him from the wretches in the common prison by making him a 'trusty'
or prison-servant. He understood our motive in doing so, and was very
thankful and most reliable. What we owe him to-day you know: he makes
light of it, protesting that he only picked up Nell from the gulch
where the escaped convicts had dropped her on their way to the hills;
but he cannot lessen the debt: it is too great to be calculated even."

The subsequent report proved that twenty-eight prisoners had conspired
to effect the break, and by secreting the tools they wrought with in
their sleeves passed in on Saturday from the wall-building to cut an
entrance through the ceiling of their own corridor into the loft above
Mr. Foster's room, through which they dropped while the family were at
dinner, choosing that hour so as to produce a surprise and secure the
child, who always went below with Lester to help carry up the coffee.
Of the whole number, five were killed outright and six wounded: twelve
escaped uninjured, but were nearly all afterward retaken; and five
repented their share in the movement or lacked courage to carry it
out, and so remained in the prison. The most interesting item of the
whole came to me at San Francisco in my friend's letter. It said: "We
are looking forward with great delight to your visit, and planning
every pleasure our sterile life can yield to make it enjoyable. But
you will not see Lester: he is gone. His pardon, full and entire in
view of his courage and fidelity, and the manly stand he took against
the murderous plotters, came on Monday last, and at nightfall he left
the prison to go by the stage to meet the midnight train. 'To Mexico!'
were his last words to us. Heaven bless him, and grant him wisdom and
courage to retrieve the past and open a fair bright future!"



[From Friederich Bodenstedt's _Aus dem Nachlasse

Aloft the moon in heaven's dome.
Sultry the night, tempests foretelling:
For the last time before I roam
I see the surf in splendor swelling.

A ship glides by, a shadowy form,
Faint roseate lights around me sparkle,
A gathering mist precedes the storm,
And far-off forest tree-tops darkle.

The silver-crested waves are lashing
The pebbly shore tumultuously:
Absorbed I watch their ceaseless dashing,
Myself as still as bush or tree.

Within arise fond memories
Of moonlight evenings long since vanished,
Once full of life as waves and breeze,
From this familiar shore now banished.

Hushed in the grove is the birds' song,
Spring's blossoms tempests caused to perish;
Yet what through eye and ear did throng
The heart for evermore will cherish.



While I was a teacher in the Illinois Institution for the Deaf and
Dumb the following letters were written by some of the pupils. The
first was written the day after Thanksgiving, and ran thus:

"DEAR MOTHER: We had Thanks be unto God, no school yesterday,
Turkey mince-pies, and many other kinds of fruits."

The day after Christmas a boy wrote: "We had Glory to God in the
highest, no school yesterday, and a fine time." What he really meant
to say was, that they had a motto in evergreens of "Glory to God in
the Highest," and they had also a holiday.

This motto, by the way, got up by the pupils themselves, was striking.
It was placed over one of the dining-room doors, and the ceiling
being very low it was necessarily put just under it. A single glance
sufficed to show the utter impossibility of getting the "Glory" any

The younger pupils write in almost every letter, "There are ----
pupils in this institution, ---- boys and ---- girls. All of the
pupils are well, but some are sick." This is English pretty badly

These letters serve to illustrate a remark which Principal Peet of the
New York institution made to me not long ago: "The great difficulty in
instructing deaf mutes is in teaching them the English language."
In this, of course, he had reference to the deaf mutes of our own
country, and his statement appears, on its face, paradoxical. That
American children should learn at least to read the English language,
even when they cannot speak it, seems quite a matter of course. The
fact is, however, different. The first disadvantage under which the
deaf mute labors is the limited extent to which his mental powers have
been developed. This deficiency is attributable to two causes--his
deprivation of the immense amount of information to be gained by the
sense of hearing, and his want of language. Before an infant, one
possessed of all its faculties, has acquired at least an understanding
of articulate language, it has but vague and feeble ideas. No clear,
distinct conception is shaped in its mind. "Ideas," says M. Marcel in
his essay on the _Study of Languages_, "are not innate: they must be
received before they can be communicated. This is so true that native
curiosity impels us to listen long before we can speak.... Impression
... must therefore precede expression." Real thought, therefore,
it will be seen, grows with the child's acquisition of language--an
acquisition which is obtained in the earlier years entirely through
the organ of hearing. This principal avenue to the mind is closed
to the deaf mute. It is evident, therefore, that, lacking these two
fundamental sources of all knowledge, his mental growth is incredibly
slower than that of the hearing child. All that can be learned by
means of the other senses is, however, learned rapidly, these being
quickened and stimulated by the absence of one. Hence, the deaf-mute
child of eight or ten years of age often appears as bright and
intelligent as his more favored playmate. The latter, however, has a
store of knowledge and a fund of thought wholly unknown to the deaf

But it is the want of written language, and the obstacles in the way
of its acquirement, which constitute the chief disability of the deaf
mute in the attempt to gain an education. If you set a child of seven
years of age to learn Greek, requiring him to receive and express his
ideas wholly in that language, you would not hope for any very clear
expression of those ideas with less than a year's instruction, nor
would you expect him to appreciate the delicate beauties of the
_Odyssey_ in that length of time. The progress of the deaf mute in
any language, even the most simply constructed, is greatly slower than
that of the hearing child. The latter is assisted at every step by
his previous knowledge of his vernacular. The former does not think in
words, as you have done from your earliest recollection. Undertake to
do your thinking in a foreign tongue, of which you have but a limited
knowledge: the attempt is discouraging. The deaf mute thinks in signs.
This, his only vehicle of thought, is a hindrance instead of a help in
learning written language, there being no analogy whatever between the
two methods of expressing ideas.

With these tremendous odds against him the deaf-mute child is set to
the task of acquiring a knowledge of written language. His ideas (in
signs) shape themselves in this wise: "Horses, two, run fast." Of
course he does not think these words. The idea of a horse, its shape
and color, is probably imaged in his mind, or if the horse be not
present to his sight, the sign which he uses for that animal comes
into his thought. He next touches or grasps or holds up two of his
fingers, which he uses on all occasions to express number. Then
the idea of running by means of its sign, and lastly that of speed,
suggest themselves, the last two, however, being probably closely
connected, as in our own minds.

Observe, here, that the order in which the thoughts arrange themselves
is different from the manner of those who think by means of words. The
main idea is "horse," and he gives it the preference, as the older and
more simply constructed languages always did. It is reserved for our
cultured and perfected language to describe an object before
telling what that object is. Who will say that it is according to
philosophical principles that we say, "A fine large red apple,"
instead of "An apple, fine, red, large"? A deaf-mute boy tells me that
he saw two dogs fighting yesterday. He explains it in signs in this
manner: "Dogs, two, fight; first, second ear bit, blood much. Second
ran, hid; saw yesterday, I." Thus the fact is arranged in his mind.
Let him attempt to translate--for it is nothing but translation--this
simple statement into English. The perplexity which first seizes the
hapless school-boy over his "Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres"
is nothing to it. Like him, he must go hunting, as if for a needle
in a haystack, for the word to put first. It is the last idea in his
sign-sentence. Then he slowly learns to pick out the words and arrange
them in English order--an order, as I said before, not founded on
philosophical principles, but in most instances wholly arbitrary.
This is by no means an easy task. Years of training do not ensure
him against ludicrous lapses. A fair percentage of the whole number
educated learn to construct sentences with tolerable accuracy; a
smaller percentage of these acquire fluency, precision and, in some
rare instances, grace of expression; but a large proportion never
become good English scholars.

The method of beginning their instruction is by means of simple
familiar objects, or, where these cannot be obtained, illustrations
of them. A picture of a horse is placed, at one end of the teacher's
blackboard. Instantly two fingers of each hand go up to the top of
each little head. If it were a picture of an animal with longer ears,
each would make an ass of himself. So far so good, only they do not
know the name of this animal, familiar as they are with him. The
teacher writes the name under the picture. The article "A" is also
written, which, though it puzzles them, they must take on trust. It
cannot be explained at this stage. The teacher then holds up an ear
of corn. Of course they know that very well, and make the sign for it,
shelling the fore finger. It is then laid upon the opposite end of
the blackboard, and its name written under it. A short pause, with a
glance first at the horse and then at the corn, soon brings out
the sign for "eats," which is written in its proper place, and the
sentence is complete. The little "ignorants," as they are dubbed by
the older pupils, are then plunged head and ears into the task of
learning to form the written characters as well as the construction of
sentences. It is setting foot in an unexplored wilderness. No ray of
light penetrates the darkness of that wilderness save the tiny torch
just placed in their hands.

Mr. Isaac Lewis Peet, principal of the New York institution, before
referred to in this paper, has lately been preparing a textbook for
the use of deaf-mute instructors, which promises to be of great
value. It reduces the whole of the earlier stages of instruction to a
perfected system, by which each part of speech, with the various
moods and tenses of the verbs, the different cases of nouns, etc., is
brought out in successive stages entirely by means of sentences. A
few illustrations will suffice to show the scope of the work, which
promises to be of much value also in the ordinary school-room, for
which it is likewise designed by the author. An object, such as a
pitcher, is placed on the teacher's desk. A pupil is required to come
forward and touch it. The teacher then asks the question, writing it
upon the blackboard or spelling it upon his fingers, "What did John
do?" Answer, "He touched the pitcher." A change from a boy to a girl
brings out another pronoun; a change of objects, another noun; a
change of actions, another verb.

In this way, by gradual, systematic stages, the language is taught by
actual and constant use, the teacher doing away entirely with signs
in the school-room. This is an end constantly aimed at in deaf-mute
instruction, as it forces the pupils to use language instead of signs
to express their thoughts. By constant effort at first, and constant
practice, words gradually take the place of signs in their modes of
thought, though not perhaps entirely.

Objective ideas are readily acquired by deaf mutes, their perceptive
faculties being usually keen and quick. Abstract subjects are less
readily apprehended, and sometimes cause great surprise. One Sunday
morning Dr. Gillett, principal of the Illinois institution, had for
the Scripture lesson in the chapel the "Resurrection." When he had
made it plain and simple for the comprehension of the new pupils, some
of the ideas, brought out by the lesson caused great astonishment, and
even consternation among them. The little fellows shook their heads in
utter skepticism at the thought of themselves dying.

"I'm not going to die," said one. "Sick people die: I'm well and
strong;" standing on his feet and shaking his arms in attestation of
the fact.

"But you will be sick some time," said Dr. G., "and you will have to

But they did not believe him in the least. The next morning one little
fellow met the principal and said, "You said yesterday I was going to
die: well, here I am, and I ain't dead yet."

On Monday morning, when they assembled in school, they were still full
of the new ideas. "Dr. Gillett had said they all had to die: would
they, truly?" they asked me. I could only confirm the statement.
Whereupon they all began drawing graves, tombstones, weeping willows,
and all such funereal paraphernalia upon the blackboards. It was
a solemn scene, save for my own irrepressible laughter, which they
thought very unaccountable when they learned that I must suffer a like
fate. I explained as cheerfully as I could the delights of going to
heaven, whereupon one boy burst into tears, saying he did not want to
go to heaven: he would rather go home and see his mother.

One asked if we should go to heaven in the cars. I said I had been
told that we should go through the air, perhaps fly there. A little
girl immediately held up a wood-cut of a vulture, saying, "Ugly thing!
I don't want to be one." A boy whose new skates lay spoiling for the
ice in his trunk asked if he could skate there. Not having quite
the faith of the author of _Gates Ajar_, I could not answer "Yes"
unhesitatingly. A girl asked if fishes went to heaven. I answered
"No." "Where, then?" I replied that we ate the fishes, but was greatly
troubled afterward lest she should confound me with the question,
"What becomes of the snakes?"

In addition to the ordinary one-hand alphabet, the only one commonly
used by deaf mutes, there are five others. One of these is the
two-hand alphabet, sometimes used by hearing children at school. It is
clumsy and inconvenient, however. A second is made by the arms alone.
Still a third is formed by means of the body and arms also, in
various positions, to represent the different letters, and is used
in signaling at a distance. It is not often learned by deaf mutes,
however. A fourth is made entirely with the feet. But the most curious
of all is the facial or expression alphabet. Various emotions and
passions expressed on the face represent, by means of their initial
letters, the letters of the alphabet. Thus, A is indicated by an
expression of avarice, B by boldness, C by curiosity, D by devotion,
etc. This alphabet is sometimes so admirably rendered that words can
easily be spelled by means of it by the spectators.

Deaf mutes also excel in pantomime. A large amount of gesture and
pantomime is naturally employed in their conversation, and it thus
becomes easy to train them to perform pantomimic plays. I have seen
one young man, a deaf mute, whose narration in this manner of a hunter
who made a pair of buckskin breeches, hung them up during the summer,
drew them on when the rainy season came on, and found a hornet's nest
within, was interpreted amid roars of laughter. Thus told, it was far
more vivid than words could have possibly made it, and infinitely more

The sign-language, growing slowly from natural signs--i.e., signs
representing the shape, quality or use of objects, or the action
expressed by verbs--has at length become a perfected system. This
language is the same throughout Europe and America, so that deaf mutes
from any country of Christendom who have acquired the regular system
can readily communicate with each other, however diverse their
nationality. Being formed from analogy, many of the signs are
exceedingly expressive. Thus, the sign for "headache" is made by
darting the two forefingers toward each other just in front of the
forehead. The sign for "summer" is drawing the curved forefinger
across the brow, as if wiping off the sweat. "Heat," or rather
"hotness," is expressed by blowing with open mouth into the hand,
and then shaking it suddenly as if burned. "Flame" and "fire" are
represented by a quivering, upward motion of all the fingers. The
memory of the ancient ruffled shirt of our forefathers is perpetuated
in the sign for "genteel," "gentility" or "fine." It is the whole open
hand, with fingers pointing upward, shaken in front of the breast.
"Gentleman" and "lady" are expressed by the signs for "man"
(the hat-brim) and "woman" (the bonnet-string), followed by the
ruffled-shirt sign. The sign for "Jesus" is doubtless the most tender
and touching in the whole language. It is made by touching the palm
of each hand in succession with the middle finger of the other. This
represents the print of the nails. The name "Jesus" itself does not
convey so pathetic and expressive a meaning as does this sign.

Hearing persons who understand the sign-language sometimes find it
exceedingly convenient as a means of communicating when they wish to
be private, I remember an amusing incident occurring at a festival
which I attended while teaching in the Illinois institution. Another
teacher and myself sat apart, surrounded by entire strangers. Near
by stood a lady in a gorgeous green silk dress, with many gaudy
accessories. My companion remarked in signs to me upon her striking
costume. I replied in like manner, expressing my appreciation of so
magnificent a proportion of apple-green silk. There was a great deal
of lady, but a great deal more of dress.

"See them dummies, Jake," she remarked to her husband at her side,
whose dazzling expanse of bright-figured velvet waistcoat and massive
gold chain was in admirable keeping with his wife's attire. It was a
_landscape_, begging the word, after Turner's own heart. "Them's two
dummies from the asylum, I know," she continued. "Let's watch 'em make
signs." And she gazed upon us from the serene heights of green sward
with an amused, patronizing smile.

We dared not laugh. Dummies we had been dubbed, and dummies we must
remain to the end of the scene. Were ever mortals in such a fix? We
talked _them_ over well, however, while suffering tortures from our
pent-up emotions.

"That there one's rayther good-looking," ventured the proprietor of
the velvet and gold.

"Not so mighty, either," said his wife, bridling. "Face is too
chalky-like, and the other one is too fat." This was near being the
death of us both, as the two critics together would have turned
the scale at near five hundred. Consternation seized us just then,
however, as we saw a fellow-teacher approaching us who would be sure
to address us in spoken language and reveal us as two cheats. Hastily
retreating from the scene, we made our way to an anteroom, where it
was not considered a sin to laugh.

The instruction of deaf mutes in articulate speech has of late years
attracted considerable attention in both Europe and America. In
some of the European schools, in the Clark Institute at Northampton,
Massachusetts, and in a few of our State institutions it is brought
to great perfection. There are also special schools for this system of
teaching in most of our large cities. The majority of pupils in these
schools converse with ease, and understand readily what is said
to them by means of the motion of the lips. The Clark Institute at
Northampton, already referred to, under the conduct of Miss Harriet
Rogers, is the largest and most widely known of the schools for this
special method of instruction in this country. This is not a
State institution, but one endowed by the munificence of a private
gentleman, and consequently subject to none of the restrictions
imposed on the public institutions. Of course, only the most promising
pupils are sent there, and from these a careful selection is made, by
which means the highest possible success is ensured. Some of the
State institutions, however, burdened as they are with a large and
unassorted mass of pupils, have made most encouraging progress in
this direction. Of these, one of the most successful is the Illinois
institution. In its last published report the correspondence between
the principal and the parents of those pupils who have been taught by
this method is given, showing the utmost satisfaction at the progress
made and results attained.

Deaf mutes are divided into two classes--viz., entire mutes and
semi-mutes. The first comprises those who either have been born deaf
or have become so at so early an age as to have retained no knowledge
of articulate speech. The second class embraces those who have lost
their hearing after attaining such an age as still to be able to talk.
Speech is more easily and perfectly learned if the pupil has learned
to read before the loss of hearing. A knowledge of the sounds and
powers of the letters enables him to acquire the pronunciation of new
words with much greater facility than would be otherwise possible,
giving him a foundation on which to build his acquisition of spoken
language. To this last class, semi-mutes, articulation is invaluable,
enabling them to pursue their education with less difficulty, and
also to retain their power of communication with the outside world. In
regard to entire mutes, the utility of the accomplishment is seriously
questioned by some experienced educators. The fact must be admitted
that, while a much larger number of entire mutes can be taught to
converse intelligently and agreeably than would be imagined by those
unacquainted with the results obtained, the great mass of the deaf and
dumb must still be instructed wholly by means of written language. In
most instances, to ensure success, instruction should be begun at a
very much earlier age than it is possible to receive them into school,
and constantly practiced by all who hold communication with the pupil,
doing away entirely with the habit of using signs. It also requires
pupils of bright, quick mind, keen perceptive faculties, and an amount
of intelligence and perseverance on the part of the parents not found
in the average parent of deaf mutes; for it is well known that a
very large proportion of deaf mutes come from the poorer and more
illiterate classes. This is mainly attributable to the fact that by
far the larger number lose their hearing in infancy or early childhood
through disease--scarlet fever, measles and diphtheria being probably
the most frequent causes of deafness. Among those able to give
skillful nursing and to obtain good medical aid the number of cases
resulting in deafness is reduced to a minimum. Accidents, too, causing
deafness, occur more frequently among those unable to give their
children proper care. Congenital deafness is also probably greater
among the laboring classes, and is undoubtedly due to similar causes.

The methods used in the teaching of articulation form a subject of
much interest. The system has materially changed within the past few
years. The first step to be taken is to convey a knowledge of the
powers of the consonants and sounds of the vowels. Formerly, this
was done by what was called the "imitation method." The letter H was
usually the point of attack, the aspirate being the simplest of all
the powers of the letters. The teacher, holding up the hand of the
pupil, makes the aspirate by breathing upon his palm. This is soon
imitated, and thus a starting-point is gained. The feeling produced
upon the hand is the method of giving him an idea of the powers of the
consonants. A later and better system is that called "visible speech."
This is a system of symbols representing positions of the mouth and
tongue and all the organs of speech, and if the pupil does what
the symbols direct he cannot help giving the powers of the letters
correctly. By this method a more distinct and perfect articulation is
gained, with one-half the labor of the other method. As fast as
the powers of the letters are learned, the spelling of words is
undertaken. Many words are pronounced perfectly after a few trials:
others, however, often defy the most strenuous and persevering effort.

Entire mutes who undertake articulation are like hearing children
endeavoring to keep up the full curriculum of a modern school and
pursue the study of music in addition: the ordinary studies demand
all the energies of the child. Articulation consumes much time and
strength. Exceptional cases are of course to be found which are indeed
a triumph of culture, but the great mass of the deaf and dumb must
always be content with written language.

Articulation is also exceedingly trying to the unused or long-disused
throat and lungs. In this the teachers are likewise sufferers. The
tax upon the vocal organs is necessarily much greater than that in
ordinary speaking schools. But the disuse of the vocal organs in
articulate speech does not indicate that they are wholly unused. A
lady visiting an institution for the deaf and dumb a few years ago
poetically called the pupils the "children of silence." Considering
the tremendous volume of noise they are able to keep up with both
feet and throat, the title is amusingly inappropriate. A deaf-and-dumb
institution is the noisiest place in the world.

In summing up the results usually attained, let no discontented
taxpayer grumble at the large outlays annually made in behalf of the
deaf and dumb. If they learned absolutely nothing in the school-room,
the intelligence they gain by contact with each other, by the lectures
in signs, by intercourse with teachers, and the regular and systematic
physical habits acquired, are of untold value. Add to this a tolerable
acquaintance with the common English branches, such as reading,
writing, arithmetic--one of their most useful acquirements--geography
and history, and we have an amount of education which is of
incalculable value.




Wartburg, with its pleasant memories of delightful excursions during
the previous summer, was covered with snow, as if buried in slumber,
when I dashed past it on the 25th of March. A gray mantle of mist
obscured the sky, and by all the roadsides stood bushes loaded with
green buds shivering in the frosty air. The exquisite landscape, which
I had last seen glowing with such brilliant hues, now appeared robed
in one monotonous tint of gray, and the ancient towers and pointed
roofs of Weimar loomed with a melancholy aspect through the dense
fog. Only the welcome of my faithful friends, Gerhard Rohlfs and
his pretty, fair-haired wife, was blithe and gay. The brave desert
wanderer and bird of passage has now built himself a little wigwam or
nest near the railway-station: the grand duke of Weimar gave him for
the purpose a charming piece of ground with a delightful view. On the
25th of March a light veil of snow still rested on the ground, but two
days later we were listening to the notes of the lark and gathering
violets to take to Schiller's house and adorn the table of the beloved
singer. Everything was illumined by the brilliant sunlight--the
narrow bedstead on which he died, and all the numerous withered
laurel-wreaths and bouquets of flowers that filled it--while outside,
in Schiller's little garden, in the bed where his bust is placed,
violets nodded at us between the leaves of the luxuriant ivy.

And we carried in our hands bouquets of violets when we stood before
Goethe's house to pay our respects to the lady who in these bustling
days remains a revered memento of the times of Carl Augustus and his
poet-friend--Ottilie von Goethe. The beloved daughter-in-law of
the great master of song lives in the poet's house in the utmost
seclusion: few strangers know that she receives visitors. Only on rare
occasions is the classic little _salon_ opened in the evening to
a select few--only now and then, when the health of the aged lady
permits it, a circle of faithful friends gather round her listening
eagerly to her vivid descriptions of long-past days. The grand
duke himself often knocks at this door, and the grand duchess and
princesses take pleasure in coming hither. With deep emotion we
crossed the threshold over which Goethe's coffin was borne, and with
light step ascended the broad, easy staircase of the house that we
had so often heard described. Half-effaced frescoes, which had gleamed
over the head of the king of poesy, looked down upon us, and our eyes
wandered over the bronze figures past which Goethe had walked day
after day.

On reaching the second story, Ottilie von Goethe came forward to greet
us, looking like an apparition from another world. Her figure was
small and fragile, but there was an aristocratic repose in all her
movements. A white lace cap trimmed with dark-red velvet bows rested
on her hair, which was arranged over her temples in thick gray curls,
framing her face, from which a pair of brown eyes greeted us with a
bright, cordial glance. A white knit shawl covered her shoulders and a
black silk dress fell around her in ample folds. At her side stood her
younger sister, a canoness, who was paying her a few days' visit--an
amiable lady with a very cheerful temperament. Ottilie von Goethe
shared the violets with her. An easy conversation commenced. Frau von
Goethe was very much interested in Herr Rohlfs' travels and Edward
Vogel's fate, and said that one of her grandsons also cherished the
same ardent, restless longing to see foreign countries and people.
Then she spoke of her own journeys to Italy, "a long, long time ago,"
and of the charms of Venice and Verona. Underlying the words was a
slight tone of regret that she was now not only bound to the spot, but
also to the house, for invalids cannot venture out of doors to enjoy
the spring until the first of May, and September drives them back into
their quiet cell. "How often one longs for a distant horizon!" she
sighed. My eyes wandered over the wilderness of ancient roofs upon
which the windows of Goethe's house looked out, and discovered a small
spot where the blue mountain-peaks appeared.

"Why, there is a distant horizon!" I involuntarily exclaimed.

"Ah, but even that is so near!" replied Frau von Goethe, smiling.

The room where we were, as well as the adjoining apartment into which
we were allowed to peep, was full of relics of all kinds. Each article
probably had its special history, from the paintings and drawings
on the walls and the old-fashioned chests, chairs and tables, to the
cups, vases, glasses, coverlets, and cushions arranged in the neatest
order, some standing or lying around the apartment, others visible
through the glass doors of a cupboard. But the most interesting object
to me was the portrait of Goethe painted by Stieler. It has been
made familiar to all by copies, and represents the poet, though at
an advanced age, in the full possession of his physical strength. He
holds in his hand a letter, from which he is in the act of looking up:
the face is turned slightly aside. It seems as if the glance was one
of greeting to some friend who is just entering. The colors are still
wonderfully fresh and the expression bewitching. The large eyes beam
with the fire of genius, Olympian majesty is enthroned upon the brow,
and the curve of the lips possesses unequaled grace and beauty. A more
aristocratic, noble mouth cannot be imagined. Who could have resisted
the eloquence of those lips?

"This picture is not in the least idealized: it is a perfect likeness
of my father-in-law," observed Frau von Goethe, and added that this
portrait by Stieler was one of the best which had ever been painted.
Not far from the superb portrait of the father appears the melancholy
face of the son, August von Goethe, but I sought in vain for a picture
of the bud so early broken, Goethe's granddaughter, the lovely Alma,
who died in Vienna.

Fran von Goethe noticed with evident pleasure our eager interest in
her surroundings, and showed us many a relic. As she spoke of the
radiance of those long-past days which still gilded her quiet life,
she seemed to me like the venerable figure in the tale of the "Seven
Ravens," who relates marvelous stories to a listening group. Gradually
a throng of shapes from the dim past entered the small room and
gathered round the speaker, who suddenly became transfigured by the
light of youth. She was again the poet's cheerful nurse, the fair
flower of the household, the happy mother, the intellectual woman, the
centre of a brilliant circle. I gazed as if at a buried world, which
suddenly became once more alive: its inhabitants, clad in antique
garments, walked past us, stared in astonishment, and seemed to say,
We too were happy and beloved, feted and praised, the blue sky arched
over us also, and we plucked violets and rejoiced in their fragrance
till the deep, heavy sleep came.

Wait--only wait:
Soon thou too will rest.

It was a cold, feeble hand I respectfully kissed at parting, and I
remained under its spell, lingering in the strange world conjured
up by Ottilie von Goethe, till we stood before Goethe's pretty
summer-house and the blue violets peeped at us from the turf. The
windows stood wide open, the mild breeze swept gently in, and the sun
also looked to see if everything was in order in "der alte Herr's"
rooms. Far away between the trees gleamed the white pillars of the
house, and the ground at our feet was covered with a blue carpet. It
is said that nowhere in North Germany are there so many violets as
in the vicinity of Weimar. And why? Because, as the people poetically
say, "der alte Herr," whenever he went to walk, always filled his
pockets with violet-seeds, and scattered them everywhere with lavish



Putting out of the question the Piazza of St. Peter's with Bernini's
encircling colonnades, which is a special thing and unlike anything
else in the world, the Piazza Navona is the handsomest piazza in Rome.
It is situated in the thickest and busiest part of the city, far out
of the usual haunts of the foreign residents, and nearly in the centre
of that portion of the city which is enclosed between the Corso and
the great curving sweep of the Tiber. It is handsome, not only
from its great space and regular shape--a somewhat elongated double
cube--but from its three fountains richly ornamented with statuary
of no mean artistic excellence, and from the clean and convenient
pavement which, intended for foot-passengers only, occupies all the
space save a carriage-way close to the houses encircling it. This
large extent of pavement, well provided with benches, and protected
from the incursion of carriages, which make almost every other part of
Rome more or less unsafe for all save the most wide-awake passengers,
renders the Piazza Navona a playground specially adapted for
nurses and their charges, who may generally be seen occupying it in
considerable numbers. But on the occasion on which I wish to call the
reader's attention to it the scene it presents is a very different and
far more locally characteristic one.

We will suppose it to be about midnight on the fifth of January, the
day preceding the well-known revel, now come to be mainly a children's
festival, which English people call Twelfth Night and celebrate by the
consumption of huge plumcakes and the drawing of lots for the offices
of king and queen of the revels. The Italians call it the festival
of the "Befana," the word being a readily-perceived corruption of
"Epifania." Of course the sense and meaning of the original term have
been entirely forgotten, and the Befana of the Italian populace is a
sort of witch, mainly benevolent indeed, and especially friendly to
children, to whom in the course of the night she brings presents, to
be found by them in the morning in a stocking or a shoe or any
other such fantastic hiding-place. But Italians are all more or less
children of a larger growth, and at Rome especially the populace of
all ages, ever ready for _circenses_ in any form, make a point of
"keeping" the festival of the Befana, who holds her high court on her
own night in the Piazza Navona.

We will betake ourselves thither about midnight, as I have said. It
is a bitterly cold night, and the stars are shining brilliantly in the
clear, steely-looking sky--such a night as Rome has still occasionally
at this time of year, and as she used to have more frequently when
Horace spoke of incautious early risers getting nipped by the cold.
One of the first things that strikes us as we make our way to the
place of general rendezvous muffled in our thickest and heaviest
cloaks and shawls is the apparent insensibility of this people to the
cold. One would have expected it to be just the reverse. But whether
it be that their organisms have stored up such a quantity of sunshine
during the summer as enables them to defy the winter's cold, or
whether their Southern blood runs more rapidly in their veins, it is
certain that men, women and children--and especially the women--will
for amusement's sake expose themselves to a degree of cold and
inclement weather that a Northerner would shrink from.

For some days previously, in preparation for the annual revel,
a series of temporary booths have by special permission of the
municipality been erected around the piazza. In these will be sold
every kind of children's toys--of the more ordinary sorts, that is
to say; for Roman children have never yet been rendered fastidious in
this respect by the artistic inventions that have been provided for
more civilized but perhaps not happier childhood. There will also be
a store of masks, colored dominoes, harlequins' dresses, monstrous and
outrageous pasteboard noses, and, especially and above all, every kind
of contrivance for making a noise. In this latter kind the peculiar
and characteristic specialty of the day are straight tin trumpets
some four or five feet in length. These are in universal request among
young and old; and the general preference for them is justified by the
peculiarly painful character of the note which they produce. It is a
very loud and vibrating sound of the harshest possible quality. One
feels when hearing it as if the French phrase of "skinning the ears"
were not a metaphorical but a literal description of the result of
listening to the sound. And when hundreds of blowers of these are
wandering about the streets in all parts of the town, but especially
in the neighborhood of the Piazza Navona, making night hideous with
their braying, it may be imagined that those who go to their beds
instead of doing homage to the Befana have not a very good time of it

It is a curious thing that the Italians, who are denizens of "the land
of song," should take especial delight in mere abundance of discordant
noise. Yet such is unquestionably the case. They are in their festive
hours the most noisy people on earth. And the farther southward you
go the more pronounced and marked is the propensity. You may hear boys
and men imitating the most inharmonious and vociferous street-cries
solely for the purpose of exercising their lungs and making a noise.
The criers of the newspapers in the streets must take an enthusiastic
delight in their trade; and I have heard boys in the street who had
no papers to sell, and nothing on earth to do with the business,
screaming out the names of the different papers at the hour of their
distribution at the utmost stretch of their voices, and for no reason
on earth save the pleasure of doing it--just as one cock begins to
crow when he hears another.

The crowd on the piazza is so thick and close-packed that it is a
difficult matter to move in any direction when you are once within it,
but good-humor and courtesy are universal. An Italian crowd is always
the best-behaved crowd in the world--partly, I take it, from the
natural patience of the people, and the fact that nobody is ever in a
hurry to move from the place in which he may happen to be; and partly
as a consequence of the general sobriety. Even on such a night of
saturnalia as this of the Befana very little drunkenness is to be
seen. Although the crowd is so dense that every one's shoulder is
closely pressed against that of his neighbor, there is a great deal of
dancing going on. Here and there a ring is formed, carved out, as it
were, from the solid mass of human beings, in which some half dozen
couples are revolving more or less in time to the braying of a bagpipe
or scraping of a fiddle, executing something which has more or less
semblance to a waltz. The mode in which these rings are formed is at
once simple and efficacious. Any couple who feel disposed to dance
link themselves together and begin to bump themselves against their
immediate neighbors. These accept the intimation with the most perfect
good-humor, and assist in shoving back those behind them. A space
is thus gained in the first instance barely enough for the original
couple to gyrate in. But by violently and persistently dancing
up against the foremost of the little ring the area is gradually
enlarged: first one other couple and then another are moved to follow
the example, and they in their turn assist in bumping out the limits
of the ring till it has become some twenty feet or so in diameter.
These impromptu ball-rooms rarely much exceed that size, but dozens
of them may be found in the course of one's peregrinations around the
large piazza. The occupants of some of them will be found to consist
of town-bred Romans, and those of others of people from the country.
There is no mistaking them one for the other, and the two elements
rarely mingle together. The differences to be observed in the bearing
and ways of the two are not a little amusing, and often suggestive of
considerations not uninstructive to the sociologist. The probabilities
are that the music in the case of the first mentioned of the above
classes will be found to consist of a fiddle--in that of the latter,
of a bagpipe, the old classical _cornamusa_, which has been the
national instrument of the hill-country around the Campagna for it

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