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The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. I., No. 3, January 1858 by Various

Part 2 out of 5

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dictionary, to see how they were spelt;--and parsing! and doing sums!--
oh, gracious! she never could teach school,--that was out of the

At last, after a long fit of silent musing, during which she had bit
her lips, and frowned, and gazed abstractedly at the wall, a gleam
of hope lit up her face, soon brightening into a smile. She had hit
upon a plan! She could learn the milliner's trade! She had always
been handy with her needle, and liked nothing better than to arrange
laces and ribbons and flowers. She could easily learn to make and
trim a bonnet, she thought; at least, she could try. At first it
would come hard to sit cooped up in those little back shops, sewing
and stitching from morning till night; but it was better than
marrying Elam Hunt, or than eating other people's bread. Then she
began to build castles in the air, as her custom was. She fancied
herself a milliner's apprentice, working away at bonnets and caps,
among a group of other girls,--sometimes rising to attend upon a
customer, or peeping out between the folds of a curtain at people in
the front shop. She wondered whether Cornelia and Helen would be
ashamed of knowing a milliner's apprentice, if they should chance to
see her in Hartford.

What would her schoolmates say? and would her hero despise a girl
that worked for a livelihood? Then she whimpered a little, thinking
how lonesome she would be, for a while, among strangers; but it was
a kind of lamentation that differed widely from the frantic weeping
of the morning. Then, all at once, a doubt began to depress her
new-born hopes. Could she get a place? She was a stranger in Hartford,
and beyond that city she dared not send her thoughts. Could Tira get
a place for her? She feared not, for Tira herself seldom went to the
city. But there was Doctor Bugbee, who knew a great many people there,
and who was so rich and powerful, that even in Hartford, though it
was a city, his word must have great influence. Besides, the firm of
Bugbee Brothers purchased large quantities of goods at some of the
great millinery shops. The Doctor's own private custom was not small,
for Cornelia dressed as became her condition, and even little Helen
scorned to wear a bonnet unless it came from Hartford. Doctor Bugbee
could help her to find a place. Doubtless he would be willing, nay,
even glad, to assist her in her trouble. At any rate, she would ask
him. But how was she to see him? He was not likely to call upon her,
unless she feigned sickness, and sent for him; for her sister would
not permit her to go to his house, where she would be sure to see
Tira. Besides, the Doctor's manner had of late grown so distant and
forbidding, that she was a little fearful of obtruding herself upon
his notice. Though sorry for this change, she had never laid it so
much to heart as to be grieved or affronted; for even his children
complained of his altered behavior, and all his friends had noticed
the gloomy expression which his face sometimes wore. But now she
troubled herself with wondering whether she had given him any cause
to be offended with her. Perhaps her giddy nonsense and thoughtless
gayety, which when he himself was cheerful and happy he had listened
to without displeasure, had vexed and annoyed him in his moods of
sadness and dejection. But what else could she do than solicit his
aid? The favor, though small for him to grant, would be of immense
benefit to her, and the good-hearted Doctor would not be likely to
refuse. She would tell him how friendless she was, and beg him to
help the fatherless in her distress. She knew that he would not turn
her away. At all events, she could try.

Coming at last to this conclusion, and wonderfully cheered and
strengthened by the purpose she had formed, she washed her face,
arranged her dishevelled hair, and smoothed her rumpled dress. Then
sitting down behind the window-curtain, she began to watch for
Cornelia, hoping her friend would not long delay her accustomed
visit to the parsonage. But it happened that Cornelia had that very
day begun a novel, in three volumes, the heroine of which was
represented to be a young lady whose extreme beauty and amiable
temper made her deserving of better treatment than she received at
the hands of the hard-hearted author, who suffered her to be cheated
and bullied by a scheming and brutal guardian, to be slandered by
his envious daughter, persecuted by a dissolute nobleman, haunted by
a spectre, shut up in a tower, exposed to manifold dangers, beset by
robbers, abducted, assaulted, barely rescued, and, finally, even
teased and tormented by the chosen lover of her heart, a
jealous-pated fellow, who was always making her miserable and
himself ridiculous by his absurd suspicions and fractious behavior.

Sympathizing deeply with this distressed young woman, whose
unexampled misfortunes and troubles would have touched the heart of
even a marble statue, Cornelia was weeping dolefully over a page
near the end of the second volume, where the lady's lover, in a fit
of senseless jealousy, tears her miniature from his bosom, renounces
her affection, and leaves her swooning upon the floor. Just then
Helen rushed into her chamber, with a summons from Laura to hasten
at once to her side. For Laura, after long watching, had caught
sight of Helen jumping the rope on the grassplot, and by means of
coughing and waving her handkerchief from the window had attracted
the notice of the child, who, coming to the paling, had received the
message she forthwith bore to Cornelia, adding to it the information
that Laura's eyes appeared to be almost as red as Cornelia's own.

Staying only to finish the volume, Cornelia repaired to comfort and
console her friend, to whose chamber she found ready access in spite
of some vague misgivings in Mrs. Jaynes's mind. But, shrewd as this
lady was by nature, and apprehensive as she felt that some untoward
accident would prevent the accomplishment of her cherished plans, she
never dreamed of the momentous results that were to follow this
interview, apparently so harmless, between Laura and her friend; nor
would it be fitting to suffer an account of so important a conference
to appear at the end of a chapter.

[To be continued in the next Number.]

* * * * *


The Romans had many virtues, and conspicuous amongst these was the
virtue of impartiality. They treated everybody with equal inhumanity.
They were as pitiless towards the humble as towards the proud. The
quality of mercy was utterly unknown to them. Their motto,

"Parcere subjectis, et debellare superbos,"

Powell Buxton has happily translated, "They murdered all who
resisted them, and enslaved the rest."

But it was as slaveholders that the Romans most clearly exhibited
their impartiality. They were above those miserable subterfuges that
are so common with Americans. They made slaves of all, of the high
as well as the low,--of Thracians as well as Sardinians, of Greeks
and Syrians as readily as of Scythians and Cappadocians.

The consequence of the modes by which the Romans obtained their
bondmen,--by war, by purchase, and by kidnapping,--affecting as they
did the most cultivated and the bravest races, necessarily made
slavery a very dangerous institution. Greeks and Gauls, Thracians
and Syrians, Germans and Spaniards were not likely to submit their
necks readily to the yoke. They rose several times in great masses,
and contended for years on equal terms with the legions. Some of
their number exhibited the talents of statesmen and soldiers, at the
head of armies more numerous than both those which fought at Cannae.
One of them showed himself to be a born soldier, and caused the
greatest terror to be felt at Rome that had been known there since
that day on which Hannibal rode up to the Colline Gate, and cast his
javelin defiantly into that city which he himself never could enter.

The treatment of their slaves by the Romans was not unlike that
which slaves now experience. Some masters were kind, and there are
many facts which show that the relations between master and slave
were occasionally of the most amiable nature. But these were
exceptional cases, the general rule being cruelty, as it must be
where so much power is lodged in the hands of one class of men, and
the other has only a nominal protection from the law. Even where
cruelty takes no other form than that involved in hard labor, the
slave must experience intolerable oppression. Now the Romans were
the most avaricious people that ever lived. They had a hearty love
of money for money's sake. They would do anything for gold. Such men
were not likely to let their slaves grow fat from light tasks and
abundant food; their food was light, and their tasks were heavy. So
ill-fed were they that they were compelled to rob on the highway,
and were encouraged to do so by their owners. Indeed, much of the
private economy of the Romans was founded on cruelty to their slaves.
Some, who have come down to us as model men, were infamous for their
maltreatment of their bondmen. The life of any foreigner was of but
little account with any Roman, but enslaved foreigners were regarded
as on a level with brutes. Many anecdotes are related of the
ferocious disregard of all humanity which the world's masters
manifested towards the servile classes. There is a story told by
Cicero, in one of the Verrine Orations, which peculiarly illustrates
this feature of the Roman character. The praetorian edicts forbade
slaves to carry arms. There were no exceptions. A boar of great size
was once given to Lucius Domitius, who was a Sicilian Praetor. Its
size caused him to ask by whom it was slain; and on being informed
that the hunter was a shepherd and slave, he sent for him. The slave,
not doubting that he should be rewarded for his bravery, hastened to
present himself before the Praetor, who asked him what he killed the
animal with, "With a spear," was the answer; whereupon the Praetor
ordered that he should be immediately crucified. This was but one of
thousands of similar acts that were perpetrated by Romans through
many generations.

The slaves, as we have remarked, occasionally revolted, and the
efforts that were found necessary to subdue them rose sometimes to
the dignity of wars. The first Servile War of the Romans occurred in
Sicily. There were various reasons why this fine island should
become the scene of servile wars sooner than other portions of the
Roman dominions. Upon the final expulsion of the Carthaginians,
about the middle of the second Punic War, great changes of property
ensued. Speculators from Italy rushed into the island, "who," says
Arnold, "in the general distress of the Sicilians, bought up large
tracts of land at a low price, or became the occupiers of estates
which had belonged to Sicilians of the Carthaginian party, and had
been forfeited to Rome after the execution or flight of their owners.
The Sicilians of the Roman party followed the example, and became
rich out of the distress of their countrymen. Slaves were to be had
cheap; and corn was likely to find a sure market whilst Italy was
suffering from the ravages of war. Accordingly, Sicily was crowded
with slaves, employed to grow corn for the great landed proprietors,
whether Sicilian or Italian, and so ill-fed by their masters that
they soon began to provide for themselves by robbery. The poorer
Sicilians were the sufferers from this evil; and as the masters were
well content that their slaves should be maintained at the expense of
others, they were at no pains to restrain their outrages. Thus,
although nominally at peace, though full of wealthy proprietors, and
though exporting corn largely every year, yet Sicily was teeming with
evils, which, seventy or eighty years after, broke out in the
horrible atrocities of the Servile War." [2]

[Footnote 2: Arnold, _History of Rome_, Vol. III. pp. 317-318,
London edition.]

The Sicilian Servile War began B.C. 133, only a few years after the
destruction of Carthage and Corinth, and when the military power of
the republic was probably at its height, though military discipline
may have been somewhat relaxed from the old standard. It lasted two
or three years. The chief of the slaves had at one time two hundred
thousand followers, inclusive, probably, of women and children. He
was a Syrian of Apamea, named Eunus, and had been a prophet and
conjurer among the slaves. To his prophecies and tricks he owed his
elevation when the rebellion broke out. According to some accounts,
he was rather a cunning than an able man; but it should be
recollected that his enemies only have drawn his portrait. The
victories he so often won over the Roman forces are placed to the
credit of his lieutenant, a Cilician of the name of Cleon; but he
must have been a man of considerable ability to have maintained his
position so long, and to have commanded the services of those said
to have been his superiors. Cleon's superiority was probably only
that of the soldier. He fell in battle, and Eunus was made prisoner,
but died before he could be brought to punishment,--no doubt, to the
vast regret of his savage captors.

In the year B.C. 103, another Servile War broke out in Sicily, and
was not brought to an end until after four years of hard fighting.
The leaders were Salvius, or Tryphon, an Italian, and Athenion, a
Cilician, or Greek. Both showed considerable talent, but owed their
leadership, Salvius to his knowledge of divination, and Athenion to
his pretensions to astrology. They were often successful, and it was
not until a Consul had taken the field against them that the slaves
were subdued, the chiefs having successively fallen, and no one
arising to make their place good.

The next great Servile War was on a grander scale, though briefer,
than either of the Sicilian contests. Its scene was Italy, and it
was conducted, on the part of the rebels, by the profoundest military
genius ever encountered by the Romans, with the exception, perhaps,
of Hannibal. We speak of SPARTACUS, who defeated many Roman armies,
and disputed with the all-conquering republic the dominion of the
Italian Peninsula, and with it that of the civilized world. This war
took place B.C. 73-71, while Rome was engaged in hostilities with
Sertorius and Mithridates; and it was brought to an end only by the
exertions of the ablest generals the republic then had,--the great
Pompeius having been summoned from Spain, and it being in
contemplation to order home Lucullus from the East. In the war with
Hannibal the Romans showed their fearlessness by sending troops to
Spain while the Carthaginian with his army was lying under their
walls; but they called troops and generals from Spain to their
assistance against the Thracian gladiator. He must have been a man
of extraordinary powers to have accomplished so much with the means
at his disposal. It has been regarded as a proof of the astonishing
powers of Hannibal as a commander, that he could keep together, and
in effective condition, an army composed of the outcasts, as it were,
of many nations, and win with it great victories, scattered over a
long period of time; yet this was less than was done by Spartacus.
The Carthaginian, like Alexander, succeeded to an army formed by his
father, next after himself the ablest man of the age. The Thracian,
without country or home, and an outlaw from the beginning of his
enterprise, had to create an army, and that out of the most
heterogeneous and apparently the most unpromising materials. The
palm must be aligned to the latter.

To what race did Spartacus belong? We are told that he was a
Thracian, his family being shepherds. The Thracians were a brave
people, but by no means remarkable for the highest intellectual
superiority; yet Spartacus was eminently a man of mind, with large
views, and an original genius for organization and war. Plutarch
pays him the highest compliment in his power, by admitting that he
deserved to be regarded as belonging to the Hellenic race. He was,
says the old Lifemaker, "a man not only of great courage and strength,
but, in judgment and mildness of character, superior to his condition,
and more like a Greek than one would expect from his nation."
It is not impossible that he had Greek blood in his veins. Thrace
was hard by Greece, had many Greek cities, and its full proportion
of those Greek adventurers, military and civil, who were to be found
in every country and city, from Spain to Persia, from Gades to
Ecbatana. What more probable than that among his ancestors were
Greeks? At the same time it must be admitted that the Thracians
themselves were capable of producing eminent men, being a superior
physical race, and prevented only by the force of circumstances from
attaining to a respectable position. They were renowned for
soldierlike qualities, which caused the Romans to give them the
preference as gladiators,--a dubious honor, to say the best of it.

How, and under what circumstances, Spartacus became a gladiator, is
a point by no means clear. We cannot trust the Roman accounts, as it
was a meritorious thing, in the opinion of a Roman, for a man to lie
for his country, as well as to die for it. Florus states, that he was
first a Thracian mercenary, then a Roman soldier, then a deserter
and robber, and then, because of his strength, a gladiator from
choice. But, to say nothing of the national prejudices of Florus, he
writes like a man who felt it to be a particular grievance that
Romans should have been compelled to fight slaves, and particularly
gladiators. This is in striking contrast with Plutarch, who was a
contemporary of Florus, but whose patriotic pride was not wounded by
the victories which the Thracian gladiator won over Roman generals.
Indeed, as he was willing to admit that Spartacus ought to have been
a Greek, we may suppose that he was pleased to read of his victories,--
a not unnatural thing in a provincial, and particularly in a Greek,
who knew so well what his country had once been. Plutarch says not a
word about the Thracian having been a soldier and a thief, but
introduces him with one of his good stories. "They say," he tells us,
"that when Spartacus was first taken to Rome to be sold, a snake was
seen folded over his face while he was sleeping, and a woman, of the
same tribe with Spartacus, who was skilled in divination, and
possessed by the mysterious rites of Dionysus, declared that this
was a sign of a great and formidable power, which would attend him
to a happy termination." She was the Thracian's wife, or mistress,
being connected with him by some tender tie, and was with him when
he subsequently escaped from Capua. In the bloody drama of the War
of Spartacus hers is the sole relieving figure, and we would fain
know more of her, for it could have been no ordinary woman who was
loved by such a man.

The passion of the Romans for gladiatorial combats is well known.
Not a few persons followed the calling of gladiator-trainers, and
had whole corps of these doomed men, whom they let to those who
wished to get up such shows. There were several schools of gladiators,
the chief of which were at Ravenna and Capua, where garrisons were
maintained to keep the pupils in subjection. According to one account,
Spartacus, while on a predatory incursion, was made prisoner, and
afterwards sold to Cneius Lentulus Batiatus, a trainer of gladiators,
who sent him to his school at Capua. He was to have fought at Rome.
But he had higher thoughts than of submitting to so degrading a
destiny as the being "butchered to make a Roman holiday." Most of
his companions were Gauls and Thracians, the bravest of men, who
bore confinement with small patience. They conspired to make their
escape,--the chief conspirators being Spartacus and two others, who
were subsequently made his lieutenants,--Crixus, a Gaul, and Oenomaus,
a Greek. Some two hundred persons were in the conspiracy, but only a
portion of them succeeded in breaking the school bounds. Florus says
that not more than thirty got out, while Velleius makes the number
to have been sixty-four, and Plutarch seventy-eight. Having armed
themselves with spits, knives, and cleavers, from a cook's shop,
they hastened out of Capua. Passing along the Appian Way, they fell
in with a number of wagons loaded with gladiators' weapons, which
they seized, and were thus placed in good fighting condition.
Shortly after this they encountered a small body of soldiers, whom
they routed, and whose arms they substituted for the gladiatorial,
deeming these no longer worthy of them.

They were now joined by a few others, fugitives and mountaineers,
with whom they took refuge in the crater of Vesuvius, then, as from
time immemorial, and for nearly a century and a half later, inactive.
Thence, under the leadership of Spartacus and his lieutenants, Crixus
and Oedomaus, they ravaged the country; but it is not probable that
they caused much alarm, their number being only two hundred, and
such collections of slaves being by no means uncommon. The Romans
little dreamed that they were on the eve of one of the most terrible
of their many wars. Claudius Pulcher, one of the Praetors, was sent
against the "robbers," as they were considered to be. He found them
so advantageously posted on the mountain, that, though superior to
them in numbers in the ratio of fifteen to one, he resolved to
blockade them, and so compel them to descend to the plain and fight
at disadvantage, or starve. But he was contending with a man of
genius, against whom even Rome's military system could not then
succeed. He despised his enemy,--a sort of gratification which to
those indulging in it generally costs very dear. Spartacus caused
ropes to be made of vine branches, with the aid of which he and his
followers lowered themselves to the base of the mountain, at a point
which had been left unguarded by the Romans because considered
inaccessible by the red-tapist who commanded them, and consequently
affording a capital outlet for bold men under a daring leader. In
the dead of night the gladiators stole round to the rear of the
Roman camp, and assailed it. Taken by surprise and heavy with sleep,
the Romans were routed like sheep, and their arms and baggage passed
into the hands of the despised enemy.

Spartacus saw now that it was time for him and his comrades to
assume a higher character than had hitherto belonged to them.
Instead of a leader of outlaws, he aspired to be the liberator of
the servile population of Italy. He issued a proclamation, in which,
while calling upon his followers to remember the multitudes who
groaned in chains, he urged the slaves to rise, pointing out how
strong they were and how weak were their oppressors, maintaining
that the strength of the masters lay in the blind and disgraceful
submission of the slaves, at the same time declaring that the land
belonged of right to the bravest,--a sentiment as natural and proper
when uttered by a man in his situation as it is base when proceeding
from a modern buccaneer, who has taken up arms, not to obtain his
own freedom, but to enslave others. The whole address is
contemptuous towards the Romans, though somewhat too rhetorical for
a man in the situation of Spartacus. It is the composition of Sallust,
but we may believe that it expresses the sentiments of Spartacus, as
Sallust was not only his contemporary, but was too good an artist to
disregard keeping in what he wrote.

Italy was at this time full of slaves, many of whom must have been
men of quite as much intelligence as the Romans, having been made
captives in war. The free population of the Peninsula had almost
entirely disappeared. Two generations before, Tiberius Gracchus had
pointed to the miserable condition of Italy, and to the fact that
the increase of the slave population had caused the Italian yeomanry
to become almost extinct. In the years that had passed since his
murder the work of extinction had gone on at an accelerated rate,
the Social War and the Wars of Sulla and Marius having aided slavery
to do its perfect work. In this way had perished that splendid rural
population from which the Roman legionary infantry had been
conscribed, and which had enabled the aristocratical republic to
baffle the valor of Samnium, the skill of Pyrrhus, and the genius of
Hannibal. Even so early as in the first of the Eastern wars of the
Romans, immediately after the second defeat of Carthage, there were
indications that the supply of Roman soldiers was giving out. An
anecdote of the younger Scipio shows what must have been the
character of a large part of the Roman population more than sixty
years before the War of Spartacus. When he declared that Tiberius
Gracchus had rightly been put to death, and an angry shout at the
brutal speech came from the people, he turned to them and exclaimed,
"Peace, ye stepsons of Italy! Remember who it was that brought you
in chains to Rome!"

The country being full of slaves and the children of slaves,
Spartacus had little difficulty in obtaining recruits. Apulia was
particularly fruitful of insurgents. In that country the vices of
Roman slavery were displayed in all their naked hideousness, and the
Apulian shepherds and herdsmen had a reputation for lawlessness
that has never been surpassed. Yet this was the consequence, not the
cause, of their bondage. It is related that some of them having
asked their master for clothing, he exclaimed, "What! are there no
travellers with clothes on?" "The atrocious hint," says Liddell,
"was soon taken; the shepherd slaves of Lower Italy became banditti,
and to travel through Apulia without an armed retinue was a perilous
adventure. From assailing travellers, the marauders began to plunder
the smaller country-houses; and all but the rich were obliged
to desert the country, and Hock into the towns. So early as the
year 185 B.C., seven thousand slaves in Apulia were condemned for
brigandage by a Praetor sent specially to restore order in that land
of pasturage. When they were not employed upon the hills, they were
shut up in large, prison-like buildings, (_ergastula_) where they
talked over their wrongs, and formed schemes of vengeance." [3] The
century and more between this date and the appearance of Spartacus
had not improved the condition of the Apulian slaves. He found them
ripe for revolt, and was soon joined by thousands of their number,
men whose modes of life rendered them the very best possible
material for soldiers, provided they could be induced to submit to
the restraints of discipline. They were strong, hardy, athletic, and
active, and full of hatred of their masters. It shows the superiority
of the Thracian that he could prevail upon them to act in a regular
manner. He formed them into an army, the chief officers being the
men who had escaped from Capua in his company. This army had some
discipline, which was the more easily acquired because many of the
men were originally soldiers, captives of the Roman sword. But the
hatred of all in it to the Romans, and their knowledge that they had
to choose between victory and the crudest forms of death known to
the crudest of conquerors, made them the most reliable military
force then to be found in the world.

[Footnote 3: Liddell, _History of Rome_, Vol. II, p. 144]

With such an army, thus composed, thus animated, and thus led,
Spartacus commenced that war to which he has given his name.
Bursting upon Lower Italy, the most horrible atrocities were
perpetrated, the rich landholders being subjected to every species
of indignity and cruelty, in accordance with that law of retaliation
which was accepted and recognized by all the ancient world, and
which the modern has not entirely abrogated. Towns were captured and
destroyed, [4] and the slaves everywhere liberated to swell the
conquering force. Spartacus is said to have sought to moderate the
fury of his followers, and we can believe that he did so without
supposing that he was much above his age in humane sentiment. He saw
that excesses were likely to demoralize his army, and so render it
unfit to meet the legions which it must sooner or later encounter.

[Footnote 4: These ravages seem to have made a great impression on
the Romans, and were by them long remembered. Forty years later
Horace alludes to them, in that Ode which he wrote on the return of
Augustus from Spain (Carm. III. xiv. 19). He calls to his young
slave to fetch him a jar of wine that had seen the Marsiaii War,
"If there could be found one that had escaped the vagabond Spartacus."
The manner in which he, the son of a _libertinus_, speaks of
Spartacus, is not only amusing as an instance of foolish pride, but
is curious as illustrating a change in Roman ideas that was working
out more important results than could have followed from all the
acts of the first two Caesars, though, perhaps it was in some sense
connected with, if not dependent upon, their legislation.]

Much as Spartacus had done, and signal as had been his successes, it
was not yet the opinion at Rome that he was a formidable foe. The
government despatched Publius Varinius Glaber to act against him, at
the head of ten thousand men. This seems a small force, yet it was
not much smaller than the army with which, three or four years later,
Lucullus overthrew the whole military power of the Armenian monarchy;
and it was half as large as that with which Caesar changed the fate
of the world at Pharsalia. The Romans probably thought it strong
enough to subdue all the slaves in Italy, and Varinius sufficiently
skilful to defeat their leaders and send them to Rome in chains. But
they were to have a rough awakening from their dreams of
invincibility, though some early successes of Varinius for a time
apparently justified their confidence.

The army of Spartacus numbered forty thousand men, but it was poorly
armed, and its discipline was very imperfect. It still lacked, to
use a modern term, "the baptism of fire,"--never yet having been
matched in the open field against a regular force. Its arms were
chiefly agricultural implements, and wooden pikes that had been made
by hardening the points of stakes with fire. Spartacus resolved upon
retreating into Lucania; but the Gauls in his army, headed by his
lieutenant Crixus, pronounced this decision cowardly, separated
themselves from the main body, attacked the Romans, and were utterly
routed. The retreat to Lucania was then made in perfect safety, and
even with glory, apart from the skill with which it was conducted.
Watching his opportunity, and showing that he understood the military
principle of cutting up an enemy in detail, Spartacus fell upon a
Roman detachment, two thousand strong, and destroyed it. Shortly
after this, the Roman general succeeded, as he thought, in getting
him into a trap. The servile encampment was upon a piece of ground
hemmed in on one side by mountains, on the other by impassable waters,
and the Romans were about to close up the only outlets with some of
those grand works to which they owed so many of their conquests, when,
one night, Spartacus silently retreated, leaving his camp in such a
state as completely deceived the enemy, who did not discover what had
happened until the next morning, when the gladiators were beyond
their reach.

This masterly retreat was followed up by a brilliant surprise of a
division of the Roman army under the command of Cossinius. The night
was just getting in, and the soldiers were resting from their day's
march and from the labors of forming the encampment, when the
Thracian fell upon them. Thus suddenly attacked, they fled, without
making any show of resistance,--abandoning everything to the
assailants. Cossinius himself, who was bathing, had time only to
escape with his life. The Romans rallied, a battle ensued, and they
were routed, Cossinius being among the slain. This action took place
not far from the Aufidus, which had witnessed the slaughter of Cannae.

Spartacus now considered his army fairly "blooded." It had routed a
Roman detachment, and defeated a small army. Two Roman camps had
fallen into its hands, under circumstances that gave indications of
superior generalship, and several towns had been stormed. Though
still deficient in arms, he resolved to attack Varinius. Sallust
represents him as addressing his army before the battle, and telling
them that they were about to enter, not upon a single action, but
upon a long war,--that from success, then, would follow a series of
victories,--and that therein lay their only salvation from a death
at once excruciating and infamous. They must, he said, live upon
victory after victory,--an expression that showed he had a clear
comprehension of the nature of his situation. In the battle that
followed, Varinius was beaten, unhorsed, and compelled to fly for
his life. All his personal goods fell into the hands of Spartacus.
His lictors, with the _fasces_, shared the same fate. Spartacus
assumed the dress of the Roman, and all the ensigns of authority. He
has been censured for this; but a little reflection ought to convince
every one that he did not act from vanity, but from a profound
appreciation of the state of things in Italy. The slaves, of which
his army was composed, were accustomed to see the emblems of
authority with which he was now clothed and surrounded in the
possession of their masters alone; and when they beheld them on and
about their chief, they were not only reminded of the governing power,
but also of the overthrow of those who had therefore monopolized it.
Spartacus was a statesman; and knew how to operate on the minds of
the rude masses who followed him and obeyed his orders.

The defeat of Varinius left the whole of Lower Lucania at the mercy
of the gladiators. Spartacus now established posts at Metapontum and
at Thurii. Here he labored, with unceasing energy and industry, to
organize and discipline his men. Adopting various measures to
prevent them from becoming enervated through the abundance in which
they were revelling, he prohibited the use of money among them, and
gave all that he himself had to relieve those who had suffered from
the war. Some of his officers are said to have followed his example
in making so great a sacrifice for the common good.

Towards the close of the year Varinius had succeeded in getting
another army on foot. With this he resolved to watch the enemy,--
repeated defeats having made the Romans cautious, though they were
not even yet seriously alarmed. He formed and fortified a camp,
whence he kept a look-out. There was some skirmishing, but no
fighting on a large scale. This did not suit Spartacus, who had
become confident in himself and his men. He desired battle, but
wished the Romans should take the initiative, and was convinced that
the near approach of winter would compel them soon to fight or to
retreat. To encourage them, he feigned fear, and commenced a
retrograde movement; but no sooner had the elated Romans advanced in
pursuit than he turned upon them, and they were compelled to fight
under circumstances that made defeat certain. This second rout of
Varinius was total, and we hear no more of him.

Never had there been a more successful campaign than that which
Spartacus had just closed. His force had been increased from less
than one hundred men to nearly one hundred thousand. He had proved
himself more than the equal of the generals who had been sent
against him, both in strategy and in arms. He had fought three great
battles, and numerous lesser actions, and had been uniformly
successful. Like Carnot, he had "organized victory." A large part of
Italy was at his command, and, under any other circumstances than
those which existed, or against any other foe than Rome, he would
probably have found little difficulty in establishing a powerful
state, the origin of which would have been far more respectable than
of that with which he was contending. But he was a statesman, and
knew, that, brilliant as were his successes, he had no chance of
accomplishing anything permanent within the Peninsula. He was
fighting, too, for freedom, not for dominion. His plan was to get
out of Italy. Two courses were open to him. He might retreat to the
extremity of the Peninsula, cross the strait that separates it from
Sicily, and renew the servile wars of that island; or he might march
north, force his way out of Italy, and so with most of his followers
reach their homes in Gaul and Thrace. The latter course was
determined upon; but the more hot-headed portion of his men, the
Gauls, were opposed to it, and resolved to march upon Rome. A
division of the victorious army ensued. The larger number, under
Spartacus, proceeded to carry out the wise plan of their leader, but
the minority refused to obey him. We have seen, that, at the very
outset of his enterprise, Spartacus encountered opposition from the
Gauls in his army, who were ever for rash measures, and that,
separating themselves from their associates, under the lead of Crixus,
they had been defeated. Crixus rejoined his old chieftain, and did
good service; but he and his countrymen, untaught by experience, and
inflated with a notion of invincibility,--on what founded, it would
be hard to say,--would not aid Spartacus in his prudent attempt to
lead his followers out of Italy. Rome was their object, and, to the
number of thirty thousand, they separated themselves from the main
army. At first, the event seemed to justify their decision. Meeting
a Roman army, commanded by the Prettier Arrays, on the borders of
Samnium, the Gauls put it to rout, and the victory of Crixus was not
less decisive than any of those which had been won by Spartacus. But
this splendid dawn was soon overcast. Crixus was a drunkard, and,
while sleeping off one of his fits of intoxication, he was set upon
by a Roman army under the Consul Jellies. He was killed, and his
followers either shared his fate or were totally dispersed. This was
the first great victory won by the Romans in the war.

The defeat of Varinius aroused the Roman government to see that their
enemy was not to be despised, and, revolted slave though he was,
they were compelled to pay him the respect of making prodigious
efforts to effect his destruction. The Consuls Jellies and Lentulus
were charged with the conduct of the war. The former overthrew the
Gauls. The latter followed Spartacus, and came up with him in Etruria.
Here a contest of pure generalship took place. Lentulus was
determined not to fight until Gellius--whose victory he knew of--
should have come up; and Spartacus was equally determined that fight
he should before the junction could be effected. He succeeded in
blocking up the road by which Gellias was advancing, unknown to
Lentulus, and then offered the latter battle. Supposing that his
colleague would join him in the course of the action, the Roman
accepted the challenge and was beaten. The victors then marched to
meet Gellius, who was served after the same manner as Lentulus.
Spartacus was the only general who ever defeated two great Roman
armies, each headed by a Consul, on the same day, and in different
battles. Hannibal's Austerlitz, Cannae, approaches nearest to this
exploit of the Thracian; but on that field the two consular armies
were united under the command of Varro.

These great successes were soon followed by the defeat of two lesser
Roman armies, combined under the lead of the Praetor Manlius and the
Proconsul Cassius. This last victory not only left the whole open
country at the command of Spartacus, but also the road to Rome, upon
which city he now resolved to march. It would have been wiser, had
he persevered in his original plan, the execution of which his
victories must have made it easy to carry out. But perhaps success
had its usual effect, even on his mind, and blinded him to the
impossibility of permanent triumph in Italy. He winnowed his army,
dismissing all his soldiers except such as were distinguished by
their bravery, their strength, and their intelligence. In order that
his march might be swift, he caused all the superfluous baggage to be
destroyed. Every beast of burden that could be dispensed with was
slain. His prisoners were disposed of after the same fashion. In a
modern general such an act would be utterly without excuse. But it
was strictly in accordance with the laws of ancient warfare, and
Spartacus probably felt far more regret at sacrificing his beasts of
Burden than he experienced in consenting to, if he did not order,
the butchery of some thousands of men whom he must have looked upon
as so many brutes.

Proceeding to the south, Spartacus fell in with a great Roman army
led by Arrius, and a battle was fought near Ancona, in which victory
was true to the gladiator. The Romans were not only beaten, their
army was utterly destroyed; a result which they seem to have felt to
be so shameful, that they made no apologies for it. Why, after this
signal victory, Spartacus did not forthwith carry out his grand
design of attacking Rome,--a design every way so worthy of his
genius, and which alone could give him a chance of achieving
permanent success after he had abandoned the idea of forcing his way
out of Italy by a northern march,--can never be known. It is
supposed to have been in consequence of information that
circumstances had now placed it in his power to effect a passage
into Sicily, a project which he had regarded with favor at an
earlier period.

At this time the Cilician pirates had the command of the
Mediterranean, which they held until they were conquered, some years
later, by Pompeius. It was by the aid of these men that Spartacus
expected to carry his army into Sicily. They had shipping in
abundance, and in a few days they could have conveyed a hundred
thousand men across the narrow strait that separates Sicily from
Italy. This they agreed to do, and were paid in advance by Spartacus,
though it is probable that he relied less upon that payment for
their assistance than upon the palpable fact that their interests
were the same as his own. The pirates were on the sea what the
gladiatorial army was on land. They were the victims of Roman
oppression, and had become outlaws because the world's law was
against them. A union of their fleets, which numbered more than a
thousand vessels, with the army of Spartacus, in the harbors and on
the fields of Sicily, would perhaps have been more than a match for
the whole power of Rome, contending as the republic then was with
Mithridates, and bleeding still from the wounds inflicted by Marius
and Sulla, as well as from the blows of Spartacus. Sicily, too, was
then in a state which promised well for the design of the Thracian.
Verres was ruling over the island,--and how he ruled it Cicero has
told us. Had the victorious Thracian entered the island, both the
free population and the slaves would have risen against the Romans.
A new state might have been formed, strong both in fleets and in
armies, and compelled from the very nature of its origin to contend
to the death with its old oppressors. Whatever the result, it is
certain that a long Sicilian war, like that which the Romans had
been compelled to wage with the Carthaginians, would have changed
the course of history, by directing the attention and the energies
of such men as Crassus, Pompeius, and Caesar to very different fields
from those on which their fame and power were won.

But it was not to be. There was work for Rome to do, which could be
done by no other nation. The power that had been found superior to
Hannibal was not to fall before Spartacus, or even to have its
course stayed materially by his victories. He marched to the foot of
Italy, on the shore of the strait, where he expected to find his
supposed naval allies. He was disappointed. They, impolitic no less
than faithless, broke their engagement after they had pocketed the
sum agreed upon for their services. It was impossible for Spartacus
to carry out his design; for not only had he no vessels, but his
followers were, it is altogether probable, incapable of building them.
The Romans, too, must have had ships in the strait, and a very few
would have been found enough to keep it clear of the unskilful
gladiators, even had the latter had the time and the means to
construct boats.

After the defeat of the Romans under Arrius, the Senate had called
Crassus to the chief command, resolving to make an herculean effort
to destroy their terrible enemy. The accounts are somewhat confused,
but, according to Plutarch, Crassus commenced operations against
Spartacus before the latter marched for Sicily. He sent one of his
lieutenants, Mummius, to follow and harass the gladiators, but with
orders to avoid a general engagement. The lieutenant disobeyed his
orders, fought a battle, and was defeated. Not a few of his men threw
away their arms, and fled,--an uncommon thing with a Roman army. The
victors continued their march, but, as we have seen, failed in their
main object. Spartacus then took up a position in the territory of
Rhegium, which is over against Sicily. He must have been convinced
by this time that the crisis of his fortune had arrived, and though
he would not even then entirely give up all idea of crossing over
into the island that lay within sight of his camp, he prepared to
meet the coming storm, which had been for some time gathering in his
rear. Accordingly he faced about, and commenced a game of
generalship with Crassus, who was now in person at the head of the
Roman army. [5]

[Footnote 5: It is probable that justice has never been done to
Crassus as a military man. Roman writers were not likely to deal
fairly with a man who closed his career so fatally to himself, and
so disgracefully in every way to his country. It was his misfortune--
a misfortune of his own creating--to lead the finest Roman army that
had ever been seen in the East to destruction, in an unjust attack on
the Parthians. Had he succeeded, the injustice of his course would
have been overlooked by his countrymen; but they never could forgive
his defeat. Yet it is certain that this man, who has come down to us
as a contemptible creature, having small claim to consideration
beyond what he derived from his enormous possessions, not only
exhibited eminent military ability in the War of Spartacus, but,
when a young man, won that great battle which takes its name from
the Colline Gate, and which laid the Roman world at the feet of Sulla.
Pontius Telesious had marched upon Rome, with the intention of
"destroying the den of the wolves of Italy," and Sulla arrived to
the city's rescue but just in time. In the battle that immediately
followed, Sulla, at the head of the left wing of his army, was
completely defeated, while the right wing, commanded by Crassus, was
as completely victorious. Talent must have had something to do with
Crassus's success, which enabled Sulla to retrieve his fortunes, and
to triumph over the Marius party. One hundred thousand men are said
to have fallen in this battle. The avarice of Crassus and his want
of popular manners were fatal to him in life, and his defeat left
him no friends in death.]

Of all men then living, Crassus was best entitled to command an army
employed in fighting revolted slaves. If not the greatest
slaveholder in Rome, he was the most systematic of the class of
owners, and knew best how to turn the industry of slaves to account.
He was the wealthiest citizen of the republic. One can understand
how indignant such a person must have felt at the audacity of the
gladiator and his followers. As a slaveholder, as a man of property,
as a lover of law and order, he was concerned at so very disorderly
a spectacle as that of slaves subverting all the laws of the republic;
as a Roman, he felt that abhorrence for slaves which was common to
the character. Here were motives enough to bring out the powers of
any man, if powers he had in him; and it does not follow that
because Crassus was very rich he was therefore a fool. He was a man
of consummate talents, and at this particular time was probably the
most influential citizen of Rome. The Romans had confidence in him,
as the embodiment of the spirit of supremacy by which they were so
completely animated. The event showed that their confidence was not

The army of Crassus was two hundred thousand strong, and having
restored its discipline by examples of great severity, he marched to
meet Spartacus; but on arriving in front of the latter's position,
he would not attack it, while Spartacus showed an equal
unwillingness to fight. The Roman determined to blockade the enemy.
As they had the sea on one side, and that was held by a fleet, he
commenced a line of works, the completion of which would have
rendered it impossible for the gladiators to escape. These works
were on the usual Roman scale, and consisted principally of walls and
ditches, a hundred thousand men being employed in their construction.
So cleverly did Crassus conceal what he was about, that it was not
until he had almost accomplished his design that Spartacus
discovered the intention of his foe. The emergency was suited to his
genius, and he was not unequal to it. He began a series of attacks
on the Romans, harassing them perpetually, retarding their labors,
and drawing their attention from that point of their line by which he
purposed to extricate his army. At last, on a night when a terrible
snow-storm was raging, he led his men to a place where the Roman
works were yet incomplete, the snow enabling them to march
noiselessly. When they reached the line, the immense ditches seemed
to bar their further advance; but they set resolutely at work to
fill them. Earth, snow, fagots, and dead bodies of men and beasts
were hastily thrown into them; and across this singular bridge the
whole army poured into the country, leaving the Roman camp behind,
and having rendered nugatory all the laborious digging and
trenching of the legions.

It was not until the next morning that Crassus discovered what had
been done, and how thoroughly he had been out-generalled by Spartacus.
But he had no room for vexation in his mind. He was so frightened as
a Roman citizen, that he could not feel mortified as a Roman soldier.
He took counsel of his fears, and did that which he had cause both
to be ashamed of and to regret in after days. He wrote to the Senate,
stating that in his opinion not only should Pompeius be summoned home
from Spain, but Lucullus also from the East, to aid in putting down
an enemy who was unconquerable by ordinary means. A short time
sufficed to show how indiscreetly for his own fame he had acted; for
Spartacus was unable to follow up his success, in consequence of
mutinies in his army. The Gauls again rebelled against his authority,
and left him. Crassus concentrated his whole force in an attack on
the seceders, and a battle followed which Plutarch says was the most
severely contested of the war. The Romans remained masters of the
field, more than twelve thousand of the Gauls being slain, of whom
only two were wounded in the back, the rest falling in the ranks.
Spartacus retreated to the mountains of Petelia, closely followed by
Roman detachments. Turning upon them, he drove them back; but this
last gleam of success led to his destruction. His policy was to
avoid a battle, but his men would not listen to his prudent counsels,
and compelled him to face about and march against Crassus. This was
what the Roman desired; for Pompeius was bringing up an army from
Spain, and would be sure to reap all the honors of the war, were it
to be prolonged.

Some accounts represent Spartacus as anxious for battle. Whether he
was so or not, he made every preparation that became a good general.
The armies met on the Silarus, in the northern part of Lucania; and
the battle which followed, and which was to finish this remarkable
war, was fought not far from where the traveller now sees the noble
ruins of Paestum. Spartacus made his last speech to his soldiers,
warning them of what they would have to expect, if they should fall
alive into the hands of their old masters. By way of practical
commentary on his text, he caused a cross to be erected on a height,
and to that cross was nailed a living Roman, whose agonies were
visible to the whole army. Spartacus then ordered his horse to be
brought to him in front of the army, and slew the animal with his own
hands. "I am determined," he said to his men, "to share all your
dangers. Our positions shall be the same. If we are victorious, I
shall get horses enough from the foe. If we are beaten, I shall need
a horse no more." [6]

[Footnote 6: When the Earl of Warwick, the King-maker, killed his
horse in front of the Yorkist army, at the battle of Towton,
(fought on Palm Sunday, 1461,) he little knew that he was imitating
the action of a general of revolted slaves, more than fifteen
centuries earlier. Warwick is said to have done the same thing at
the battle of Barnet, the last of his fields, where he was defeated
and slain, fighting for the House of Lancaster.]

The battle that followed was the most severely contested action of
that warlike period, which, extending through two generations, saw
the victories of Marius over the Northern barbarians at its
commencement, and Pharsalia and Munda and Philippi at its close. The
insurgents attacked with great fury, but with method, Spartacus
leading the way at the head of a band of select followers, thus
acting the part of a soldier as well as of a general. The Romans
steadily resisted,--and the slaughter was great on both sides. At
last, victory began to incline towards the gladiators, when
Spartacus fell, and the fortune of the day was changed. He had made a
fierce charge on the Romans, with the intention of cutting his way
to Crassus. Two centurions had fallen by his sword, and a number of
inferior men, when he was himself wounded in one of his thighs.
Falling upon one knee, he still continued to fight, until he was
overpowered and slain. The battle was maintained for some time longer,
and ended only with the destruction of the insurgents, thirty
thousand of whom were killed;--Livy puts their killed at forty
thousand. The Roman slain numbered twenty thousand, and they had as
many more wounded. Only six thousand prisoners fell into the hands
of Crassus, who caused the whole of them to be crucified,--the
crosses being placed at intervals on both sides of the Appian Way,
between Capua and Rome, and the whole Roman army being marched
through the horrible lines. A body of five thousand fugitives, who
sought refuge in the north, were intercepted by Pompeius on his
homeward march from Spain, and slaughtered to a man.

Thus fell Spartacus, and far more nobly than either of the great
republican chiefs whose deaths were so soon to follow. Pompeius, who
boasted that he had cut up the war by the roots, ran away from
Pharsalia, without an effort to retrieve his fortunes, though the
force opposed to him in the battle was only half as large as his own,
and he had still abundant resources for future operations. Crassus,
who claimed to have conquered Spartacus, and who not unreasonably
resented the pretensions of Pompeius, fell miserably in Parthia,
after having led the Romans to the most fatal of their fields except
Cannae. Wanting the nerve to die sword in hand in the midst of his
foes, like Spartacus, he consented to adorn the triumph of those foes,
and perished as ignominiously as the great gladiator gloriously.

* * * * *



"If anything could make a man forgive himself for being sixty years
old," said the Consul, holding up his wine-glass between his eye and
the setting sun,--for it was summer-time, "it would be that he can
remember M. ---- in her divine sixteenity at the Park Theatre, thirty
odd years ago. Egad, Sir, one couldn't help making great allowances
for _Don Giovanni_, after seeing her in _Zerlina_. She was beyond
imagination _piquante_ and delicious."

The Consul, as my readers may have partly inferred, was not a Roman
Consul, nor yet a French one. He had had the honor of representing
this great republic at one of the Hanse Towns,--I forget which,--in
President Monroe's time. I don't recollect how long he held the
office, but it was long enough to make the title stick to him for
the rest of his life with the tenacity of a militia colonelcy or
village diaconate. The country people round about used to call him
"the _Counsel_" which, I believe,--for I am not very fresh from my
school-books,--was etymologically correct enough, however
orthoepically erroneous. He had not limited his European life,
however, within the precinct of his Hanseatic consulship, but had
dispersed himself very promiscuously over the Continent, and had
seen many cities, and the manners of many men--and of some women,--
singing-women, I mean, in their public character; for the Consul,
correct of life as of ear, never sought to undeify his divinities by
pursuing them from the heaven of the stage to the purgatorial
intermediacy of the _coulisses_, still less to the lower depth of
disenchantment into which too many of them sunk in their private life.

"Yes, Sir," he went on, "I have seen and heard them all,--Catalani,
Pasta, Pezzaroni, Grisi, and all the rest of them, even Sonntag,--
though not in her very best estate; but I give you my word there is
none that has taken lodgings here," tapping his forehead, "so
permanently as the Signorina G----, or that I can see and hear so
distinctly, when I am in the mood of it, by myself. _Rosina,
Desdemona, Cinderella_, and, as I said just now, _Zerlina_,--she is
as fresh in them all to my mind's eye and ear, as if the Park
Theatre had not given way to a cursed shoe-shop, and I had been
hearing her there only last night. Let's drink her memory," the
Consul added, half in mirth and half in melancholy,--a mood to which
he was not unused, and which did not ill become him.

Now no intelligent person, who knew the excellence of the Consul's
wine, could refuse to pay this posthumous honor to the harmonious
shade of the lost Muse. The Consul was an old-fashioned man in his
tastes, to be sure, and held to the old religion of Madeira which
divided the faith of our fathers with the Cambridge Platform, and
had never given in to the later heresies which have crept into the
communion of good-fellowship from the South of France and the Rhine.

"A glass of Champagne," he would say, "is all well enough at the end
of dinner, just to take the grease out of one's throat, and get the
palate ready for the more serious vintages ordained for the solemn
and deliberate drinking by which man justifies his creation; but
Madeira, Sir, Madeira is the only stand-by that never fails a man
and can always be depended upon as something sure and steadfast."

I confess to having fallen away myself from the gracious doctrine
and works to which he had held so fast; but I am no bigot,--which
for a heretic is something remarkable,--and had no scruple about
uniting with him in the service he proposed, without demur or
protestation as to form or substance. Indeed, he disarmed fanaticism
by the curious care he bestowed on making his works conformable to
the faith that was in him; for, partly by inheritance and partly by
industrious pains, his old house was undermined by a cellar of wine
such as is seldom seen in these days of modern degeneracy. He is the
last gentleman, that I know of, of that old school that used to
import their own wine and lay it down annually themselves,--their
bins forming a kind of vinous calendar suggestive of great events.
Their degenerate sons are content to be furnished, as they want it,
from the dubious stores of the vintner, by retail.

"I suppose it was her youth and beauty, Sir," I suggested, "that
made her so rememberable to you. You know she was barely turned
seventeen when she sung in this country."

"Partly that, no doubt," replied the Consul, "but not altogether,
nor chiefly. No, Sir, it was her genius which made her beauty so
glorious. She was wonderfully handsome, though. She was a phantom of
delight, as that Lake fellow says,"--it was thus profanely that the
Consul designated the poet Wordsworth, whom he could not abide,--
"and the best thing he ever said, by Jove!"

"And did you never see her again?" I inquired.

"Once, only," he answered,--"eight or nine years afterwards, a year
or two before she died. It was at Venice, and in _Norma_. She was
different, and yet not changed for the worse. There was an
indescribable look of sadness out of her eyes, that touched one
oddly and fixed itself in the memory. But she was something apart
and by herself, and stamped herself on one's mind as Rachel did in
_Camille_ or _Phedre_. It was true genius, and no imitation, that
made both of them what they were. But she actually had the physical
beauty which Rachel only compelled you to think she had by the force
of her genius and consummate dramatic skill, while she was on the
scene before you."

"But do you rank M. ---- with Rachel as a dramatic artist?" I asked.

"I cannot tell," he answered; "but if she had not the studied
perfection of Rachel, which was always the same and could not be
altered without harm, she had at least a capacity of impulsive
self-adaptation about her which made her for the time the character
she personated,--not always the same, but such as the woman she
represented might have been in the shifting phases of the passion
that possessed her. And to think that she died at eight-and-twenty!
What might not ten years more have made her!"

"It is odd," I observed, "that her fame should be forever connected
with the name she got by her first unlucky marriage in New York. For
it was unlucky enough, I believe,--was it not?"

"You may say that," responded the Consul, "without fear of denial or
qualification. It was disgraceful in its beginning and in its ending.
It was a swindle on a large scale; and poor Maria G---- was the one
who suffered the most by the operation."

"I have always heard," said I, "that old G---- was cheated out of
the price for which he had sold his daughter, and that M. M. ----
got his wife on false pretences."

"Not altogether so," returned the Consul. "I happen to know all
about that matter from the best authority. She was obtained on false
pretences, to be sure, but it was not G---- that suffered by them.
M. M. ----, moreover, never paid the price agreed upon, and yet G----
got it for all that."

"Indeed!" I exclaimed, "it must have been a neat operation. I cannot
exactly see how the thing was done; but I have no doubt a tale hangs
thereby, and a good one. Is it tellable?"

"I see no reason why not," said the Consul; "the sufferer made no
secret of it, and I know of no reason why I should. Mynheer Van
Holland told me the story himself, in Amsterdam, in the year

"And who was he?" I inquired, "and what had he to do with it?"

"I'll tell you," responded the Consul, filling his glass and passing
the bottle, "if you will have the goodness to shut the window behind
you and ring for candles; for it gets chilly here among the
mountains as soon as the sun is down."

I beg your pardon,--did you make a remark?--Oh, _what mountains_? You
must really pardon me; I cannot give you such a clue as that to the
identity of my dear Consul, just now, for excellent and sufficient
reasons. But if you have paid your money for the sight of this Number,
you may take your choice of all the mountain ranges on the continent,
from the Rocky to the White, and settle him just where you like. Only
you must leave a gap to the westward, through which the river--also
anonymous for the present distress--breaks its way, and which gives
him half an hour's more sunshine than he would otherwise be entitled
to, and slope the fields down to its margin near a mile off, with
their native timber thinned so skilfully as to have the effect of
the best landscape-gardening. It is a grand and lovely scene; and
when I look at it, I do not wonder at one of the Consul's apophthegms,
namely, that the chief advantage of foreign travel is, that it
teaches you that one place is just as good to live in as another.
Imagine that the one place he had in his mind at the time was just
this one. But that is neither here nor there. When candles came, we
drew our chairs together, and he told me in substance the following
story. I will tell it in my own words,--not that they are so good as
his, but because they come more readily to the nib of my pen.


New York has grown considerably since she was New Amsterdam, and has
almost forgotten her whilom dependence on her first godmother. Indeed,
had it not been for the historic industry of the erudite Diedrich
Knickerbocker, very few of her sons would know much about the
obligations of their nursing mother to their old grandame beyond sea,
in the days of the Dutch dynasty. Still, though the old monopoly has
been dead these two hundred years, or thereabout, there is I know
not how many fold more traffic with her than in the days when it was
in full life and force. Doth not that benefactor of his species,
Mr. Udolpho Wolfe, derive thence his immortal, or immortalizing,
Schiedam Schnapps, the virtues whereof, according to his
advertisements, are fast transferring dram-drinking from the domain
of pleasure to that of positive duty? Tobacco-pipes, too, and toys,
such as the friendly saint, whom Protestant children have been
taught by Dutch tradition to invoke, delights to drop into the
votive stocking,--they come from the mother city, where she sits
upon the waters, quite as much a Sea-Cybele as Venice herself. And
linens, too, fair and fresh and pure as the maidens that weave them,
come forth from Dutch looms ready to grace our tables or to deck our
beds. And the mention of these brings me back to my story,--though
the immediate connection between Holland linen and M. ----'s marriage
may not at first view be palpable to sight. Still, it is a fact that
the web of this part of her variegated destiny was spun and woven
out of threads of flax that took the substantial shape of fine
Hollands;--and this is the way in which it came to pass.

Mynheer Van Holland, of whom the Consul spoke just now, you must
understand to have been one of the chief merchants of Amsterdam, a
city whose merchants are princes and have been kings. His
transactions extended to all parts of the Old World and did not skip
over the New. His ships visited the harbor of New York as well as of
London; and as he died two or three years ago a very rich man, his
adventures in general must have been more remunerative than the one
I am going to relate. In the autumn of the year 1825, it seemed good
to this worthy merchant to despatch a vessel with a cargo chiefly
made up of linens to the market of New York. The honest man little
dreamed with what a fate his ship was fraught, wrapped up in those
flaxen folds. He happened to be in London the Winter before, and was
present at the _debut_ of Maria G---- at the King's Theatre. He must
have admired the beauty, grace, and promise of the youthful _Rosina_,
had he been ten times a Dutchman; and if he heard of her intended
emigration to America, as he possibly might have done, it most likely
excited no particular emotion in his phlegmatic bosom. He could not
have imagined that the exportation of a little singing-girl to New
York should interfere with a potential venture of his own in fair
linen. The gods kindly hid the future from his eyes, so that he might
enjoy the comic vexation her lively sallies caused to _Doctor Bartolo_
in the play, unknowing that she would be the innocent cause of a
more serious provocation to himself, in downright earnest. He
thought of this, himself, after it had all happened.

Well, the good ship _Steenbok_ had prosperous gales and fair weather
across the ocean, and dropped anchor off the Battery with some days
to spare from the amount due to the voyage. The consignee came off
and took possession of the cargo, and duly transferred it to his own
warehouse. Though the advantages of advertising were not as fully
understood in those days of comparative ignorance as they have been
since, he duly announced the goods which he had received, and waited
for a customer. He did not have to wait long. It was but a day or
two after the appearance of the advertisement in the newspapers that
he had prime Holland linens on hand, just received from Amsterdam,
when he was waited upon by a gentleman of good address and evidently
of French extraction, who inquired of the consignee, whom we will
call Mr. Schulemberg for the nonce, "whether he had the linens he
had advertised yet on hand."

"They are still on hand and on sale," said Mr. Schulemberg.

"What is the price of the entire consignment?" inquired the customer.

"Fifty thousand dollars," responded Mr. Schulemberg.

"And the terms?"

"Cash, on delivery."

"Very good," replied the obliging buyer, "if they be of the quality
you describe in your advertisement, I will take them on those terms.
Send them down to my warehouse, No. 118. Pearl Street, tomorrow
morning, and I will send you the money."

"And your name?" inquired Mr. Schulemberg.

"Is M. ----," responded the courteous purchaser.

The two merchants bowed politely, the one to the other, mutually
well pleased with the morning's work, and bade each other good day.

Mr. Schulemberg knew but little, if anything, about his new customer;
but as the transaction was to be a cash one, he did not mind that.
He calculated his commissions, gave orders to his head clerk to see
the goods duly delivered the next morning, and went on change and
thence to dinner in the enjoyment of a complacent mind and a good

It is to be supposed that M. M. ---- did the same. At any rate, he
had the most reason,--at least, according to his probable notions of
mercantile morality and success.


The next day came, and with it came, betimes, the packages of linens
to M. M. ----'s warehouse in Pearl Street; but the price for the
same did not come as punctually to Mr. Schulemberg's counting-room,
according to the contract under which they were delivered. In point
of fact, M. M. ---- was not in at the time; but there was no doubt
that he would attend to the matter without delay, as soon as he came
in. A cash transaction does not necessarily imply so much the instant
presence of coin as the unequivocal absence of credit. A day or two
more or less is of no material consequence, only there is to be no
delay for sales and returns before payment. So Mr. Schulemberg gave
himself no uneasiness about the matter when two, three, and even five
and six days had slid away without producing the apparition of the
current money of the merchant. A man who transacted affairs on so
large a scale as M. M. ----, and conducted them on the sound basis
of ready money, might safely be trusted for so short a time. But when
a week had elapsed and no tidings had been received either of
purchaser or purchase-money, Mr. Schulemberg thought it time for
himself to interfere in his own proper person. Accordingly, he
incontinently proceeded to the counting-house of M. M. ---- to
receive the promised price or to know the reason why. If he failed
to obtain the one satisfaction, he at least could not complain of
being disappointed of the other. Matters seemed to be in some
little unbusiness-like confusion, and the clerks in a high state
of gleeful excitement. Addressing himself to the chief among them,
Mr. Schulemberg asked the pertinent question,--

"Is M. M. ---- in?"

"No, Sir," was the answer, "he is not; and he will not be just at

"But when will he be in? for I must see him on some pressing
business of importance."

"Not to-day, Sir," replied the clerk, smiling expressively;
"he cannot be interrupted to-day on any business of any kind whatever."

"The deuce he can't!" returned Mr. Schulemberg. "I'll see about that
very soon, I can tell you. He promised to pay me cash for fifty
thousand dollars' worth of Holland linens a week ago; I have not
seen the color of his money yet, and I mean to wait no longer. Where
does he live? for if he be alive, I will see him and hear what he
has to say for himself, and that speedily."

"Indeed, Sir," pleasantly expostulated the clerk, "I think when you
understand the circumstances of the case, you will forbear
disturbing M. M. ---- this day of all others in his life."

"Why, what the devil ails this day above all others," said
Mr. Schulemberg, somewhat testily, "that he can't see his
creditors and pay his debts on it?"

"Why, Sir, the fact is," the clerk replied, with an air of interest
and importance, "it is M. M. ----'s wedding-day. He marries this
morning the Signorina G----, and I am sure you would not molest him
with business on such an occasion as that."

"But my fifty thousand dollars!" persisted the consignee, "and why
have they not been paid?"

"Oh, give yourself no uneasiness at all about that, Sir," replied
the clerk, with the air of one to whom the handling of such trifles
was a daily occurrence; "M. M. ---- will, of course, attend to that
matter the moment he is a little at leisure. In fact, I imagine, that,
in the hurry and bustle inseparable from an event of this nature,
the circumstance has entirely escaped his mind; but as soon as he
returns to business again, I will recall it to his recollection, and
you will hear from him without delay."

The clerk was right in his augury as to the effect his intelligence
would have upon the creditor. It was not a clerical error on his
part when he supposed that Mr. Schulemberg would not choose to enact
the part of skeleton at the wedding breakfast of the young _Prima
Donna_. There is something about the great events of life, which
cannot happen a great many times to anybody,--

"A wedding or a funeral,
A mourning or a festival,--"

that touches the strings of the one human? heart of us all and makes
it return no uncertain sound. _Shylock_ himself would hardly have
demanded his pound of flesh on the wedding-day, had it been _Antonio_
that was to espouse the fair _Portia_. Even he would have allowed
three days of grace before demanding the specific performance of his
bond. Now Mr. Schulemberg was very far from being a Shylock, and he
was also a constant attendant upon the opera, and a devoted admirer
of the lovely G----. So he could not wonder that a man on the eve of
marriage with that divine creature should forget every other
consideration in the immediate contemplation of his happiness,--even
if it were the consideration for a cargo of prime linens, and one to
the tune of fifty thousand dollars. And it is altogether likely that
the mundane reflection occurred to him, and made him easier in his
mind under the delay, that old G---- was by no means the kind of man
to give away a daughter who dropped gold and silver from her sweet
lips whenever she opened them in public, as the princess in the
fairy-tale did pearls and diamonds, to any man who could not give
him a solid equivalent in return. So that, in fact, he regarded the
notes of the Signorina G---- as so much collateral security for his

So Mr. Schulemberg was content to bide his reasonable time for the
discharge of M. M. ----'s indebtedness--to his principal. He had
advised Mynheer Van Holland of the speedy sale of his consignment,
and given him hopes of a quick return of the proceeds. But as days
wore away, it seemed to him that the time he was called on to bide
was growing into an unreasonable one. I cannot state with precision
exactly how long he waited. Whether he disturbed the sweet
influences of the honey-moon by his intrusive presence, or permitted
that nectareous satellite to fill her horns and wax and wane in
peace before he sought to bring the bridegroom down to the things of
earth, are questions which I must leave to the discretion of my
readers to settle, each for himself or herself, according to their
own notions of the proprieties of the case. But at the proper time,
after patience had thrown up in disgust the office of a virtue, he
took his hat and cane one fine morning and walked down to No. 118,
Pearl Street, for the double purpose of wishing M. M. ---- joy of
his marriage and of receiving the price, promised long and long
withheld, of the linens which form the tissue of my story.

"The gods gave ear and granted half his prayer;
The rest the winds dispersed in empty air."

There was not the slightest difficulty about his imparting
his epithalamic congratulation,--but as to his receiving the
numismatic consideration for which he hoped in return, that was
an entirely different affair. He found matters in the Pearl-Street
counting-house again apparently something out of joint, but with a
less smiling and sunny atmosphere pervading them than he had remarked
on his last visit. He was received by M. M. ---- with courtesy, a
little over-strained, perhaps, and not as flowing and gracious as at
their first interview. Preliminaries over, Mr. Schulemberg, plunging
with epic energy into the midst of things, said, "I have called,
M. M. ----, to receive the fifty thousand dollars, which, you will
remember, you engaged to pay down for the linens I sold you on such
a day. I can make allowance for the interruption which has prevented
your attending to this business sooner, but it is now high time that
it were settled."

"I consent to it all, Monsieur," replied M. M. ----, with a
deprecatory gesture; "you have reason, and I am desolated that it is
the impossible that you ask of me to do."

"How, Sir!" demanded the creditor; "what do you mean by the
impossible? You do not mean to deny that you agreed to pay cash for
the goods?"

"My faith, no, Monsieur," shruggingly responded M. M. ----;
"I avow it; you have reason; I promised to pay the money, as you say
it; but if I have not the money to pay you, how can I pay you the
money? What to do?"

"I don't; understand you, Sir," returned Mr. Schulemberg. "You have
not the money? And you do not mean to pay me according to agreement?"

"But, Monsieur, how can I when I have not money? Have you not heard
that I have made--what you call it?--failure, yesterday? I am
grieved of it, thrice sensibly; but if it went of my life, I could
not pay you for your fine linens, which were of a good market at the

"Indeed, Sir," replied Mr. Schulemberg, "I had not heard of your
misfortunes; and I am heartily sorry for them, on my own account and
yours, but still more on account of your charming wife. But there is
no great harm done, after all. Send the linens back to me and
accounts shall be square between us, and I will submit to the loss
of the interest."

"Ah, but, Monsieur, you are too good, and Madame will be recognizant
to you forever for your gracious politeness. But, my God, it is
impossible that I return to you the linen. I have sold it, Monsieur,
I have sold it all!"

"Sold It?" reiterated Mr. Schulemberg, regardless of the rules of
etiquette, "Sold it? And to whom, pray? And when?"

"To M. G----, my father-in-the-law", answered the catechumen, blandly;
"and it is a week that he has received it."

"Then I must bid you a good morning, Sir," said Mr. Schulemberg,
rising hastily and collecting his hat and gloves, "for I must lose
no time in taking measures to recover the goods before they have
changed hands again."

"Pardon, Monsieur," interrupted the poor, but honest M. ----,
"but it is too late! One cannot regain them. M. G---- embarked
himself for Mexico yesterday morning, and carried them all with him!"

Imagine the consternation and rage of poor Mr. Schulemberg at
finding that he was sold, though the goods were not! I decline
reporting the conversation any farther, lest its strength of
expression and force of expletive might be too much for the more
queasy of my readers. Suffice it to say, that the _swindlee_, if I
may be allowed the royalty of coining a word, at once freed his own
mind and imprisoned the body of M. M. ----; for in those days
imprisonment for debt was a recognized institution, and I think few
of its strongest opponents will deny that this was a case to which
it was no abuse to apply it.


I regret that I am compelled to leave this exemplary merchant in
captivity; but the exigencies of my story, the moral of which
beckons me away to the distant coast of Mexico, require it at my
hands. The reader may be consoled, however, by the knowledge that he
obtained his liberation in due time, his Dutch creditor being
entirely satisfied that nothing whatsoever could be squeezed out of
him by passing him between the bars of the debtor's prison, though
that was all the satisfaction he ever did get. How he accompanied his
young wife to Europe and there lived by the coining of her voice
into drachmas, as her father had done before him, needs not to be
told here; nor yet how she was divorced from him, and made another
matrimonial venture in partnership with De B----. I have nothing to
do with him or her, after the bargain and sale of which she was the
object, and the consequences which immediately resulted from it; and
here, accordingly, I take my leave of them. But my story is not
quite done yet; it must now pursue the fortunes of the enterprising
_impresario_, Signor G----, who had so deftly turned his daughter
into a ship-load of fine linens.

This excellent person sailed, as M. M. ---- told Mr. Schulemberg, for
Vera Cruz, with an assorted cargo, consisting of singers, fiddlers,
and, as aforesaid, of Mynheer Van Holland's fine linens. The voyage
was as prosperous as was due to such an argosy. If a single Amphion
could not be drowned by the utmost malice of gods and men, so long as
he kept his voice in order, what possible mishap could befall a
whole ship-load of them? The vessel arrived safely under the shadow
of San Juan de Ulua, and her precious freight in all its varieties
was welcomed with a tropical enthusiasm. The market was bare of
linen and of song, and it was hard to say which found the readiest
sale. Competition raised the price of both articles to a fabulous
height. So the good G---- had the benevolent satisfaction of clothing
the naked and making the ears that heard him to bless him at the
same time. After selling his linens at a great advance on the cost
price, considering he had only paid his daughter for them, and
having given a series of the most successful concerts ever known in
those latitudes, Signor G---- set forth for the Aztec City. As the
relations of _meum_ and _tuum_ were not upon the most satisfactory
fooling just then at Vera Cruz, he thought it most prudent to carry
his well-won treasure with him to the capital. His progress thither
was a triumphal procession. Not Cortes, not General Scott, himself.
marched more gloriously along the steep and rugged road that leads
from the sea-coast to the table-land, than did this son of song.
Every city on his line of march was the monument of a victory, and
from each one he levied tribute and bore spoils away. And the
vanquished thanked him for this spoiling of their goods.

Arrived at the splendid city, at that time the largest and most
populous on the North American continent, he speedily made himself
master of it, a welcome conqueror. The Mexicans, with the genuine
love for song of their Southern ancestors, had had but few
opportunities for gratifying it such as that now offered to them. G----
was a tenor of great compass, and a most skilful and accomplished
singer. The artists who accompanied him were of a high order of merit,
if not of the very first class. Mexico had never heard the like, and,
though a hard-money country, was glad to take their notes and give
them gold in return. They were feasted and flattered in the
intervals of the concerts, and the bright eyes of Senoras and
Senoritas rained influence upon them on the off nights, as their
fair hands rained flowers upon the _on_ ones. And they have a very
pleasant way, in those golden realms, of giving ornaments of diamonds
and other precious stones to virtuous singers, as we give
pencil-cases and gold watches to meritorious railway conductors and
hotel clerks, as a testimonial of the sense we entertain of their
private characters and public services. The gorgeous East herself
never showered on her kings barbaric pearl and gold with a richer
hand than the city of Mexico poured out the glittering rain over the
portly person of the happy G----. Saturated at length with the
golden flood and its foam of pearl and diamond,--if, indeed, singer
were ever capable of such saturation, and were not rather permeable
forever like a sieve of the Danaides,--saturated, or satisfied that
it was all run out, he prepared to take up his line of march back
again to the City of the True Cross. Mexico mourned over his going,
and sent him forth upon his way with blessings and prayers for his
safe return.

But, alas! the blessings and the prayers were alike vain. The saints
were either deaf or busy, or had gone a journey, and either did not
hear or did not mind the vows that were sent up to them. At any rate,
they did not take that care of the worthy G---- which their devotees
had a right to expect of them. Turning his back on the Halls of the
Montezumas, where he had revelled so sumptuously, he proceeded on
his way towards the Atlantic coast, as fast as his mules thought fit
to carry him and his beloved treasure. With the proceeds of his
linens and his lungs, he was rich enough to retire from the
vicissitudes of operatic life, to some safe retreat in his native
Spain or his adoptive Italy. Filled with happy imaginings, he fared
onward, the bells of his mules keeping time with the melodious joy
of his heart, until he had descended from the _tierra caliente_ to
the wilder region on the hither side of Jalapa. As the narrow road
turned sharply, at the foot of a steeper descent than common, into a
dreary valley, made yet more gloomy by the shadow of the hill behind
intercepting the sun, though the afternoon was not far advanced, the
_impresario_ was made unpleasantly aware of the transitory nature
of man's hopes and the vanity of his joys. When his train wound into
the rough open space, it found itself surrounded by a troop of men
whose looks and gestures bespoke their function without the
intermediation of an interpreter. But no interpreter was needed in
this case, as Signor G---- was a Spaniard by birth, and their
expressive pantomime was a sufficiently eloquent substitute for
speech. In plain English, he had fallen among thieves, with very
little chance of any good Samaritan coming by to help him.

Now Signor G---- had had dealings with brigands and banditti all his
operatic life. Indeed, he had often drilled them till they were
perfect in their exercises, and got them up regardless of expense.
Under his direction they had often rushed forward to the footlights,
pouring into the helpless mass before them repeated volleys of
explosive crotchets. But this was a very different chorus that now
saluted his eyes. It was the real thing, instead of the make-believe,
and, in the opinion of Signor G----, at least, very much inferior to
it. Instead of the steeple-crowned hat, jauntily feathered and looped,
these irregulars wore huge _sombreros_, much the worse for time and
weather, flapped over their faces. For the velvet jacket with the
two-inch tail, which had nearly broken up the friendship between
Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Tupman, when the latter gentleman proposed
induing himself with one, on the occasion of Mrs. Leo Hunter's
fancy-dress breakfast,--for this integument, I say, these minions of
the moon had blankets round their shoulders, thrown back in
preparation for actual service. Instead of those authentic
cross-garterings in which your true bandit rejoices, like a new
Malvolio, to tie up his legs, perhaps to keep them from running away,
these false knaves wore, some of them, ragged boots up to their
thighs, while others had no crural coverings at all, and only rough
sandals, such as the Indians there use, between their feet and the
ground. They were picturesque, perhaps, but not attractive to wealthy
travellers. But the wealthy travellers were attractive to them; so
they came together, all the same. Such as they were, however, there
they were, fierce, sad, and sallow, with vicious-looking knives in
their belts, and guns of various parentage in their hands, while
their Captain bade our good man stand and deliver.

There was no room for choice. He had an escort, to be sure; but it
was entirely unequal to the emergency,--even if it were not, as was
afterwards shrewdly suspected, in league with the robbers. The enemy
had the advantage of arms, position, and numbers; and there was
nothing for him to do but to disgorge his hoarded gains at once, or
to have his breath stripped first and his estate summarily
administered upon afterwards by these his casual heirs,--as the King
of France, by virtue of his--_Droit d'Aubaine_, would have
confiscated Yorick's six shirts and pair of black silk breeches, in
spite of his eloquent protest against such injustice, had he chanced
to die in his Most Christian Majesty's dominions. As Signor G----
had an estate in his breath, from which he could draw a larger yearly
rent than the rolls of many a Spanish grandee could boast, he wisely
chose the part of discretion and surrendered at the same. His new
acquaintances showed themselves expert practitioners in the breaking
open of trunks and the rifling of treasure-boxes. All his beloved
doubloons, all his cherished dollars, for the which no Yankee ever
felt a stronger passion, took swift wings and flew from his coffers
to alight in the hands of the adversary. The sacred recesses of his
pockets, and those of his companions, were sacred no longer from the
sacrilegious hands of the spoilers. The breast-pins were ravished
from the shirt-frills,--for in those days studs were not,--and the
rings snatched from the reluctant fingers. All the shining
testimonials of Mexican admiration were transferred with the
celerity of magic into the possession of the chivalry of the road.
Not Faulconbridge himself could have been more resolved to come on
at the beckoning of gold and silver than were they, and, good
Catholics though they were, it is most likely that Bell, Book, and
Candle would have had as little restraining influence over them as
he professed to feel.

At last they rested from their labors. To the victors belonged the
spoils, as they discovered with instinctive sagacity that they
should do, though the apophthegm had not yet received the authentic
seal of American statesmanship. Science and skill had done their
utmost, and poor G---- and his companions in misery stood in the
centre of the ring stripped of everything but the clothes on their
backs. The duty of the day being satisfactorily performed, the
victors felt that they had a right to some relaxation after their
toils. And now a change came over them which might have reminded
Signor G---- of the banditti of the green-room, with whose habits he
had been so long familiar and whose operations he had himself
directed. Some one of the troop, who, however fit for stratagems and
spoils, had yet music in his soul, called aloud for a song. The idea
was hailed with acclamations. Not satisfied with the capitalized
results of his voice to which they had helped themselves, they were
unwilling to let their prey go until they had also ravished from him
some specimens of the airy mintage whence they had issued.
Accordingly the Catholic vagabonds seated themselves on the ground,
a fuliginous parterre to look upon, and called upon G---- for a song.
A rock which projected itself from the side of the hill served for a
stage as well as the "green plat" in the wood near Athens did for
the company of Manager Quince, and there was no need of "a
tyring-room," as poor G---- had no clothes to change for those he
stood in. Not the Hebrews by the waters of Babylon, when their
captors demanded of them a song of Zion, had less stomach for the
task. But the prime tenor was now before an audience that would
brook neither denial nor excuse. Nor hoarseness, nor catarrh, nor
sudden illness, certified unto by the friendly physician, would
avail him now. The demand was irresistible; for when he hesitated,
the persuasive though stern mouth of a musket hinted to him in
expressive silence that he had better prevent its speech with song.

So he had to make his first appearance upon that "unworthy scaffold,"
before an audience which, multifold as his experience had been, was
one such as he had never sung to yet. As the shadows of evening
began to fall, rough torches of pine wood were lighted and shed a
glare such as Salvator Rosa loved to kindle, upon a scene such as he
delighted to paint. The rascals had taste,--that the tenor himself
could not deny. They knew the choice bits of the operas which held
the stage forty years ago, and they called for them wisely and
applauded his efforts vociferously. Nay, more, in the height of
their enthusiasm, they would toss him one of his own doubloons or
dollars, instead of the bouquets usually hurled at well-deserving
singers. They well judged that these flowers that never fade would
be the tribute he would value most, and so they rewarded his
meritorious strains out of his own stores, as Claude Du Val or
Richard Tarpin, in the golden days of highway robbery, would
sometimes generously return a guinea to a traveller he had just
lightened of his purse, to enable him to continue his journey. It
was lucky for the unfortunate G---- that their approbation took this
solid shape, or he would have been badly off indeed; for it was all
he had to begin the world with over again. After his appreciating
audience had exhausted their musical repertory and had as many
encores as they thought good, they broke up the concert and betook
themselves to their fastnesses among the mountains, leaving their
patient to find his way to the coast as best he might, with a pocket
as light as his soul was heavy. At Vera Cruz a concert or two
furnished him with the means of embarking himself and his troupe for
Europe, and leaving the New World forever behind him.

And here I must leave him, for my story is done. The reader hungering
for a moral may discern, that, though Signor G---- received the
price he asked for his lovely daughter, it advantaged him nothing,
and that he not only lost it all, but it was the occasion of his
losing everything else he had. This is very well as far as it goes;
but then it is equally true that M. M. ---- actually obtained his
wife, and that Mynheer Van Holland paid for her. I dare say all this
can be reconciled with the eternal fitness of things; but I protest
I don't see how it is to be done. It is "all a muddle," in my mind.
I cannot even affirm that the banditti were ever hanged; and I am
quite sure that the unlucky Dutch merchant, whose goods were so
comically mixed up with this whole history, never had any poetical
or material justice for his loss of them. But it is as much the
reader's business as mine to settle these casuistries. I only
undertook to tell him who it was that paid for the _Prima Donna_,--
and I have done it.


"I consider that a good story," said the Consul, when he had
finished the narration out of which I have compounded the foregoing,--
"and, what is not always the case with a good story, it is a true one."

I cordially concurred with my honored friend in this opinion, and if
the reader should unfortunately differ from me on this point, I beg
him to believe that it is entirely my fault. As the Consul told it
to me, it was an excellent good story.

"Poor Mynheer Van Holland," he added, laughing, "never got over that
adventure. Not that the loss was material to him; he was too rich
for that; but the provocation of his fifty thousand dollars going to
a parcel of Mexican _ladrones_, after buying an opera-singer for a
Frenchman on its way, was enough to rouse even Dutch human-nature to
the swearing-point. He could not abide either Frenchmen or
opera-singers, all the rest of his life. And, by Jove, I don't
wonder at it!"

Nor I, neither, for the matter of that.

* * * * *


Thy summer voice, Musketaquit,
Repeats the music of the rain;
But sweeter rivers pulsing flit
Through thee, as thou through Concord Plain.

Thou in thy narrow banks art pent:
The stream I love unbounded goes
Through flood and sea and firmament;
Through light, through life, it forward flows.

I see the inundation sweet,
I hear the spending of the stream
Through years, through men, through nature fleet,
Through passion, thought, through power and dream.

Musketaquit, a goblin strong,
Of shard and flint makes jewels gay;
They lose their grief who hear his song,
And where he winds is the day of day.

So forth and brighter fares my stream,--
Who drink it shall not thirst again;
No darkness stains its equal gleam,
And ages drop in it like rain.



[The "Atlantic" obeys the moon, and its LUNIVERSARY has come round
again. I have gathered up some hasty notes of my remarks made since
the last high tides, which I respectfully submit. Please to remember
this is _talk_; just as easy and just as formal as I choose to make

--I never saw an author in my life--saving, perhaps, one--that did
not purr as audibly as a full-grown domestic cat, (_Felis Catus_,
LINN.,) on having his fur smoothed in the right way by a skilful hand.

But let me give you a caution. Be very careful how you tell an
author he is _droll_. Ten to one he will hate you; and if he does,
be sure he can do you a mischief, and very probably will. Say you
_cried_ over his romance or his verses, and he will love you and
send you a copy. You can laugh over that as much as you like--in

--Wonder why authors and actors are ashamed of being funny?--
Why, there are obvious reasons, and deep philosophical ones. The
clown knows very well that the women are not in love with him, but
with Hamlet, the fellow in the black cloak and plumed hat. Passion
never laughs. The wit knows that his place is at the tail of a

If you want the deep underlying reason, I must take more time to
tell it. There is a perfect consciousness in every form of wit--
using that term in its general sense--that its essence consists in a
partial and incomplete view of whatever it touches. It throws a
single ray, separated from the rest,--red, yellow, blue, or any
intermediate shade,--upon an object; never white light; that is the
province of wisdom. We get beautiful effects from wit,--all the
prismatic colors,--but never the object as it is in fair daylight. A
pun, which is a kind of wit, is a different and much shallower trick
in mental optics; throwing the _shadows_ of two objects so that one
overlies the other. Poetry uses the rainbow tints for special effects,
but always keeps its essential object in the purest white light of
truth.--Will you allow me to pursue this subject a little further?

[They didn't allow me at that time, for somebody happened to scrape
the floor with his chair just then; which accidental sound, as all
must have noticed, has the instantaneous effect that Proserpina's
cutting the yellow hair had upon infelix Dido. It broke the charm,
and that breakfast was over.]

--Don't flatter yourselves that friendship authorizes you to say
disagreeable things to your intimates. On the contrary, the nearer
you come into relation with a person, the more necessary do tact and
courtesy become. Except in cases of necessity, which are rare, leave
your friend to learn unpleasant truths from his enemies; they are
ready enough to tell them. Good-breeding _never_ forgets that
_amour-propre_ is universal. When you read the story of the
Archbishop and Gil Blas, you may laugh, if you will, at the poor old
man's delusion; but don't forget that the youth was the greater fool
of the two, and that his master served such a booby rightly in
turning him out of doors.

--You need not get up a rebellion against what I say, if you find
everything in my sayings is not exactly new. You can't possibly
mistake a man who means to be honest for a literary pickpocket I
once read an introductory lecture that looked to me too learned for
its latitude. On examination, I found all its erudition was taken
ready-made from D'Israeli. If I had been ill-natured, I should have
shown up the Professor, who had once belabored me in his feeble way.
but one can generally tell these wholesale thieves easily enough,
and they are not worth the trouble of putting them in the pillory. I
doubt the entire novelty of my remarks just made on telling
unpleasant truths, yet I am not conscious of any larceny.

Neither make too much of flaws and occasional overstatements. Some
persons seem to think that absolute truth, in the form of rigidly
stated propositions, is all that conversation admits. This is
precisely as if a musician should insist on having nothing but
perfect chords and simple melodies,--no diminished fifths, no flat
sevenths, no flourishes, on any account. Now it is fair to say, that,
just as music must have all these, so conversation must have its
partial truths, its embellished truths, its exaggerated truths. It
is in its higher forms an artistic product, and admits the ideal
element as much as pictures or statues. One man who is a little too
literal can spoil the talk of a whole tableful of men of _esprit_.--
"Yes," you say, "but who wants to hear fanciful people's nonsense?
Put the facts to it, and then see where it is!"--Certainly, if a man
is too fond of paradox,--if he is flighty and empty,--if, instead
of striking those fifths and sevenths, those harmonious discords,
often so much better than the twinned octaves, in the music of
thought,--if, instead of striking these, he jangles the chords,
stick a fact into him like a stiletto. But remember that talking is
one of the fine arts,--the noblest, the most important, and the most
difficult,--and that its fluent harmonies may be spoiled by the
intrusion of a single harsh note. Therefore conversation which is
suggestive rather than argumentative, which lets out the most of
each talker's results of thought, is commonly the pleasantest and
the most profitable. It is not easy, at the best, for two persons
talking together to make the most of each other's thoughts, there
are so many of them.

[The company looked as if they wanted an explanation.]

When John and Thomas, for instance, are talking together, it is
natural enough that among the six there should be more or less
confusion and misapprehension.

[Our landlady turned pale;--no doubt she thought there was a screw
loose in my intellects,--and that involved the probable loss of a
boarder. A severe-looking person, who wears a Spanish cloak and a
sad cheek, fluted by the passions of the melodrama, whom I understand
to be the professional ruffian of the neighboring theatre, alluded,
with a certain lifting of the brow, drawing down of the corners of
the mouth, and somewhat rasping _voce di petto_, to Falstaff's nine
men in buckram. Everybody looked up. I believe the old gentleman
opposite was afraid I should seize the carving-knife; at any rate,
he slid it to one side, as it were carelessly.]

I think, I said, I can make it plain to Benjamin Franklin here, that
there are at least six personalities distinctly to be recognized as
taking part in that dialogue between John and Thomas.

{1. The real John; known Only
{ to his Maker.
{2. John's ideal John; never the
Three Johns { real one, and often very unlike him.
{3. Thomas's ideal John; never
{ the real John, nor John's
{ John, but often very unlike
{ either.

{1. The real Thomas.
Three Thomases. {2. Thomas's ideal Thomas.
{3. John's ideal Thomas

Only one of the three Johns is taxed; only one can be weighed on a
platform-balance; but the other two are just as important in the
conversation. Let us suppose the real John to be old, dull, and
ill-looking. But as the Higher Powers have not conferred on men the
gift of seeing themselves in the true light, John very possibly
conceives himself to be youthful, witty, and fascinating, and talks
from the point of view of this ideal. Thomas, again, believes him to
be an artful rogue, we will say; therefore he _is_, so far as
Thomas's attitude in the conversation is concerned, an artful rogue,
though really simple and stupid. The same conditions apply to the
three Thomases. It follows, that, until a man can be found who knows
himself as his Maker knows him, or who sees himself as others see him,
there must be at least six persons engaged in every dialogue between
two. Of these, the least important, philosophically speaking, is the
one that we have called the real person. No wonder two disputants
often get angry, when there are six of them talking and listening
all at the same time.

[A very unphilosophical application of the above remarks was made by
a young fellow, answering to the name of John, who sits near me at
table. A certain basket of peaches, a rare vegetable, little known
to boarding-houses, was on its way to me _via_ this unlettered
Johannes. He appropriated the three that remained in the basket,
remarking that there was just one apiece for him. I convinced him
that his practical inference was hasty and illogical, but in the
mean time he had eaten the peaches.]

--The opinions of relatives as to a man's powers are very commonly
of little value; not merely because they overrate their own flesh
and blood, as some may suppose; on the contrary, they are quite as
likely to underrate those whom they have grown into the habit of
considering like themselves. The advent of genius is like what
florists style the _breaking_ of a seedling tulip into what we may
call high-caste colors,--ten thousand dingy flowers, then one with
the divine streak; or, if you prefer it, like the coming up in old
Jacob's garden of that most gentlemanly little fruit, the seckel pear,
which I have sometimes seen in shop-windows. It is a surprise,--
there is nothing to account for it. All at once we find that twice
two make _five_. Nature is fond of what are called "gift-enterprises."
This little book of life which she has given into the hands of its
joint possessors is commonly one of the old story-books bound over
again. Only once in a great while there is a stately poem in it, or
its leaves are illuminated with the glories of art, or they enfold a
draft for untold values signed by the millionfold millionnaire old
mother herself. But strangers are commonly the first to find the
"gift" that came with the little book.

It may be questioned whether anything can be conscious of its own
flavor. Whether the musk-deer, or the civet-cat, or even a still
more eloquently silent animal that might be mentioned, is aware of
any personal peculiarity, may well be doubted. No man knows his
own voice; many men do not know their own profiles. Every one
remembers Carlyle's famous "Characteristics" article; allow for
exaggerations, and there is a great deal in his doctrine of the
self-unconsciousness of genius. It comes under the great law just
stated. This incapacity of knowing its own traits is often found in
the family as well as in the individual. So never mind what your
cousins, brothers, sister, uncles, aunts, and the rest, say about
the fine poem you have written, but send it (postage paid) to the
editors, if there are any, of the "Atlantic,"--which, by the way, is
not so called because it is a _notion_, as some dull wits wish they
had said, but are too late.

--Scientific knowledge, even in the most modest persons, has mingled
with it a something which partakes of insolence. Absolute,
peremptory facts are bullies, and those who keep company with them
are apt to get a bullying habit of mind;--not of manners, perhaps;
they may be soft and smooth, but the smile they carry has a quiet
assertion in it, such as the Champion of the Heavy Weights, commonly
the best-natured, but not the most diffident of men, wears upon what
he very inelegantly calls his "mug." Take the man, for instance, who
deals in the mathematical sciences. There is no elasticity in a
mathematical fact; if you bring up against it, it never yields a
hair's breadth; everything must go to pieces that comes in collision
with it. What the mathematician knows being absolute, unconditional,
incapable of suffering question, it should tend, in the nature of
things, to breed a despotic way of thinking. So of those who deal
with the palpable and often unmistakable facts of external nature;
only in a less degree. Every probability--and most of our common,
working beliefs are probabilities--is provided with _buffers_ at
both ends, which break the force of opposite opinions clashing
against it; but scientific certainty has no spring in it, no courtesy,
no possibility of yielding. All this must react on the minds that
handle, these forms of truth.

--Oh, you need not tell me that Messrs. A. and B. are the most
gracious, unassuming people in the world, and yet preeminent in the
ranges of science I am referring to. I know that as well as you. But
mark this which I am going to say once for all: If I had not force
enough to project a principle full in the face of the half dozen
most obvious facts which seem to contradict it, I would think only
in single file from this day forward. A rash man, once visiting a
certain noted institution at South Boston, ventured to express the
sentiment, that man is a rational being. An old woman who was an
attendant in the Idiot School contradicted the statement, and
appealed to the facts before the speaker to disprove it. The rash
man stuck to his hasty generalization, notwithstanding.

[--It is my desire to be useful to those with whom I am associated
in my daily relations. I not unfrequently practise the divine art of
music in company with our landlady's daughter, who, as I mentioned
before, is the owner of an accordion. Having myself a well-marked
barytone voice of more than half an octave in compass, I sometimes
add my vocal powers to her execution of:

"Thou, thou reign'st in this bosom,"--

not, however, unless her mother or some other discreet female is
present, to prevent misinterpretation or remark. I have also taken a
good deal of interest in Benjamin Franklin, before referred to,
sometimes called B.F. or more frequently Frank, in imitation of that
felicitous abbreviation, combining dignity and convenience, adopted
by some of his betters. My acquaintance with the French language is
very imperfect, I having never studied it anywhere but in Paris,
which is awkward, as B.F. devoted himself to it with the peculiar
advantage of an Alsacian teacher. The boy, I think, is doing well,
between us, notwithstanding. The following is an _uncorrected_ French
exercise, written by this young gentleman. His mother thinks it very
creditable to his abilities; though, being unacquainted with the
French language, her judgment cannot be considered final.


Ce rat ci est un animal fort singulier. Il a deux pattes de derriere
sur lesquelles il marche, et deux pattes de devant dont il fait
usage pour tenir les journaux. Cet animal a le peau noir pour le
plupart, et porte un cercle blanchatre autour de son cou. On le
trouve tous les jours aux dits salons, on il demeure, digere, s'it y
a de quoi dans son interieur, respire, tousse, eternue, dort, et
ronfle quelquetfois, ayant toujours le semblance de lire. On ne sait
pas s'il a une autre gite que cela. II a l'air d'une bete tres
stupide, mais il est d'une sagacite et d'une vitesse extraordinaire
quand il s'agit de saisir un journal nouveau. On ne sait pas
pourquoi il lit, parcequ'il ne parait pas avoir des idees. Il
vocalise rarement, mais en revanche, il fait des bruits nasaux divers.
Il porte un crayon dans une de ses poches pectorales, avec le-quel
il fait des marques sur les bords des journaux et des livres,
semblable aux suivans!!!--Bah! Pooh! II ne faut pas cependant les
preudre pour des signes d'intelligence. Il ne vole pas, ordinairement;
il fait rarement meme des schanges de parapluie, et jamais de chapeau,
parceque son chapeau a toujours un caractere specifique. On ne sait
pas au juste ce dont il so nourrit. Feu Cuvier etait d'avis que
c'etait de l'odeur du cuir des reliures; ce qu'on dit d'etre une
nourriture animale fort saine, et peu chere. Il vit bien longtems.
Enfin il meure, en laissant a ses heritiers une carte du Salon a
Lecture ou il avail existe pendant sa vie. On pretend qu'il revient
toutes les nuits, apres la mort, visiter le Salon. On peut le voir,
dit on, a minuit, dans sa place habituelle, tenant le journal du soir,
et ayant a sa main un crayon de charbon. Le lendemain on trouve des
caracteres inconnus sur les bords du journal. Ce qui prouve que le
spiritulisme est vrai, et que Messieurs les Professors de Cambridge
sont des imbeciles qui ne saveut rien du tout, du tout.

I think this exercise, which I have not corrected, or allowed to be
touched in any way, is very creditable to B.F. You observe that he
is acquiring a knowledge of zooelogy at the same time that he is
learning French. Fathers of families who take this periodical will
find it profitable to their children, and an economical mode of
instruction, to set them to revising and amending this boy's exercise.
The passage was originally taken from the "Histoire Naturelle des
Betes Ruminans et Rougeurs, Bipedes et Autres," lately published in
Paris. This was translated into English and published in London. It
was republished at Great Pedlington, with notes and additions by the
American editor. The notes consist of an interrogation-mark on page
53d, and a reference (p. 127th) to another book "edited" by the
same hand. The additions consist of the editor's name on the
title-page and back, with a complete and authentic list of said
editor's honorary titles in the first of these localities. Our boy
translated the translation back into French. This may be compared
with the original, to be found on Shelf 13, Division X, of the
Public Library of this metropolis.]

--Some of you boarders ask me from time to time why I don't write a
story, or a novel, or something of that kind. Instead of answering
each one of you separately, I will thank you to step up into the
wholesale department for a few moments, where I deal in answers by
the piece and by the bale.

That every articulately-speaking human being has in him stuff for
one novel in three volumes duodecimo has long been with me a

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