Part 3 out of 5
into Nature's game, and affect to grant the permission reluctantly, fearing
that any moment they will find out the imposture of that showy chaff. But
this tenderness is quite unnecessary; the enchantments are laid on very
thick. Their young life is thatched with them. Bare and grim to tears is
the lot of the children in the hovel I saw yesterday; yet not the less they
hung it round with frippery romance, like the children of the happiest
fortune, and talked of "the dear cottage where so many joyful hours had
flown." Well, this thatching of hovels is the custom of the country. Women,
more than all, are the element and kingdom of illusion. Being fascinated,
they fascinate others. They see through Claud-Lorraines. And how dare
any one, if he could, pluck away the _coulisses_, stage effects, and
ceremonies, by which they live? Too pathetic, too pitiable, is the region
of affection, and its atmosphere always liable to _mirage_.
We are not very much to blame for our bad marriages. We live amid
hallucinations; and this especial trap is laid to trip up our feet with,
and all are tripped up first or last. But the mighty Mother who had been
so sly with us, as if she felt that she owed us some indemnity, insinuates
into the Pandora-box of marriage some deep and serious benefits, and some
great joys. We find a delight in the beauty and happiness of children, that
makes the heart too big for the body. In the worst-assorted connections
there is ever some mixture of true marriage. Teague and his jade get some
just relations of mutual respect, kindly observation, and fostering of each
other, learn something, and would carry themselves wiselier, if they were
now to begin.
'Tis fine for us to point at one or another fine madman, as if there were
any exempts. The scholar in his library is none. I, who have all my life
heard any number of orations and debates, read poems and miscellaneous
books, conversed with many geniuses, am still the victim of any new page;
and, if Marmaduke, or Hugh, or Moosehead, or any other, invent a new style
or mythology, I fancy that the world will be all brave and right, if
dressed in these colors, which I had not thought of. Then at once I will
daub with this new paint; but it will not stick. 'Tis like the cement which
the peddler sells at the door; he makes broken crockery hold with it, but
you can never buy of him a bit of the cement which will make it hold when
he is gone.
Men who make themselves felt in the world avail themselves of a certain
fate in their constitution, which they know how to use. But they never
deeply interest us, unless they lift a corner of the curtain, or betray
never so slightly their penetration of what is behind it. 'Tis the charm
of practical men, that outside of their practicality are a certain poetry
and play, as if they led the good horse Power by the bridle, and preferred
to walk, though they can ride so fiercely. Bonaparte is intellectual, as
well as Caesar; and the best soldiers, sea-captains, and railway men have
a gentleness, when off duty; a good-natured admission that there are
illusions, and who shall say that he is not their sport? We stigmatize the
cast-iron fellows, who cannot so detach themselves, as "dragon-ridden,"
"thunder-stricken," and fools of fate, with whatever powers endowed.
Since our tuition is through emblems and indirections, 'tis well to know
that there is method in it, a fixed scale, and rank above rank in the
phantasms. We begin low with coarse masks, and rise to the most subtle and
beautiful. The red men told Columbus, "they had an herb which took away
fatigue"; but he found the illusion of "arriving from the east at the
Indies" more composing to his lofty spirit than any tobacco. Is not our
faith in the impenetrability of matter more sedative than narcotics? You
play with jackstraws, balls, bowls, horse and gun, estates and politics;
but there are finer games before you. Is not time a pretty toy? Life will
show you masks that are worth all your carnivals. Yonder mountain must
migrate into your mind. The fine star-dust and nebulous blur in Orion, "the
portentous year of Mizar and Alcor," must come down and be dealt with in
your household thought. What if you shall come to discern that the play and
playground of all this pompous history are radiations from yourself, and
that the sun borrows his beams? What terrible questions we are learning to
ask! The former men believed in magic, by which temples, cities, and men
were swallowed up, and all trace of them gone. We are coming on the secret
of a magic which sweeps out of men's minds all vestige of theism and
beliefs which they and their fathers held and were framed upon.
With such volatile elements to work in, 'tis no wonder if our estimates
are loose and floating. We must work and affirm, but we have no guess of
the value of what we say or do. The cloud is now as big as your hand,
and now it covers a county. That story of Thor, who was set to drain the
drinking-horn in Asgard, and to wrestle with the old woman, and to run
with the runner Lok, and presently found that he had been drinking up the
sea, and wrestling with Time, and racing with Thought, describes us who
are contending, amid these seeming trifles, with the supreme energies of
Nature. We fancy we have fallen into bad company and squalid condition, low
debts, shoe-bills, broken glass to pay for, pots to buy, butcher's meat,
sugar, milk, and coal. "Set me some great task, ye gods! and I will show
my spirit." "Not so," says the good Heaven; "plod and plough, vamp your
old coats and hats, weave a shoestring; great affairs and the best wine
by and by." Well, 'tis all phantasm; and if we weave a yard of tape in
all humility and as well as we can, long hereafter we shall see it was no
cotton tape at all, but some galaxy which we braided, and that the threads
were Time and Nature.
We cannot write the order of the variable winds. How can we penetrate the
law of our shifting moods and susceptibility? Yet they differ as all and
nothing. Instead of the firmament of yesterday, which our eyes require, it
is to-day an eggshell which coops us in; we cannot even see what or where
our stars of destiny are. From day to day, the capital facts of human life
are hidden from our eyes. Suddenly the mist rolls up, and reveals them, and
we think how much good time is gone, that might have been saved, had any
hint of these things been shown. A sudden rise in the road shows us the
system of mountains, and all the summits, which have been just as near us
all the year, but quite out of mind. But these alternations are not without
their order, and we are parties to our various fortune. If life seems
a succession of dreams, yet poetic justice is done in dreams also. The
visions of good men are good; it is the undisciplined will that is whipped
with bad thoughts and bad fortunes. When we break the laws, we lose our
hold on the central reality. Like sick men in hospitals, we change only
from bed to bed, from one folly to another; and it cannot signify much what
becomes of such castaways,--wailing, stupid, comatose creatures,--lifted
from bed to bed, from the nothing of life to the nothing of death.
In this kingdom of illusions we grope eagerly for stays and foundations.
There is none but a strict and faithful dealing at home, and a severe
barring out of all duplicity or illusion there. Whatever games are played
with us, we must play no games with ourselves, but deal in our privacy with
the last honesty and truth. I look upon the simple and childish virtues of
veracity and honesty as the root of all that is sublime in character. Speak
as you think, be what you are, pay your debts of all kinds. I prefer to be
owned as sound and solvent, and my word as good as my bond, and to be what
cannot be skipped, or dissipated, or undermined, to all the _eclat_ in the
universe. A little integrity is better than any career. This reality is the
foundation of friendship, religion, poetry, and art. At the top or at the
bottom of all illusions I set the cheat which still leads us to work and
live for appearances, in spite of our conviction, in all sane hours, that
it is what we really are that avails with friends, with strangers, and with
fate or fortune.
One would think from the talk of men, that riches and poverty were a great
matter; and our civilization mainly respects it. But the Indians say, that
they do not think the white man with his brow of care, always toiling,
afraid of heat and cold, and keeping within doors, has any advantage of
them. The permanent interest of every man is, never to be in a false
position, but to have the weight of Nature to back him in all that he does.
Riches and poverty are a thick or thin costume; and our life--the life of
all of us--identical. For we transcend the circumstance continually, and
taste the real quality of existence; as in our employments, which only
differ in the manipulations, but express the same laws; or in our thoughts,
which wear no silks, and taste no ice-creams. We see God face to face every
hour, and know the savour of Nature.
The early Greek philosophers Heraclitus and Xenophanes measured their
force on this problem of identity. Diogenes of Apollonia said, that unless
the atoms were made of one stuff, they could never blend and act with one
another. But the Hindoos, in their sacred writings, express the liveliest
feeling, both of the essential identity, and of that illusion which they
conceive variety to be. "The notions, 'I am,' and 'This is mine,' which
influence mankind, are but delusions of the mother of the world. Dispel,
O Lord of all creatures! the conceit of knowledge which proceeds from
ignorance." And the beatitude of man they hold to lie in being freed from
The intellect is stimulated by the statement of truth in a trope, and the
will by clothing the laws of life in illusions. But the unities of Truth
and of Right are not broken by the disguise. There need never be any
confusion in these. In a crowded life of many parts and performers, on a
stage of nations, or in the obscurest hamlet in Maine or California, the
same elements offer the same choices to each new comer, and, according to
his election, he fixes his fortune in absolute nature. It would be hard to
put more mental and moral philosophy than the Persians have thrown into a
"Fooled thou must be, though wisest of the wise;
Then be the fool of virtue, not of vice."
THE GIFT OF TRITEMIUS.
Tritemius of Herbipolis one day,
While kneeling at the altar's foot to pray,
Alone with God, as was his pious choice,
Heard from beneath a miserable voice,--
A sound that seemed of all sad things to tell,
As of a lost soul crying out of hell.
Thereat the Abbot rose, the chain whereby
His thoughts went upward broken by that cry,
And, looking from the casement, saw below
A wretched woman, with gray hair aflow,
And withered hands stretched up to him, who cried
For alms as one who might not be denied.
She cried: "For the dear love of Him who gave
His life for ours, my child from bondage save,
My beautiful, brave first-born, chained with slaves
In the Moor's galley, where the sun-smit waves
Lap the white walls of Tunis!" "What I can
I give," Tritemius said,--"my prayers." "O man
Of God!" she cried, for grief had made her bold,
"Mock me not so; I ask not prayers, but gold;
Words cannot serve me, alms alone suffice;
Even while I plead, perchance my first-born dies!"
"Woman!" Tritemius answered, "from our door
None go unfed; hence are we always poor.
A single soldo is our only store.
Thou hast our prayers; what can we give thee more?"
"Give me," she said, "the silver candlesticks
On either side of the great crucifix;
God well may spare them on His errands sped,
Or He can give you golden ones instead."
Then said Tritemius, "Even as thy word,
Woman, so be it; and our gracious Lord,
Who loveth mercy more than sacrifice,
Pardon me if a human soul I prize
Above the gifts upon His altar piled!
Take what thou askest, and redeem thy child."
But his hand trembled as the holy alms
He laid within the beggar's eager palms;
And as she vanished down the linden shade,
He bowed his head and for forgiveness prayed.
So the day passed; and when the twilight came
He rose to find the chapel all a-flame,
And, dumb with grateful wonder, to behold
Upon the altar candlesticks of gold!
THE MOURNING VEIL.
Then in life's goblet freely press
The leaves that give it bitterness,
Nor prize the colored waters less,
For in thy darkness and distress
New light and strength they give
And he who has not learned to know
How false its sparkling bubbles flow,
How bitter are the drops of woe
With which its brim may overflow,
He has not learned to live.
It was sunset. The day had been one of the sultriest of August. It would
seem as if the fierce alembic of the last twenty-four hours had melted it
like the pearl in the golden cup of Cleopatra, and it lay in the West a
fused mass of transparent brightness. The reflection from the edges of a
hundred clouds wandered hither and thither, over rock and tree and flower,
giving a strange, unearthly brilliancy to the most familiar things.
A group of children had gathered about their mother in the summer-house of
a garden which faced the sunset sky. The house was one of those square,
stately, wooden structures, white, with green blinds, in which of old times
the better classes of New England delighted, and which remain to us as
memorials of a respectable past. It stood under the arches of two gigantic
elms, and was flanked on either side with gardens and grounds which seemed
designed on purpose for hospitality and family freedom.
The evening light colored huge bosquets of petunias, which stood with
their white or crimson faces looking westward, as if they were thinking
creatures. It illumined flame-colored verbenas, and tall columns of pink
and snowy phloxes, and hedges of August roses, making them radiant as the
flowers of a dream.
The group in the summer-house requires more particular attention. The
father and mother, whom we shall call Albert and Olivia, were of the
wealthiest class of the neighbouring city, and had been induced by the
facility of railroad travelling, and a sensible way of viewing things, to
fix their permanent residence in the quiet little village of Q----. Albert
had nothing in him different from multitudes of hearty, joyous, healthily
constituted men, who subsist upon daily newspapers, and find the world a
most comfortable place to live in. As to Olivia, she was in the warm noon
of life, and a picture of vitality and enjoyment. A plump, firm cheek, a
dark eye, a motherly fulness of form, spoke the being made to receive and
enjoy the things of earth, the warm-hearted wife, the indulgent mother,
the hospitable mistress of the mansion. It is true that the smile on the
lip had something of earthly pride blended with womanly sweetness,--the
pride of one who has as yet known only prosperity and success, to whom no
mischance has yet shown the frail basis on which human hopes are built. Her
foot had as yet trod only the high places of life, but she walked there
with a natural grace and nobleness that made every one feel that she was
made for them and they for her.
Around the parents were gathered at this moment a charming group of
children, who with much merriment were proceeding to undo a bundle the
father had just brought from the city.
"Here, Rose," said little Amy, a blue-eyed, flaxen-haired pet, who seemed
to be a privileged character, "let _me_ come; don't be all night with your
orderly ways; let me cut that string." A sharp flash of the scissors, a
quick report of the bursting string, and the package lay opened to the
little marauder. Rose drew back, smiled, and gave an indulgent look at
her eager younger sister and the two little ones who immediately gathered
around. She was one of those calm, thoughtful, womanly young girls, that
seem born for pattern elder sisters, and for the stay and support of
mothers' hearts. She watched with a gentle, quiet curiosity the quick and
eager fingers that soon were busy in exposing the mysteries of the parcel.
"There's a dress for Rose," said Amy, triumphantly drawing out a delicate
muslin; "I can always tell what's for her."
"How?" put in the father, who stood regarding the proceeding with that air
of amused superiority with which the wearers of broadcloth look down on the
mysteries of muslin and barege.
"How?" said Amy, "why, because they look just like her. If I were to see
that lilac muslin in China, I should say it was meant for Rose. Now this is
mine, I know,--this bright pink; isn't it, mamma? No half shades about me!"
"No, indeed," said her mother; "that is your greatest fault, Amy."
"Oh, well, mamma, Rose has enough for both; you must rub us together, as
they do light red and Prussian blue, to make a neutral tint. But oh, what
a ribbon! oh, mother, what a love of a ribbon! Rose! Rose! look at this
ribbon! And oh, those buttons! Fred, I do believe they are for your new
coat! Oh, and those studs, father, where did you get them? What's in that
box? a bracelet for Rose, I know! oh, how beautiful! perfectly exquisite!
Here something happened to check the volubility of the little speaker; for
as she hastily, and with the license of a petted child, pulled the articles
from the parcel, she was startled to find lying among the numerous colored
things a black crape veil. Sombre, dark, and ill-omened enough it looked
there, with pink, and lilac, and blue, and glittering _bijouterie_ around
Amy dropped it with instinctive repugnance, and there was a general
exclamation, "Mamma, what's this? how came it here? what did you get this
"Strange!" said Olivia; "it is a _mourning veil_. Of course I did not order
it. How it came in here nobody knows; it must have been a mistake of the
"Certainly it is a mistake," said Amy; "we have nothing to do with
mourning, have we?"
"No, to be sure; what should we mourn for?" chimed in little Fred and Mary.
"What a dark, ugly thing it is!" said Amy, unfolding and throwing it over
her head; "how dismal it must be to see the world through such a veil as
"And yet till one has seen the world through a veil like that, one has
never truly lived," said another voice, joining in the conversation.
"Ah, Father Payson, are you there?" said two or three voices at once.
Father Payson was the minister of the village, and their nearest neighbor;
and not only their nearest neighbor, but their nearest friend. In the
afternoon of his years, life's day with him now stood at that hour when,
though the shadows fall eastward, yet the colors are warmer, and the songs
of the birds sweeter, than even in its jubilant morning.
God sometimes gives to good men a guileless and holy second childhood, in
which the soul becomes childlike, not childish, and the faculties in full
fruit and ripeness are mellow without sign of decay. This is that songful
land of Beulah, where they who have travelled manfully the Christian way
abide awhile to show the world a perfected manhood. Life, with its battles
and its sorrows, lies far behind them; the soul has thrown off its armor,
and sits in an evening undress of calm and holy leisure. Thrice blessed the
family or neighborhood that numbers among it one of these not yet ascended
saints! Gentle are they and tolerant, apt to play with little children,
easy to be pleased with simple pleasures, and with a pitying wisdom guiding
those who err. New England has been blessed in numbering many such among
her country pastors; and a spontaneous, instinctive deference honors them
with the title of Father.
Father Payson was the welcome inmate of every family in the village,
the chosen friend even of the young and thoughtless. He had stories for
children, jokes for the young, and wisdom for all. He "talked good," as the
phrase goes,--not because he was the minister, but because, being good,
he could not help it; yet his words, unconsciously to himself, were often
parables, because life to him had become all spiritualized, and he saw
sacred meanings under worldly things.
The children seized him lovingly by either hand and seated him in the
"Isn't it strange," said Amy, "to see this ugly black thing among all these
bright colors? such a strange mistake in the clerk!"
"If one were inclined to be superstitious," said Albert, "he might call
this an omen."
"What did you mean, sir," asked Rose, quietly seating herself at his feet,
"by 'seeing life through this veil'?"
"It was a parable, my daughter," he said, laying his hand on her head.
"I never have had any deep sorrow," said Olivia, musingly; "we have been
favored ones hitherto. But why did you say one must see the world through
such a medium as this?"
"Sorrow is God's school," said the old man. "Even God's own Son was not
made perfect without it; though a son, yet learned he obedience by the
things that he suffered. Many of the brightest virtues are like stars;
there must be night or they cannot shine. Without suffering, there could be
no fortitude, no patience, no compassion, no sympathy. Take all sorrow out
of life, and you take away all richness and depth and tenderness. Sorrow is
the furnace that melts selfish hearts together in love. Many are hard and
inconsiderate, not because they lack capability of feeling, but because the
vase that holds the sweet waters has never been broken."
"Is it, then, an imperfection and misfortune never to have suffered?" said
Father Payson looked down. Rose was looking into his face. There was a
bright, eager, yet subdued expression in her eyes that struck him; it had
often struck him before in the village church. It was as if his words had
awakened an internal angel, that looked fluttering out behind them. Rose
had been from childhood one of those thoughtful, listening children with
whom one seems to commune without words. We spend hours talking with them,
and fancy they have said many things to us, which, on reflection, we find
have been said only with their silent answering eyes. Those who talk much
often reply to you less than those who silently and thoughtfully listen.
And so it came to pass, that, on account of this quietly absorbent nature,
Rose had grown to her parents' hearts with a peculiar nearness. Eighteen
summers had perfected her beauty. The miracle of the growth and perfection
of a human body and soul never waxes old; parents marvel at it in every
household as if a child had never grown before; and so Olivia and Albert
looked on their fair Rose daily with a restful and trusting pride.
At this moment she laid her hand on Father Payson's knee, and said
earnestly,--"Ought we to pray for sorrow, then?"
"Oh, no, no, no!" interrupted Olivia, with an instinctive shudder,--such a
shudder as a warm, earnest, prosperous heart always gives as the shadow of
the grave falls across it,--"don't say yes!"
"I do not say we should pray for it," said Father Payson; "yet the Master
says, 'Blessed are they that mourn,' not 'Blessed are they that prosper.'
So heaven and earth differ in their judgments."
"Ah, me!" said Olivia, "I am afraid I have not courage to wish to be among
"Well," said Albert, whom the gravity of the discussion somewhat disturbed.
"let us not borrow trouble; time enough to think of it when it happens.
Come, the dew is falling, let us go in. I want to show Father Payson some
peaches that will tempt his Christian graces to envy. Come, Rose, gather up
Rose, in a few moments, gathered the parcel together, and quietly flitted
before them into the house.
"Now," said Albert, "you'll see that girl will have everything quietly
tucked away in just the right place; not a word said. She is a born
housewife; it's in her, as much as it is in a pointer to show game."
"Rose is my right hand," said Olivia; "I should be lost without her."
Whence comes it, that, just on the verge of the great crises and
afflictions of life, words are often spoken, that, to after view, seem to
have had a prophetic meaning? So often do we hear people saying, "Ah, the
very day before I heard of this or that, we were saying so and so!" It
would seem sometimes as if the soul felt itself being drawn within the dark
sphere of a coming evil, of which as yet nothing outward tells. Then the
thoughts and conversation flow in an almost prophetic channel, which a
coming future too well interprets.
The evening passed cheerfully with our friends, notwithstanding the grave
conversation in the arbor. The mourning veil was laid away in a drawer
along with many of its brilliant companions, and with it the thoughts it
had suggested; and the merry laugh ringing from the half-open parlor-door
showed that Father Payson was no despiser of the command to rejoice with
them that do rejoice.
Rose played and sung, the children danced, and the mirth was prolonged till
a late hour in the evening.
Olivia and Albert were lingering in the parlor after the departure of the
family, busy in shutting windows, setting back chairs, and attending to all
the last duties of orderly householders.
A sudden shriek startled them; such a shriek as, once heard, is never
forgotten. With an answering cry of horror, they rushed up the stairs. The
hall lamp had been extinguished, but the passage and staircase were red
with a broad glare from the open door of the nursery.
A moment more showed them the drapery of the bed in which their youngest
child was sleeping all in flames; then they saw a light form tearing down
the blazing curtains.
"Oh, Rose! Rose! take care, for God's sake! your dress! you'll kill
yourself! oh, God help us!"
There were a few moments--awful moments of struggle--when none knew or
remembered what they did; a moment more and Rose lay panting in her
father's arms, enveloped in a thick blanket which he had thrown around her
burning night-dress. The fire was extinguished, the babe lay unawakened,
and only the dark flecks of tinder scattered over the bed, and the trampled
mass on the floor, told what had been. But Rose had breathed the hot breath
of the flame, deadly to human life, and no water could quench that inward
A word serves to explain all. The child's nurse had carelessly set a lamp
too near the curtains, and the night breeze had wafted them into the flame.
The apartment of Rose opened into the nursery, and as she stood in her
night-dress before her mirror, arranging her hair, she saw the flashing of
the flame, and, in the one idea of saving her little sister, forgot every
other. That act of self-forgetfulness was her last earthly act; a few short
hours of patient suffering were all that remained to her. Peacefully as she
had lived, she died, looking tenderly on her parents out of her large blue
eyes, and only intent to soothe their pain.
"Yes, I suffer," she said, "but only a short pain. We must all suffer
something. My Father thinks a very little enough for me. I have had such a
happy life, I _might_ bear just a little pain at the last."
A little later her mind seemed to wander. "Mamma, mamma," she said,
hurriedly, "I put the things all away; the lilac muslin and the barege.
Mamma, that veil, the mourning veil, is in the drawer. Oh, mamma, that
veil was for you; don't refuse it; our Father sends it, and he knows best.
Perhaps you will see heaven through that veil."
It is appalling to think how near to the happiest and most prosperous
scene of life stands the saddest despair. All homes are haunted with awful
possibilities, for whose realization no array of threatening agents is
required,--no lightning, or tempest, or battle; a peaceful household lamp,
a gust of perfumed evening air, a false step in a moment of gayety, a
draught taken by mistake, a match overlooked or mislaid, a moment's
oversight in handling a deadly weapon,--and the whole scene of life is
It was but a day after the scene in the arbor, and all was mourning in the
so lately happy, hospitable house; everybody looked through tears. There
were subdued breathings, a low murmur, as of many listeners, a voice of
prayer, and the wail of a funeral hymn,--and then the heavy tread of
bearers, as, beneath the black pall, _she_ was carried over the threshold
of her home, never to return.
And Olivia and Albert came forth behind their dead. The folds of the dark
veil seemed a refuge for the mother's sorrow. But how did the flowers of
home, the familiar elms, the distant smiling prospect look through its
gloomy folds,--emblem of the shadow which had fallen between her heart and
life? When she looked at the dark moving hearse, she wondered that the sun
still shone, that birds could sing, and that even her own flowers could be
Ah, mother! the world had been just as full of sorrow the day before;
the air as full of "farewells to the dying and mournings for the dead";
but thou knewest it not! Now the outer world comes to thee through the
But after the funeral comes life again,--hard, cold, inexorable life,
knocking with business-like sound at the mourner's door, obtruding its
common-place pertinacity on the dull ear of sorrow. The world cannot wait
for us; the world knows no leisure for tears; it moves onward, and drags
along with its motion the weary and heavy-laden who would fain rest.
Olivia would have buried herself in her sorrows. There are those who refuse
to be comforted. The condolence of friends seems only a mockery; and truly,
nothing so shows the emptiness and poverty of human nature as its efforts
Father Payson, however, was a visitor who would not be denied; there
was something of gentle authority in his white hairs that might not be
resisted. Old, and long schooled in sorrow, his heart many times broken
in past years, he knew all the ways of mourning. His was no official
common-place about "afflictive dispensations." He came first with that
tender and reverent silence with which the man acquainted with grief
approaches the divine mysteries of sorrow; and from time to time he
cast on the troubled waters words, dropped like seeds, not for present
fruitfulness, but to germinate after the floods had subsided.
He watched beside a soul in affliction as a mother waits on the crisis of a
fever whose turning is to be for life or for death; for he well knew that
great sorrows never leave us as they find us; that the broken spirit, ill
set, grows callous and distorted ever after.
He had wise patience with every stage of sorrow; he knew that at first
the soul is blind, and deaf, and dumb. He was not alarmed when returning
vitality showed itself only in moral spasms and convulsions; for in
all great griefs come hours of conflict, when the soul is tempted, and
complaining, murmuring, dark, skeptical thoughts are whirled like withered
leaves through all its desolate chambers.
"What have I learned by looking through this veil?" said Olivia to him,
bitterly, one day when they were coming out of a house where they had been
visiting a mourning family. "I was trusting in God as an indulgent Father;
life seemed beautiful to me in the light of his goodness; now I see only
his inflexible severity. I never knew before how much mourning and sorrow
there had been even in this little village. There is scarcely a house where
something dreadful has not at some time happened. How many families here
have been called to mourning since we have! I have not taken up a paper in
which I have not seen a record of two or three accidental deaths; some of
them even more bitter and cruel than what has befallen us. I read this
morning of a poor washerwoman, whose house was burned, and all her children
consumed, while she was away working for her bread. I read the other day of
a blind man whose only son was drowned in his very presence, while he could
do nothing to help him. I was visiting yesterday that poor dress-maker whom
you know. She has by toil and pains been educating a fine and dutiful son.
He is smitten down with hopeless disease, while her idiot child, who can
do nobody any good, is spared. Ah, this mourning veil has indeed opened my
eyes; but it has taught me to add all the sorrows of the world to my own;
and can I believe in God's love?"
"Daughter," said the old man, "I am not ignorant of these things. I have
buried seven children; I have buried my wife; and God has laid on me in my
time reproach, and controversy, and contempt. Each cross seemed, at the
time, heavier than the others. Each in its day seemed to be what I least
could bear; and I would have cried, '_Anything but this!_' And yet, now
when I look back, I cannot see one of these sorrows that has not been made
a joy to me. With every one some perversity or sin has been subdued, some
chain unbound, some good purpose perfected. God has taken my loved ones,
but he has given me love. He has given me the power of submission and of
consolation; and I have blessed him many times in my ministry for all I
have suffered, for by it I have stayed up many that were ready to perish."
"Ah," said Olivia, "you indeed have reason to be comforted, because you can
see in yourself the fruit of your sorrows; but I am not improving; I am
only crushed and darkened,--not amended."
"Have patience with thyself, child; weeping must endure for a night;
all comes not at once. 'No trial _for the present_ seemeth joyous'; but
'_afterwards_ it yieldeth the peaceable fruit';--have faith in this
_afterwards_. Some one says that it is not in the tempest one walks the
beach to look for the treasures of wrecked ships; but when the storm is
past we find pearls and precious stones washed ashore. Are there not even
now some of these in your path? Is not the love between you and your
husband deeper and more intimate since this affliction? Do you not love
your other children more tenderly? Did you not tell me that you had thought
on the sorrows of every house in this village? Courage, my child! that is a
good sign. Once, as you read the papers, you thought nothing of those who
lost friends; now you notice and feel. Take the sorrows of others to your
heart; they shall widen and deepen it. Ours is a religion of sorrow. The
Captain of our salvation was made perfect through suffering; our Father is
the God of all consolation; our Teacher is named the Comforter; and all
other mysteries are swallowed up in the mystery of the Divine sorrow. 'In
all our afflictions He is afflicted.' God refuseth not to suffer;--shall
There is no grave so desolate that flowers will not at last spring on it.
Time passed with Albert and Olivia with healing in its wings. The secret
place of tears became first a temple of prayer, and afterwards of praise;
and the heavy cloud was remembered by the flowers that sprung up after the
rain. The vacant chair in the household circle had grown to be a tender
influence, not a harrowing one; and the virtues of the lost one seemed to
sow themselves like the scattered seeds of a fallen flower, and to spring
up in the hearts of the surviving ones. More tender and more blessed is
often the brooding influence of the sacred dead than the words of the
Olivia became known in the abodes of sorrow, and a deep power seemed given
her to console the suffering and distressed. A deeper power of love sprung
up within her; and love, though born of sorrow, ever brings peace with
it. Many were the hearts that reposed on her; many the wandering that she
reclaimed, the wavering that she upheld, the desolate that she comforted.
As a soul in heaven may look back on earth, and smile at its past sorrows,
so, even here, it may rise to a sphere where it may look down on the storm
that once threatened to overwhelm it.
It was on the afternoon of just such another summer day as we have
described at the opening of our story, that Olivia was in her apartment,
directing the folding and laying away of mourning garments. She took up the
dark veil and looked on it kindly, as on a faithful friend. How much had
she seen and learned behind the refuge of its sheltering folds! She turned
her thoughts within herself. She was calm once more, and happy,--happy with
a wider and steadier basis than ever before. A new world seemed opened
within her; and with a heart raised in thankfulness she placed the veil
among her most sacred treasures.
Yes, there by the smiling image of the lost one,--by the curls of her
glossy hair,--by the faded flowers taken from her bier, was laid in solemn
thankfulness the Mourning Veil.
PENDLAM: A MODERN REFORMER.
My theatre-going friend pulled up suddenly in his ambling discourse
concerning the merits of the last actress, dropped his voice to a whisper,
touched my arm, and pointed with his cane.
"Look! the Reverend John Henry Pendlam!"
"Coming out of a bar-room! Ho, ho! Sir Reverend!"
I spoke gayly, but with an indefinably serious sentiment at heart I was
interested in this John Henry Pendlam; not particularly on account of
the reputation for eloquence and zeal which he had so early and rapidly
achieved, but his approaching marriage with my friend's second cousin,
Susan D----, (whom I had myself even barely escaped marrying,) quickened a
personal curiosity regarding my successor.
"He is on no base errand," replied Horatio. "He goes about carrying the
Gospel into these dens. The papers you see in his hand are tracts. Shall I
Before I could fairly answer, No, (for I felt a repugnance to making the
acquaintance of any man who was to marry Susan,) Pendlam, standing a moment
in the gas-light before the door of the saloon, observed my friend, and
"Too late to escape!" cried the young clergyman, seizing Horatio by
the collar. "I have you, truant!" And he drew a tract upon him, like a
"I surrender!" said Horatio. "If it's you, don't shoot; I'll come down, as
the treed coon said to the hunter."
"Don't think to disarm me by a pleasantry," replied Pendlam, brandishing
his spiritual weapon. "This is my sermon on the theatre, which you engaged
to hear me preach; I have had it printed for you."
"Really," said Horatio, with a humorous smile, "I had forgotten my promise.
Besides, I was engaged,--let me see, it was two Sundays ago, wasn't
it?--yes, I was engaged to dine with Miss Kellerton."
"The actress! On Sunday!" said Pendlam, with a shocked expression. "But you
might have heard me in the morning."
"In the morning we rode together," laughed Horatio.
I knew all this was a fiction on the part of my friend, designed to mystify
the minister. I said nothing, to avoid an introduction; I had stepped
aside, and now stood, amused and observant, under the street lamp. Pendlam
especially I studied, with one eye (figuratively speaking) on him, and
the other on Susan. I compared him with myself, and had no doubt but she
was weak enough to consider him the handsomer man of the two. He was of
medium height, slightly built, of a nervous temperament, with bright,
quick-glancing eyes, and vehement gestures. The chief characteristic of the
man seemed intensity. It manifested itself in his eager movements, in his
emphasis and tones of voice, in his swiftly changing expression, in his
wild hair, in his neckerchief, which seemed to have been tied with a jerk,
and in his dress throughout, which was evidently that of a man who had
things of vaster importance to think of.
He was whirling Horatio away in a torrent of eloquence, poured out against
the sins of the age, and mainly against the theatre, which he denounced as
the citadel of dissipation and all immoralities; and my poor friend, who
had opened the gates of this flood by his indiscreet pleasantry, was vainly
endeavouring to escape and rejoin me, when I observed a person come out of
the saloon, and gradually draw near, until he stood within a few feet of
the zealous reformer. A group watched him from the door. Before I suspected
his object, he threw out the coils of a concealed whip, and springing upon
Pendlam from behind, dealt him furious successive blows over the shoulders
and head. I ran to the rescue. But already Horatio had seized the whip.
"Good for evil," cried Pendlam, as I was on the point of throttling the
assailant. "My friend, how have I injured you?"
"Interfering with my business! getting away my custom! insulting folks with
your cursed tracts!" frothed the angry man. "I swore to cowhide you, and
I've done it!"
"If that is the case, I have no complaint to make," said Pendlam. "You can
go on with your cowhiding."
"You've had enough for once!" growled the other, rolling up the lash.
"But if I deserve whipping for doing my duty, I deserve a good deal more,"
cried Pendlam. "And if you are to be my castigator for each offence, you
will find yourself pretty well employed. It would be less trouble, I should
think, to do a little more, while you have your hand in. Meanwhile, take
this tract upon the sin of Anger, carry it home with you, and read it
carefully at your leisure."
Muttering threats, the man returned to the saloon, amid the laughs and
acclamations of his constituents. Pendlam followed impulsively, and left
the tract within. He then returned to us. Up to this time, he had appeared
exalted and firm; but now there came a reaction; his voice forsook him,
he trembled violently, and we were obliged to give him the support of our
arms. As we conducted him away, his condition might have been taken for
that of many others who get into difficulty in bar-rooms. Arrived at his
boarding-house, he thanked us with pathetic earnestness, and urged us to go
"On one condition," said Horatio,--"that you say no more about the
Pendlam smiled faintly. "I should think I might refrain from that and
kindred topics, at least until my shoulders have done smarting! But I
assure you, my zeal will only be quickened by the occurrences of this
night. The first horsewhipping is a great event. I now know what it is to
be a martyr!"
We went in and conversed. My repugnance to forming a friendship with
the man who was to marry Susan had vanished. I found him rather too
zealous,--almost fanatical; but we forgive every thing in a man who shows
generosity of heart, and sincere aspirations. Horatio took a paper from
his pocket and read for the twentieth time a certain criticism upon Miss
Kellerton's acting; occasionally looking up, to listen to some remark from
either Pendlam or myself,--then returning to his favorite article.
I had the honor of differing, on many essential points, with my new
clerical acquaintance; and we were soon on excellent terms of courteous
dispute. I assumed the philosopher, and expressed candidly my conviction
that his intellect had early projected itself into doctrines which would
prove too confined for its future growth. I remember distinctly his reply.
"On the contrary, it is you," he said, "who, I perceive, will some day come
over upon the very ground I now occupy. Our modern ways of thinking have
become too free and lax. We cannot draw the rein and tighten the girth."
There was a charming sparkle in his blue eyes as he spoke. I gave him my
hand, and we parted. As we walked away together, Horatio asked how I liked
"He is in earnest, and that is everything. But mark me, he is not the man
"Your jealousy!" said Horatio.
"Not a bit! I see a discrepancy."
"In my mind's eye, Horatio."
I concluded that silence was discretion, and refused to answer more
questions. Horatio looked at his watch.
"We have just time to see Miss Kellerton in the last act of 'The Stranger.'
She is great! You should see her, when she turns and embraces the children;
it's a scene of overwhelming pathos! Come!"
"With Pendlam's printed sermon in your pocket?"
Horatio laughed. "We will read it during the dance!"
But I declined; and he went alone into the theatre.
Not long after, I received a certain wedding card, and, in consequence,
made a certain call. Susan was all blushes and smiles at sight of me; but I
was cool and circumspect.
"We are friends, are we not?" I said, "We once thought we were more than
that; but we became older and wiser. We agreed to disagree, very properly.
It did not break our hearts; and that shows that it is better as it is."
"Perhaps," murmured Susan.
"Let us be quite frank with each other; that is the best way, Susan. We are
"O, yes!" said Susan.
"Thank you, dear Susan,--if I may still call you so, in the sense of
friendship. I know your husband, and love him. I congratulate you on having
so noble a companion."
Susan sighed, and concealed a tear. Just then Pendlam entered. He seemed
abstracted, and took a quick turn across the room; then gave me a surprised
look, a pleased smile, and a cordial grasp of the hand. The next hour I
was oblivious of all external things, in the delightful excitement of our
conversation. I even forgot Susan. Poor Susan! the trouble was, she was
not intellectual; not at all imaginative; but a very plain, matter-of-fact
person, with deep affections, and paramount instincts. During that
memorable hour, she spoke not one word. When at length I observed her
consciously, she was gazing at us with a look of weariness and vacancy.
"Is it not so?" cried Pendlam.
He appealed to her. She smiled sweetly, and said with simplicity that she
scarcely understood any thing that had been said.
I could see that Pendlam was a little shocked. From clear, joyous heights
of poetic discourse, we looked down, and saw how far off below was her
beingless mind. To the vision we then enjoyed, there was something thick
and earthy in her expression. It was the first time Pendlam had observed
it; I had seen it before. And even as before, I looked back, with wonder at
myself, to the earlier period when I deemed her beauty peerless.
Both Pendlam and I were chilled. The fine tension of the spiritual chords
relaxed, and gave forth heavier music. Susan failing to ascend to us, we
came down to her. She now made haste to atone for her long silence by
talking freely of the pretty new church, and the people she saw out Sunday;
and she seemed proud and happy when she brought out her wedding gifts, and
I praised them.
It was several weeks before I again saw Pendlam. I went with Horatio to
hear him preach. The sermon surprised me. Many of the thoughts which I
had advanced in our private conversations, and which he had opposed, were
reproduced, but very slightly modified, in his discourse.
"Pendlam is enlarging," whispered Horatio. "The very things you said to him
the first time you met!"
I was gratified by the fact, and gratified that Horatio observed it;
regarding it as evidence of Pendlam's emancipation from his chains.
The services over, the young clergyman made his way to us through the
"I have so much wished to see you!" he exclaimed, grasping my hand. "You
were a little astonished at my sermon."
"And a good deal pleased," I added.
Pendlam's delicate and changing features colored finely.
"You think I have altered my views, I see by your smile. Not at all, except
that I have gone farther."
"I am glad you have gone farther," I answered.
"But in the same direction, I assure you!" said Pendlam, quickly. "Step by
step, step by step."
"You were on your way back to Paul and the Fathers."
"Yes; and on my arrival among them, I found myself one of the Fathers! It
was a necessary experience. As Paul spoke by authority, so I, when I stand
where Paul stood, also speak by authority. We must first be obedient,
before we can be free. You see where I am," said Pendlam.
Here a young woman came forward, and, with tears in her eyes, thanked her
pastor for the glorious truths he had that day preached.
"They are not my truths; they are the Lord's; I am but his mouthpiece,"
answered Pendlam, well pleased.
A gray-haired deacon now approached.--"On the hull," said he, "I liked your
sarmon tolerable well, Brother Pendlam; but it warn't one o' your best;
and if anybody else had preached it, I should have thought it contained a
little dangerous doctrine."
Pendlam blushed. This compliment did not please him quite so well. But
before he could shape a reply, quite an old woman seized his hand and
"God bless you for those words! They have done my soul good, sir!"
Her gratitude and piety were quite affecting. Tears gushed into Pendlam's
eyes. The deacon turned away with a smirk and an ominous shake of the head.
Horatio had found Susan. Pendlam took my arm, and we walked out of the
church. The crowd pressed on before us; and as we reached the vestibule, we
overheard suppressed voices the merits of the sermon.
"It was full of beautiful truth!" said a sweet young girl's voice.
"The most eloquent discourse I ever heard!" added a young man with a
singing-book under his arm.
"For my part," remarked a portly and well-dressed pillar of the church, "I
was a good deal surprised. Rather too wild and flowery. Must have a bad
"What we want is sound doctrine," observed another prosperous pillar.
"Better let such abstract subjects alone."
"Dangerous doctrine! dangerous doctrine!" chimed in the gray-haired deacon.
On reaching the open air, I observed that Pendlam was quite tremulous and
"You see," he said with a smile, "what it is to be a minister."
We went home to his house. Horatio had arrived before us, in company with
Susan and her mother. The latter was looking very uncomfortable at seeing
me, I thought, for she had hated me cordially since my affair with her
"I declare, John Henry," she said, in her energetic way, "I hope you never
will preach another such sermon as long as _I_ live! I couldn't make
neither head nor tail to it." And she gathered up her Sunday things, which
she had taken off in the parlour, with an air of offended piety that
occasioned a general smile. Pendlam smiled with the rest.
"Well, Horatio, you next,--what did you think of my sermon?"
"I liked it."
"Good! but give your reason."
"Because you said nothing about the theatre. I was mortally afraid you
would; for, d'ye see, you had a distinguished theatrical personage in your
"Indeed! I was not aware; who?"
"Miss Kellerton herself!"
"Is it possible?" Pendlam looked surprised, Susan interested, Mrs. D----
(with her Sunday things on her arm) amazed.
"She told me she was going to hear you, to show you that she could be quite
as tolerant as yourself. She expects you to return the compliment, and go
to her benefit."
Poor Pendlam hardly knew what to say in his confusion. Susan spoke up,--
"Why didn't you point her out to me? I have such a curiosity to see her."
"It was to her I took off my hat, coming away from the church door."
"To her!" broke forth Mrs. D----, "to an actress! Horatio, I'm ashamed of
you. You wouldn't have caught me walking with you, if I had known!" She
shook her Sunday things indignantly; and there was another general smile,
as she took these representatives of her piety abruptly out of the room.
"Ail this is very interesting," said Pendlam, recovering his equanimity. "I
wonder what sort of a sermon I shall preach next Sabbath?"
We were invited to stay to luncheon. Horatio consented; but I declined, and
took my leave, much to the gratification of Susan's mother, no doubt.
Some months passed before I again saw Pendlam. Our next meeting was in the
street. I observed him coming towards me with the peculiarly abstracted and
intense expression which his face assumed under excitement.
"What now?" I asked.
"A little difficulty with my people," he said, with a forced smile. "I have
just come from a church meeting; it was terribly hot there!"
"No serious trouble, I hope?"
"O, no,--only, you will hardly be surprised to hear, my preaching has been
somewhat too liberal for them."
"Why, sir," I cried, "if I remember right, you were for restoring the more
rigorous and stringent forms of religion; drawing the rein and tightening
"Most certainly! and do you not see? Step by step I worked back to the
primitive and central principle, the soul of all religion. You know what
that is. It is Love! This I have preached," said Pendlam, his features
suffused, his eyes glistening bright; "and this I shall continue to preach,
while life lasts. Persecution cannot influence me. I know my duty, and I
shall perform it, at all risks. You see where I am," added Pendlam.
I was thrilled to admiration by his enthusiasm and heroic resolution. At
the same time I saw him in that transitional state which is so full of
peril to persons of certain temperaments, escaping into too sudden freedom
and light from the walls of a narrow and gloomy belief; and I could not
but smile, with mingled amusement and commiseration, at his singular
It was during the following autumn that Horatio and I one day looked in
upon a reform meeting, held at the Melodeon. The audience was thin, the
speakers numerous. The platform was crowded with male and female reformers,
among whom I recognized our clerical friend Pendlam. A celebrated female
orator sat down, and Pendlam stood up. The audience cheered a little; the
platform cheered a good deal. He at first stammered and hesitated, not from
want of thoughts, but from their pressure and multitude. They soon fused,
however, and poured forth streams of fire, rather largely mixed with smoke.
"There is no other religion but Love," declared the speaker. "And where
Love is, there is Religion; in the Mohammedan, in the Mormon, in the
savage,--I care not for names. And where Love is not, there Religion is
not, though her image be preserved and clothed in all Christian forms.
Theology and sects fall away from it; it is alone vital; it is eternal, it
is unitary, it is God. Here I proclaim it to the world; here I announce to
you and to all where I stand."
This speech was reported along with others in the morning papers. It was
not long before Pendlam had more church business to perplex him; and he
soon withdrew from the pastorship of his troublesome flock. A number of
these went with him; there was a schism in the church; and the following
spring, a new society was formed, which gave Pendlam a call.
I also gave him a call, at his house. Changes had taken place since my last
visit. I was shocked at Susan's altered appearance. She had had an infant,
and untold trouble along with it. The bloom of the bride was gone, and
the finer permeating beauty of the happy mother had failed to replace it.
Mrs. D---- was with her. This excellent lady received me with surprising
politeness, and brought out the little Pendlam for my inspection.
"Is it possible, Susan, that this living, breathing, dimpled little wonder
"I suppose it is," said the blushing Susan.
"Where is its father?" I inquired, for John Henry had not yet appeared.
"It hasn't got any father!" ejaculated Mrs. D----, with grim sarcasm. "A
man can't be a reform-preacher, and a father too. His sermons, lectures,
and conventions are of too much importance for him even to think of his
wife and child."
I looked to see poor Susan writhe with pain under these harsh words. But
she merely heaved a sigh, and let fall a tear on the babe, which she had
taken from its grandmother's arms.
"I will speak to Mr. Pendlam," she said, as she hastily left the room.
"I am glad you have come," said Mrs. D----, bitterly, seating herself on
the sofa. "I am glad to see any person enter this house, who isn't all
eaten up with the evils of society. I have heard about the evils of society
till I'm heartily sick of them. People that come to see Pendlam don't
generally talk about anything else. It's the ruin of him, as I tell Susan;
I never in this world can be reconciled to his leaving his church."
Mrs. D---- became confidential, and abused her daughter's husband in a
style which did not argue much for the peace of his household during that
energetic lady's visits. Her indignation against him had quite swallowed
up her old cherished resentment against myself. She soon went so far as to
insinuate a regret that Susan had not married a man of solid sense and some
mental ballast, (meaning me,) instead of a hotheaded reformer.
Susan reentered. "Mr. Pendlam is very busy; but he will come down
She sighed, and took a seat. Mrs. D---- continued her abuse of her
son-in-law, in her daughter's presence,--which I thought in very bad taste,
to say the least. Susan uttered not one word in her husband's defence,
but simply sat and sighed. I defended and praised him; for which act of
friendship I earned not one look of gratitude from her, and only contempt
and sneers from her mother.
I was glad when Pendlam appeared. He was looking care-worn and toil-worn;
his expression had grown more intense than ever. His face lighted up a
little at sight of me; but it was some minutes before his mind seemed
capable of extricating itself from its abstractions, and meeting me upon
"You will excuse me. I am heartily rejoiced to see you. I was hard at work.
Just pass your hand over my forehead; it will relieve the pressure upon
my brain. My mission is now fully revealed to me; everything is reform,
reform. I have been led here step by step. Your magnetism is very soothing.
The old crumbling walls of creeds and conventionalities are to be swept
away, and their foundations subjected to the plough and the harrow. I am in
the harness. I have no motive for concealment; I tell you frankly where I
stand," said Pendlam. Another long sigh from Susan. Mrs. D---- tossed her
contemptuous chin, and expressed scorn in divers significant ways.
"I should want to conceal a little, if I was in your place," she remarked,
"Truth is truth; it can harm only those who are in error," said Pendlam.
"It certainly hasn't done you a very great amount of good." Another toss of
the contemptuous chin.
"On the contrary, it has done me incalculable good," answered the
son-in-law, with a smile.
"Oh! you consider it good, then, to be cut off from the church,--to give up
a good situation and sure salary,--to lose the respect of everybody whose
respect is worth having!"
"If I have done all this for the truth's sake, it is good,"--the reformer's
face kindled with enthusiasm,--"and I for one find it good."
"Perhaps you do, but I know who don't. I believe reform, like charity,
begins at home. You talk of your duty to humanity; I believe the first duty
is to one's own family. I don't think much of that man's mission to the
world, who forgets his own wife and child."
Horatio had previously told me, what I could hardly believe, that Mrs.
D---- was accustomed to abuse her son-in-law in this way, in the presence
of strangers. Susan did nothing but sigh. Pendlam smiled, as if he was used
"I need a little such invective occasionally, to refresh my zeal," he
said, with provoking meekness. "It shows me where I am. It assures me
that I am fighting the good fight. I do not blame my good mother; she
is worldly-minded, and sees things from her stand-point. Neither she nor
Susan can perceive anything but loss and disgrace, in the change from the
handsome, fashionable church, where I used to preach, to the naked hall
where our new society holds its meetings. Very natural for people upon
their plane. But I view things from another stand-point, to which I have
been led step by step; and I have simply to be true to my own revealed
"Mission! revealed! step by step! planes and stand-points!" exclaimed Mrs.
D----, rising in great disgust. "For my part, I believe in common sense; I
don't know any other plane or stand-point, and _I_ don't believe Providence
ever intended we should have any other. There, you have my opinion!" And
with a violent gesture, as if throwing her opinion from her, and shutting
our little party into the room with that formidable object, she swept out,
slammed the door after her, and rustled remorselessly up stairs.
"Persons upon her plane are very much to be pitied," observed Pendlam,
Susan began to cry, and the scene became so painful to me, that I made
haste to shake hands with the ill-mated couple, say a few soothing words,
and take leave of them. From that time, I saw Pendlam occasionally, but
avoided the house. It was a peculiarity of his impressible nature, to
imbibe, unconsciously to himself, the sentiments of powerful persons
with whom he came in contact, retain and revolve them in his intellect,
until they reappeared as his own original convictions. He now went with
reformers, and carried with him their atmosphere. To hear him talk, you
would have thought universal reorganization at hand. I said I avoided
the house; but one day Horatio came to me with a doleful face, backing a
petition that I would go and talk with Susan.
"There has been an explosion! The old woman is gone; she has declared open,
internecine war against Pendlam."
"I thought she had declared that some time ago, good Horatio!"
"Ah, but now she is trying to get his wife away from him! She has sent
plenipotentiaries, with threats and entreaties, and they have frightened
Susan out of her poor little wits. Go and reassure her."
"Horatio, I am not certain what would be best. They never belonged
together. But at your request, I will go and see what I can do."
I went. Susan received me with an effort at a smile, which was a failure,
and at my inquiry for Pendlam, burst into tears.
"He is not dead, I hope."
"No," sobbed Susan.
"Nor in jail?"
"No." Another sob.
"Nor in any serious trouble?"
"Trouble enough, Heaven knows! Mother has gone. I don't know what to do.
All the nice people we used to visit with have turned against us."
"But our happiness does not depend upon nice people, you know, dear Susan."
"But he is getting into the strangest ways! Shabby folks, with long beards,
come to see him. He has left off family devotions."
Susan was weeping; when, at a quick step in the hall, she took alarm, and
hurried from the room, just in time to hide her tears from her husband.
"Alone?" said Pendlam.
"No; Susan has just left me."
"I am glad you have come. I have thought for several days that I required
your magnetism. Every thing with me now is magnetism. My nature demands a
certain magnetism, as the appetite demands a certain quality of food. There
are coarse magnetisms, and fine magnetisms; yours is peculiarly agreeable
to me. Some repel me, and some attract irresistibly. I have only to follow
my impressions, to get what is necessary for me. That's where I am," said
He urged me to stay and dine; and as I desired an opportunity to converse
further with Susan, I consented. I was surprised to see a dish of roast
meat come upon the table,--Pendlam having, for the past year, preached
vegetarianism. But he assured me that he had not changed his theory of
"There are times, however, when we require the magnetisms of certain animal
foods. To-day I perceived that my system demanded the magnetism of lamb.
If your constitution is wanting in the lamb element, you will find this
Pendlam, I should observe, had neglected to say grace.
"Your theory of magnetisms," said I, "would seem a very convenient one.
To-morrow, for example, you can require the magnetism of roast beef.
The next day, the magnetisms of turtle-soup and venison will be found
agreeable. The magnetisms of some birds are said to be excellent. And
I have no doubt but in time you will arrive at the discovery, that the
magnetism of a certain distilled beverage, called brandy, stimulates
Pendlam laughed and blushed.
"I have not forgotten that for three good years of my life I waged war
against King Alchohol. (Will you try a bit of the lamb?) But I do not push
my principles over the verge of prejudice, as those do who condemn the
"Condemn the grape?" I repeated.
"The juice of the grape, which is the same thing. Where this can be
obtained pure, it will be found highly beneficial to persons on a certain
plane. The grape magnetism is eminently spiritualizing."
So saying, to my utter astonishment, Pendlam uncorked a small bottle, which
I had supposed to contain pepper-sauce, and commenced pouring out WINE.
"This will answer in lieu of grace," I suggested.
"The act of prayer," said Pendlam, "has indisputable uses. It opens the
avenues to an influx of spiritual magnetisms. But where the mind is kept
in the receptive condition without the aid of the external form of prayer,
this becomes like a scaffolding after the house is built. Step by step, I
have been led to this high spiritual plane."
Susan, as of old, sat and sighed.
Pendlam found my magnetism so attractive, that it was impossible for me to
obtain a minute's conversation with Susan alone. I departed, wearied and
disheartened with her sad, despairing face haunting me.
I had little further personal knowledge of Pendlam's career, until Horatio
came for me, one evening, to attend a meeting of the Disciples of Freedom.
We found the Melodeon crowded by one of those stifling audiences for which
no ventilation seems availing. A portion had come to be interested, a
portion to be amused. To the former, the object of the meeting was wise and
great; to the latter, it was ridiculous enough to be worth an evening's
senseless laughter. For my own part, only the strong desire I felt to
observe the characteristics of a new sect daily increasing in numbers and
influence could induce me to undergo the exhaustion of sitting an hour in
such an assembly.
We took seats in an obscure corner, and looked around. Here were curious,
lank stalks of humanity, which seemed to have been raked from unheard-of,
outlandish stubbles. Occasionally, in beautiful relief out of these, a
clear, full-berried stem of ripened grain lifted its gracious head. It was
a strange mixture; a strange power, indeed, that had swept together such
promising wheat and such refuse chaff and straw in one incongruous mass.
We turned our eyes to the platform. There sat Pendlam, with other prominent
Disciples. A young man was speaking wise and beautiful words. From the
well of a deep and sincere soul he drew needed counsel for the perishing
multitude; said what he seemed impelled to say, and sat down. He was
followed by a sallow-visaged, black-bearded speaker, who poured forth
abundant venomous froth of denunciation. He had caught enough of the
phraseology of the more philosophical Disciples, to impress the earnest
ignorant with some show of profundity. I was glad when his stream dried up.
Pendlam next arose and read a paper upon "Magnetisms and Organizations."
After him, came forward a gentleman with a model, illustrating the design
of a dwelling-house for the Associated Disciples. He showed, entirely
to the satisfaction of himself at least, that society should be reduced
to a mechanism, and mankind to pivots and wheels. This was the dawn of
the millennial era. The world was to be saved by organization. First, an
association; then an association of associations, which should spread
over the United States, abolish taxes, banks, slavery, and private
property, elect its president, annex South America, the British and
Russian possessions, and eventually Europe, Africa, and Asia. The model
dwelling-house was likened to a manger, in which Christ was to be born,
at his second coming. The speaker ended by introducing the "Practical
Organizer of the Initial Association of Free Disciples."
Horatio and myself had already remarked upon the platform an individual
whose features seemed somehow familiar to us. He was rather stoutly built,
full-faced, of a sanguine complexion and temperament. His mouth indicated
both sensuality and decision of character. His forehead was prominent and
low, his eye keen, his neck thick and muscular. We were not surprised to
see him arise and step forward as the Practical Organizer of the Initial
Association of Free Disciples.
"Ladies and gentlemen," said he, "I am no orator. I am a business man. I am
not here to make a speech, but to tell you about the practical part of this
At the first words he spoke, a flood of recollections rushed over me. For a
moment my breath was quite taken away.
"I know him!" "I remember him!" Horatio and I whispered almost
His voice was unmistakable. He was the fellow who had flogged Pendlam four
Extremes had met. The temperance missionary and the infuriate liquor-dealer
stood upon the same platform.
Soon after, we took our leave. We walked up and down in the fresh air. How
sweet, how cool it seemed, after an hour spent amid the heated breaths of
the packed audience!
I had parted from my friend, and was returning home, when I met two persons
walking arm in arm. I heard one of them say,--
"I find that no great work can be accomplished, without due regard paid
to magnetisms; and in organization, we must take care that they are
harmoniously distributed. I find that I now assume relations with every
individual according to these subtile laws. You see where I am," said
For Pendlam was the speaker. His companion was the Practical Organizer of
the Initial Association of Free Disciples.
I went home, filled with a multitude of reflections. Strong interest led
me soon after to pay a visit to Pendlam's house. As I went in, I met a
man coming out. He had a stout frame, keen eye, sensual mouth, sanguine
complexion, muscular neck.
"Susan," said I, "who is that man?"
"One of my husband's friends," answered Susan, in some confusion.
"And yours?"--eyeing her closely.
"Oh, he comes frequently to the house; I see him occasionally."
"'Tis he who gave Pendlam that bottle of wine?"
"I believe so."
"And that flogging, Susan!"
"Oh, they have made that up," said Susan, innocently.
"If they are satisfied, I have nothing to say. Are you happy, Susan?" for a
change had come over her, which I did not readily understand.
"Oh, dear!" said Susan, "we have had so much trouble!" She began to give
way to her emotions. "We have lost all our old friends. Mother never comes
near us now. Sometimes I don't know what we shall do. Tell me what you
think of it;--is Henry so much out of the way as people think? He certainly
knows more than anybody else, and I don't see how he can be wrong." She
ended with a sob,
"You are aware," I answered, "that Pendlam and I partly agree in every
thing, and wholly agree in nothing. He is right, and he is wrong. He takes
hold of what is a truth, but detaches it from universal truth, and so it
becomes an error." I saw she did not comprehend. "But never despair," I
added, "The future depends upon you."
"What can I do?" she pleaded.
"Remain firm in principle, dear Susan. Whatever happens, stand true to him
and to yourself. Do that, and all will be well."
The crying of her child, which was sick, called her away. I sought
Pendlam's study. I found him busily writing. He was pale and thin, and
there was a wild brightness in his eye which did not please me.
"You, of all men!" he exclaimed. "Sit down." He closed the door, with an
air of mystery. "I was just writing to you."
"To me? Then I have saved you the trouble of employing a messenger."
"Susan would be mortified and incensed, if she knew what I am about to say.
But truth is truth. She is perishing; I see new evidence of it every day.
It is for want of magnetisms. I have little to give her, and what I have
is not such as she requires. Do not be astonished when I tell you I have
discovered that there do not exist between us the requisite affinities."
I smiled; for Pendlam was continually announcing discoveries of facts I had
discovered long before.
"You see where I am," said Pendlam. "I am compelled to go to other women
for the magnetisms I need; she must receive what she requires from other
"That is interesting," I replied. "What is the peculiar process of
imparting these magnetisms?"
"Sometimes by conversation,--sometimes by the contact of hands,--perhaps
by a kiss; no rule is laid down; the process must depend upon the kind of
magnetism to be imparted."
"Very naturally. But what have I to do with all this?"
"I will tell you. I was not Susan's first choice; but you were. That fact
is very significant; it shows an affinity. And what I desire is, that--"
"My dear John Henry," I interrupted, "allow me to say that you are quite
mistaken. If I know any thing of affinities, there is none between Susan
and myself; no more, I judge, than there is between you and the gentleman I
met going out, as I was coming in.
"Oh,--Clodman! You saw him?" cried Pendlam.
"Yes, and remember distinctly seeing him at least twice before; once as the
Practical Organizer of the Initial Association of Free Disciples, and once
as the self-appointed castigator of unfortunate temperance missionaries."
"You are pleased to be sarcastic," said Pendlam, mildly. "He is a very
useful man to us. I welcome his visits to my house; for I consider his
magnetism highly beneficial to Susan."
"Then, by all the gods at once, you wrong me!" I said. "If that man's
magnetism is what she needs, to suppose that mine is, also, is an insult. I
lose patience with you, O most free Disciple!"
"I see," replied Pendlam, with a smile, "you have not yet reached the plane
of perfect freedom. I cannot argue with you; but when you have had certain
necessary experiences, and arrived at my stand-point, you will see as I
He conducted me to the door, rather coolly. I stopped a moment to speak to
"For the love of Heaven," I said, "remember what I told you. You don't know
how much depends upon you!"
Susan stared. I left her staring.
About this time Miss Kellerton returned, and played a brilliant engagement.
I accompanied Horatio one evening to witness her fourth appearance in a
new play, which had taken the theatrical portion of the city by storm.
The play-house was packed from top to bottom. We had our seats in the
orchestra, where we enjoyed a view of both actors and audience, and a cool
breeze from behind the scenes. For criticisms of the performance, I must
refer the reader to the newspapers of the period. Horatio cheered like a
madman. He was quite beside himself with enthusiasm, especially at the
close of the third act. He was clapping furiously, and looking about upon
the audience to see who else was cheering, when he suddenly stopped, his
hands asunder, his countenance transfixed with an alarming expression. I
thought he had clapped himself into a fit.
"Horatio!" I cried,--"Horatio! what's the matter?"
"Yonder! by the pillar!" I now thought (his head being turned) that
perchance he beheld a ghost. "Don't you see?--Pendlam!"
It was true;--there sat the reformer, out-cheering Horatio himself! By
his side was Susan, looking brighter and happier than I had seen her for
months. By _her_ side sat--
"That rascal Clodman!" hissed Horatio, through his teeth.
Miss Kellerton came before the curtain. A vast tumult of applause burst
forth and died away. Pendlam cheered after all the rest had ceased. Then
he and Clodman conferred,--the face of the latter so near Susan's, as he
leaned before her, that Horatio swore he kissed her. Both Pendlam and Susan
were beaming with smiles.
"This recreation will do them good," I whispered.
"That Clodman is a villain!" muttered Horatio. "Ask Miss Kellerton; she
knows him. But, villainy aside, what a stupendous joke it is to see Pendlam
Horatio arose, flushed and excited.
"Where are you going?" I demanded.
"I'll tell you soon. Let me pass."
He left the theatre. I did not see him again until the play was over. He
made his way to the orchestra box where I sat, in time to applaud Miss
Kellerton's final appearance before the curtain. Then he grasped my arm.
"Come with me; they are going!"
He indicated Pendlam's party. We passed up the aisle, reached the hall, and
waited for them at the foot of the stairs. Presently they appeared. Clodman
was praising the performance; Susan expressed her delight; Pendlam said
something about miscellaneous magnetisms. They had reached the foot of
the stairs, when Horatio sprang upon them like a brigand, and seized John
"Ha! Horatio!" gasped Pendlam, a good deal startled.
"Too late to escape!" And Horatio drew a tract upon him, like a revolver.
"Here is something, sir, which I think mil suit your case," levelling it at
"Ha!" stammered Pendlam, reading the title, "'The Theatre a Stronghold of
Vice; a Sermon, by--'"
"By the Reverend John Henry Pendlam," roared out Horatio. "Pendlam, the
A lurid smile played over the grim features of the Practical Organizer.
"Pendlam has outgrown his former opinions," he said, with a look of hate at
"Not precisely," said Pendlam. "I have simply enlarged them, or rather
added to them. I preach temperance the same; but every man must be his own
master. The vices of the theatre appear just as hideous to me as ever; but
the theatre itself may be redeemed, and made an instrument of salvation. As
the patronage of bad people rendered it what it has been, so the patronage
of the good is required to make it what it should be. The divine magnetism
of a few spiritual persons in the audience must necessarily affect, not
only the remainder of the audience, but also the actors. In our new
"Come!" growled the Practical Organizer, turning away, with Susan leaning
confidingly on his arm; "shall we go?"
"Excuse me. I will give you my ideas of a spiritual drama another time.
I'll take this sermon. I shall read with interest what I had to say on the
subject before my mind had attained its present plane. Good night! You see
where I am," added Pendlam.
Thenceforward the Pendlams were frequent visitors at the theatres. When
John Henry was too much occupied to attend, Clodman had the gallantry to
escort Susan. This was considered exceedingly kind in Clodman; he not only
treated Susan to delightful dramatic performances, but at the same time
imparted to her his valuable magnetism.
One Sabbath evening Horatio came suddenly upon me in the street, and pulled
me breathlessly around a corner.
"Wait till I can speak; the miracle of miracles! I have been to--to call on
HER; and who do you suppose had been dining with her?"
I named successively several noted actress-hunters and snobs, whose names
disgusted Horatio. "Who then?" I asked.
"Pendlam! Pendlam! Pendlam!" ejaculated Horatio. "He wanted to consult HER
upon the subject of creating a Divine Drama, or some such nonsense."
"Possibly a new Divine Comedy," I suggested.
"She made him stay and dine on Sunday! And will you believe it?--he
finds her magnetic impartations, as he calls them, highly agreeable and
advantageous to his constitution! Bless him! he isn't the first man who has
found them agreeable, if not so advantageous. But she gave him a dose!"
"Of bitter truth about Clodman. She knows him for a villain, and told him
so. I was there, and glad to hear it. But I was enraged. I could have
wrung John Henry Pendlam's neck for him, when he said, with his quiet,
charitable, mild, incredulous smile, that he was already aware there
existed in the community _a good deal of prejudice_ against Clodman!"
Matters were now progressing rapidly to a crisis. One day during the
ensuing summer, I asked Horatio the usual question, "Where is Pendlam
now?"--referring, as John Henry himself would have said, not to locality,
"That is impossible to say," replied Horatio, "for I have not seen him
since yesterday. Then he was situated opposite a bottle of pale sherry,
which that rascal Clodman had just brought to the house. They were
drinking, and talking over the Organization of Free Disciples. Several
wealthy men have become interested in the enterprise, and large amounts
have been subscribed. Pendlam is writing a work on the subject."
"Her child is sick, and claims all her attention. They are trying to cure
it with magnetisms. Clodman is day and night at the house; his magnetism
being considered indispensable for the restoration of the child."
A month later, Horatio brought me word that the child was dead.
Another month, and I learned that Susan had been sent to some celebrated
Western Magnetic Springs for her health.
"How did she go?"
Horatio hesitated. "I am sorry to say she has gone with that rascal
Clodman, who is travelling on business for the Association. Pendlam remains
at home, hard at work on his book. I will now add what I did not wish you
to know," said Horatio. "For some months Pendlam's family subsisted almost
entirely upon funds advanced him by that rascal Clodman. They talk of
his wonderful generosity! But the villain has a wife of his own, and a
couple of young children, who are left to suffer for want of the actual
necessaries of life. Pendlam has given up preaching, you know, in order to
devote himself entirely to the Association."
"Horatio, I am afraid that all is lost. I did hope better things of Susan.
Wretched, wretched girl!"
Tears came into Horatio's eyes. "How could the damnable thing ever happen?"
he exclaimed, passionately. "She was a true, honest girl; and Pendlam is
not a bad man."
"He is a man," I said, "who verily thinketh no evil. He has imagination,
intellect, spirituality; but he wants balance. From the first, I saw that
his powers needed centralizing. He had no hold upon integral truth, but
snatched here a fragment and there a fragment. Always distrust that man,
Horatio, that talks forever of planes, and stand-points, and step-by-step
processes, and deems it necessary to inform you each day where he stands."
"I do not know what could have saved him!" sighed Horatio.
"I know what could; an entire and absorbing love. His wife should have been
one towards whom all his thoughts and sympathies would have been drawn.
Such a love would have given him concentration, poise, unity. But, on the
other hand, his heart had no anchor, and his intellect was left adrift. He
has pursued truth, forgetting that truth is a tree, one and mighty, but
with innumerable branches; and that it is unsafe to risk the weight of
one's salvation upon a single bough. Susan had no part in his life; she
was left with that hungry, yearning heart, until the sympathy even of a
Clodman seemed food to her perishing nature. Pity her, Horatio, but do not
The Initial Association failed. Clodman did not return; and it was found
that he had appropriated to his private use the funds of the Association.
Behind him he had left a distressed family, and many creditors. Where was
I now thought it time to hunt up Pendlam. After no little search, I was
sent to an obscure lodging. I opened the door pointed out to me, and
entered an extraordinary chamber. The sides were covered with strange
diagrams, grotesque drawings, lettered inscriptions. Some were sketched
rudely upon the plastering with colored chalk; others were designed
upon paper, and pasted on the wall. In the centre of the room sat an
indescribable human figure, with its face buried in its hands. It wore an
anomalous garment, slashed with various colors, like a harlequin's coat.
Upon one shoulder was sewed the semblance of a door cut out of blue cloth;
on the other, a crescent cut out of green. Upon the head was set a tinsel
crown, amid tangles of disordered hair. Above was a huge brass key,
suspended by a tow string from the ceiling. Table and floor were littered
with manuscripts and papers; under the former I observed an empty bottle.
I spoke. The figure started, and looked up. In the sallow cheeks, untrimmed
beard, sunken and encircled eyes, I recognized Pendlam. A quick flush
spread over his haggard features, and he made a snatch at his tinsel crown.
"Do not be disturbed," I entreated.
He smiled, but with an air of embarrassment; and leaving the tinsel upon
his uncombed head, pointed to the wall.
"You see where I am," said Pendlam.
"I see, yet do _not_ see."
"I have reached the plane of symbols. You are aware that there is something
"A great deal! a great deal!" I said, from a sorrowful heart, as I glanced
Pendlam, who had spoken doubtingly, seemed encouraged.
"Symbols are the highest expression of spiritual thought. Both words and
pictures are used. They are the language of the spirit, which only the same
spirit can understand. Look here, and you will see some symbols of a very
"Astonishing," said I, "is a mild word!"
"And what is equally astonishing," added the eager reformer, "is the
manner in which they are produced. The hand is moved to write or draw them
spontaneously. The symbol comes first, the interpretation afterwards. Here
is a vulture soaring away with a lamb. It has a meaning."
"A deep meaning!" I added. "We have known such a vulture!"
"Here," he cried,--too excited to heed any words but his own,--"are swine
feeding upon golden fruit"
"Oh, the swine! Oh, the precious, wasted, golden fruit!"
"Here is one in words; it reads, _Beware of falling from a balloon_. It
requires a peculiar experience," added Pendlam, with a smile, "to enable
one to understand that beautiful symbol."
"Perhaps I have not had the requisite experience; but"--I laid my hand on
Pendlam's shoulder--"I know a man who has fallen from several balloons!"
"Here is one," said Pendlam, turning to the table, "which I have just
drawn. I was trying to get at its meaning when you came in." He showed me a
sketch consisting of a number of zigzag lines, joined one to another, and
tending towards a circle.
"My dear John Henry," said I, "any person who has watched your course for
the last four or five years will readily see the meaning of that symbol. It
is a map of your voyage of discoveries."
"Such tacking and shifting?" queried Pendlam, with a smile commiserating my
"Just such tacking and shifting. If you had possessed a good compass, it
would have shown you."
Pendlam caught at the word compass. "It is singular;--you must have some
spiritual perception;--it was written through my hand nine days ago,
_Purchase a compass_. Here is the writing; I placed it upon the wall as a
symbol; and I have intended buying a compass as soon as I could get the
"Ah, John Henry," said I, "there is more in your symbols than you suppose.
You want no purchasable compass."
Pendlam rewarded my simplicity with another pitying smile.
"Here," said he, "you who know so much of symbols, explain this. _Avoid the
shores of Old Spain_. I have not yet penetrated its meaning."
"Leave it," I replied, "with the unexplained Pythagorean symbol touching
abstinence from beans. Perhaps future events will reveal it."
Pendlam smiled as before. But was I not right? Did not lamentable events in
the not far-off future give to the symbol a melancholy significance?
"Come," I said, "leave these abstruse studies; take off that symbolic coat,
that tinsel crown; wash, comb your hair, and walk with me."
"I should enjoy a walk," replied Pendlam; "but I am directed to retain
these symbols upon my person, and you would hardly wish me to appear in the
street with them."
"Directed!--by what authority?"
"By the Spirit. Some beautiful use is to be fulfilled. I see where you
are," added Pendlam;--"from your stand-point it must look absurd enough."
I sat down, and endeavoured to reason with him. But I found it impossible
for a person upon my plane to reach with any argument a person upon his. In
vain I recapitulated his successive trials and failures.
"It is true," he confessed, "I have been called to pass through some
strange experiences. But all were necessary steps; and I have now reached
a stand-point from which I can look back and see in its indisputable
place every grade of the progressive ascent. There has been only apparent
failure. Our attempted Association was a necessary foreshadowing of what
remains to be unfolded; a prophetic symbol. We have all been taught great
"And the vulture and the lamb!" I said, sternly; "where are they?"
"I perceive," answered Pendlam, charitably, "you do not understand."
"It is you," I cried, "who have failed to understand your own symbols.
To use plain language, then, where is Susan? She is the lamb that was
entrusted to your keeping, and that you suffered the obscene bird to carry
"You are pleased to employ harsh terms," said Pendlam, meekly. "Susan has
done well; she has followed her attractions, and that is obedience to the
Spirit. Perfect freedom is essential to progression. Consequently, above
a certain plane, monogamy, which has undeniable primitive uses, ceases to
exist. The laws of chemical affinity teach this by analogy. When the mutual
impartations which result from the conjunction of positive and negative
have blended in a state of equilibrium, there is consequent repulsion, and
the law of harmonies ordains new combinations. You see where I am," said
Disheartened and sorrowful, I set out to go. At the door I turned back.
"Can I do anything for you, John Henry?"
"Not unless"--Pendlam hesitated a moment--"if you have a dollar to spare?"
I gave him a bank-bill. As he leaned forward to receive it, he struck his
head against the suspended key.
"Another symbol," I said. _"Break not your brains upon the key of brass."_
He scratched his head, rearranged his tinsel, and smiling, advanced to show
me the stairs. I looked back once: there crowned he stood, in his symbolic
coat, with the green crescent and blue door on the shoulders; and as a gust
from the stairway blew open the garment, I beheld a great yellow heart on
his breast. That picture remained impressed upon my vision. In the street,
I recalled the room, the drawings, the inscriptions,--all so tragical and
saddening! I had not proceeded far, when, moved by greater compassion, I
turned and retraced my steps. At the door of the house, I saw the servant
girl who had admitted me coming out with a bottle, and thought it the same
I had seen lying empty under Pendlam's table. I followed her into a grocery
on the corner. She called for gin, and paid for it out of my bank-bill.
I now changed my mind, and went to consult Horatio. It was concluded that
Pendlam's old habits of thought and associations ought to be entirely
broken up. Deserted, destitute, dependent, he condescended, after long
holding out against us, to listen to what we proposed. Hearing of a vacancy
in a newspaper office in a western city, we had procured for him the
situation. Not without a struggle, he consented to accept it, abandoned his
darling reformatory projects, and set out for his new sphere.
His position was that of subordinate writer; and for a time he maintained
it with considerable ability. But he grew restless under restraint; and at
length, taking advantage of the managing editor's absence, he published
articles on prohibited subjects, which lost the paper half its subscribers,
and him his situation. When next heard of, he was gaining a meagre
subsistence by writing theatrical puffs,--employment for which he was
indebted to the kindness of a certain influential actress named Kellerton.
In the mean time Susan returned from her unhappy wanderings; and her
mother's family, seizing upon her like wolves, hid her from the world in
their den. And I was pleased not long after to read that an individual
named Clodman, a noted swindler, had recently been shot in a street-fight
in St. Louis, by a husband whose domestic peace he had disturbed.
The last word of all, that ends this strange, eventful, and, alas! too true
history, remains to be said.
For some months, we had heard nothing of Pendlam. But last week I received
a bundle of Roman Catholic publications, one of which contained an article
proclaiming a miraculous conversion of the distinguished reformer, and
thereby greatly glorifying Catholicism.
The same mail brought me a letter from the convert.
"At last," he wrote, "I have found peace in the bosom of the Holy Catholic
Church. All my previous experiences were necessary to lead me where I am.
This is the divine association I was so long seeking elsewhere in vain;
I find in its forms the true symbols of a universal religion; and I now
perceive that the seeming errors, in which I was for a time permitted to
stray, were wisely designed to convince me of the sublime truth, that
celibacy is the single condition befitting a holy apostolic teacher."
Amid the flood of reflections that rushed upon me, arose prominent the
image of poor Pendlam's unexplained symbol: "_Avoid the shores of old
Spain._" Had it not now received its interpretation? The tossed voyager,
failing to make the continent of truth, but beating hither and thither amid
the reefs and breakers of dangerous coasts, mistaking many islands for the
main, and drifting on unknown seas, had at last steered straight to the old
Catholic shores, from which the great discoverers had sailed so many years
The year 1757 was one of the gloomiest ever known to England. At home, the
government was in a state of utter confusion, though the country was at war
with France, and France was in alliance with Austria; these two nations
having departed from their policy of two centuries and a half, in order
that they might crush Frederic of Prussia, England's ally. Frederic was
defeated at Kolin, by the Austrians, on the 18th of June, and a Russian
army was in possession of East Prussia. A German army in British pay,
and commanded by the "Butcher" hero of Culloden, was beaten in July, and
capitulated in September. In America, the pusillanimity of the English
commanders led to terrible disasters, among which the loss of Fort William
Henry, and the massacre of its garrison, were conspicuous events. In India,
the English were engaged in a doubtful contest with the viceroy of Bengal,
who was supported by the French. Even the navy of England appeared at
that time to have lost its sense of superiority; for not only had Admiral
Byng just been shot for not behaving with proper spirit, but a combined
expedition against the coast of France ended in signal failure, and Admiral
Holburne declined to attack a French fleet off Louisburg. No wonder that
the British people readily believed an author who then published a work to
establish the agreeable proposition, "that they were a race of cowards and
scoundrels; that nothing could save them; that they were on the point of
being enslaved by their enemies, and that they richly deserved their fate."
Such a succession of disasters might well discourage a people, some of whom
could recollect the long list of victories which commenced with Blenheim
and closed with Malplaquet, and by which the arrogance of the Grand
Monarque had been punished.
Yet it is from this very year of misfortune that the power of modern
England must take its date. "Adversity," said El Hakim to the Knight of the
Leopard, "is like the period of the former and of the latter rain,--cold,
comfortless, unfriendly to man and to animal; yet from that season
have their birth the flower and the fruit, the date, the rose, and the
pomegranate." In the summer of 1757 was formed that ministry which
succeeded in carrying England's power and glory to heights which they
did not reach even under the Protectorship of Cromwell or the rule of
Godolphin. Then were commenced those measures which ended in the expulsion
of the French from North America, and gave to England a territory here
which may perpetuate her institutions for ages after they shall have ceased
to be known in the mother-land. Then was America conquered in Germany, and
not only was Frederic so assisted as to be able to contend successfully
against the three great houses of Bourbon, Habsburg, and Romanoff, and a
horde of lesser dynasties, but British armies, at Minden and Creveldt,
renewed on the fields of the continent recollections of the island skill
and the island courage. Then was a new spirit breathed into the British
marine, by which it has ever since been animated, and which has seldom
stopped to count odds. Then began that dashing course of enterprise which
gave almost everything to England that was assailable, from Goree to Cuba,
and from Cuba to the Philippines. Then was laid the foundation of that
Oriental dominion of England which has been the object of so much wonder,
and of not a little envy; for on the 23d of June, 1757, was fought the
battle of Plassey, the first of those many Indian victories that illustrate
the names of Clive, Coote, Wellesley, Gough, Napier, and numerous other
heroes. It seems odd, that the interest in Indian affairs should have been
suddenly and strangely revived in the hundredth year after the victory that
laid Bengal at the feet of an English adventurer. Had the insurgent Sepoys
delayed action but a few weeks, they might have inaugurated their movement
on the very centennial anniversary of the birth of British India.
There is nothing like the rule of the English in India to be found in
history. It has been compared to the dominion which Rome held over so large
a portion of the world; but the comparison has not the merit of aptness.
The population of the Roman Empire, in the age of the Antonines, has been
estimated at 120,000,000, including that of Italy. The population of
India is not less than 150,000,000, without counting any portion of the
conquering race. Rome was favorably situated for the maintenance of her
supremacy, as she had been for the work of conquest. Her dominion lay
around the Mediterranean, which Italy pierced, looking to the East and the
West, and forming, as it were, a great place of arms, whence to subdue or
to overawe the nations. Cicero called the Hellenic states and colonies a
fringe on the skirts of Barbarism, and the description applies also to the
Roman dominion; for though Gaul and Spain were conquered from sea to sea,
and the legions were encamped on the Euphrates, and the valley of the Nile
was as submissive to the Caesars as it had been to the Lagidse, yet the
Mediterranean was the basis of Roman power, and a short journey in almost
any direction from it would have taken the traveller completely from
under the protection of the eagles. Not so is it with British India. From
no European country is India so remote as from England. The two regions
are separated by the ocean, by seas, by deserts, and by some of the most
powerful nations. Their sole means of union are found in the leading cause
of their separation. England owes her Indian empire to her empire of the
sea. India will be hers just so long, and no longer, as she shall be able
to maintain her naval supremacy. Those who predict her downfall in the
East, either as a consequence of the natives throwing off her rule, or
through a Russian invasion, forget that she entered India from the sea,
and that until she shall have been subdued on that element it would be
idle to think of dispossessing her of her Oriental supremacy. Were the
long-cherished dream of Russia to be realized,--a dream that is said to
have troubled the sleep of Peter, and which certainly haunted the mind of
Catharine,--and Russian proconsuls ruling on the Ganges, India could no
more be to Russia what she has been to England, than the Crimea, had he
kept it, could have been to Louis Napoleon what it is to the Czar. The
condition of Indian dominion is ocean dominion.
In one respect the Indian empire of England resembles the Roman empire.
The latter comprised many and widely different countries and races, and
so is it with the former. We are so accustomed to speak of India as if it
constituted one country, and were inhabited by a homogeneous people, that
it is difficult to understand that not even in Europe are nations to be
found more unlike to one another than in British India. In Hindostan and
the Deccan there are ten different civilized nations, resembling each other
no more than Danes resemble Italians, or Spaniards Poles. They differ in
moral, physical, and intellectual conditions,--in modes of thought and in
modes of life. This is one of the chief causes of England's supremacy,
just as a similar state of things not only promoted the conquests of Rome,
but facilitated her rule after they had been made. The Emperors ruled over
Syrians, Greeks, Egyptians, and other Eastern peoples, with ease, because
they had little in common, and could not combine against their conquerors.
They did the same in the West, because the inhabitants of that quarter, if
left to themselves, would have passed their time in endless quarrels. The
old world abounded in great cities, all of which owned the supremacy of
Rome, from Gades to Thapsacus; and in modern India the most venerable
places are compelled to bow before the upstart Calcutta.
The peculiar condition of India a hundred years since enabled the English
to lay the foundations of their power in that country so broadly and so
deep that nothing short of a moral convulsion can uproot them, though the
edifice erected upon them may be rudely shaken by internal revolts, or by
the consequences of external wars. Fifty years sooner or forty years later,
the English could have made no impression on India as conquerors. Seventy
years before the conquest of Bengal the English traders had been plundered
by a viceroy who anticipated the tyranny of Surajah Doulah. They determined