Part 2 out of 5
"Ah, me! I wish I wore dresses."
"You can, if you choose, I suppose. There is no one to hinder you."
"Simpleton! that is not what you were intended to say. You should have
asked the cause of so singular a wish, and then I had a pretty little
speech all ready for you,--a veritable compliment"
"It is well I did not ask, then. Mamma does not approve of compliments,
and perhaps it would have made me vain."
"Incorrigible! Why did you not ask me what the speech was, and thus give
me an opportunity to relieve myself. Why, a body might die of a plethora
of flattery, if he had nobody but you to discharge it against."
"He must take care, then, that the supply does not exceed the demand."
"Political economy, upon my word! What shall we have next?"
"Domestic, I suppose you would like. Men generally, indeed, prefer it to
the other, I am told."
"Ah, Ivy, Ivy! little you know about men, my child!"
He leaned back in his seat and was silent for some minutes. Ivy did not
care to interrupt his thinking. Presently he said,--
"Ivy, how old are you?"
"I shall be seventeen the last day of this month."
A short pause.
"And then eighteen."
"And then nineteen."
"And then twenty. In three years you will be twenty."
"Horrid old, isn't it?"
He turned his head, and looked down upon her with what Ivy thought a
curious kind of smile, but only said,--
"You must not say 'horrid' so much."
By-and-by Ivy grew rather tired of sitting silent and watching the
rustle of the leaves, which hid every other prospect; she turned her
face a little so that she could look at him. He sat with folded arms,
looking straight ahead; and she thought his face wore a troubled
expression. She felt as if she would like very much to smooth out the
wrinkles in his forehead and run her fingers through his hair, as she
sometimes did for her father. She had a great mind to ask him if she
should; then she reflected that it might make him nervous. Then she
wondered if he had forgotten her lessons, and how long they were to sit
there. Determined, at length, to have a change of some kind, she said,
He roused himself suddenly, and stood up.
"I thought, perhaps, you had a headache."
"No, Ivy. But this is not climbing the hill of science, is it?"
"Not so much as it is climbing the piazza."
"Suppose we take a vacation to-day, and investigate the state of the
"Yes, Sir, I am ready."
Ivy did not fully understand the nature of his proposition; but if he
had proposed to "put a girdle round the earth in forty minutes," she
would have said and acted, "Yes, Sir, I am ready," just the same.
He took up the basket of grapes which he had gathered, and led the way
through the window, down-stairs. Ivy waited for him at the hall-door,
while he carried the grapes to Mrs. Simm; then he joined her again and
proposed to walk through the woods a little while, before Ivy went home.
"You must know, my docile pupil, that I am going to the city to-morrow,
on business, to be gone a week or two. So, as you must perforce take a
vacation then, why, we may as well begin to vacate today, and enjoy it."
"I am sorry you are going away."
"You are? That is almost enough to pay me for going. Why are you sorry?"
"Because I shall not see you for a week; and I have become so used to
you, that somehow I don't seem to know what to do with a day without
you; and then the cars may run off the track and kill you or hurt you,
or you may get the smallpox, or a great many things may happen."
"And suppose some of these terrible things should happen,--the last, for
instance,--what would you do?"
"I? I should advise you to send for the doctor at once."
Mr. Clerron laughed.
"So you would not come and nurse me, and take care of me, and get me
"No, because I should then be in danger of taking it myself and giving
it to papa and mamma; besides, they would not let me, I am quite sure."
"So you love your papa and mamma better than"----
He stopped abruptly. Ivy finished for him.
"Better than words can tell. Papa particularly. Mamma, somehow, seems
strong of herself, and don't depend upon me; but papa,--oh, you don't
know how he is to me! I think, if I should die, he would die of grief. I
have, I cannot help having, a kind of pity for him, he loves me so."
"Do you always pity people, when they love you very much?"
"Oh, no! of course not. Besides, nobody loves me enough to be pitied,
except papa.--Isn't it pleasant here? How very green it is! It looks
just like summer. Oh, Mr. Clerron, did you see the clouds this morning?"
"There were none when I arose."
"Why, yes, Sir, there was a great heap of them at sunrise."
"I am not prepared to contradict you."
"Perhaps you were not up at sunrise."
"I have an impression to that effect."
He smiled so comically, that Ivy could not help saying, though she was
half afraid he might not be pleased,--
"I wonder whether you are an early riser."
"Yes, my dear, I consider myself tolerably early. I believe I have been
up every morning but one, this week, by nine o'clock."
Ivy was horror-struck. Her country ideas of "early to bed and early to
rise" received a great shock, as her looks plainly showed. He laughed
gayly at her amazed face.
"You don't seem to appreciate me, Miss Geer."
"'Nine o'clock!'" repeated Ivy, slowly,--"'every morning but one!' and
it is Tuesday to-day."
"Yes, but you know yesterday was a dark, cloudy day, and excellent for
"But, Mr. Clerron, then you are not more than fairly up when I come. And
when do you write?"
"Always in the evening."
"But the evenings are so short,--or have been."
"Mine are not particularly so. From six to three is about long enough
for one sitting."
"I should think so. And you must be so tired!"
"Not so tired as you think. You, now, rising at five or six, and running
round all day, become so tired that you have to go to bed by nine;
of course you have no time for reflection and meditation. I, on the
contrary, take life easily,--write in the night, when everything is
still and quiet,--take my sleep when all the noise of the world's
waking-up is going on,--and after creation is fairly settled for the
day, I rise leisurely, breakfast leisurely, take a smoke leisurely, and
leisurely wait the coming of my little pupil."
"May I tell you another thing I don't like in you? a bad habit?"
"As many as you please, provided you won't require me to reform."
"What is the use of telling it, then?"
"But it may be a relief to you. You will have the satisfaction arising
from doing your duty. We shall ventilate our opinions, and perhaps come
to a better understanding. Go on."
"Well, Sir, I wish you did not smoke so much."
"I don't smoke very much, little Ivy."
"I wish you would not at all. Mamma thinks it is very injurious, and
wrong, even. And papa says cigars are bad things."
"Some of them are outrageous. But, my dear, granting your father and
mother and yourself to be right, don't you see I am doing more to
extirpate the evil than you, with all your principle? I exterminate,
destroy, and ruin them at the rate of three a day; while you, I venture
to say, never lifted a finger or lighted a spark against them."
"Now, Sir, that is only a way of slipping round the question. And I
really wish you did not. Before I knew you, I thought it was almost as
bad to smoke as it was to steal. I know, however, now, that it cannot
"I have not studied Logic yet; still, as I was going to say, Sir,
I don't like to think of you as being in a kind of subjection to
"Ivy, seriously, I am not in subjection to a cigar. I often don't smoke
for months together. To prove it, I promise you I won't smoke for the
next two months."
"Oh, I am so glad! Oh, I am so much obliged to you! And you are not in
the least vexed that I spoke to you about it?"
"Not in the least."
"I was afraid you would be. And one thing more, Sir, I have been afraid
of, the last few days. You know when I first knew you, or before I knew
you, I supposed you did nothing but walk round and enjoy yourself all
day. But now I know you do work very hard; and I have feared that you
could not well spare two hours every day for me,--particularly in the
morning, which are almost always considered the best. But if you like
to write in the evening, you would just as soon I would come in the
"But if two hours are too much, I hope you won't, at any time, hesitate
to tell me. I have no claim on a moment,--only"--
"My dear Ivy Geer, pupil and friend, be so good as to understand,
henceforth, that you cannot possibly come into my house at any time
when you are not wanted; nor stay any longer than I want you; nor say
anything that will not please me;--well, I am not quite sure about
that;--but, at least, remember that I am always glad to see you, and
teach you, and have you with me; and that I can never hope to do you as
much good as you do me every day of your blessed life."
"Oh, Mr. Clerron!" exclaimed Ivy, with a great gush of gratitude and
happiness; "do I, can I, do _you_ any good?"
"You do and can, my tendril! You supply an element that was wanting in
my life. You make every day beautiful to me. The flutter of your robes
among these trees brings sunshine into my heart. Every morning I walk in
my garden as soon as I am, as you say, fairly up, till I see you turn
into the lane; and every day I watch you till you disappear. You are
fresh and truthful and natural, and you give me new life. And now, my
dear little trembling benefactor, because we are nearly through the
woods, I can go no farther with you; and because I am going away
to-morrow, not to see you again for a week, and because I hope you will
be a little lonesome while I am gone, why, I think I must let you--kiss
Ivy had been looking intently into his face, with an expression, at
first, of the most beaming, tearful delight, then gradually changing
into waiting wonder; but when his sentence finally closed, she stood
still, scarcely able to comprehend. He placed his hands on her temples,
and, smiling involuntarily at her blushes and embarrassment, half in
sport and half in tenderness, bent her head a little back, kissed brow,
cheeks, and lips, whispered softly, "Go now! God bless you for ever and
ever, my darling!" and, turning, walked hastily down the winding path.
As for Ivy, she went home in a dream, blind and stunned with a great
[To be continued.]
No more Joy-roses! their perfume
To this dull pain brings short surcease:
But tell me, if ye know, where bloom
The golden lily-bells of Peace.
Leap, winnowing all the air of light,
Ye wild wraiths of the waterfall!
But for that fabled fountain's sight,
That giveth sleep, I'd give you all.
Bound, gay barks, o'er the bounding main!
Shake all your white wings to the breeze!
My joy was erst the hurricane,
The plunging of the purple seas;
My hope to find the mystic marge
Of all strange lands, the strange world o'er:
But bear me now to yon still barge,
Calm cradled by a tideless shore!
Wild birds, that cleave the crystal deeps
With May-time matins loud and long,
Oh, not for you my sick heart weeps!
Its pulses time not to your song!
But know ye where she hides her nest,
Beneath what balmy dropping eaves,
The Dove that bears on her white breast
The sacred green of olive-leaves?
Not when the Spring doth rosy rise
From white foam of the Northern snows;
Not when 'neath passion-throbbing skies
The fire-pulsed June in beauty glows:
But when amid the templed hills,
Deep drained from every purple vine,
Soft for her dying lips distils
The Summer's sacramental wine;
While all her woodland priests put on
Their vestures dipped in sacrifice,
And, as 'twere golden bells far swung,
A rhythmic silence holds the skies;
What time the Day-spring softly wells
From Night's dark caverns, till it sets
In long, melodious, tidal swells,
Toward the wide flood-gates of the West;--
Oh, open then my dungeon door!
Let Nature lead me, blind of eyes,
If haply I may _feel_ once more
The pillars of the steadfast skies;
If haply there may fall for me
Some strange assurance in my fears,--
As he who heard on Galilee,
That stormy night in wondrous years,
The "It is I," and o'er the foam
Of what seemed phantom-haunted seas,
Saw glory of the kingdom come,
The footsteps of the Prince of Peace!
THE PROGRESS OF THE ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH.
"Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to
the end of the world."
PSALMS, xix. 4.
Among the impossibilities enumerated to convince Job of his ignorance
and weakness, the Almighty asks,--
"Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here
At the present day, every people in Christendom can respond in the
The lines of electric telegraph are increasing so rapidly, that the
length in actual use cannot be estimated at any moment with accuracy. At
the commencement of 1848, it was stated that the length in operation
in this country was about 3000 miles. At the end of 1850, the lines in
operation, or in progress, in the United States, amounted to 22,000. In
1853, the total number of miles of wire in America amounted to 26,375.
It is but fifteen years since the first line of electric telegraph was
constructed in this country; and at the present time there are not less
than 50,000 miles in successful operation on this continent, having over
1400 stations, and employing upwards of 10,000 operators and clerks.
The number of messages passing over all the lines in this country
annually is estimated at upwards of 5,000,000, producing a revenue of
$2,000,000; in addition to which, the press pays $200,000 for public
In Europe there are lines rivalling those in America. The electric wire
extends under the English Channel, the German Ocean, the Black and Red
Seas, and the Mediterranean; it passes from crag to crag on the Alps,
and runs through Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany, and Russia.
India, Australia, Cuba, Mexico, and several of the South American States
have also their lines; and the wires uniting the Pacific and Atlantic
States will shortly meet at the passes of the Rocky Mountains.
The electric telegraph, which has made such rapid strides, is yet in its
infancy. The effect of its future extension, and of new applications,
cannot be estimated, when, as a means of intercourse at least, its
network shall spread through every village, bringing all parts of our
republic into the closest and most intimate relations of friendship and
interest. In connection with the railroad and steamboat, it has
already achieved one important national result. It has made possible,
on this continent, a wide-spread, yet closely linked, empire of States,
such as our fathers never imagined. The highest office of the electric
telegraph, in the future, is thus to be the promotion of unity, peace,
and good-will among men.
In Europe, Great Britain and Ireland have the greatest number of miles
of electric telegraph,--namely, 40,000. France has 26,000; Belgium,
1600; Germany, 35,000; Switzerland, 2000; Spain and Portugal, 1200;
Italy, 6600; Turkey and Greece, 500; Russia, 12,000; Denmark and Sweden,
In Italy, Sardinia has the largest share of lines, having about 1200
miles; and in Germany, after Austria and Prussia, the largest share
belongs to Bavaria, which has 1050. Saxony has 400 miles; Wuertemberg,
The distance between stations on lines of Continental telegraph is from
ten to twelve miles on the average, and the number of them is about
In France the use of the electric telegraph has rapidly increased within
the last few years. In 1851, the number of despatches transmitted
was 9014, which produced 76,723 francs. In 1858, there were 463,973
despatches transmitted, producing 3,516,634 francs. During the last four
years, that is to say, since all the chief towns in France have been in
electric communication with Paris, and consequently with each other,
there have been sent by private individuals 1,492,420 despatches, which
have produced 12,528,591 francs. Out of the 97,728 despatches exchanged
during the last three months of 1858, 23,728 were with Paris, and 15,409
with the thirty most important towns of France. These 15,409 despatches
are divided, as to their object or nature, as follows:--Private and
family affairs, 3102; journals, 523; commerce and manufactures, 6132;
Bourse affairs, 5253; sundry affairs, 399.
In Australia, the electric telegraph is in constant use, affording a
remunerating revenue, and the amount of business has forced on the
government the necessity of additional wires.
Cuba has six hundred miles of wire in operation. Messages can be
transmitted only in Spanish, and the closest surveillance is
maintained by the government officials over all despatches offered for
transmission. From the fact that no less than a dozen errors occurred in
a dispatch transmitted by a Boston gentleman from Cardenas to Havana,
we judge that the telegraphic apparatus, invented by our liberty-loving
American, Professor House, rebels at such petty tyranny.
Several hundred miles of electric telegraph have been constructed in
Mexico; but the unfortunate condition of the country for the last few
years has precluded the possibility of maintaining it in working order,
and it has, like everything else in the land of Monteznma, gone to
The English and Dutch governments have come to an understanding upon a
system of cables which will unite India and Australia, and eventually be
extended to China. The arrangements between the governments are:--That
the Indian and Imperial governments shall connect India with Singapore;
that the Dutch government shall connect Singapore with the southeast
point of Java; that the Australian governments shall connect their
continent with Java. The cable for the Singapore-Java section was to
have been laid during the last month; the Indian-Singapore section is
to be laid this spring; and the connection with Australia will, it is
believed, be completed in the course of next year.
The Red Sea and India Telegraph Company have announced the arrangements
under which they are prepared to transmit messages for the public
between Alexandria and Aden. Messages for Australia and China will be
forwarded by post from Aden. It is considered probable that a direct
communication with Alexandria will be established through Constantinople
in the course of a few weeks, and then the news from India will reach
London in ten or eleven days.
A late European steamer brings a report that two Russian engineers
have proceeded to Pekin, China, to make preparations for a telegraphic
connection between that place and the Russian territory.
There is reason to believe that arrangements will soon be made at St.
Petersburg, through private companies and government subsidies, for
completing the line of telegraph from Novgorod to the mouth of the
Amoor, and thence across the straits to Russian America. In the mean
time, a company has already been formed and incorporated in Canada,
under the name of the Transmundane Telegraphic Company, which will
afford important aid in continuing the proposed line through British
America. The plan is, to carry the wires from the mouth of the Amoor
across Behring's Strait, to and through Russian and British America.
From Victoria a branch will be extended to San Francisco, and another to
Canada. The line from San Francisco to Missouri is under way, and Mr.
Collins, who is engaged in the Russian and Canadian enterprise, thinks
that by the time it is in operation he shall have extended his line to
This is unquestionably the most feasible route for telegraphic
communication between America and Europe; and, though the longest
by several thousand miles, it would afford the most rapid means of
communication, owing to the great superiority of aerial over subaqueous
No limit has yet been found to aerial telegraphing; for, by inserting
transferrers into the more extended circuits, renewed energy can be
attained, and lines of several thousands of miles in length can be
worked, if properly insulated, as surely as those of a hundred. The
lines between New York and New Orleans are frequently connected together
by means of transferrers, and direct communication is had over a
distance of more than, two thousand miles. No perceptible retardation of
the current takes place; on the contrary, the lines so connected work as
successfully as when divided into shorter circuits.
This is not the case with subaqueous lines. The employment of submarine,
as well as of subterranean conductors, occasions a small retardation in
the velocity of the transmitted electricity. This retardation is not due
to the length of the path which the electric current has to traverse,
since it does not take place with a conductor equally long, insulated in
the air. It arises, as Faraday has demonstrated, from a static reaction,
which is determined by the introduction of a current into a conductor
well insulated, but surrounded outside its insulating coating by a
conducting body, such as sea-water or moist ground, or even simply by
the metallic envelope of iron wires placed in communication with the
ground. When this conductor is presented to one of the poles of a
battery, the other pole of which communicates with the ground, it
becomes charged with static electricity, like the coating of a Leyden
jar,--electricity which is capable of giving rise to a discharge
current, even after the voltaic current has ceased to be transmitted.
Professor Wheatstone experimented upon the cable intended to unite La
Spezia, upon the coast of Piedmont, with the Island of Corsica. It was
one hundred and ten miles in length, and contained six copper wires
one-sixteenth of an inch in diameter, individually insulated, and
each covered with a coating of gutta-percha one-twelfth of an inch in
thickness. The cable was coiled in a dry pit in the yard, with its two
ends accessible. The ends of the different wires could be united, so as
to make of all these wires merely one wire six hundred and sixty miles
in length, through which the electric current could circulate in the
same direction. This current was itself furnished by an insulated
battery formed of one hundred and forty-four Wheatstone's pairs, equal
to fifty of Grove's. In the first series of experiments, it was proved,
that, if one of the ends of the long wire, whose other end remained
insulated, were made to communicate with one of the poles of the
battery, the wire became charged with the electricity of that pole,
which, so long as it existed, gave rise to a current which was made
evident by a galvanometer: but, in order to obtain this result, the
second pole of the battery must communicate with the ground, or with
another long wire similar to the first.
In a second series of experiments, Professor Wheatstone interposed three
galvanometers in the middle and at the ends of the circuit, determining
in this manner the progress of the current by the order which they
followed in their deviation. If the two poles of the battery were
connected by the long conductor of six hundred and sixty miles, the
precaution having been taken to divide it into two portions of equal
length, it was observed, on connecting the two free extremities of these
two portions in order to close the circuit, that the galvanometer placed
in the middle was the first to be deflected, whilst the galvanometers
placed in the vicinity of the poles were not deflected until later.
By a third series of experiments, Wheatstone, with the galvanometer, has
shown that a continuous current may be maintained in the circuit of the
long wire of an electric cable, of which one of the ends is insulated,
whilst the other communicates with one of the poles of a battery whose
other pole is connected with the ground. This current is due to the
uniform and continual dispersion of the statical electricity with which
the wire is charged along its whole length, as would happen to any other
conducting body placed in an insulating medium.
It was owing to the retardation from this cause that communication
through the Atlantic Cable was so exceedingly slow and difficult, and
not, as many suppose, because the cable was defective. It is true that
there was a fault in the cable, discovered by Varley, before it left
Queenstown; but it was not of so serious a character as to offer any
substantial obstacle to the passage of the electric current.
As everything pertaining to the actual operation of the Atlantic Cable
has been studiously withheld from the public, until it has come to be
seriously doubted whether any despatches were ever transmitted through
it, we presume it will not be out of place here to give the actual
_modus operandi_ of this great wonder and mystery.
The only instrument which could be used successfully in signalling
through the Atlantic Cable was one of peculiar construction, by
Professor Thompson, called the marine galvanometer. In this instrument
momentum and inertia are almost wholly avoided by the use of a needle
weighing only one and a half grains, combined with a mirror reflecting a
ray of light, which indicates deflections with great accuracy. By these
means a gradually increasing or decreasing current is at each instant
indicated at its due strength. Thus, when this galvanometer is placed
as the receiving instrument at the end of a long submarine cable, the
movement of the spot of light, consequent on the completion of a circuit
through the battery, cable, and earth, can be so observed as to furnish
a curve representing very accurately the arrival of an electric current.
Lines representing successive signals at various speeds can also be
obtained, and, by means of a metronome, dots, dashes, successive _A_-s,
etc., can be sent with nearly perfect regularity by an ordinary Morse
key, and the corresponding changes in the current at the receiving end
of the cable accurately observed. The strength of the battery employed
was found to have no influence on the results; curves given by batteries
of different strengths could be made to coincide by simply drawing them
to scales proportionate to the strengths of the two currents. It was
also found that the same curve represented the gradual increase of
intensity due to the arrival of a current and the gradual decrease due
to the ceasing of that current. The possible speed of signalling was
found to be very nearly proportional to the squares of the lengths
spoken through. Thus, a speed which gave fifteen dots per minute in a
length of 2191 nautical miles reproduced all the effects given by a
speed of thirty dots in a length of 1500. At these speeds, with ordinary
Morse signals, speaking would be barely possible. In the Red Sea, a
speed of from seven to eight words per minute was attained in a length
of 750 nautical miles. Mechanical senders, and attention to the
proportion of the various contacts, would materially increase the speed
at which signals of any kind could be transmitted. The best trained hand
cannot equal the accuracy of mechanism, and the slightest irregularity
causes the current to rise or fall quite beyond the limits required for
distinct signals. No important difference was observed between signals
sent by alternate reverse currents and those sent by the more usual
method. The amount of oscillation, and the consequent distinctness of
signalling, were nearly the same in the two cases. An advantage in the
first signals sent is, however, obtained by the use of Messrs. Sieman's
and Halske's submarine key, by which the cable is put to earth
immediately on signalling being interrupted, and the wire thus kept at
a potential half-way between the potentials of the poles of two
counter-acting batteries employed, and the first signals become legible,
which, with the ordinary key, would be employed in charging the wire.
A system of arbitrary characters, similar to those used upon the Morse
telegraph, was employed, and the letter to be indicated was determined
by the number of oscillations of the needle, as well as by the length of
time during which the needle remained in one place. The operator, who
watched the reflection of the deflected needle in the mirror, had a key,
communicating with a local instrument in the office, in his hand, which
he pressed down or raised, as the needle was deflected; and another
operator occupied himself in deciphering the characters thus produced
upon the paper. As the operator at Trinity Bay had no means of arresting
the operations at Valentia, and _vice versa_, and as the fastest rate of
speed over the cable could not exceed three words per minute, it will
not surprise the reader that the operators were nearly two days in
transmitting the Queen's despatch.
However, notwithstanding all the difficulties in the way, there were
transmitted from Ireland to Newfoundland, through the Atlantic Cable,
between the 10th of August and the 1st of September, 97 messages,
containing 1102 words; and from Newfoundland to Ireland, 269 messages
and 2840 words, making a total of 366 messages, containing 3942 words.
Among these were the message from the Queen to the President of the
United States, and his reply; the one announcing the safety of the
steamer Europa, her mails and passengers, after her collision with
the Arabia; and two messages for Her Majesty's War-Office, which last
effected a very large saving to the revenue of the English government.
In Liverpool, L150,000 have already been subscribed to the project of
completing or relaying the Atlantic Cable.
A contract has been recently made by the English government for a cable
to be laid from Falmouth to Gibraltar, 1200 miles, which is to be ready
in June next. This will be succeeded by one from Gibraltar to Malta
and Alexandria, thus giving England an independent line, free from
Steamers were to have left Liverpool at the end of the last month, with
the remainder of the cable to connect Kurrachee with Aden. The cable to
connect Alexandria with England is now to be laid through the islands
of Rhodes and Scio to Constantinople, and not by way of Candia, as
previously intended; it is expected to be laid this season. Hellaniyah,
one of the Kuria-Muria Islands, has been decided on as a station for the
Red Sea Telegraph.
The new electric cable between Malta and the opposite coast of Sicily at
Alga Grande is safely laid. Two previous attempts had been made; but, in
consequence of the late strong winds, nothing could be done. The
shore end on the Malta side had been laid down and connected with the
company's offices before the expedition started; the outer end, about
one mile off the Marsamuscetto harbor, into which the cable has been
taken, being buoyed ready to complete the communication from shore to
shore the moment the cable was submerged. The operation of paying out
the cable was completed without the least accident. The mid-portion of
the cable is of great strength, being able to sustain a strain of ten
or twelve tons without parting, and the shore ends are of nearly double
that strength. The depth of water throughout is within eighty fathoms;
so that, if any accident should ever occur, it may be remedied without
A great change in the rates to Sicily and the Italian States will result
from the completion of this new line, a reduction in some cases of
seventy-five per cent. being made,--a great boon to the English
merchants. Messages in French, English, or Italian will be transmitted,
and we must congratulate the company upon their success in inducing the
Neapolitan government to make this concession, and upon the exceedingly
low tariff proposed.
Mr. De Sauty is the electrician of this company. He will be remembered
by the reader as the mysterious operator at Trinity Bay, from whom an
occasional vague and exceedingly brief despatch was received in relation
to the working of the cable. Nothing really satisfactory could ever be
obtained, and, when visited by some officers connected with the United
States Coast Survey, he would not permit them to enter the office or
examine the apparatus. His name was published in the daily journals with
several different varieties of spelling, and for this reason, and in
consequence of his extreme reticence, one of them perpetrated the
"Thou operator, silent, glum,
Why wilt them act so naughty?
Do tell us _what_ your name is,--come:
De Santy, or De Sauty?
"Don't think to humbug any more,
Shut up there in your shanty,--
But solve the problem, once for all,--
De Sauty, or De Santy?"
Electric telegraphy in the Ottoman Empire has within a few months had
a remarkable development. Several lines are already in course of
construction. A direct line from Varna to Toultcha, passing by
Baltschik. A line from Toultcha to Odessa, passing by Reni and joining
the Russian telegraph at Ismail. The subaqueous cable from Toultcha to
Reni, on the Danube, is the sixth in the Ottoman Empire. This line,
which will place Constantinople in direct communication with Odessa,
will not only have the advantage of increasing and accelerating the
communications, but will very considerably reduce their cost.
There is also to be a line from Rodosto to Enos and Salonica; and from
Salonica to Monastir, Valona, and Scutari in Albania. The line from
Salonica to Monastir and Valona will be joined by a submarine cable
crossing the Adriatic to Otranto, and carried on to Naples. It will
have the effect of placing Southern Italy in communication with
Constantinople, and also of reducing the cost of messages. A convention
to this effect has been signed by a delegate of the Neapolitan
government and the director-general of the telegraphic lines of the
Ottoman Empire, touching this line to Naples. The ratification of the
two governments will shortly be given to this convention.
A line from Scutari in Albania to Bar-Bournon, and thence to
Castellastua, passing round the Montenegrin territory by a submarine
cable. This line is already laid, and will begin working immediately on,
the completion of the Austrian lines to the point where it ends.
A line from Constantinople to Bagdad. Three sections of this are being
simultaneously laid down. The first from Constantinople to Ismid,
Angora, Yuzgat, and Sivas: the works on this have been already carried
to Sabanja, between Ismid and Angora. The second section, from Sivas
to Moussoul: the works on this line are in a state of favorable
preparation, and the line will be actively gone on with. The third
section, from Bagdad to Moussoul: for this also the preparations have
been made, and the works will begin when the season opens, the materials
being all ready along the line. From Bagdad this line will extend to
Bassora, to join a submarine cable to be carried thence to British
A projected line from Constantinople to Smyrna. For this, two routes
are thought of: one, the shortest, but most difficult, would run from
Constantinople to the Dardanelles, Adramyti, and Smyrna; the other,
the longest, but offering fewest difficulties, would pass from
Constantinople by Muhalitch, Berliek-Hissar, and Maneesa, to Smyrna.
A line from Mostar to Bosna-Serai. Mostar is already connected with the
Austrian telegraphs at Metcovich.
Other lines have been in the mean time completed and extended, and will
soon be opened to the public. Thus, a third and fourth wire are being
laid on the line from Constantinople to Rodosto; from the latter point
three wires have been carried to Gallipoli and the Dardanelles, two of
which are for messages from Gallipoli to the Dardanelles, and the third
is to join the submarine cable connecting Constantinople, Candia, Syra,
and the Piraeus. The communications between Constantinople and Candia
would already have begun but for an accident to the engineer. Those
with Syra and the Piraeus will begin as soon as the ratification of the
convention entered into between the Ottoman and Greek governments on
this subject shall have taken place. The laying of the cable between
Candia and Alexandria, which has not yet succeeded, will be resumed this
Thus, after the completion of these lines, Constantinople will be in
communication with nearly all the chief provinces and towns of the
empire, with Africa, and with Europe, by five different channels,--by
the Principalities, by Odessa, by Servia, by Dalmatia, and the Kingdom
of the Two Sicilies. With such a development of the system, it will
be imperatively necessary to increase the telegraphic working-staff.
Already the number of despatches arriving every day renders the service
very difficult, and occasions much confusion and many grievous mistakes.
Nothing is easier than to remedy all this by increasing the number of
The great distinguishing feature of the telegraphs used in Great Britain
is, that they are of the class known as oscillating telegraphs,--that
is, telegraphs in which the letters are denoted by the number of motions
to the right or left of a needle or indicator. Those of France are of
the class called dial telegraphs, in which an index, or needle, is
carried around the face of a dial, around the circumference of which are
placed the letters of the alphabet; any particular letter being
designated by the brief stopping of the needle. A similar system has
been used in Prussia; but, recently, the American, or recording
instrument of Professor Morse, has been introduced into this, as well
as every other European country; and even in England, the national
prejudice is gradually giving way, and our American system is being
In America none but recording instruments have ever been used. Of
these we have many kinds, but only five are in operation at present,
namely:--The electro-magnetic timing instrument of Professor Morse;
the electro-magnetic step-by-step printing of Mr. House; the
electro-magnetic synchronous printing of Mr. Hughes; the
electro-chemical rhythmic of Mr. Bain; and the combination-printing,
combining the essential parts of the Hughes instrument with portions of
the House. The Morse apparatus is, however, most generally used in this
country and every other. Out of the two hundred and fifty thousand
miles of electric telegraph now in operation or in the course of
construction in the world, at least two hundred thousand give the
preference to it.
Although the Morse apparatus is a recording one, yet, for the last six
years, the operators in this country have discontinued the use of the
paper, and confined themselves to reading by the ear, which they do
with the greatest facility. By this means a great saving is made in the
expense of working the telegraph, and far greater correctness insured;
as the ear is found much more reliable in comprehending the clicks of
the instrument, than the eye in deciphering the arbitrary alphabet of
dots and lines.
The rapidity of the several instruments in use may be given as
follows:--Cooke and Wheatstone's needle telegraph of Great Britain, 900
words per hour; Froment's dial telegraph, of France, 1200; Bregnet's
dial telegraph, also French, 1000; Sieman's dial telegraph, formerly
used upon the Prussian lines, 900; Bain's chemical, in use between
Liverpool and Manchester, and formerly to a considerable extent in the
United States, 1500; the Morse telegraph, in use all over the world,
1500; the House printing, used in the United States to a limited extent,
and in Cuba, 2800; Hughes's and the combination instruments, 2000. The
three last systems are American inventions; thus it will be seen, that
to our country is due the credit of inventing the most rapid and the
most universally used telegraphic systems.
But though we surpass all other nations in the value of our electric
apparatus, we are far behind many, and indeed most countries, in the
construction of our lines. This does not arise from want of knowledge or
of means, but from the custom which obtains to a great extent among all
classes and professions in this country, of providing something which
will answer for a time, instead of securing a permanent success.
"But to my mind,--though I am native here, And to the manner born,--it
is a custom More honored it in the breach than the observance,"--
especially in building lines of electric telegraph, where the best are
always the cheapest.
When Shakspeare made Puck promise to "put a girdle round about the earth
in forty minutes," he undoubtedly supposed he would thereby accomplish a
remarkable feat; but when the great Russo-American line _via_ Behring's
Strait and the Amoor is completed, and the Atlantic Cable is again in
operation, we can put an electric girdle round about the earth before
Puck could have time to spread his wings!
In view of what must actually take place at no distant day,--the
girdling of the earth by the electric wires,--a singular question
arises:--If we send a current of electricity east, it will lose
twenty-four hours in going round the globe; if we send one west, it
will gain twenty-four, or, in other words, will get back to the
starting-place twenty-four hours before it sets out. Now, if we send
a current half-way round the world, it will get there twelve hours in
advance of, or twelve hours behind our time, according as we send it
east or west; the question which naturally suggests itself, therefore,
is, What is the time at the antipodes? is it _yesterday_ or _to-morrow?_
LOVE AND SELF-LOVE.
"Friendless, when you are gone? But, Jean, you surely do not mean that
Effie has no claim on any human creature, beyond the universal one of
common charity?" I said, as she ceased, and lay panting on her pillows,
with her sunken eyes fixed eagerly upon my own.
"Ay, Sir, I do; for her grandfather has never by word or deed
acknowledged her, or paid the least heed to the letter her poor mother
sent him from her dying bed seven years ago. He is a lone old man, and
this child is the last of his name; yet he will not see her, and cares
little whether she be dead or living. It's a bitter shame, Sir, and the
memory of it will rise up before him when he comes to lie where I am
"And you have kept the girl safe in the shelter of your honest home all
these years? Heaven will remember that, and in the great record of good
deeds will set the name of Adam Lyndsay far below that of poor Jean
Burns," I said, pressing the thin hand that had succored the orphan in
But Jean took no honor to herself for that charity, and answered simply
to my words of commendation.
"Sir, her mother was my foster-child; and when she left that stern old
man for love of Walter Home, I went, too, for love of her. Ah, dear
heart! she had sore need of me in the weary wanderings which ended only
when she lay down by her dead husband's side and left her bairn to me.
Then I came here to cherish her among kind souls where I was born; and
here she has grown up, an innocent young thing, safe from the wicked
world, the comfort of my life, and the one thing I grieve at leaving
when the time that is drawing very near shall come."
"Would not an appeal to Mr. Lyndsay reach him now, think you? Might not
Effie go to him herself? Surely, the sight of such a winsome creature
would touch his heart, however hard."
But Jean rose up in her bed, crying, almost fiercely,--
"No, Sir! no! My child shall never go to beg a shelter in that hard
man's house. I know too well the cold looks, the cruel words, that would
sting her high spirit and try her heart, as they did her mother's. No,
Sir,--rather than that, she shall go with Lady Gower."
"Lady Gower? What has she to do with Effie, Jean?" I asked, with
"She will take Effie as her maid, Sir. A hard life for my child! but
what can I do?" And Jean's keen glance seemed trying to read mine.
"A waiting-maid? Heaven forbid!" I ejaculated, as a vision of that
haughty lady and her three wild sons swept through my mind.
I rose, paced the room in silence for a little time, then took a sudden
resolution, and, turning to the bed, exclaimed,--
"Jean, I will adopt Effie. I am old enough to be her father; and she
shall never feel the want of one, if you will give her to my care."
To my surprise, Jean's eager face wore a look of disappointment as she
listened, and with a sigh replied,--
"That's a kind thought, Sir, and a generous one; but it cannot be as you
wish. You may be twice her age, but still too young for that. How could
Effie look into that face of yours, so bonnie, Sir, for all it is so
grave, and, seeing never a wrinkle on the forehead, nor a white hair
among the black, how could she call you father? No, it will not do,
though so kindly meant. Your friends would laugh at you, Sir, and idle
tongues might speak ill of my bairn."
"Then what can I do, Jean?" I asked, regretfully.
"Make her your wife, Sir."
I turned sharply and stared at the woman, as her abrupt reply reached my
ear. Though trembling for the consequences of her boldly spoken wish,
Jean did not shrink from my astonished gaze; and when I saw the
wistfulness of that wan face, the smile died on my lips, checked by the
tender courage which had prompted the utterance of her dying hope.
"My good Jean, you forget that Effie is a child, and I a moody, solitary
man, with no gifts to win a wife or make home happy."
"Effie is sixteen, Sir,--a fair, good lassie for her years; and you--ah,
Sir, _you_ may call yourself unfit for wife and home, but the poorest,
saddest creature in this place knows that the man whose hand is always
open, whose heart is always pitiful, is not the one to live alone, but
to win and to deserve a happy home and a true wife. Oh, Sir, forgive me,
if I have been too bold; but my time is short, and I love my child so
well, I cannot leave the desire of my heart unspoken, for it is my
As the words fell brokenly from her lips, and tears streamed down her
pallid cheek, a great pity took possession of me, the old longing to
find some solace for my solitary life returned again, and peace seemed
to smile on me from little Effie's eyes.
"Jean," I said, "give me till to-morrow to consider this new thought. I
fear it cannot be; but I have learned to love the child too well to see
her thrust out from the shelter of your home to walk through this evil
world alone. I will consider your proposal, and endeavor to devise some
future for the child which shall set your heart at rest. But before you
urge this further, let, me tell you that I am not what you think me.
I am a cold, selfish man, often, gloomy, often stern,--a most unfit
guardian for a tender creature like this little girl. The deeds of mine
which you call kind are not true charities; it frets me to see pain,
and I desire my ease above all earthly things. You are grateful for
the little I have done for you, and deceive yourself regarding my true
worth; but of one thing you may rest assured,--I am an honest man, who
holds his name too high to stain it with a false word or a dishonorable
"I do believe you, Sir," Jean answered, eagerly. "And if I left the
child to you, I could die this night in peace. Indeed, Sir, I never
should have dared to speak of this, but for the belief that you loved
the girl. What else could I think, when you came so often and were so
kind to us?"
"I cannot blame you, Jean; it was my usual forgetfulness of others which
so misled you. I was tired of the world, and came hither to find peace
in solitude. Effie cheered me with her winsome ways, and I learned to
look on her as the blithe spirit whose artless wiles won me to forget a
bitter past and a regretful present." I paused; and then added, with a
smile, "But, in our wise schemes, we have overlooked one point: Effie
does not love me, and may decline the future you desire me to offer
A vivid hope lit those dim eyes, as Jean met my smile with one far
brighter, and joyfully replied,--
"She _does_ love you, Sir; for you have given her the greatest happiness
she has ever known. Last night she sat looking silently into the fire
there with a strange gloom on her bonnie face, and, when I asked what
she was dreaming of, she turned to me with a look of pain and fear, as
if dismayed at some great loss, but she only said, 'He is going, Jean!
What shall I do?'"
"Poor child! she will miss her friend and teacher, when I'm gone; and I
shall miss the only human creature that has seemed to care for me for
years," I sighed,--adding, as I paused upon the threshold of the door,
"Say nothing of this to Effie till I come to-morrow, Jean."
I went away, and far out on the lonely moor sat down to think. Like a
weird magician, Memory led me back into the past, calling up the hopes
and passions buried there. My childhood,--fatherless and motherless,
but not unhappy; for no wish was ungratified, no idle whim denied. My
boyhood,--with no shadows over it but those my own wayward will called
up. My manhood,--when the great joy of my life arose, my love for
Agnes, a midsummer dream of bloom and bliss, so short-lived and so
sweet! I felt again the pang that wrung my heart when she coldly gave me
back the pledge I thought so sacred and so sure, and the music of her
marriage-bells tolled the knell of my lost love. I seemed to hear them
still wafted across the purple moor through the silence of those fifteen
My life looked gray and joyless as the wide waste lying hushed around
me, unblessed with the verdure of a single hope, a single love; and as I
looked down the coming years, my way seemed very solitary, very dark.
Suddenly a lark soared upward from the heath, cleaving the silence with
its jubilant song. The sleeping echoes woke, the dun moor seemed to
smile, and the blithe music fell like dew upon my gloomy spirit,
wakening a new desire.
"What this bird is to the moor might little Effie be to me," I thought
within myself, longing to possess the cheerful spirit which had power to
"Yes," I mused, "the old home will seem more solitary now than ever; and
if I cannot win the lark's song without a golden fetter, I will give
it one, and while it sings for love of me it shall not know a want or
Heaven help me! I forgot the poor return I made my lark for the sweet
liberty it lost.
All that night I pondered the altered future Jean had laid before me,
and the longer I looked the fairer it seemed to grow. Wealth I cared
nothing for; the world's opinion I defied; ambition had departed,
and passion I believed lay dead;--then why should I deny myself the
consolation which seemed offered to me? I would accept it; and as I
resolved, the dawn looked in at me, fresh and fair as little Effie's
I met Jean with a smile, and, as she read its significance aright,
there shone a sudden peace upon her countenance, more touching than her
Effie came singing from the burn-side, as unconscious of the change
which awaited her as the flowers gathered in her plaid and crowning her
I drew her to my side, and in the simplest words asked her if she would
go with me when Jean's long guardianship was ended. Joy, sorrow, and
surprise stirred the sweet composure of her face, and quickened the
tranquil beating of her heart. But as I ceased, joy conquered grief and
wonder; for she clapped her hands like a glad child, exclaiming,--
"Go with you, Sir? Oh, if you knew how I long to see the home you have
so often pictured to me, you would never doubt my willingness to go."
"But, Effie, you do not understand. Are you willing to go with me as my
wife?" I said,--with a secret sense of something like remorse, as I
uttered that word, which once meant so much to me, and now seemed such
an empty title to bestow on her.
The flowers dropped from the loosened plaid, as Effie looked with a
startled glance into my face; the color left her cheeks, and the smile
died on her lips, but a timid joy lit her eye, as she softly echoed my
"Your wife? It sounds very solemn, though so sweet. Ah, Sir, I am not
wise or good enough for that!"
A child's humility breathed in her speech, but something of a woman's
fervor shone in her uplifted countenance, and sounded in the sudden
tremor of her voice.
"Effie, I want you as you are," I said,--"no wiser, dear,--no better.
I want your innocent affection to appease the hunger of an empty heart,
your blithe companionship to cheer my solitary home. Be still a child to
me, and let me give you the protection of my name."
Effie turned to her old friend, and, laying her young face on the pillow
close beside the worn one grown so dear to her, asked, in a tone half
pleading, half regretful,--
"Dear Jean, shall I go so far away from you and the home you gave me
when I had no other?"
"My bairn, I shall not be here, and it will never seem like home with
old Jean gone. It is the last wish I shall ever know, to see you safe
with this good gentleman who loves my child. Go, dear heart, and be
happy; and Heaven bless and keep you both!"
Jean held her fast a moment, and then, with a whispered prayer, put her
gently away. Effie came to me, saying, with a look more eloquent than
her meek words,--
"Sir, I will be your wife, and love you very truly all my life."
I drew the little creature to my breast, and felt a tender pride in
knowing she was mine. Something in the shy caress those soft arms gave
touched my cold nature with a generous warmth, and the innocence of
that confiding heart was an appeal to all that made my manhood worth
Swiftly those few weeks passed, and when old Jean was laid to her last
sleep, little Effie wept her grief away upon her husband's bosom, and
soon learned to smile in her new English home. Its gloom departed when
she came, and for a while it was a very happy place. My bitter moods
seemed banished by the magic of the gentle presence that made sunshine
there, and I was conscious of a fresh grace added to the life so
I should have been a father to the child, watchful, wise, and tender;
but old Jean was right,--I was too young to feel a father's calm
affection or to know a father's patient care. I should have been her
teacher, striving to cultivate the nature given to my care, and fit it
for the trials Heaven sends to all. I should have been a friend, if
nothing more, and given her those innocent delights that make youth
beautiful and its memory sweet.
I was a master, content to give little, while receiving all she could
Forgetting her loneliness, I fell back into my old way of life. I
shunned the world, because its gayeties had lost their zest. I did not
care to travel, for home now possessed a charm it never had before. I
knew there was an eager face that always brightened when I came, light
feet that flew to welcome me, and hands that loved to minister to every
want of mine. Even when I sat engrossed among my books, there was a
pleasant consciousness that I was the possessor of a household sprite
whom a look could summon and a gesture banish. I loved her as I loved a
picture or a flower,--a little better than my horse and hound,--but
far less than I loved my most unworthy self.
And she,--always so blithe when I was by, so diligent in studying
my desires, so full of simple arts to win my love and prove her
gratitude,--she never asked for any boon, and seemed content to live
alone with me in that still place, so utterly unlike the home she had
left. I had not learned to read that true heart then. I saw those happy
eyes grow wistful when I went, leaving her alone; I missed the roses
from her cheek, faded for want of gentler care; and when the buoyant
spirit which had been her chiefest charm departed, I fancied, in my
blindness, that she pined for the free air of the Highlands, and tried
to win it back by transient tenderness and costly gifts. But I had
robbed my lark of heaven's sunshine, and it could not sing.
I met Agnes again. She was a widow, and to my eye seemed fairer than
when I saw her last, and far more kind. Some soft regret seemed shining
on me from those lustrous eyes, as if she hoped to win my pardon for
that early wrong. I never could forget the deed that darkened my best
years, but the old charm stole over me at times, and, turning from the
meek child at my feet, I owned the power of the stately woman whose
smile seemed a command.
I meant no wrong to Effie, but, looking on her as a child, I forgot
the higher claim I had given her as a wife, and, walking blindly on my
selfish way, I crushed the little flower I should have cherished in my
breast. "Effie, my old friend Agnes Vaughan is coming here to-day; so
make yourself fair, that you may do honor to my choice; for she desires
to see you, and I wish my Scotch harebell to look lovely to this English
rose," I said, half playfully, half earnestly, as we stood together
looking out across the flowery lawn, one summer day.
"Do you like me to be pretty, Sir?" she answered, with a flush of
pleasure on her upturned face. "I will try to make myself fair with the
gifts you are always heaping on me; but even then I fear I shall not do
you honor, nor please your friend, I am so small and young."
A careless reply was on my lips, but, seeing what a long way down the
little figure was, I drew it nearer, saying, with a smile, which I knew
would make an answering one,--
"Dear, there must be the bud before the flower; so never grieve, for
your youth keeps my spirit young. To me you may be a child forever; but
you must learn to be a stately little Madam Ventnor to my friends."
She laughed a gayer laugh than I had heard for many a day, and soon
departed, intent on keeping well the promise she had given. An hour
later, as I sat busied among my books, a little figure glided in, and
stood before me with its jewelled arms demurely folded on its breast. It
was Effie, as I had never seen her before. Some new freak possessed her,
for with her girlish dress she seemed to have laid her girlhood by. The
brown locks were gathered up, wreathing the small head like a coronet;
aerial lace and silken vesture shimmered in the light, and became her
well. She looked and moved a fairy queen, stately and small.
I watched her in a silent maze, for the face with its shy blushes and
downcast eyes did not seem the childish one turned frankly to my own an
hour ago. With a sigh I looked up at Agnes's picture, the sole ornament
of that room, and when I withdrew my gaze the blooming vision had
departed. I should have followed it to make my peace, but I fell into
a fit of bitter musing, and forgot it till Agnes's voice sounded at my
She came with a brother, and seemed eager to see my young wife; but
Effie did not appear, and I excused her absence as a girlish freak,
smiling at it with them, while I chafed inwardly at her neglect,
forgetting that I might have been the cause.
Pacing down the garden paths with Agnes at my side, our steps were
arrested by a sudden sight of Effie fast asleep among the flowers. She
looked a flower herself, lying with her flushed cheek pillowed on her
arm, sunshine glittering on the ripples of her hair, and the changeful
lustre of her dainty dress. Tears moistened her long lashes, but her
lips smiled, as if in the blissful land of dreams she had found some
solace for her grief.
"A 'Sleeping Beauty' worthy the awakening of any prince!" whispered
Alfred Vaughan, pausing with admiring eyes.
A slight frown swept over Agnes's face, but vanished as she said, with
that low-toned laugh that never seemed unmusical before,--
"We must pardon Mrs. Ventnor's seeming rudeness, if she welcomes us with
graceful scenes like this. A child-wife's whims are often prettier than
the world's formal ways; so do not chide her, Basil, when she wakes."
I was a proud man then, touched easily by trivial things. Agnes's
pitying manner stung me, and the tone in which I wakened Effie was far
harsher than it should have been. She sprang up; and with a gentle
dignity most new to me received her guests, and played the part of
hostess with a grace that well atoned for her offence.
Agnes watched her silently as she went before us with young Vaughan, and
even I, ruffled as my temper was, felt a certain pride in the loving
creature who for my sake conquered her timidity and strove to do me
honor. But neither by look nor word did I show my satisfaction, for
Agnes demanded the constant service of lips and eyes, and I was only too
ready to devote them to the woman who still felt her power and dared to
All that day I was beside her, forgetful in many ways of the gentle
courtesies I owed the child whom I had made my wife. I did not see the
wrong then, but others did, and the deference I failed to show she could
ask of them.
In the evening, as I stood near Agnes while she sang the songs we both
remembered well, my eye fell on a mirror that confronted me, and in it
I saw Effie bending forward with a look that startled me. Some strong
emotion controlled her, for with lips apart and eager eyes she gazed
keenly at the countenances she believed unconscious of her scrutiny.
Agnes caught the vision that had arrested the half-uttered compliment
upon my lips, and, turning, looked at Effie with a smile just touched
The color rose vividly to Effie's cheek, but her eyes did not fall,--
they sought my face, and rested there. A half-smile crossed my lips;
with a sudden impulse I beckoned, and she came with such an altered
countenance I fancied that I had not seen aright.
At my desire she sang the ballads she so loved, and in her girlish voice
there was an undertone of deeper melody than when I heard them first
among her native hills; for the child's heart was ripening fast into the
Agnes went, at length, and I heard Effies sigh of relief when we were
left alone, but only bid her "go and rest," while I paced to and fro,
still murmuring the refrain of Agnes's song.
The Vaughans came often, and we went often to them in the summer-home
they had chosen near us on the riverbank. I followed my own wayward
will, and Effie's wistful eyes grew sadder as the weeks went by.
One sultry evening, as we strolled together on the balcony, I was
seized with a sudden longing to hear Agnes sing, and bid Effie come with
me for a moonlight voyage down the river.
She had been very silent all the evening, with a pensive shadow on her
face and rare smiles on her lips. But as I spoke, she paused
abruptly, and, clenching her small hands, turned upon me with defiant
eyes,--crying, almost fiercely--
"No, I will not go to listen to that woman's songs. I hate her! yes,
more than I can tell! for, till she came, I thought you loved me; but
now you think of her alone, and chide me when I look unhappy. You treat
me like a child; but I am not one. Oh, Sir, be more kind, for I have
only you to love!"--and as her voice died in that sad appeal, she
clasped her hands before her face with such a burst of tears that I had
no words to answer her.
Disturbed by the sudden passion of the hitherto meek girl, I sat down on
the wide steps of the balcony and essayed to draw her to my knee, hoping
she would weep this grief away as she had often done a lesser sorrow.
But she resisted my caress, and, standing erect before me, checked
her tears, saying, in a voice still trembling with resentment and
"You promised Jean to be kind to me, and you are cruel; for when I ask
for love, you give me jewels, books, or flowers, as you would give a
pettish child a toy, and go away as if you were weary of me. Oh, it is
not right, Sir! and I cannot, no, I will not bear it!"
If she had spared reproaches, deserved though they were, and humbly
pleaded to be loved, I should have been more just and gentle; but her
indignant words, the sharper for their truth, roused the despotic spirit
of the man, and made me sternest when I should have been most kind.
"Effie," I said, looking coldly up into her troubled face, "I have given
you the right to be thus frank with me; but before you exercise that
right, let me tell you what may silence your reproaches and teach you
to know me better. I desired to adopt you as my child; Jean would not
consent to that, but bid me marry you, and so give you a home, and win
for myself a companion who should make that home less solitary. I could
protect you in no other way, and I married you. I meant it kindly,
Effie; for I pitied you,--ay, and loved you, too, as I hoped I had fully
"You have, Sir,--oh, you have! But I hoped I might in time be more to
you than a dear child," sighed Effie, while softer tears flowed as she
"Effie, I told Jean I was a hard, cold man,"--and I was one as those
words passed my lips. "I told her I was unfitted to make a wife happy.
But she said you would be content with what I could offer; and so I gave
you all I had to bestow. It was not enough; yet I cannot make it more.
Forgive me, child, and try to bear your disappointments as I have
learned to bear mine."
Effie bent suddenly, saying, with a look of anguish, "Do you regret that
I am your wife, Sir?"
"Heaven knows I do, for I cannot make you happy," I answered,
"Let me go away where I can never grieve or trouble you again! I will,--
indeed, I will,--for anything is easier to bear than this. Oh, Jean, why
did you leave me when you went?"--and with that despairing cry Effie
stretched her arms into the empty air, as if seeking that lost friend.
My anger melted, and I tried to soothe her, saying gently, as I laid her
tear-wet cheek to mine,--
"My child, death alone must part us two. We will be patient with each
other, and so may learn to be happy yet."
A long silence fell upon us both. My thoughts were busy with the thought
of what a different home mine might have been, if Agnes had been true;
and Effie--God only knows how sharp a conflict passed in that young
heart! I could not guess it till the bitter sequel of that hour came.
A timid hand upon my own aroused me, and, looking down, I met such an
altered face, it touched me like a mute reproach. All the passion bad
died out, and a great patience seemed to have arisen there. It looked so
meek and wan, I bent and kissed it; but no smile answered me as Effie
"Forgive me, Sir, and tell me how I can make you happier. For I am truly
grateful for all you have done for me, and will try to be a docile child
"Be happy yourself, Effie, and I shall be content. I am too grave and
old to be a fit companion for you, dear. You shall have gay faces and
young friends to make this quiet place more cheerful. I should have
thought of that before. Dance, sing, be merry, Effie, and never let your
life be darkened by Basil Ventnor's changeful moods."
"And you?" she whispered, looking up.
"I will sit among my books, or seek alone the few friends I care to see,
and never mar your gayety with my gloomy presence, dear. We must begin
at once to go our separate ways; for, with so many years between us, we
can never find the same paths pleasant very long. Let me be a father to
you, and a friend,--I cannot be a lover, child."
Effie rose and went silently away; but soon came again, wrapped in her
mantle, saying, as she looked down at me, with something of her former
"I am good now. Come and row me down the river. It is too beautiful a
night to be spent in tears and naughtiness."
"No, Effie, you shall never go to Mrs. Vaughan's again, if you dislike
her so. No friendship of mine need be shared by you, if it gives you
"Nothing shall pain me any more," she answered, with a patient sigh. "I
will be your merry girl again, and try to love Agnes for your sake. Ah!
do come, _father_, or I shall not feel forgiven."
Smiling at her April moods, I obeyed the small hands clasped about my
own, and through the fragrant linden walk went musing to the river-side.
Silently we floated down, and at the lower landing-place found Alfred
Vaughan just mooring his own boat. By him I sent a message to his
sister, while we waited for her at the shore.
Effie stood above me on the sloping bank, and as Agnes entered the
green vista of the flowery path, she turned and clung to me with sudden
fervor, kissed me passionately, and then stole silently into the boat.
The moonlight turned the waves to silver, and in its magic rays the face
of my first love grew young again. She sat before me with water-lilies
in her shining hair, singing as she sang of old, while the dash of
falling oars kept time to her low song. As we neared the ruined bridge,
whose single arch still cast its heavy shadow far across the stream,
Agnes bent toward me, softly saying,--
"Basil, you remember this?"
How could I forget that happy night, long years ago, when she and I went
floating down the same bright stream, two happy lovers just betrothed?
As she spoke, it all came back more beautiful than ever, and I forgot
the silent figure sitting there behind me. I hope Agnes had forgotten,
too; for, cruel as she was to me, I never wished to think her hard
enough to hate that gentle child.
"I remember, Agnes," I said, with a regretful sigh. "My voyage has been
a lonely one since then."
"Are you not happy, Basil?" she asked, with a tender pity thrilling her
"Happy?" I echoed, bitterly,--"how can I be happy, remembering what
might have been?"
Agnes bowed her head upon her hands, and silently the boat shot into the
black shadow of the arch. A sudden eddy seemed to sway us slightly from
our course, and the waves dashed sullenly against the gloomy walls;
a moment more and we glided into calmer waters and unbroken light. I
looked up from my task to speak, but the words were frozen on my lips
by a cry from Agnes, who, wild-eyed and pale, seemed pointing to some
phantom which I could not see. I turned,--the phantom was Effie's empty
seat. The shining stream grew dark before me, and a great pang of
remorse wrung my heart as that sight met my eyes.
"Effie!" I cried, with a cry that rent the stillness of the night, and
sent the name ringing down the river. But nothing answered me, and the
waves rippled softly as they hurried by. Far over the wide stream went
my despairing glance, and saw nothing but the lilies swaying as they
slept, and the black arch where my child went down.
Agnes lay trembling at my feet, but I never heeded her,--for Jean's
dead voice sounded in my ear, demanding the life confided to my care. I
listened, benumbed with guilty fear, and, as if summoned by that weird
cry, there came a white flash through the waves, and Effie's face rose
up before me.
Pallid and wild with the agony of that swift plunge, it confronted me.
No cry for help parted the pale lips, but those wide eyes were luminous
with a love whose fire that deathful river could not quench.
Like one in an awful dream, I gazed till the ripples closed above it.
One instant the terror held me,--the next I was far down in those waves,
so silver fair above, so black and terrible below. A brief, blind
struggle passed before I grasped a tress of that long hair, then an arm,
and then the white shape, with a clutch like death. As the dividing
waters gave us to the light again, Agnes flung herself far over the
boat-side and drew my lifeless burden in; I followed, and we laid it
down, a piteous sight for human eyes to look upon. Of that swift voyage
home I can remember nothing but the still face on Agnes's breast, the
sight of which nerved my dizzy brain and made my muscles iron.
For many weeks there was a darkened chamber in my house, and anxious
figures gliding to and fro, wan with long vigils and the fear of death.
I often crept in to look upon the little figure lying there, to watch
the feverish roses blooming on the wasted cheek, the fitful fire burning
in the unconscious eyes, to hear the broken words so full of pathos to
my ear, and then to steal away and struggle to forget.
My bird fluttered on the threshold of its cage, but Love lured it back,
for its gentle mission was not yet fulfilled.
The _child_ Effie lay dead beneath the ripples of the river, but the
_woman_ rose up from that bed of suffering like one consecrated to
life's high duties by the bitter baptism of that dark hour.
Slender and pale, with serious eyes and quiet steps, she moved through
the home which once echoed to the glad voice and dancing feet of that
vanished shape. A sweet sobriety shaded her young face, and a meek smile
sat upon her lips, but the old blithesomeness was gone.
She never claimed her childish place upon my knee, never tried the
winsome wiles that used to chase away my gloom, never came to pour her
innocent delights and griefs into my ear, or bless me with the frank
affection which grew very precious when I found it lost.
Docile as ever, and eager to gratify my lightest wish, she left no
wifely duty unfulfilled. Always near me, if I breathed her name, but
vanishing when I grew silent, as if her task were done. Always smiling a
cheerful farewell when I went, a quiet welcome when I came. I missed the
April face that once watched me go, the warm embrace that greeted me
again, and at my heart the sense of loss grew daily deeper as I felt the
Effie remembered the words I had spoken on that mournful night;
remembered that our paths must lie apart,--that her husband was a
friend, and nothing more. She treasured every careless hint I had given,
and followed it most faithfully. She gathered gay, young friends about
her, went out into the brilliant world, and I believed she was content.
If I had ever felt she was a burden to the selfish freedom I desired,
I was punished now, for I had lost a blessing which no common pleasure
could replace. I sat alone, and no blithe voice made music in the
silence of my room, no bright locks swept my shoulder, and no soft
caress assured me that I was beloved.
I looked for my household sprite in girlish garb, with its free hair
and sunny eyes, but found only a fair woman, graceful in rich attire,
crowned with my gifts, and standing afar off among her blooming peers.
I could not guess the solitude of that true heart, nor see the captive
spirit gazing at me from those steadfast eyes.
No word of the cause of that despairing deed passed Effie's lips, and
I had no need to ask it. Agnes was silent, and soon left us, but her
brother was a frequent guest. Effie liked his gay companionship, and I
denied her nothing,--nothing but the one desire of her life.
So that first year passed; and though the ease and liberty I coveted
were undisturbed, I was not satisfied. Solitude grew irksome, and
study ceased to charm. I tried old pleasures, but they had lost their
zest,--renewed old friendships, but they wearied me. I forgot Agnes,
and ceased to think her fair. I looked at Effie, and sighed for my lost
My little wife grew very beautiful to me, for she was blooming fast into
a gracious womanhood. I felt a secret pride in knowing she was mine,
and watched her as I fancied a fond brother might, glad that she was so
good, so fair, so much beloved. I ceased to mourn the plaything I
had lost, and something akin to reverence mingled with the deepening
admiration of the man.
Gay guests had filled the house with festal light and sound one winter's
night, and when the last bright figure had vanished from the threshold
of the door, I still stood there, looking over the snow-shrouded lawn,
hoping to cool the fever of my blood, and case the restless pain that
I shut out the keen air and wintry sky, at length, and silently ascended
to the diverted rooms above. But in the soft gloom of a vestibule my
steps were stayed. Two figures, in a flowery alcove, fixed my eye. The
light streamed full upon them, and the fragrant stillness of the air was
hardly stirred by their low tones.
Effie was there, sunk on a low couch, her face bowed upon her hands; and
at her side, speaking with impassioned voice and ardent eyes, leaned
The sight struck me like a blow, and the sharp anguish of that moment
proved how deeply I had learned to love.
"Effie, it is a sinful tie that binds you to that man; he does not love
you, and it should be broken,--for this slavery will wear away the life
now grown so dear to me."
The words, hot with indignant passion, smote me like a wintry blast, but
not so coldly as the broken voice that answered them:--
"He said death alone must part us two, and, remembering that, I cannot
listen to another love."
Like a guilty ghost I stole away, and in the darkness of my solitary
room struggled with my bitter grief, my newborn love. I never blamed
my wife,--that wife who had heard the tender name so seldom, she could
scarce feel it hers. I had fettered her free heart, forgetting it would
one day cease to be a child's. I bade her look upon me as a father; she
had learned the lesson well; and now what right had I to reproach her
for listening to a lover's voice, when her husband's was so cold? What
mattered it that slowly, almost unconsciously, I had learned to love her
with the passion of a youth, the power of a man? I had alienated that
fond nature from my own, and now it was too late.
Heaven only knows the bitterness of that hour;--I cannot tell it. But
through the darkness of my anguish and remorse that newly kindled love
burned like a blessed fire, and, while it tortured, purified. By its
light I saw the error of my life: self-love was written on the actions
of the past, and I knew that my punishment was very just. With a child's
repentant tears, I confessed it to my Father, and He solaced me, showed
me the path to tread, and made me nobler for the blessedness and pain of
that still hour.
Dawn found me an altered man; for in natures like mine the rain of a
great sorrow melts the ice of years, and their hidden strength blooms
in a late harvest of patience, self-denial, and humility. I resolved to
break the tie which bound poor Effie to a joyless fate; and gratitude
for a selfish deed, which wore the guise of charity, should no longer
mar her peace. I would atone for the wrong I had done her, the suffering
she had endured; and she should never know that I had guessed her tender
secret, nor learn the love which made my sacrifice so bitter, yet so
Alfred came no more; and as I watched the growing pallor of her cheek,
her patient efforts to be cheerful and serene, I honored that meek
creature for her constancy to what she deemed the duty of her life.
I did not tell her my resolve at once, for I could not give her up so
soon. It was a weak delay, but I had not learned the beauty of a perfect
self-forgetfulness; and though I clung to my purpose steadfastly, my
heart still cherished a desperate hope that I might be spared this loss.
In the midst of this secret conflict, there came a letter from old Adam
Lyndsay, asking to see his daughter's child; for life was waning slowly,
and he desired to forgive, as he hoped to be forgiven when the last hour
came. The letter was to me, and, as I read it, I saw a way where-by I
might be spared the hard task of telling Effie she was to be free. I
feared my new-found strength would desert me, and my courage fail, when,
looking on the woman who was dearer to me than my life, I tried to give
her back the liberty whose worth she had learned to know.
Effie should go, and I would write the words I dared not speak. She
would be in her mother's home, free to show her joy at her release, and
smile upon the lover she had banished.
I went to tell her; for it was I who sought her now, who watched for her
coming and sighed at her departing steps,--I who waited for her smile
and followed her with wistful eyes. The child's slighted affection was
atoned for now by my unseen devotion to the woman.
I gave the letter, and she read it silently.
"Will you go, love?" I asked, as she folded it.
"Yes,--the old man has no one to care for him but me, and it is so
beautiful to be loved."
A sudden smile touched her lips, and a soft dew shone in the shadowy
eyes, which seemed looking into other and tenderer ones than mine. She
could not know how sadly I echoed those words, nor how I longed to tell
her of another man who sighed to be forgiven.
"You must gather roses for these pale cheeks among the breezy moorlands,
dear. They are not so blooming as they were a year ago. Jean would
reproach me for my want of care," I said, trying to speak cheerfully,
though each word seemed a farewell.
"Poor Jean! how long it seems since she kissed them last!" sighed Effie,
musing sadly, as she turned her wedding-ring.
My heart ached to see how thin the hand had grown, and how easily that
little fetter would fall off when I set my captive lark at liberty.
I looked till I dared look no longer, and then rose, saying,--
"You will write often, Effie, for I shall miss you very much."
She cast a quick look into my face, asking, hurriedly,--
"Am I to go alone?"
"Dear, I have much to do and cannot go; but you need fear nothing; I
shall send Ralph and Mrs. Prior with you, and the journey is soon over.
When will you go?"
It was the first time she had left me since I took her from Jean's arms,
and I longed to keep her always near me; but, remembering the task I had
to do, I felt that I must seem cold till she knew all.
"Soon,--very soon,--to-morrow;--let me go to-morrow, Sir. I long to be
away!" she cried, some swift emotion banishing the calmness of her usual
manner, as she rose, with eager eyes and a gesture full of longing.
"You shall go, Effie," was all I could say; and with no word of thanks,
she hastened away, leaving me so calm without, so desolate within.
The same eagerness possessed her all that day; and the next she went
away, clinging to me at the last as she had clung that night upon the
river-bank, as if her grateful heart reproached her for the joy she felt
at leaving my unhappy home.
A few days passed, bringing me the comfort of a few sweet lines from
Effie, signed "Your child." That sight reminded me, that, if I would do
an honest deed, it should be generously done. I read again the little
missive she had sent, and then I wrote the letter which might be my
last;--with no hint of my love, beyond the expression of sincerest
regard and never-ceasing interest in her happiness; no hint of Alfred
Vaughan; for I would not wound her pride, nor let her dream that any eye
had seen the passion she so silently surrendered, with no reproach to
me and no shadow on the name I had given into her keeping. Heaven knows
what it cost me, and Heaven, through the suffering of that hour, granted
me an humbler spirit and a better life.
It went, and I waited for my fate as one might wait for pardon or for
doom. It came at length,--a short, sad letter, full of meek obedience to
my will, of penitence for faults I never knew, and grateful prayers for
My last hope died then, and for many days I dwelt alone, living over all
that happy year with painful vividness. I dreamed again of those fair
days, and woke to curse the selfish blindness which had hidden my best
blessing from me till it was forever lost.
How long I should have mourned thus unavailingly I cannot tell. A more
sudden, but far less grievous loss befell me. My fortune was nearly
swept away in the general ruin of a most disastrous year. This event
roused me from my despair and made me strong again,--for I must hoard
what could be saved, for Effie's sake. She had known a cruel want with
me, and she must never know another while she bore my name. I looked my
misfortune in the face and ceased to feel it one; for the diminished
fortune was still ample for my darling's dower, and now what need had I
of any but the simplest home?
Before another month was gone, I was in the quiet place henceforth to be
mine alone, and nothing now remained for me to do but to dissolve the
bond that made my Effie mine. Sitting over the dim embers of my solitary
hearth, I thought of this, and, looking round the silent room, whose
only ornaments were the things made sacred by her use, the utter
desolation struck so heavily upon my heart, that I bowed my head upon
my folded arms, and yielded to the tender longing that could not be
The bitter paroxysm passed, and, raising my eyes, the clearer for that
stormy rain, I beheld Effie standing like an answer to my spirit's cry.
With a great start, I regarded her, saying, at length, in a voice that
sounded cold, for my heart leaped up to meet her, and yet must not
"Effie, why are you here?"
Wraith-like and pale, she stood before me, with no sign of emotion but
the slight tremor of her frame, and answered my greeting with a sad
"I came because I promised to cleave to you through health and sickness,
poverty and wealth, and I must keep that vow till you absolve me from
it. Forgive me, but I knew misfortune had befallen you, and, remembering
all you had done for me, came, hoping I might comfort when other friends
"Grateful to the last!" I sighed, low to myself, and, though deeply
touched, replied with the hard-won calmness that made my speech so
"You owe me nothing, Effie, and I most earnestly desired to spare you
Some sudden hope seemed born of my regretful words, for, with an eager
glance, she cried,--
"Was it that desire which prompted you to part from me? Did you think I
should shrink from sharing poverty with you who gave me all I own?"
"No, dear,--ah, no!" I said, "I knew your grateful spirit far too well
for that. It was because I could not make your happiness, and yet had
robbed you of the right to seek it with some younger and some better
"Basil, what man? Tell me; for no doubt shall stand between us now!"
She grasped my arm, and her rapid words were a command.
I only answered, "Alfred Vaughan."
Effie covered up her face, crying, as she sank down at my feet,--
"Oh, my fear! my fear! Why was I blind so long?"
I felt her grief to my heart's core; for my own anguish made me pitiful,
and my love made me strong. I lifted up that drooping head and laid it
down where it might never rest again, saying, gently, cheerily, and with
a most sincere forgetfulness of self,--
"My wife, I never cherished a harsh thought of you, never uttered a
reproach when your affections turned from a cold, neglectful guardian,
to find a tenderer resting-place. I saw your struggles, dear, your
patient grief, your silent sacrifice, and honored you more truly than I
can tell. Effie, I robbed you of your liberty, but I will restore it,
making such poor reparation as I can for this long year of pain;
and when I see you blest in a happier home, my keen remorse will be
As I ceased, Effie rose erect and stood before me, transformed from a
timid girl into an earnest woman. Some dormant power and passion woke;
she turned on me a countenance aglow with feeling, soul in the eye,
heart on the lips, and in her voice an energy that held me mute.
"I feared to speak before," she said, "but now I dare anything, for I
have heard you call me 'wife,' and seen that in your face which gives me
hope. Basil, the grief you saw was not for the loss of any love
but yours; the conflict you beheld was the daily struggle to subdue
my longing spirit to your will; and the sacrifice you honor but the
renunciation of all hope. I stood between you and the woman whom you
loved, and asked of death to free me from that cruel lot. You gave me
back my life, but you withheld the gift that made it worth possessing.
You desired to be freed from the affection which only wearied you, and I
tried to conquer it; but it would not die. Let me speak now, and then I
will be still forever! Must our ways lie apart? Can I never be more to
you than now? Oh, Basil! oh, my husband! I have loved you very truly
from the first! Shall I never know the blessedness of a return?"
Words could not answer that appeal. I gathered my life's happiness close
to my breast, and in the silence of a full heart felt that God was very
good to me.
Soon all my pain and passion were confessed. Fast and fervently the tale
was told; and as the truth dawned on that patient wife, a tender peace
transfigured her uplifted countenance, until to me it seemed an angel's
"I am a poor man now," I said, still holding that frail creature fast,
fearing to see her vanish, as her semblance had so often done in the
long vigils I had kept,--"a poor man, Effie, and yet very rich, for I
have my treasure back again. But I am wiser than when we parted; for I
have learned that love is better than a world of wealth, and victory
over self a nobler conquest than a continent. Dear, I have no home but
this. Can you be happy here, with no fortune but the little store set
apart for you, and the knowledge that no want shall touch you while I
And as I spoke, I sighed, remembering all I might have done, and
dreading poverty for her alone.
But with a gesture, soft, yet solemn, Effie laid her hands upon my head,
as if endowing me with blessing and with gift, and answered, with her
steadfast eyes on mine,--
"You gave me your home when I was homeless; let me give it back, and
with it a proud wife. I, too, am rich; for that old man is gone and left
me all. Take it, Basil, and give me a little love."
I gave not little, but a long life of devotion for the good gift God had
bestowed on me,--finding in it a household spirit the daily benediction
of whose presence banished sorrow, selfishness, and gloom, and, through
the influence of happy human love, led me to a truer faith in the
TO THE MUSE.
Whither? albeit I follow fast,
In all life's circuit I but find
Not where thou art, but where thou wast,
Fleet Beckoner, more shy than wind!
I haunt the pine-dark solitudes,
With soft, brown silence carpeted,
And think to snare thee in the woods:
Peace I o'ertake, but thou art fled!
I find the rock where thou didst rest,
The moss thy skimming foot hath prest;
All Nature with thy parting thrills,
Like branches after birds new-flown;
Thy passage hill and hollow fills
With hints of virtue not their own;
In dimples still the water slips
Where thou hast dipped thy finger-tips;
Just, just beyond, forever burn
Gleams of a grace without return;
Upon thy shade I plant my foot,
And through my frame strange raptures shoot;
All of thee but thyself I grasp;
I seem to fold thy luring shape,
And vague air to my bosom clasp,
Thou lithe, perpetual Escape!
One mask and then another drops,
And thou art secret as before.
Sometimes with flooded ear I list
And hear thee, wondrous organist,
Through mighty continental stops
A thunder of strange music pour;--
Through pipes of earth and air and stone
Thy inspiration deep is blown;
Through mountains, forests, open downs,
Lakes, railroads, prairies, states, and towns,
Thy gathering fugue goes rolling on,
From Maine to utmost Oregon;
The factory-wheels a rhythmus hum;
From brawling parties concords come;--
All this I hear, or seem to hear;
But when, enchanted, I draw near
To fix in notes the various theme,
Life seems a whiff of kitchen-steam,
History a Swiss street-singer's thrum,
And I, that would have fashioned words
To mate that music's rich accords,
By rash approaches startle thee,
Thou mutablest Perversity!
The world drones on its old _tum-tum_,
But thou hast slipped from it and me,
And all thine organ-pipes left dumb.
Not wearied yet, I still must seek,
And hope for luck next day, next week.
I go to see the great man ride,
Ship-like, the swelling human tide
That floods to bear him into port,
Trophied from senate-hall or court:
Thy magnetism, I feel it there,
Thy rhythmic presence fleet and rare,
Making the mob a moment fine
With glimpses of their own Divine,
As in their demigod they see
Their swart ideal soaring free;
'Tis thou that bear'st the fire about,
Which, like the springing of a mine,
Sends up to heaven the street-long shout:
Full well I know that thou wast here;
That was thy breath that thrilled mine ear;
But vainly, in the stress and whirl,
I dive for thee, the moment's pearl.
Through every shape thou well canst run,
Proteus, 'twixt rise and set of sun,
Well pleased with logger-camps in Maine
As where Milan's pale Duomo lies
A stranded glacier on the plain,
Its peaks and pinnacles of ice
Melted in many a quaint device,
And sees, across the city's din,
Afar its silent Alpine kin;
I track thee over carpets deep
To Wealth's and Beauty's inmost keep;
Across the sand of bar-room floors,
'Mid the stale reek of boosing boors;
Where drowse the hayfield's fragrant heats,
Or the flail-heart of Autumn beats;
I dog thee through the market's throngs,
To where the sea with myriad tongues
Laps the green fringes of the pier,
And the tall ships that eastward steer
Curtsy their farewells to the town,
O'er the curved distance lessening down;--
I follow allwhere for thy sake,--
Touch thy robe's hem, but ne'er o'ertake,--
Find where, scarce yet unmoving, lies,
Warm from thy limbs, their last disguise,--
But thou another mask hast donned,
And lurest still, just, just, beyond!
But here a voice, I know not whence,
Thrills clearly through mine inward sense,
Saying, "See where she sits at home,
While thou in search of her dost roam!
All summer long her ancient wheel
Whirls humming by the open door,
Or, when the hickory's social zeal
Sets the wide chimney in a roar,
Close-nestled by the tinkling hearth,
It modulates the household mirth
With that sweet, serious undertone
Of Duty, music all her own;
Still, as of old, she sits and spins
Our hopes, our sorrows, and our sins;
With equal care she twines the fates
Of cottages and mighty states;
She spins the earth, the air, the sea,
The maiden's unschooled fancy free,
The boy's first love, the man's first grief,
The budding and the fall o' the leaf;
The piping west-wind's snowy care
For her their cloudy fleeces spare,
Or from the thorns of evil times
She can glean wool to twist her rhymes;
Morning and noon and eve supply
To her their fairest tints for dye,
But ever through her twirling thread
There spires one strand of warmest red,
Tinged from the homestead's genial heart,
The stamp and warrant of her art;
With this Time's sickle she outwears,
And blunts the Sisters' baffled shears.
"Harass her not; thy heat and stir
The greater coyness breed in her:
Yet thou may'st find, ere Age's frost,
Thy long apprenticeship not lost,
Learning at last that Stygian Fate
Supples for him that knows to wait.
The Muse is womanish, nor deigns
Her love to him who pules and plains;
With proud, averted face she stands
To him who wooes with empty hands.
Make thyself free of manhood's guild;
Pull down thy barns and greater build;
The wood, the mountain, and the plain
Wave breast-deep with the poet's grain;
Pluck thou the sunset's fruit of gold;
Glean from the heavens and ocean old;
From fireside lone and trampling street
Let thy life garner daily wheat;
The epic of a man rehearse,
Be something better than thy verse,
Make thyself rich, and then the Muse
Shall court thy precious interviews,
Shall take thy head upon her knee,
And such enchantment lilt to thee,
That thou shalt hear the lifeblood flow
From farthest stars to grass-blades low,
And find the Listener's science still
Transcends the Singer's deepest skill!"
ITS RISE AND PROGRESS.
The earliest conception of an auxiliary motive power in navigation
is contemporaneous with the first use of the wind; the name of the
inventor, "unrecorded in the patent-office," is lost in the lapse of
ages. The first motor was, undoubtedly, the hand; next followed the
paddle, the scull, and the oar; sails were an after-thought, introduced
to play the secondary part of an auxiliary.
Scarce was man in possession of this means of _impressing_ the wind, and
resting his weary oar, than, scorning longer confinement to the coast,
he boldly ventured upon the conquest of the main. Under the same
impulse, the tiny skiff, in which he hardly dared to quit the river's
bank, was enlarged, and made fit companion of his distant emprise. These
footprints of the infant steps of navigation may all still be traced
among the maritime tribes of the Pacific.
From that period sails became the chief motor, and the paddle and the
sweep auxiliaries,--which position they still hold to some extent, even