Part 2 out of 3
merely smiled to himself, and was too good natured to reveal the
Venus was much pleased to see a new, shining dove fluttering at her
feet, and immediately harnessed it to her car, with delicate hands,
and flew far over land and sea. Whether the little dove Ida found
Venus and her winged car a weary burden to draw, I cannot tell you;
but some time you may yourself become one of Venus's doves, and then
you will know all about it.
THE GALA DAY.
EDITH, her daughter, }
FANNY, Edith's cousin. } Dressed as Fairies.
EDWARD, Mrs. Lander's son.
ELINOR, a gypsy woman.
JULIA. Fantastically dressed.
LISA. In an old brown dress.
Constable and men.
Many children, dressed as fairies.
SCENE 1. _A Garden; Children dressed as Fairies, playing about. They
join hands in a dance._
Sing the round;
Chide no bound;
Frisk it free with merry feet;
Lend your odors; breathe them sweet.
Bring the breeze,
Seize our songs and bear them round.
Dance we well on fairy ground.
Where's the elf of Eldon Low?
Sit with me
Upon the tree;
Sing our songs on the topmost bough.
Wait a pace;
With a grace
Comes our queen--a gentle sprite;
She's the star that flits with night.
_Enter EDITH as Queen, and other fairies; also JULIA._
Our wings are very weary. We've been flying
From tree to tree, with stillest motions spying
Into frail nests; and every dreaming bird
Popped up his head, when he our whispers heard.
They told us all their secrets--many a one
That is not warbled to the full-rayed sun.
But dance away; we will go rest a while,
While you with sports and songs the time beguile.
O, whip-poor-will, dost thou hear that tone?
Come, lightsome queen, thou'rt mine own, mine own.
Art thou the elf that in the hollow tree
Hoots with the owl, and mocks the night with glee?
In the halo of a star
Bathe thy brow, and gaze afar;
Stately walk, with dainty mien;
Fold thy robes, my fairy queen;
Thou art mine, and I am thine;
Ope thine eyes and bid them shine.
Go hence, dull raven; when I bid thee croak,
'Twill be when frogs sing ditties on an oak;
When hopping toads like winged skylarks fly;
When limping elves are lovely to mine eye.
'Twill be when the morning's freshness breathes,
And the clustering ivy thy hair inwreathes;
When thy voice shall be soft as the day's last sigh.
And hope like a shadow shall over thee lie;
Thou wilt call on my name; and from far o'er the sea,
Fierce thunders and lightnings shall mutter of me.
Thou art a gypsy girl--I know thee well;
Forget the queen, and Edith's fortunes tell.
Sorrow is o'er thee, though 'tis not thine own;
Lonely thou art, though never alone;
The sunshine is bright; but the sunshine is dark,
The sea shall betray thee; yet hide not thy bark.
Sorrow is o'er me! Not on these summer days,
When nature gives consent to all our plays.
The happy birds attune their songs to ours,
And rainbow hues encircle frolic showers;
Our saddest tears are wept without dismay;
Soft shining sunsets cheer the cloudiest day.
Hold thy joys lightly. Beware, O, beware!
Vapors rise from the earth, and mists darken the air.
Tell me thy name, and wherefore art thou here?
I am the Queen of Sorrow; to my court,
'Mid clouds and storms, both old and young resort.
The golden stream of life, on which you glide,
Through my grim caves must roll its head-long tide.
How wildly gleams the light within thine eye!
And thy dark hair hangs o'er thee mournfully.
O, come with me and join our gladsome dance!
If thou hast griefs, we'll lull them in a trance.
We weave our melodies from spring's soft air;
Sure such sweet sounds will banish all thy care.
Do not go forth to wander on the waste,
For there, they say, pale sorrows dimly haste.
Sweet grief, I have loved thee so long,
I cannot leave thee now;
They woo me with music and song;
Here at thy feet I bow.
They move in their festal robes,
And thine are worn and gray;
Let me hide 'mid their heavy folds,
Let me turn from their joy away.
Thine eyes threw their shadow o'er me;
I caught their glance so wild;
I stood on thy earthen floor;
Thou welcomed the young, timid child.
See, pretty queen, I have brought thee a flower,
A little white snowdrop; 'twill droop in an hour:
I drove out the bee that hummed in its cell;
O, take it, for Caronec loveth thee well.
Pray look at my marvels, wrought of pure gold;
Bright are the sunbeams they gayly enfold;
The elves call them king-cups, but, queen, they are thine;
I've filled them with dewdrops instead of red wine.
I thank you both, my merry little fays;
Now spread your wings, and speed along your ways;
And I will go where cooler shades press down,
For I am weary, though I wear a crown.
SCENE 2. _Outside the Garden Gate. LISA alone._
LISA. I wish mother would come; I am so tired and hungry! She said
Julia was in here, but I cannot see her. How many children are moving
about--all in white dresses, and so pretty! They have wings too. I
wonder if all ladies have wings. I wish I could go in; and perhaps
they would give me a piece of bread; but I am afraid. For all they
look so pleasant, they might drive me away. One is coming down the
path; I am sure I might speak to her, she looks so kind.
EDITH. It is pretty to play queen and be a fairy; but I know not how
it is, I cannot dance and frolic as usual to-day. That gypsy girl
looked so wildly upon me! She has been over sea and land, and knows
many strange things, and I have seen nothing. How sorrowful she was! I
wished to hold out my hand to her, but feared she would throw it
aside; there was something so scornful about her. Dear little Amy! I
will lie down and rest in your garden. Here are the lilies of the
valley you planted; the moonlight shines down upon them as they lie
folded in their green leaves, just as you lay in my arms when you were
so ill; and they look out and smile as you smiled at me. Why did you
go away from me? Amy, Amy! Who is that sobbing? It sounded like Amy
among her flowers; but O, it cannot be. No, it is outside the gate. I
will go and see who is there. What is the matter, little girl? Why
do you cry so?
LISA. I am so hungry, and so lonesome here. I wanted to speak to you,
and was afraid.
EDITH. Poor child! come in. I will run and bring you something to
eat. Sit down here by my little sister's garden until I come
LISA. How beautiful she is! I wonder if her little sister died. I
would not if I had been her sister. I wish she would let me kiss her
EDITH, (_returning._) Here is some cake for you. The children
called out to me, but I snatched it from the table and flew off. Eat
it all, and then you shall tell me who you are, and where you live.
LISA. I do not live any where; I go about all the time with mother and
EDITH. You are a little gypsy girl then. Was that your sister who
came into the garden?
LISA. Was she there? She said she was going, but I peeped in and could
not see her.
EDITH. And you wander about all over the world, seeing wonderful
LISA. O, yes, we walk about from one place to another, till I am so
tired I can hardly stand. When I was small, mother used to carry me;
but now I am too big. But at night she wraps her cloak round me, and
holds me close in her arms, and sings me to sleep. I like the nights
best. In the day she often goes off and leaves me waiting for her,
somewhere, all alone.
EDITH. In the nights you sleep in your tents, and hear them flapping
in the wind, and look out at the stars?
LISA. Most always we sleep in a barn. When we can't find one we sleep
out doors, and have a fire when it is very cold. I am so sleepy I
never look up at the stars, only sometimes. Last night we slept under
a tree full of blossoms, and when I woke up, they were blowing over us
like a snow storm. I wanted mother to see how pretty they were, but I
knew she was tired, so I kissed her softly, and went to sleep again.
EDITH. What does she sing to you?
We have wandered far through forest wild;
We have climbed where craggy rocks are piled;
Sleep in peace, my gypsy child;
Mother watcheth o'er thee.
Night winds breathe a lulling sound;
Gentle moonlight streams around;
Shadows settle o'er the ground;
Sweet visions fly before thee.
Sleep, my child; to-morrow, waking,
To thee shall come no sad heart-aching;
One is near--the ne'er-forsaking!
Mother watcheth o'er thee.
LISA. It makes the tears come into your eyes; does your mother sing it
EDITH. O, no, my mother never sings to me. I sleep all alone, in a
great, silent room, and they draw the heavy curtains all around, so
that not even a star can peep in. I wish I could sleep under the sky
as you do. Would it not be pleasant if we could change places a little
while! I will be your mother's child, and you shall have all my fine
things, and plenty to eat, and can play about all day.
LISA. O, yes, but I don't like to leave mother.
EDITH. It will be only for a day or two, and I know she will be
willing. I will roam about with her, and see the world, and they will
all be kind to you here; so let us change clothes. You shall have my
fairy garments, and I will put on your brown dress.
LISA. And shall I wear these beautiful things all the time?
EDITH. To-morrow they will play fairy again; after that, my cousins
will go away, and you will have to begin to study. Do you like to
LISA. What is study?
EDITH. Do you not even know your alphabet? How funny it will be to see
Miss Magin sitting up like a forsaken owl, calling out A, and A you
will softly say; then B, and C, and so on. If you had learned to read,
you would have to pore over books all the time. Nothing but books! I
could learn more, rambling about three days, than I could in books in
half a century. When lessons are over, mother will come in and ask if
you have been good, and as you will not have had any novels or poetry
hidden away, Miss Magin will answer, "Yes, madam, she has been so."
Then mother will give you a tart and an orange, and say you may walk
in the garden and gather pinks. You can go round the garden and look
at the fountains, or into the grove, but not outside the wall, or you
will have Miss Magin tagging after you, to see that nothing happens to
you. After dinner, you will have to practise and sew, and in the
evening play backgammon with mother, or talk to the visitors who come
LISA. But I cannot do all these things; I don't know how.
EDITH. Well, you will not have to. They will soon find out you are a
gypsy girl, and cannot be tamed down into a young lady. But you must
not let them find it out to-night, or they will immediately send you
after me. Your voice is so much like mine they will not notice that,
and you must stay in the shadow of the evergreens, and not venture
into the moonlight. When they talk to you, you must not say much, but
sing gypsy songs, always changing the word gypsy for fairy; and in a
little while you can steal quietly off to bed.
LISA. But how shall I know where to go?
EDITH. I sleep now with my cousin Fanny. She has a blue dress and
silver wings; you must whisper to her and ask her to go with you; and
then you can tell her the secret. She will not tell any one. Perhaps
you had better leave the wreath here, and the wings, for many of the
fairies have none, and they will not think it is I, without them. You
cannot get on my shoes--can you?
LISA. I walk so much barefooted. What pretty gold shoes they are! I
wish I could wear them.
EDITH. No, you will have to leave them here. Lay them on this flower
bed with the wings. They look as if they might belong to little
Amy--perhaps she will come for them to-night.
LISA. You seem so strange in my dress!
EDITH. I like to have it on. But it will hurt me to go barefooted.
Never mind--I wish to try how you live, in every way. How pleasant it
will be to sleep in the free air to-night! But you will like my bed
with the flowered curtains, and the pictures, and all the things.
LISA. O, yes; but you will give my love to mother.
EDITH. Not to-night. I am going to be her little girl to-night. But
to-morrow I will. I will come back in a few days and give you a great
many pretty presents before you go away. Good by. I hope you will have
a pleasant time.
LISA. May I kiss you once?
EDITH. Why, yes, indeed. You are a dear child; you look like a real
fairy in your new dress. Good night.
_LISA goes along the Garden Path. EDITH waits outside, and pulls her
hat over her face as ELINOR approaches._
ELINOR. Come along. Lisa. Have you seen any thing of Julia? Here, take
EDITH. How heavy it is!
ELINOR. Heavy, do you call it? It's I that have the burden to
bear. I've had enough to do this day; we must be home pretty quick, I
can tell you. But stop, child, you have had nothing to eat; here's
some meat for you.
EDITH, I do not want it. A lady came and gave me some cake.
ELINOR. A lady! What kind of a lady, I wonder?
EDITH. She was all dressed in purple and gold, and we sat and ate it
together. It was very nice cake.
ELINOR. A lady ate with a beggar! This is the first time I ever heard
of such a thing. All in gold too.--(_Aside._) I must teach her
the business--what a chance she had.
EDITH, (_aside._) What a frightful woman! Can it be Lisa's
mother? I must ask some questions and find out. (_To Elinor._)
Where do you think Julia is?
ELINOR. I know not, and care not. She's a real vagrant, that girl
is. No manner of use. She may go her own ways; I wash my hands of her.
EDITH. Will you sing me to sleep to-night? I am very tired.
ELINOR. Sing you to sleep? Yes, darling! What makes you lag behind
so? Take hold of my hand; I'll help you along. How your hand
trembles. Sing a song and cheer up. We must walk fast.
EDITH _sings the song LISA sang._
We have wandered far through forests wild, &c.
ELINOR. She has a sweet voice; we might make something of that. But
it's of no use--she can't be saved. I may as well begin now. Lisa, do
you know what is in these bundles?
EDITH. Something that weighs a good deal.
ELINOR. It's silver, child; real silver.
EDITH. But where did you get it?
ELINOR. Where? where do you think? I took it out of a house.
EDITH. Took it! Do you mean that you stole it?
ELINOR. Stole it? Out with it! Yes, I stole it. How should you like to
EDITH. But it is not right.
ELINOR. Who says it is not right?
EDITH. Why, every body says so.
ELINOR. The rich say so. They ride in their carriages, and live in
their grand houses, and when we are starving, and freezing with cold,
if we take a mouthful to eat, or a rag to put on, they call it
stealing, and hunt us up to put us in jail, and treat us worse than
brutes. I tell you I hate them. I should like to see them homeless as
we are, with the cold winds blowing through them. Then would I laugh
at them, as they laugh at us. Then would they know what it is to
suffer, with never a hand to help them.
EDITH. But some of them are kind.
ELINOR. Kind do you call if? If you beg and beg, and tell a piteous
story, they will give you an old gown and a cold potato, just as they
would throw a bone to a dog; and you must stand in their entries all
the time. Your clothes are not good enough for their parlors, and they
watch every motion, to see that you do not steal. But I can tell them
I will steal. If I had not taken their clothes and their food, do you
think you would be alive now? You would have been frozen in the winter
snows, and not a hand to help you. I asked for work and work, and
never a bit could I get; so I took what I wanted, and you must learn
to do so too, for I may not always be here to take care of you.
EDITH. But cannot I learn to work?
ELINOR. You never can get any work to do, unless you can show a good
character, as they call it. I wonder what kind of characters they
would have if they were treated as we are. Run! Hide! Down in the
ditch with you! They are after us!
_Enter a CONSTABLE and Man._
CONSTABLE. Here they are! Hallo, there! Come out of that! You need
not duck under like two great bull-frogs. Up with you--here's a
hand. We're polite folks, marm. Fish out the bundles, Jim. Them's the
articles--silver spoons and all. Off to jail with you. You'll have to
trip it fast enough, I'll warrant you. Here, Jim, you take the old
bird; I'll see to the young un.
ELINOR. O, my child; you shall not take her away!
CONSTABLE. Shall not, ma'am! If you valooed your child, you'd be right
glad to have her go. She's got bad notions enough. We'll edicate her
ELINOR. Lisa! Lisa!
_ELINOR is led off._
EDITH. Where are you going to take me?
CONSTABLE. To the House of Correction; you'll get a good lesson there.
EDITH. You shall not; I am Miss ---- No, I will not tell him. I want
to see what they would have done with Lisa. I can come away whenever I
tell my name.
_Exeunt CONSTABLE and EDITH._
SCENE 3. _Same as 1st Scene. Garden, and Children dancing and
Where is our queen?
She has not been seen
For many an hour,
In acorn or flower.
Pray can you tell?
Is she not there?
Have you seen her pass?
Where shall I go?
Does nobody know?
Look at that squirrel, lively and shy;
I know he can tell, by the fun in his eye.
There is a swallow, skimming about,
Set him to seek her, and he'll find her out.
Over the moon sails a tiny white cloud;
And on it she sails far away from the crowd.
All hail to our queen! Now sing us a song,
While we rest in the shadows, all lying along.
LISA, _as queen_.
Fairies, fairies, ever go
Where the mountain torrents flow;
Foot it high, and foot it low,
A wildly joyful band.
Fairies, fairies, loud our song;
No man hears us pass along;
Rugged cliffs and vales among--
A wild and hidden land.
Fairies, fairies, night is nigh;
Light steals slowly from the sky.
Lay us down with lullaby,
Sleeping hand in hand.
Come, lovely queen, you must dance with me now;
For under the alder I vowed me a vow,
Beneath the clear moonlight to kiss you three times.
And whirl you about to my swift flowing rhymes.
LISA, _as queen_.
Under the tree
Is the home for me;
Here will I sleep,
Through the lonely night,
While the cold dews weep,
In the pale starlight.
Jewels must shine
In the glance of the day;
We shall mourn and repine,
If thou hidest away.
Come, my fair lily, shine graciously out,
While we thy leal subjects will frisk all about.
_They draw her out._
FIRST FAIRY. Why, it is not Edith; yet she has on her purple dress!
An elf has crept into Fairyland;
Bid her bide, and make her stand;
Fairies, seize her by the hand;
She shall not slip away.
THIRD FAIRY. How came you with the queen's dress?
LISA. She put it on me.
FANNY. Edith wishes to play us a trick; this is one of the farmer's
_Enter MRS. LANDOR._
MRS. L. Edith, it is time to break up your plays for to-night.
To-morrow you shall dance again as much as you please.
FANNY. It is not Edith.
MRS. L. O, I thought it was; where is she? Some of you must go and
look for her.
FANNY. This girl can tell you. She says Edith gave her the purple
MRS. L. Where is Edith?
LISA. O, she has gone!
MRS. L. Gone! where?
LISA. She has gone with my mother.
MRS. L. With your mother, child? What do you mean?
LISA. Please don't frighten me so, and I will tell you. She said she
wanted to be a gypsy; so she put on my dress, and waited at the gate
MRS. L. O, my child, my child! The gypsies have carried her off. What
shall I do?
LISA. They did not carry her off; she said she wanted to go, and I
should stay and sleep in her bed, and have plenty to eat, and be your
MRS. L. Be my child, you little impostor! Away with you, as fast as
you can go.
FANNY. But she has Edith's fairy dress on.
MRS. L. Let her put on her own rags again.
FANNY. But Edith has her dress.
MRS. L. Then she must have one of Edith's old ones. Here, Nancy, see
this child dressed in one of Miss Edith's frocks. Keep an eye upon
her, and do not let her steal any thing.
FANNY. Mary, run and tell the men to go and look for Edith, and find
Edward as soon as possible.
EDWARD, (_entering._) Here I am, mother; what do you wish?
MRS. L. You must go in search of Edith; she has been carried off to
the gypsies' camp.
EDWARD. The gypsies' camp! I will find her, mother; do not be troubled
SCENE 4. _A Lonely Road; LISA crying. EDWARD enters._
EDWARD. Edith, Edith, I have found you at last. (_Throws his arms
LISA. It is not Edith; it is only me.
EDWARD. You, you little vagabond! What have you done with Edith?
Where is your gypsy camp?
LISA. She is not there; I have been to the gypsies. They say mother is
carried to jail, and Edith to the House of Correction.
EDWARD. Edith in the House of Correction! My sister! That shall never
LISA. O, stop, stop! Pray show me the way to the jail; don't leave me
alone here! There, he has gone. Edith would not have done so. What
shall I do? I am so tired I cannot drag one foot after another. I must
lie down and die here, all alone in the dark night. And mother is in
the jail without me. How wretched she will be! O mother, mother!
SCENE 5. _House of Correction. EDITH, CATHARINE
HALL, SARAH MUNN, and other Women._
SARAH. What young thing is that they have just brought in? She looks
as if she thought we were wild tigers from a caravan.
CATHARINE. She's a proud little minx; see how she holds up her head,
and looks about, with her old brown rags on. For all she has such fine
ways, I'll warrant you she is no better than the rest of us. I'll have
a talk with her.
SARAH. Let her alone. Don't go; she's better than we, and shall be
CATHARINE. Hands off. Do you think I'm going to be cheated of my
sport? You had better turn minister. You look as grand as a
judge. We'll teach her what kind of company she has fallen into. Come
along; you haven't had any too much amusement to-day.
CATHARINE. Come, child, tell us all about it; what are you in here
EDITH. I have done nothing.
CATHARINE. Arson, perhaps; that's my
EDITH. What is arson?
CATHARINE. What innocence! You never set a barn on fire, did you, my
SARAH. Only a fence, Catharine, you know.
CATHARINE. You never stole a watch, or picked a pocket, or took a
drink or two. O, no! How very young we are! Well, stay with us a
while, and you'll soon be old. We can give you the best instructors.
EDWARD, (_entering._) Where is she? Here, among these women!
Edith, look up. I have come to take you home.
EDITH. Home! O Edward, I have heard such things!
EDWARD. Never mind the things; come quick as you can. Mother is in the
EDITH. Is Lisa there?
EDWARD. No, we sent her off, fast enough. I met her in the road
looking for the jail and her mother.
EDITH. And you showed her the way?
EDWARD. No, I left her there; I was in haste to find you. I would not
have any one know you are here for the world; the whole village would
be talking about it to-morrow.
EDITH. Edward, I will not stir from this place until you bring Lisa
here. If you knew to what dangers she is exposed, you would not have
EDWARD. Are the bears coming to eat her? What dangers are you talking
EDITH. I cannot tell you now. Go--will you not? and bring her. She
must not be left with these wretched people; she must not be taught to
be wicked. She must go, with us, and be taken care of.
EDWARD. But let me carry you home first.
EDITH. No, Edward; I will not go until Lisa goes with me.
EDWARD. How obstinate you have become, all of a sudden! But I suppose
I must go; I shall find her somewhere, crying, in the road. Hide
yourself away; pray do not let any one see you. (_Goes out._)
EDITH. Hide! I should like to hide a thousand miles under the
ground. Is this the beautiful world I have dreamed so much about? It
cannot be--such things cannot be true! Yes, I see them written on the
faces of these women--how dreadful they are! O, what can we do?
SARAH. How could you talk to her so, Catharine? See how you have made
CATHARINE. She'll get used to it soon; that's the way with us all at
first. She'll harden to it.
SARAH. It makes me almost cry to see her. Poor child! It was just so
with me once; but that's all over now.
EDITH. You are not so bad as you seem. There is something good in
SARAH. Once there was.
EDITH. And is now. I am sure you would be good if you could come out,
and live where people would love you, and be kind to you.
SARAH. That can never be.
EDITH. O, yes. You shall come and let me take care of you; I am not so
poor as I seem. My mother is rich, and you shall come and live in one
of her houses, and have books to read, and a little garden, and every
SARAH. Your mother will never let me come. She will tell you, you must
not speak to me, and send me away if I go near her.
EDITH. No, she will not. I will tell her the temptations you are led
into; she knows nothing about it now. When she does, she will do all
she can for you.
SARAH. O, if it might be so!
EDITH. And you too; I can forgive you, although you have made me so
unhappy. I do not believe you are entirely wicked.
CATHARINE. I am wicked enough. Let me alone.
EDITH. But have you no one in the world who loves you--no mother, no
sister, or brother?
CATHARINE. I have a child. I shall never see her again!
EDITH. Never see her again! Why not?
CATHARINE. I sent her away from me; I do not want her to lead the life
EDITH. But if you could lead a good life,--if she could be with you
all day, and love you, and sleep all night with her little arms round
you,--then should you not be happy?
CATHARINE. And scorn me, and jeer at me, as all the others do.
EDITH. But she will not; she will call you her own mother, and love
you dearly. You will become good, and she will never know you have
done wrong. Will you not come?
CATHARINE. O, yes, I will, I will!
_Enter LISA and EDWARD._
EDITH. I am so glad you are found, Lisa; now you shall go home with
LISA. O, no; my mother is in prison; I must go to her--she'll want me
so much. Do let me go.
EDITH. Edward, we must carry her there before we go home.
EDWARD. It will be useless; we cannot get into the jail at this hour
of the evening.
EDITH. To-morrow, Lisa, early in the morning.
LISA. It is so long till then!
EDITH. Tell me your names before I go. "Catharine Hall." "Sarah
Munn." "You will not forget."
CATHARINE. And my child--you will not forget her.
EDITH. I will remember you all, and come to-morrow. Good night.
_She holds out her hand; CATHARINE draws back, then
takes it. SARAH kisses it._
SCENE 6. _Garden, as before. MRS. LANDOR, EDITH, FANNY, LISA,
EDWARD, and Children._
MRS. L. Edith, how much trouble you have given me! Where have you
been? Why did you bring that girl back?
EDWARD. Where do you think I found her? In the House of Correction.
MRS. L. In the House of Correction! My daughter! Edith Landor!
EDITH. Mother, I have something to say to you; will you not walk down
the path with me? I shall come back soon, Lisa. Be gentle, girls.
FIRST GIRL. So you are a gypsy. A pretty game you have been playing!
What made you steal Edith's clothes?
LISA. I did not steal them; she changed with me.
GIRL. That's a likely story. Your mother beat her, and made her give
LISA. My mother did not beat her; she never beats any one. O, yes, she
punishes Julia sometimes.
GIRL. And you very often, I think.
FANNY. How can you speak so to her? See, you have made her cry. Never
mind, little girl; we know you did not mean to do any harm. I believe
what you say. Edith is always getting into mischief in some way.
LISA. You will be good to me; you will be like Edith, will you not?
EDITH, (_walking with her mother._) You knew all this, and you
sent the child away from your home, to wander houseless, and be led
into all kinds of evil. You love me, and take care of me, your own
child, and yet you let so many children suffer and do wrong, and do
nothing to save or help them. O mother!
MRS. L. I have been very thoughtless. I have never realized these
things until now.
EDITH. But, mother, now that you do, you will not send this poor child
away. Let her live in Jane's cottage; you know there are spare rooms
there; and I can teach her to read and sew, and she will be so good!
Will you not let her stay?
MRS. L. Yes, Edith, have it as you please.
EDITH. Lisa, you are going to live in a nice cottage of ours in the
grove, and I shall teach you to read and write, and we will walk and
play together, and be so happy.
LISA. And mother too?
MRS. L. No, I cannot have the gypsy woman about the place. What could
she do here?
EDITH. But she will not be a gypsy woman if she lives here. She will
become like one of us, and be very happy here with Lisa.
MRS. L. These gypsies never change; their vagabond ways are in the
blood. You can do nothing with them. She will be for wandering off,
east, west, and north, and be like a caged lioness when she is in the
EDWARD. They are not real gypsies, mother. I have heard the neighbors
say they are poor people, who have assumed the gypsy mode of life to
tell fortunes, and impose upon the country people.
EDITH. O, yes, mother, they do not seem like real gypsies. I know you
can make of her what you will, if you will only let her come.
LISA. Do let her come--she is so good to me! I will not leave her. I
will go wherever she goes.
MRS. L. Well, she may come too; we will try it, and see how it will
EDITH. Dear mother, how can I thank you enough? She shall come this
very night. Edward, cannot we get her out of jail?
EDWARD. It will be impossible, I think.
ELINOR. (_rushes in_.) Lisa! my child!
LISA. Mother, mother, have you come? (_Throws herself into Elinor's
MRS. L. How did you come here, woman?
ELINOR. O, I ran away; they have not caught me this time. Come, Lisa,
we must be off like lightning.
LISA. Mother, we are going to stay here, and live in a nice cottage,
ELINOR. Who said so? They are laughing at you.
EDITH. Yes, it is true. Lisa is to be my little scholar.
EARNING ONE'S OWN LIVING.
"What a shame, girls!" exclaimed Anna; "Clara Morton's things have
been sent for, and she is not coming to school any longer. Her father
has failed, and they are to give up house and furniture, horses and
carriage, and the girls are going out to earn their own living."
"Not really?" said Fanny.
"Why, every one knows it."
"You do not mean to say that Clara Morton is going to earn her own
living," said little Effie. "The last person in the world! Why, I do
not believe she ever sewed a stitch in her life. She never even
brought her own books to school, but had them carried for her by a
"But there are other ways of earning a living besides sewing. Clara
plays beautifully, and could give music lessons as well as----;
well--perhaps not as well as Mr. Cantari."
"No, indeed! Can you not see one of his queer smiles at the idea of
one of us girls giving lessons?"
"I know it. How flat one feels, after playing a piece so splendidly,
to turn round and meet, for one's only applause, that incomprehensible
smile! Poor Clara! I hope that smile will not meet her, wherever she
goes in the world. I am sure it will haunt me, for I can never see it
without a dim apprehension of the possible fate that awaits our
lessons and accomplishments in that formidable ocean into which our
school days are to empty."
"Your geographical comparison is very natural for you; but as I do not
pride myself upon my acquirements in that branch, I confess I do not
see what it has to do with Mr. Cantari's smile."
"You do not take music lessons, I believe, Miss Erudition; and perhaps
the forebodings of examination day would be a comparison in which you
would be more at home. I only hope poor Clara will not be reminded of
it by the world into which she has fallen."
"Now do tell us, Anna, what you mean by the world."
"Why, the world is--the people that laugh at every thing we school
girls do. Not exactly that, but the people who know how every thing
should be done, and give one of Mr. Cantari's smiles at our way of
doing it; they do not always know how, either. It is not that--it
is--it is--you girls sitting there, calmly watching me extricating
myself from my definition. Well now, into this world, whatever it is,
Clara has dropped, just as if she had been riding in something, and
the bottom had come out, leaving her standing on the actual ground;
and the poor child must walk on her feet which any little barefooted
beggar girl can do better than she."
"That reminds me of a funny adventure which happened to me, when I was
a little girl, in India," said Effie.
"In India! O, do tell us about it."
"You know I was born in India, where the people--that is, the people
who are any body--never think of walking, but ride in palanquins
carried on men's shoulders. These coolies, as they are called, are
just like horses here, and one never thinks of their having any will
of their own, or any thought, but of trotting patiently all day under
the palanquin. As for me, I hardly knew there was such a thing as the
ground, till one day the palanquin bearers, for some reason which I
never understood,--a quarrel among themselves I believe,--suddenly set
the palanquin down on the ground, and left me all alone in a strange
part of the city, crying, and begging the passers by (who did not
understand a word I said) to carry me home; but I never should have
reached there if I had not been found by some one who knew our
"What a wonderful adventure, to be sure!"
"Well, I thought I had something to tell when I began. I am sure I
know now what you mean by Mr. Cantari's smile. But it was not so much
my little adventure in itself, though that always seemed something
till now; but after that I never could get the palanquin out of my
head. It seemed to me that all the people in India lived in
palanquins, except the poor people, and that they were nothing but
bearers. No one did any work, not even the servants, for every
servant seemed to have another under him, though, to be sure, there
must have been some at last with their feet on the ground, trudging
along to carry on the household. But this was always a puzzle to me,
and I used to wonder if some time every thing would come down to the
ground, like the palanquin; for the bearers were human beings after
all, and I had found, for once, at least, that they had wills of their
own. But this was, I suppose, something like the fear of the Indians,
which some of you say you always had when little children. I do not
think it could have troubled me much, however, for I remember I used
to lie all day in a hammock, reading story books, with a half-waking
and half-sleeping sense of the poor story writers being palanquin
bearers, to carry us about so delightfully, without any thought or
trouble on our part. But really, now, was it not natural to be
reminded of all this by Clara's situation? Was it not, Miss Revere?"
"Yes, Effie," answered Miss Revere. "And probably we could each of us
remember a similar impression, if we would recall the circumstance in
our lives which brought us into closest contact with the reality of
life, which Clara is now finding, I fear, so different from her
school-girl ideas of it For my own part, you have reminded me of my
earliest years, when my palanquin, also, was set down with a shock I
have never forgotten."
"Why, were you ever in India, Miss Revere?" asked Fanny.
"No, dear, but Effie has already hinted that the country of palanquins
is not so far from us as that."
"Do tell us about it, Miss Revere. I have always longed to know your
history, for I was sure you had one. You seem to be so apart from us
girls, and to do every thing as if you had done it before, and as if
you stood so far back, that things which make us happy or unhappy are
only things to be looked at by you, just like Leonora, who is always
quietly sketching us, when the greatest excitement is going on."
"I will tell you, if you wish, all that is to be told of a life,
which, with one exception, has been without events, that would appear
such to any one but myself. It will only, therefore, be the result,
and not the history of my life, which I can tell you, and that rather
for the pleasure I shall have in exacting the same of you, than for
any I shall take in recalling my own. I say there has been but one
event in my life; it was that which left me an orphan. O girls, we
speak of Clara's coming down to the ground; we speak of seeing our way
clear, and treading on solid ground; these are expressions of those
whose feet only would walk upon the ground, while their hearts and
eyes are on a level with those about them, who have never known how
hard to the forehead is the ground, when all we love lie beneath it;
how one hides her face in terror from the vacant air, finding her only
refuge in the earth, where lies all her grief. But I do not wish to
bring my dark robe among your gay dresses."
"O Miss Revere!"
"Tell me if you think it possible for one who is absolutely alone in
the world to be happy, after having once been so with others?"
"I cannot imagine being alone, any more than I can imagine a sound,
without being there to hear it," answered Anna.
"Poor Mr. Polanco, in the Darien expedition! Was not that absolute
solitude? After being left to die alone by his companions, who were
forced by starvation to desert him, think of his bones being found
long after, stretched on the grave of his friend, who had been buried
a day's march behind!" said Miss Revere.
"I know. Was it not frightful?" said Anna. "Can you imagine a solitude
so appalling, that a dying man would drag himself a whole day's march
(poor men! it was but a few miles in their condition) to find in a
grave some semblance of human society."
"As if a drowning sailor, in an Arctic sea, should swim to an island
of ice," said Kate.
"Only think how many have gone down in the sea with nothing in sight
but the waves; and people have fallen down precipices, and known they
were going, and no one has ever known what they have felt. We only
hear about those who are saved. I would give any thing to know the
last thoughts of those who have never been heard of."
"But, Anna, is it not the same to every one at the last moment?"
"Perhaps so; but it seems different."
"Ah, Anna," said Miss Revere, "that _seems_ is the old story of
the palanquin again. Just as we _seemed_ safer the other night,
when we all huddled together in one room, in the thunder storm."
"What an awful night that was!"
"And yet here we all are, safe. I never could have believed, years
ago, when I was lying alone in a heavier night than that, that I
should ever be sitting here tranquilly telling of it."
"O, yes, do tell us the rest."
"If I should tell you all, it would only be answering my own question,
'whether one could be happy after being left alone in the world by all
whom she loved.' Little thing as I was then, I learned that there is
no comfort from others, no diversion from a great calamity. Every
thing that one clings to for help is only the sailor's block of ice,
which is itself water. May you never know how utterly alone one is in
a great sorrow; but if you ever should, may you find yourselves, as I
did at last, taking root in the very ground on which you fall, and
drawing a new life from the reality of your desolation. Thus I had to
earn my own living; and you can judge if Clara's lot can seem a hard
one to me, who have known so well what poverty is."
"Why, Miss Revere, how can you speak of poverty? I thought you had
every thing you wished," exclaimed Effie.
"Dear child, I believe it is only those who have been unhappy, or in
some way thrown out of their natural life, who can understand
comparisons. We must all earn our own living in some way, and always
in the way in which our life is different from all others."
"I wish, Anna, you had not told about the sailor swimming to that
awful ice. I do not see the use of thinking of such things before they
happen. I am sure I shall never dare to go to sea," said Kate.
"How did you feel, Fanny, when you were out in the boat, in the middle
of the ocean?" asked Linda.
"Why, was she ever at sea?"
"And in a real shipwreck, my dear."
"What, Fanny here? Do, pray, tell us all about it."
"I thought every one knew about it. And yet I remember when we
landed,--for we were picked up by another ship,--and I thought every
one in the city would be thinking of nothing else, how strange it
seemed that no one thought much about it. We went up to a hotel, and
every one was seeing to his own baggage, and every thing going on just
as if nothing had happened. I suppose this is why I have never talked
more about it."
"But tell us; you know we shall be interested in it. I have always
wanted to hear about a shipwreck from some one who had actually been
"And then it was not so much the actual wreck. I think I rather
enjoyed it,--what I remember of it,--and I suppose I was too ill most
of the time to take much notice. But the voyage I remember
distinctly, or rather after a certain time, for I was so young that my
first recollections were about that ship, so that it seems to me as if
I had been born upon the ocean. I remember playing dolls in the cabin
just as if I had been in a house; and although it rocked about
terribly, the vessel was so large, with all kinds of other cabins and
forecastles, and holds, which I heard them speak of, but had never
seen, that I never thought of it as actually floating on a deep sea,
and separate from every thing else; for we were really, you know,
thousands of miles out on this immense ocean. But I always thought of
it as something like the floating bridge at the salt water bath,
fastened in some way, at one end, to the place we had left,--of which,
however, I had no recollection,--and at the other end to the place to
which we were going, about which I had almost as little idea.
"I must have been kept in the cabin, I think, by my nurse, for I
remember so distinctly the first time I climbed up the steep stairs,
and found myself alone by the side of the ship. Now I think of it, I
must have been on deck before, for I have a confused sense of the
glittering of the sun on the waves, which seemed very near, and the
spray, and the wind in the ropes, and altogether like a city or a band
of music; perhaps there was music on board, though I don't remember
hearing it again. But now it was after sunset, and there were no
little sparkling waves, but great, solemn swells rolling, as if their
loneliness, out there in the middle of the ocean, was too awful to
think of, out to the gray edge of the sky, so far and vast all around,
with nothing to hold on to, and then swelling up so deep against the
side of the ship, and lifting it up,--that great, heavy vessel,--as
they passed under; and then I felt for the first time the motion of
the whole ship, and the depth of the sea beneath it, and understood
what some one meant who had said one day at table, that there 'was but
a plank between us and eternity.' I had some sense of what he meant
when he said it; but there were so many planks in the ship, so many
decks, one below the other, that I never thought till now, that, last
of all, there must be one plank along which the deep water was always
washing, and if this should give way, we should go down 'with every
soul on board!' These words I had heard said by a very solemn man, a
passenger, who was also, I think, the one who spoke of the plank and
eternity. After this they were always sounding in my ears, and at
night, after lying awake, trying not to listen to the wash of the
water against the side of the ship, and not to feel it heaving up on a
great wave and then sinking down--down--till I felt certain something
would give way, and we never should come up, I would fall asleep, and
dream the ship had sunk, and 'every soul on board' was tossing alone
on the waves, with 'only a plank between him and eternity.'
"I forgot to say that we had a captain whom I loved very much; he was
so kind and polite to us all, and at the table particularly, was so
attentive to me, that I thought the ship would be safe so long as he
was in it. He was very young and handsome, and I thought he sat at the
head of the dinner table like a real nobleman. And so I believe he
was, as I heard one of the sailors say one day,--a gruff old fellow he
was,--that nobody but a lord's son would ever have given such an order
as that, whatever it was. I heard him say, too, one day, to a
passenger who looked as if he had something to do with vessels, that
if the captain had earned his own living, as he had, at the ropes, he
would have known something or other from a marline-spike. He said,
too, that ships never would be safe so long as captains who had never
'served up' were appointed over the heads of old salts, like himself.
"I felt dreadfully troubled to learn that the ship was not considered
safe by an old sailor; but I could not make out what he meant by
saying the captain had not 'served up,' the only use of those words
which I had ever known being in reference to the dinner, about which
the captain was always very particular with the steward. I at last
asked one of the sailors, who laughed, and said it meant that the
captain had not come up from the forecastle, but had come in at the
cabin windows. After this I gave up asking questions of the crew, and
puzzled myself alone over their queer sea terms; but I took all the
more notice of their ways towards the captain, and soon found that he
was not so great a man with them as with the passengers. What knowing
looks they would give each other, when obeying his orders! There!--I
knew when you were speaking of Mr. Cantari's smile, it reminded me of
something like it that had happened years ago; it was that look, of
those sun-browned, good-natured sailors. I seem to see the captain
now, standing so handsome and gentlemanly on the deck, the color
mounting into his face as he gave some order about taking in sails, or
tightening ropes, or such things, and the crew going about this way
and that, and looking sidewise at each other, with that good-natured,
wicked smile; I do believe the captain was more afraid of that than he
would have been of a pirate ship. There was one old man, in
particular, who was more grave than any of them, and never moved his
face, but had an odd way of smiling with his eyes at the men, and
putting out his cheek with his tongue; and the captain's voice always
seemed to be a little tremulous when he was giving an order while this
man was standing by. I was very fond of him still; but it was a great
shock to me to find the crew thought so little of one in whom I had
placed such unbounded confidence. What was to become of us now in
case of danger?--though of that I thought less than of that awful sea
which lay day and night beneath us; and now, more than ever, there
seemed to be but 'a plank' between me and it, now that the captain was
no longer between the plank and me.
"Then I thought how safe and careless of danger the sailors seemed to
be, and that it must be because they knew the ship so well, knew every
timber in it, and where it was, and how strong it was; and I
determined I would learn too, and asked the captain to tell me all
about it; but I found his knowledge of it did not reach much below the
cabin floor, and the passengers could tell me little. Then I said to
myself, I will go to the forecastle and 'serve up,' for I had found
out by this time what that meant; and this, Miss Revere, was really
what you would call 'earning my living.' I learned from the crew, and
particularly from the same old man who troubled the captain so much
with his silent smile, and who would cut little ships, and parts of
ships, and put them together for me, so much, that at last I could
stand upon the upper deck and know every deck below, and the principal
timbers of the frame down to the very keel. I suppose I could not have
known all this very well, such a child as I was; but I had learned
enough to feel safer and to feel the motion of the waves through the
whole ship, up to the planks on which I stood; so that I felt no
longer like a loose piece of ballast, rolling helpless about, but as
if the ship were a great living thing, and I was its spirit and life.
About that time I used to go to the bow of the ship, when great waves
were buoying it up, and repeat, with my hair streaming behind my
'And the waves bound beneath me, as a steed
That knows his rider!'--
some lines that I had heard from a passenger; till one day I turned
round, and there was the old sailor putting out his cheek, and winking
to one of the men; and I ran off as if I had seen a shark, and I
believe I never went forward of the cabin after that."
"But, Fanny, how could you remember so well what happened when you
were such a mere child as you must have been then? What you say does
not sound like a very little child," said Effie.
"I dare say many of the things I am telling were at the time very
indistinct and confused; but if I should tell them in the same way,
they would not have form enough for you to see them. Then I cannot
remember the voyage in course,--day after day,--but particular times I
remember just as distinctly as if they had happened yesterday. If I
should confuse a little what I felt then with what I have felt since,
it would be perfectly natural; for I do feel sometimes as if I had
never left that ship. I wonder if we never have but one thought all
our lives? That ship was then the whole world to me, and now the whole
world seems the ship. And that carries me back to one splendid
night,--the only perfectly beautiful night in the voyage,--in fact it
is the only night I remember; I suppose the nurse usually kept me
below for fear of the night air. That night there was a great deal of
noise and talking in the cabin, and I stole away to the deck. All was
stillness and starlight, with a gentle sound in the sails like the
cooing of a dove, and every thing as if it had been going on so for
hours. A few long swells reached to the horizon, and I could see their
waving lines against the sky, and the light came up from beyond them,
so that the whole world seemed to be ocean, and the ship the only
living thing, swaying on its bosom as lightly as Anna's cross, (what a
beauty it is, Anna!) and the top of the masts sweeping over whole
tracts of stars, and the stars blinking as if keeping time with the
dipping of the vessel, till it all seemed a dance, ship and stars
together, the stars seeming ships in an ocean of space, and the ship
to hang in a liquid sky, and I,--there I was alone on the deck, my
world under my feet; and who knew but that in each of the stars was a
being whose steed bounded beneath him as intelligently as mine? Would
not these sometimes speak each other, as the passing ships? Perhaps
they do now, I thought, in a way as much finer as the ocean on which
they all sail is larger than ours; and by listening attentively
perhaps my ear will become fine enough to hear them. Now, what are you
laughing at Kate?"
"Only to think how Humboldt would look, to hear you describing the
world which you had conquered so scientifically."
"Just as if I felt so now, and did not know that only a little child
as I then was would ever have such magnificent ideas of itself. I
don't believe even then I looked any wiser than you, when you came to
school with your new Geology, walking as grand as if you were treading
on the old red sandstone."
"Now don't, Fanny! We all feel proud enough of our new studies; it
seems like having attained the greater part of a science to have
bought the books; but we feel humble enough to make up for it on
"But all the time you have not said a word about the shipwreck,"
"O, yes, the shipwreck!" exclaimed the girls.
"I know that is all you want to hear; but you have put me out, so that
I shall make but a short story of it. Besides, as I said before, that
was the least part of it."
"Not long after that splendid night, I was called up on deck by the
cry of a sail in sight, which, you know, is the great event at sea. It
passed at some distance, though near enough for us to see it
distinctly; but it was a clouded sky, and the waves, dark and
foreboding, left such a dreary space of water between it and us, and
the poor ship looked so forlorn and helpless, tumbling about on the
great loose waves, that all my old fear came back. I thought perhaps
there were those on board that dismal little bark who thought, as I
had, that they were carrying the centre of the world along with them;
and perhaps there were hundreds of other such, scattered all over the
sea in their poor little cockleshells, and our great ship would seem
as little and helpless to them as theirs to us. After the ship was
out of sight, and I was looking off indifferently in that direction,
all at once the back of an immense fish arose out of the sea and
disappeared. Perhaps it was the coming up of a storm which spread a
gloom over the sea, and made that huge black thing so awfully distinct
and lonely; but it was the most fearful sight I had ever seen. There
was that creature, out there in the middle of the ocean, in a security
frightful to think of, and we in an artificial fabric, which, at best,
was only the 'single plank.' To feel as safe as the fish, was now my
only desire, and I tried to give up all thought of the ship, and
commit myself boldly to the waves,--as I had heard Arion did, who was
saved by the dolphin,--not really, you know, but I could not even
imagine it; when it came to the last point, I could not even think of
plunging into the deep sea, and I went to bed dreadfully depressed,
partly owing, I dare say, to the mournful sound of the rising storm in
the rigging. All I remember afterwards was dreaming the fish had
changed into a mermaid, and was holding out her arms to me, and
waiting for me to make up my mind, and I was thinking that if I leaped
into them, the sea would have no power over me, and then plunging down
and finding not her arms, but the cold sea, then waking up and
actually feeling the cold water dashing over me, and a moment after,
some one seizing me, and hurrying me on deck amid shrieks and
screams,--and then finding myself in a little boat, crowded with wet
people, and tossing about in the dark, not knowing which was sea,
which was sky. Only one thing I remember after this, and that
is--after the storm had gone down, and the boat was rising and falling
on the great swells, the sailors resting on their oars, and a
clergyman in the boat offering up a prayer, and then reading from a
little wet Bible about Jesus walking on the water and holding out his
hand to Peter, telling him if he had faith he could walk on the sea,
as he did. I thought this was better than Arion and the dolphin, and I
could really understand how it could be, though it is all gone now. I
can only remember lying, crying, in the bottom of the boat. I was so
happy and weak,--for I think we had nothing to eat after we left the
ship,--and I would keep falling asleep and seeing some one stretching
out his hand to me, and saying 'It is I; be not afraid;' then half
waking up, and hearing some one say, in a solemn tone, 'But a plank
between us and eternity,' and if it had not been for something, 'every
soul on board'--and that is the last recollection I have of any thing,
until we were coming into port in another ship; and every thing, as I
said, was just as if nothing had happened, only I was very weak, for I
had been quite ill; and the captain, when he saw me coming on deck,
caught me in his arms and kissed me, which he had never done before,
and the grave old sailor with the queer smile gave me _such_ a
hug. The smile was all gone now, and when we left the ship I saw him
shaking hands with the captain, with the most serious face I ever
saw. I had overheard the old man telling some one the captain had
shown he had the real grit in him, and if he had not had the
misfortune to be born a gentleman he would have been as good a sailor
as ever did something or other, I forget what; as if he had said he
would have been as good a sailor as he had shown himself a brave man."
"Is that all?" said Effie. "I thought when you came to the shipwreck
it would be something grand and dangerous."
"I suppose you would like to hear that the ship was struck by
lightning, and went down in the middle of the ocean, with every soul
on board but me, and that I drifted for days on a single oar, and at
last came to a savage coast with a horde of wild Arabs ready to pounce
upon me the moment I should be dashed upon the beach."
"That would be nice."
"Or to have had me swallowed by a shark, thousands of miles out of
sight of land, and then you might have told the story for yourself."
"O, I did not mean to complain of your story; and I dare say if it had
happened to one of us, it would have been the greatest event in our
"Just like my night in the woods which Fanny's starlight night
reminded me of. I have been thinking of it ever since she came to that
"There, Linda! I knew you were thinking of something else than my
story, and I believe that is the reason it began to sound so flat
towards the end."
"But I should not have thought of it, if it had not been for what you
were telling; so that it shows I really was interested, as you would
believe, if you knew how much it was like that night of my own."
"Do tell us about it, Linda; were you out all night alone?"
"The whole night long. But I begin to think it was not so much of an
event after-all; you girls are so critical. It seems to me sometimes
we are like those stones which are full of caves, and grottoes of
crystal inside, to ourselves, while to others we are only common
"But you must remember it is just so with all, and not contrast the
inside of your paving stone with the outside of others'," said Anna.
"I was thinking whether there was outside enough to my little
adventure to make it worth telling. But if it is thinner than that of
the rest, it will be easier to break open."
"There, Linda, you have let that stone roll long enough; now let it
rest with me and gather moss."
"I understand you, Ella. You are off now on one of your fairy stories,
and I shall have one listener the less. Well, I am glad of it, for I
shall not have you looking at me in your calm way all the time, and
thinking how much better you could tell the story."
"O Ella, let us have the fairy story, and call it the paving stone if
you please. Never mind if it is not clear to you yet, but think as
you go along," said Fanny.
"No; leave me alone. Perhaps it is nothing, and I know too well that
no story is good for any thing, unless one knows what it is going to
be before one begins."
"I hate stories with morals; they are just like going in the cars,
where all you think of is the end of your journey," said Kate.
"But unless you know where you are going, you would never go at all."
"But it is so pleasant to go off for a day's walk without knowing
where you are going, and with nothing to do but to enjoy what you
"Exactly as I thought when I set out on the adventure which led to
that eventful night. But you were about to say something, Ella."
"I was only going to say that things never look so well to me as when
I have some place to go to, and see them on the way. But the
"O, I set out without knowing whither I was going, though I found
something so like a moral before I was through with it, that my story
would be nothing without it."
"That may be, but you will not tell it in the same way."
"No, for I know well enough where it leads to, and my only fear now
is, that incidents on the way will not seem interesting enough to make
it worth the telling."
"Leave that to us, Linda; and now for the adventure."
"You remember what a time I had with Madam Irving, three or four years
ago; you were here, Fanny, and you, Miss Revere--you remember, of
"When you ran away from school and frightened Madam Irving almost to
death, and were so glad to get back again?" said Fanny.
"Well, I will not dispute you."
"But do not look so resigned about it. If you could only have seen
the contrast between yourself leaving the school room with the air of
Queen Catharine leaving the court, and your first appearance on the
morning after your return!"
"I suppose I did look rather cowed; but if you had gone through what I
did! It was all very well the first night, though I slept on the floor
of a miserable little hut,--well, I may as well compress it, for I see
you know something about it,--in the bed, then, of that little ragged
berry girl who lives up on the mountain. I slept on the floor at
first, but it was so cold that I had to give in."
"You might have foreseen, then, how long you would hold out with Madam
"Now, Fanny, you know I have always said--but it's no use. Well,
girls, I lay awake most all that night arranging my plans for the next
day. When I left the school, I had some vague idea of going home on
foot,--three hundred miles, you know,--with nothing but that little
bundle, (how long it took me to make up that bundle! I thought I never
should get off;) but then I feared I should be sent back, and the idea
of facing Madam Irving after taking leave of her as I had done--"
"Yes, it did come hard; I really pitied you."
"Fanny, you are too bad. Well, my mind was made up that night, and
every thing was clear before me for the next day's campaign. It seems
that word made a great impression on that little, impertinent
Jenny. She was here the other day at the door with her berry basket;
and when she saw me, do you think, she looked up sidewise, with the
smile those girls have, and said, in a subdued way, 'Campaign.' I
wished she were in Guinea. To think of the solemn way in which I had
talked to that girl about the importance of the step I was to take,
and confided to her all the reasons for my leaving a society with
which I could not agree, and giving up all the associations in which I
had been born, and which were at variance with my views of life, and
living henceforth dependent upon no one but myself; for I was really
quite eloquent, I assure you, and inspired her with such enthusiasm
that she readily agreed to follow me, and share, as my servant, the
fortunes of the new life which opened before me. Poor thing! She had
nothing to lose, and every thing was gain to her. She had nothing to
come down to, either; for with her bare feet she was as near the
ground as she could be, and I had still a pair of shoes between me and
the rough fields over which we rambled all that day, though I did
think of taking them off at first, as I did not wish to have any
advantage over her. I found, however, before night, the advantage was
altogether on her side, for she made nothing of stones, and brambles,
and bushes, that put me out of breath, and tore me all to pieces. What
a sight I was that evening as we came to an overhanging rock on the
mountain side, and chose it as our camp for the night. The sun was
just setting over an immense tract of country, entirely new to me; and
I might have been on the Cordilleras for any thing that I recognized
in that scene. It occurred to me, that, although, when out on a ride
or a walk before, I always took notice of every thing, here I had been
a whole day, and had actually never thought of looking up from the
ground. And even now, with all that splendid view and sunset before
me, and the feeling of being fairly embarked on a new life, where
school and civilization were already so distant that they were not to
be thought of, yet I am ashamed to say, the great subject that
occupied my thoughts was our supper. We had provided against that
event, which we had looked forward to half the afternoon--a great
store of blackberries, which I had conscientiously refrained from
touching, though I was as hungry as a bear."
"What an expression for a young lady!" said Kate.
"I really believe we all should be bears if we lived out doors, as I
did, for any length of time. Besides, any one who has seen you look at
the baskets when we have a picnic!"
"Ah, yes! On the mountain when I'm tired of gazing at a great, vague
"You know I think as little of such things as any one when we are at
home; but when we are out for the day, I declare a biscuit on a rock
looks more picturesque than any thing in the landscape," said Kate.
"That's a confession!"
"I believe you would all say the same, if you would acknowledge the
truth, except Leonora; and I suppose a tree or a rock looks just the
same to her as a luncheon basket would to us."
"You are always talking about the picturesque, Kate, like every one
else except Leonora. Now, once for all, what do you mean by it?" asked
"Leonora, you must answer for me, for I am sure you ought to know, if
"I was thinking that you had already defined it as well, perhaps, as
it could be. But if I should tell you all you have reminded me of by
your comparison, we should never hear the end of Linda's story, in
which I was becoming quite interested. I was thinking what a good
sketch she would have made, sitting a little way down that mountain
side with the ragged berry girl, and that great sunset before them.
So you must let me go on quietly with my drawing, and while Linda is
finishing her adventure, I will be finding a point of view for my
thoughts, which are just now rather indefinite. If I knew precisely
what the picturesque is, perhaps I should not be sketching it; but if
you must have a definition, perhaps this will do for the present--to
say it is the look of home which things have in a strange place; and
perhaps, to a party of hungry girls, a prettily-arranged lunch on a
rock, in the shade of a beech tree, with the light glancing up under
it from a bend of brook below, would be as near an approach to that
look as the circumstances would permit."
"I wish you had been with me, Leonora, instead of that little imp of a
berry girl. It was just that sense of not being at home that made
that mountain life, at last, so unbearable to me. Yet home without
that seemed so flat and lifeless, down on a dead level, with not a
street or garden but could be counted and measured. I thought if I
could only have a hut on the mountain side, with a goat or a dog, or
something to give life to it."
"With a little girl or an old woman to do the work," said Effie.
"And some of us to come and take tea with you every other afternoon,"
said Kate, "out in front of the house, with that great view before
us. Would it not be charming?"
"Would you believe it! I talked with that child as if she had been my
dearest friend, and I should be afraid to tell you how near I crept to
her side that night, as we slept under the shelf of rock. What I
should have done without her I do not know. I knew the next night, as
you shall hear; for, do you believe, that creature, after all I had
done for her--"
"What had you done for her?" asked Kate.
"Why, I had--well, I had treated her like a friend, besides giving her
fourpence for carrying my bundle, and another for her share of the
blackberries, though I never thought of it till this moment, I believe
she had picked them all. In the morning, after waking rather cold and
with a feeling as if I had been jolted all night on a rough road,
though nothing could be more different from travelling than that still
rock,--how still it was, and every thing else too in that early dawn,
every thing gray and unsocial!--I tried to call out to break the
silence; but the sound of my voice frightened me. Just then the sun
began to stream over the tops of the trees, and a blue-jay pierced the
air with a scream, as if from the heart of the wilderness, and yet as
if he had a right there which I had not--as if he was at home while I
was only thinking of it. There was a harsh warmth in that single note,
as if the sunlight was to him what a good fire would have been to me,
which I believe I needed sadly, for it was at that time in the autumn,
when the nights are cold, though the days are so warm. I said that the
sense of not being at home was at last unbearable; I had not come to
that point yet, and I resolved, come what might, that I would stay on
the mountain till I should feel as much at home as the blue-jay, for I
felt how really splendid such a life was, even though I had had no
breakfast; for I forgot to say that, seeing a house at a distance,
down the mountain, and having a little money left, after what I had
given the day before to that ungrateful girl, I gave it all to her, to
go down and buy something for us to eat. Just this once, I thought,
and then we will live like the birds and the squirrels. Yes, said I to
the distant house, as if it were the civilized world, I have now
parted with the last link that binds me to thee, and repeated aloud,
in the excitement of the moment, 'I have burned the ships behind me! I
have cast the die, and passed the Rubicon!' I must tell you that after
I had given utterance to these words, I turned round involuntarily to
see if there were not half a dozen of you girls behind me; and nothing
can give a better idea of the solitude of the place than that you were
not. My only auditor was a little striped squirrel, who disappeared
with a chit, leaving an acorn with the marks of his teeth upon it,
which I picked up, wondering if I could not also live upon acorns. I
bit it, and found it could be eaten in case of necessity. Now, I
thought, I can be entirely independent of all the unnecessary comforts
of civilized life. Wherever I may be, I can earn my own living by
adapting myself to the place, and assimilating to myself the fruit of
"The what?" said Effie.
"Well, I cannot remember exactly what I was philosophizing about. The
other day I found in one of my old dresses that very acorn with the
marks of my teeth and those of the squirrel upon it; I tried to bite
it again, but it was so hard that I could make no impression upon
it. Then it brought all that day's questioning back to me, and I
thought if I had only finished and settled it then, while it was new
and soft, I could have made it clear for my whole life perhaps,
instead of letting it go as I did, till it is so hard now that I must
leave it where it is, and go back to that girl, for whom I waited and
waited until I was almost famished. Then I looked around, and there
were the rocks all waiting so silently, and looking as if they had
been waiting for ages, and could wait ages longer; and there was I,
like that single blade of grass growing in the crevice of one of them,
with only a summer to see and know them all. I could bear it no
longer, and rushed wildly down the mountain in hopes to meet the girl;
for any human face, even hers, would be better than that eternal
silence. The motion restored my courage, and before I had gone far I
felt ashamed of what seemed a retreat. I wonder if any of you ever
feel so about any thing that you particularly dread, that if you do
not meet it then and overcome it, it will come up again and again all
your life, each time more fearful than before, and harder to
conquer. I felt so then, and determined I would not give way; so I
turned to retrace my steps; but I had rushed down at such a rate, that
I could not remember the way, and taking, as I thought, the general
direction, I went up and up, till I lost myself in a labyrinth of
rocks, that grew higher and higher, and I saw that I had taken
entirely the wrong way. But I was too tired to go farther, and finding
some bushes covered with blackberries, which I suppose no one but
myself had ever seen, I began to pick them for my late breakfast. When
I had picked enough,--and if you ever want to know how good
blackberries are, you must pick them, as I did, when there is nothing
else to be had,--thinking I had time enough before me to find my way
out, I sat down in the shade of a rock, and gradually lost myself in
that great dream of a day. What a day it was! I wondered if they were
always such on the mountains; it seemed to have an existence of its
own, and I could understand how a day can be as a thousand years. The
insects murmured, and buzzed, and chirped about me, as if they had
such a sense of it, and were concentrating all life into their little
existence, perhaps as long to them as my life to me, which I am sure
would not be long enough to remember and tell all that I thought of in
"Then at last I began to come back to my former life, which seemed
already so far back, and to think of a little, common school day, and
what you were all doing. They have had the forenoon recitations, I
thought; they have had dinner, and now,--where can that girl be? I
exclaimed, as I looked up and saw that the sun had left one side of
the ravine in the shade, and that I must hasten to find my way out.
But the farther I went, the more I became involved, and at last I
became aware, all at once, that I was lost. It was as if some one had
made the announcement to me, and I received it at first with calmness,
or as if it was felt suddenly by something within me, and had not yet
come to my understanding; but I knew it was coming, and though I was
perfectly calm, a great deal more so than I am now in telling it, I
walked quickly to a place where I could sit down, and when I reached
it, trembled so that I had to lean against a rock for support. I did
not then comprehend my situation, or hardly think of it. I only felt
frightened about myself, and thought if I could only get my breath, or
if my heart would beat, or stop beating, whichever it was, and the
tremor would pass off, I could look the danger calmly in the face. At
last I recovered so far as to feel all that had burst upon me at once
come back, step by step, till the truth of my situation stood before
me, solid and bare as those cruel rocks. It was late in the afternoon
when you could see, in the sunbeams over the shaded ravine, every
insect; not a breath of air stirring the leaves, and the great cliffs
overhanging, as if just ready to fall. The silence was stifling, and
I tried to scream; but the sound of my voice was so faint and
childish, among those great rocks, that I threw myself on the ground
in an agony of terror, and if I had ever wished for a good cry, I had
it then. If it had been on the open mountain side, or any where else
but shut in there among those rocks!--but I really felt they were
closing in upon me, and would crush me. I cried till I was too weak
for fear, and then I found myself thinking of the blade of grass in
the crevice of the rock, and I seemed to be that grass blade, and
lifting at one end that whole weight of rock, never to get out of the
place till I succeeded; and then I thought of the tender flower stem,
which I had read of, lifting the heavy clod, and I tried to be quiet,
(if I struggled or moved I knew I should be crushed,) and to pervade
that whole mass with the gentle pressure, till I could lift it from
off me. This sense seemed a new breath of air in my lungs, to keep the
mountain from pressing me flat beneath it; and now I seemed to myself
breathing my own life into the inert mass, till imperceptibly it
became lighter and lighter, and at last I was free.
"When I waked up the stars were shining over me, and I seemed to be
set into the dewy ground, I had lain there so long. I positively
thought for a moment I had been actually crushed, instead of only
dreaming it, and that my body lay dead beneath me; for I could neither
stir hand nor foot, and every thing seemed so cold and distinct about
me. I saw a moment after that this was because I was chilled through
by the night air and dew; but the sensation was so pleasant--to feel
free like a spirit--that I remained just as I waked. How I did think
of every thing that night! There I was, lost; but I had lost all fear
of that, so long as I was sure of being there myself. This seemed a
new starting-point, which it was strange I had never thought of.
Suppose I should be where I had been in the morning; I should know
almost as little where I was as now; for without that girl's help I
could never find my way back to the school; and if I were there I
should still be lost, unless I knew my position in respect to every
part of the world; and if I knew all that, still the earth would be a
ship without a compass, unless I knew its place in reference to all
the stars. The only place that I felt certain about, after all, was
where I was, for I kept coming back to that; and then it seemed to me
I was a ball of yarn, that had unrolled as it went, and now all I had
to do was to wind it up to where it started from. Would not this lead,
I thought, at last to the point from which all things have their
place? Then I remembered the long, sharp teeth of that little
squirrel, and how every animal has an organ which enables him to earn
his own living in his own way, and it seemed unreasonable to think
that man had not one to enable him to follow that clew. I had thought,
at one time, of praying for a direct interposition of Providence,
which I had heard was the shortest way of leading one out of trouble,
for it seemed so much more direct, the clear space above, with nothing
between me and the stars, than to be losing myself farther and farther
among those black woods and rocks. But then, I thought, what is prayer
but feeling our way along that thread? and is not my _sense_ of
this the faculty by which I may follow it up? That thought was like a
new sense of touch, and I felt the thread within my hand, and was
certain that every thing has within itself the way out.
"While these thoughts were passing through my mind, they seemed
gradually to become audible, and when they passed away, the same tone
went on; and as I listened, I could hear, in the stillness of the
night, the dripping and flowing of some little stream, far back in the
mountain. As soon as it was light, I followed the sound, and then the
brook, till it led me down the mountain to the open fields; and where
do you think, girls, I came out? Why, up there on the cleared part of
the mountain, directly in front of the school house."
"I saw you when you came in at the gate," exclaimed Fanny; "and what a
sight you were! But that is always the way; we always come back to
where we began. It is the reason, I believe, why we never have better
"You must allow there is some difference between coming back to the
beginning, and merely being there because we have never been away. As
for the story, I told you at the outset that you had nothing to
expect. But come, Leonora; I have given you time for your point of
view, as you call it; or perhaps, as I have come to a full stop, I can
furnish you with one."
"You could not give me a better, for I have been thinking all along
that your story would almost do for mine."
"Do look, girls, at what Nora has been drawing," exclaimed Kate. "Here
we all are just like life, only so much better. How charming it is,
when we are all going on so, without thinking of any thing but what we
are doing, to find we have been making a scene for some one else! It
is just like sitting talking in a boat, and looking up suddenly, and
finding ourselves afloat on the lake."
"And you know I always enjoy more sitting on the shore, and seeing
you, than being in the boat myself," said Leonora. "It seems odd,
perhaps, that such a scene of life as that is should remind me of
Linda when she waked up and thought she was lying dead beside
herself. But did you ever, Linda, feel more alive than at that
"I believe I had never thought of myself at all before. You know I
said that all the time I was so troubled because I did not know where
I was, I never once thought of being any where."
"That, to be sure, is the most important, for it would be hardly worth
while to go round the world to find where our house was situated, and
to come back and find it occupied by some one else. That is often the
case with those who travel from home, and I believe we must come back
every night to be sure of not losing it."
"How every thing brings in every thing else!" said Kate. "I believe
you will never begin."
"I soon learned that," answered Leonora, "and that brings me to the
beginning of my story, if you will have it that I am to tell one,
though I would rather tell it in my own way, by drawing the
illustrations to Linda's, which, as I said, would almost answer for
mine; but why should it not, as we were each to tell something in our
experience resembling Clara's?"
"Poor Clara! I had almost forgotten her," said Fanny.
"None are poor but those who think themselves rich. How proud I felt
of my first poor little drawings! How well I remember them! The house,
and the fence before it, and the lattice in the garret window, and
then the great elm and the brook, and by degrees the distant hill
behind, for I kept adding to my pictures as I advanced, having to go
back farther and farther for a point of view, till at last the hill on
the outskirts of the village, overlooking the whole, was my favorite
spot for sketching, if I may dignify my stiff little achievements by
such a term. Still it was the house that was the centre of the
picture; but, as Kate says, one thing leads to every thing, and I
found there was no end to the things I must introduce; and yet they
did not seem to belong to the house, but to be fastened to it in some
way. I could not get them off, and remember, when some one was saying
that a painter of his acquaintance could not get his pictures off his
hands, feeling a certain pride in knowing that I was contending with
one of the regular difficulties of the art. But at last I succeeded,
in some degree, in getting my picture right, and did not altogether
disbelieve what every one said at home, that it was beautiful. As I
was led, however, farther and farther back, by the necessity for a
wider view, the house began to have rather a subordinate look; but
still it was my home, and nothing seemed a picture without it. As yet
I had had no instruction, as you would easily believe if you should
see my productions of that period, until one day, as I was bending
over my drawing board, (I was very particular about my drawing paper
then, and always had the best,) and had just got in the house, a shade
fell across my picture, and looking up, I saw a young man with camp
stool and portfolio slung across his shoulder, looking down at my
work. I drew a little back, that he might see it better, rather
pleased that he should see that I also was in that line. He glanced at
the landscape, then looked again at my sketch with a smile. He had not
said a word, and yet the opinion of all my family, aunts, cousins, and
all, admiring my picture on a thanksgiving day after dinner, would not
have weighed a straw with me against that smile. Yet he asked me to go
on with it, which I did lest he should go away, looking up now and
then, and seeing him regarding my work with the half-curious interest
with which one would watch an ant-hill, till at last I threw down my
pencil, and asked him if he would not oblige me with a sketch of his
"He gave one look at the landscape. What a look!--it was a new
revelation to me in art,--like an eagle taking in the whole view at
one sweep. He seemed to hold every hill and valley fixed with his eye
as in a vice, and to weigh the place and proportion of every thing as
in a balance, on the firm line of his mouth. All at one glance too;
for, without unstrapping his camp stool, he placed his portfolio on
his knee, kneeling on the other, and hardly looking up twice, handed
me in a few minutes a complete sketch. I say a complete sketch, for I
had not known till then that a sketch may be as complete as a finished
picture. But I forget that my story also must be a sketch, and I will
not spoil it by details which cannot be interesting to you.
"As soon as I saw his sketch, I found, to my astonishment, that he had
left out the house altogether; and even the village he had put away at
one side as of no importance. On mentioning the oversight, he took
out his eye-glass and looked at the house, asking me what particular
importance I attached to it. I timidly replied that I lived there.
"'Ah,' he exclaimed, and apologized for his omission, saying he would
not forget so important a feature in the landscape. 'Come' said he,
'you shall be my guide over these hills, to which I am a stranger.
Let us forget the house for a while, and look up a new view of the
village, which does not come in very well here.' How strange it seemed
to me that he should speak of the village where I had been born, as a
thing to be introdued here or there at his convenience. Already his
words seemed to set it afloat; but when, after a long detour, leaving
it quite out of sight, we came suddenly upon the edge of the mountain,
where the whole valley lay like a toy village almost directly under
our feet, it was like a fairy enchantment. There was the actual
village, every house and garden in its place, so near that it could be
seen distinctly, and yet so far down that it had a foreign look. Then
he took out a spy-glass, and adjusting it, handed it to me. 'Now for
the house,' said he; and after carrying the tube over half the
village, I exclaimed for joy. There I was directly at the gate; it was
at the back of the house, and the forenoon work was going on as
usual. My father was standing at the door giving some silent direction
to the man, who seemed to answer him without saying a word, and Jane
was going about like a historical personage, hanging out clothes.
"It was exactly as if I had been looking at a place I had been reading
about in some old book; and yet the persons were so familiar to me,
more so than ever. I handed the spy-glass to the stranger that he
might share my delight, but he did not care to look. 'That is the
way,' said he, 'all places look to me. To the artist the familiar is
strange, and the strange familiar.'
"I only thought the remark was strange, and wondered if it would ever
be familiar to me.
"Then he went on to describe the village as if he were looking at it,
with me, through the glass. 'Do you see the old woman at the window,
looking down the street? And the man asleep on the church steps? And
the single figure crossing the green?' Just as if they were all
regular figures in a picture, and not people who happened to be there
at that moment, as they really were.
"'Now for something new!' he said, putting the glass in his pocket and
leading me over the mountain. But nothing seemed new to him. He
appeared to look at every view we came to as if he saw it for the
first time after a long absence, and remembered every tree and stone
in it. When I told him so, he sat down, and opening his portfolio in a
place unlike any I had ever seen before, and not, I thought,
particularly interesting, he began to sketch, and to tell me at the
same time, so that I should not be tired, the old story which we have
all read, (the first, I believe, we ever read,) but which I let him
tell, it was so new as he told it, about the little child that was
carried away by the gypsies, and years after, when they came back to
his native country, strolled off till he came to the house where he
was born; and the sense by degrees came over him that he had been
there before, and it all became clearer and clearer, until at last the
gate and the doorstep were no dream; and as he went over the whole
story, he would give a touch here and a touch there, that seemed to
waken a recollection in me, as if I were the little child he was
telling about, coming nearer and nearer, till, with a few strokes, he
finished the picture; and there, to be sure, was our very house, and I
_was_ the little child he had been telling about. It was all
perfectly clear to me, though it is a mystery even now how he could
have made it so. When I looked again, I saw it was not exactly our
house; and yet it looked even more like it than if it had been, and
there was nothing in it that I could have altered without spoiling the
"Then he would walk on, and sit down again and take another view with
a different house, but with the same home-like look, and yet exactly
suiting the landscape. And at last he would draw places without any
houses at all, and yet as if a human being was looking at them, to
whom they were in some way a home, just as he drew my bonnet and
portfolio on the edge of a hill, so that any one would have known I
was somewhere about.
"As we went back, at the close of the day, every object he pointed out
seemed to light up with a life of its own, and every step we took was
like finding a bird's nest in the grass. He parted with me in the
road, saying that he had left his horse somewhere on the hill where he
had found me in the morning, and that he should remember the day with
"As for me, I thought, as I walked slowly homeward towards the fading
sunset, that I never should remember any thing else. When I have read