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The Last Leaf by James Kendall Hosmer

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among surroundings less rough, the guest-room of a club of the finer
world, curtained and carpeted, and made attractive with pictures,
flowers, and music. A company of ladies and gentlemen sat sipping
_Maiwein_ and _Mark graefler_, while a conjurer entertained
them with his tricks. During one of these, desiring a confederate from
the lookers-on, he approached a slender and refined-looking man, who
was following the necromancer's proceedings with as much interest as
anybody. The wizard's air of deference, and the respectful looks of
the company led me to infer that he was a man above the common, but
he took part affably in what was going on, helped out the trick, and
laughed and wondered with the rest when it succeeded. I presently
learned to my surprise and amusement that the amiable confederate of
the conjurer was no other than the physicist Kirchoff, then in
fresh and brilliant fame as the inventor of the spectroscope and the
initiator of the scientific method known as spectrolysis. The fact has
long been known that a prism properly contrived will decompose a
ray of white light into the seven primary colours, but the broad and
narrow bands running across the variegated scheme of the spectrum had
either escaped notice or been neglected as phenomena not significant.
Now came, however, my genial fellow-guest of the Heidelberg Club,
detecting that the lines of the spectrum were one thing or another
according to the substance emitting the light, and forthwith the world
became aware of a discovery of vast moment. The light of the sun,
and of the stars more distant than the sun, could be analysed or
spectrolised, and a certain knowledge was shed of what was burning
there in the immensely distant spaces. We can know what constitutes
a star as unerringly as we know the constituents of the earth. Still
more, among the supposed elements to which painstaking chemists had
reduced composite matter, many were found by the all-discerning prism
to be not ultimate, but themselves susceptible of subtler division.
In fact here was a method of chemical and physical analysis, much more
powerful, and also more delicate, than had before been known, and
the idea of the scientists as to the make-up of the material universe
deepened and widened wondrously. I sat often among the crowd of
students in Kirchoff's lecture-room, watching the play of his delicate
features as he unravelled mysteries which till he showed the way were
a mere hopeless knot. Near him as he spoke, on a table were the wand,
the rings, the vials, above all a spectroscope with its prisms, the
apparatus with which the magician solved the universe. Once, as I
stood near him, he indicated in a polite sentence, with a gesture
toward the table, that I was free to use these appliances. In the
depth of my unknowledge I felt I could not claim to be even a
tyro, and was duly abashed beneath the penetrating eye. But it is
interesting to think that for a moment once I held the attention of so
potent a Prospero.

In those days the name of Kirchoff was coupled always with that of
an associate, the chemist Bunsen, when there was mention of
spectrum-analysis; and in my time at Heidelberg, Bunsen was at hand
and I became as familiar with his figure as with Kirchoff. In frame
Bunsen was of the burly burgomaster type not rare among the Teutons,
and as I saw him in his laboratory to which I sometimes gained access
through students of his, he moved about in some kind of informal
_schlafrock_ or working dress of ample dimensions, with his
large head crowned by a peculiar cap. On the tables within the spaces
flickered numerously the "Bunsen burners," his invention, and it
was easy to fancy as one saw him, surrounded by the large company of
reverent disciples, that you were in the presence of the hierophant
of some abstruse and mysterious cult, in whose honour waved the many
lambent flames. I think he was unmarried, without domestic ties, and
lived almost night and day among his crucibles and retorts, devoted to
his science and pupils toward whom he showed a regard almost fatherly.
In his lecture-room, in more formal dress he was less picturesque, but
still a man to arouse deep interest. He was in the front rank of the
chemists of all time, and I suppose had equal merit with Kirchoff in
the momentous discovery in which their names are linked.

There was, however, at this time in Heidelberg a scientist probably
of greater prestige than even these, whose contemporary influence was
more dominant, and whose repute is now, and likely to be hereafter
more prevailing. In my walks in a certain quiet street, I sometimes
met a man who made an unusual impression of dignity and power. He
had the bearing of a leader of men in whatever sphere he might move,
massive and well-statured, his dress not obtrusive but carefully
appointed, with an eye and face to command. His manner was courteous,
not domineering, and I wondered who the able, high-bred gentleman
might be, for he carried all that in his air as he passed along the
street. It was the illustrious Helmholtz, then in his best years,
with great achievements behind him and before. His researches in many
fields were profound and far extending. I suppose his genius was
at its best when dealing with the pervasive imponderable ether that
extends out from the earth into the vast planetary spaces in whose
vibrations are conditioned the phenomena of light. No subject of
investigation can be more elusive. The mind that could grapple with
this and arrive at the secrets and laws of the subtle medium through
which the human eye receives impression is indeed worthy of our
veneration. Probably, excepting Humboldt, no German scientist in these
later centuries has reached such eminence. The fields of the two
men were widely different. The one we know best as the scientific
traveller, roaming the earth over, and reducing to ordered knowledge
what can be perceived of its fauna and flora, of the strata that
underlie it, the oceans that toss upon it, the atmosphere that
surrounds it. The other roved not widely, but keeping to his lenses
and calculations, penetrated perhaps more profoundly. Helmholtz, a
well-born youth, began his career as a surgeon in the Prussian army,
and his service there, no doubt, contributed to the manly carriage
for which he was conspicuous. He married a lady of a noble house of
Wuertemberg, and moved in an environment conducive to courtly manners.
Heidelberg, like the German universities in general well understood
that ability in its teachers, and not a pompous architectural
display, makes a great institution. Its buildings were scattered and
unpretending. Helmholtz had a lecture-room and laboratory apart, in
a structure modern and graceful, but modest in its appeal. Here he
discoursed to reverent throngs in tones never loud or confident. It is
for wiseacres and charlatans to declaim and domineer. The masters
are deferential in the presence of the sublimities and of the
intelligences they are striving to enlighten.

In Germany I saw the great lights of science from afar, coming into
relations of intimacy only with one or two _privat-docents_,
young men struggling precariously for a foothold. One such striver I
came to know well, a young man gifted but physically crippled, who,
being anxious to get up his English, as I was to get up my German,
entered with me into an arrangement to converse in these alternately.
We were about on a par in our knowledge or ignorance of the speech not
native to us, and helped each other merrily out of the pitfalls into
which we stumbled, according as English or German ruled the time.

I was aghast to find that I had been telling my new German
acquaintances that while a married man, I had _deserted_ and
_cast off_ my wife and little boy in America, when I meant to
say only that I had left them behind during my temporary sojourn. A
treacherous inseparable prefix had imparted to my "leaving them" an
unlooked-for emphasis. The laugh for the moment was on me, but only
for the moment. A little later Knopff was telling me of the old
manuscripts in the library illuminated gorgeously by "de pious and
skilful monkeys of de Middle Ages." He was a bright fellow, and I have
hoped I might encounter his name in some honourable connection. If he
survived it was as one of the _unbekannt_, an affix very dreadful
to young aspirants for university honours.

As regards the men who, during the past seventy-five years have so
greatly widened our scientific knowledge, I have had contact with
those of Germany only for brief periods, and in the outer circle. As
to their American brethren, fate has been more kind to me. I have sat
as a pupil at the feet of the most eminent, and with some I have stood
in the bond of friendship.

Divinity Hall, at Harvard University, has always had a pleasant
seclusion. Near the end of its long, well-shaded avenue, it had in the
rear the fine trees of Norton's Woods, and fifty years ago pleasant
fields stretching before. Of late the Ampelopsis has taken it into its
especial cherishing, draping it with a close green luxuriance that can
scarcely be matched elsewhere. Moreover it is dominated by the lordly
pile of the Museum of Comparative Zooelogy. "Whence and what art thou,
execrable shape!" a theologue once exclaimed as the walls were rising,
feeling that there must always be a battle between what the old Hall
stood for and the new building was to foster. But the structures have
gone on in harmony, and many a devotee of science has had hospitable
welcome in the quarters intended for the recruits of what so many
suppose to be the opposing camp. There was a notable case of this kind
in my own time.

One pleasant afternoon a group of "divinities" (Ye gods, that that
should have been our title in the nomenclature of the University!)
were chatting under one of the western porches. Talk turned upon an
instructor, whose hand upon our essays was felt to be soft rather than
critical, and who was, therefore, set low. "By Holy Scripture," broke
out one, "a soft hand is a good thing. A soft hand, sir, turneth away
wrath." The window close by opened into the room of Simon Newcomb, a
youth who had no part in our studies, but of whom we made a chum. In
those days he could laugh at such a joke as it blew in at his window
with the thistle-down,--indeed was capable of such things himself.

It is a bit odd that as I come to write of him, this small witticism
of half a century back should thrust itself obstinately into my
memory, but after all it may not be out of place. The impression of
the greatness of a mountain we get powerfully if the eye can measure
it from the waif of seaweed at low tide up to the snow-cap of the
summit. At this and similar jokes the boy Simon Newcomb connived, as
he moved in our crowd. They were the waifs at low tide from which his
towering mind rose to the measuring of the courses of the stars. He
came among us as a student of the Lawrence scientific school, muscular
and heavy-shouldered from work on shore and at the oar in Nova Scotia.
Though not slovenly, he was the reverse of trim. His rather outlandish
clothes, pressed once for all when they left the shop of the
provincial tailor, held his sturdy elbows and knees in bags moulded
accurately to the capacious joints. His hair hung rebelliously, and
his nascent beard showed an untrained hand at the razor. But his
brow was broad, his eye clear and intelligent, and he was a man to
be reckoned with. He was barely of age, but already a computer in the
_Nautical Almanac_ office, then located at Cambridge, and we
well knew work of that sort required brains of the best. Since Simon
Newcomb's death an interesting story has been told about his heredity.
His strong-brained father, measuring his own qualities with rigid
introspection, discovering where he was weak and where capable
resolved that whatever wife he chose should supplement in her
personality the points to which he lacked. He would father sons and
daughters who should come into the world well appointed; in particular
he looked toward offspring who should possess high scientific gifts.
With this mind he set out on his courting, and steering clear of vain
entanglements with rather preternatural coolness, at last in a remote
village, satisfied himself that he had found his complement. He
permitted his docile heart to fall in love, and in due course there
was born into the world a great man. The wooing has a humorous
aspect,--this steering of unruly Hymen! The calculated result,
however, did not fail of appearance, and perhaps the world might
profit from such an example. I was strongly drawn toward Simon Newcomb
by his unlikeness to myself. I was town-bred and he full of strength
gained in the fields and along the beach. My own disinclination for
mathematics was marked, but I had a vast admiration for a man to whom
its processes were easy. We became very good friends. He was a genial
fellow, capable as I have said of taking or making a joke, yet his
moods were prevailingly serious, and he had already hitched his waggon
to a star. Abnormally purposeful perhaps, a cropping out no doubt of
heredity, he had set a high mark for himself and was already striving
toward it. In an autobiographical fragment he says, referring to his
early surrender of his powers to high mathematical work:

To this work I was especially attracted, because its
preparation seemed to me to embody the highest
intellectual power to which man has ever attained.
The matter used to present itself to my mind somewhat
in this way.... There are tens of thousands
of men who could be successful in all the ordinary
walks of life. Thousands who could gain wealth,
hundreds who could wield empires, for one who
could take up the astronomical problems with any
hope of success. The men who have done it are
therefore in intellect the select few of the human
race, an aristocracy ranking above all others in the
scale of being. The astronomical _ephemeris_ is the
last practical outcome of their productive genius.

In pursuing their lives men no doubt follow the line of least
resistance, and Simon Newcomb here we may be sure was no exception;
thus he chose to deal in his work with the heaviest and most
perplexing problems with which the human intellect can engage. I
do not attempt to describe or estimate what he achieved. Only a few
select minds in his generation were capable of that. At his death the
tributes of those who had a right to speak were unmeasured. Perhaps no
human mind ever attacked more boldly the uttermost difficulties, and
indeed have been more successful in the wrestle. He was set by the
side of Hipparchus, of Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, and Sir Isaac
Newton. In a class thus lofty, his scientific fellows have judged
that he had a title to stand. In their high strivings he was equally
zealous, and his achievement was comparable with theirs. Nevertheless,
had his disposition inclined him, there were many other paths into
which he might have struck with success. His versatility was marked
and he did try his hand at various tasks, at finance, political
economy, belles-lettres. James Bryce, who knew him well, is said to
have seen in him the stuff for a great man-of-affairs, a leader of
armies or a captain of industry. His excursions, however, into such
fields, though sometimes noteworthy in result, were transient and more
or less half-hearted. His allegiance, given so early to the sublimest
of pursuits, held him to the end. The Government of the United States
placed him in its highest scientific position, at the head of the
Naval Observatory, and his serious work from first to last was in the
solemn labyrinths where the stars cross and re-cross, and here he was
one of the most masterful of master-minds.

It was full fifty years since Simon Newcomb and I were boys together
in Divinity Hall. No letter or message had ever passed between us. I
had followed the course of his fame, and felt happy that I had once
known him. Returning to my lodgings, during a sojourn in Washington, I
was told I had had a visitor, a man well on in years, plain in attire,
and rugged-faced. The card he left bore the name "Simon Newcomb." I
sought him out at once, and have rarely felt more honoured than that
my old friend, learning casually of my whereabouts, had felt
the impulse to find me and renew our former intercourse. After a
half-century the boy was still discernible in the aging man. The big
brow remained and the keen and thoughtful eye. His dress and manner
were simple, as of old. He was entitled to wear the insignia of a
rear-admiral, and had long lived in refined surroundings which might
have made him fastidious. In look and bearing, however, he was the
hearty, friendly man of the Nova Scotia coast, careless of frills and
fine manners.

It was a red-letter day for me when Simon Newcomb met me at the door
of the Cosmos Club, of which he was then president, and presented
me as his guest to one and another of the select company of men who
formed its membership. He moved among them as unostentatious and
simple-mannered as he had been as a boy, with a catholic interest in
all the varying topics which held the sympathies of the crowd,
and able well to hold his own whatever might be the field of the
conversation. Bishop, poet, scientist, historian, he had common ground
with them all. I sat with him in his study, among heaped-up papers
inscribed with the most abstruse and intricate calculations. It did
not affect the warmth of his welcome that I had no partnership
with him in these difficult pursuits. He was broad enough to take
cognizance, too, of the things I cared for. It was hard to feel that
the man there hitting off aptly a prominent personality or historic
event mooted in our little human world was at the same time in the
planetary confidences, and that when you shook his hand at parting,
he would turn to interpreting the sweet influences of the Pleiades
and the mysteries of the bands that hold Orion. Coming home from an
interview with Simon Newcomb, late at night I paused on the terrace at
the west front of the Capitol and looked back upon the heavens widely
stretching above the city. The stars glittered cold, far, and silent,
but I had been with a man who in a sense walked and talked with them
and found them sympathetic. In the power of pure intellect I felt I
had never known a greater man.

On an autumn day in the early fifties, as I loitered in the
green-house of the Botanic Garden at Cambridge, a lithe bare-headed
man, in rough brown attire, came quickly stepping in from the
flower-beds outside. He was in his fullest vigour, his hair more
inclined to stand erect than to lie smooth, his dark eyes full of
animation. It was a noticeably vivid and alert personality, and as he
tossed on to a working-table a heavy sheaf of long-stemmed plants, wet
from a recent shower and bent over them in sharp scrutiny, I knew I
was in the presence of Asa Gray, the first of American botanists.
He had come as a boy from a remote rural district, and with few
advantages, following the bent of a marked scientific genius, he had
won for himself before reaching middle life a leading place. I was
soon to know him better, for it was my fortunate lot to be one in the
crowd of juniors which for a term lined up before him once a week
or so in Holden Chapel. The small peculiarities of great men have an
interest, and the function I am seeking now to fulfil is to make sharp
the ordinary presentment of the eminent characters I touch. I
recall of Asa Gray, that with the class, he sat at his desk behind a
substantial rail, which fenced him in from the boys in the front row,
his seat a little raised and the notes before him made plain by a
narrow light-well, which in the Holden of those days opened over the
teacher's head to a sky-light in the roof. Gray's utterance was rather
hesitant. He would catch for his word often, reiterating meanwhile
the article, "the-a, the-a, the-a," his gaze meanwhile fixed upon
the sky-light, and a nervously gyrating forefinger raised high and
brightly illuminated. The thought suggested was that he had a prompter
on the roof to whom he was distressfully appealing to supply the true
phrase. For Professor Gray the truth was in the top rather than the
bottom of the well. Though sometimes long in coming it was the right
thing when it came and clothed his thought properly. Sizing up the
new professor, in our first days with him, as boys will do, some
unconscionable dogs in our front row, assuming an attitude which
Abraham Lincoln afterward made classic, settled back in their chairs
and rested their feet on the rail in front in a position higher than
their heads. The professor, withdrawing his gaze suddenly from the
sky-light, found himself confronted not by expectant faces but by
a row of battered and muddy boot-soles. His face fell; his whirling
forefinger, ceasing to gyrate, tilted like a lance in rest at the
obnoxious cowhide parapet. "Those boots, young gentlemen, ah, those
boots"; he ejaculated forlornly, and the boots came down with mutinous
clatter. Professor Gray soon established himself as a prime favourite
among our lazy men, of whom there were too many. In calling us up he
began with the A's, following down the class in alphabetic regularity.
While Brooks was reciting, it was easy for Brown, sitting next, to
open his book, and calculating narrowly the parallax, to hold
it concealed below the rail, while he diligently conned the page
following. In his turn he rose well-primed, and spouted glibly, and so
on down the class. Rumour went that our childlike professor declared
he had never known anything like it. Nearly every man got the perfect
mark. This was a fiction. The professor's idea was that we were old
enough to know what was good for us, and ought to be above childish
negligence and tricks. If some men saw no use in botany, he would
not waste time in beating it into them. He left the blind and the
sluggards in their wilful ignorance, but had generously helpful hands
for all wiser ones who saw the value of trimming their lamps. All such
he would take to his garden personally to direct and inspire, and
our better men felt all through their lives how much that meant. In
general we soon came to feel and appreciate a most kindly influence
as proceeding from him. I think we had no teacher whom we at the last
regarded more affectionately or approached more closely; and many an
indolent one was won to warm interest and diligence.

Those were the days when the older science was rocking to its
foundations in a re-shaping at the hands of new and brilliant men.
Faraday, we might have heard of, but Darwin, Huxley, Tyndall, and the
rest, were names all unknown, as were also the revolutionary ideas,
the conservation and correlation of forces, the substitution of
evolution in the scheme of the universe for the plan of special
creations. Here all unconsciously we were in contact with a man
who was in the thick of the new scientific movement, the friend and
partner in their strivings of the daring new interpreters of the
ways of God to men, and who was to have recognition as a specially
effective apostle of the new dispensation. Abraham himself entertained
his angel no more unawares than we, but gleams of fine radiance
sometimes broke through even to our purblind perceptions. Once
unfurling a quite too long and heedless pair of ears to what I
supposed would be a dull technical deliverance, I found myself
suddenly caught and wonderfully stimulated.

What [said Asa Gray] is the bright flame and vivid
heat that is set free on your hearth when you kindle
your piles of wood? It is the sunlight and sun-heat
of a century ago. The beams were caught in
the wilderness by the leaves of the trees; they were
absorbed and stored in the trunks, and the light
and heat day by day through many years was thus
heaped up. When now combustion begins, it is
simply a setting free of the radiance that was shed
upon the forest many years ago. The noons of a
time long past are making you comfortable in the
wintry storm of the present. So when the anthracite
glows in your grate, you feel the veritable
sunbeams that were emitted aeons upon aeons ago
upon the primeval world. It is the very light that
was drunk in by those most ancient forests. It was
held fast in the trunks, and when those faithful
reservoirs in their turn were crushed and commingled
and drenched until at last they lay under
the earth as the coal beds, they nevertheless held
fast this treasure. When you scratch your match
you but unlock the hoard, and the sunlight of
primeval days, diminished by no particle, glows and
warms once more.

This in substance was Asa Gray's introduction from which he went on
to explain that in the progress of the universe no faintest throb of
energy is lost. It might pass from form to form; heat might appear
as a mode of motion, of weight, of elasticity, but no smallest unit
perished. So the lecture flowed on into a luminous and comprehensive
exposition of the great doctrine of the conservation and correlation
of force. It was Asa Gray who brought us into touch with this new
science just then announcing itself to the world. He was a co-worker
and a compeer of the pioneers who at that moment were breaking a way
for it, and it was our privilege to sit at the feet of a master.

In later years his fame spread wide. He was recognised as the leader
in America in his special field, and in a class with the best men
of foreign lands. He was long a correspondent and special friend of
Darwin, to the spread of whose doctrines he rendered great service.
The fact that religiously he adhered to the time-honoured evangelical
tenets helped much in the war which the new science was forced to wage
with the _odium theologicum_. The new science, it must be said,
perhaps has hardly yet made sure its footing. Are Natural Selection
and Survival of the Fittest clews with which we can face confidently
the workings of the "roaring-gloom that weaves for God the garment we
see him by"? But no doctrine is better accepted than that in some way
Evolution and not Special Creations is the scheme of the world. Toward
this acceptance Asa Gray helped powerfully, a champion always bold,
humane, broad-minded. We used to laugh about the prompter he seemed to
have at the top of the light-well in the sky-light in Holden Chapel.
In a deeper sense than we knew the good man received his prompting
from the clear upper sky.

A naturalist who sixty years ago had, and perhaps still has, a much
wider fame than Asa Gray was Louis Agassiz. He had come a few
years before from Europe, a man in his prime, of great fame. He was
strikingly handsome, with a dome-like head under flowing black locks,
large dark, mobile eyes set in features strong and comely, and with
a well-proportioned stalwart frame. At the moment his prestige was
greater, perhaps, than that of any other Harvard professor. His
knowledge seemed almost boundless. His glacial theory had put him
among the geological chiefs, and as to animated nature he had ordered
and systematised, from the lowest plant-forms up to the crown of
creation, the human being. Abroad we knew he was held to be an adept
in the most difficult fields and now in his new environment he was
pushing his investigations with passionate zeal. But the boys found in
him points on which a laugh could be hung. As he strode homeward from
his walks in the outer fields or marshes, we eyed him gingerly, for
who could tell what he might have in his pockets? Turtles, tadpoles,
snakes, any old monster might be there, and queer stories prevailed
of the menagerie which, hung up, and forgotten in the professor's
dressing-room, crept out and sought asylum in the beds, shoes, and
hats of the household. Before the resulting consternation, masculine
and feminine, he was always apologetic. He was on the friendliest
terms with things ill-reputed, even abhorrent, and could not
understand the qualms of the delicate. He was said to have held up
once, in all innocence, before a class of school-girls a wriggling
snake. The shrieks and confusion brought him to a sense of what he had
done. He apologised elaborately, the foreign peculiarity he never lost
running through his confusion. "Poor girls, I vill not do it again.
Next time I vill bring in a nice, clean leetle feesh." Agassiz took no
pleasure in shocking his class; on the contrary he was most anxious to
engage and hold them. So too, if his audience was made up from people
of the simplest. In fact, for each he exerted his powers as generously
as when addressing a company of savants. He always kindled as he
spoke, and with a marvellous magnetism communicated his glow to those
who listened. I have seen him stand before his class holding in his
hand the claw of a crustacean. In his earnestness it seemed to be for
him the centre of the creation, and he made us all share his belief.
Indeed, he convinced us. Running back from it in an almost infinite
series was the many-ordered life adhering at last and scarcely
distinguishable from the inorganic matter to which it clung. Forward
from it again ran the series not less long and complicated which
fulfilled itself at last in the brain and soul of man. What he held in
his hand was a central link. His colour came and went, his eye danced
and his tones grew deep and tremulous, as he dwelt on the illimitable
chain of being. With a few strokes on the blackboard, he presented
graphically the most intricate variations. He felt the sublimity of
what he was contemplating, and we glowed with him from the contagion
of his fervour. I have never heard his equal as an expounder of the
deep things of nature. He gloried in the exercise of his power, though
hampered by poverty. "I have no time to make money," he cried. He
sought no title but that of teacher. To do anything else was only to
misuse his gift. In his desk he was an inspirer, but hardly more so
than in private talk. I recall walks we took with him to study natural
objects and especially the striated rocks, which, as he had detected,
bore plain evidence that the configuration of the region had been
shaped by glaciers. He was charmingly affable, encouraging our
questions, and unwearied in his demonstration. "Professor," I said
once, "you teach us that in creation things rise from high to higher
in the vast series until at last we come to man. Why stop with man?
why not conclude that as man surpasses what went before, so he in turn
will be surpassed and supplanted by a being still superior;--and so on
and on?" I well recall the solemnity of his face as he replied that
I was touching upon the deepest things, not to be dealt with in an
afternoon ramble. He would only say then that there could be nothing
higher than a man with his spirit.

Whether Agassiz was as broad-minded as he was high-minded may be
argued. The story ran that when the foundations of the Museum of
Comparative Zooelogy were going on in Divinity Avenue, a theological
professor encountering the scientist among the shadows the latter was
invading, courteously bade him welcome. He hoped the old Divinity Hall
would be a good neighbour to the pile rising opposite. "Yes," was the
bluff reply, "and I hope to see the time when it will be turned into
a dormitory for my scientific students." They were quickly spoken,
unmeditated words without intention of rudeness, but wrapped in his
specialty he was rather careless as to what he might shoulder out.
Again, we had in our company a delicate, nervous fellow who turned
out to be a spiritualistic medium, and who was soon subjected to an
investigation in which professors took part, which was certainly rough
and ready. Agassiz speedily came to the conclusion that the young
man was an impostor and deserved no mercy. Some of us felt that
the determination was hasty. There was a possibility of honest
self-deception; and then who could say that the mysteries had been
fathomed that involved the play of the psychic forces? Possibly a
calmer and more candid mood might have befitted the investigation.
At any rate in these later days such a mood has been maintained by
inquirers like William James and the Society for Psychical Research.
These are straws, but it is hardly a straw that when Darwinism emerged
upon the world, winning such speedy and almost universal adherence
among scientific men and revolutionising in general the thought of
the world as to the method of creation, Agassiz stood almost solitary
among authorities rejecting evolution and clinging to the doctrine of
a special calling into being of each species. His stand against the
new teaching was definite and bold, but can it be called broad-minded?
This is but the limitation that makes human a greatness which the
world regards with thorough and affectionate reverence. Fortunate
are those in whose memories live the voice and countenance of Louis
Agassiz.

Those whose privilege it was to know both father and son will be slow
to admit that the elder Agassiz was the greater man. Alexander (to
his intimates he was always, affectionately, Alex), was a teacher only
transiently, and I believe never before a class showed the enkindling
power which in the father was so marked a gift. His attainments,
however, were probably not less great, and it remains to be seen
whether his discoveries were not as epoch-making. He possessed,
moreover, a versatility which his father never showed (perhaps because
he never took time to show it), standing as a brilliant figure
among financiers and captains of industry. Finally, in a high sense,
Alexander was a philanthropist, and his benefactions were no more
munificent than they were wisely applied; for he watched well his
generous hand, guiding the flow into channels where it might most
effectually revive and enrich. While possibly in the case of the elder
Agassiz, the recognition of truth was sometimes unduly circumscribed,
that could never be said of Alexander. He was eminently broad-minded,
estimating with just candour whatever might be advanced in his own
field, and outside of his field, entering with sympathetic interest
into all that life might present.

I recall him first on a day soon after our entrance into college in
1851. A civic celebration was to take place in Boston, and the Harvard
students were to march in the procession. That day I first heard
_Fair Harvard_, sonorously rendered by the band at the head of
our column, as we formed on the Beacon Street mall before the State
House. A boy of sixteen, dressed in gray, came down the steps to
take his place in our class--a handsome fellow, brown-eyed, and
dark-haired, trimly built, and well-grown for his years. His face had
a foreign air, and when he spoke a peculiarity marked his speech. This
he never lost, but it was no imperfection. Rather it gave distinction
to his otherwise perfect English. In the years of our course, we met
daily. He was a good general scholar but with a preference from the
first for natural science and mathematics. He matured into handsome
manhood, and as an athlete was among the best. He was a master of the
oar, not dropping it on graduation, but long a familiar figure on the
Charles. Here incidentally he left upon the University a curious and
lasting mark. The crew one day were exercising bare-headed on the Back
Bay, when encountering stress of weather, Agassiz was sent up into
the city to find some proper head-gear. He presently returned with
a package of handkerchiefs of crimson, which so demonstrated their
convenience and played a part on so many famous occasions, that
crimson became the Harvard colour.

Alexander was soon absorbed in the whirl of life, and to what purpose
he worked I need not here detail. The story of the Calumet and Hecla
Company is a kind of commercial romance which the harshest critics
of American business life may read with pleasure. At the same time
Agassiz was only partially and transiently a business-man, returning
always with haste from the mine and the counting-room to the
protracted scientific researches in which his heart mainly lay. His
voyages in the interest of science were many and long. He studied
not so much the shores as the sea itself. Oceanographer is the term
perhaps by which he may best be designated. By deep sea soundings
he mapped the vast beds over which the waters roll and reached an
intimacy with the life of its most profound abysses. Sitting next him
at a class dinner, an affair of dress-suits, baked meats, and cigars
at the finish, I found his talk took one far away from the prose of
the thing. He was charming in conversation, and he set forth at length
his theory as to the work of the coral insects, formed after long
study of the barrier reefs and atolls of remote seas. His ideas were
subversive of those of Darwin, with whom he disputed the matter before
Darwin died. They are now well-known and I think accepted, though
unfortunately he died before setting them forth in due order. They are
revolutionary in their character as to the origin of formations that
enter largely into the crust of the earth. In this field he stood as
originator and chief. He gave me glimpses of the wonderful indeed,
as we cracked our almonds and sipped the sherbet, his rich voice and
slightly foreign accent running at my ear as we sat under the banquet
lights.

Though oceanography was his special field, his tastes and attainments
were comprehensive and he was a man of repute in many ways. He was a
trained and skilled engineer and mathematician, and an adept in the
most various branches of natural science. At another class dinner,
when I was so fortunate as to sit beside him, his interest in botany
came out as he spoke of the enjoyment he took in surveying from the
roof of the Museum of Comparative Zooelogy the trees of Cambridge, the
masses of foliage here and there appearing from that point in special
beauty. I spoke of the paper just read by Francis Darwin, the son of
Charles, before the British Association, emphasising the idea that
the life of plants and animals differs not in kind but only in degree.
Plants may have memory, perhaps show passion, predatory instincts, or
rudimentary intelligence. The plant-world is therefore part and parcel
of animated nature. Agassiz announced with real fervour his adherence
to that belief and cited interesting facts in its support. Subtle
links binding plant and animal reveal themselves everywhere to
investigation. In evolution from the primeval monads, or whatever
starting-points there were, the fittest always survived as the
outpoured life flowed abundantly along the million lines of
development. There was a brotherhood between man and not only the
zooephyte, but still further down, even with the ultimate cell in which
organisation can first be traced, only faintly distinguishable from
the azoic rock on which it hangs.

As he talked I thought of the ample spaces of his Museum where the
whole great scheme is made manifest to the eye, the structure of man,
then the slow gradation downward, the immense series of flowers and
plants counterfeited in glass continuing the line unbroken, down to
the ultimate lichen, all but part and parcel of the ledge to which it
clings.

My tastes were not in the direction of mathematics or natural science,
and it was not until our later years that we came into close touch. In
the hospice of the Grimsel, in the heart of the Alps, as I sat down
to dinner after a day of hard walking, I saw my classmate in a remote
part of the room with his wife and children and a group of Swiss
friends. I determined not to intrude, but as the dinner ended, coming
from his place he sought me out. "I heard your voice," he said, "and
knew you were here before I saw you." We chatted genially. That
day, he said, he had visited the site of his father's hut on the
Aar glacier, where the observations were made on which was based the
glacial theory. On that visit he had, as a small boy, been carried up
in a basket on the back of a guide. He had not been there since until
that day. He was that night in the environment into which he had been
born, and assumed toward me the attitude of a host making at home
a stranger guest. To my question as to how a transient passer like
myself could best see a great ice river, he replied, "Climb to-morrow
the Aeggisch-horn, and look down from there upon the Aletsch glacier.
You will have under your eye all the more interesting and important
phenomena relating to the matter." We parted next morning. I had
enjoyed a great privilege, for he was the man of all men to meet in
such a place,--a feeling deepened a day or two later, when I looked
down from the peak he had indicated upon this wide-stretching glacier
below.

As age drew on he mellowed well. Perhaps sympathy with men and things
outside his special walk was no stronger than in earlier years, but
it had readier expression. I heard from him this good story. President
Eliot was once showing about the university a multimillionaire and his
wife who had the good purpose to endow a great school of learning in
the West. Having made the survey, they stood in Memorial Hall, about
to say good-bye. "Well, Mr. Eliot," said the wife, "How much money
have you invested?" Mr. Eliot stated to her the estimated value of the
university assets. The lady turning to her husband, exclaimed, with a
touch of the feeling that money will buy everything, "Oh, husband,
we can do better than that." Said Mr. Eliot, with a wave of the hand
toward the ancient portraits on the walls: "Madame, we have one thing
which money cannot buy,--nearly three centuries of devotedness!" There
is fine appreciation of a precious possession in this remark. In other
ways Harvard may be surpassed. Other institutions may easily have more
money, more students. As able men may be in other faculties possibly
(I will admit even this) there may be elsewhere better football. But
that through eight generations there has been in the hearts of the
best men, a constant all-absorbing devotion to the institution, is
a thing for America unique, and which cannot be taken away. How
stimulating is this to a noble loyalty in these later generations!
The old college is a thing to be watchfully and tenderly shielded. As
Alexander told me the story, I felt in his manner and intonation that
the three centuries of devotedness had had great influence with him.
As John Harvard had been the first of the liberal givers, so he was
the last, and I suppose the greatest. The money value of his gifts
is very large, but who will put a value upon the labour, the
watchfulness, the expert guidance exercised by such a man, unrequited
and almost without intermission throughout a long life! His fine
nature, no doubt, prompted the consecration, but the old devotedness
spurred him to emulation of those who had gone before.

In 1909 I enjoyed through Agassiz a great pleasure. He invited me to
his house where I found gathered a company of his friends, many of
them men of eminence. He had just returned from his journey in East
Africa, during which he had penetrated far into the interior, studying
with his usual diligence the natural history of the regions. He
entertained us with an informal talk beautifully and profusely
illustrated by photographs. I have said that he did not possess, or at
any rate, never showed his father's power of kindling speech. So far
as I know he never addressed large popular audiences. Nevertheless to
a circle of scientific specialists, or people intelligent in a general
way, he could present a subject charmingly, in clear, calm, fluent
speech. On this occasion he was at his best, and it was a pleasure
indeed to have the marvels of that freshly-opened land described to
us by the man who of all men perhaps was best able to cope with the
story. I listened with delight and awe. He was an old man crowned with
the highest distinctions. I thought of the young handsome boy I had
seen coming down in his grey suit into the Beacon Street mall, while
the band played Fair Harvard. On the threshold I shook his hand and
looked into his dark, kindly eyes. I turned away in the darkness and
saw him no more.

CHAPTER X

AT HAPHAZARD

In 1887, in pleasant June weather I left St. Louis with my family on
the capacious river-packet _Saint Paul_, for a trip up-stream to
the city for which the boat was named. The flood was at the full as we
ploughed on, stopping at landings on either side, the reaches between
presenting long perspectives of summer beauty. We paused in due course
at a little Iowa town, and among the passengers who took the boat here
were two men who excited our attention at the landing. One was a
tall handsome fellow in early manhood, well-dressed and mannered,
completely blind. The other was his companion, a rather dishevelled
figure with neglected beard and hair setting off a face that looked
out somewhat helplessly into a world strange to it, an attire of loose
white wool, plainly made by some tailor who knew nothing of recent
fashion-plates. A close-fitting cap of the same material surmounted
his head. The attire was whole and neat, but the air of the man was
slouchy and bespoke one who must have lately come from the outskirts
into the life of America. The young blindman at once aroused earnest
sympathy. Of the other some one remarked, "Plainly a globe-trotting
Englishman, who has lost his Baedeker and by chance got in here."

Presently the boat was on its way, and as I sat facing the changing
scene, I heard a shuffling, hesitating step behind, and a drawling
somewhat uncertain voice asked me about the country. I replied that it
was my first trip and I was ignorant. Turning full upon the querist,
no other than the globe-trotter, I said: "You are an Englishman I see.
I was in England last year. I have spent some time in London, and I
know other parts of your country." A conversation followed which soon
became to me interesting. My companion had education and intelligence,
and before the afternoon ended we were agreeably in touch. He handed
me his card on which was engraved the name, "Mr. William Grey." I told
him I was a Harvard man, a professor in Washington University, St.
Louis. He was of Exeter College, Oxford, and for some years had been a
professor in Codrington College, Barbadoes, in the West Indies, whence
he had lately come. To my natural surprise that he should be so far
astray, he said he had been visiting a fellow Exeter man, a clergyman
of the English Church, who was the rector of an Iowa parish. It
further developed that his young blind companion belonged to a family
in the parish, and that Mr. Grey had good-heartedly assumed the care
of him during an outing on the river.

A trip from St. Louis to St. Paul by river is longer now than a trip
across the Atlantic. I was nearly a week in my new companionship, and
acquaintance grew and deepened fast. The young blindman, whose manners
were agreeable, became a general favourite, and Mr. Grey and I found
we had much in common. I mentioned to him that my errand in England
the year before had been to find material for a life of Young Sir
Henry Vane, the statesman and martyr of the English Commonwealth, and
in his young days a governor of the province of Massachusetts Bay.
This touched in him a responsive chord. He was familiar with the
period and the character. He was a friend of Shorthouse whose novel,
_John Inglesant_ was a widely-read book of those days. He had
helped Shorthouse in his researches for the book, and knew well
the story of Charles I., and his friends and foes. He was himself
a staunch Churchman, but mentioned with some pleasure that his name
appeared among the Non-conformists. A sturdy noble of those days was
Lord Grey of Groby, who opposed the King to the last, standing at the
right hand of the redoubtable Colonel Pride at the famous "Pride's
Purge," pointing out to him the Presbyterians whom the Ironside was to
turn out of Parliament, in the thick of the crisis. To my inquiry as
to whether Lord Grey of Groby was an ancestor, he was reticent, merely
saying that the name was the same. I had begun to surmise that my new
friend was allied with the Greys who in so many periods of English
history have borne a famous part. Some years before, while sojourning
in a little town on the Ohio River, a stroll carried me to a coal-mine
in the neighbourhood. As I peered down two hundred feet into the dark
shaft, a bluff, peremptory voice called to me to look out for my head.
I drew back in time to escape the cage as it descended with a group
of miners from a higher plane to the lower deeps. I thanked my bluff
friend, who had saved my head from a bump. A pleasant acquaintance
followed which led to his taking me down into the mine, a thrilling
experience. He was an adventurous Englishman who had put money into a
far-away enterprise, and come with his wife and children to take care
of it. His wife was a lady well-born, a sister of Sir George Grey,
twice governor of New Zealand, and at the time High Commissioner and
governor of Cape Colony, one of the most interesting of the great
English nation-makers of the South Seas. I came to know the lady,
and naturally followed the career of her brother, who earned a noble
reputation. Later I corresponded with him, and received from him his
portrait and books. Referring to Sir George Grey in my talk with Mr.
William Grey, I found that he knew him well and not long before, in
a voyage of which he had made many into many seas, had visited New
Zealand, and been a guest of Sir George Grey at his island-home in
the harbour of Auckland. Was he related to Sir George? was my natural
query. Again there was reticence. The name was the same, but the Greys
were numerous.

The journey wore on. The resource of the steamer's company was to sit
on the upper deck, watch the swollen river with its waifs of uprooted
trees and the banks green with the summer, chatting ourselves
into intimacy. The young blindman made good and very good, and
his guardian, while keeping a lookout on his charge from under his
well-worn traveller's cap, which I now knew had sheltered its owner
in tropic hurricanes and icy Arctic blasts, discussed with me matters
various and widely related. Nearing our journey's end, we sat in the
moonlight, the Mississippi opening placidly before us between hazy
hills. We had grown to be chums, and next morning we were to part. It
was a time for confidences. "Well," said Mr. Grey, "I am going to
get a good look at America, then I mean to return home and go into
Parliament." I suggested there might be difficulties about that.
English elections were uncertain, and how could he be at all sure that
any constituency would want him. "Ah," said he, this time no longer
reticent. "I am going into the House of Lords." "Indeed," said I in
surprise, "and who are you really, Mr. William Grey?" At last he
was outspoken. He was heir to the earldom of Stamford, his uncle the
present earl, a man past eighty, childless, and in infirm health,
must soon lay down the title. He was preparing himself for the
responsibilities of the high position and believed it well to make a
study of America. His father, a younger son, had been a clergyman in
Canada, and he, though with an Oxford training, knew the world outside
of England better than the old home. His direct ancestor was Lord Grey
of Groby, whose father, an earl of Stamford, had been a Parliamentary
commander in the years of the Civil War, and in the century before
that, a flower of the house had been the Lady Jane Grey, who had
perished in her youth on the scaffold, a possible heir to the English
crown. So this _outre_ personage, good-heartedly helping the
blindman to an outing, and in a shy apologetic way getting into touch
with an environment strange to him, was a high-born nobleman fitting
himself for his dignities.

I had before invited Mr. Grey to visit me in St. Louis, for his
seeming helplessness appealed to me from the first. He had met some
hard rebuffs in his American contacts. I thought I might aid him in
making his way. Returning in the autumn to my home, I heard from Mr.
Grey that he was coming to be my guest, and in due time he arrived. I
missed him at the station, but he presently appeared at our door in an
express-waggon, sitting on the seat with the driver, in the midst of
his belongings. He spent a week with us in the first American home he
had known, and we found him an amiable and unobtrusive gentleman.
He was a vigorous walker and explored the city well. His listless,
seemingly inattentive eyes somehow scanned everything, and he judged
well what he witnessed. He was an accomplished scholar and had a quiet
humour. A little daughter half-playfully and half-wilfully, announced
her intention to follow her own pleasure in a certain case. "Milicent
is a Hedonist," said the guest, and the Oxford scholar brought
Aristippus and Epicurus into odd conjunction with a Mississippi Valley
breakfast-table. He laid aside his white woollen suit, but his attire
remained unconventional, not to say _outre_. Even the wrinkled
dress-suit in which he appeared at dinner, I think was the achievement
of a tailor in the island of Barbadoes. His opera-hat was a wonder. He
was, or was soon to be, a belted earl, but his belt only appeared on
his pajamas, raiment of which I heard then for the first time. It had
early appeared in our intercourse that the main interest of Mr. Grey
lay in humane and religious work. He also was a devoted member of the
Church of England. On Sunday morning we started early for the leading
Episcopal Church but on the way he inquired as to the place of worship
of the negro congregation of that faith. I confessed my ignorance
of it, but he had in some way ascertained it, and I presently found
myself following his lead down a rather squalid street where at last
we came to the humble temple. Instead of hearing the bishop, a famous
and eloquent man, he preferred to sit on a bare bench in the obscure
little meeting-house, where he fraternised cordially with the dusky
company we found there. He was more interested in our charities than
in our politics and business, and in his quiet way during the week
learned the story well. I introduced him to Southern friends who gave
him letters to persons in the South. Provided with these he bade us
good-bye at last, and went far and wide through what had been
the Confederacy. He visited Jefferson Davis and many soldiers and
politicians of note, getting at first-hand their point of view. I also
gave him letters to some eminent men in the East, which he presented,
meeting with a good reception. He made a wide and shrewd study of the
United States, and I am glad to think I helped him. When I met him
he was unfriended and without credentials, and his singularities
were exposing him to some inconvenient jostling in our rough world.
I opened some doors to him through which he pushed his way into much
that was best worth seeing in American life. An old friend, a radical
man of letters, wrote me afterwards that he enjoyed Mr. Grey, and he
thought Mr. Grey enjoyed him although he believed that if he had been
a pauper, a criminal, or even a bishop, Mr. Grey would have enjoyed
him much more.

He returned to England and did not forget me, writing from time to
time how his affairs progressed. Soon he entered into his own, the
earldom of Stamford, finding about the same time his countess in an
English vicarage. In the House of Lords he was not prominent, though
the papers occasionally mentioned brief addresses by him. His main
interest continued to be charitable work. He was a lay-preacher, and
worked much in the east end of London, throwing the weight of his
culture and high position into alleviating ignorance and poverty. He
sent me interesting literature relating to the efforts of well-placed
men and women to carry into slums and hovels sweetness and light.
In due time a daughter was born to him, whom he named Jane Grey; and
later a son, Lord Grey of Groby. I saw once in the London Graphic, or
perhaps in the Illustrated News, charming pictures of these children
with their interesting historic names. Though rigidly a Churchman he
was not narrow. Lord Stamford sent me a handsome picture of himself,
to which is affixed his signature as an earl and an elaborate seal. In
an accompanying note he wrote that the seal was a careful facsimile of
the one which an ancestor of his had affixed to the death-warrant of
Charles I. He seemed to take pride in the fact that his forbear had
borne a part in the ancient Non-conformist strivings. He came to
America more than once afterward, as a delegate to charitable and
peace Congresses. My dear friend Robert Treat Paine, President of the
Peace Society and eminent philanthropist of Boston, knew him well and
esteemed him highly--and he was the fellow of workers like him.

It is a picturesque moment in my life that I in this way came into
association with a nobleman of the bluest blood. To outward appearance
as I stumbled upon him so unexpectedly, he seemed effete. His odd
shuffle and limp whiskers were dundrearily suggestive of a personality
a bit mildewed. But I felt that what ineptitude there was, was only
superficial; good, strong manhood lay underneath. His death took place
some years since.

Burke's _Peerage_ states that the family was ennobled by Richard
Coeur de Lion, and has maintained itself in a high place for eight
centuries. Privilege is a bough of the social tree from which we
expect mere dead sea-fruit rather than a wholesome yield, but now and
then the product holds something better than ashes. As we trace this
stock through the ages, apples of Sodom, no doubt, will be found in
abundance, but now and then it flowers into heroic manhood and lovely
womanhood. My chance comrade of the _St. Paul_ was a refined,
high-purposed man, certainly a product of the worthier kind, and I am
glad to count among my friends, William Grey, Ninth Earl of Stamford.

* * * * *

As a student of German, anxious to gain fluency of expression, and to
train my ear to catch readily the popular idioms, I found that I must
fill out my writing and reading by contact with men. After roving the
streets of German cities, I packed a knapsack and set out upon the
country-roads. I was, as the Germans say, _gut zu Fuss_, a
stout walker, and I learned to employ for my longer expeditions
the _Bummel-Zug_, an institution I commend highly to all in my
situation. The _Bummel-Zug_ is simply a "way" freight-train, to
which in my time was attached a car for third-class passengers.
It stopped at every village, and the fare was very low. It was
convenient, therefore, for those too poor to be in a hurry, and for
travellers like me whose purpose could be better served by loitering
than by haste. The train proceeded leisurely, giving ample time for
deliberate survey of the land, and the frequent pauses of indefinite
length afforded opportunity for walks through the streets of remote
hamlets and even into the country about, where the peasants with
true Teuton _Gemuethlichkeit_ always welcomed a man who came from
America.

Thus on my legs and by _Bummel-Zug_ I wandered far, arriving one
pleasant day at the ancient city of Salzburg, close to the Bavarian
Alps. I was anxious to see something of the Tyrol, and had been told
that the _Koenigs-See_ offered the finest and most characteristic
scenery of that region. Salzburg was a suitable point of departure.
The sky darkened and it began to rain heavily. Berchtesgaden, in
the mountains, the nearest village to the Koenigs-See, was only to be
reached by _Eilwagen_, a modification of the _diligence_,
which forty years ago still held its place on the Alpine roads. I
stood at the door of the inn, observing the company who were to be
my fellow-passengers. There were two or three from the outside world,
like myself, a few mountaineers with suggestions of the Tyrol in their
garb, and one figure in a high degree picturesque, a Franciscan friar
in guise as mediaeval as possible. His coarse, brown robe wrapped him
from head to foot. A knotted cord bound his waist, the ends depending
toward the pavement and swinging with his rosary. His feet were shod
with sandals, and his head was bare, though an ample cowl was at hand
to shelter it. His head needed no tonsure for age had made him nearly
bald. His shaven face was kind and strong and he was in genial touch
with the by-standers, to whom no doubt such a figure was not novel.
Incongruously enough, the friar held over his head in the pouring rain
a modern umbrella, his only concession to the storm and to modernity.
Presently we climbed in for the journey, and I was a trifle taken
aback when the monk by chance followed me directly, and as we settled
into our seats was my close _vis-a-vis_. As we bumped along
the rough road our legs became dove-tailed together, I as well as
he wrapped in the coarse folds of his monkish robe, the rosary as
convenient to my hand as to his, and as the vehicle swayed our heads
dodged each other as we rocked back and forth. Thrown thus, as it were
into the embrace of the past, I made the most of it and got as far
as might be into the mediaeval. I found my friar charmingly
companionable. His Bavarian _patois_ was not easy to follow, nor
could he catch readily the speech I had been learning in the schools.
But we made shift and had much talk as we drove through the storm
into the highlands. He was a brother in the monastery at Salzburg,
but being out of health, was making his way to a hospice of his order
above the valley. He had heard of America, and knew there were houses
of his order in that strange land. He was doubtful of its location,
and possibly an American was a creature with whom he had never till
then been in touch. Under the scrutiny of his mild eyes I was being
studied as a queer outlandish specimen, as he certainly was to me. We
parted at last as good friends, his head now enveloped in the cowl,
his sandals pattering off in the dusk toward the little cell that
awaited him in the hospice, while I sought a place by the fire in the
inn of Berchtesgaden. I learned afterward that he was well known and
much venerated in Salzburg.

I came into the mountain-nook oddly companioned, and my exit thence
was equally so, though greatly in contrast. For a day or two I was
storm-bound, and felt the depression natural in a remote solitude,
wrapped in by rain and fog, with no society but an unintelligible
mountaineer or two. At last it cleared and the revulsion was
inspiring. I found myself in a little green vale hemmed in
by magnificent heights whose rocky summits were covered with
freshly-fallen snow. Close at hand rose the Watzmann, a soaring
pyramid whose summit was cleft into two sharp peaks inclined into some
semblance of a bishop's mitre. My recent association with the monk had
made vivid the thought of the old church, and it seemed fitting that
there should be lifted high in air such a symbol of the domination
under which the region lay. But my Protestant eyes regarded it
cheerfully, glad to have within range an object so picturesque. I
forthwith strapped on my knapsack, buckled my belt, and strode out for
the Koenigs-See, which lay not far beyond. I walked briskly for a mile
or two, stimulated by the abounding oxygen of the highland air, but
presently found myself where the road forked and there was nothing to
indicate which was my right path. The solitude seemed complete, but as
I stood hesitating, I was relieved by the appearance of a pedestrian
who emerged from a by-way. As I framed an inquiry I was deterred by a
certain augustness in the stranger. I had rarely seen a man of finer
bearing. His stature was commanding, his figure, even in the rough,
loose walking-dress he wore, was full of symmetry. His elastic step
showed vigour, and his face under his broad-brimmed Tyrolese hat had
much manly beauty. Was he perhaps a prince in disguise? His friendly
salutation, given in deep masculine tones with a good-natured smile,
put me at ease as I told him my strait. He said in good German, which
I was glad once more to hear after my experience of the mountain
_patois_, that he was on the way to the Koenigs-See, that he knew
the road, and we would walk on together. I accommodated myself to his
stride and we settled into a pace which carried us rapidly toward
our goal, meanwhile talking cheerfully. I had found it usually a good
passport to say I was an American and I withheld nothing as to my
antecedents and my present errand in Germany. He was more reticent.
He lived in Prussia and was at the moment taking an outing. His
affability did not go the length of revealing his true character. If
he were a high personage _incognito_, I was not to know it.

We reached at last the shore of the Koenigs-See, a blue, deep lake at
a high elevation, encircled by lofty peaks, splintered, storm-beaten,
and capped by snow which never melts, far above the range of grass and
trees. A group of women on the beach had ready two or three broad and
rudely-built boats, and noisily clamoured for our patronage. We
chose what seemed the best, and the women rowers with stout arms soon
propelled us far from shore into the midst of the Alpine sublimity. A
silence fell, broken only by the oar-beats. Then, where the precipices
rose highest we paused. Suddenly a gun was fired. It broke upon
the silence startlingly loud, and after an interval the report
reverberated in a series of crashes from height after height, dying
down into a dull murmur from the steep most distant. I was awed by the
sight and the sound, and awed too, by my companion. He had thrown off
his hat and knapsack and stood with his fine stature at the bow. His
classic face was turned upward to the peaks, and with a look as if he
felt their power. He waved his arms toward them as if in a salutation
to things sentient. The man seemed to befit the environment, majestic
though it was.

We returned sooner than we desired from our excursion on the water,
the boat-women being over eager for new passengers. My companion
resumed his knapsack and it was time to part. To his question as to
my plan I replied that I was there simply for the scenery, that I
purposed to make my way back to Salzburg on foot by the paths that
promised most, and should be guided by whatever I might learn. He said
that he, too, was bound for Salzburg, walking for pleasure; and when I
thereupon suggested that we might go on together, he readily fell in,
and we trudged forward. Comradeship grew strong as the day passed,
then a night in an unfrequented inn, then another day. We discussed
things near and far, ancient and recent, I talking most but he was
always genial and quietly responsive, and my confidence was invited.
I told him of the little fresh-water college in the West with which
I was associated, my functions being partly pedagogic and partly
pastoral, of the embarrassments of co-education as we found them, the
difficulty in the uplift of too frivolous youth to a high moral and
spiritual plane, the embarrassment in curbing characters too reckless
into decorum and propriety. He listened sympathetically, with no
discoverable cynicism in the rather grave smile he usually wore. As to
whom he might be, he remained constantly reticent, though my curiosity
increased as the hours flew. We passed not far from two or three
mountain resorts, where tourists were gathered. Near such my companion
showed some nervousness. There might be people there who knew him, and
it suited him for the time to remain by himself. This I took as some
small confirmation of my suspicion that he was a great personage.
Physically certainly he was superbly endowed. The roads were rough and
often steep, and I found the tramp fatiguing; but when I asked if he,
too, were not tired, he laughed at the idea, tossing his burden or
taking an extra climb as fresh as at the start. At night our cots were
in the same room. As he stripped off his shirt and stood with head
pillared upon a most stately neck, and massive, well-moulded chest and
shoulders, he was statuesque indeed.

At last Salzburg came in sight. Though we had become quite intimate I
had made no progress in penetrating to my comrade's true character.
I had laid many an innocent little trap to induce him to speak more
openly, but no slip on his part ever betrayed him. We entered the city
and sat down together at a table in a public garden, near the castle
of the old Bishops of Salzburg, ordering for each a glass of light
wine, the parting-cup. Already, since our entrance into the city
things had occurred which partly confirmed the theory I had formed as
to the distinction of my comrade, and also aroused in my mind
doubts not quite comfortable. He was an object of interest in the
well-dressed crowd. That he was a conspicuously handsome man in
a measure explained that, but there were signs, too, that some
recognised him as a person well-known. When we were seated in the
garden actual acquaintances began to appear, agile athletic young
men, who were deferential but familiar. There were ladies, too, modest
enough, but certainly unconventional, nimble free-footed beings, with
feathers and ribbons streaming airily as they flitted. These, like the
men, were deferential to my comrade, yet familiar. There seemed to be
a renewing of some old tie that all were glad to reconnect. The young
men were actively demonstrative, the ladies wove in and out smilingly,
and my comrade in the midst beamed and grew voluble. Was it an
environment into which a quiet American college functionary could
properly fit? No due bounds were transgressed, but the atmosphere was
certainly very Bohemian. My prince _incognito_, was he perhaps
the Prince of Pilsen? While this happy mingling was going forward
I sat somewhat aloof, disconcerted that my cloud-capped towers and
gorgeous palaces were thus crumbling into comic opera. But now my
comrade approached me, aglow with social excitement, and, with a
franker look in his eyes than he had before shown, addressed me: "Mein
lieber Herr Professor, we have had a good ramble together and talked
about many things. You have been confidential with me, and hoped that
I would be with you. I have preferred to hold back, but now as we part
I ought to tell you who I am. I am the _premier danseur_ in the
ballet of the Royal Opera House in Berlin. Worn with the heavy work in
_Fantasca_, which we produced elaborately and which ran long,
I came down here when the season closed, for change and rest,
and so fell in with you. These young _Herren_ and _Damen_ are
the _coryphes_ and _figurantes_, who in Berlin or in other
cities have taken part with me in productions. Good people they are
and unsurpassed as a _corps de ballet_." We touched glasses,
shook hands, and I went my way leaving Comus with his rout, guileless,
I hope, as Milton's innocent "Lady," but such scales never fell from
her starry eyes as fell from mine. I knew well about _Fantasca_.
During my last weeks in Berlin it had been much talked about, a
splendid theatrical spectacle put on with consummate art, and
lavish expenditure. I had not seen it. Heredity from eight Puritan
generations reinforced by impecuniosity had kept me from that. But I
had heard of the wonderful visions of beauty and grace. My handsome
comrade of the Bavarian Alps had been at the centre of it all, the god
Apollo, or whatever glittering divinity or genius it was that swayed
the enchantments and led in the rhythmic circlings. Good cause indeed
I had had to admire his physical beauty. He had been picked out for
that no doubt among thousands, then painfully trained for years until
in figure and frame he was a model.

The gay pleasure garden in which we had parted lay close to a gloomy
monastic structure, centuries old, that from a height dominated the
little town. The garden and the structure were symbols of what was
most salient in that country--the ancient church braced against
progress, with its power broken in no way, and on the other hand of
a life interpenetrated with things graceful and refined, with art,
music, and poetry, but seamed, too, with frivolity and what makes
for the pleasures of sense. My two friends also were in their way
types,--the cowled Franciscan, aloof in a mediaeval seclusion though
he breathed nineteenth-century air, and the dancer whom I encountered
in the vale, above which the Watzmann upholds forever its solemn
mitre. But they were good fellows both, my comrade in and my comrade
out. The monk's heart was not too shrivelled to flow with human
kindness, and the dancer had not unlearned in the glare of the
foot-lights the graces of a gentleman.

I profess to be a man of peace. Through training, environment, and
calling I ought to be so, and yet there is a fibre in any make-up
which has always throbbed strangely to the drum. Is it perhaps
a streak of heredity? In almost every noteworthy war since the
foundation of the country, men of my line have borne a part. I count
ancestors who stood among the minute-men at Concord bridge.
Another was in the redoubt at Bunker Hill. In the earlier time two
great-great-grandfathers went out against Montcalm and were good
soldiers in the Old French War. Still earlier a progenitor, whose name
I bear, faced the Indian peril in King Philip's War, and was among
the slain in the gloomy Sudbury fight Perhaps it is a trace from these
ancient forbears still lingering in my blood that will respond when
the trumpets blow, however I strive to repress it, and it has given me
qualms.

I was not easy in mind when I stood on the tower of St. Stephen's
Church, in Vienna more than forty years ago, to find that what
I sought most eagerly in the superb landscape was not the steep
Kahlenberg, not the plumy woods of Schoenbrunn, not the Danube pouring
grandly eastward, nor the picturesque city at my feet; but the little
hamlets just outside the suburbs, and the wide-stretching grain-field
close by, turning yellow under the July sun, where Napoleon fought the
battles of Aspern and Wagram. Nor was I quite easy when I set out to
climb the St. Gotthard Pass, to find that although the valley below
Airolo was so green with fertile pasture, and from the glaciers above
me the heavens were pricked so boldly by the splintered peaks, I was
thinking most where it was precisely that old Suwarrow dug the grave
and threatened to bury himself, when his army refused to follow him;
then how he must have looked when he had subdued them, riding forward
in his sheepskin, or whatever rude Russian dress he wore, this uncouth
hero who needed no scratching to be proved Tartar, while his loving
host pressed after him into every death-yielding terror that man or
nature could throw across his path.

That I had good reason for my uneasiness, on second thoughts, I do not
believe. Nor do I believe it is just for you, high-toned friend, to
censure me as somewhat low and brutal, when I confess that of all
one can see in Europe, nothing thrilled me quite so much as the great
historic battle-fields. Nothing deserves so to interest man as man
himself; and what spots, after all, are so closely and nobly connected
with man as the spots where he has fought? That we are what we are,
indeed that we are at all,--that any race is what it is or is at
all,--was settled on certain great fields of decision to which we as
well as every race can point back. And then nothing absorbs us like a
spectacle of pain and pathos! Tragedy enchants, while it shocks. The
field of battle is tragedy the most shocking; is it doing indignity to
our puzzling nature to say it is tragedy most absorbing? And there is
another side. Once at midnight, in the light of our bivouac-fire, our
captain told us in low tones that next day we were to go into battle.
He was a rude fellow, but the word or two he spoke to us was about
duty. And I well remember what the men said, as we looked by the
fire-light to see if the rifles were in order. They would go into
fire because duty said, "Save the country!" and when, soon after, the
steeply-sloping angle of the enemy's works came into view, ominously
red in the morning light, and crowned with smoke and fire, while the
air hummed about our ears as if swarming with angry bees, and this one
and that one fell, there was scarcely one who, as he pulled his cap
close down and pushed ahead in the skirmish-line, was not thinking of
duty. They were boys from farm and factory, not greatly better, to say
the most, than their fellows anywhere; and we may be sure that thought
of duty has always much to do with the going forward of weaponed men
amongst the weapons. Men do fight, no doubt, from mere recklessness,
from hope of plunder or glory; and sometimes they have been scourged
to it. But more often, where one in four or five is likely to
fall, the nobler motive is uppermost with men and felt with burning
earnestness too, which only the breath of the near-at-hand death can
fan up. No! there is reason enough why battle-fields should be, as
they are, places of pilgrimage. The remoteness of the struggle hardly
diminishes the interest with which we visit the scene; Marathon is as
sacred as if the Greeks conquered there last year. Nor, on the other
hand, do we need poetic haze from a century or two of intervening
time: Gettysburg was a consecrated spot to all the world before its
dead were buried. There need be no charm of nature; there are tracts
of mere sand in dreary Brandenburg, where old Frederick, with Prussia
in his hand, supple and tough as if plaited into a nation out of
whip-cord, scourged the world; and these tracts are precious. On the
other hand, the grandest natural features seem almost dwarfed and
paltry beside this overmastering interest. On the top of the Grimsel
Pass there is a melancholy, lonely lake which touches the spirit as
much as the Rhone glacier close by, or the soaring Finster-Aarhorn,
the Todten See (Sea of the Dead), beneath whose waters are buried
soldiers who fell in battle there on the Alpine crags. Had I defined
all this, I need not have felt uneasy on St. Stephen's spire or the
St. Gotthard. We are not necessarily brutal if our feet turn with
especial willingness toward battle-fields. There man is most in
earnest; his sense of duty perhaps at its best; the sacrifice
greatest, for it is life. Theirs are the most momentous decisions
for weal or woe; theirs the tragedy beyond all other tremendous and
solemn. It is right that the sacrifice they have witnessed should
possess an alchemy to make their acres golden.

The humane, and I hope I may be counted among the number, have long
wished that some milder arbitrament than that of arms might intervene
to settle the disagreements of men. No such arbitrament has as yet
come into being. We settle our disputes in this way, and history must
record the struggles, however reluctantly. As an historical writer, it
has been my function to deal with times of conflict in various periods
and lands. When I was seventy years old I began writing a history of
our Civil War. To have at hand the literature of the period I went to
Washington, where the most kind officials of the Library of Congress
assigned to me a roomy alcove in the north curtain with a desk and
ample surrounding shelves. These were filled for me by expert hands
with whatever I might require for my task, and a screen shut off
my corner from the corridor through which at times perambulated
Roosevelt, and other secluded delvers, intent on early Gaelic
literature and what not. Here I spent the most of two years, finding
it an ideal spot, but my task required more than an examination, under
the quiet light of my great window, of books and documents. The fields
themselves must also be surveyed, so I travelled far until I had
visited the scene of nearly every important conflict and traced the
lines of march in the great campaigns. I was already a haunter of old
battle-fields, that thread of heredity, from a line of forbears very
martial in their humble way, asserting itself in whatever lands I
wandered. I had been at Hastings, and had traced the Ironsides to
Marston Moor and Naseby. I had stood by the _Schweden-Stein_ at
Luetzen, and tramped the sod of Leipsic and Waterloo. It was for me
now to see our own fields of decision, fields ennobled by a courage as
great and a purpose as high as soldiers have ever shown.

To mark Waterloo the Belgians reared a mound of huge dimensions,
scraping the _terrain_ far and near to obtain the earth.
Wellington is said to have remarked that the features of the ground
had been so far obliterated by this that he could not recognise
his own positions. One wonders whether the future may not blame our
generation for transformations almost as disguising. Gettysburg,
Chickamauga, Vicksburg, and Shiloh are now elaborate parks. No mounds
have been reared, but the old roads are smooth boulevards, trim lawns
are on the ragged heights, the landscape-gardener has barbered the
grim rough face of the country-side into something very handsome no
doubt, but the imagination must be set to work to call back the arena
as it was on the battle-day. From various points of vantage
memorials make appeal, statues, obelisks, Greek temples, and porches,
bewildering in their number, and now and then making doubtful claims.
"This general," some scrutiniser will tell you, "never held the line
ascribed to him and that pompous pile falsely does honour to troops
who really wavered in the crisis." I know I run counter to prevailing
sentiment in saying that I prefer a field unchanged, not with features
blurred by an overlaying of ornamental and commemorative accretions.
A few markers of the simplest, and a plain tablet now and then where
a hero fell or valour was unusually conspicuous, should suffice, for
a field is more impressive that lies for the most part in its original
rudeness and solitude. At Antietam I found little obtrusive. Sherman's
fields on the way to and about Atlanta have not been marred; nor at
Franklin and Nashville are the plains parked and obelisked out
of recognition. At Bull Run I climbed with a veteran of the
signal-service into the top of a high tree, an old war-time station,
on the hill near the Henry House. The precarious platform remained.
From such an eyrie in the same grove, perhaps from this same tree, a
Southern friend of mine, on the battle-day, caught sight more than two
leagues away of the glint of sunlight on cannon and bayonets toward
Sudley Springs, and sent timely notice to Beauregard that a Federal
column was turning his left. Under my eye the landscape was unchanged,
with no smoothings or intrusions to embarrass the imagination in
making the scene real. But it was in the Wilderness that I felt
especially grateful that the wild thickets for the most part had
been let alone. I found at Fredericksburg an old Confederate, one
of Mahone's command, and hiring an excellent roadster, we drove on
a perfect autumn day first to Spottsylvania Court House, then across
country to the Brock road, then home by the Wilderness church and
Chancellorsville. On the area we traversed were fought four of our
most memorable battles, an area now scarcely less tangled and lonely
than when the Federals poured across the Rappahannock into its
thickets by the thousand, and were so memorably met. My veteran knew
the pikes and the by-paths, and we fraternised with the warmth usual
among foemen who at last have become friends. He knew the story well
of every wood-path and cross-roads. Certainly I was glad that the
rugged acres had undergone no "improvement," and that the eye fell
so nearly on what the old-time soldiers saw. It so happened it
was election-day. There were polling-places at the court-houses of
Fredericksburg and Spottsylvania, at Todd's Tavern, and the Chancellor
house, names bearing solemn associations. The neighbourhoods had come
out to vote, and introduced by my comrade, I had some interesting
encounters. It was a good climax, when toward the end, near
the Chancellor House, we met in the road a patriarchal figure,
whitebearded and sturdy, on his way home from the polls. It was old
Talley, whose log-house, in 1862, was the point from which Stonewall
Jackson began his sudden rush upon Hooker's right. Talley, then a
young farmer, had walked at the General's stirrup pointing out the
way. He had interesting things to tell of Stonewall Jackson at that
moment when his career culminated. "What did he seem like?" I queried.
"He was as cool and business-like as an old farmer looking after
his fences." On an old battle-field which had been illustrated by an
achievement of the Stonewall division especially brilliant, I chanced
to meet a grey veteran who had taken part in it, a North Carolinian
who had come back to review the scene. We fraternised, of course.
"What did Stonewall Jackson look like?" I said. Stepping close to
me, the "Tarheel" extended his two gnarled forefingers, and pressed
between the tips my cheek-bones on either side. "He had the broadest
face across here I ever saw," he said. Such a physiognomical trait is
perhaps indicative of power of brain and will, but I do not recall it
among the usual descriptions of Jackson.

Naturally, after surveying much Virginia country once war-swept, as I
came to the head of the Shenandoah Valley, I could not miss a visit
to Lexington, where repose in honoured graves two such protagonists as
Lee and Stonewall Jackson. It is a beautiful town among low mountains
green to the summit, and in the streets not a few lovely homes of the
Virginia colonial type, draped with ivy and wisteria. There stand the
buildings of Washington and Lee University, in the chapel of which
lies buried Robert E. Lee, and a short mile beyond is the Virginia
Military Institute, from which Stonewall Jackson went forth to his
fame. The memorial at Jackson's grave is appropriate, a figure in
bronze, rugged as he was in face and attire, the image of him as he
fought and fell. Different, but more impressive is the memorial of
Lee. You enter through the chapel where the students gather daily,
then passing the chancel, stand in a mausoleum, where nobly conceived
in marble the soldier lies as if asleep. He bears his symbols as
champion in chief of the "Lost Cause," but the light on his face is
not that of battle. It is serene, benignant, at peace. I was deeply
moved as I stood before it, but soon after I was to experience a
deeper thrill. The afternoon was waning when I walked on to the
Military Institute. Stonewall Jackson had been for ten years a teacher
there. The turf of the parade I was crossing had perhaps felt no
footfall more often than his. Two or three hundred pupils, the flower
of Virginia youth, were assembled in battalion, and I witnessed from
a favourable point their almost perfect drill. As the sun was about to
set, they formed in a far-extending line, with each piece at present.
They were saluting the flag, which now began slowly to descend from,
its staff. Lo, it was the flag of the Union. The band played, I
thought, with unusual sweetness, the Star-Spangled Banner, and to
the music those picked youths of the South, sons and grandsons of the
upholders of the right to sever, did all possible honour, on the sod
which Stonewall Jackson trod, hard by the grave of Lee, to the symbol
of a country united, states now and hereafter in a brotherhood not to
be broken! It was a scene to evoke tears of deep emotion, for never
before or since has it come home to me so powerfully that the Union
had been preserved.

Closing as I do now my record of memories, I feel that the most
momentous of the crises through which it has been my lot to pass
is that attending the maintenance of the Federal bond in the United
States. Assemblies of veterans of the Confederacy and those who
address them scout the idea that they fought to preserve negro
bondage. A late historian of our Civil War, Professor Paxon, of
Wisconsin, holds it to be "reasonably certain" that in another
generation slavery would have disappeared of itself, a contention
surely open to dispute. Here I neither dispute nor approve, but
only say, if the claim can be made good, what a vindication would it
constitute of men, who looked for the quiet dying out of an inveterate
evil, deprecating passionate attack upon a thing moribund? And what an
indictment of the John Browns, whose impatient consciences pressed
for instant abolition careless of whatever cataclysm it might involve!
Certainly the two prime champions whose graves I saw at Lexington did
not fight to sustain slavery. Their principle was that a State could
not be coerced,--and that therefore sovereignty lay in the scattered
constituents and not at the centre. The arbitrament of the sword was
sharp and swift, and happily for the world it went against them. I
well recall the map of Germany I studied when a boy, a page blotched
and seamed with bewildering spots of colour. The effort was to portray
the position of some three hundred independent political units,
duchies, principalities, bishoprics, free cities, and what not, among
electorates and kingdoms of a larger sort, but still minute. It
seemed like a pathological chart presenting a face broken out with an
unseemly tetter. The land indeed, in those days, was afflicted by a
sad political disease. The Germans call it "_Particularismus_" or
"_Vielstaaterei_," the breaking up of a nationality into a mass
of fragments. Some on the map were scarcely larger than pinheads, and
in actual area hardly exceeded a fair-sized farm. In that time Heine
laughed at one of them after this fashion, while describing a journey
over it in bad weather:

"Of Bueckeburg's principality
Full half on my boots I carried.
Such muddy roads I've never beheld
Since here in the world I've tarried."

The consequences of this disintegration were disastrous to the dignity
of Germany and the character of her people. She had no place among
the real powers of the world politically, and her masses, lacking the
stimulus of a noble national atmosphere, were dwarfed and shrivelled
into narrow and timid provincialism, split as they were into their
little segregations. Patriotism languished in dot-like States
oppressively administered, without associations to awaken pride, or
generous interests to evoke devotion. Spirits like Leasing and Goethe,
all but derided patriotism. It scarcely held a place among the proper
virtues. The small units were forever unsympathetic and inharmonious,
jealous over a petty "balance of power" and always liable to war. The
disease which the face of the map suggested to the boy's imagination
was indeed a real one, inveterate, deep-seated, and prostrating to all
that is best in human nature. For a few years, before the adoption of
the Constitution, America seemed likely to fall a prey to it, each of
the thirteen States standing aloof on its own little dignity in a bond
scarcely more than nominal, of the weakest and coolest. In 1787
came the beneficent change. The thirteen and those that followed the
thirteen were made one, and it was the beginning of a grand unifying
in many lands. Following an instinct at first only faintly manifest
but which soon gathered strength, disintegrated Germany became one.
Italy, too, became one, and in our old home the "Little Englanders,"
once a noteworthy company, succumbed to a conquering sentiment that
England should become a "great world-Venice," and the seas no longer
barriers, but the highways, through which the parent-state and her
brood of dominions, though flung far into many zones, should yet
go easily to and fro, not separate nations, nor yet a company bound
together by a mere rope of sand, but one. Great nations replaced
little states.

Had the South prevailed in the Civil War, there would have been a
distinct and calamitous set-back in the world movement. It would have
been a reaction toward particularism, and how far might it not have
gone? Into what granulations might not our society have crumbled? The
South's principle once recognised, there could have been no valid
or lasting tie between States. Counties even might have assumed to
nullify, and towns to stand apart sufficient unto themselves. When
the thing was doubtful with us, the North by no means escaped the
infection. The New York City of Fernando Wood contemplated isolation
not only from the Union but from the State of which it was a part. Had
the spirit then so rife really prevailed, the map of America
to-day might have been no less blotched with the morbid tetter
of particularism than that of the Germany of sixty years ago.
Centralisation may no doubt go too far, but in the other extreme may
lie the gravest danger, and rushing thitherward the South was blind
to the risk. I stood with all reverence by the graves of the two great
men at Lexington. Perhaps no Americans have been in their way more
able, forceful, and really high-purposed. But they were misguided, and
their perverted swords all but brought to pass for us and the future
the profoundest calamity. I am proud to have been in the generation
that fought them down, believing that upholding the country was doing
a service to the world. I think of that lofty sentence inscribed
upon the memorial of Goldwin Smith at Ithaca, "Above all nations is
Humanity." Patriotism is not the highest of virtues. It is indeed a
vice if it limits the sympathies to a part. Love for the whole is
the sovereign virtue, and the patriotism is unworthy which is not
subordinate to this, recognising that its only fitting work is to lead
up to a love which embraces all.

And now I toss the "Last Leaf" on my probably over-large accumulation
of printed pages. What I have set down is in no way an autobiography.
It is simply the presentment of the panorama of nearly fourscore
momentous years as unrolled before one pair of eyes. Whether the eyes
have served their owner well or ill the gentle reader will judge. I
hope I have not obtruded myself unduly, and that I may be pardoned as
I close, if I am for a moment personal. My eyes have given me notice
that they have done work enough and I do not blame them for insisting
upon rest. As to organs in general I have scarcely known that I had
any. They have maintained such peace among themselves, and been so
quiet and deferential as they have performed their functions that I
have taken no note of them, having rarely experienced serious illness.
Had Aesop possessed my anatomy, he would have had small data for
inditing his fable as to the discord between the "Members" and their
commissariat, and the long generations might have lacked that famous
incentive to harmony and co-operation. I venture to say this in
explanation of my stubborn optimism, which is due much less to any
tranquil philosophy I may have imbibed than to my inveterate eupepsia.
My optimism has not decreased as I have grown old, and I record here
as the last word, my faith that the world grows better. I recall with
vividness nineteen Presidential campaigns, and believe that in no one
has the outlook been so hopeful as now. Never have the leaders at the
fore in all parties been more able and high-minded. I have purposed
in this book to speak of the dead and not the living. Were it in
place for me to speak of men who are still strivers, I could give good
reason, derived from personal touch, for the faith I put in men whose
names now resound. However the nation moves, strong and good hands
will receive it, and it will survive and make its way. Agitation,
the meeting of crises, the anxious application of expedients to
threatening dangers,--these we are in the midst of, we always have
been and always shall be. Turmoil is a condition of life, beneficently
so, for through turmoil comes the education that leads man on and up.
We encounter shocks that will seem seismic. But it will only be the
settling of society to firmer bases of justice. In our confusions
England is our fellow, but a better world is shaping there, though
in the earthquake crash of old strata so much seems to totter. And
farther east in France, Germany, and Russia are better things, and
signs of still better. Levant and Orient rock with violence, but they
are rocking to happier and humaner order. What greater miracle than
the coming to the front among nations of Japan! Will her people
perhaps distance their western teachers and models. Shall we reverse
the poet's line to read "Better fifty years of China than a cycle of
the West?" Society proceeds toward betterment, and not catastrophe,
as individuals may proceed on stepping-stones of their dead selves to
higher things. The troubles of the child, the broken toy, the slight
from a friend, the failure of an expected holiday, are mole-hills
to be sure, but in his circumscribed horizon they take an Alpine
magnitude. His strength for climbing is in the gristle, nor has he
philosophy to console him when blocked by the inevitable. When the
child becomes a man his troubles are larger, but to surmount them he
has an increment of spiritual vigour, which should swell with passing
years. He lives in vain who fails to learn to bear and forbear
serenely. For human society, and for the individuals that compose it,
the happy time lies not behind but before, and I invite the gentle
reader to accept with me the wise and kind thought of Rabbi Ben Ezra,
now growing trite on the lips of men because we feel it to be true:

"Grow old along with me.
The best is yet to be,--
The last of life for which the first was made.
Our times are in His hand
Who saith a whole is planned.
Youth shows but half. Trust God; see all;
Nor be afraid."

INDEX

A

Agassiz, Alexander, in college, 287; leads to the adoption
of crimson as the Harvard colour, 289; as captain of
industry, 289; as scientist, 290; as philanthropist, 293
Agassiz, Louis, in 1851, 283; as scientist and teacher, 284;
his strength and limitations, 287
Alcott, A. Bronson, at Concord, 249
Alcott, Louisa M., in young womanhood, 237; as writer for
children, 238
Andrew, John A., Governor of Massachusetts, 22; his
speech to the selectmen, 24
Antioch College, in the sixties, 67; dramatics at, 71

B

Bancroft, George, at Berlin, 162; his love for roses, 165;
at Washington, 166; as a historical path-breaker, 167
Banks, N.P., a pathetic figure, his rise and fall, 38
Barlow, Francis C., in college, 57; as a soldier, 61; after
the war, 65
Bartlett, W.P., as a soldier, 54
Battle-fields, as places of interest, 316
Berlin, in 1870, 110
Brooks, Phillips, as a youth, 255; in comic opera, 257; at
the Harvard Commemoration, 260; his breadth of
spirit, 261; at Lowell's funeral, 262
Bryce, James, his home in London, 194
Buffalo, in 1840, 1
Bunsen, the chemist, at Heidelberg, 266
Butler, B.F., at New Orleans, 41

C

Churchill, Lord Randolph, 198
Churchill, Winston, 200
Clark, James B., of Mississippi, 54
Concord, the town of, 233
Cox, Jacob D., 34
Curtius, Ernst, at Berlin, 206

D

Dancer, the, at the Koenigs-See, 310; at Salzburg, 313
Douglas, Stephen A., in his prime, 6; supports Lincoln in
1861, 8
Dramatics, at Antioch College, 71; in the schools of England, 80
in the schools of France, 76; in the schools of Germany, 72

E

Eliot, President C.W., as an oarsman, 223
Emerson, Ralph Waldo, in his prime, 246; his hospitality,
248; and Walt Whitman, 250; in old age, 253
Eupeptic musings, 332
Everett, Edward, his conservatism, 16; as an off-hand
speaker, 17

F

Fillmore, Millard, as a friend, 2; signs the Fugitive Slave
Bill, 3; effects of the measure, 3; his home-life, 4;
with Lincoln at church, 5
Fiske, John, in youth, 168 and Mary Hemenway, 169; the
"Extension of Infancy," 170; his love for music, 174;
in social life, 175; at Petersham, 178
France, in war-time, 151
Francis Joseph, the Emperor, 141
Franciscan, the, at Salzburg, 307
Frederick, the Emperor, 139
Frederick the Great, his statue, 110; his sepulchre, 131
Freeman, Edward A., in America, 185; at Somerleaze, 186

G

Gardiner, Samuel R., in London, 181; at Bromley, 183
Garnett, Sir Richard, at the British Museum, 179
Germany, in 1870, 108
Gladstone, W.E., in 1886, 200
Goethe and Schiller, their graves, 129
Grant, U.S., his greatest conquest, 28
Gray, Asa, in the Botanic Garden, 278; in the class-room,
279; as a lecturer, 281; his services to science, 282
Grenadier, the young, of Potsdam, 144; of Weimar, 145
Grey, Mr. William, see Stamford.
Grimm, the brothers, their graves, 128
Grimm, Hermann, at Berlin, 212

H

Harrison, W.H., the campaign of 1840,1
Hawthorne, Nathaniel, at Concord, 239; at Brook Farm,
240; as a ghost-seer, 242; as literary artist, 243
Heidelberg, in 1870, 204
Helmholtz, the scientist, at Heidelberg, 268
Hohenzollern, the line of, 132
Hollis, 8; at Harvard, 161
Holmes, O.W., as an oarsman, 223; his versatility and
wit, 224; his deeper moods, 226
Home-life, in Germany in 1870, 124
Howard, O.O., at Gettysburg, 47

K

Kirchoff, the physicist, at Heidelberg, 265

L

Lepsius, the Egyptologist, 209
Lexington, Va., graves of R.E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson
at, 325
Lincoln, Abraham, at church, 5
Longfellow, H.W., in 1851, 218; the incubation of Hiawatha, 225;
memorial service for, 221
Lowell, Charles R., as a soldier, 55
Lowell, James Russell, in his prime, 227; his Yankee story,
227; his Commemoration Ode, 229; his funeral, 232
Ludwig, King of Bavaria, 143
Luther, Martin, his grave at Wittenberg, 130

M

Mann, Horace, as an inspirer, 67
Meade, George G., at the Harvard Commemoration, 29
Militarism, in Germany, 111
Mommsen, Theodor, at Berlin, 209
Munich, in 1870, 148
Museum, the Royal, at Berlin, 121

N

New Wrinkle at Sweetbrier, 71
Newcomb, Simon, as a youth, 271; his parentage, 272; as
an astronomer, 274; his last years, 276
Norman, Sir Henry, 197

P

Paris, in war-time, 152
Parliament, in 1886, 195
Pope, John, a pathetic figure, 42

R

Ranke, Leopold von, 207

S

Saxton, Rufus, at Port Royal, S.C., 48
Schenkel, Daniel, 211
Schools, in Russia, 116
Sedan, The _debacle_ at, 159
Seward, William H., his Plymouth oration, 13; his too
careless cigar, 14; the Alaska purchase, 15
Sheridan, Philip H., 28
Sherman, T.W., at Port Royal, S.C., 50
Sherman, W.T., in private life, 30; at dinner with, 31;
and John Fiske, 32; his funeral, 34
Slocum, Henry W., and Samuel J. May, 45
Smith, Goldwin, at Niagara, 191; his memorial stone at
Cornell, 192
Stamford, the Earl of, encountered on the Mississippi,
296; as a household guest, 301; a high-born
philanthropist, 304
Stevens, Isaac I., 52
Sumner, Charles, his fine presence, 18; as a youth, 19; a
conversation with, 21; and John A. Andrew, 24; his
strength and weakness, 26
Switzerland, in 1870, 150

T

Taft, W.H., in boyhood, 34
Thoreau, Henry D., in his early time, 235
"Tippecanoe and Tyler too," 2
Treitschke, von, at Heidelberg, 205

U

Uhlan, the young, of Erfurt, 145
Union, value of its triumph in the Civil War, 327
Universities, of Germany, in 1870, 119

V

Victoria, Crown Princess of Prussia, 139

W

Webster, Daniel, his last speech in Faneuil Hall, 10; his
"big way," 11; his "Liberty and Union, now and
forever," 12
Weimar, the young grenadier of, 145
West Pointers and civilians in the Civil War, 33
Whitman, Walt, and Emerson, 250
Wilhelm der Grosse, Kaiser, 138
Wilhelm II., Kaiser, 139
Wilson, James H., 49
Winsor, Justin, as youth and man, 167
Winthrop, Robert C., his ability and conservatism, 17; as
master of the feast, 18
Wright, H.G., 57

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