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  • 06/1859
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could not presume upon his good standing with her and remain silent. Growing desperate, he ventured once more.

“Miss Sandford, I know very well the depth of your hate towards me, as well as your capacity for misrepresentation. If you desire to have the history of our intimacy dragged to the light, I, for my part, am willing. But don’t think your sex will screen you, if you continue the calumnies you have begun.–You, Alice, must judge between us. And in almost every point, Mrs. Sandford, your friend and her sister-in-law, will be able to support my statements.”

The servant returned to say that “Mrs. Sandford must be excused.”

Greenleaf turned upon the adversary with a triumphant glance.

“A palpable trick,” she exclaimed. “You gave the servant a signal: you were unwilling to have us confronted. You have filled her ears with scandal about me.”

“Not a word; she can hear a plenty about you in any circle where you are known, without coming to me. And so far from giving any signal, I should be rejoiced to show Alice how easily an honest woman’s testimony will put your monstrous effrontery to shame.”

Alice here interposed,–her resolute spirit manifest in spite of her trembling voice,–

“I have heard this too long already; I don’t wish to be the subject of this lady’s jests, and I don’t desire her advice. Your quarrel does not concern me,–at least, not so deeply that I wish to have it repeated in my presence. Mr. Greenleaf, let me bid you good-morning.”

She moved away with a simple dignity, bowing with marked coolness to the former rival.

“Stay, Alice,” said Greenleaf. “Let me not be thrust aside in this way. Miss Sandford, now that she has done what mischief she can, will go away and enjoy the triumph. I beg of you, stay and let me set myself right.”

Miss Sandford laughed heartily,–a laugh that made Greenleaf shiver.

“Not to-day, Mr. Greenleaf,” she answered. “I have need of rest and reflection. I am not used to scenes like this, and my brain is in a whirl.”

The first flush of excitement was over, and it was with difficulty that she found her way through the hall. Easelmann was coming down, and saw her hesitating step and her tremulous grasp upon the rail; he sprang down four steps at a time, caught her before she fell, and carried her in his arms like a child up to Mrs. Sandford’s room.

Greenleaf was so completely absorbed by the danger of losing the last hold upon Alice, that he forgot his most excusable anger against the vindictive woman who still lingered, enjoying her victory. He sank into a chair, buried his face in his hands, and for some time neither looked up nor replied to her taunts.

“Come, now,” said she, “don’t take it so hard. Is my handsome sister-in-law obdurate? Never mind; don’t be desolate; other women will be kind,–for you are just the man to attract sentimental damsels. Cheer up! you will find a new affinity before night, I haven’t a doubt.”

Roused at length, Greenleaf stood up before the mocking fiend, so radiant in her evil smiles, and said,–

“You enemy of all that is good, what brought you here? Keep in your own sphere, if there is one for you in this world.”

“I came to see my sister, as you know. It was a most unexpected pleasure to meet you. I came to tell her that brother Henry has either run away or killed himself, it doesn’t matter which.”

“Pray, follow him. I assure you we shall mourn your absence as bitterly as you do his.”

“Well, good-bye,” she said, still laughing in the same terrible tone. “Better luck next time.”

The door closed upon her, and Greenleaf drew a long breath–with a sense of infinite relief.

“Come,” said Easelmann, entering a moment later,–“come, let us go. We have done quite enough for one day. You wouldn’t take my advice, and a pretty mess you have made of it.”

CHAPTER XXXII.

When the remains of John Fletcher were borne to the grave, the memory of his faults was buried with him. “Poor fellow!” was the general ejaculation in State Street,–at once his _requiescat_ and epitaph. But the great wheels of business moved on; Bulls and Bears kept up their ever-renewing conflicts and their secret machinations; new gladiators stepped into the ring; new crowds waited the turn of the wheel of Fortune; and new Fletchers were ready to sacrifice themselves, if need were, for the Bullions of the exchange. Who believes in the efficacy of “lessons”? What public execution ever deterred the murderer from his design? What spectacle of drunkenness ever restrained the youthful debauchee? What accession, however notable, to the ranks of “the unfortunate” ever made the fascinated woman pause in her first steps toward ruin?

No,–human nature remains the same; and the erring ones, predestined to sin by their own unrestrained passions, wait only for the overmastering circumstances to yield and fall. When any of these solemn warnings are held up to the yet callow sinner, what does he propose to do? To stop and repent? No,–to be a little more careful and not be caught.

Not that precepts and examples are useless. All together go to make up the moral government of the world,–pervading like the atmosphere, and like it resting with uniform pressure upon the earth. Crime and folly will always have their exemplars, but retribution furnishes the restraining influence that keeps evil down to its average. As locks and bolts are made for honest men, not for thieves, so the moral law and its penalties are for those who have never openly sinned.

If Mr. Bullion had been ten times the Shylock he was, he could not have disregarded the last injunction of Fletcher. The turn in the market enabled him to make advantageous sales of his stocks, and in less than a week he resumed payment. The first thing he did was to pay over to trustees the notes he had given Fletcher, thereby securing the widow at least a decent support. He also sent Danforth & Co. the ten thousand dollars for which their clerk had paid such a terrible forfeiture. After discharging all his obligations, there was still an ample margin left,–a large fortune, in fact. Mr. Bullion could now retire with comfort,–could look forward to many years; so he flattered himself. His will was made, his children provided for; and some unsettled accounts, not remembered by any save himself and the recording angel, were adjusted as well as the lapse of time would allow. So he thought of purchasing a country-house for the next season, and of giving the rest of his days to the enjoyment of life.

But it was not so to be. A swift and sudden stroke smote him down. In the dead of night, and alone, he met the angel for whose summons all of us are waiting, and went his way without a struggle. The morning sun, as its rays shot in between the blinds, lighted the seamed and careworn face of an old man, resting as in a serene, dreamless sleep.

* * * * *

Mr. Tonsor found, on consulting the best legal authorities, that he could not maintain his claim upon the notes he had received of Sandford; and, rather than subject himself to the expense of a lawsuit in which he was certain to be beaten, he relinquished them to Monroe, and filed his claim for the money against Sandford’s estate. Ten _per cent._ was the amount of the dividend he received; the remainder was charged to Profit and Loss,–Experience being duly credited with the same amount.

* * * * *

It was with the greatest difficulty that the judicious Easelmann prevented his friend from making a second visit in the evening of the same day. Greenleaf had come to a full conviction, in his own mind, that his difference with Alice ought to be settled, and he could not conceive that it might take time to bring her to the same conclusion. Some people adapt themselves to circumstances instantly; the aversion of one hour becomes the delight of the next; but those who are guided by reasoning, especially where there is a shade of resentment,–who are fortified by pride of opinion, and by the idea of consistent self-respect,–such persons are slow to change a settled conviction; the course of feeling is too powerful and too constant to be arrested and turned backward. Easelmann thought–and perhaps rightly–that Alice needed only time to become accustomed to the new view of the case; and he believed that any precipitation might be fatal to his friend’s hopes.

“Give her the opportunity to think about it,” he said; “if she loves you, depend upon it, the wind will change with her. Due east to-day, according to all you have told me; and the violets won’t blossom till the sun comes out of the sullen gray cloud and the south wind breathes on them.–The very contact with a lover, you see, makes me poetical.”

“But her thoughts may take another direction. Who can tell what impression that malicious vixen has made upon her?”

“Alice, I fancy, is a sensible young woman; and Miss Sandford, in her rage, must have shown her hand too freely. To be sure, Alice might wonder how you could ever have been captivated; but she could not blame you for getting out of reach of such a Tartar. Besides, the exemplary widow is your friend, you know, and I’ll warrant that she will set the matter right. Marcia won’t trouble you again; such a mischance couldn’t happen twice. You are as safe as the sailor who put his head into the hole where a cannon-shot had just come through. Lightning doesn’t strike the same tree twice in one shower.”

Greenleaf was at length persuaded to wait and let events take their course. If he remained inactive, however, Easelmann did not; from Mrs. Sandford he heard daily the progress of affairs, and at length intimated to his friend that it might be judicious to call again.

Once more Greenleaf was seated in the drawing-room of the boarding-house. At every distant footstep his heart beat almost audibly; and when at last the breezy rustle of a woman’s robes came in from the hall, he thought, as many a man has, before and since,–

“She is coming, my life, my fate!”

She entered, not with the welcoming smile he would have liked to see, nor with the forbidding cloud of sadness which veiled her face a few days before. But how lovely! Time had given fulness and perfection to her beauty, while the effect of the trials she had undergone was seen only in the look of womanly dignity and self-control she had acquired. It was the freshness of girlhood joined to the grace of maturity.

Nothing is more inscrutable than the working of the human will; argument does not reach it, nor does persuasion overcome it. It holds out against reason, against interest, against passion; no sufficient motive can be found with which to control it. On the other hand, it sometimes stoops in a way that defies prediction; pride is vanquished or disarmed, resentment melts away like frost, and the resolution that at first seemed firm as the everlasting rock proves to be no barrier. Nor is this uncertainty confined to the sex at whose foibles the satirists have been wont to let fly their arrows.

Feeling is deeper than thought; and as the earthquake lifts the mountain with all the weight of its rocky strata and of the piled-up edifices that crown its top, so there comes a time when the emotional nature rises up and overthrows the carefully wrought structures of the intellect, and asserts its original and supreme mastery over the soul of man.

Alice felt sure that every trace of her love for Greenleaf had disappeared. She looked in her heart and saw there only the memory of neglect and unfaithfulness. If love existed, it was as fire lurks in ashes, unrecognized. She had conversed freely with Mrs. Sandford, and learned that Greenleaf’s version of the story was the correct one. Still the original treason remained without apology; and she had determined to express her regret for what had happened, to assure him of her friendship, but to forbid any hope of reestablishing their former relations. With this intention, she bade him good-morning and quietly took a seat.

“I did not think that so many days would pass before I should see you; but now that you have had time to reflect, I hope your feelings have softened towards me.”

“You mistake, if you suppose that giving me time for reflection has produced any such change.”

“Then, pray, forget the past altogether.”

“I cannot forget.”

“If your memory must be busy, pray, go back to the pleasanter days of our acquaintance.”

“I remember the days you speak of; I shall never forget them; but it is a happiness that is dead and buried.”

“Love will make it live again.”

“It is hard to recognize love when it comes like Lazarus from the tomb.”

“Still we don’t read that the friends of Lazarus were displeased with his return and wished him back to his grave-clothes.”

“You can turn the comparison as you choose; but it is not necessary that an illustration should be perfect in every respect; if one catches a gleam of resemblance, it is enough.”

The perfect command of her faculties, and the deliberate way in which she sustained her part in the conversation, thus far, were sufficiently disheartening to Greenleaf. He longed to change the tone, but feared to lose all by any rapid advance. He answered deprecatingly,–“But all this intellectual fencing, my dear Alice, is useless. Love is not a spark to be struck out by the collision of arguments; I shall in vain try to _reason_ you into affection for me. I have already said all I can say by way of apology for what I have done. If there yet lingers any particle of regard for me in your heart, I would fain revive it. If it is your pride that withstands me, I pray you consider whether it is well to make us both unhappy in order to maintain so poor a triumph. I am already conquered, and throw myself upon your generosity.”

“You would put me in the wrong, then, and ascribe my refusal to an ungenerous pride? Is it generous in you to do so? Have you the right to place such a construction upon my conduct? I appeal to you in return. Remember, it is you who are responsible for this painful interview. I never sought you to cover you with reproaches. You force me to say what I would gladly leave in silence.”

“Forgive me, Alice, if I wrong you; but my heart clings to you and will not be repulsed. I would fain believe, that, beneath all your natural resentment, there yet survives some portion of the love you once bore to me. If it were the first time I had ever approached you, a sense of delicacy, to say nothing of my own self-respect, would have prevented my importuning you in this way. But my fault has given me warrant to be bold, and if you finally cast me off,–but that is what I won’t anticipate; I can’t give you up. You once loved me,–and am I not the same?”

“No, not the same; or, rather, you have proved to be not what I thought.”

“You persist in fixing your attention upon one dark spot. Do you remember this miniature? It has never been out of my bosom, and there has never been but one day in which I might not loyally carry it there. At that time, when I opened it, your eyes looked out at me with a tender reproach, and I was instantly recalled to myself. It was only the illusion of a moment, through which I had passed. Whatever may happen, I have one consolation: this dear image will remind me of the love I once possessed. I shall fold to my bosom the Alice that once was mine, and strive to forget our estrangement.”

Alice was sensibly touched by this appeal, and much more by the tone in which it was made. In the momentary pause, Greenleaf raised his eyes and saw the struggle in her face. He rose, came nearer, and quietly took a seat on the sofa beside her.

“I heard you distinctly where you sat,” she said, making an effort to keep down the tumult within, and shrinking, perhaps, from the influence of his presence.

“I wished to hear you, dear Alice, and therefore came nearer. Tell me, are you not mistaken? You have not forgotten me: you do love me yet. Let your heart speak; if you imprison it and force the dissembling lips to deny me, the dear traitor will make signals: it looks out of your eyes now.”

He seized and imprisoned her hand, and still watched the current of feeling in her face.

“I thought myself strong enough for this,” she said, tremblingly, “but I am not. I meant only to say that we would part—-friends, but that we must part. It is not so easy to be calm, when you distract me so.”

“Alice, you only deceive yourself; you love me. You have covered the spring in your heart with snow, but the fountain still flows underneath.”

Her tears could be kept back no longer; they fell not like November rain, but rather like those sudden showers of spring from passing clouds, while the blue sky still looks down, and rainbow smiles transfigure the landscape.

His heart gave a mighty throb as those softly humid eyes were turned upon him. He drew her, half consenting, still nearer. She hesitated, but not long.

* * * * *

“Hard a-port!” shouts the master; and the helmsman, with firm hand, holds down the wheel. Slowly the ship veers; the sails flutter and back, the yards are swung; waves strive to head the bow off, but the rudder is held with iron grasp; now comes the wind, the shaking sails fill with the sudden rush, and the ship bounds on her new course over the heaving waters.

Shall I fill out the comparison? Not for you, elders, who have seen the struggle of “tacking ship,” and have felt the ecstatic swell of delight when it was accomplished! Not for the younger, who must learn for themselves the seamanship that is to carry them safely over the mysterious ocean on whose shore they have lingered and gazed and wished!

The conversation that followed it would be vain to report, even if it were possible; for the force of ejaculations depends so much on _tone_,–which our types do not know how to convey; and their punctuation-marks, I fear, were such as are not in use in any well-regulated printing-office. In due time it came to an end; and when Greenleaf took his unwilling departure, having repeatedly said good-bye, with the usual confirmation, he could no more remember what had been said in that miraculous hour than a bee flying home from a garden could tell you about the separate blossoms from which he (the Sybarite!) had gathered his freight of flower-dust.

One thing only he heard which the wisely incurious reader will care to know. Alice had met her cousin, Walter Monroe, the day before, had received a proper scolding for her absurd independence, and, after a frank settlement of the heart-question which came up on the day of her flight, had promised at once to return to his house,–where, for the brief remainder of our story, she is to be found. Let us wish her joy,–and the kind, motherly aunt, also.

Greenleaf went directly to Easelmann’s room, opened the door, and spread his arms.

“Have you a strawberry-mark?” he shouted.

“No.”

“Then you are my long-lost brother! Come to my arms!”

Easelmann laughed long and loudly.

“Forgive my nonsense, Easelmann. I know I am beside myself and ready for any extravagance,–I am so full of joy. I feared, in coming along the street, that I should break out into singing, or fall to dancing, like the Scriptural hills.”

“Then you have succeeded, and the girl is yours! I forgive your stupid old joke. You can say and do just what you like. You have a right to be jolly, and to make a prodigious fool of yourself, if you want to. I should like to have heard you. You were very poetical, quoted Tennyson, fell on your knees, and perhaps blubbered a little. You _are_ sentimental, you know.”

“I am happy, I know, and I don’t care whether you think me sentimental or not.”

“Well, I wish you joy anyhow. Let us make a night of it. ‘It is our royal pleasure to be’–imagine the rest of the line. ‘Now is the winter of our discontent.’ ‘My bosom’s lord sits lightly on his throne.’ Come, let us make ready, and we’ll talk till

“‘Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day Stands tiptoe on the misty’–

“misty steeple of Park-Street Church,–since we haven’t any misty mountaintops in the neighborhood.”

“One would think _you_ the happy man.”

“I am; your enthusiasm is so contagious that I am back in my twenties again.”

“Why do you take your pleasure vicariously? There is Mrs. Sandford, the charming woman; I love her, because”–

“No, Sir, not her,–one is enough.”

“Then why not love her yourself? We’ll make a double-barrelled shot of it,–two couples brought down by one parson.”

“Very ingenious, and economical, too; but I think not. It is too late. I was brought up in the country, and I don’t think it good policy to begin agricultural operations in the fall of the year; my spring has past. But is the day fixed? When are you to be the truly happy man?”

“No,–the day is not fixed,” said Greenleaf, thoughtfully. “You see, I was so bent upon the settlement of the difficulty, that I had not considered the practical bearing of the matter. I am too poor to marry, and I am heartsick at the prospect of waiting”–

“With the chance of another rupture.”

“No,–we shall not quarrel again. But I shall go to work. I’ll inundate the town with pictures; if I can’t sell them myself, I will have Jews to peddle them for me.”

“Hear the mercenary man! No,–go to work in earnest, but put your life into your pictures. If you can keep up your present glow, you will be warmer than Cuyp, dreamier than Claude, more imaginative than Millais.”

“But the desperate long interval!”

“I don’t know about that. I quite like the philosophy of Mr. Micawber, and strenuously believe in something turning up.”

“What is that?” asked Greenleaf, noticing a letter on his friend’s table. “It seems to be addressed to me.”

“Yes,–I met a lawyer to-day, who asked me if I knew one George Greenleaf. As I did, he gave me the letter. Some dun, probably, or threat of a suit. I wouldn’t open it. Don’t!”

“You only make me curious. I shall open it. To-day I can defy a dun even from–What, what’s this? Bullion dead?–left in his will a bequest-forty thousand–to _me_?”

Easelmann looked over his friend’s shoulder with well-simulated astonishment.

“Sure enough; there it is, in black and white.–What do you think of Micawber?”

“I think,” said Greenleaf, with manly tears in his eyes, “that you are the artfullest, craftiest, hugger-muggering, dear old rascal that ever lived. Now let me embrace you in good earnest. Oh, Easelmann, this is too much! Here is Alice–mine! Here is Europe, that I have looked at as I would heaven, beyond reach in this life! _Now_ we will go to work; and let Cuyp, Claude, and the rest of them, look out for their laurels!”

“Softly, my boy; you squeeze like a cider-press. But how came the old miser to give you this?”

“My father was his partner; he was thought to be worth a handsome sum while he lived,–but at his death, though Bullion and another junior went on with the business, there was nothing left for us. My mother died poor. I am the only child living. This, I suppose, is the return for the property that Bullion wrongfully detained,–with compound interest, too, I should say. Let us not speak ill of the dead. He has made restitution and squared the books; I hope the correction has been made above.”

“How lucky for you that Bullion was your banker! Suppose you had grown up with the expectation of having this money, what would you have been good for? You would have run all to patent-leather boots, silky moustaches, and black-tan terriers. Your struggles have developed your muscles, metaphorically speaking, and made a man of you.”

“Two sides to that question. It is true, luxury might have spoiled me, for I am accessible to such influences; but, on the other hand, I should have escaped some painful things. No one who has not been poor can understand me, can know the wounds which a sensitive man must receive as he is working his way up in the world,–wounds that leave lasting scars, too. I am conscious of certain feelings, most discreditable, if I were to avow them, which have been cultivated in me, and which will probably cling to me all my days. What I have gained in hardiness I have gained as the smith gains his strength, at the expense of symmetry, sensibility, and grace.”

“Nonsense, you mimosa! Don’t curl up your leaves before you are touched.”

“But if I am a sensitive-plant, as you say, I can’t help it; if I were a burdock, I might.”

“You’ll get over that. By-the-by, you may as well tell Alice. I know you will be uneasy; go, go,–but come back soon. It is jolly that she accepted you poor; if the report had got abroad, you might have thought she was influenced by golden reasons.”

“That’s because you don’t know her, my cynical friend. She is incapable of mercenary motives.”

“‘What female heart can gold despise? What cat’s averse to fish?'”

“Well, for an hour, good-bye. Have a good fire and the pipes ready.”

“Yes, truly,–and a magnum, if my closet is not empty. The king will drink to Hamlet.”

* * * * *

Little more remains to be told. After the long period of probation, it was not deemed necessary that the nuptials should be deferred beyond the time necessary to make due preparation. In a month the wedding took place at Mr. Monroe’s house, Mr. Easelmann giving away the bride. I do not say that the bachelor felt no twinges when he saw among the guests the lovely Mrs. Sandford in her becoming white robes; in fact, he “thought seriously,” as all such people do while there remains even the recollection of youth–but his habits were too fixed. He saw and sighed, and that was all. However, he is on the right side of—-forty, we will call it, and there is hope for him. We may find him in some adventure yet; if so, the reader shall assuredly know it.

In the spring, Greenleaf with his wife went abroad and took up their residence in Rome.

“What pictures has he painted?” did you ask?

Really, Madam, a great many; but I have not the least idea of letting you come at the name of my hero in this way. You have seen them both here and in New York, and you thought them the productions of a rising man,–as they are.

* * * * *

Our friend Monroe is now a partner in the house of Lindsay & Co. He makes frequent visits to the villa at Brookline, and is always welcome. Mr. Lindsay considers him a most sensible and worthy young man, and his daughter Clara has implicit confidence in his judgment of literature as well as in his taste for pictures. One fine day last summer, Mrs. Monroe was prevailed upon, after some weeks of solicitation, to get into a carriage and take a drive with her son. “She’s a nice girl,” said the mother, fervently, on their return; “and if you _must_ marry anybody, I don’t think you can do better.” Walter’s smile showed that he thought so too, although the alternative was hardly so painful as she seemed to consider it,–from which we infer that his relations with the senior partner of the house have become, or will be, still more intimate.

Mrs. Sandford has left Boston and gone to live with her relatives some fifty miles distant;–the place Mr. Easelmann can tell, as he has had occasion to send her a few letters.

The personages of our drama are all dismissed; the curtain begins to fall; but a voice is heard, “What became of the Bulls and Bears?” What became of Mars and Minerva after the siege of Troy? Men die; but the deities, infernal as well as celestial, live on. Fortunes may rise like Satan’s _chef d’oeuvre_ of architecture, may be transported from city to city like the palace of Aladdin, or may sink into salt-water lots as did the Cities of the Plain; success may wait upon commerce and the arts, or desolation may cover the land; still, surviving all change, and profiting alike by prosperity and by calamity, the secret, unfathomable agents in all human enterprises will remain the BULLS AND BEARS.

* * * * *

THE SPHINX.

Go not to Thebes. The Sphinx is there; And thou shalt see her beauty rare,
And thee the sorcery of her smile
To read her riddle shall beguile.

Oh! woe to those who fail to read!
And woe to him who shall succeed!
For he who fails the truth to show The terror of her wrath shall know:

But should’st thou find her mystery, Not less is Death assured to thee;
For she shall cease, and thou shalt sigh That she no longer is, and die.

A CHARGE WITH PRINCE RUPERT.

“Thousands were there, in darker fame that dwell, Whose deeds some nobler poem shall adorn; And though to me unknown, they sure fought well, Whom Rupert led, and who were British-born.”

DRYDEN.

I.

THE MARCH. JUNE 17, 1643.

Last night the Canary wine flashed in the red Venice glasses on the oaken tables of the hall; loud voices shouted and laughed till the clustered hawk-bells jingled from the rafters, and the chaplain’s fiddle throbbed responsive from the wall; while the coupled stag-hounds fawned unnoticed, and the watchful falcon whistled to himself unheard. In the carved chairs lounged groups of revellers, dressed in scarlet, dressed in purple, dressed in white and gold, gay with satins and ribbons, gorgeous with glittering chains and jewelled swords: stern, manly faces, that had been singed with powder in the Palatinate; brutal, swarthy faces, knowing all that sack and sin could teach them; beautiful, boyish faces, fresh from ancestral homes and high-born mothers; grave, sad faces,–sad for undoubted tyranny, grave against the greater wrong of disloyalty. Some were in council, some were in strife, many were in liquor; the parson was there with useless gravity, and the jester with superfluous folly; and in the outer hall men more plebeian drained the brown October from pewter cans, which were beaten flat, next moment, in hammering the loud drinking-chorus on the wall; while the clink of the armorer still went on, repairing the old head-pieces and breastplates which had hung untouched since the Wars of the Roses; and in the doorway the wild Welsh recruits crouched with their scythes and their cudgels, and muttered in their uncouth dialect, now a prayer to God; and now a curse for their enemy.

But to-day the inner hall is empty, the stag-hounds leap in the doorway, the chaplain prays, the maidens cluster in the windows, beneath the soft beauty of the June afternoon. The streets of Oxford resound with many hoofs; armed troopers are gathering beside chapel and quadrangle, gateway and tower; the trumpeter waves his gold and crimson trappings, and blows, “To the Standard,”–for the great flag is borne to the front, and Rupert and his men are mustering for a night of danger beneath that banner of “Tender and True.”

With beat of drum, with clatter of hoof, and rattle of spur and scabbard, tramping across old Magdalen Bridge, cantering down the hill-sides, crashing through the beech-woods, echoing through the chalky hollows, ride leisurely the gay Cavaliers. Some in new scarfs and feathers, worthy of the “show-troop,”–others with torn laces, broken helmets, and guilty red smears on their buff doublets;–some eager for their first skirmish,–others weak and silent, still bandaged from the last one;–discharging now a rattle of contemptuous shot at some closed Puritan house, grim and stern as its master,–firing anon as noisy a salute, as they pass some mansion where a high-born beauty dwells,–on they ride. Leaving the towers of Oxford behind them, keeping the ancient Roman highway, passing by the low, strong, many-gabled farmhouses, with rustic beauties smiling at the windows and wiser fathers scowling at the doors,–on they ride. To the Royalists, these troopers are “Prince Robert and the hope of the nation”;–to the Puritans, they are only “Prince Robber and his company of rake-shames.”

Riding great Flanders horses, a flagon swung on one side of the large padded saddle, and a haversack on the other,–booted to the thigh, and girded with the leathern bandoleer, supporting cartridge-box and basket-hilted sword, they are a picturesque and a motley troop. Some wear the embroidered buffcoat over the coat of mail, others beneath it,–neither having yet learned that the buffcoat alone is sabre-proof and bullet-proof also. Scantily furnished with basinet or breastplate, pot, haqueton, cuirass, pouldron, taslets, vambraces, or cuisses,–each with the best piece of iron he could secure when the ancestral armory was ransacked,–they yet care little for the deficit, remembering, that, when they first rode down the enemy at Worcester, there was not a piece of armor on their side, while the Puritans were armed to a man. There are a thousand horsemen under Percy and O’Neal, armed with swords, pole-axes, and petronels; this includes Rupert’s own lifeguard of chosen men. Lord Wentworth, with Innis and Washington, leads three hundred and fifty dragoons,–dragoons of the old model, intended to fight either on foot or on horseback, whence the name they bear, and the emblematic dragon which adorns their carbines. The advanced guard, or “forlorn hope,” of a hundred horse and fifty dragoons, is commanded by Will Legge, Rupert’s life-long friend and correspondent; and Herbert Lunsford leads the infantry, “the inhuman cannibal foot,” as the Puritan journals call them. There are five hundred of these, in lightest marching order, and carrying either pike or arquebuse,–this last being a matchlock musket with an iron rest to support it, and a lance combined, to resist cavalry,–the whole being called “Swine (Swedish) feathers,”–a weapon so clumsy, that the Cavaliers say a Puritan needs two years’ practice to discharge one without winking. And over all these float flags of every hue and purport, from the blue and gold with its loyal “_Ut rex, sit rex_” to the ominous crimson, flaming with a lurid furnace and the terrible motto, “_Quasi ignis conflatoris_.”

And foremost rides Prince Rupert, darling of fortune and of war, with his beautiful and thoughtful face of twenty-three, stern and bronzed already, yet beardless and dimpled, his dark and passionate eyes, his long love-locks drooping over costly embroidery, his graceful scarlet cloak, his white-plumed hat, and his tall and stately form, which, almost alone in the army, has not yet known a wound. His high-born beauty is preserved to us forever on the canvas of Vandyck, and as the Italians have named the artist “Il Pittore Cavalieresco,” so will this subject of his skill remain forever the ideal of Il Cavaliere Pittoresco. And as he now rides at the head of this brilliant array, his beautiful white dog bounds onward joyously beside him, that quadruped renowned in the pamphlets of the time, whose snowy skin has been stained by many a blood-drop in the desperate forays of his master, but who has thus far escaped so safely that the Puritans believe him a familiar spirit, and try to destroy him “by poyson and extempore prayer, which yet hurt him no more than the plague plaster did Mr. Pym.” Failing in this, they pronounce the pretty creature to be “a divell, not a very downright divell, but some Lapland ladye, once by nature a handsome white ladye, now by art a handsome white dogge.”

The Civil War is begun. The King has made his desperate attempt to arrest the five members of Parliament, and been checkmated by Lucy Carlisle. So the fatal standard was reared, ten months ago, on that dismal day at Nottingham,–the King’s arms, quartered with a bloody hand pointing to the crown, and the red battle-flag above;–blown down disastrously at night, replaced sadly in the morning, to wave while the Cavaliers rallied, slowly, beneath its folds. During those long months, the King’s fortunes have had constant and increasing success,–a success always greatest when Rupert has been nearest. And now this night-march is made to avenge a late attack, of unaccustomed audacity, from Essex, and to redeem the threat of Rupert to pass in one night through the whole country held by the enemy, and beat up the most distant quarters of the Roundheads.

II.

THE CONDITION OF THE TIMES.

It is no easy thing to paint, with any accurate shadings, this opening period of the English Revolution. Looking habitually, as we do, at the maturer condition of the two great parties, we do not remember how gradual was their formation. The characters of Cavalier and Roundhead were not more the cause than the consequence of civil strife. There is no such chemical solvent as war; where it finds a mingling of two alien elements, it leaves them permanently severed. At the opening of hostilities, the two parties were scarcely distinguishable, in externals, from each other. Arms, costume, features, phrases, manners, were as yet common to both sides. On the battlefield, spies could pass undetected from one army to the other. At Edgehill, Chalgrove, and even Naseby, men and standards were captured and rescued, through the impossibility of distinguishing between the forces. An orange scarf, or a piece of white paper, was the most reliable designation. True, there was nothing in the Parliamentary army so gorgeous as Sir John Suckling’s troop in Scotland, with their white doublets and scarlet hats and plumes; but that bright company substituted the white feather for the red one, in 1639, and rallied no more. Yet even the Puritans came to battle in attire which would have seemed preposterously gaudy to the plain men of our own Revolution. The London regiment of Hollis wore red, in imitation of the royal colors, adopted to make wounds less conspicuous. Lord Say’s regiment wore blue, in imitation of the Covenanters, who took it from Numbers, xv. 38; Hampden’s men wore green; Lord Brooke’s purple; Colonel Ballard’s gray. Even the hair afforded far less distinction than we imagine, since there is scarcely a portrait of a leading Parliamentarian which has not a display of tresses such as would now appear the extreme of foppery; and when the remains of Hampden himself were disinterred within twenty-five years, the body was at first taken for a woman’s, from the exceeding length and beauty of the hair.

But every year of warfare brought a change. On the King’s side, the raiment grew more gorgeous amid misfortunes; on the Parliament’s, it became sadder with every success. The Royalists took up feathers and oaths, in proportion as the Puritans laid them down; and as the tresses of the Cavaliers waved more luxuriantly, the hair of the Roundheads was more scrupulously shorn. And the same instinctive exaggeration was constantly extending into manners and morals also. Both sides became ostentatious; the one made the most of its dissoluteness, and the other of its decorum. The reproachful names applied derisively to the two parties became fixed distinctions. The word “Roundhead” was first used early in 1642, though whether it originated with Henrietta Maria or with David Hyde is disputed. And Charles, in his speech before the battle of Edgehill, in October of the same year, mentioned the name “Cavalier” as one bestowed “in a reproachful sense,” and one “which our enemies have striven to make odious.”

And all social as well as moral prejudices gradually identified themselves with this party division. As time passed on, all that was high-born in England gravitated more and more to the royal side, while the popular cause enlisted the Londoners, the yeomanry, and those country-gentlemen whom Mrs. Hutchinson styled the “worsted-stocking members.” The Puritans gradually found themselves excluded from the manorial halls, and the Cavaliers (a more inconvenient privation) from the blacksmiths’ shops. Languishing at first under aristocratic leadership, the cause of the Parliament first became strong when the Self-denying Ordinance abolished all that weakness. Thus the very sincerity of the civil conflict drew the lines deeper; had the battles been fought by mercenaries, like the contemporary Continental wars, there would have grown up a less hearty mutual antipathy, but a far more terrible demoralization. As it was, the character of the war was, on the whole, a humane one; few towns were sacked or destroyed, the harvests were bounteous and freely gathered, and the population increased during the whole period. But the best civil war is fearfully injurious. In this case, virtues and vices were found on both sides; and it was only the gradual preponderance which finally stamped on each party its own historic reputation. The Cavaliers confessed to “the vices of men,–love of wine and women”; but they charged upon their opponents “the vices of devils,–hypocrisy and spiritual pride.” Accordingly, the two verdicts have been recorded in the most delicate of all registers,–language. For the Cavaliers added to the English vocabulary the word _plunder_, and the Puritans the word _cant_.

Yet it is certain that at the outset neither of these peculiarities was monopolized by either party. In abundant instances, the sins changed places,–Cavaliers canted, and Puritans plundered. That is, if by cant we understand the exaggerated use of Scripture language which originated with the reverend gentleman of that name, it was an offence in which both sides participated. Clarendon, reviewing the Presbyterian discourses, quoted text against text with infinite relish. Old Judge Jenkins, could he have persuaded the “House of Rimmon,” as he called Parliament, to hang him, would have swung the Bible triumphantly to his neck by a ribbon, to show the unscriptural character of their doings. Charles himself, in one of his early addresses to his army, denounced the opposing party as “Brownists, Anabaptists, and Atheists,” and in his address to the city of London pleaded in favor of his own “godly, learned, and painfull preachers.” Every royal regiment had its chaplain, including in the service such men as Pearson and Jeremy Taylor, and they had prayers before battle, as regularly and seriously as their opponents. “After solemn prayers at the head of every division, I led my part away,” wrote the virtuous Sir Bevill Grenvill to his wife, after the battle of Bradock. Rupert, in like manner, had prayers before every division at Marston Moor. To be sure, we cannot always vouch for the quality of these prayers, when the chaplain happened to be out of the way and the colonel was his substitute. “O Lord,” petitioned stout Sir Jacob Astley, at Edgehill, “thou knowest how busy I must be this day; if I forget thee, do not thou forget me!”–after which, he rose up, crying, “March on, boys!”

And as the Puritans had not the monopoly of prayer, so the Cavaliers did not monopolize plunder. Of course, when civil war is once begun, such laxity is mere matter of self-defence. If the Royalists unhorsed the Roundheads, the latter must horse themselves again, as best they could. If Goring “uncattled” the neighborhood of London, Major Medhope must be ordered to “uncattle” the neighborhood of Oxford. Very possibly individual animals were identified with the right side or the wrong side, to be spared or confiscated in consequence;–as in modern Kansas, during a similar condition of things, one might hear men talk of a pro-slavery colt, or an anti-slavery cow. And the precedent being established, each party could use the smallest excesses of the other side to palliate the greatest of its own. No use for the King to hang two of Rupert’s men for stealing, when their commander could urge in extenuation the plunder of the house of Lady Lucas, and the indignities offered by the Roundheads to the Countess of Rivers. Why spare the churches as sanctuaries for the enemy, when rumor accused that enemy (right or wrong) of hunting cats in those same churches with hounds, or baptizing dogs and pigs in ridicule of the consecrated altars? Setting aside these charges as questionable, we cannot so easily dispose of the facts which rest on actual Puritan testimony. If, even after the Self-denying Ordinance, the “Perfect Occurrences” repeatedly report soldiers of the Puritan army, as cashiered for drunkenness, rudeness to women, pilfering, and defrauding innkeepers, it is inevitable to infer that in earlier and less stringent times they did the same undetected or unpunished. When Mrs. Hutchinson describes a portion of the soldiers on her own side as “licentious, ungovernable wretches,”–when Sir Samuel Luke, in his letters, depicts the glee with which his men plunder the pockets of the slain,–when poor John Wolstenholme writes to head-quarters that his own compatriots have seized all his hay and horses, “so that his wife cannot serve God with the congregation but in frosty weather,”–when Vicars in “Jehovah Jireh” exults over the horrible maiming and butchery wrought by the troopers upon the officers’ wives and female camp-followers at Naseby,–it is useless to attribute exaggeration to the other side. In civil war, even the humanest, there is seldom much opening for exaggeration,–the actual horrors being usually quite as vivid as any imaginations of the sufferers, especially when, as in this case, the spiritual instructors preach, on the one side, from “Curse ye Meroz,” and, on the other side, from “Cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood.”

We mention these things, not because they are deliberately denied by anybody, but because they are apt to be overlooked by those who take their facts at secondhand. All this does not show that the Puritans had, even at the outset, worse men or a cause no better; it simply shows that war demoralizes, and that right-thinking men may easily, under its influence, slide into rather reprehensible practices. At a later period the evil worked its own cure, among the Puritans, and the army of Cromwell was a moral triumph almost incredible; but at the time of which we write, the distinction was but lightly drawn. It would be easy to go farther and show that among the leading Parliamentary statesmen there were gay and witty debauchees,–that Harry Marten deserved the epithet with which Cromwell saluted him,–that Pym succeeded to the regards of Stafford’s bewitching mistress,–that Warwick was truly, as Clarendon describes him, a profuse and generous profligate, tolerated by the Puritans for the sake of his earldom and his bounty, at a time when bounty was convenient and peers scarce. But it is hardly worth while farther to demonstrate the simple and intelligible fact, that there were faults on both sides. Neither war nor any other social phenomenon can divide infallibly the sheep from the goats, or collect all the saints under one set of staff-officers and all the sinners under another.

But, on the other hand, the strength of both sides, at this early day, was in a class of serious and devoted men, who took up the sword so sadly, in view of civil strife, that victory seemed to them almost as terrible as defeat. In some, the scale of loyalty slightly inclined, and they held with the King; in others, the scale of liberty, and they served the Parliament; in both cases, with the same noble regrets at first, merging gradually into bitter alienation afterwards. “If there could be an expedient found to solve the punctilio of honor, I would not be hero an hour,” wrote Lord Robert Spencer to his wife, from the camp of the Cavaliers. Sir Edmund Verney, the King’s standard-bearer, disapproved of the royal cause, and adhered to it only because he “had eaten the King’s bread.” Lord Falkland, Charles’s Secretary of State, “sitting among his friends, often, after a deep silence and frequent sighs, would, with a shriek and sad accent, ingeminate the words, Peace! Peace!” and would prophesy for himself that death which soon came. And these words show close approximation to the positions of men honored among the Puritans, as when Sir William Waller wrote from his camp to his chivalrous opponent, Sir Ralph Hopton,–“The great God, who is the searcher of my heart, knows with what reluctance I go upon this service.”

As time passed on, the hostility between the two parties exceeded all bounds of courteous intercourse. The social distinction was constantly widening, and so was the religious antagonism. Waller could be allowed to joke with Goring and sentimentalize with Hopton,–for Waller was a gentleman, though a rebel; but it was a different thing when the Puritan gentlemen were seen to be gradually superseded by Puritan clowns. Strafford had early complained of “your Prynnes, Pims, and Bens, with the rest of that generation of odd names and natures.” But what were these to the later brood, whose plebeian quality Mr. Buckle has so laboriously explored,–Goffe the grocer and Whalley the tailor, Pride the drayman and Venner the cooper, culminating at last in Noll Cromwell the brewer? The formidable force of these upstarts only embittered the aversion. If odious when vanquished, what must they have been as victors? For if it be disagreeable to find a foeman unworthy of your steel, it is much more unpleasant when your steel turns out unworthy of the foeman; and if sad-colored Puritan raiment looked absurd upon the persons of fugitives, it must have been very particularly unbecoming when worn by conquerors.

And the growing division was constantly aggravated by very acid satire. The Court, it must be remembered, was more than half French in its general character and tone, and every Frenchman of that day habitually sneered at every Englishman as dull and inelegant. The dazzling wit that flashed for both sides in the French civil wars flashed for one only in the English; the Puritans had no comforts of that kind, save in some caustic repartee from Harry Marten, or some fearless sarcasm from Lucy Carlisle. But the Cavaliers softened labor and sweetened care with their little jokes. It was rather consoling to cover some ignominious retreat with a new epigram on Cromwell’s red nose, that irresistible member which kindled in its day as much wit as Bardolph’s,–to hail it as “Nose Immortal,” a beacon, a glow-worm, a bird of prey,–to make it stand as a personification of the rebel cause, till even the stately Montrose asked newcomers from England, “How is Oliver’s nose?” It was very entertaining to christen the Solemn League and Covenant “the constellation on the back of Aries,” because most of the signers could only make their marks on the little bits of sheepskin circulated for that purpose. It was quite lively to rebaptize Rundway Down as Run-away-down, after a royal victory, and to remark how Hazlerig’s regiment of “lobsters” turned to crabs, on that occasion, and crawled backwards. But all these pleasant follies became whips to scourge them, at last,–shifting suddenly into very grim earnest when the Royalists themselves took to running away, with truculent saints, in steeple-hats, behind them.

Oxford was the stronghold of the Cavaliers, in these times, as that of the Puritans was London. The Court itself (though here we are anticipating a little) was transferred to the academic city. Thither came Henrietta Maria, with what the pamphleteers called “her Rattle-headed Parliament of Ladies,” the beautiful Duchess of Richmond, the merry Mrs. Kirke, and brave Kate D’Aubigny. In Merton College the Queen resided; at Oriel the Privy Council was held; at Christ Church the King and Rupert were quartered; and at All Souls Jeremy Taylor was writing his beautiful meditations, in the intervals of war. In the New College quadrangle, the students were drilled to arms “in the eye of Doctor Pink,” while Mars and Venus kept undisturbed their ancient reign, although transferred to the sacred precincts of Magdalen. And amidst the passion and the pomp, the narrow streets would suddenly ring with the trumpet of some foam-covered scout, bringing tidings of perilous deeds outside; while some traitorous spy was being hanged, drawn, and quartered in some other part of the city, for betraying the secrets of the Court. And forth from the outskirts of Oxford rides Rupert on the day we are to describe, and we must still protract our pause a little longer to speak of him.

Prince Rupert, Prince Robert, or Prince Robber,–for by all these names was he known,–was the one formidable military leader on the royal side. He was not a statesman, for he was hardly yet a mature man; he was not, in the grandest sense, a hero, yet he had no quality that was not heroic. Chivalrous, brilliant, honest, generous,–neither dissolute, nor bigoted, nor cruel,–he was still a Royalist for the love of royalty, and a soldier for the love of war, and in civil strife there can hardly be a more dangerous character. Through all the blunt periods of his military or civil proclamations, we see the proud, careless boy, fighting for fighting sake, and always finding his own side the right one. He could not have much charity for the most generous opponents; he certainly had none at all for those who (as he said) printed malicious and lying pamphlets against him “almost every morning,” in which he found himself saluted as a “nest of perfidious vipers,” “a night-flying dragon prince,” “a flapdragon,” “a caterpillar,” “a spider,” and “a _butterbox_.”

He was the King’s own nephew,–great-grandson of William the Silent, and son of that Elizabeth Stuart from whom all the modern royal family of England descends. His sister was the renowned Princess Palatine, the one favorite pupil of Descartes, and the chosen friend of Leibnitz, Malebranche, and William Penn. From early childhood he was trained to war; we find him at fourteen pronounced by his tutors fit to command an army,–at fifteen, bearing away the palm in one of the last of the tournaments,–at sixteen, fighting beside the young Turenne in the Low Countries,–at nineteen, heading the advanced guard in the army of the Prince of Orange,–and at twenty-three, appearing in England, the day before the Royal Standard was reared, and the day after the King lost Coventry, because Wilmot, not Rupert, was commander of the horse. This training made him a general,–not, as many have supposed, a mere cavalry-captain;–he was one of the few men who have shown great military powers on both land and sea; he was a man of energy unbounded, industry inexhaustible, and the most comprehensive and systematic forethought. It was not merely, that, as Warwick said, “he put that spirit into the King’s army that all men seemed resolved,”–not merely, that, always charging at the head of his troops, he was never wounded, and that, seeing more service than any of his compeers, he outlived them all. But even in these early years, before he was generalissimo, the Parliament deliberately declared the whole war to be “managed by his skill, labor, and industry,” and his was the only name habitually printed in capitals in the Puritan newspapers. He had to create soldiers by enthusiasm, and feed them by stratagem,–to toil for a king who feared him, and against a queen who hated him,–to take vast responsibilities alone,–accused of negligence, if he failed, reproached with license, if he succeeded. Against him he had the wealth of London, intrusted to men who were great diplomatists, though new to power, and great soldiers, though they had never seen a battle-field till middle life; on his side he had only unmanageable lords and penniless gentlemen, who gained victories by daring, and then wasted them by license. His troops had no tents, no wagons, no military stores; they used those of the enemy. Clarendon says, that the King’s cause labored under an incurable disease of want of money, and that the only cure for starvation was a victory. To say, therefore, that Rupert’s men never starved is to say that they always conquered,–which, at this early period, was true.

He was the best shot in the army, and the best tennis-player among the courtiers, and Pepys calls him “the boldest attacker in England for personal courage.” Seemingly without reverence or religion, he yet ascribed his defeats to Satan, and, at the close of a letter about a marauding expedition, requested his friend Will Legge to pray for him. Versed in all the courtly society of the age, chosen interpreter for the wooing of young Prince Charles and La Grande Mademoiselle, and mourning in purple, with the royal family, for Marie de Medicis, he could yet mingle in any conceivable company and assume any part. He penetrated the opposing camp at Dunsmore Heath as an apple-seller, and the hostile town of Warwick as a dealer in cabbage-nets, and the pamphleteers were never weary of describing his disguises. He was charged with all manner of offences, even to slaying children with cannibal intent, and only very carelessly disavowed such soft impeachments. But no man could deny that he was perfectly true to his word; he never forgot one whom he had promised to protect, and, if he had promised to strip a man’s goods, he did it to the uttermost farthing. And so must his pledge of vengeance be redeemed to-night; and so, riding eastward, with the dying sunlight behind him and the quiet Chiltern hills before, through air softened by the gathering coolness of these midsummer eyes, beside clover fields, and hedges of wild roses, and ponds white with closing water-lilies, and pastures sprinkled with meadow-sweet, like foam,–he muses only of the clash of sword and the sharp rattle of shot, and all the passionate joys of the coming charge.

III.

THE FORAY.

The long and picturesque array winds onward, crossing Chiselhampton Bridge, (not to be re-crossed so easily,) avoiding Thame with its church and abbey, where Lord-General Essex himself is quartered, unconscious of their march; and the Cavaliers are soon riding beneath the bases of the wooded hills towards Postcombe. Near Tetsworth, the enemy’s first outpost, they halt till evening; the horsemen dismount, the flagon and the foraging-bag are opened, the black-jack and the manchet go round, healths are drunk to successes past and glories future, to “Queen Mary’s eyes,” and to “Prince Rupert’s dog.” A few hours bring darkness; they move on eastward through the lanes, avoiding, when possible, the Roman highways; they are sometimes fired upon by a picket, but make no return, for they are hurrying past the main quarters of the enemy. In the silence of the summer night, they stealthily ride miles and miles through a hostile country, the renegade Urry guiding them. At early dawn, they see, through the misty air, the low hamlet of Postcombe, where the “beating up of the enemy’s quarters” is to begin. A hurried word of command; the infantry halt; the cavalry close, and sweep down like night-hawks upon the sleeping village,–safe, one would have supposed it, with the whole Parliamentary army lying between it and Oxford, to protect from danger. Yet the small party of Puritan troopers awake in their quarters with Rupert at the door; it is well for them that they happen to be picked men, and have promptness, if not vigilance; forming hastily, they secure a retreat westward through the narrow street, leaving but few prisoners behind them. As hastily the prisoners are swept away with the stealthy troop, who have other work before them; and before half the startled villagers have opened their lattices the skirmish is over. Long before they can send a messenger up, over the hills, to sound the alarm-bells of Stoken Church, the swift gallop of the Cavaliers has reached Chinnor, two miles away, and the goal of their foray. The compact, strongly-built village is surrounded. They form a parallel line behind the houses, on each side, leaping fences and ditches to their posts. They break down the iron chains stretched nightly across each end of the street, and line it from end to end. Rupert, Will Legge, and the “forlorn hope,” dismounting, rush in upon the quarters, sparing those alone who surrender.

In five minutes the town is up. The awakened troopers fight as desperately as their assailants, some on foot, some on horseback. More and more of Rupert’s men rush in; they fight through the straggling street of the village, from the sign of the Ram at one end to that of the Crown at the other, and then back again. The citizens join against the invaders, the ‘prentices rush from their attics, hasty barricades of carts and harrows are formed in the streets, long musket-barrels are thrust from the windows, dark groups cluster on the roofs, and stones begin to rattle on the heads below, together with phrases more galling than stones, hurled down by women, “cursed dogs,” “devilish Cavaliers,” “Papist traitors.” In return, the intruders shoot at the windows indiscriminately, storm the doors, fire the houses; they grow more furious, and spare nothing; some towns-people retreat within the church-doors; the doors are beaten in; women barricade them with wool-packs, and fight over them with muskets, barrel to barrel. Outside, the troopers ride round and round the town, seizing or slaying all who escape; within, desperate men still aim from their windows, though the houses each side are in flames. Melting lead pours down from the blazing roofs, while the drum still beats and the flag still goes on. It is struck down presently; tied to a broken pike-staff, it rises again, while a chaos of armor and plumes, black and orange, blue and red, torn laces and tossing feathers, powder-stains and blood-stains, fills the dewy morning with terror, and opens the June Sunday with sin.

Threescore and more of the towns-people are slain, sixscore are led away at the horses’ sides, bound with ropes, to be handed over to the infantry for keeping. Some of these prisoners, even of the armed troopers, are so ignorant and unwarlike as yet, that they know not the meaning of the word “quarter,” refusing it when offered, and imploring “mercy” instead. Others are little children, for whom a heavy ransom shall yet be paid. Others, cheaper prisoners, are ransomed on the spot. Some plunder has also been taken, but the soldiers look longingly on the larger wealth that must be left behind, in the hurry of retreat,–treasures that, otherwise, no trooper of Rupert’s would have spared: scarlet cloth, bedding, saddles, cutlery, ironware, hats, shoes, hops for beer, and books to sell to the Oxford scholars. But the daring which has given them victory now makes their danger;–they have been nearly twelve hours in the saddle and have fought two actions; they have twenty-five miles to ride, with the whole force of the enemy in their path; they came unseen in the darkness, they must return by daylight and with the alarm already given; Stoken Church-bell has been pealing for hours, the troop from Postcombe has fallen back on Tetsworth, and everywhere in the distance videttes are hurrying from post to post.

The perilous retreat begins. Ranks are closed; they ride silently; many a man leads a second horse beside him, and one bears in triumph the great captured Puritan standard, with its five buff Bibles on a black ground. They choose their course more carefully than ever, seek the by-lanes, and swim the rivers with their swords between their teeth. At one point, in their hushed progress, they hear the sound of rattling wagons. There is a treasure-train within their reach, worth twenty-one thousand pounds, and destined for the Parliamentary camp, but the thick woods of the Chilterns have sheltered it from pursuit, and they have not a moment to waste; they are riding for their lives. Already the gathering parties of Roundheads are closing upon them, nearer and nearer, as they approach the most perilous point of the wild expedition, their only return-path across the Cherwell, Chiselhampton Bridge. Percy and O’Neal with difficulty hold the assailants in check; the case grows desperate at last, and Rupert stands at bay on Chalgrove Field.

It is Sunday morning, June 18th, 1643. The early church-bells are ringing over all Oxfordshire,–dying away in the soft air, among the sunny English hills, while Englishmen are drawing near each other with hatred in their hearts,–dying away, as on that other Sunday, eight months ago, when Baxter, preaching near Edgehill, heard the sounds of battle, and disturbed the rest of his saints by exclaiming, “To the fight!” But here there are no warrior-preachers, no bishops praying in surplices on the one side, no dark-robed divines preaching on horseback on the other, no king in glittering armor, no Tutor Harvey in peaceful meditation beneath a hedge, pondering on the circulation of the blood, with hotter blood flowing so near him; all these were to be seen at Edgehill, but not here. This smaller skirmish rather turns our thoughts to Cisatlantic associations; its date suggests Bunker’s Hill,–and its circumstances, Lexington. For this, also, is a marauding party, with a Percy among its officers, brought to a stand by a half-armed and angry peasantry.

Rupert sends his infantry forward, to secure the bridge, and a sufficient body of dragoons to line the mile-and-a-half of road between,–the remainder of the troops being drawn up at the entrance of a corn-field, several hundred acres in extent, and lying between the villages and the hills. The Puritans take a long circuit, endeavoring to get to windward of their formidable enemy,–a point judged as important, during the seventeenth century, in a land fight as in a naval engagement. They have with them some light field-pieces, artillery being the only point of superiority they yet claim; but these are not basilisks, nor falconets, nor culverins, (_colubri_, _couleuvres_,) nor drakes, (_dracones_,) nor warning-pieces,–they are the leathern guns of Gustavus Adolphus, made of light cast-iron and bound with ropes and leather. The Roundhead dragoons, dismounted, line a hedge near the Cavaliers, and plant their “swine-feathers”; under cover of their fire the horse advance in line, matches burning. As they advance, one or two dash forward, at risk of their lives, flinging off the orange scarfs which alone distinguish them, in token that they desert to the royal cause. Prince Rupert falls back into the lane a little, to lead the other forces into his ambush of dragoons. These tactics do not come naturally to him, however; nor does he like the practice of the time, that two bodies of cavalry should ride up within pistol-shot of each other, and exchange a volley before they charge. He rather anticipates, in his style of operations, the famous order of Frederick the Great: “The King hereby forbids all officers of cavalry, on pain of being broke with ignominy, ever to allow themselves to be attacked in any action by the enemy; but the Prussians must always attack them.” Accordingly he restrains himself for a little while, chafing beneath the delay, and then, a soldier or two being suddenly struck down by the fire, he exclaims, “Yea! this insolency is not to be endured.” The moment is come.

“God and Queen Mary!” shouts Rupert; “Charge!” In one instant that mass of motionless statues becomes a flood of lava; down in one terrible sweep it comes, silence behind it and despair before; no one notices the beauty of that brilliant chivalrous array,–all else is merged in the fury of the wild gallop; spurs are deep, reins free, blades grasped, heads bent; the excited horse feels the heel no more than he feels the hand; the uneven ground breaks their ranks,–no matter, they feel that they can ride down the world: Rupert first clears the hedge,–he is always first,–then comes the captain of his lifeguard, then the whole troop “jumble after them,” in a spectator’s piquant phrase. The dismounted Puritan dragoons break from the hedges and scatter for their lives, but the cavalry “bear the charge better than they have done since Worcester,”–that is, now they stand it an instant, then they did not stand it at all; the Prince takes them in flank and breaks them in pieces at the first encounter,–the very wind of the charge shatters them. Horse and foot, carbines and petronels, swords and pole-axes, are mingled in one struggling mass. Rupert and his men seem refreshed, not exhausted, by the weary night,–they seem incapable of fatigue; they spike the guns as they cut down the gunners, and, if any escape, it is because many in both armies wear the same red scarfs. One Puritan, surrounded by the enemy, shows such desperate daring that Rupert bids release him at last, and sends afterwards to Essex to ask his name. One Cavalier bends, with a wild oath, to search the pockets of a slain enemy;–it is his own brother. O’Neal slays a standard-bearer, and thus restores to his company the right to bear a flag, a right they lost at Hopton Heath; Legge is taken prisoner and escapes; Urry proves himself no coward, though a renegade, and is trusted to bear to Oxford the news of the victory, being raised to knighthood in return.

For a victory of course it is. Nothing in England can yet resist these high-born, dissolute, reckless Cavaliers of Rupert’s. “I have seen them running up walls twenty feet high,” said the engineer consulted by the frightened citizens of Dorchester: “these defences of yours may possibly keep them out half an hour.” Darlings of triumphant aristocracy, they are destined to meet with no foe that can match them, until they recoil at last before the plebeian pikes of the London train-bands. Nor can even Rupert’s men claim to monopolize the courage of the King’s party. The brilliant “show-troop” of Lord Bernard Stuart, comprising the young nobles having no separate command,–a troop which could afford to indulge in all the gorgeousness of dress, since their united incomes, Clarendon declares, would have exceeded those of the whole Puritan Parliament,–led, by their own desire, the triumphant charge at Edgehill, and threescore of their bodies were found piled on the spot where the Royal Standard was captured and rescued. Not less faithful were the Marquis of Newcastle’s “Lambs,” who took their name from the white woollen clothing which they refused to have dyed, saying that their hearts’ blood would dye it soon enough; and so it did: only thirty survived the battle of Marston Moor, and the bodies of the rest were found in the field, ranked regularly, side by side, in death as in life.

But here at Chalgrove Field no such fortitude of endurance is needed; the enemy are scattered, and, as Rupert’s Cavaliers are dashing on, in their accustomed headlong pursuit, a small, but fresh force of Puritan cavalry appears behind the hedges and charges on them from the right,–two troops, hastily gathered, and in various garb. They are headed by a man in middle life and of noble aspect: once seen, he cannot easily be forgotten; but seen he will never be again, and, for the last time, Rupert and Hampden meet face to face.

The foremost representative men of their respective parties, they scarcely remember, perhaps, that there are ties and coincidences in their lives. At the marriage of Rupert’s mother, the student Hampden was chosen to write the Oxford epithalamium, exulting in the prediction of some noble offspring to follow such a union. Rupert is about to be made General-in-chief of the Cavaliers; Hampden is looked to by all as the future General-in-chief of the Puritans. Rupert is the nephew of the King,–Hampden the cousin of Cromwell; and as the former is believed to be aiming at the Crown, so the latter is the only possible rival of Cromwell for the Protectorate,–“the eyes of all being fixed upon him as their _pater patriae_.” But in all the greater qualities of manhood, how far must Hampden be placed above the magnificent and gifted Rupert! In a congress of natural noblemen–for such do the men of the Commonwealth appear–he must rank foremost. It is difficult to avoid exaggeration in speaking of these men,–men whose deeds vindicate their words, and whose words are unsurpassed by Greek or Roman fame,–men whom even Hume can only criticize for a “mysterious jargon” which most of them did not use, and for a “vulgar hypocrisy” which few of them practised. Let us not underrate the self-forgetting loyalty of the Royalists,–the Duke of Newcastle laying at the King’s feet seven hundred thousand pounds, and the Marquis of Worcester a million; but the sublimer poverty and abstinence of the Parliamentary party deserve a yet loftier meed,–Vane surrendering an office of thirty thousand pounds a year to promote public economy,–Hutchinson refusing a peerage and a fortune as a bribe to hold Nottingham Castle a little while for the King,–Eliot and Pym bequeathing their families to the nation’s justice, having spent their all for the good cause. And rising to yet higher attributes, as they pass before us in the brilliant paragraphs of the courtly Clarendon, or the juster modern estimates of Forster, it seems like a procession of born sovereigns; while the more pungent epithets of contemporary wit only familiarize, but do not mar, the fame of Cromwell, (Cleaveland’s “Caesar in a Clown,”)–“William the Conqueror” Waller,–“young Harry” Vane,–“fiery Tom” Fairfax,–and “King Pym.” But among all these there is no peer of Hampden, of him who came not from courts or camps, but from the tranquil study of his Davila, from that thoughtful retirement which was for him, as for his model, Coligny, the school of all noble virtues,–came to find himself at once a statesman and a soldier, receiving from his contemporary, Clarendon, no affectionate critic, the triple crown of historic praise, as being “the most able, resolute, and popular person in the kingdom.” Who can tell how changed the destiny of England, had the Earl of Bedford’s first compromise with the country party succeeded, and Hampden become the tutor of Prince Charles,–or could this fight at Chalgrove Field issue differently, and Hampden survive to be general instead of Essex, and Protector in place of Cromwell?

But that may not be. Had Hampden’s earlier counsels prevailed, Rupert never would have ventured on his night foray; had his next suggestions been followed, Rupert never would have returned from it. Those failing, Hampden has come, gladly followed by Gunter and his dragoons, outstripping the tardy Essex, to dare all and die. In vain does Gunter perish beside his flag; in vain does Crosse, his horse being killed under him, spring in the midst of battle on another; in vain does “that great-spirited little Sir Samuel Luke” (the original of Hudibras) get thrice captured and thrice escape. For Hampden, the hope of the nation, is fatally shot through the shoulder with two carbine-balls, in the first charge; the whole troop sees it with dismay; Essex comes up, as usual, too late, and the fight at Chalgrove Field is lost.

We must leave this picture, painted in the fading colors of a far-off time. Let us leave the noble Hampden, weak and almost fainting, riding calmly from the field, and wandering away over his own Chiltern meadows, that he loves so well,–leave him, drooping over his saddle, directing his horse first towards his father-in-law’s house at Pyrton, where once he wedded his youthful bride, then turning towards Thame, and mustering his last strength to leap his tired steed across its boundary brook. A few days of laborious weakness, spent in letter-writing to urge upon Parliament something of that military energy which, if earlier adopted, might have saved his life,–and we see a last, funereal procession winding beneath the Chiltern hills, and singing the 90th Psalm as the mourners approach the tomb of the Hampdens, and the 43d as they return. And well may the “Weekly Intelligencer” say of him, (June 27, 1643,) that “the memory of this deceased Colonel is such that in no age to come but it will more and more be had in honor and esteem; a man so religious, and of that prudence, judgment, temper, valor, and integrity, that he hath left few his like behind him.”

And we must leave Rupert to his career of romantic daring, to be made President of Wales and Generalissimo of the army,–to rescue with unequalled energy Newark and York and the besieged heroine of Lathom House,–to fight through Newbury and Marston Moor and Naseby, and many a lesser field,–to surrender Bristol and be acquitted by court-martial, but hopelessly condemned by the King;–then to leave the kingdom, refusing a passport, and fighting his perilous way to the seaside;–then to wander over the world for years, astonishing Dutchmen by his seamanship, Austrians by his soldiership, Spaniards and Portuguese by his buccaneering powers, and Frenchmen by his gold and diamonds and birds and monkeys and “richly-liveried Blackamoors”;–then to reorganize the navy of England, exchanging characters with his fellow-commander, Monk, whom the ocean makes rash, as it makes Rupert prudent;–leave him to use nobly his declining years, in studious toils in Windsor Castle, the fulfilment of Milton’s dream, outwatching the Bear with thrice-great Hermes, surrounded by strange old arms and instruments, and maps of voyages, and plans of battles, and the abstruse library which the “Harleian Miscellany” still records;–leave him to hunt and play at tennis, serve in the Hudson’s Bay Company and the Board of Trade;–leave him to experiment in alchemy and astrology, in hydraulics, metallurgy, gunpowder, perspective, quadrants, mezzotint, fish-hooks, and revolvers;–leave him to look from his solitary turret over hills and fields, now peaceful, but each the scene of some wild and warlike memory for him;–leave him to die a calm and honored death at sixty-three, outliving every companion of his early days. The busy world, which has no time to remember many, forgets him and remembers only the slain and defeated Hampden. The brilliant renown of the Prince was like the glass toys which record his ingenuity and preserve his name; the hammer and the anvil can scarcely mar them, yet a slight pressure of the finger, in the fatal spot, will burst them into glittering showers of dust. The full force of those iron times beat ineffectual upon Rupert;–Death touched him, and that shining fame sparkled and was shattered forever.

* * * * *

SPRING.

Ah! my beautiful violets,
Stirring under the sod,
Feeling, in all your being,
The breath of the spirit of God
Thrilling your delicate pulses,
Warming your life-blood anew,–
Struggle up into the Spring-light; I’m watching and waiting for you.

Stretch up your white arms towards me, Climb and never despair;
Come! the blue sky is above you,
Sunlight and soft warm air.
Shake off the sleep from your eyelids, Work in the darkness awhile,
Trust in the light that’s above you, Win your way up to its smile.

Ah! do you know how the May-flowers, Down on the shore of the lake.
Are whispering, one to another,
All in the silence, “Awake!”
Blushing from under the pine-leaves, Soon they will greet me anew,–
But still, oh, my beautiful violets, I’ll be watching and longing for you.

THE STEREOSCOPE AND THE STEREOGRAPH.

Democritus of Abdera, commonly known as the Laughing Philosopher, probably because he did not consider the study of truth inconsistent with a cheerful countenance, believed and taught that all bodies were continually throwing off certain images like themselves, which subtile emanations, striking on our bodily organs, gave rise to our sensations. Epicurus borrowed the idea from him, and incorporated it into the famous system, of which Lucretius has given us the most popular version. Those who are curious on the matter will find the poet’s description at the beginning of his fourth book. Forms, effigies, membranes, or _films_, are the nearest representatives of the terms applied to these effluences. They are perpetually shed from the surfaces of solids, as bark is shed by trees. _Cortex_ is, indeed, one of the names applied to them by Lucretius.

These evanescent films may be seen in one of their aspects in any clear, calm sheet of water, in a mirror, in the eye of an animal by one who looks at it in front, but better still by the consciousness behind the eye in the ordinary act of vision. They must be packed like the leaves of a closed book; for suppose a mirror to give an image of an object a mile off, it will give one at every point less than a mile, though this were subdivided into a million parts. Yet the images will not be the same; for the one taken a mile off will be very small, at half a mile as large again, at a hundred feet fifty times as large, and so on, as long as the mirror can contain the image.

Under the action of light, then, a body makes its superficial aspect potentially present at a distance, becoming appreciable as a shadow or as a picture. But remove the cause,–the body itself,–and the effect is removed. The man beholdeth himself in the glass and goeth his way, and straightway both the mirror and the mirrored forget what manner of man he was. These visible films or membranous _exuviae_ of objects, which the old philosophers talked about, have no real existence, separable from their illuminated source, and perish instantly when it is withdrawn.

If a man had handed a metallic speculum to Democritus of Abdera, and told him to look at his face in it while his heart was beating thirty or forty times, promising that one of the films his face was shedding should stick there, so that neither he, nor it, nor anybody should forget what manner of man he was, the Laughing Philosopher would probably have vindicated his claim to his title by an explosion that would have astonished the speaker.

This is just what the Daguerreotype has done. It has fixed the most fleeting of our illusions, that which the apostle and the philosopher and the poet have alike used as the type of instability and unreality. The photograph has completed the triumph, by making a sheet of paper reflect images like a mirror and hold them as a picture.

This triumph of human ingenuity is the most audacious, remote, improbable, incredible,–the one that would seem least likely to be regained, if all traces of it were lost, of all the discoveries man has made. It has become such an everyday matter with us, that we forget its miraculous nature, as we forget that of the sun itself, to which we owe the creations of our new art. Yet in all the prophecies of dreaming enthusiasts, in all the random guesses of the future conquests over matter, we do not remember any prediction of such an inconceivable wonder, as our neighbor round the corner, or the proprietor of the small house on wheels, standing on the village common, will furnish any of us for the most painfully slender remuneration. No Century of Inventions includes this among its possibilities. Nothing but the vision of a Laputan, who passed his days in extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers, could have reached such a height of delirium as to rave about the time when a man should paint his miniature by looking at a blank tablet, and a multitudinous wilderness of forest foliage or an endless Babel of roofs and spires stamp itself, in a moment, so faithfully and so minutely, that one may creep over the surface of the picture with his microscope and find every leaf perfect, or read the letters of distant signs, and see what was the play at the “Varietes” or the “Victoria,” on the evening of the day when it was taken, just as he would sweep the real view with a spy-glass to explore all that it contains.

Some years ago, we sent a page or two to one of the magazines,–the “Knickerbocker,” if we remember aright,–in which the story was told from the “Arabian Nights,” of the three kings’ sons, who each wished to obtain the hand of a lovely princess, and received for answer, that he who brought home the most wonderful object should obtain the lady’s hand as his reward. Our readers, doubtless, remember the original tale, with the flying carpet, the tube which showed what a distant friend was doing by looking into it, and the apple which gave relief to the most desperate sufferings only by inhalation of its fragrance. The railroad-car, the telegraph, and the apple-flavored chloroform could and do realize, every day,–as was stated in the passage referred to, with a certain rhetorical amplitude not doubtfully suggestive of the lecture-room,–all that was fabled to have been done by the carpet, the tube, and the fruit of the Arabian story.

All these inventions force themselves upon us to the full extent of their significance. It is therefore hardly necessary to waste any considerable amount of rhetoric upon wonders that are so thoroughly appreciated. When human art says to each one of us, I will give you ears that can hear a whisper in New Orleans, and legs that can walk six hundred miles in a day, and if, in consequence of any defect of rail or carriage, you should be so injured that your own very insignificant walking members must be taken off, I can make the surgeon’s visit a pleasant dream for you, on awaking from which you will ask when he is coming to do that which he has done already,–what is the use of poetical or rhetorical amplification? But this other invention of _the mirror with a memory_, and especially that application of it which has given us the wonders of the stereoscope, is not so easily, completely, universally recognized in all the immensity of its applications and suggestions. The stereoscope, and the pictures it gives, are, however, common enough to be in the hands of many of our readers; and as many of those who are not acquainted with it must before long become as familiar with it as they are now with friction-matches, we feel sure that a few pages relating to it will not be unacceptable.

Our readers may like to know the outlines of the process of making daguerreotypes and photographs, as just furnished us by Mr. Whipple, one of the most successful operators in this country. We omit many of those details which are everything to the practical artist, but nothing to the general reader. We must premise, that certain substances undergo chemical alterations, when exposed to the light, which produce a change of color. Some of the compounds of silver possess this faculty to a remarkable degree,–as the common indelible marking-ink, (a solution of nitrate of silver,) which soon darkens in the light, shows us every day. This is only one of the innumerable illustrations of the varied effects of light on color. A living plant owes its brilliant hues to the sunshine; but a dead one, or the tints extracted from it, will fade in the same rays which clothe the tulip in crimson and gold,–as our lady-readers who have rich curtains in their drawing-rooms know full well. The sun, then, is a master of _chiaroscuro_, and, if he has a living petal for his pallet, is the first of colorists.–Let us walk into his studio, and examine some of his painting machinery.

* * * * *

1. THE DAGUERREOTYPE.–A silver-plated sheet of copper is resilvered by electro-plating, and perfectly polished. It is then exposed in a glass box to the vapor of iodine until its surface turns to a golden yellow. Then it is exposed in another box to the fumes of the bromide of lime until it becomes of a blood-red tint. Then it is exposed once more, for a few seconds, to the vapor of iodine. The plate is now sensitive to light, and is of course kept from it, until, having been placed in the darkened camera, the screen is withdrawn and the camera-picture falls upon it. In strong light, and with the best instruments, _three seconds’_ exposure is enough,–but the time varies with circumstances. The plate is now withdrawn and exposed to the vapor of mercury at 212 deg.. Where the daylight was strongest, the sensitive coating of the plate has undergone such a chemical change, that the mercury penetrates readily to the silver, producing a minute white granular deposit upon it, like a very thin fall of snow, drifted by the wind. The strong lights are little heaps of these granules, the middle lights thinner sheets of them; the shades are formed by the dark silver itself, thinly sprinkled only, as the earth shows with a few scattered snow-flakes on its surface. The precise chemical nature of these granules we care less for than their palpable presence, which may be perfectly made out by a microscope magnifying fifty diameters or even less.

The picture thus formed would soon fade under the action of light, in consequence of further changes in the chemical elements of the film of which it consists. Some of these elements are therefore removed by washing it with a solution of hyposulphite of soda, after which it is rinsed with pure water. It is now permanent in the light, but a touch wipes off the picture as it does the bloom from a plum. To fix it, a solution of hyposulphite of soda containing chloride of gold is poured on the plate while this is held over a spirit-lamp. It is then again rinsed with pure water, and is ready for its frame.

2. THE PHOTOGRAPH.–Just as we must have a mould before we can make a cast, we must get a _negative_ or reversed picture on glass before we can get our positive or natural picture. The first thing, then, is to lay a sensitive coating on a piece of glass,–crown-glass, which has a natural surface, being preferable to plate-glass. _Collodion_, which is a solution of gun-cotton in alcohol and ether, mingled with a solution of iodide and bromide of potassium, is used to form a thin coating over the glass. Before the plate is dry, it is dipped into a solution of nitrate of silver, where it remains from one to three or four minutes. Here, then, we have essentially the same chemical elements that we have seen employed in the daguerreotype,–namely, iodine, bromine, and silver; and by their mutual reactions in the last process we have formed the sensitive iodide and bromide of silver. The glass is now placed, still wet, in the camera, and there remains from three seconds to one or two minutes, according to circumstances. It is then washed with a solution of sulphate of iron. Every light spot in the camera-picture becomes dark on the sensitive coating of the glass-plate. But where the shadows or dark parts of the camera-picture fall, the sensitive coating is less darkened, or not at all, if the shadows are very deep, and so these shadows of the camera-picture become the lights of the glass-picture, as the lights become the shadows. Again, the picture is reversed, just as in every camera-obscura where the image is received on a screen direct from, the lens. Thus the glass plate has the right part of the object on the left side of its picture, and the left part on its right side; its light is darkness, and its darkness is light. Everything is just as wrong as it can be, except that the relations of each wrong to the other wrongs are like the relations of the corresponding rights to each other in the original natural image. This is a _negative_ picture.

Extremes meet. Every given point of the picture is as far from truth as a lie can be. But in travelling away from the pattern it has gone round a complete circle, and is at once as remote from Nature and as near it as possible.–“How far is it to Taunton?” said a countryman, who was walking exactly the wrong way to reach that commercial and piscatory centre.–“‘Baeout twenty-five thaeousan’ mild,”–said the boy he asked,–“‘f y’ go ‘z y’ ‘r’ goin’ naeow, ‘n’ ‘baeout haeaf a mild ‘f y’ turn right raeoun’ ‘n’ go t’other way.”

The negative picture being formed, it is washed with a solution of hyposulphite of soda, to remove the soluble principles which are liable to decomposition, and then coated with shellac varnish to protect it.

This _negative_ is now to give birth to a _positive_,–this mass of contradictions to assert its hidden truth in a perfect harmonious affirmation of the realities of Nature. Behold the process!

A sheet of the best linen paper is dipped in salt water and suffered to dry. Then a solution of nitrate of silver is poured over it and it is dried in a dark place. This paper is now sensitive; it has a conscience, and is afraid of daylight. Press it against the glass negative and lay them in the sun, the glass uppermost, leaving them so for from three to ten minutes. The paper, having the picture formed on it, is then washed with the solution of hyposulphite of soda, rinsed in pure water, soaked again in a solution of hyposulphite of soda, to which, however, the chloride of gold has been added, and again rinsed. It is then sized or varnished.

Out of the perverse and totally depraved negative,–where it might almost seem as if some magic and diabolic power had wrenched all things from their proprieties, where the light of the eye was darkness, and the deepest blackness was gilded with the brightest glare,–is to come the true end of all this series of operations, a copy of Nature in all her sweet gradations and harmonies and contrasts.

We owe the suggestion to a great wit, who overflowed our small intellectual home-lot with a rushing freshet of fertilizing talk the other day,–one of our friends, who quarries thought on his own premises, but does not care to build his blocks into books and essays,–that perhaps this world is only the _negative_ of that better one in which lights will be turned to shadows and shadows into light, but all harmonized, so that we shall see why these ugly patches, these misplaced gleams and blots, were wrought into the temporary arrangements of our planetary life.

For, lo! when the sensitive paper is laid in the sun under the negative glass, every dark spot on the glass arrests a sunbeam, and so the spot of the paper lying beneath remains unchanged; but every light space of the negative lets the sunlight through, and the sensitive paper beneath confesses its weakness, and betrays it by growing dark just in proportion to the glare that strikes upon it. So, too, we have only to turn the glass before laying it on the paper, and we bring all the natural relations of the object delineated back again,–its right to the right of the picture, its left to the picture’s left.

On examining the glass negative by transmitted light with a power of a hundred diameters, we observe minute granules, whether crystalline or not we cannot say, very similar to those described in the account of the daguerreotype. But now their effect is reversed. Being opaque, they darken the glass wherever they are accumulated, just as the snow darkens our skylights. Where these particles are drifted, therefore, we have our shadows, and where they are thinly scattered, our lights. On examining the paper photographs, we have found no distinct granules, but diffused stains of deeper or lighter shades.

Such is the sun-picture, in the form in which we now most commonly meet it,–for the daguerreotype, perfect and cheap as it is, and admirably adapted for miniatures, has almost disappeared from the field of landscape, still life, architecture, and _genre_ painting, to make room for the photograph. Mr. Whipple tells us that even now he takes a much greater number of miniature portraits on metal than on paper; and yet, except occasionally a statue, it is rare to see anything besides a portrait shown in a daguerreotype. But the greatest number of sun-pictures we see are the photographs which are intended to be looked at with the aid of the instrument we are next to describe, and to the stimulus of which the recent vast extension of photographic copies of Nature and Art is mainly owing.

3. THE STEREOSCOPE.–This instrument was invented by Professor Wheatstone, and first described by him in 1838. It was only a year after this that M. Daguerre made known his discovery in Paris; and almost at the same time Mr. Fox Talbot sent his communication to the Royal Society, giving an account of his method of obtaining pictures on paper by the action of light. Iodine was discovered in 1811, bromine in 1826, chloroform in 1831, gun-cotton, from which collodion is made, in 1846, the electro-plating process about the same time with photography; “all things, great and small, working together to produce what seemed at first as delightful, but as fabulous, as Aladdin’s ring, which is now as little suggestive of surprise as our daily bread.”

A stereoscope is an instrument which makes surfaces look solid. All pictures in which perspective and light and shade are properly managed, have more or less of the effect of solidity; but by this instrument that effect is so heightened as to produce an appearance of reality which cheats the senses with its seeming truth.

There is good reason to believe that the appreciation of solidity by the eye is purely a matter of education. The famous case of a young man who underwent the operation of couching for cataract, related by Cheselden, and a similar one reported in the Appendix to Mueller’s Physiology, go to prove that everything is seen only as a superficial extension, until the other senses have taught the eye to recognize _depth_, or the third dimension, which gives solidity, by converging outlines, distribution of light and shade, change of size, and of the texture of surfaces. Cheselden’s patient thought “all objects whatever touched his eyes, as what he felt did his skin.” The patient whose case is reported by Mueller could not tell the form of a cube held obliquely before his eye from that of a flat piece of pasteboard presenting the same outline. Each of these patients saw only with one eye,–the other being destroyed, in one case, and not restored to sight until long after the first, in the other case. In two months’ time Cheselden’s patient had learned to know solids; in fact, he argued so logically from light and shade and perspective that he felt of pictures, expecting to find reliefs and depressions, and was surprised to discover that they were flat surfaces. If these patients had suddenly recovered the sight of _both_ eyes, they would probably have learned to recognize solids more easily and speedily.

We can commonly tell whether an object is solid, readily enough with one eye, but still better with two eyes, and sometimes _only_ by using both. If we look at a square piece of ivory with one eye alone, we cannot tell whether it is a scale of veneer, or the side of a cube, or the base of a pyramid, or the end of a prism. But if we now open the other eye, we shall see one or more of its sides, if it have any, and then know it to be a solid, and what kind of a solid.

We see something with the second eye which we did not see with the first; in other words, the two eyes see different pictures of the same thing, for the obvious reason that they look from points two or three inches apart. By means of these two different views of an object, the mind, as it were, _feels round it_ and gets an idea of its solidity. We clasp an object with our eyes, as with our arms, or with our hands, or with our thumb and finger, and then we know it to be something more than a surface. This, of course, is an illustration of the fact, rather than an explanation of its mechanism.

Though, as we have seen, the two eyes look on two different pictures, we perceive but one picture. The two have run together and become blended in a third, which shows us everything we see in each. But, in order that they should so run together, both the eye and the brain must be in a natural state. Push one eye a little inward with the forefinger, and the image is doubled, or at least confused. Only certain parts of the two retinae work harmoniously together, and you have disturbed their natural relations. Again, take two or three glasses more than temperance permits, and you see double; the eyes are right enough, probably, but the brain is in trouble, and does not report their telegraphic messages correctly. These exceptions illustrate the every-day truth, that, when we are in right condition, our two eyes see two somewhat different pictures, which our perception combines to form one picture, representing objects in all their dimensions, and not merely as surfaces.

Now, if we can get two artificial pictures of any given object, one as we should see it with the right eye, the other as we should see it with the left eye, and then, looking at the right picture, and that only, with the right eye, and at the left picture, and that only, with the left eye, contrive some way of making these pictures run together as we have seen our two views of a natural object do, we shall get the sense of solidity that natural objects give us. The arrangement which effects it will be a _stereoscope_, according to our definition of that instrument How shall we attain these two ends?

1. An artist can draw an object as he sees it, looking at it only with his right eye. Then he can draw a second view of the same object as he sees it with his left eye. It will not be hard to draw a cube or an octahedron in this way; indeed, the first stereoscopic figures were pairs of outlines, right and left, of solid bodies, thus drawn. But the minute details of a portrait, a group, or a landscape, all so nearly alike to the two eyes, yet not identical in each picture of our natural double view, would defy any human skill to reproduce them exactly. And just here comes in the photograph to meet the difficulty. A first picture of an object is taken,–then the instrument is moved a couple of inches or a little more, the distance between the human eyes, and a second picture is taken. Better than this, two pictures are taken at once in a double camera.

We were just now stereographed, ourselves, at a moment’s warning, as if we were fugitives from justice. A skeleton shape, of about a man’s height, its head covered with a black veil, glided across the floor, faced us, lifted its veil, and took a preliminary look. When we had grown sufficiently rigid in our attitude of studied ease, and got our umbrella into a position of thoughtful carelessness, and put our features with much effort into an unconstrained aspect of cheerfulness tempered with dignity, of manly firmness blended with womanly sensibility, of courtesy, as much as to imply,–“You honor me, Sir,” toned or sized, as one may say, with something of the self-assertion of a human soul which reflects proudly, “I am superior to all this,”–when, I say, we were all right, the spectral Mokanna dropped his long veil, and his waiting-slave put a sensitive tablet under its folds. The veil was then again lifted, and the two great glassy eyes stared at us once more for some thirty seconds. The veil then dropped again; but in the mean time, the shrouded sorcerer had stolen our double image; we were immortal. Posterity might thenceforth inspect us, (if not otherwise engaged,) not as a surface only, but in all our dimensions as an undisputed _solid_ man of Boston.

2. We have now obtained the double-eyed or twin pictures, or STEREOGRAPH, if we may coin a name. But the pictures are two, and we want to slide them into each other, so to speak, as in natural vision, that we may see them as one. How shall we make one picture out of two, the corresponding parts of which are separated by a distance of two or three inches?

We can do this in two ways. First, by _squinting_ as we look at them. But this is tedious, painful, and to some impossible, or at least very difficult. We shall find it much easier to look through a couple of glasses that _squint for us_. If at the same time they _magnify_ the two pictures, we gain just so much in the distinctness of the picture, which, if the figures on the slide are small, is a great advantage. One of the easiest ways of accomplishing this double purpose is to cut a convex lens through the middle, grind the curves of the two halves down to straight lines, and join them by their thin edges. This is a _squinting magnifier_, and if arranged so that with its right half we see the right picture on the slide, and with its left half the left picture, it squints them both inward so that they run together and form a single picture.

Such are the stereoscope and the photograph, by the aid of which _form_ is henceforth to make itself seen through the world of intelligence, as thought has long made itself heard by means of the art of printing. The _morphotype_, or form-print, must hereafter take its place by the side of the _logotype_, or word-print. The _stereograph_, as we have called the double picture designed for the stereoscope, is to be the card of introduction to make all mankind acquaintances.

The first effect of looking at a good photograph through the stereoscope is a surprise such as no painting ever produced. The mind feels its way into the very depths of the picture. The scraggy branches of a tree in the foreground run out at us as if they would scratch our eyes out. The elbow of a figure stands forth so as to make us almost uncomfortable. Then there is such a frightful amount of detail, that we have the same sense of infinite complexity which Nature gives us. A painter shows us masses; the stereoscopic figure spares us nothing,–all must be there, every stick, straw, scratch, as faithfully as the dome of St. Peter’s, or the summit of Mont Blanc, or the ever-moving stillness of Niagara. The sun is no respecter of persons or of things.

This is one infinite charm of the photographic delineation. Theoretically, a perfect photograph is absolutely inexhaustible. In a picture you can find nothing which the artist has not seen before you; but in a perfect photograph there will be as many beauties lurking, unobserved, as there are flowers that blush unseen in forests and meadows. It is a mistake to suppose one knows a stereoscopic picture when he has studied it a hundred times by the aid of the best of our common instruments. Do we know all that there is in a landscape by looking out at it from our parlor-windows? In one of the glass stereoscopic views of Table Rock, two figures, so minute as to be mere objects of comparison with the surrounding vastness, may be seen standing side by side. Look at the two faces with a strong magnifier, and you could identify their owners, if you met them in a court of law.

Many persons suppose that they are looking on _miniatures_ of the objects represented, when they see them in the stereoscope. They will be surprised to be told that they see most objects as large as they appear in Nature. A few simple experiments will show how what we see in ordinary vision is modified in our perceptions by what we think we see. We made a sham stereoscope, the other day, with no glasses, and an opening in the place where the pictures belong, about the size of one of the common stereoscopic pictures. Through this we got a very ample view of the town of Cambridge, including Mount Auburn and the Colleges, in a single field of vision. We do not recognize how minute distant objects really look to us, without something to bring the fact home to our conceptions. A man does not deceive us as to his real size when we see him at the distance of the length of Cambridge Bridge. But hold a common black pin before the eyes at the distance of distinct vision, and one-twentieth of its length, nearest the point, is enough to cover him so that he cannot be seen. The head of the same pin will cover one of the Cambridge horse-cars at the same distance, and conceal the tower of Mount Auburn, as seen from Boston.

We are near enough to an edifice to see it well, when we can easily read an inscription upon it. The stereoscopic views of the arches of Constantine and of Titus give not only every letter of the old inscriptions, but render the grain of the stone itself. On the pediment of the Pantheon may be read, not only the words traced by Agrippa, but a rough inscription above it, scratched or hacked into the stone by some wanton hand during an insurrectionary tumult.

This distinctness of the lesser details of a building or a landscape often gives us incidental truths which interest us more than the central object of the picture. Here is Alloway Kirk, in the churchyard of which you may read a real story by the side of the ruin that tells of more romantic fiction. There stands the stone “Erected by James Russell, seedsman, Ayr, in memory of his children,”–three little boys, James, and Thomas, and John, all snatched away from him in the space of three successive summer-days, and lying under the matted grass in the shadow of the old witch-haunted walls. It was Burns’s Alloway Kirk we paid for, and we find we have bought a share in the griefs of James Russell, seedsman; for is not the stone that tells this blinding sorrow of real life the true centre of the picture, and not the roofless pile which reminds us of an idle legend?

We have often found these incidental glimpses of life and death running away with us from the main object the picture was meant to delineate. The more evidently accidental their introduction, the more trivial they are in themselves, the more they take hold of the imagination. It is common to find an object in one of the twin pictures which we miss in the other; the person or the vehicle having moved in the interval of taking the two photographs. There is before us a view of the Pool of David at Hebron, in which a shadowy figure appears at the water’s edge, in the right-hand farther corner of the right-hand picture only. This muffled shape stealing silently into the solemn scene has already written a hundred biographies in our imagination. In the lovely glass stereograph of the Lake of Brienz, on the left-hand side, a vaguely hinted female figure stands by the margin of the fair water; on the other side of the picture she is not seen. This is life; we seem to see her come and go. All the longings, passions, experiences, possibilities of womanhood animate that gliding shadow which has flitted through our consciousness, nameless, dateless, featureless, yet more profoundly real than the sharpest of portraits traced by a human hand. Here is the Fountain of the Ogre, at Berne. In the right picture two women are chatting, with arms akimbo, over its basin; before the plate for the left picture is got ready, “one shall be taken and the other left”; look! on the left side there is but one woman, and you may see the blur where the other is melting into thin air as she fades forever from your eyes.

Oh, infinite volumes of poems that I treasure in this small library of glass and pasteboard! I creep over the vast features of Rameses, on the face of his rock-hewn Nubian temple; I scale the huge mountain-crystal that calls itself the Pyramid of Cheops. I pace the length of the three Titanic stones of the wall of Baalbee,–mightiest masses of quarried rock that man has lifted into the air; and then I dive into some mass of foliage with my microscope, and trace the veinings of a leaf so delicately wrought in the painting not made with hands, that I can almost see its down and the green aphis that sucks its juices. I look into the eyes of the caged tiger, and on the scaly train of the crocodile, stretched on the sands of the river that has mirrored a hundred dynasties. I stroll through Rhenish vineyards, I sit under Roman arches, I walk the streets of once buried cities, I look into the chasms of Alpine glaciers, and on the rush of wasteful cataracts. I pass, in a moment, from the banks of the Charles to the ford of the Jordan, and leave my outward frame in the arm-chair at my table, while in spirit I am looking down upon Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives.

“Give me the full tide of life at Charing Cross,” said Dr. Johnson. Here is Charing Cross, but without the full tide of life. A perpetual stream of figures leaves no definite shapes upon the picture. But on one side of this stereoscopic doublet a little London “gent” is leaning pensively against a post; on the other side he is seen sitting at the foot of the next post;–what is the matter with the little “gent”?

The very things which an artist would leave out, or render imperfectly, the photograph takes infinite care with, and so makes its illusions perfect. What is the picture of a drum without the marks on its head where the beating of the sticks has darkened the parchment? In three pictures of the Ann Hathaway Cottage, before us,–the most perfect, perhaps, of all the paper stereographs we have seen,–the door at the farther end of the cottage is open, and we see the marks left by the rubbing of hands and shoulders as the good people came through the entry, or leaned against it, or felt for the latch. It is not impossible that scales from the epidermis of the trembling hand of Ann Hathaway’s young suitor, Will Shakspeare, are still adherent about the old latch and door, and that they contribute to the stains we see in our picture.

Among the accidents of life, as delineated in the stereograph, there is one that rarely fails in any extended view which shows us the details of streets and buildings. There may be neither man nor beast nor vehicle to be seen. You may be looking down on a place in such a way that none of the ordinary marks of its being actually inhabited show themselves. But in the rawest Western settlement and the oldest Eastern city, in the midst of the shanties at Pike’s Peak and stretching across the court-yards as you look into them from above the clay-plastered roofs of Damascus, wherever man lives with any of the decencies of civilization, you will find the _clothes-line_. It may be a fence, (in Ireland,)–it may be a tree, (if the Irish license is still allowed us,)–but clothes-drying, or a place to dry clothes on, the stereoscopic photograph insists on finding, wherever it gives us a group of houses. This is the city of Berne. How it brings the people who sleep under that roof before us to see their sheets drying on that fence! and how real it makes the men in that house to look at their shirts hanging, arms down, from yonder line!

The reader will, perhaps, thank us for a few hints as to the choice of stereoscopes and stereoscopic pictures. The only way to be sure of getting a good instrument is to try a number of them, but it may be well to know which are worth trying. Those made with achromatic glasses may be as much better as they are dearer, but we have not been able to satisfy ourselves of the fact. We do not commonly find any trouble from chromatic aberration (or false color in the image). It is an excellent thing to have the glasses adjust by pulling out and pushing in, either by the hand, or, more conveniently, by a screw. The large instruments, holding twenty-five slides, are best adapted to the use of those who wish to show their views often to friends; the owner is a little apt to get tired of the unvarying round in which they present themselves. Perhaps we relish them more for having a little trouble in placing them, as we do nuts that we crack better than those we buy cracked. In optical effect, there is not much difference between them and the best ordinary instruments. We employ one stereoscope with adjusting glasses for the hand, and another common one upon a broad rosewood stand. The stand may be added to any instrument, and is a great convenience.

Some will have none but glass stereoscopic pictures; paper ones are not