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  • 1835
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“Property is in danger, Sir Joseph!” I dryly remarked, as I gathered together the papers in order to secure them.

“This will may be set aside, gentlemen!” cried the knight in a fury. “It contains a libel!”

“And for whose benefit, Sir Joseph?” I quietly inquired. “With or without the will my title to my father’s assets would seem to be equally valid.”

This was so evidently true that the more prudent retired in silence; and even Sir Joseph after a short delay, during which he appeared to be strangely agitated, withdrew. The next week his failure was announced, in consequence of some extravagant risks on ‘Change, and eventually I received but three shillings and fourpence in the pound for my bond of sixty-three thousand.

When the money was paid I could not help exclaiming mentally, “Property is in danger!”

The following morning Sir Joseph Job balanced his account with the world by cutting his throat.

CHAPTER V.

ABOUT THE SOCIAL-STAKE SYSTEM, THE DANGERS OF CONCENTRATION, AND OTHER MORAL AND IMMORAL CURIOSITIES.

The affairs of my father were almost as easy of settlement as those of a pauper. In twenty-four hours I was completely master of them, and found myself if not the richest, certainly one of the richest subjects of Europe. I say subjects, for sovereigns frequently have a way of appropriating the effects of others that would render a pretension to rivalry ridiculous. Debts there were none: and if there had been, ready money was not wanting; the balance in cash in my favor at the bank amounted in itself to a fortune.

The reader may now suppose that I was perfectly happy. Without a solitary claim on either my time or my estate, I was in the enjoyment of an income that materially exceeded the revenues of many reigning princes. I had not an ex-pensive nor a vicious habit of any sort. Of houses, horses, hounds, packs, and menials, there were none to vex or perplex me. In every particular save one I was completely my own master. That one was the near, dear, cherished sentiment that rendered Anna in my eyes an angel (and truly she was little short of it in those of other people), and made her the polar star to which every wish pointed. How gladly would I have paid half a million just then to be the grandson of a baronet with precedency from the seventeenth century!

There was, however, another and a present cause for un-easiness that gave me even more concern than the fact that my family reached the dark ages with so much embarrassing facility. In witnessing the dying agony of my ancestor I had got a dread lesson on the vanity, the hopeless character, the dangers, and the delusions of wealth that time can never eradicate. The history of its accumulation was ever present to mar the pleasure of its possession. I do not mean that I suspected what by the world’s convention is deemed dishonesty–of that there had been no necessity–but simply that the heartless and estranged existence, the waste of energies, the blunted charities, and the isolated and distrustful habits of my father appeared to me to be but poorly requited by the joyless ownership of its millions. I would have given largely to be directed in such a way as while escaping the wastefulness of the shoals of Scylla I might in my own case steer clear of the miserly rocks of Charybdis.

When I drove from between the smoky lines of the London houses into the green fields and amid the blossoming hedges, this earth looked beautiful and as if it were made to be loved. I saw in it the workmanship of a divine and beneficent Creator, and it was not difficult to persuade myself that he who dwelt in the confusion of a town in order to transfer gold from the pocket of his neighbor to his own had mistaken the objects of his being. My poor ancestor who had never quitted London stood before me with his dying regrets; and my first resolution was to live in open communion with my kind. So intense, indeed, did my anxiety to execute this purpose become that it might have led even to frenzy had not a fortunate circumstance interposed to save me from so dire a calamity.

The coach in which I had taken passage (for I purposely avoided the parade and trouble of post-chaise and servants), passed through a market town of known loyalty on the eve of a contested election. This appeal to the intelligence and patriotism of the constituency had occurred in consequence of the late incumbent having taken office. The new minister, for he was a member of the cabinet, had just ended his canvass, and he was about to address his fellow- subjects from a window of the tavern in which he lodged. Fatigued, but ready to seek mental relief by any means, I threw myself from the coach, secured a room, and made one of the multitude.

The favorite candidate occupied a large balcony surrounded by his principal friends, among whom it was delightful to see earls, lords John, baronets, dignitaries of the church, tradesmen of influence in the borough, and even a mechanic or two, all squeezed together in the agreeable amalgamation of political affinity. Here then, thought I, is an example of the heavenly charities I The candidate himself, the son and heir of a peer, feels that he is truly of the same flesh and blood as his constituents; how amiably he smiles!–how bland are his manners!–and with what cordiality does he shake hands with the greasiest and the worst! There must be a corrective to human pride, a stimulus to the charities, a never-ending lesson of benevolence in this part of our excellent system, and I will look farther into it. The candidate appeared and his harangue commenced.

Memory would fail me were I to attempt recording the precise language of the orator, but his opinions and precepts are so deeply graven on my recollection that I do not fear misrepresenting them. He commenced with a very proper and eloquent eulogium on the constitution, which he fearlessly pronounced to be in its way the very perfection of human reason; in proof of which he adduced the well-ascertained fact that it had always been known throughout the vicissitudes and trials of so many centuries to accommodate itself to circumstances, abhorring change. “Yes, my friends,” he exclaimed, in a burst of patriotic and constitutional fervor, “whether under the roses or the lilies–the Tudors, the Stuarts, or the illustrious house of Brunswick, this glorious structure has resisted the storms of faction, has been able to receive under its sheltering roof the most opposite elements of domestic strife, affording protection, warmth, aye, and food and raiment”-(here the orator happily laid his hand on the shoulder of a butcher, who wore a frieze overcoat that made him look not unlike a stall-fed beast)–“yes, food and raiment, victuals and drink, to the meanest subject in the realm. Nor is this all; it is a constitution peculiarly English: and who is there so base, so vile, so untrue to himself, to his fathers, to his descendants, as to turn his back on a constitution that is thoroughly and inherently English, a constitution that he has inherited from his ancestors, and which by every obligation both human and divine he is bound to transmit unchanged to posterity”;– here the orator, who continued to speak, however, was deafened by shouts of applause, and that part of the subject might very fairly be considered as definitively settled.

From the constitution as a whole the candidate next proceeded to extol the particular feature of it that was known as the borough of Householder. According to his account of this portion of the government, its dwellers were animated by the noblest spirit of independence, the most rooted determination to uphold the ministry of which he was the least worthy member, and were distinguished by what in an ecstasy of political eloquence he happily termed the most freeborn understanding of its rights and privileges. This loyal and judicious borough had never been known to waste its favors on those who had not a stake in the community. It understood that fundamental principle of good government which lays down the axiom that none were to be trusted but those who had a visible and an extended interest in the country; for without these pledges of honesty and independence what had the elector to expect but bribery and corruption–a traffic in his dearest rights, and a bargaining that might destroy the glorious institutions under which he dwelt. This part of the harangue was listened to in respectful silence, and shortly after the orator concluded; when the electors dispersed, with, no doubt, a better opinion of themselves and the constitution than it had probably been their good fortune to entertain since the previous election.

Accident placed me at dinner (the house being crowded) at the same table with an attorney who had been very active the whole morning among the Householders, and who I soon learned, from himself, was the especial agent of the owner of the independent borough in question. He told me that he had came down with the expectation of disposing of the whole property to Lord Pledge, the ministerial candidate named; but the means had not been forthcoming as he had been led to hope, and the bargain was unluckily broken off at the very moment when it was of the utmost importance to know to whom the independent electors rightfully belonged.

“His lordship, however,” continued the attorney, winking, “has done what is handsome; and there can be no more doubt of his election than there would be of yours did you happen to own the borough.”

“And is the property now open for sale?” I asked.

“Certainly-my principal can hold out no longer. The price is settled, and I have his power of attorney to make the preliminary bargain. ‘Tis a thousand pities that the public mind should be left in this undecided state on the eve of an election.”

“Then, sir, I will be the purchaser.”

My companion looked at me with astonishment and doubt. He had transacted too much business of this nature, however, not to feel his way before he was either off or on.

“The price of the estate is three hundred and twenty-five thousand pounds, sir, and the rental is only six!”

“Be it so. My name is Goldencalf: by accompanying me to town you shall receive the money.”

“Goldencalf! What, sir, the only son and heir of the late Thomas Goldencalf of Cheapside?”

“The same. My father has not been dead a month.”

“Pardon me, sir–convince me of your identity–we must be particular in matters of this sort–and you shall have possession of the property in season to secure your own election or that of any of your friends. I will return Lord Pledge his small advances, and another time he will know better than to fail of keeping his promises. What is a borough good for if a nobleman’s word is not sacred? You will find the electors, in particular, every way worthy of your favor. They are as frank, loyal, and straightforward a constituency as any in England. No skulking behind the ballot for them!–and in all respects they are fearless Englishmen who will do what they say, and say whatever their landlord shall please to require of them.”

As I had sundry letters and other documents about me, nothing was easier than to convince the attorney of my identity. He called for pen and ink; drew out of his pocket the contract that had been prepared for Lord Pledge; gave it to me to read; filled the blanks; and affixing his name, called the waiters as witnesses, and presented me the paper with a promptitude and respect that I found really delightful. So much, thought I, for having given pledges to society by the purchase of a borough. I drew on my bankers for three hundred and twenty-five thousand pounds, and arose from table virtually the owner of the estate of Householder and of the political consciences of its tenantry.

A fact so important could not long be unknown; and in a few minutes all eyes in the coffee-room were upon me. The landlord presented himself and begged I would do him the honor to take possession of his family parlor, there being no other at his disposal. I was hardly installed before a servant in a handsome livery presented the following note.

“DEAR MR. GOLDENCALF:

“I have this moment heard of your being in town, and am exceedingly rejoiced to learn it. A long intimacy with your late excellent and most loyal father justifies my claiming you for a friend, and I waive all ceremony (official, of course, is meant, there being no reason for any other between us), and beg to be admitted for half an hour.

“Dear Mr. Goldencalf,”

“Yours very faithfully and sincerely,”

“PLEDGE.”

“–GOLDENCALF, Esquire.”

” Monday evening.”

I begged that the noble visitor might not be made to wait a moment. Lord Pledge met me like an old and intimate friend. He made a hundred handsome inquiries after my dead ancestor; spoke feelingly of his regret at not having been summoned to attend his death-bed; and then very ingenuously and warmly congratulated me on my succession to so large a property.

“I hear, too, you have bought this borough, my dear sir. I could not make it convenient just at this particular moment to conclude my own arrangement–but it is a good thing. Three hundred and twenty thousand, I suppose, as was mentioned between me and the other party?”

“Three hundred and twenty-five thousand, Lord Pledge.”

I perceived by the countenance of the noble candidate that I had paid the odd five thousand as a fine–a circumstance which accounted for the promptitude of the attorney in the transaction, he most probably pocketing the difference himself.

“You mean to sit, of course?”

“I do, my lord, as one of the members, at the next general election; but at present I shall be most happy to aid your return.”

“My dear Mr. Goldencalf–“

“Really, without presuming to compliment, Lord Pledge, the noble sentiments I heard you express this morning were so very proper, so exceedingly statesmanlike, so truly English, that I shall feel infinitely more satisfaction in knowing that you fill the vacant seat than if it were in my own possession.”

“I honor your public spirit, Mr. Goldencalf, and only wish to God there was more of it in the world. But you can count on our friendship, sir. What you have just remarked is true, very true, only too true, true to a hair-a-a-a–I mean, my dear Mr. Goldencalf, most especially those sentiments of mine which-a-a-a-I say it, before God, without vanity–but which, as you have so very ably intimated, are so truly proper and English.”

“I sincerely think so, Lord Pledge, or I should not have said it. I am peculiarly situated myself. With an immense fortune, without rank, name, or connections, nothing is easier than for one of my years to be led astray; and it is my ardent desire to hit upon some expedient that may connect me properly with society.”

“Marry, my dear young friend–select a wife from among the fair and virtuous of this happy isle–unluckily I can propose nothing in this way myself–for both my own sisters are disposed of.”

“I have made choice, already, I thank you a thousand times, my dear Lord Pledge; although I scarcely dare execute my own wishes. There are objections–if I were only the child, now, of a baronet’s second son, or–“

“Become a baronet yourself,” once more interrupted my noble friend, with an evident relief from suspense; for I verily believe he thought I was about to ask for something better. “Your affair shall be arranged by the end of the week–and if there is anything else I can do for you, I beg you to name it without reserve.”

“If I could hear a few more of those remarkable sentiments of yours, concerning the stake we should all have in society, I think it would relieve my mind.”

My companion looked at me a moment with a very awkward sort of an intensity, drew his hand across his brows, reflected, and then obligingly complied.

“You attach too much importance, Mr. Goldencalf, to a few certainly very just but very ill-arranged ideas. That a man without a proper stake in society is little better than the beasts of the fields, I hold to be so obvious that it is unnecessary to dwell on the point. Reason as you will, forward or backward, you arrive at the same result–he that hath nothing is usually treated by mankind little better than a dog, and he that is little better than a dog usually has nothing. Again. What distinguishes the savage from the civilized man? Why, civilization to be sure. Now, what is civilization? The arts of life. What feeds, nourishes, sustains the arts of life? Money or property. By consequence, civilization is property, and property is civilization. If the control of a country is in the hands of those who possess the property, the government is a civilized government; but, on the other hand, if it is in the hands of those who have no property, the government is necessarily an uncivilized government. It is quite impossible that any one should become a safe statesman who does not possess a direct property interest in society. You know there is not a tyro of our political sect who does not fully admit the truth of this axiom.”

“Mr. Pitt?”

“Why, Pitt was certainly an exception in one way; but then, you will recollect, he was the immediate representative of the tories, who own most of the property of England.”

“Mr. Fox?”

“Fox represented the whigs, who own all the rest, you know. No, my dear Goldencalf, reason as you will, we shall always arrive at the same results. You will, of course, as you have just said, take one of the seats yourself at the next general election?”

“I shall be too proud of being your colleague to hesitate.”

This speech sealed our friendship; for it was a pledge to my noble acquaintance of his future connection with the borough. He was much too high-bred to express his thanks in vulgar phrases (though high- breeding rarely exhibits all its finer qualities pending an election), but–a man of the world, and one of a class whose main business it is to put the suaviter in modo, as the French have it en evidence,–the reader may be sure that when we parted that night I was in perfect good humor with myself and, as a matter of course, with my new acquaintance.

The next day the canvass was renewed, and we had another convincing speech on the subject of the virtue of “a stake in society”; for Lord Pledge was tactician enough to attack the citadel, once assured of its weak point, rather than expend his efforts on the outworks of the place. That night the attorney arrived from town with the title- deeds all properly executed (they had been some time in preparation for Lord Pledge), and the following morning early the tenants were served with the usual notices, with a handsomely expressed sentiment on my part in favor of “a stake in society.” About noon Lord Pledge walked over the course, as it is expressed at Newmarket and Doncaster. After dinner we separated, my noble friend returning to town, while I pursued my way to the rectory.

Anna never appeared more fresh, more serene, more elevated above mortality, than when we met, a week after I had quitted Householder, in the breakfast-parlor of her father’s abode.

“You are beginning to look like yourself again, Jack,” she said, extending her hand with the simple cordiality of an Englishwoman; “and I hope we shall find you more rational.”

“Ah, Anna, if I could only presume to throw myself at your feet, and tell you how much and what I feel, I should be the happiest fellow in all England.”

“As it is you are the most miserable!” the laughing girl answered as, crimsoned to the temples, she drew away the hand I was foolishly pressing against my heart. “Let us go to breakfast, Mr. Goldencalf– my father has ridden across the country to visit Dr. Liturgy.”

“Anna,” I said, after seating myself and taking a cup of tea from fingers that were rosy as the morn, “I fear you are the greatest enemy that I have on earth.”

“John Goldencalf!” exclaimed the startled girl, turning pale and then flushing violently. “Pray explain yourself.”

“I love you to my heart’s core–could marry you, and then, I fear, worship you, as man never before worshipped woman.”

Anna laughed faintly.

“And you feel in danger of the sin of idolatry?” she at length succeeded in saying.

“No, I am in danger of narrowing my sympathies–of losing a broad and safe hold of life–of losing my proper stake in society–of–in short, of becoming as useless to my fellows as my poor, poor father, and of making an end as miserable. Oh! Anna, could you have witnessed the hopelessness of that death-bed, you could never wish me a fate like his!”

My pen is unequal to convey an adequate idea of the expression with which Anna regarded me. Wonder, doubt, apprehension, affection, and anguish were all beaming in her eyes; but the unnatural brightness of these conflicting sentiments was tempered by a softness that resembled the pearly lustre of an Italian sky.

“If I yield to my fondness, Anna, in what will my condition differ from that of my miserable father’s? He concentrated his feelings in the love of money, and I–yes, I feel it here, I know it is here–I should love you so intensely as to shut out every generous sentiment in favor of others. I have a fearful responsibility on my shoulders- -wealth, gold; gold beyond limits; and to save my very soul I must extend not narrow my interest in my fellow-creatures. Were there a hundred such Annas I might press you all to my heart–but, one!–no- -no–‘twould be misery–‘twould be perdition! The very excess of such a passion would render me a heartless miser, unworthy of the confidence of my fellow-men!”

The radiant and yet serene eyes of Anna seemed to read my soul; and when I had done speaking she arose, stole timidly to my side of the table, as woman approaches when she feels most, placed her velvet- like hand on my burning forehead, pressed its throbbing pulses gently to her heart, burst into tears, and fled.

We dined alone, nor did we meet again until the dinner hour. The manner of Anna was soothing, gentle, even affectionate; but she carefully avoided the subject of the morning. As for myself, I was constantly brooding over the danger of concentrating interests, and of the excellence of the social-stake system. “Your spirits will be better, Jack, in a day or two,” said Anna, when we had taken wine after the soup. “Country air and old friends will restore your freshness and color.”

“If there were a thousand Annas I could be happy as man was never happy before! But I must not, dare not, lessen my hold on society.”

“All of which proves my insufficiency to render you happy. But here comes Francis with yesterday morning’s paper–let us see what society is about in London.”

After a few moments of intense occupation with the journal, an exclamation of pleasure and surprise escaped the sweet girl. On raising my eyes I saw her gazing (as I fancied) fondly at myself.

“Read what you have that seems to give you so much pleasure.”

She complied, reading with an eager and tremulous voice the following paragraph:

“His majesty has been most graciously pleased to raise John Goldencalf of Householder Hall, in the county of Dorset, and of Cheapside, Esquire, to the dignity of a baronet of the united kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland.”

“Sir John Goldencalf, I have the honor to drink to your health and happiness!” cried the delighted girl, brightening like the dawn, and wetting her pouting lip with liquor less ruby than itself. “Here, Francis, fill a bumper and drink to the new baronet.”

The gray-headed butler did as ordered with a very good grace, and then hurried into the servants’ hall to communicate the news.

“Here at least, Jack, is a new hold that society has on you, whatever hold you may have on society.”

I was pleased because she was pleased, and because it showed that Lord Pledge had some sense of gratitude (although he afterward took occasion to intimate that I owed the favor chiefly to HOPE), and I believe my eyes never expressed more fondness.

“Lady Goldencalf would not have an awkward sound after all, dearest Anna.”

“As applied to one, Sir John, it might possibly do; but not as applied to a hundred.” Anna laughed, blushed, burst into tears once more, and again fled.

What right have I to trifle with the feelings of this single-hearted and excellent girl, said I to myself; it is evident that the subject distresses her–she is unequal to its discussion, and it is unmanly and improper in me to treat it in this manner. I must be true to my character as a gentleman and a man–aye, and, under present circumstances, as a baronet; and–I will never speak of it again as long as I live.

The following day I took leave of Dr. Etherington and his daughter, with the avowed intention of travelling for a year or two. The good rector gave me much friendly advice, flattered me with expressions of confidence in my discretion, and, squeezing me warmly by the hand, begged me to recollect that I had always a home at the rectory. When I had made my adieus to the father, I went, with a sorrowful heart, in quest of the daughter. She was still in the little breakfast-parlor–that parlor so loved! I found her pale, timid, sensitive, bland, but serene. Little could ever disturb that heavenly quality in the dear girl; if she laughed, it was with a restrained and moderated joy; if she wept, it was like rain falling from a sky that still shone with the lustre of the sun. It was only when feeling and nature were unutterably big within her, that some irresistible impulse of her sex betrayed her into emotions like those I had twice witnessed so lately.

“You are about to leave us, Jack,” she said, holding out her hand kindly and without the affectation of an indifference she did not feel; “you will see many strange faces, but you will see none who–“

I waited for the completion of the sentence, but, although she struggled hard for self-possession, it was never finished.

“At my age, Anna, and with my means, it would be unbecoming to remain at home, when, if I may so express it, ‘human nature is abroad.’ I go to quicken my sympathies, to open my heart to my kind, and to avoid the cruel regrets that tortured the death-bed of my father.”

“Well–well,” interrupted the sobbing girl, “we will talk of it no more. It is best that you should travel; and so adieu, with a thousand–nay, millions of good wishes for your happiness and safe return. You will come back to us, Jack, when tired of other scenes.”

This was said with gentle earnestness and a sincerity so winning that it came near upsetting all my philosophy; but I could not marry the whole sex, and to bind down my affections in one would have been giving the death-blow to the development of that sublime principle on which I was bent, and which I had already decided was to make me worthy of my fortune and the ornament of my species. Had I been offered a kingdom, however, I could not speak. I took the unresisting girl in my arms, folded her to my heart, pressed a burning kiss on her cheek, and withdrew.

“You will come back to us, Jack?” she half whispered, as her hand was reluctantly drawn through my own.

Oh! Anna, it was indeed painful to abandon thy frank and gentle confidence, thy radiant beauty, thy serene affections, and all thy womanly virtues, in order to practise my newly-discovered theory! Long did thy presence haunt me–nay, never did it entirely desert me–putting my constancy to a severe proof, and threatening at each remove to contract the lengthening chain that still bound me to thee, thy fireside, and thy altars! But I triumphed, and went abroad upon the earth with a heart expanding towards all the creatures of God, though thy image was still enshrined in its inmost core, shining in womanly glory, pure, radiant, and without spot, like the floating prism that forms the lustre of the diamond.

CHAPTER VI.

A THEORY OF PALPABLE SUBLIMITY–SOME PRACTICAL IDEAS, AND THE COMMENCEMENT OF ADVENTURES.

The recollection of the intense feelings of that important period of my life has, in some measure, disturbed the connection of the narrative, and may possibly have left some little obscurity in the mind of the reader on the subject of the new sources of happiness that had broken on my own intelligence. A word here in the way of elucidation, therefore, may not be misapplied, although it is my purpose to refer more to my acts, and to the wonderful incidents it will shortly be my duty to lay before the world, for a just understanding of my views, than to mere verbal explanations.

Happiness–happiness, here and hereafter, was my goal. I aimed at a life of useful and active benevolence, a deathbed of hope and joy, and an eternity of fruition. With such an object before me, my thoughts, from the moment that I witnessed the dying regrets of my father, had been intensely brooding over the means of attainment. Surprising as, no doubt, it will appear to vulgar minds, I obtained the clew to this sublime mystery at the late election for the borough of Householder, and from the lips of my Lord Pledge. Like other important discoveries, it is very simple when understood, being easily rendered intelligible to the dullest capacities, as, indeed, in equity, ought to be the case with every principle that is so intimately connected with the well-being of man.

It is a universally admitted truth that happiness is the only legitimate object of all human associations. The ruled concede a certain portion of their natural rights for the benefits of peace, security, and order, with the understanding that they are to enjoy the remainder as their own proper indefeasible estate. It is true that there exist in different nations some material differences of opinion on the subject of the quantities to be bestowed and retained; but these aberrations from a just medium are no more than so many caprices of the human judgment, and in no manner do they affect the principle. I found also that all the wisest and best of the species, or what is much the same thing, the most responsible, uniformly maintain that he who has the largest stake in society is, in the nature of things, the most qualified to administer its affairs. By a stake in society is meant, agreeable to universal convention, a multiplication of those interests which occupy us in our daily concerns–or what is vulgarly called property. This principle works by exciting us to do right through those heavy investments of our own which would inevitably suffer were we to do wrong. The proposition is now clear, nor can the premises readily be mistaken. Happiness is the aim of society; and property, or a vested interest in that society, is the best pledge of our disinterestedness and justice, and the best qualification for its proper control. It follows as a legitimate corollary that a multiplication of those interests will increase the stake, and render us more and more worthy of the trust by elevating us as near as may be to the pure and ethereal condition of the angels. One of those happy accidents which sometimes make men emperors and kings, had made me, perhaps, the richest subject of Europe. With this polar star of theory shining before my eyes, and with practical means so ample, it would have been clearly my own fault had I not steered my bark into the right haven. If he who had the heaviest investments was the most likely to love his fellows, there could be no great difficulty for one in my situation to take the lead in philanthropy. It is true that with superficial observers the instance of my own immediate ancestor might be supposed to form an exception, or rather an objection, to the theory. So far from this being the case, however, it proves the very reverse. My father in a great measure had concentrated all his investments in the national debt! Now, beyond all cavil, he loved the funds intensely; grew violent when they were assailed; cried out for bayonets when the mass declaimed against taxation; eulogized the gallows when there were menaces of revolt, and in a hundred other ways prove that “where the treasure is, there will the heart be also.” The instance of my father, therefore, like all exceptions, only went to prove the excellence of the rule. He had merely fallen into the error of contraction, when the only safe course was that of expansion. I resolved to expand; to do that which probably no political economist had ever yet thought of doing–in short, to carry out the principle of the social stake in such a way as should cause me to love all things, and consequently to become worthy of being intrusted with the care of all things.

On reaching town my earliest visit was one of thanks to my Lord Pledge. At first I had felt some doubts whether the baronetcy would or would not aid the system of philanthropy; for by raising me above a large portion of my kind, it was in so much at least a removal from philanthropical sympathies; but by the time the patent was received and the fees were paid, I found that it might fairly be considered a pecuniary investment, and that it was consequently brought within the rule I had prescribed for my own government.

The next thing was to employ suitable agents to aid in making the purchases that were necessary to attach me to mankind. A month was diligently occupied in this way. As ready money was not wanting, and I was not very particular on the subject of prices, at the end of that time I began to have certain incipient sentiments which went to prove the triumphant success of the experiment. In other words I owned much, and was beginning to take a lively interest in all I owned.

I made purchases of estates in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. This division of real property was meant to equalize my sentiments justly between the different portions of my native country. Not satisfied with this, however, I extended the system to the colonies. I had East India shares, a running ship, Canada land, a plantation in Jamaica, sheep at the Cape and at New South Wales, an indigo concern at Bengal, an establishment for the collection of antiques in the Ionian Isles, and a connection with a shipping house for the general supply of our various dependencies with beer, bacon, cheese, broadcloths, and ironmongery. From the British empire my interests were soon extended into other countries. On the Garonne and Xeres I bought vineyards. In Germany I took some shares in different salt and coal mines; the same in South America in the precious metals; in Russia I dipped deeply into tallow; in Switzerland I set up an extensive manufactory of watches, and bought all the horses for a voiturier on a large scale. I had silkworms in Lombardy, olives and hats in Tuscany, a bath in Lucca, and a maccaroni establishment at Naples. To Sicily I sent funds for the purchase of wheat, and at Rome I kept a connoisseur to conduct a general agency in the supply of British articles, such as mustard, porter, pickles, and corned beef, as well as for the forwarding of pictures and statues to the lovers of the arts and of VIRTU.

By the time all this was effected I found my hands full of business. Method, suitable agents, and a resolution to succeed smoothed the way, however, and I began to look about me and to take breath. By way of relaxation I now descended into details; and for a few days I frequented the meetings of those who are called “the Saints,” in order to see if something might be done towards the attainment of my object through their instrumentality. I cannot say that this experiment met with all the success I had anticipated. I heard a great deal of subtle discussion, found that manner was of more account than matter, and had unreasonable and ceaseless appeals to my pocket. So near a view of charity had a tendency to expose its blemishes, as the brilliancy of the sun is known to exhibit defects on the face of beauty, which escape the eye when seen through the medium of that artificial light for which they are best adapted; and I soon contented myself with sending my contributions at proper intervals, keeping aloof in person. This experiment gave me occasion to perceive that human virtues, like little candles, shine best in the dark, and that their radiance is chiefly owing to the atmosphere of a “naughty world.” From speculating I returned to facts.

The question of slavery had agitated the benevolent for some years, and finding a singular apathy in ray own bosom on this important subject, I bought five hundred of each sex to stimulate my sympathies. This led me nearer to the United States of America, a country that I had endeavored to blot out of my recollection; for while thus encouraging a love for the species, I had scarcely thought it necessary to go so far from home. As no rule exists without an exception, I confess I was a good deal disposed to believe that a Yankee might very fairly be an omission in an Englishman’s philanthropy. But “in for a penny in for a pound.” The negroes led me to the banks of the Mississippi, where I was soon the owner of both a sugar and a cotton plantation. In addition to these purchases I took shares in divers South-Seamen, owned a coral and pearl fishery of my own, and sent an agent with a proposition to King Tamamamaah to create a monopoly of sandalwood in our joint behalf.

The earth and all it contained assumed new glories in my eyes. I had fulfilled the essential condition of the political economists, the jurists, the constitution-mongers, and all the “talents and decency,” and had stakes in half the societies of the world. I was fit to govern, I was fit to advise, to dictate to most of the people of Christendom; for I had taken a direct interest in their welfares by making them my own. Twenty times was I about to jump into a post- chaise, and to gallop down to the rectory in order to lay my newborn alliance with the species, and all its attendant felicity, at the feet of Anna, but the terrible thought of monogamy, and of its sympathy-withering consequences, as often stayed my course. I wrote to her weekly, however, making her the participator of a portion of my happiness, though I never had the satisfaction of receiving a single line in reply.

Fairly emancipated from selfishness, and pledged to the species, I now quitted England on a tour of philanthropical inspection. I shall not weary the reader with an account of my journeys over the beaten tracks of the continent, but transport him and myself at once to Paris, in which city I arrived on the 17th of May, Anno Domini 1819. I had seen much, fancied myself improved, and, by constant dwelling on my system, saw its excellences as plainly as Napoleon saw the celebrated star which defied the duller vision of his uncle the cardinal. At the same time, as usually happens with those who direct all their energies to a given point, the opinions originally formed of certain portions of my theory began to undergo mutations, as nearer and more practical views pointed out inconsistencies and exposed defects. As regards Anna in particular, the quiet, gentle, unobtrusive, and yet distinct picture of womanly loveliness that was rarely absent from my mind, had for the past twelvemonth haunted me with a constancy of argument that might have unsettled the Newtonian scheme of philosophy itself. I already more than questioned whether the benefit to be derived from the support of one so affectionate and true would not fully counterbalance the disadvantage of a concentration of interest, so far as the sex was concerned. This growing opinion was fast getting to be conviction, when I encountered on the boulevards one day an old country neighbor of the rector’s, who gave me the best account of the family, adding, after descanting on the beauty and excellence of Anna herself, that the dear girl had quite lately actually refused a peer of the realm, who enjoyed all the acknowledged advantages of youth, riches, birth, rank, and a good name, and who had selected her from a deep conviction of her worth, and of her ability to make any sensible man happy. As to my own power over the heart of Anna I never entertained a doubt. She had betrayed it in a thousand ways and on a hundred occasions; nor had I been at all backward in letting her understand how highly I valued her dear self, although I had never yet screwed up my resolution so high as distinctly to propose for her hand. But all my unsettled purposes became concentrated on hearing this welcome intelligence; and, taking an abrupt leave of my old acquaintance, I hurried home and wrote the following letter:

Dear–very dear, nay–dearest ANNA:

“I met your old neighbor–this morning on the boulevards, and during an interview of an hour we did little else but talk of thee. Although it has been my most ardent and most predominant wish to open my heart to the whole species, yet, Anna, I fear I have loved thee alone! Absence, so far from expanding, appears to contract my affections, too many of which centre in thy sweet form and excellent virtues. The remedy I proposed is insufficient, and I begin to think that matrimony alone can leave me master of sufficient freedom of thought and action to turn the attention I ought to the rest of the human race. Thou hast been with me in idea in the four corners of the earth, by sea and by land, in dangers and in safety, in all seasons, regions, and situations, and there is no sufficient reason why those who are ever present in the spirit should be materially separated. Thou hast only to say a word, to whisper a hope, to breathe a wish, and I will throw myself a repentant truant at thy feet and implore thy pity. When united, however, we will not lose ourselves in the sordid and narrow paths of selfishness, but come forth again in company to acquire a new and still more powerful hold on this beautiful creation, of which, by this act, I acknowledge thee to be the most divine portion.

“Dearest, dearest Anna, thine and the species’,

“Forever,

“JOHN GOLDENCALF.

“TO MISS ETHERINGTON.”

If there was ever a happy fellow on earth it was myself when this letter was written, sealed, and fairly despatched. The die was cast, and I walked into the air a regenerated and an elastic being! Let what might happen, I was sure of Anna. Her gentleness would calm my irritability; her prudence temper my energies; her bland but enduring affections soothe my soul. I felt at peace with all around me, myself included, and I found a sweet assurance of the wisdom of the step I had just taken in the expanding sentiment. If such were my sensations now that every thought centred in Anna, what would they not become when these personal transports were cooled by habit, and nature was left to the action of the ordinary impulses! I began to doubt of the infallibility of that part of my system which had given me so much pain, and to incline to the new doctrine that by concentration on particular parts we come most to love the whole. On examination there was reason to question whether it was not on this principle even that, as an especial landholder, I attained so great an interest in my native island; for while I certainly did not own the whole of Great Britain, I felt that I had a profound respect for everything in it that was in any, even the most remote manner, connected with my own particular possessions.

A week flew by in delightful anticipations. The happiness of this short but heavenly period became so exciting, so exquisite, that I was on the point of giving birth to an improvement on my theory (or rather on the theory of the political economists and constitution- mongers, for it is in fact theirs and not mine), when the answer of Anna was received. If anticipation be a state of so much happiness– happiness being the great pursuit of man–why not invent a purely probationary condition of society?–why not change its elementary features from positive to anticipating interests, which would give more zest to life, and bestow felicity unimpaired by the dross of realities? I had determined to carry out this principle in practice by an experiment, and left the hotel to order an agent to advertise, and to enter into a treaty or two, for some new investments (without the smallest intention of bringing them to a conclusion), when the porter delivered me the ardently expected letter. I never knew what would be the effect of taking a stake in society by anticipation, therefore; the contents of Anna’s missive driving every subject that was not immediately connected with the dear writer, and with sad realities, completely out of my head. It is not improbable, however, that the new theory would have proved to be faulty, for I have often had occasion to remark that heirs (in remainder, for instance), manifest an hostility to the estate, by carrying out the principle of anticipation, rather than any of that prudent respect for social consequences to which the legislator looks with so much anxiety.

The letter of Anna was in the following words:

“Good–nay, Dear JOHN:

“Thy letter was put into my hands yesterday. This is the fifth answer I have commenced, and you will therefore see that I do not write without reflection. I know thy excellent heart, John, better than it is known to thyself. It has either led thee to the discovery of a secret of the last importance to thy fellow-creatures, or it has led thee cruelly astray. An experiment so noble and so praiseworthy ought not to be abandoned on account of a few momentary misgivings concerning the result. Do not stay thy eagle flight at the instant thou art soaring so near the sun! Should we both judge it for our mutual happiness, I can become thy wife at a future day. We are still young, and there is no urgency for an immediate union. In the mean time, I will endeavor to prepare myself to be the companion of a philanthropist by practising on thy theory, and, by expanding my own affections, render myself worthy to be the wife of one who has so large a stake in society, and who loves so many and so truly.

“Thine imitator and friend,

“Without change,

“ANNA ETHERINGTON.

“To Sir JOHN GOLDENCALF, Bart.

“P.S.–You may perceive that I am in a state of improvement, for I have just refused the hand of Lord M’Dee, because I found I loved all his neighbors quite as well as I loved the young peer himself.”

Ten thousand furies took possession of my soul, in the shape of so many demons of jealousy. Anna expanding her affections! Anna taking any other stake in society than that I made sure she would accept through me! Anna teaching herself to love more than one, and that one myself! The thought was madness. I did not believe in the sincerity of her refusal of Lord M’Dee. I ran for a copy of the Peerage (for since my own elevation in life I regularly bought both that work and the Baronetage), and turned to the page that contained his name. He was a Scottish viscount who had just been created a baron of the united kingdom, and his age was precisely that of my own. Here was a rival to excite distrust. By a singular contradiction in sentiments, the more I dreaded his power to injure me, the more I undervalued his means. While I fancied Anna was merely playing with me, and had in secret made up her mind to be a peeress, I had no doubt that the subject of her choice was both ill- favored and awkward, and had cheek-bones like a Tartar. While reading of the great antiquity of his family (which reached obscurity in the thirteenth century), I set it down as established that the first of his unknown predecessors was a bare-legged thief, and, at the very moment that I imagined Anna was smiling on him, and retracting her coquettish denial, I could have sworn that he spoke with an unintelligible border accent, and that he had red hair!

The torment of such pictures grew to be intolerable, and I rushed into the open air for relief. How long or whither I wandered I know not; but on the morning of the following day I found I was seated in a guinguette near the base of Montmartre, eagerly devouring a roll and refreshing myself with sour wine. When a little recovered from the shock of discovering myself in a situation so novel (for having no investment in guinguettes, I had not taken sufficient interest in these popular establishments ever to enter one before), I had leisure to look about and survey the company. Some fifty Frenchmen of the laboring classes were drinking on every side, and talking with a vehemence of gesticulation and a clamor that completely annihilated thought. This then, thought I, is a scene of popular happiness. These creatures are excellent fellows, enjoying themselves on liquor that has not paid the city duty, and perhaps I may seize upon some point that favors my system among spirits so frank and clamorous. Doubtless if any one among them is in possession of any important social secret it will not fail to escape him here. From meditations of this philosophical character I was suddenly aroused by a violent blow before me, accompanied with an exclamation in very tolerable English of the word,

“King!”

On the centre of the board which did the office of a table, and directly beneath my eyes, lay a clenched fist of fearful dimensions, that in color and protuberances bore a good deal of resemblance to a freshly unearthed Jerusalem artichoke. Its sinews seemed to be cracking with tension, and the whole knob was so expressive of intense pugnacity that my eyes involuntarily sought its owner’s face. I had unconsciously taken my seat directly opposite a man whose stature was nearly double that of the compact, bustling sputtering, and sturdy little fellows who were bawling on every side of us, and whose skinny lips, instead of joining in the noise, were so firmly compressed as to render the crevice of the mouth no more strongly marked than a wrinkle in the brow of a man of sixty. His complexion was naturally fair, but exposure had tanned the skin of his face to the color of the crackle of a roasted pig; those parts which a painter would be apt to term the “high lights” being indicated by touches of red, nearly as bright as fourth-proof brandy. His eyes were small, stern, fiery, and very gray; and just at the instant they met my admiring look they resembled two stray coals that by some means had got separated from the body of adjacent heat in the face. He had a prominent, well-shaped nose, athwart which the skin was stretched like leather in the process of being rubbed down on the currier’s bench, and his ropy black hair was carefully smoothed over his temples and brows, in a way to show that he was abroad on a holiday excursion.

When our eyes met, this singular-looking being gave me a nod of friendly recognition, for no better reason that I could discover than the fact that I did not appear to be a Frenchman. “Did mortal man ever listen to such fools, captain?” he observed, as if certain we must think alike on the subject.

“Really I did not attend to what was said; there certainly is much noise.”

“I don’t pretend to understand a word of what they are saying myself; but it SOUNDS like thorough nonsense.”

“My ear is not yet sufficiently acute to distinguish sense from nonsense by mere intonation and sound–but it would seem, sir, that you speak English only.”

“Therein you are mistaken; for, being a great traveller, I have been compelled to look about me, and as a nat’ral consequence I speak a little of all languages. I do not say that I use the foreign parts of speech always fundamentally, but then I worry through an idee so as to make it legible and of use, especially in the way of eating and drinking. As to French, now, I can say ‘don-nez-me some van,’ and ‘don-nez-vous some pan,’ as well as the best of them; but when there are a dozen throats bawling at once, as is the case with these here chaps, why one might as well go on the top of Ape’s Hill and hold a conversation with the people he will meet with there, as to pretend to hold a rational or a discussional discourse. For my part, where there is to be a conversation, I like every one to have his turn, keeping up the talk, as it might be, watch and watch; but among these Frenchmen it is pretty much as if their idees had been caged, and the door being suddenly opened, they fly out in a flock, just for the pleasure of saying they are at liberty.”

I now perceived that my companion was a reflecting being, his ratiocination being connected by regular links, and that he did not boost his philosophy on the leaping-staff of impulse, like most of those who were sputtering, and arguing, and wrangling, with untiring lungs, in all corners of the guinguette. I frankly proposed, therefore, that we should quit the place and walk into the road, where our discourse would be less disturbed, and consequently more satisfactory. The proposal was well received, and we left the brawlers, walking by the outer boulevards towards my hotel in the Rue de Rivoli, by the way of the Champs Elysees.

CHAPTER VII.

TOUCHING AN AMPHIBIOUS ANIMAL, A SPECIAL INTRODUCTION, AND ITS CONSEQUENCES.

I soon took an interest in my new acquaintance. He was communicative, shrewd, and peculiar; and though apt to express himself quaintly, it was always with the pith of one who had seen a great deal of at least one portion of his fellow-creatures. The conversation, under such circumstances, did not flag; on the contrary, it soon grew more interesting by the stranger’s beginning to touch on his private interests. He told me that he was a mariner who had been cast ashore by one of the accidents of his calling, and, by way of cutting in a word in his own favor, he gave me to understand that he had seen a great deal, more especially of that castle of his fellow-creatures who like himself live by frequenting the mighty deep.

“I am very happy,” I said, “to have met with a stranger who can give me information touching an entire class of human beings with whom I have as yet had but little communion. In order that we may improve the occasion to the utmost, I propose that we introduce ourselves to each other at once, and swear an eternal friendship, or, at least, until we may find it convenient to dispense with the obligation.”

“For my part, I am one who likes the friendship of a dog better than his enmity,” returned my companion, with a singleness of purpose that left him no disposition to waste his breath in idle compliments. “I accept the offer, therefore, with all my heart; and this the more readily because you are the only one I have met for a week who can ask me how I do without saying, ‘Come on, cong portez- vous.’ Being used to meet with squalls, however, I shall accept your offer under the last condition named.”

I liked the stranger’s caution. It denoted a proper care of character, and furnished a proof of responsibility. The condition was therefore accepted on my part as frankly as it had been urged on his.

“And now, sir,” I added, when we had shaken each other very cordially by the hand, “may I presume to ask your name?”

“I am called Noah, and I don’t care who knows it. I am not ashamed of either of my names, whatever else I may be ashamed of.”

“Noah–?”

“Poke, at your service.” He pronounced the word slowly and very distinctly, as if what he had just said of his self-confidence were true. As I had afterward occasion to take his signature, I shall at once give it in the proper form–“Capt. Noah Poke.”

“Of what part of England are you a native, Mr. Poke?”

“I believe I may say of the new parts.”

“I do not know that any portion of the island was so designated. Will you have the good-nature to explain yourself?”

“I’m a native of Stunin’tun, in the State of Connecticut, in old New England. My parents being dead, I was sent to sea a four-year-old, and here I am, walking about the kingdom of France without a cent in my pocket, a shipwrecked mariner. Hard as my lot is, to say the truth, I’d about as leave starve as live by speaking their d–d lingo.”

“Shipwrecked–a mariner–starving–and a Yankee!”

“All that, and maybe more, too; though, by your leave, commodore, we’ll drop the last title. I’m proud enough to call myself a Yankee, but my back is apt to get up when I hear an Englishman use the word. We are yet friends, and it may be well enough to continue so until some good comes of it to one or other of the parties.”

“I ask your pardon, Mr. Poke, and will not offend again. Have you circumnavigated the globe?”

Captain Poke snapped his fingers, in pure contempt of the simplicity of the question.

“Has the moon ever sailed round the ‘arth! Look here, a moment, commodore”–he took from his pocket an apple, of which he had been munching half a-dozen during the walk, and held it up to view–“draw your lines which way you will on this sphere; crosswise or lengthwise, up or down, zigzag or parpendic’lar, and you will not find more traverses than I’ve worked about the old ball!”

“By land as well as by sea?”

“Why, as to the land, I’ve had my share of that, too; for it has been my hard fortune to run upon it, when a softer bed would have given a more quiet nap. This is just the present difficulty with me, for I am now tacking about among these Frenchmen in order to get afloat again, like an alligator floundering in the mud. I lost my schooner on the northeast coast of Russia–somewhere hereabouts,” pointing to the precise spot on the apple; “we were up there trading in skins-and finding no means of reaching home by the road I’d come, and smelling salt water down hereaway, I’ve been shaping my course westward for the last eighteen months, steering as near as might be directly athwart Europe and Asia; and here I am at last within two days’ run of Havre, which is, if I can get good Yankee planks beneath me once more, within some eighteen or twenty days’ run of home.”

“You allow me, then, to call the planks Yankee?”

“Call ’em what you please, commodore; though I should prefar to call ’em the ‘Debby and Dolly of Stunin’tun,’ to anything else, for that was the name of the craft I lost. Well, the best of us are but frail, and the longest-winded man is no dolphin to swim with his head under water!”

“Pray, Mr. Poke, permit me to ask where you learned to speak the English language with so much purity?”

“Stunin’tun–I never had a mouthful of schooling but what I got at home. It’s all homespun. I make no boast of scholarship; but as for navigating, or for finding my way about the ‘arth, I’ll turn my back on no man, unless it be to leave him behind. Now we have people with us that think a great deal of their geometry and astronomies, but I hold to no such slender threads. My way is, when there is occasion to go anywhere, to settle it well in my mind as to the place, and then to make as straight a wake as natur’ will allow, taking little account of charts, which are as apt to put you wrong as right; and when they do get you into a scrape it’s a smasher! Depend on yourself and human natur’, is my rule; though I admit there is some accommodation in a compass, particularly in cold weather.”

“Cold weather! I do not well comprehend the distinction.”

“Why, I rather conclude that one’s scent gets to be dullish in a frost; but this may be no more than a conceit after all, for the two times I’ve been wrecked were in summer, and both the accidents happened by sheer dint of hard blowing, and in broad daylight, when nothing human short of a change of wind could have saved us.”

“And you prefer this peculiar sort of navigation?”

“To all others, especially in the sealing business, which is my raal occupation. It’s the very best way in the world to discover islands; and everybody knows that we sealers are always on the lookout for su’thin’ of that sort.”

“Will you suffer me to inquire, Captain Poke, how many times you have doubled Cape Horn?”

My navigator threw a quick, jealous glance at me, as if he distrusted the nature of the question.

“Why, that is neither here nor there; perhaps I don’t double either of the capes, perhaps I do. I get into the South Sea with my craft, and it’s of no great moment how it’s done. A skin is worth just as much in the market, though the furrier may not happen to have a glossary of the road it has travelled.”

“A glossary?”

“What matters a signification, commodore, when people understand each other? This overland journey has put me to my wits, for you will understand that I’ve had to travel among natives that cannot speak a syllable of the homespun; so I brought the schooner’s dictionary with me as a sort of terrestrial almanac, and I fancied that, as they spoke gibberish to me, the best way was to give it to them back again as near as might be in their own coin, hoping I might hit on su’thin’ to their liking. By this means I’ve come to be rather more voluble than formerly.”

“The idea was happy.”

“No doubt it was, as is just evinced. But having given you a pretty clear insight into my natur’ and occupation, it is time that I ask a few questions of you. This is a business, you must know, at which we do a good deal at Stunin’tun, and at which we are commonly thought to be handy,”

“Put your questions, Captain Poke; I hope the answers will be satisfactory.”

“Your name?”

“John Goldencalf–by the favor of his majesty, Sir John Goldencalf, Baronet.” ‘

“Sir John Goldencalf–by the favor of his majesty, a baronet! Is baronet a calling? or what sort of a crittur or thing is it?”

“It is my rank in the kingdom to which I belong.”

“I begin to understand what you mean. Among your nation mankind is what we call stationed, like a ship’s people that are called to go about; you have a certain berth in that kingdom of yours, much as I should have in a sealing schooner.”

“Exactly so; and I presume you will allow that order, and propriety, and safety result from this method among mariners?”

“No doubt–no doubt, we station anew, however, each v’yage, according to experience; I’m not so sure that it would do to take even the cook from father to son, or we might have a pretty mess of it.”

Here the sealer commenced a series of questions, which he put with a vigor and perseverance that I fear left me without a single fact of my life unrevealed, except those connected with the sacred sentiment that bound me to Anna, and which were far too hallowed to escape me even under the ordeal of a Stunin’tun inquisitor. In short, finding that I was nearly helpless in such hands, I made a merit of necessity, and yielded up my secrets as wood in a vice discharges its moisture. It was scarcely possible that a mind like mine, subjected to the action of such a pair of moral screws, should not yield some hints touching its besetting propensities. The Captain seized this clew, and he went at the theory like a bulldog at the muzzle of an ox.

To oblige him, therefore, I entered at some length into an explanation of my system. After the general remarks that were necessary to give a stranger an insight into its leading principles, I gave him to understand that I had long been looking for one like him, for a purpose that shall now be explained to the reader. I had entertained some negotiations with Tamahamaah, and had certain investments in the pearl and whale fisheries, it is true; but on the whole my relations with all that portion of mankind who inhabit the islands of the Pacific, the northwest coast of America, and the northeast coast of the old continent, were rather loose, and generally in an unsettled and vague condition; and it appeared to me that I had been singularly favored in having a man so well adapted to their regeneration thrown as it were by Providence, and in a manner so unusual, directly in my way. I now frankly proposed, therefore, to fit out an expedition, that should be partly of trade and partly of discovery, in order to expand my interests in this new direction, and to place my new acquaintance at its head. Ten minutes of earnest explanation on my part sufficed to put my companion in possession of the leading features of the plan. When I had ended this direct appeal to his love of enterprise, I was answered by the favorite exclamation of–

“King!”

“I do not wonder, Captain Poke, that your admiration breaks out in this manner; for I believe few men fairly enter into the beauty of this benevolent system who are not struck equally with its grandeur and its simplicity. May I count on your assistance?”

“This is a new idee, Sir Goldencalf–“

“Sir John Goldencalf, if you please, sir.”

“A new idee, Sir John Goldencalf, and it needs circumspection. Circumspection in a bargain is the certain way to steer clear of misunderstandings. You wish a navigator to take your craft, let her be what she will, into unknown seas, and I wish, naturally, to make a straight course for Stunin’tun. You see the bargain is in apogee, from the start.”

“Money is no consideration with me, Captain Poke.”

“Well, this is an idee that has brought many a more difficult contract at once into perigee, Sir John Goldencalf. Money is always a considerable consideration with me, and I may say, also, just now it is rather more so than usual. But when a gentleman clears the way as handsomely as you have now done, any bargain may be counted as a good deal more than half made.”

A few explicit explanations disposed of this part of the subject, and Captain Poke accepted of my terms in the spirit of frankness with which they were made. Perhaps his decision was quickened by an offer of twenty Napoleons, which I did not neglect making on the spot. Amicable and in some respects confidential relations were now established between my new acquaintance and myself; and we pursued our walk, discussing the details necessary to the execution of our project. After an hour or two passed in this manner, I invited my companion to go to my hotel, meaning that he should partake of my board until we could both depart for England, where it was my intention to purchase without delay a vessel for the contemplated voyage, in which I also had decided to embark in person.

We were obliged to make our way through the throng that usually frequents the lower part of the Champs Elysees during the season of good weather and towards the close of the day. This task was nearly over when my attention was particularly drawn to a group that was just entering the place of general resort, apparently with the design of adding to the scene of thoughtlessness and amusement. But as I am now approaching the most material part of this extraordinary work, it will be proper to reserve the opening for a new chapter.

CHAPTER VIII.

AN INTRODUCTION TO FOUR NEW CHARACTERS, SOME TOUCHES OF PHILOSOPHY, AND A FEW CAPITAL THOUGHTS ON POLITICAL ECONOMY.

The group which drew my attention was composed of six individuals, two of which were animals of the genus homo, or what is vulgarly termed man; and the remainder were of the order primates, and of the class mammalia; or what in common parlance are called monkeys.

The first were Savoyards, and may be generally described as being unwashed, ragged, and carnivorous; in color swarthy; in lineaments and expression avaricious and shrewd; and in appetites voracious. The latter were of the common species, of the usual size, and of approved gravity. There were two of each sex; being very equally paired as to years and external advantages.

The monkeys were all habited with more or less of the ordinary attire of our modern European civilization; but peculiar care had been taken with the toilet of the senior of the two males. This individual had on the coat of a hussar, a cut that would have given a particular part of his body a more military contour than comported with his real character were it not for a red petticoat that was made shorter than common; less, however, with a view to show a pretty foot and ankle than to leave the nether limbs at liberty to go through with certain extravagant efforts which the Savoyards were unmercifully exacting from his natural agility. He wore a Spanish hat, decorated with a few bedraggled feathers, a white cockade, and a wooden sword. In addition to the latter, he carried in his hand a small broom.

Observing that my attention was strongly attracted to this party, the ill-favored Savoyards immediately commenced a series of experiments in saltation, with the sole view, beyond a question, to profit by my curiosity. The inoffensive victims of this act of brutal tyranny submitted with a patience worthy of the profoundest philosophy, meeting the wishes of their masters with a readiness and dexterity that was beyond all praise. One swept the earth, another leaped on the back of a dog, a third threw himself head-over-heels again and again without a murmur, and the fourth moved gracefully to and fro, like a young girl in a quadrille. All this might have passed without calling for particular remark (since, alas! the spectacle is only too common), were it not for certain eloquent appeals that were made to me through the eyes by the individual in the hussar jacket. His look was rarely averted from my face for a moment, and in this way a silent communion was soon established between us. I observed that his gravity was indomitable. Nothing could elicit a smile or a change of countenance. Obedient to the whip of his brutal master, he never refused the required leap; for minutes at a time his legs and petticoat described confused circles in the air, appearing to have taken a final leave of the earth; but, the effort ended, he invariably descended to the ground with a quiet dignity and composure that showed how little the inward monkey partook of the antics of the outward animal. Drawing my companion a little aside, I ventured to suggest a few thoughts to him on the subject.

“Really, Captain Poke, it appears to me there is great injustice in the treatment of these poor creatures!” I said. “What right have these two foul-looking blackguards to seize upon beings much more interesting to the eye and, I dare say, far more intellectual than themselves, and cause them to throw their legs about in this extravagant manner, under the penalty of stripes, and without regard to their feelings or their convenience? I say, sir, the measure appears to me intolerably oppressive, and it calls for prompt redress.”

“King!”

“King or subject, it does not alter the moral deformity of the act. What have these innocent beings done that they should be subjected to this disgrace? Are they not flesh and blood like ourselves–do they not approach nearer to our form and, for aught we know to the contrary, to our reason, than any other animal? and is it tolerable that our nearest imitations, our very cousins, should be thus dealt by? Are they dogs that they are treated like dogs?”

“Why, to my notion, Sir John, there isn’t a dog on ‘arth that can take such a summerset. Their flapjacks are quite extraor’nary!”

“Yes, sir, and more than extraordinary; they are oppressive. Place yourself, Mr. Poke, for a single instant, in the situation of one of these persons; fancy that you had a hussar jacket squeezed upon your brawny shoulders, a petticoat placed over your lower extremities, a Spanish hat with bedraggled feathers set upon your head, a wooden sword stuck at your side, and a broom put into your hand; and that these two Savoyards were to menace you with stripes unless you consented to throw summersets for the amusement of strangers–I only ask you to make the case your own sir, and then say what course you would take and what you would do?”

“I would lick both of these young blackguards, Sir John, without remorse, break the sword and broom over their heads, kick their sensibilities till they couldn’t see, and take my course for Stunin’tun, where I belong.”

“Yes, sir, this might do with the Savoyards, who are young and feeble–“

“‘Twouldn’t alter the case much if two of these Frenchmen were in their places,” put in the Captain, glaring wolfishly about him. “To be plain with you, Sir John Goldencalf, being human, I’d submit to no such monkey tricks.”

“Do not use the term reproachfully, Mr. Poke, I entreat of you. We call these animals monkeys, it is true; but we do not know what they call themselves. Man is merely an animal, and you must very well know–“

“Harkee, Sir John,” interrupted the Captain, “I’m no botanist, and do not pretend to more schooling than a sealer has need of for finding his way about the ‘arth; but as for a man’s being an animal, I just wish to ask you, now, if in your judgment a hog is also an animal?”

“Beyond a doubt–and fleas, and toads, and sea-serpents, and lizards, and water-devils–we are all neither more nor less than animals.”

“Well, if a hog is an animal, I am willing to allow the relationship; for in the course of my experience, which is not small, I have met with men that you might have mistaken for hogs, in everything but the bristles, the snout, and the tail. I’ll never deny what I’ve seen with my own eyes, though I suffer for it; and therefore I admit that, hogs being animals, it is more than likely that some men must be animals too.”

“We call these interesting beings monkeys; but how do we know that they do not return the compliment, and call us, in their own particular dialect, something quite as offensive? It would become our species to manifest a more equitable and philosophical spirit, and to consider these interesting strangers as an unfortunate family which has fallen into the hands of brutes, and which is in every way entitled to our commiseration and our active interference. Hitherto I have never sufficiently stimulated my sympathies for the animal world by any investment in quadrupeds; but it is my intention to write to-morrow to my English agent to purchase a pack of hounds and a suitable stud of horses; and by way of quickening so laudable a resolution, I shall forthwith make propositions to the Savoyards for the speedy emancipation of this family of amiable foreigners. The slave-trade is an innocent pastime compared to the cruel oppression that the gentleman in the Spanish hat, in particular, is compelled to endure.”

“King!”

“He may be a king, sure enough, in his own country, Captain Poke; a fact that would add tenfold agony to his unmerited sufferings.”

Hereupon I proceeded without more ado to open a negotiation with the Savoyards. The judicious application of a few Napoleons soon brought about a happy understanding between the contracting parties, when the Savoyards transferred to my hands the strings which confined their vassals, as the formal and usual acknowledgment of the right of ownership. Committing the three others to the keeping of Mr. Poke, I led the individual in the hussar jacket a little on one side, and raising my hat to show that I was superior to the vulgar feelings of feudal superiority, I addressed him briefly in the following words:

“Although I have ostensibly bought the right which these Savoyards professed to have in your person and services, I seize an early occasion to inform you that virtually you are now free. As we are among a people accustomed to see your race in subjection, however, it may not be prudent to proclaim the nature of the present transaction, lest there might be some further conspiracies against your natural rights. We will retire to my hotel forthwith, therefore, where your future happiness shall be the subject of our more mature and of our united deliberations.”

The respectable stranger in the hussar jacket heard me with inimitable gravity and self-command until, in the warmth of feeling, I raised an arm in earnest gesticulation, when, most probably overcome by the emotions of delight that were naturally awakened in his bosom by this sudden change in his fortune, he threw three summersets, or flapjacks, as Captain Poke had quaintly designated his evolutions, in such rapid succession as to render it for a moment a matter of doubt whether nature had placed his head or his heels uppermost.

Making a sign for Captain Poke to follow, I now took my way directly to the Rue de Rivoli. We were attended by a constantly increasing crowd until the gate of the hotel was fairly entered; and glad was I to see my charge safely housed, for there were abundant indications of another design upon their rights in the taunts and ridicule of the living mass that rolled up as it were upon our heels. On reaching my own apartments, a courier who had been waiting my return, and who had just arrived express from England, put a packet into my hands, stating that it came from my principal English agent. Hasty orders were given to attend to the comfort and wants of Captain Poke and the strangers (orders that were in no danger of being neglected, since Sir John Goldencalf, with the reputed annual revenue of three millions of francs, had unlimited credit with all the inhabitants of the hotel); and I hurried into my cabinet and sat down to the eager perusal of the different communications.

Alas! there was not a line from Anna! The obdurate girl still trifled with my misery; and in revenge I entertained a momentary resolution of adopting the notions of Mahmoud, in order to qualify myself to set up a harem.

The letters were from a variety of correspondents, embracing many of those who were entrusted with the care of my interests in very opposite quarters of the world. Half an hour before I had been dying to open more intimate relations with the interesting strangers; but my thoughts instantly took a new direction, and I soon found that the painful sentiments I had entertained touching their welfare and happiness were quite lost in the newly awakened interests that lay before me. It is in this simple manner, no doubt, that the system to which I am a convert effects no small part of its own great purposes. No sooner does any one interest grow painful by excess than a new claim arises to divert the thoughts, a new demand is made on the sensibilities; and by lowering our affections from the intensity of selfishness to the more bland and equable feeling of impartiality, forms that just and generous condition of the mind at which the political economists aim when they dilate on the glories and advantages of their favorite theory of the social stake.

In this happy frame of mind I fell to reading the letters with avidity and with the godlike determination to reverence Providence and to do justice. Fiat justitia ruat coelum!

The first epistle was from the agent of the principal West India estate. He acquainted me with the fact that all hopes from the expected crop were destroyed by a hurricane, and he begged that I would furnish the means necessary to carry on the affairs of the plantation until another season might repair the loss. Priding myself on punctuality as a man of business, before I broke another seal a letter was written to a banker in London requesting him to supply the necessary credits, and to notify the agents in the West Indies of the circumstance. As he was a member of parliament, I seized the occasion also to press upon him the necessity of government’s introducing some early measure for the protection of the sugar-growers, a most meritorious class of his fellow-subjects, and one whose exposures and actual losses called loudly for relief of this nature. As I closed the letter I could not help dwelling with complacency on the zeal and promptitude with which I had acted- -the certain proof of the usefulness of the theory of investments.

The second communication was from the manager of an East India property, that very happily came with its offering to fill the vacuum left by the failure of the crops just mentioned. Sugar was likely to be a drug in the peninsula, and my correspondent stated that the cost of transportation being so much greater than from the other colonies, this advantage would be entirely lost unless government did something to restore the East Indian to his natural equality. I enclosed this letter in one to my Lord Say and Do, who was in the ministry, asking him in the most laconic and pointed terms whether it were possible for the empire to prosper when one portion of it was left in possession of exclusive advantages, to the prejudice of all the others? As this question was put with a truly British spirit, I hope it had some tendency to open the eyes of his majesty’s ministers; for much was shortly after said, both in the journals and in parliament, on the necessity of protecting our East Indian fellow-subjects, and of doing natural justice by establishing the national prosperity on the only firm basis, that of free trade.

The next letter was from the acting partner of a large manufacturing house to which I had advanced quite half the capital, in order to enter into a sympathetic communion with the cotton-spinners. The writer complained heavily of the import duty on the raw material, made some poignant allusions to the increasing competition on the continent and in America, and pretty clearly intimated that the lord of the manor of Householder ought to make himself felt by the administration in a question of so much magnitude to the nation. On this hint I spake. I sat down on the spot and wrote a long letter to my friend Lord Pledge, in which I pointed out to him the danger that threatened our political economy; that we were imitating the false theories of the Americans (the countrymen of Captain Poke), that trade was clearly never so prosperous as when it was the most successful, that success depended on effort, and effort was the most efficient when the least encumbered, and in short that as it was self-evident a man would jump farther without being in foot-irons, or strike harder without being hand-cuffed, so it was equally apparent that a merchant would make a better bargain for himself when he could have things all his own way than when his enterprise and industry were shackled by the impertinent and selfish interposition of the interests of others. In conclusion there was an eloquent description of the demoralizing consequences of smuggling, and a pungent attack on the tendencies of taxation in general. I have written and said some good things in my time, as several of my dependents have sworn to me in a way that even my natural modesty cannot repudiate; but I shall be excused for the weakness if I now add that I believe this letter to Lord Pledge contained some as clever points as anything I remember in their way; the last paragraph in particular being positively the neatest and the best turned moral I ever produced.

Letter fourth was from the steward of the Householder estate. He spoke of the difficulty of getting the rents; a difficulty that he imputed altogether to the low price of corn. He said that it would soon be necessary to relet certain farms; and he feared that the unthinking cry against the corn-laws would affect the conditions. It was incumbent on the landed interest to keep an eye on the popular tendencies as respected this subject, for any material variation from the present system would lower the rental of all the grain- growing counties in England thirty per cent, at least at a blow. He concluded with a very hard rap at the agrarians, a party that was just coming a little into notice in Great Britain, and by a very ingenious turn, in which he completely demonstrated that the protection of the landlord and the support of the Protestant religion were indissolubly connected. There was also a vigorous appeal to the common sense of the subject on the danger to be apprehended by the people from themselves; which he treated in a way that, a little more expanded, would have made a delightful homily on the rights of man.

I believe I meditated on the contents of this letter fully an hour. Its writer, John Dobbs, was as worthy and upright a fellow as ever breathed; and I could not but admire the surprising knowledge of men which shone through every line he had indited. Something must be done it was clear; and at length I determined to take the bull by the horns and to address Mr. Huskisson at once, as the shortest way of coming at the evil. He was the political sponsor for all the new notions on the subject of our foreign mercantile policy; and by laying before him in a strong point of view the fatal consequences of carrying his system to extremes, I hoped something might yet be done for the owners of real estate, the bones and sinews of the land.

I shall just add in this place that Mr. Huskisson sent me a very polite and a very statesman-like reply, in which he disclaimed any intention of meddling improperly with British interests in any way; that taxation was necessary to our system, and of course every nation was the best judge of its own means and resources; but that he merely aimed at the establishment of just and generous principles, by which nations that had no occasion for British measures should not unhandsomely resort to them; and that certain external truths should stand, like so many well-constructed tubs, each on its own bottom. I must say I was pleased with this attention from a man generally reputed as clever as Mr. Huskisson, and from that time I became a convert to most of his opinions.

The next communication that I opened was from the overseer of the estate in Louisiana, who informed me that the general aspect of things in that quarter of the world was favorable, but the smallpox had found its way among the negroes, and the business of the plantation would immediately require the services of fifteen able- bodied men, with the usual sprinkling of women and children. He added that the laws of America prohibited the further importation of blacks from any country without the limits of the Union, but that there was a very pretty and profitable internal trade in the article, and that the supply might be obtained in sufficient season either from the Carolinas, Virginia, or Maryland. He admitted, however, that there was some choice between the different stocks of these several States, and that some discretion might be necessary in making the selection. The negro of the Carolinas was the most used to the cotton-field, had less occasion for clothes, and it had been proved by experiment could be fattened on red herrings; while, on the other hand, the negro farther north had the highest instinct, could sometimes reason, and that he had even been known to preach when he had got as high up as Philadelphia. He much affected, also, bacon and poultry. Perhaps it might be well to purchase samples of lots from all the different stocks in market.

In reply I assented to the latter idea, suggesting the expediency of getting one or two of the higher castes from the north; I had no objection to preaching provided they preached work; but I cautioned the overseer particularly against schismatics. Preaching, in the abstract, could do no harm; all depending on doctrine.

This advice was given as the result of much earnest observation. Those European states that had the most obstinately resisted the introduction of letters, I had recently had occasion to remark were changing their systems, and were about to act on the principle of causing “fire to fight fire.” They were fast having recourse to school-books, using no other precaution than the simple expedient of writing them themselves. By this ingenious invention poison was converted into food, and truths of all classes were at once put above the dangers of disputations and heresies.

Having disposed of the Louisianian, I very gladly turned to the opening of the sixth seal. The letter was from the efficient trustee of a company to whose funds I had largely contributed by way of making an investment in charity. It had struck me, a short time previously to quitting home, that interests positive as most of those I had embarked in had a tendency to render the spirit worldly; and I saw no other check to such an evil than by seeking for some association with the saints, in order to set up a balance against the dangerous propensity. A lucky occasion offered through the wants of the Philo-African-anti-compulsion-free-labor Society, whose meritorious efforts were about to cease for the want of the great charity-power–gold. A draft for five thousand pounds had obtained me the honor of being advertised as a shareholder and a patron; and, I know not why!–but it certainly caused me to inquire into the results with far more interest than I had ever before felt in any similar institution. Perhaps this benevolent anxiety arose from that principle in our nature which induces us to look after whatever has been our own as long as any part of it can be seen.

The principal trustee of the Philo-African-anti-compulsion-free- labor Society now wrote to state that some of the speculations which had gone pari passu with the charity had been successful, and that the shareholders were, by the fundamental provisions of the association, entitled to a dividend, but–how often that awkward word stands between the cup and the lip!–BUT that he was of opinion the establishment of a new factory near a point where the slavers most resorted, and where gold-dust and palm-oil were also to be had in the greatest quantities, and consequently at the lowest prices, would equally benefit trade and philanthropy; that by a judicious application of our means these two interests might be made to see- saw very cleverly, as cause and effect, effect and cause; that the black man would be spared an incalculable amount of misery, the white man a grievous burden of sin, and the particular agents of so manifest a good might quite reasonably calculate on making at the very least forty per cent. per annum on their money besides having all their souls saved in the bargain. Of course I assented to a proposition so reasonable in itself, and which offered benefits so plausible!

The next epistle was from the head of a great commercial house in Spain in which I had taken some shares, and whose interests had been temporarily deranged by the throes of the people in their efforts to obtain redress for real or imaginary wrongs. My correspondent showed a proper indignation on the occasion, and was not sparing in his language whenever he was called to speak of popular tumults. “What do the wretches wish?” he asked with much point–“Our lives as well as our property? Ah! my dear sir, this bitter fact impresses us all (by us he meant the mercantile interests) with the importance of strong executives. Where should we have been but for the bayonets of the king? or what would have become of our altars, our firesides, and our persons, had it not pleased God to grant us a monarch indomitable in will, brave in spirit, and quick in action?” I wrote a proper answer of congratulation and turned to the next epistle, which was the last of the communications.

The eighth letter was from the acting head of another commercial house in New York, United States of America, or the country of Captain Poke, where it would seem the president by a decided exercise of his authority had drawn upon himself the execrations of a large portion of the commercial interests of the country; since the effect of the measure, right or wrong, as a legitimate consequence or not, by hook or by crook, had been to render money scarce. There is no man so keen in his philippics, so acute in discovering and so prompt in analyzing facts, so animated in his philosophy, and so eloquent in his complaints, as your debtor when money unexpectedly gets to be scarce. Credit, comfort, bones, sinews, marrow and all appear to depend on the result; and it is no wonder that, under so lively impressions, men who have hitherto been content to jog on in the regular and quiet habits of barter, should suddenly start up into logicians, politicians, aye, or even into magicians. Such had been the case with my present correspondent, who seemed to know and to care as little in general of the polity of his own country as if he had never been in it, but who now was ready to split hairs with a metaphysician, and who could not have written more complacently of the constitution if he had even read it. My limits will not allow an insertion of the whole letter, but one or two of its sentences shall be given. “Is it tolerable, my dear sir,” he went on to say, “that the executive of ANY country, I will not say merely of our own, should possess, or exercise, even admitting that he does possess them, such unheard of powers? Our condition is worse than that of the Mussulmans, who in losing their money usually lose their heads, and are left in a happy insensibility to their sufferings: but, alas! there is an end of the much boasted liberty of America! The executive has swallowed up all the other branches of the government, and the next thing will be to swallow up us. Our altars, our firesides, and our persons will shortly be invaded; and I much fear that my next letter will be received by you long after all correspondence shall be prohibited, every means of communication cut off, and we ourselves shall be precluded from writing, by being chained like beasts of burden to the car of a bloody tyrant.” Then followed as pretty a string of epithets as I remember to have heard from the mouth of the veriest shrew at Billingsgate.

I could not but admire the virtue of the “social-stake system,” which kept men so sensibly alive to all their rights, let them live where they would, or under what form of government, which was so admirably suited to sustain truth and render us just. In reply I sent back epithet for epithet, echoed all the groans of my correspondent, and railed as became a man who was connected with a losing concern.

This closed my correspondence for the present, and I arose wearied with my labors, and yet greatly rejoicing in their fruits. It was now late, but excitement prevented sleep; and before retiring for the night I could not help looking in upon my guests. Captain Poke had gone to a room in another part of the hotel, but the family of amiable strangers were fast asleep in the antechamber. They had supped heartily as I was assured, and were now indulging in a happy but temporary oblivion–to use an improved expression–of all their wrongs. Satisfied with this state of things, I now sought my own pillow, or, according to a favorite phrase of Mr. Noah Poke, I also “turned in.”

CHAPTER IX.

THE COMMENCEMENT OF WONDERS, WHICH ARE THE MORE EXTRAORDINARY ON ACCOUNT OF THEIR TRUTH.

I dare say my head had been on the pillow fully an hour before sleep closed my eyes. During this time I had abundant occasion to understand the activity of what are called the “busy thoughts.” Mine were feverish, glowing, and restless. They wandered over a wild field; one that included Anna, with her beauty, her mild truth, her womanly softness, and her womanly cruelty; Captain Poke and his peculiar opinions; the amiable family of quadrupeds and their wounded sensibilities; the excellences of the social-stake system; and, in short, most of that which I had seen and heard during the last four-and-twenty hours. When sleep did tardily arrive, it overtook me at the very moment that I had inwardly vowed to forget my heartless mistress, and to devote the remainder of my life to the promulgation of the doctrine of the expansive-super-human- generalized-affection-principle, to the utter exclusion of all narrow and selfish views, and in which I resolved to associate myself with Mr. Poke, as with one who had seen a great deal of this earth and its inhabitants, without narrowing down his sympathies in favor of any one place or person in particular, Stunin’tun and himself very properly excepted.

It was broad daylight when I awoke on the following morning. My spirits were calmed by rest, and my nerves had been soothed by the balmy freshness of the atmosphere. It appeared that my valet had entered and admitted the morning air, and then had withdrawn as usual to await the signal of the bell before he presumed to reappear. I lay many minutes in delicious repose, enjoying the periodical return of life and reason, bringing with it the pleasures of thought and its ten thousand agreeable associations. The delightful reverie into which I was insensibly dropping was, however, ere long arrested by low, murmuring, and, as I thought, plaintive voices at no great distance from my own bed. Seating myself erect, I listened intently and with a good deal of surprise; for it was not easy to imagine whence sounds so unusual for that place and hour could proceed. The discourse was earnest and even animated; but it was carried on in so low a tone that it would have been utterly inaudible but for the deep quiet of the hotel. Occasionally a word reached my ear, and I was completely at fault in endeavoring to ascertain even the language. That it was in neither of the five great European tongues I was certain, for all these I either spoke or read; and there were particular sounds and inflections that induced me to think that it savored of the most ancient of the two classics. It is true that the prosody of these dialects, at the same time that it is a shibboleth of learning, is a disputed point, the very sounds of the vowels even being a matter of national convention; the Latin word dux, for instance, being ducks in England, docks in Italy, and dukes in France: yet there is a ‘je ne sais quoi,’ a delicacy in the auricular taste of a true scholar, that will rarely lead him astray when his ears are greeted with words that have been used by Demosthenes or Cicero. [Footnote: Or Chichero, or Kickero, whichever may happen to suit the prejudices of the reader.] In the present instance I distinctly heard the word my- bom-y-nos-fos-kom-i-ton, which I made sure was a verb in the dual number and second person, of a Greek root, but of a signification that I could not on the instant master, but which beyond a question every scholar will recognize as having a strong analogy to a well- known line in Homer. If I was puzzled with the syllables that accidentally reached me, I was no less perplexed with the intonations of the voices of the different speakers. While it was easy to understand they were of the two sexes, they had no direct affinity to the mumbling sibilations of the English, the vehement monotony of the French, the gagging sonorousness of the Spaniards, the noisy melody of the Italians, the ear-splitting octaves of the Germans, or the undulating, head-over-heels enunciation of the countrymen of my particular acquaintance Captain Noah Poke. Of all the living languages of which I had any knowledge, the resemblance was nearer to the Danish and Swedish than to any other; but I much doubted at the time I first heard the syllables, and still question, if there is exactly such a word as my-bom-y-nos-fos-kom-i-ton to be found in even either of those tongues. I could no longer support the suspense. The classical and learned doubts that beset me grew intensely painful; and arising with the greatest caution, in order not to alarm the speakers, I prepared to put an end to them all by the simple and natural process of actual observation.

The voices came from the antechamber, the door of which was slightly open. Throwing on a dressing-gown, and thrusting my feet into slippers, I moved on tiptoe to the aperture, and placed my eye in such a situation as enabled me to command a view of the persons of those who were still earnestly talking in the adjoining room. All surprise vanished the moment I found that the four monkeys were grouped in a corner of the apartment, where they were carrying on a very animated dialogue, the two oldest of the party (a male and a female) being the principal speakers. It was not to be expected that even a graduate of Oxford, although belonging to a sect so proverbial for classical lore that many of them knew nothing else, could at the first hearing decide upon the analogies and character of a tongue that is so little cultivated even in that ancient sea of learning. Although I had now certainly a direct clew to the root of the dialect of the speakers, I found it quite impossible to get any useful acquaintance with the general drift of what was passing among them. As they were my guests, however, and might possibly be in want of some of the conveniences that were necessary to their habits, or might even be suffering under still graver embarrassments, I conceived it to be a duty to waive the ordinary usages of society, and at once offer whatever it was in my power to bestow, at the risk of interrupting concerns that they might possibly wish to consider private. Using the precaution, therefore, to make a little noise, as the best means of announcing my approach, the door was gently opened, and I presented myself to view. At first I was a little at a loss in what manner to address the strangers; but believing that a people who spoke a language so difficult of utterance and so rich as that I had just heard, like those who use dialects derived from the Slavonian root, were most probably the masters of all others; and remembering, moreover, that French was a medium of thought among all polite people, I determined to have recourse to that tongue. “Messieurs et mesdames,” I said, inclining my body in salutation, “mille pardons four cette intrusion feu convenable”–but as I am writing in English it may be well to translate the speeches as I proceed; although I abandon with regret the advantage of going through them literally, and in the appropriate dialect in which they were originally spoken.

“Gentlemen and ladies,” I said, inclining my body in salutation, “I ask a thousand pardons for this inopportune intrusion on your retirement; but overhearing a few of what I much fear are but too well-grounded complaints, touching the false position in which you are placed as the occupant of this apartment, and in that light your host, I have ventured to approach, with no other desire than the wish that you would make me the repository of all your griefs, in order, if possible, that they may be repaired as soon as circumstances shall in any manner allow.”

The strangers were very naturally a little startled at my unexpected appearance, and at the substance of what I had just said. I observed that the two ladies were apparently in some slight degree even distressed, the younger turning her head on one side in maiden modesty, while the elder, a duenna sort of looking person, dropped her eyes to the floor, but succeeded in better maintaining her self- possession and gravity. The eldest of the two gentlemen approached me with dignified composure, after a moment of hesitation, and returning my salute by waving his tail with singular grace and decorum, he answered as follows. I may as well state in this place that he spoke the French about as well as an Englishman who has lived long enough on the continent to fancy he can travel in the provinces without being detected for a foreigner. Au reste, his accent was slightly Russian, and his enunciation whistling and harmonious. The females, especially in some of the lower keys of their voices, made sounds not unlike the sighing tones of the Eolian harp. It was really a pleasure to hear them; but I have often had occasion to remark that, in every country but one, which I do not care to name, the language when uttered by the softer sex takes new charms, and is rendered more delightful to the ear.

“Sir,” said the stranger, when he had done waving his tail, “I should do great injustice to my feelings, and to the monikin character in general, were I to neglect expressing some small portion of the gratitude I feel on the present occasion. Destitute, houseless, insulted wanderers and captives, fortune has at length shed a ray of happiness on our miserable condition, and hope begins to shine through the cloud of our distress, like a passing gleam of the sun. From my very tail, sir, in my own name and in that of this excellent and most prudent matron, and in those of these two noble and youthful lovers, I thank you. Yes! honorable and humane being of the genus homo, species Anglicus, we all return our most tail-felt acknowledgments of your goodness!”

Here the whole party gracefully bent the ornaments in question over their heads, touching their receding foreheads with the several tips, and bowed. I would have given ten thousand pounds at that moment to have had a good investment in tails, in order to emulate their form of courtesy; but naked, shorn, and destitute as I was, with a feeling of humility I was obliged to put my head a little on one shoulder and give the ordinary English bob, in return for their more elaborate politeness.

“If I were merely to say, sir,” I continued, when the opening salutations were thus properly exchanged, “that I am charmed at this accidental interview, the word would prove very insufficient to express my delight. Consider this hotel as your own; its domestics as your domestics; its stores of condiments as your stores of condiments, and its nominal tenant as your most humble servant and friend. I have been greatly shocked at the indignities to which you have hitherto been exposed, and now promise you liberty, kindness, and all those attentions to which it is very apparent you are fully entitled by your birth, breeding, and the delicacy of your sentiments. I congratulate myself a thousand times for having been so fortunate as to make your acquaintance. My greatest desire has always been to stimulate the sympathies; but until to-day various accidents have confined the cultivation of this heaven-born property in a great measure to my own species; I now look forward, however, to a delicious career of new-born interests in the whole of the animal creation, I need scarcely say in that of quadrupeds of your family in particular.”

“Whether we belong to the class of quadrupeds or not, is a question that has a good deal embarrassed our own savans” returned the stranger. “There is an ambiguity in our physical action that renders the point a little questionable; and therefore, I think, the higher castes of our natural philosophers rather prefer classing the entire monikin species, with all its varieties, as caudae-jactans, or tail- wavers; adopting the term from the nobler part of the animal formation. Is not this the better opinion at home, my Lord Chatterino?” he asked, turning to the youth, who stood respectfully at his side.

“Such, I believe, my dear Doctor, was the last classification sanctioned by the academy,” the young noble replied, with a readiness that proved him to be both well-informed and intelligent, and at the same time with a reserve of manner that did equal credit to his modesty and breeding. “The question of whether we are or are not bipeds has greatly agitated the schools for more than three centuries.”

“The use of this gentleman’s name,” I hastily rejoined, “my dear sir, reminds me that we are but half acquainted with each other. Permit me to waive ceremony, and to announce myself at once as Sir John Goldencalf, Baronet, of Householder Hall, in the kingdom of Great Britain, a poor admirer of excellence wherever it is to be found, or under whatever form, and a devotee of the system of the ‘social-stake.'”

“I am happy to be admitted to the honor of this formal introduction, Sir John. In return I beg you will suffer me to say that this young nobleman is, in our own dialect, No. 6, purple; or, to translate the appellation, my Lord Chat-terino. This young lady is No. 4, violet,