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Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 10, No. 61, November, 1862 by Various

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"Don't do that, Anna," he said.

"Is it any harm, papa?"

"Your mother died sitting in that chair; her hands spread the shawl over
it; it was the last work they did, Anna; it has never since been taken

I dropped the fringe; my touch seemed sacrilegious.

Near the chair was a small cabinet; it looked like an altar, or would
have done so, had my father been a devotee to any religion requiring
visible sacrifice. He opened it.

"Come hither, Anna,"--and I went.

Long, luxuriant bands of softly purplish hair lay within, upon the place
of sacrifice.

"Sophie's is like this," I said.

"And Sophie wears one like unto this," said my father; and he took up
a circlet of shining gold that lay among the tresses. "Sophie's
marriage-ring was hallowed unto her. I gave it the morning she went out
from me." He uttered these words with slow reverence of voice.

Why did self come up?

"You gave Sophie _our_ mother's marriage-ring," I said, "and I"--

"Shall wear this," said my father. "I laid it here, with hers;" and he
gently lifted the sacred hair, and, freeing the ring, put it upon my

"This is not my marriage-day," I said. "Papa, I don't want it. Besides,
gentlemen don't wear marriage-rings: how came you to?"

"Perhaps I have not worn this one; but will you wear it to please me?"

"Why will it please you? It is not symbolical, is it?"

"It makes you doubly mine," he said; and he led me back to outside life,
with this strange sort of marriage-ring circling with its planet weight
around my finger.

Did my father mean to keep me forever? And with the question came an
answer that left sweet contentment in its pathway; it accorded with the
intent of my heart.

"Father, have you made me your friend?" I asked, in the room that was
terribly tossed, as I restored to place chairs that seemed to have been
in a deplorably long dance, and to have forgotten their home at its

"You wear my ring, you have come into my orbit," he answered.

"That being true, I am as much interested in the flying comet in there
as you are,--for if it strikes you, it hurts me;" and I waited his

After a moment of pause, it came.

"My poor patient is very ill; his life will burn out, if the fever is
not stayed;" and as the frenzied laugh reached us, Dr. Percival forgot
my presence; he passed his hand slowly across his brow, as if to retouch
memory, and then taking down a volume, he began to read. I waited long.
At last he closed the book suddenly, said to himself, "I'll try it," and
in half a moment my father's white hairs were separated from me by the
impassable barrier of the sick-room.

I waited; he did not come. The chairs were not the only articles that
had lost the commodity of order in my absence. I went to the table upon
which were kept the papers, etc., that lingered there a little while,
and then were thought no longer of. Idly I turned them over. What a
chaos on a small scale! all the elements of literature were represented.
I listened for coming footsteps; none came. "I may as well arrange this
table," I thought, "as wait for the morrow;" and I made a beginning by
sweeping the chaos at once upon the carpet. Then slowly I began picking
them up, one by one, and appointing them stations. My task was nearly
done, when, in turning over some magazines, I came upon a pile of papers
that had been laid between the leaves of one, and ere I was aware of
their presence, they slid down and scattered. I remember having felt
a little surprise that my father should have left them there, but I
hastened to gather them together. The last one of the number, I noticed,
was torn; it had a foreign look. "Father has some new correspondent," I
thought, as I looked at the number of mail-marks upon it. "He doesn't
think much of it, though, or it would have received better treatment;"
and I took a second look at it. A something in the feel of the paper
seemed familiar. "It is good for nothing," I said aloud, and I tossed
it toward the grate, put the pile of papers where I had found them,
surveyed my work with satisfaction, and stood thinking whether or not I
should wait to see my father again--it was more than an hour since
he went up--to say good-night to me. "I will wait a half-hour; if he
doesn't come then, I'll go," I said to the housekeeper, who came to see
that all was right for the night, and to remind me that Redleaf had not
proved very advantageous to my complexion, and to recommend early hours
as a restorative.

In accordance with my promise, I drew a chair forward, placed my feet
upon the fender, and began to study the dying embers that were slowly
falling through the grate-bars. One, larger than usual, burned its way
down. It lighted up, for an instant, the bit of paper, that had not
fallen into the coals. Strange fancy it was that led me to imagine
that I saw a capital A, followed immediately by that unknown quantity
represented by x. I made an effort to gain it, scorched my face, and
burned my fingers; for I touched the grate, in rescuing that which I had
cast into the place of burning.

"This bit of paper, found in New York, had once been integral with that
I had found within the church-yard tower in Redleaf," some inner
voice assured me. "Yes, it is a part of it," I said, for I distinctly
remembered the fragment whose possession I had so rejoiced over. Some
one had written a letter to Miss Axtell; the envelope was torn,--one
part there, another here. The letter itself I had found in the gloom of
the passage-way; for it Miss Axtell had gone out to search, ill, and in
the night; what must its contents have been, to have been worthy of such
effort?--and for the time I quite forgot to connect this man, ill in my
father's house, with the Herbert whose far-out-at-sea voice I had heard
winding up at me through the very death-darkness of the tower. Suddenly
the consciousness scintillated in my soul, and wonderful it was; but the
picture of my dream came in with it, and I said again, "I am ready for
the work which is given me to do," and I waited for its coming till
I grew very weary, holding this fragment of envelope fast, as a ship
clings to its anchor in mild seas. I ventured to knock at the entrance
of my own room. All was silent within. I tried the second time. There
came no answer. I dared not venture on the conquering third.

* * * * *


All day my mule with patient tread
Had moved along the plain,
Now o'er the lava's ashen bed,
Now through the sprouting grain,
Across the torrent's rocky lair,
Beneath the aloe-hedge,
Where yellow broom makes sweet the air,
And waves the purple sedge.

Lone were the hills, save where supine
The dozing goatherd lay,
Or, at a rude and broken shrine,
The peasant knelt to pray;
Or where athwart the distant blue
Thin saffron clouds ascend,
As Carbonari, hid from view,
Their smouldering embers tend.

Luxuriant vale or sterile reach,
A mountain temple-crowned
Or inland curve of glistening beach,
The changeful scene surround;
While scarlet poppies burning near,
And citrons' emerald gleam,
Make barren intervals appear
Dim lapses of a dream.

How meekly o'er the meadows gay
The azure flax-blooms spread!
What fragrance on the breeze of May
The almond-blossoms shed!
Wide-branching fig-trees deck the fields
Or round the quarries cling,
And cactus-stalks, with thorny shields,
In wild contortions spring.

Here groves of cork dusk shadows throw,
There vine-leaves lightsome sway,
While chestnut-plumes serenely glow
Above the olives gray;
Tall pines upon the sloping meads
Their sylvan domes uprear,
And rankly the papyrus-reeds
Low cluster in the mere.

And Syracuse with pensive mien,
In solitary pride,
Like an untamed, but throneless queen,
Crouched by the lucent tide;
With honeyed thyme still Hybla teemed,
Its scent each zephyr bore,
And Arethusa's fountain gleamed
Pellucid as of yore.

Methought, upstarting from his bath,
Old Archimedes cried,
"Eureka!" in my silent path,
Whose echoes long replied;
That Pythias, in the sunset-glow,
Rushed by to Damon's arms,
While from the Tyrant's Cave below
Moaned impotent alarms.

And where upon a sculptured stone
The ruined arch beside,
A hoary, bronzed, and wrinkled crone
The twirling distaff plied,--
Love with exalted Reason fraught
In Plato's accents came,
And Truth by Paul sublimely taught
Relumed her virgin flame.

The ancient sepulchres that rose
Along the voiceless street
Time's myriad vistas seemed to close
And bid life's waves retreat,--
As if intrusive footsteps stole
Beyond their mortal sphere,
And felt the awed and eager soul
Immortal comrades near.

The moss-grown ramparts loom in sight
Like warders of the deep,
Where, flushed with evening's amber light,
The havened waters sleep;
Unfurrowed by a Roman keel
Or Carthaginian oar,
The speared and burnished galleys now
Their slumber break no more.

But when the distant convent-bell,
Ere Day's last smiles depart,
With mellow cadence pleading fell
Upon my brooding heart,--
And Memory's phantoms thick and fast
Their fond illusions bred,
From peerless spirits of the past,
And wrecks of ages fled,--

Joy broke the spell; an emblem blest
That lonely harbor cheered:
As if to greet her pilgrim guest,
My country's flag appeared!
Its radiant folds auroral streamed
Amid that haunted air,
And every star prophetic beamed
With Freedom's triumph there!

* * * * *


All important changes in the social and political condition of man,
whether brought about by violent convulsions or effected gradually, are
at once recognized as eras in the history of humanity. But on the broad
high-road of civilization along which men are ever marching, they pass
by unnoticed the landmarks of intellectual progress, unless they chance
to have some direct bearing on what is called the practical side of
life. Such an era marked the early part of our own century; and though
at the time a thousand events seemed more full-freighted for the world
than the discovery of some old bones at the quarry of Montmartre, and
though many a man seemed greater in the estimation of the hour than the
professor at the Jardin des Plantes who strove to reconstruct these
fragments, yet the story that they told lighted up all the past, and
showed its true connection with the present. Cuvier, as one sees him in
a retrospective glance at the wonderful period in which he lived, and
which brought to the surface all its greatest elements,--one among a
throng of exceptional men, generals, soldiers, statesmen, as well as
men of commanding intellect in literary and scientific pursuits,--seems
always standing at the meeting-point between the past and present. His
gaze is ever fixed upon the path along which Creation has moved, and, as
he travels back, recovering step by step the road that has been lost to
man in apparently impenetrable darkness and mystery, the light brightens
and broadens before him, and seems to tempt him on into the dim regions
where the great mystery of Creation lies hidden.

Before the year 1800, men had never suspected that their home had been
tenanted in past times by a set of beings totally different from those
that inhabit it now; still farther was it from their thought to imagine
that creation after creation had followed each other in successive ages,
every one stamped with a character peculiarly its own. It was Cuvier
who, aroused to new labors by the hint he received from the bones
unearthed at Montmartre, to which all his vast knowledge of living
animals gave him no clue, established by means of most laborious
investigations the astounding conclusion, that, prior to the existence
of the animals and plants now living, this globe had been the theatre of
another set of beings, every trace of whom had vanished from the face of
the earth. To his alert and active intellect and powerful imagination a
word spoken out of the past was pregnant with meaning; and when he had
once convinced himself that he had found a single animal that had no
counterpart among living beings, it gave him the key to many mysteries.

It may be doubted whether men's eyes are ever opened to truths which,
though new to them, are old to God, till the time has come when they
can apprehend their meaning and turn them to good account. It certainly
seems, that, when such a revelation has once been made, light pours in
upon it from every side; and this is especially true of the case in
point. The existence of a past creation once suggested, confirmation
was found in a thousand facts overlooked before. The solid crust of the
earth gave up its dead, and from the snows of Siberia, from the soil of
Italy, from caves of Central Europe, from mines, from the rent sides of
mountains and from their highest peaks, from the coral beds of ancient
oceans, the varied animals that had possessed the earth ages before man
was created spoke to us of the past.

No sooner were these facts established, than the relation between the
extinct world and the world of to-day became the subject of extensive
researches and comparisons; innumerable theories were started to account
for the differences, and to determine the periods and manner of the
change. It is not my intention to enter now at any length upon the
subject of geological succession, though I hope to return to it
hereafter in a series of papers upon that and kindred topics; but I
allude to it here, before presenting some views upon the maintenance of
organic types as they exist in our own period, for the following reason.
Since it has been shown that from the beginning of Creation till the
present time the physical history of the world has been divided into
a succession of distinct periods, each one accompanied by its
characteristic animals and plants, so that our own epoch is only the
closing one in the long procession of the ages, naturalists have been
constantly striving to find the connecting link between them all, and to
prove that each such creation has been a normal and natural growth
out of the preceding one. With this aim they have tried to adapt the
phenomena of reproduction among animals to the problem of creation, and
to make the beginning of life in the individual solve that great mystery
of the beginning of life in the world. In other words, they have
endeavored to show that the fact of successive generations is analogous
to that of successive creations, and that the processes by which
animals, once created, are maintained unchanged during the period to
which they belong will account also for their primitive existence.

I wish, at the outset, to forestall any such misapplication of the facts
I am about to state, and to impress upon my readers the difference
between these two subjects of inquiry,--since it by no means follows,
that, because individuals are endowed with the power of reproducing and
perpetuating their kind, they are in any sense self-originating. Still
less probable does this appear, when we consider, that, since man has
existed upon the earth, no appreciable change has taken place in the
animal or vegetable world; and so far as our knowledge goes, this would
seem to be equally true of all the periods preceding ours, each one
maintaining unbroken to its close the organic character impressed upon
it at the beginning.

The question I propose to consider here is simply the mode by which
organic types are preserved as they exist at present. Every one has
a summary answer to this question in the statement, that all these
short-lived individuals reproduce themselves, and thus maintain their
kinds. But the modes of reproduction are so varied, the changes some
animals undergo during their growth so extraordinary, the phenomena
accompanying these changes so startling, that, in the pursuit of the
subject, a new and independent science--that of Embryology--has grown
up, of the utmost importance in the present state of our knowledge.

The prevalent ideas respecting the reproduction of animals are made
up from the daily observation of those immediately about us in the
barn-yard and the farm. But the phenomena here are comparatively simple,
and easily traced. The moment we extend our observations beyond our
cattle and fowls, and enter upon a wider field of investigation, we are
met by the most startling facts. Not the least baffling of these are
the disproportionate numbers of males and females in certain kinds
of animals, their unequal development, as well as the extraordinary
difference between the sexes among certain species, so that they seem as
distinct from each other as if they belonged to separate groups of the
Animal Kingdom. We have close at hand one of the most striking instances
of disproportionate numbers in the household of the Bee, with its one
fertile female charged with the perpetuation of the whole community,
while her innumerable sterile sisterhood, amid a few hundred drones,
work for its support in other ways. Another most interesting chapter
connected with the maintenance of animals is found in the various ways
and different degrees of care with which they provide for their progeny:
some having fulfilled their whole duty toward their offspring when they
have given them birth; others seeking hiding-places for the eggs they
have laid, and watching with a certain care over their development;
others feeding their young till they can provide for themselves, and
building nests, or burrowing holes in the ground, or constructing earth
mounds for their shelter.

But, whatever be the difference in the outward appearance or the habits
of animals, one thing is common to them all without exception: at some
period of their lives they produce eggs, which, being fertilized, give
rise to beings of the same kind as the parent. This mode of generation
is universal, and is based upon that harmonious antagonism between the
sexes, that contrast between the male and the female element, that at
once divides and unites the whole Animal Kingdom. And although this
exchange of influence is not kept up by an equality of numeric
relations,--since not only are the sexes very unequally divided in some
kinds of animals, but the male and female elements are even combined
in certain types, so that the individuals are uniformly
hermaphrodites,--yet I firmly believe that this numerical distribution,
however unequal it may seem to us, is not without its ordained accuracy
and balance. He who has assigned its place to every leaf in the thickest
forest, according to an arithmetical law which prescribes to each its
allotted share of room on the branch where it grows, will not have
distributed animal life with less care.

But although reproduction by eggs is common to all animals, it is only
one among several modes of multiplication. We have seen that certain
animals, besides the ordinary process of generation, also increase their
number naturally and constantly by self-division, so that out of one
individual many individuals may arise by a natural breaking up of
the whole body into distinct surviving parts. This process of normal
self-division may take place at all periods of life: it may form an
early phase of metamorphosis, as in the Hydroid of our common Aurelia,
described in the last article; or it may even take place before the
young is formed in the egg. In such a case, the egg itself divides into
a number of portions: two, four, eight, or even twelve and sixteen
individuals being normally developed from every egg, in consequence of
this singular process of segmentation of the yolk,--which takes place,
indeed, in all eggs, but in those which produce but one individual is
only a stage in the natural growth of the yolk during its transformation
into a young embryo. As the facts here alluded to are not very familiar
even to professional naturalists, I may be permitted to describe them
more in detail.

No one who has often walked across a sand-beach in summer can have
failed to remark what the children call "sand saucers." The name is not
a bad one, with the exception that the saucer lacks a bottom; but the
form of these circular bands of sand is certainly very like a saucer
with the bottom knocked out. Hold one of them against the light and you
will see that it is composed of countless transparent spheres, each of
the size of a small pin's head. These are the eggs of our common Natica
or Sea-Snail. Any one who remembers the outline of this shell will
easily understand the process by which its eggs are left lying on the
beach in the form I have described. They are laid in the shape of a
broad, short ribbon, pressed between the mantle and the shell, and,
passing out, cover the outside of the shell, over which they are rolled
up, with a kind of glutinous envelope,--for the eggs are held together
by a soft glutinous substance. Thus surrounded, the shell, by its
natural movements along the beach, soon collects the sand upon it, the
particles of which in contact with the glutinous substance of the eggs
quickly forms a cement that binds the whole together in a kind of paste.
When consolidated, it drops off from the shell, having taken the mould
of its form, as it were, and retaining the curve which distinguishes the
outline of the Natica. Although these saucers look perfectly round, it
will be found that the edges are not soldered together, but are simply
lapped one over the other. Every one of the thousand little spheres
crowded into such a circle of sand contains an egg. If we follow the
development of these eggs, we shall presently find that each one divides
into two halves, these again dividing to make four portions, then the
four breaking up into eight, and so on, till we may have the yolks
divided into no less than sixteen distinct parts. Thus far this process
of segmentation is similar to that of the egg in other animals; but, as
we shall see hereafter, it seems usually to result only in a change in
the quality of its substance, for the portions coalesce again to form
one mass, from which a new individual is finally sketched out, at first
as a simple embryo, and gradually undergoing all the changes peculiar to
its kind, till a new-born animal escapes from the egg. But in the case
of the Natica this regular segmentation changes its character, and at a
certain period, in a more or less advanced stage of the segmentation,
according to the species, each portion of the yolk assumes an
individuality of its own, and, instead of uniting again with the rest,
begins to subdivide for itself. In our _Natica heros_, for instance, the
common large gray Sea-Snail of our coast, this change takes place when
the yolk has subdivided into eight parts. At that time each portion
begins a life of its own, not reuniting with its seven twin portions; so
that in the end, instead of a single embryo growing out of this yolk,
we have eight embryos arising from a single yolk, each one of which
undergoes a series of developments similar in all respects to that by
which a single embryo is formed from each egg in other animals. We have
other Naticas in which the normal number is twelve, others again in
which no less than sixteen individuals arise from one yolk. But this
process of segmentation, though in these animals it leads to such a
multiplication of individuals, is exactly the same as that discovered
by K.E. von Baer in the egg of the Frog, and described and figured by
Professor Bischof in the egg of the Rabbit, the Dog, the Guinea-Pig,
and the Deer, while other embryologists have traced the same process in
Birds, Reptiles, and Fishes, as well as in a variety of Articulates,
Mollusks, and Radiates.

Multiplication by division occurs also normally in adult animals that
have completed their growth. This is especially frequent among Worms;
and strange to say, there are species in this Class which never lay eggs
before they have already multiplied themselves by self-division.

Another mode of increase is that by budding, as in the Corals and many
other Radiates. The most common instance of budding we do not, however,
generally associate with this mode of multiplication in the Animal
Kingdom, because we are so little accustomed to compare and generalize
upon phenomena that we do not see to be directly connected with one
another. I allude here to the budding of trees, which year after year
enlarge by the addition of new individuals arising from buds. I trust
that the usual acceptation of the word _individual_, used in science
simply to designate singleness of existence, will not obscure a correct
appreciation of the true relation of buds to their parents and to the
beings arising from them. These buds have the same organic significance,
whether they drop from the parent stock to become distinct individuals
in the common acceptation of the term, or remain connected with
the parent stock, as in Corals and in trees, thus forming growing
communities of combined individuals. Nor will it matter much in
connection with the subject under discussion, whether these buds start
from the surface of an animal or sprout in its interior, to be cast off
in due time. Neither is the inequality of buds, varying more or less
among themselves, any sound reason for overlooking their essential
identity of structure. We have seen instances of this among Acalephs,
and it is still more apparent among trees which produce simultaneously
leaf and flower-buds, and even separate male and female flower-buds, as
is the case with our Hazels, Oaks, etc.

It is not, however, my purpose here to describe the various modes of
reproduction and multiplication among animals and plants, nor to discuss
the merits of the different opinions respecting their numeric increase,
according to which some persons hold that all types originated from a
few primitive individuals, while others believe that the very numbers
now in existence are part of the primitive plan, and essential to the
harmonious relations existing between the animal and vegetable world. I
would only attempt to show that in the plan of Creation the maintenance
of types has been secured through a variety of means, but under such
limitations, that, within a narrow range of individual differences, all
representatives of one kind of animals agree with one another, whether
derived from eggs, or produced by natural division, or by budding; and
that the constancy of these normal processes of reproduction, as well as
the uniformity of their results, precludes the idea that the specific
differences among animals have been produced by the very means that
secure their permanence of type. The statement itself implies a
contradiction, for it tells us that the same influences prevent and
produce change in the condition of the Animal Kingdom. Facts are all
against it; there is not a fact known to science by which any single
being, in the natural process of reproduction and multiplication, has
diverged from the course natural to its kind, or in which a single kind
has been transformed into any other. But this once established, and
setting aside the idea that Embryology is to explain to us the origin as
well as the maintenance of life, it yet has most important lessons for
us, and the field it covers is constantly enlarging as the study
is pursued. The first and most important result of the science of
Embryology was one for which the scientific world was wholly unprepared.
Down to our own century, nothing could have been farther from the
conception of anatomists and physiologists than the fact now generally
admitted, that all animals, without exception, arise from eggs. Though
Linnaeus had already expressed this great truth in the sentence so often
quoted,--"Omne vivum ex ovo,"--yet he was not himself aware of the
significance of his own statement, for the existence of the Mammalian
egg was not then dreamed of. Since then the discoveries of von Baer and
others have shown not only that the egg is common to all living beings
without exception, from the lowest Radiate to the highest Vertebrate,
but that its structure is at first identical in all, composed of the
same primitive elements and undergoing exactly the same process of
growth up to the time when it assumes the special character peculiar
to its kind. This is unquestionably one of the most comprehensive
generalizations of modern times.

In common parlance, we understand by an egg something of the nature of a
hen's egg, a mass of yolk surrounded with white and inclosed in a shell.
But to the naturalist, the envelopes of the egg, which vary greatly in
different animals, are mere accessories, while the true egg, or, as it
is called, the ovarian egg, with which the life of every living being
begins, is a minute sphere, uniform in appearance throughout the Animal
Kingdom, though its intimate structure is hardly to be reached even with
the highest powers of the microscope. Some account of the earlier stages
of growth in the egg may not be uninteresting to my readers. I will
take the egg of the Turtle as an illustration, since that has been the
subject of my own especial study; but, as I do not intend to carry my
remarks beyond the period during which the history of all vertebrate
eggs is the same, they may be considered of more general application.

It is well known that all organic structures, whether animal or
vegetable, are composed of cells. These cells consist of an outside bag
inclosing an inner sac, and within that sac there is a dot. The outer
bag is filled with semi-transparent fluid, the inner one with a
perfectly transparent fluid, while the dot is dark and distinct. In the
language of our science, the outer envelope is called the Ectoblast, the
inner sac the Mesoblast, and the dot the Entoblast. Although they are
peculiarly modified to suit the different organs, these cells never lose
this peculiar structure; it may be traced even in the long drawn-out
cells of the flesh, which are like mere threads, but yet have their
outer and inner sac and their dot,--at least while forming.

In the Turtle the ovary is made up of such cells, spherical at first,
but becoming hexagonal under pressure, when they are more closely packed
together. Between these ovarian cells the egg originates, and is at
first a mere granule, so minute, that, when placed under a very high
magnifying power, it is but just visible. This is the incipient egg,
and at this stage it differs from the surrounding cells only in being
somewhat darker, like a drop of oil, and opaque, instead of transparent
and clear like the surrounding cells. Under the microscope it is found
to be composed of two substances only: namely, oil and albumen. It
increases gradually, and when it has reached a size at which it requires
to be magnified one thousand times in order to be distinctly visible,
the outside assumes the aspect of a membrane thicker than the interior
and forming a coating around it. This is owing not to an addition from
outside, but to a change in the consistency of the substance at the
surface, which becomes more closely united, more compact, than the
loose mass in the centre. Presently we perceive a bright, luminous,
transparent spot on the upper side of the egg, near the wall or outer
membrane. This is produced by a concentration of the albumen, which
now separates from the oil and collects at the upper side of the egg,
forming this light spot, called by naturalists the Purkinjean vesicle,
after its discoverer, Purkinje. When this albuminous spot becomes
somewhat larger, there arises a little dot in the centre,--the germinal
dot, as it is called. And now we have a perfect cell-structure,
differing from an ordinary cell only in having the inner sac, inclosing
the dot, on the side, instead of in the centre. The outer membrane
corresponds to the Ectoblast, or outer cell sac, the Purkinjean vesicle
to the Mesoblast, or inner cell sac, while the dot in the centre answers
to the Entoblast. When the Purkinjean vesicle has completed its growth,
it bursts and disappears; but the mass contained in it remains in the
same region, and retains the same character, though no longer inclosed
as before.

At a later stage of the investigation, we see why the Purkinjean
vesicle, or inner sac of the egg, is placed on the side, instead of
being at the centre, as in the cell. It arises on that side along which
the axis of the little Turtle is to lie,--the opposite side being that
corresponding to the lower part of the body. Thus the lighter, more
delicate part of the substance of the egg is collected where the upper
cavity of the animal, inclosing the nervous system and brain, is to
be, while the heavy oily part remains beneath, where the lower cavity,
inclosing all the organs of mere material animal existence, is
afterwards developed. In other words, when the egg is a mere mass of
oil and albumen, not indicating as yet in any way the character of the
future animal, and discernible only by the microscope, the distinction
is indicated between the brains and the senses, between the organs of
instinct and sensation and those of mere animal functions. At that stage
of its existence, however, when the egg consists of an outer sac, an
inner sac, and a dot, its resemblance to a cell is unmistakable; and,
in fact, an egg, when forming, is nothing but a single cell. This
comparison is important, because there are both animals and plants
which, during their whole existence, consist of a single organic cell,
while others are made up of countless millions of such cells. Between
these two extremes we have all degrees, from the innumerable cells that
build up the body of the highest Vertebrate to the single-celled Worm,
and from the myriad cells of the Oak to the single-celled Alga.

But while we recognize the identity of cell-structure and egg-structure
at this point in the history of the egg, we must not forget the great
distinction between them,--namely, that, while the cells remain
component parts of the whole body, the egg separates itself and assumes
a distinct individual existence. Even now, while still microscopically
small, its individuality begins; other substances collect around it, are
absorbed into it, nourish it, serve it. Every being is a centre about
which many other things cluster and converge, and which has the power to
assimilate to itself the necessary elements of its life. Every egg is
already such a centre, differing from the cells that surround it by
no material elements, but by the principle of life in which its
individuality consists, which is to make it a new being, instead of a
fellow-cell with those that build up the body of the parent animal and
remain component parts of it. This intangible something is the subtile
element that eludes our closest analysis; it is the germ of the
immaterial principle according to which the new being is to develop. The
physical germ we see; the spiritual germ we cannot see, though we may
trace its action on the material elements through which it is expressed.

The first change in the yolk, after the formation of the Purkinjean
vesicle, is the appearance of minute dots near the wall at the side
opposite the vesicle. These increase in number and size, but remain
always on that half of the yolk, leaving the other half of the globe
clear. One can hardly conceive the beauty of the egg as seen through the
microscope at this period of its growth, when the whole yolk is divided,
with the dark granules on one side, while the other side, where the
transparent halo of the vesicle is seen, is brilliant with light. With
the growth of the egg these granules enlarge, become more distinct, and
under the microscope some of them appear to be hollow. They are not
round in form, but rather irregular, and under the effect of light they
are exceedingly brilliant. Presently, instead of being scattered equally
over the space they occupy, they form clusters,--constellations, as it
were,--and between these clusters are clear spaces, produced by the
separation of the albumen from the oil.

At this period of its growth there is a wonderful resemblance between
the appearance of the egg, as seen under the microscope, and
the firmament with the celestial bodies. The little clusters or
constellations are unequally divided: here and there they are two and
two like double stars, or sometimes in threes or fives, or in sevens,
recalling the Pleiades, and the clear albuminous tracks between are like
the empty spaces separating the stars.

This is no fanciful simile: it is simply true that such is the actual
appearance of the yolk at this time; and the idea cannot but suggest
itself to the mind, that the thoughts which have been at work in the
universe are collected and repeated here within this little egg, which
offers us a miniature diagram of the firmament. This is one of the first
changes of the yolk, ending by forming regular clusters with a sort
of net-work of albumen between, and then this phase of the growth is

Now the clusters of the yolk separate, and next the albumen in its turn
concentrates into clusters, and the dark bodies, which have been till
now the striking points, give way to the lighter spheres of albumen
between which the clusters are scattered. Presently the whole becomes
redissolved: these stages of the growth being completed, this little
system of worlds is melted, as it were: but while it undergoes this
process, the albuminous spheres, after being dissolved, arrange
themselves in concentric rings, alternating with rings of granules,
around the Purkinjean vesicle. At this time we are again reminded of
Saturn and its rings, which seems to have its counterpart here. These
rings disappear, and now once more out of the yolk mass loom up little
dots as minute as before; but they are round instead of angular, and
those nearest the Purkinjean vesicle are smaller and clearer, containing
less of oil than the larger and darker ones on the opposite side. From
this time the yolk begins to take its color, the oily cells assuming a
yellow tint, while the albuminous cells near the vesicle become whiter.

Up to this period the processes in the different cells seem to have been
controlled by the different character of the substance of each; but now
it would seem that the changes become more independent of physical or
material influences, for each kind of cell undergoes the same process.
They all assume the ordinary cell character, with outer and inner
sac,--the inner sac forming on the side, like the Purkinjean vesicle
itself; but it does not retain this position, for, as soon as its wall
is formed and it becomes a distinct body, it floats away from the side
and takes its place in the centre. Next there arise within it a number
of little bodies crystalline in form, and which actually are wax or oil
crystals. They increase with great rapidity, the inner sac or mesoblast
becoming sometimes so crowded with them, that its shape is affected by
the protrusion of their angles. This process goes on till all the cells
are so filled by the mesoblast, with its myriad brood of cells, that
the outer sac or ectoblast becomes a mere halo around it. Then every
mesoblast contracts; the contraction deepens, till it is divided across
in both directions, separating thus into four parts, then into eight,
then into sixteen, and so on, till every cell is crowded with hundreds
of minute mesoblasts, each containing the indication of a central dot or
entoblast. At this period every yolk cell is itself like a whole yolk;
for each cell is as full of lesser cells as the yolk-bag itself.

When the mesoblast has become thus infinitely subdivided into hundreds
of minute spheres, the ectoblast bursts, and the new generations of
cells thus set free collect in that part of the egg where the embryonic
disk is to arise. This process of segmentation continues to go on
downward till the whole yolk is taken in. These myriad cells are in
fact the component parts of the little Turtle that is to be. They will
undergo certain modifications, to become flesh-cells, blood-cells,
brain-cells, and so on, adapting themselves to the different organs they
are to build up; but they have as much their definite and appointed
share in the formation of the body now as at any later stage of its

We are so accustomed to see life maintained through a variety of
complicated organs that we are apt to think this the only way in which
it can be manifested; and considering how closely life and the organs
through which it is expressed are united, it is natural that we should
believe them inseparably connected. But embryological investigations
have shown us that in the commencement none of these organs are formed,
and yet that the principle of life is active, and that even after they
exist, they cannot act, inclosed as they are. In the little Chicken, for
instance, before it is hatched, the lungs cannot breathe, for they
are surrounded by fluid, the senses are inactive, for they receive no
impressions from without, and all those functions establishing its
relations with the external world lie dormant, for as yet they are not
needed. But they are there, though, as we have seen in the Turtle's egg,
they were not there at the beginning. How, then, are they formed? We may
answer, that the first function of every organ is to make itself. The
building material is, as it were, provided by the process which divides
the yolk into innumerable cells, and by the gradual assimilation and
modification of this material the organs arise. Before the lungs
breathe, they make themselves; before the stomach digests, it makes
itself; before the organs of the senses act, they make themselves;
before the brain thinks, it makes itself; in a word, before the whole
system works, it makes itself; its first office is self-structure.

At the period described above, however, when the new generations of
cells are just set free and have taken their place in the region where
the new being is to develop, nothing is to be seen of the animal whose
life is beginning there, except the filmy disk lying on the surface of
the yolk. Next come the layers of white or albumen around the egg, and
last the shell which is formed from the lime in the albumen. There is
always more or less of lime in albumen, and the hardening of the last
layer of white into shell is owing only to the greater proportion of
lime in its substance. In the layer next to the shell there is enough of
lime to consolidate it slightly, and it forms a membrane; but the white,
the membrane, and the shell have all the same quality, except that the
proportion of lime is more or less in the different layers.

But, as I have said, the various envelopes of eggs, the presence or
absence of a shell, and the absolute size of the egg, are accessory
features, belonging not to the egg as egg, but to the special kind of
being from which the egg has arisen and into which it is to develop.
What is common to all eggs and essential to them all is that which
corresponds to the yolk in the bird's egg. But their later mode of
development, the degree of perfection acquired by the egg and germ
before being laid, the term required for the germ to come to maturity,
as well as the frequency and regularity of the broods, are all features
varying with the different kinds of animals. There are those that lay
eggs once a year at a particular season and then die; so that their
existence may be compared to that of annual plants, undergoing their
natural growth in a season, to exist during the remainder of the year
only in the form of an egg or seed. The majority of Insects belong to
this category, as do also our large Jelly-Fishes; many others have a
slow growth, extending over several years, during which they reach their
maturity, and for a longer or shorter time produce broods at fixed
intervals; while others, again, reach their mature state very rapidly,
and produce a number of successive generations in a comparatively short
time, it may be in a single season.

I do not intend to enter upon the chapter of special differences of
development among animals, for in this article I have aimed only to show
that the egg lives, that it is itself the young animal, and that
the vital principle is active in it from the earliest period of its
existence. But I would say to all young students of Embryology that
their next aim should be to study those intermediate phases in the life
of a young animal, when, having already acquired independent existence,
it has not yet reached the condition of the adult. Here lies an
inexhaustible mine of valuable information unappropriated, from which,
as my limited experience has already taught me, may be gathered the
evidence for the solution of the most perplexing problems of our
science. Here we shall find the true tests by which to determine the
various kinds and different degrees of affinity which animals now living
bear not only to one another, but also to those that have preceded them
in past times. Here we shall find, not a material connection by which
blind laws of matter have evolved the whole creation out of a single
germ, but the clue to that intellectual conception which spans the whole
series of the geological ages and is perfectly consistent in all its
parts. In this sense the present will indeed explain the past, and the
young naturalist is happy who enters upon his life of investigation now,
when the problems that were dark to all his predecessors have received
new light from the sciences of Palaeontology and Embryology.

* * * * *


Only a germ in a withered flower,
That the rain will bring out--sometime.

Sometime in the year 1850, a tobacco-planter in Southern Georgia
(Perry H. Oliver by name) bought a likely negro woman with some other
field-hands. She was stout, tough-muscled, willing, promised to be a
remunerative servant; her baby, however, a boy a few months old, was
only thrown in as a makeweight to the bargain, or rather because Mr.
Oliver would not consent to separate mother and child. Charity only
could have induced him to take the picaninny, in fact, for he was but
a lump of black flesh, born blind, and with the vacant grin of idiocy,
they thought, already stamped on his face. The two slaves were
purchased, I believe, from a trader: it has been impossible, therefore,
for me to ascertain where Tom was born, or when. Georgia field-hands
are not accurate as Jews in preserving their genealogy; _they_ do
not anticipate a Messiah. A white man, you know, has that vague hope
unconsciously latent in him, that he is, or shall give birth to, the
great man of his race, a helper, a provider for the world's hunger: so
he grows jealous with his blood; the dead grandfather may have presaged
the possible son; besides, it is a debt he owes to this coming Saul to
tell him whence he came. There are some classes, free and slave, out of
whom society has crushed this hope: they have no clan, no family-names
among them, therefore. This idiot-boy, chosen by God to be anointed with
the holy chrism, is only "Tom,"--"Blind Tom," they call him in all the
Southern States, with a kind cadence always, being proud and fond
of him; and yet--nothing but Tom? That is pitiful. Just a
mushroom-growth,--unkinned, unexpected, not hoped for, for generations,
owning no name to purify and honor and give away when he is dead. His
mother, at work to-day in the Oliver plantations, can never comprehend
why her boy is famous; this gift of God to him means nothing to her.
Nothing to him, either, which is saddest of all; he is unconscious,
wears his crown as an idiot might. Whose fault is that? Deeper than
slavery the evil lies.

Mr. Oliver did his duty well to the boy, being an observant and
thoroughly kind master. The plantation was large, heartsome, faced the
sun, swarmed with little black urchins, with plenty to eat, and nothing
to do.

All that Tom required, as he fattened out of baby- into boyhood, was
room in which to be warm, on the grass-patch, or by the kitchen-fires,
to be stupid, flabby, sleepy,--kicked and petted alternately by the
other hands. He had a habit of crawling up on the porches and verandas
of the mansion and squatting there in the sun, waiting for a kind word
or touch from those who went in and out. He seldom failed to receive it.
Southerners know nothing of the physical shiver of aversion with which
even the Abolitionists of the North touch the negro: so Tom, through his
very helplessness, came to be a sort of pet in the family, a playmate,
occasionally, of Mr. Oliver's own infant children. The boy, creeping
about day after day in the hot light, was as repugnant an object as the
lizards in the neighboring swamp, and promised to be of as little use to
his master. He was of the lowest negro type, from which only field-hands
can be made,--coal-black, with protruding heels, the ape-jaw,
blubber-lips constantly open, the sightless eyes closed, and the head
thrown far back on the shoulders, lying on the back, in fact, a habit
which he still retains, and which adds to the imbecile character of
the face. Until he was seven years of age, Tom was regarded on the
plantation as an idiot, not unjustly; for at the present time his
judgment and reason rank but as those of a child four years old. He
showed a dog-like affection for some members of the household,--a son
of Mr. Oliver's especially,--and a keen, nervous sensitiveness to the
slightest blame or praise from them,--possessed, too, a low animal
irritability of temper, giving way to inarticulate yelps of passion when
provoked. That is all, so far; we find no other outgrowth of intellect
or soul from the boy: just the same record as that of thousands of
imbecile negro-children. Generations of heathendom and slavery have
dredged the inherited brains and temperaments of such children tolerably
clean of all traces of power or purity,--palsied the brain, brutalized
the nature. Tom apparently fared no better than his fellows.

It was not until 1857 that those phenomenal powers latent in the boy
were suddenly developed, which stamped him the anomaly he is to-day.

One night, sometime in the summer of that year, Mr. Oliver's family were
wakened by the sound of music in the drawing-room: not only the simple
airs, but the most difficult exercises usually played by his daughters,
were repeated again and again, the touch of the musician being timid,
but singularly true and delicate. Going down, they found Tom, who had
been left asleep in the hall, seated at the piano in an ecstasy of
delight, breaking out at the end of each successful fugue into shouts of
laughter, kicking his heels and clapping his hands. This was the first
time he had touched the piano.

Naturally, Tom became a nine-days' wonder on the plantation. He was
brought in as an after-dinner's amusement; visitors asked for him as the
show of the place. There was hardly a conception, however, in the minds
of those who heard him, of how deep the cause for wonder lay. The
planters' wives and daughters of the neighborhood were not people
who would be apt to comprehend music as a science, or to use it as a
language; they only saw in the little negro, therefore, a remarkable
facility for repeating the airs they drummed on their pianos,--in a
different manner from theirs, it is true,--which bewildered them. They
noticed, too, that, however the child's fingers fell on the keys,
cadences followed, broken, wandering, yet of startling beauty and
pathos. The house-servants, looking in through the open doors at the
little black figure perched up before the instrument, while unknown,
wild harmony drifted through the evening air, had a better conception
of him. He was possessed; some ghost spoke through him: which is a fair
enough definition of genius for a Georgian slave to offer.

Mr. Oliver, as we said, was indulgent. Tom was allowed to have constant
access to the piano; in truth, he could not live without it; when
deprived of music now, actual physical debility followed: the gnawing
Something had found its food at last. No attempt was made, however, to
give him any scientific musical teaching; nor--I wish it distinctly
borne in mind--has he ever at any time received such instruction.

The planter began to wonder what kind of a creature this was which he
had bought, flesh and soul. In what part of the unsightly baby-carcass
had been stowed away these old airs, forgotten by every one else,
and some of them never heard by the child but once, but which he now
reproduced, every note intact, and with whatever quirk or quiddity of
style belonged to the person who originally had sung or played them?
Stranger still the harmonies which he had never heard, had learned from
no man. The sluggish breath of the old house, being enchanted, grew into
quaint and delicate whims of music, never the same, changing every day.
Never glad: uncertain, sad minors always, vexing the content of the
hearer,--one inarticulate, unanswered question of pain in all, making
them one. Even the vulgarest listener was troubled, hardly knowing
why,--how sorry Tom's music was!

At last the time came when the door was to be opened, when some
listener, not vulgar, recognizing the child as God made him, induced his
master to remove him from the plantation. Something ought to be done for
him; the world ought not to be cheated of this pleasure; besides--the
money that could be made! So Mr. Oliver, with a kindly feeling for Tom,
proud, too, of this agreeable monster which his plantation had grown,
and sensible that it was a more fruitful source of revenue than
tobacco-fields, set out with the boy, literally to seek their fortune.

The first exhibition of him was given, I think, in Savannah, Georgia;
thence he was taken to Charleston, Richmond, to all the principal cities
and towns in the Southern States.

This was in 1858. From that time until the present Tom has lived
constantly an open life, petted, feted, his real talent befogged by
exaggeration, and so pampered and coddled that one might suppose the
only purpose was to corrupt and wear it out. For these reasons this
statement is purposely guarded, restricted to plain, known facts.

No sooner had Tom been brought before the public than the pretensions
put forward by his master commanded the scrutiny of both scientific
and musical skeptics. His capacities were subjected to rigorous tests.
Fortunately for the boy: for, so tried,--harshly, it is true, yet
skilfully,--they not only bore the trial, but acknowledged the touch
as skilful; every day new powers were developed, until he reached his
limit, beyond which it is not probable he will ever pass. That limit,
however, establishes him as an anomaly in musical science.

Physically, and in animal temperament, this negro ranks next to the
lowest Guinea type: with strong appetites and gross bodily health,
except in one particular, which will be mentioned hereafter. In the
every-day apparent intellect, in reason or judgment, he is but one
degree above an idiot,--incapable of comprehending the simplest
conversation on ordinary topics, amused or enraged with trifles such
as would affect a child of three years old. On the other side, his
affections are alive, even vehement, delicate in their instinct as a
dog's or an infant's; he will detect the step of any one dear to him in
a crowd, and burst into tears, if not kindly spoken to.

His memory is so accurate that he can repeat, without the loss of a
syllable, a discourse of fifteen minutes in length, of which he does
not understand a word. Songs, too, in French or German, after a single
hearing, he renders not only literally in words, but in notes, style,
and expression. His voice, however, is discordant, and of small compass.

In music, this boy of twelve years, born blind, utterly ignorant of a
note, ignorant of every phase of so-called musical science, interprets
severely classical composers with a clearness of conception in which
he excels, and a skill in mechanism equal to that of our second-rate
artists. His concerts usually include any themes selected by the
audience from the higher grades of Italian or German opera. His
comprehension of the meaning of music, as a prophetic or historical
voice which few souls utter and fewer understand, is clear and vivid: he
renders it thus, with whatever mastery of the mere material part he may
possess, fingering, dramatic effects, etc.: these are but means to him,
not an end, as with most artists. One could fancy that Tom was never
traitor to the intent or soul of the theme. What God or the Devil meant
to say by this or that harmony, what the soul of one man cried aloud to
another in it, this boy knows, and is to that a faithful witness. His
deaf, uninstructed soul has never been tampered with by art-critics who
know the body well enough of music, but nothing of the living creature
within. The world is full of these vulgar souls that palter with eternal
Nature and the eternal Arts, blind to the Word who dwells among us
therein. Tom, or the daemon in Tom, was not one of them.

With regard to his command of the instrument, two points have been
especially noted by musicians: the unusual frequency of occurrence of
_tours de force_ in his playing, and the scientific precision of his
manner of touch. For example, in a progression of augmented chords, his
mode of fingering is invariably that of the schools, not that which
would seem most natural to a blind child never taught to place a finger.
Even when seated with his back to the piano, and made to play in that
position, (a favorite feat in his concerts,) the touch is always
scientifically accurate.

The peculiar power which Tom possesses, however, is one which requires
no scientific knowledge of music in his audiences to appreciate.
Placed at the instrument with any musician, he plays a perfect bass
accompaniment to the treble of music _heard for the first time as
he plays_. Then taking the seat vacated by the other performer, he
instantly gives the entire piece, intact in brilliancy and symmetry, not
a note lost or misplaced. The selections of music by which this power
of Tom's was tested, two years ago, were sometimes fourteen and sixteen
pages in length; on one occasion, at an exhibition at the White House,
after a long concert, he was tried with two pieces,--one thirteen, the
other twenty pages long, and was successful.

We know of no parallel case to this in musical history. Grimm tells us,
as one of the most remarkable manifestations of Mozart's infant genius,
that at the age of nine he was required to give an accompaniment to an
aria which he had never heard before, and without notes. There were
false accords in the first attempt, he acknowledges; but the second was
pure. When the music to which Tom plays _secondo_ is strictly classical,
he sometimes balks for an instant in passages; to do otherwise would
argue a creative power equal to that of the master composers; but when
any chordant harmony runs through it, (on which the glowing negro soul
can seize, you know,) there are no "false accords," as with the infant
Mozart. I wish to draw especial attention to this power of the boy, not
only because it is, so far as I know, unmatched in the development of
any musical talent, but because, considered in the context of his
entire intellectual structure, it involves a curious problem. The mere
repetition of music heard but once, even when, as in Tom's case, it
is given with such incredible fidelity, and after the lapse of years,
demands only a command of mechanical skill, and an abnormal condition of
the power of memory; but to play _secondo_ to music never heard or seen
implies the comprehension of the full drift of the symphony in its
current,--a capacity to create, in short. Yet such attempts as Tom has
made to dictate music for publication do not sustain any such inference.
They are only a few light marches, gallops, etc., simple and plaintive
enough, but with easily detected traces of remembered harmonies: very
different from the strange, weird improvisations of every day. One would
fancy that the mere attempt to bring this mysterious genius within him
in bodily presence before the outer world woke, too, the idiotic nature
to utter its reproachful, unable cry. Nor is this the only bar by which
poor Tom's soul is put in mind of its foul bestial prison. After any
too prolonged effort, such as those I have alluded to, his whole bodily
frame gives way, and a complete exhaustion of the brain follows,
accompanied with epileptic spasms. The trial at the White House,
mentioned before, was successful, but was followed by days of illness.

Being a slave, Tom never was taken into a Free State; for the same
reason his master refused advantageous offers from European managers.
The highest points North at which his concerts were given were Baltimore
and the upper Virginia towns. I heard him sometime in 1860. He remained
a week or two in the town, playing every night.

The concerts were unique enough. They were given in a great barn of
a room, gaudy with hot, soot-stained frescoes, chandeliers, walls
splotched with gilt. The audience was large, always; such as a
provincial town affords: not the purest bench of musical criticism
before which to bring poor Tom. Beaux and belles, siftings of old
country families, whose grandfathers trapped and traded and married with
the Indians,--the savage thickening of whose blood told itself in high
cheekbones, flashing jewelry, champagne-bibbing, a comprehension of
the tom-tom music of schottisches and polkas; money-made men and their
wives, cooped up by respectability, taking concerts when they were given
in town, taking the White Sulphur or Cape May in summer, taking beef for
dinner, taking the pork-trade in winter,--_toute la vie en programme_;
the _debris_ of a town, the roughs, the boys, school-children,--Tom was
nearly as well worth a quarter as the negro-minstrels; here and there
a pair of reserved, homesick eyes, a peculiar, reticent face, some
whey-skinned ward-teacher's, perhaps, or some German cobbler's, but
hints of a hungry soul, to whom Beethoven and Mendelssohn knew how
to preach an unerring gospel. The stage was broad, planked, with a
drop-curtain behind,--the Doge marrying the sea, I believe; in front, a
piano and chair.

Presently, Mr. Oliver, a well-natured looking man, (one thought of
that,) came forward, leading and coaxing along a little black boy,
dressed in white linen, somewhat fat and stubborn in build. Tom was
not in a good humor that night; the evening before had refused to play
altogether; so his master perspired anxiously before he could get him
placed in rule before the audience, and repeat his own little speech,
which sounded like a Georgia after-dinner gossip. The boy's head, as
I said, rested on his back, his mouth wide open constantly; his great
blubber lips and shining teeth, therefore, were all you saw when
he faced you. He required to be petted and bought like any other
weak-minded child. The concert was a mixture of music, whining, coaxing,
and promised candy and cake.

He seated himself at last before the piano, a full half-yard distant,
stretching out his arms full-length, like an ape clawing for
food,--his feet, when not on the pedals, squirming and twisting
incessantly,--answering some joke of his master's with a loud "Yha!
yha!" Nothing indexes the brain like the laugh; this was idiotic.

"Now, Tom, boy, something we like from Verdi."

The head fell farther back, the claws began to work, and those of his
harmonies which you would have chosen as the purest exponents of passion
began to float through the room. Selections from Weber, Beethoven, and
others whom I have forgotten, followed. At the close of each piece,
Tom, without waiting for the audience, would himself applaud violently,
kicking, pounding his hands together, turning always to his master
for the approving pat on the head. Songs, recitations such as I have
described, filled up the first part of the evening; then a musician from
the audience went upon the stage to put the boy's powers to the final
test. Songs and intricate symphonies were given, which it was most
improbable the boy could ever have heard; he remained standing,
utterly motionless, until they were finished, and for a moment or two
after,--then, seating himself, gave them without the break of a
note. Others followed, more difficult, in which he played the bass
accompaniment in the manner I have described, repeating instantly the
treble. The child looked dull, wearied, during this part of the trial,
and his master, perceiving it, announced the exhibition closed, when the
musician (who was a citizen of the town, by-the-way) drew out a
thick roll of score, which he explained to be a Fantasia of his own
composition, never published.

"_This_ it was impossible the boy could have heard; there could be no
trick of memory in this; and on this trial," triumphantly, "Tom would

The manuscript was some fourteen pages long,--variations on an inanimate
theme. Mr. Oliver refused to submit the boy's brain to so cruel a test;
some of the audience, even, interfered; but the musician insisted, and
took his place. Tom sat beside him,--his head rolling nervously from
side to side,--struck the opening cadence, and then, from the first note
to the last, gave the _secondo_ triumphantly. Jumping up, he fairly
shoved the man from his seat, and proceeded to play the treble with more
brilliancy and power than its composer. When he struck the last octave,
he sprang up, yelling with delight:--

"Um's got him, Massa! um's got him!" cheering and rolling about the

The cheers of the audience--for the boys especially did not wait to
clap--excited him the more. It was an hour before his master could quiet
his hysteric agitation.

That feature of the concerts which was the most painful I have not
touched upon: the moments when his master was talking, and Tom was left
to himself,--when a weary despair seemed to settle down on the distorted
face, and the stubby little black fingers, wandering over the keys,
spoke for Tom's own caged soul within. Never, by any chance, a merry,
childish laugh of music in the broken cadences; tender or wild, a
defiant outcry, a tired sigh breaking down into silence. Whatever
wearied voice it took, the same bitter, hopeless soul spoke through all:
"Bless me, even me, also, O my Father!" A something that took all the
pain and pathos of the world into its weak, pitiful cry.

Some beautiful caged spirit, one could not but know, struggled for
breath under that brutal form and idiotic brain. I wonder when it will
be free. Not in this life: the bars are too heavy.

You cannot help Tom, either; all the war is between you. He was in
Richmond in May. But (do you hate the moral to a story?) in your own
kitchen, in your own back-alley, there are spirits as beautiful, caged
in forms as bestial, that you _could_ set free, if you pleased. Don't
call it bad taste in me to speak for them. You know they are more to be
pitied than Tom,--for they are dumb.


What is a Kindergarten? I will reply by negatives. It is not
the old-fashioned infant-school. That was a narrow institution,
comparatively; the object being (I do not speak of Pestalozzi's own,
but that which we have had in this country and in England) to take
the children of poor laborers, and keep them out of the fire and the
streets, while their mothers went to their necessary labor. Very good
things, indeed, in their way. Their principle of discipline was to
circumvent the wills of children, in every way that would enable their
teachers to keep them within bounds, and quiet. It was certainly better
that they should learn to sing _by rote_ the Creed and the "definitions"
of scientific terms, and such like, than to learn the profanity and
obscenity of the streets, which was the alternative. But no mother who
wished for anything which might be called the _development_ of her child
would think of putting it into an infant-school, especially if she lived
in the country, amid

"the mighty sum
Of things forever speaking,"

where any "old grey stone" would altogether surpass, as a stand-point,
the bench of the highest class of an infant-school. In short, they
did not state the problem of infant culture with any breadth, and
accomplished nothing of general interest on the subject.

Neither is the primary public school a Kindergarten, though it is
but justice to the capabilities of that praiseworthy institution, so
important in default of a better, to say that in one of them, at the
North End of Boston, an enterprising and genial teacher has introduced
one feature of Froebel's plan. She has actually given to each of her
little children a box of playthings, wherewith to amuse itself
according to its own sweet will, at all times when not under direct
instruction,--necessarily, in her case, on condition of its being
perfectly quiet; and this one thing makes this primary school the best
one in Boston, both as respects the attainments of the scholars and
their good behavior.

_Kindergarten_ means a garden of children, and Froebel, the inventor of
it, or rather, as he would prefer to express it, _the discoverer of the
method of Nature_, meant to symbolize by the name the spirit and plan
of treatment. How does the gardener treat his plants? He studies their
individual natures, and puts them into such circumstances of soil and
atmosphere as enable them to grow, flower, and bring forth fruit,--also
to renew their manifestation year after year. He does not expect to
succeed unless he learns all their wants, and the circumstances in which
these wants will be supplied, and all their possibilities of beauty and
use, and the means of giving them opportunity to be perfected. On the
other hand, while he knows that they must not be forced against their
individual natures, he does not leave them to grow wild, but prunes
redundancies, removes destructive worms and bugs from their leaves and
stems, and weeds from their vicinity,--carefully watching to learn what
peculiar insects affect what particular plants, and how the former can
be destroyed without injuring the vitality of the latter. After all the
most careful gardener can do, he knows that the form of the plant is
predetermined in the germ or seed, and that the inward tendency must
concur with a multitude of influences, the most powerful and subtile of
which is removed in place ninety-five millions of miles away.

In the Kindergarten _children_ are treated on an analogous plan. It
presupposes gardeners of the mind, who are quite aware that they have as
little power to override the characteristic individuality of a child, or
to predetermine this characteristic, as the gardener of plants to say
that a lily shall be a rose. But notwithstanding this limitation on
one side, and the necessity for concurrence of the Spirit on the
other,--which is more independent of our modification than the remote
sun,--yet they must feel responsible, after all, for the perfection of
the development, in so far as removing every impediment, preserving
every condition, and pruning every redundance.

This analogy of education to the gardener's art is so striking, both as
regards what we can and what we cannot do, that Froebel has put every
educator into a most suggestive Normal School, by the very word which he
has given to his seminary,--Kindergarten.

If every school-teacher in the land had a garden of flowers and fruits
to cultivate, it could hardly fail that he would learn to be wise in his
vocation. For suitable preparation, the first, second, and third thing
is, to

"Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher."

The "new education," as the French call it, begins with children in the
mother's arms. Froebel had the nurses bring to his establishment, in
Hamburg, children who could not talk, who were not more than three
months old, and trained the nurses to work on his principles and by his
methods. This will hardly be done in this country, at least at present;
but to supply the place of such a class, a lady of Boston has prepared
and published, under copyright, Froebel's First Gift, consisting of six
soft balls of the three primary and the three secondary colors, which
are sold in a box, with a little manual for mothers, in which the true
principle and plan of tending babies, so as not to rasp their nerves,
but to amuse without wearying them, is very happily suggested. There
is no mother or nurse who would not be assisted by this little manual
essentially. As it says in the beginning,--"Tending babies is an art,
and every art is founded on a science of observations; for love is not
wisdom, but love must act _according to wisdom_ in order to succeed.
Mothers and nurses, however tender and kind-hearted, may, and oftenest
do, weary and vex the nerves of children, in well-meant efforts to amuse
them, and weary themselves the while. Froebel's exercises, founded on
the observations of an intelligent sensibility, are intended to amuse
without wearying, to educate without vexing."

Froebel's Second Gift for children, adapted to the age from one to two
or three years, with another little book of directions, has also been
published by the same lady, and is perhaps a still greater boon to every
nursery; for this is the age when many a child's temper is ruined,
and the inclination of the twig wrongly bent, through sheer _want of
resource and idea_, on the part of nurses and mothers.

But it is to the next age--from three years old and upwards--that the
Kindergarten becomes the desideratum, if not a necessity. The isolated
home, made into a flower-vase by the application of the principles set
forth in the Gifts[A] above mentioned, may do for babies. But every
mother and nurse knows how hard it is to meet the demands of a child
too young to be taught to read, but whose opening intelligence and
irrepressible bodily activity are so hard to be met by an adult, however
genial and active. Children generally take the temper of their whole
lives from this period of their existence. Then "the twig is bent,"
either towards that habit of self-defence which is an ever-renewing
cause of selfishness, or to the sun of love-in-exercise, which is the
exhaustless source of goodness and beauty.

[Footnote A: These Gifts, the private enterprise of an invalid lady, the
same who first brought the subject of Kindergartens so favorably before
the public in the _Christian Examiner_ for November, 1858, can be
procured at the Kindergarten, 15 Pinckney Street, Boston.]

The indispensable thing now is a sufficient society of children. It is
only in the society of equals that the social instinct can be gratified,
and come into equilibrium with the instinct of self-preservation.
Self-love, and love of others, are equally natural; and before reason
is developed, and the proper spiritual life begins, sweet and beautiful
childhood may bloom out and imparadise our mortal life. Let us only give
the social instinct of children its fair chance. For this purpose, a few
will not do. The children of one family are not enough, and do not
come along fast enough. A large company should be gathered out of many
families. It will be found that the little things are at once taken out
of themselves, and become interested in each other. In the variety,
affinities develop themselves very prettily, and the rough points of
rampant individualities wear off. We have seen a highly gifted child,
who, at home, was--to use a vulgar, but expressive word--pesky and
odious, with the exacting demands of a powerful, but untrained mind and
heart, become "sweet as roses" spontaneously, amidst the rebound of
a large, well-ordered, and carefully watched child-society. Anxious
mothers have brought us children, with a thousand deprecations and
explanations of their characters, as if they thought we were going to
find them little monsters, which their motherly hearts were persuaded
they were not, though they behaved like little sanchos at home,--and,
behold, they were as harmonious, from the very beginning, as if they had
undergone the subduing influence of a lifetime. We are quite sure that
children begin with loving others quite as intensely as they love
themselves,--forgetting themselves in their love of others,--if they
only have as fair a chance of being benevolent and self-sacrificing as
of being selfish. Sympathy is as much a natural instinct as self-love,
and no more or less innocent, in a moral point of view. Either principle
alone makes an ugly and depraved form of natural character. Balanced,
they give the element of happiness, and the conditions of spiritual
goodness and truth,--making children fit temples for the Holy Ghost to
dwell in.

A Kindergarten, then, is children in society,--a commonwealth or
republic of children,--whose laws are all part and parcel of the
Higher Law alone. It may be contrasted, in every particular, with the
old-fashioned school, which is an absolute monarchy, where the children
are subjected to a lower expediency, having for its prime end quietness,
or such order as has "reigned in Warsaw" since 1831.

But let us not be misunderstood. We are not of those who think that
children, in any condition whatever, will inevitably develop into beauty
and goodness. Human nature tends to revolve in a vicious circle, around
the individuality; and children must have over them, in the person of
a wise and careful teacher, a power which shall deal with them as God
deals with the mature, presenting the claims of sympathy and truth
whenever they presumptuously or unconsciously fall into selfishness. We
have the best conditions of moral culture in a company large enough for
the exacting disposition of the solitary child to be balanced by the
claims made by others on the common stock of enjoyment,--there being
a reasonable oversight of older persons, wide-awake to anticipate,
prevent, and adjust the rival pretensions which must always arise where
there are finite beings with infinite desires, while Reason, whose
proper object is God, is yet undeveloped.

Let the teacher always take for granted that the law of love is quick
within, whatever are appearances, and the better self will generally
respond. In proportion as the child is young and unsophisticated, will
be the certainty of the response to a teacher of simple faith:

"There are who ask not if thine eye
Be on them,--who, in love and truth,
Where no misgiving is, rely
Upon the genial sense of youth.

"And blest are they who in the main
This faith even now do entertain,
Live in the spirit of this creed,
Yet find another strength, according to their

Such are the natural Kindergartners, who prevent disorder by employing
and entertaining children, so that they are kept in an accommodating and
loving mood by never being thrown on self-defence,--and when selfishness
is aroused, who check it by an appeal to sympathy, or Conscience, which
is the presentiment of reason, a fore-feeling of moral order, for whose
culture material order is indispensable.

But order must be kept by the child, not only unconsciously, but
intentionally. Order is the child of reason, and in turn cultivates the
intellectual principle. To bring out order on the physical plane, the
Kindergarten makes it a serious purpose to organize _romping_, and set
it to music, which cultivates the physical nature also. Romping is the
ecstasy of the body, and we shall find that in proportion as children
tend to be violent they are vigorous in body. There is always morbid
weakness of some kind where there is no instinct for hard play; and it
begins to be the common sense that energetic physical activity must
not be repressed, but favored. Some plan of play prevents the little
creatures from hurting each other, and fancy naturally furnishes the
plan,--the mind unfolding itself in fancies, which are easily quickened
and led in harmless directions by an adult of any resource. Those who
have not imagination themselves must seek the aid of the Kindergarten
guides, where will be found arranged to music the labors of the peasant,
and cooper, and sawyer, the wind-mill, the watermill, the weather-vane,
the clock, the pigeon-house, the hares, the bees, and the cuckoo.
Children delight to personate animals, and a fine genius could not
better employ itself than in inventing a great many more plays, setting
them to rhythmical words, describing what is to be done. Every variety
of bodily exercise might be made and kept within the bounds of order and
beauty by plays involving the motions of different animals and machines
of industry. Kindergarten plays are easy intellectual exercises; for
to do anything whatever with a thought beforehand develops the mind
or quickens the intelligence; and thought of this kind does not try
intellect, or check physical development, which last must never be
sacrificed in the process of education.

There are enough instances of marvellous acquisition in infancy to show
that imbibing with the mind is as natural as with the body, if suitable
beverage is put to the lips; but in most cases the mind's power is
balanced by instincts of body, which should have priority, if they
cannot certainly be in full harmony. The mind can afford to wait for the
maturing of the body, for it survives the body; while the body cannot
afford to wait for the mind, but is irretrievably stunted, if the
nervous energy is not free to stimulate its special organs at least
equally with those of the mind.

It is not, however, necessary to sacrifice the culture of either mind or
body, but to harmonize them. They can and ought to grow together. They
mutually help each other.

Doctor Dio Lewis's "Free Exercises" are also suitable to the
Kindergarten, and may be taken in short lessons of a quarter of an hour,
or even of ten minutes. Children are fond of precision also, and it will
be found that they like the teaching best, when they are made to do the
exercises exactly right, and in perfect time to the music.

But the regular gymnastics and the romping plays must be alternated with
quiet employments, of course, but still active. They will sing at their
plays by rote; and also should be taught other songs by rote. But there
can be introduced a regular drill on the scale, which should never last
more than ten minutes at a time. This, if well managed, will cultivate
their ears and voices, so that in the course of a year they will become
very expert in telling any note struck, if not in striking it. The ear
is cultivated sooner than the voice, and they may be taught to name the
octave as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and their imaginations impressed by
drawing a ladder of eight rounds on the blackboard, to signify that the
voice rises by regular gradation. This will fix their attention, and
their interest will not flag, if the teacher has any tact.

Slates and pencils are indispensable in a Kindergarten from the first.
One side of a slate can be ruled with a sharp point in small squares,
and if their fancy is interested by telling them to make a fish-net,
they will carefully make their pencils follow these lines,--which makes
a first exercise in drawing. Their little fingers are so unmanageable
that at first they will not be able to make straight lines even with
this help. For variety, little patterns can be given them, drawn on
the blackboard, (or on paper similarly ruled,) of picture-frames and
patterns for carpets. When they can make squares well, they can be
shown how to cross them with diagonals, and make circles inside of the
squares, and outside of them, and encouraged to draw on the other side
of the slate, from their own fancy, or from objects. Entire sympathy and
no destructive criticism should meet every effort. Self-confidence is
the first requisite for success. If they think they have had success, it
is indispensable that it should be echoed from without. Of course there
will be poor perspective; and even Schmidt's method of perspective
cannot be introduced to very young children. A natural talent for
perspective sometimes shows itself, which by-and-by can be perfected by
Schmidt's method.[B]

[Footnote B: See _Common School Journal_ for 1842-3.]

But little children will not draw long at a time. Nice manipulation,
which is important, can be taught, and the eye for form cultivated, by
drawing for them birds and letting them prick the lines. It will enchant
them to have something pretty to carry home now and then. Perforated
board can also be used to teach them the use of a needle and thread.
They will like to make the outlines of ships and steamboats, birds,
etc., which can be drawn for them with a lead pencil on the board by the
teachers. Weaving strips of colored card-board into papers cut for them
is another enchanting amusement, and can be made subservient to teaching
them the harmonies of colors. In the latter part of the season, when
they have an accumulation of pricked birds, or have learned to draw
them, they can be allowed colors to paint them in a rough manner. It is,
perhaps, worth while to say, that, in teaching children to draw on
their slates, it is better for the teacher to draw at the moment on the
blackboard than to give them patterns of birds, utensils, etc., because
then the children will see how to begin and proceed, and are not
discouraged by the mechanical perfection of their model.

Drawing ought always rather to precede reading and writing, as the
minute appreciation of forms is the proper preparation for these. But
reading and writing may come into Kindergarten exercises at once, if
reading is taught by the phonic method, (which saves all perplexity to
the child's brain,) and accompanied by printing on the slate. It then
alternates with other things, as one of the amusements. We will describe
how we have seen it taught. The class sat before a blackboard, with
slates and pencils. The teacher said, "Now let us make all the sounds
that we can with the lips: First, put the lips gently together and sound
m," (not _em_,)--which they all did. Then she said,--"Now let us draw
it on the blackboard,--three short straight marks by the side of each
other, and join them on the top,--that is m. What is it?" They sounded
m, and made three marks and joined them on the top, with more or less
success. The teacher said,--"Now put your lips close together and say
p." (This is mute and to be whispered). They all imitated the motion
made. She said,--"Now let us write it; one straight mark, then the
upper lip puffed out at the top." M and p, to be written and
distinguished, are perhaps enough for one lesson, which should not reach
half an hour in length. At the next lesson these were repeated again.
Then the teacher said,--"Now put your lips together and make the same
motion as you did to say p; but make a little more sound, and it will be
b" (which is sonorous). "You must write it differently from p;--you must
make a short mark and put the _under_ lip on." "Now put your teeth on
your under lip and say f." (She gave the power.) "You must write it by
making a short straight mark make a bow, and then cross it with a little
mark across the middle." "Now fix your lips in the same manner and sound
a little, and you will make v. Write it by making two little marks meet
at the bottom."

This last letter was made a separate lesson of, and the other lessons
were reviewed. The teacher then said,--"Now you have learned some
letters,--all the lip--letters,"--making them over, and asking what each
was. She afterwards added w,--giving its power and form, and put it with
the lip-letters. At the next lesson they were told to make the letters
with their lips, and she wrote them down on the board, and then said,--
"Now we will make some tooth-letters. Put your teeth together and say
t." (She gave the power, and showed them how to write it.) "Now put your
teeth together and make a sound and it will be d." "That is written just
like b, only we put the lip behind." "Now put your teeth together and
hiss, and then make this little crooked snake (s). Then fix your teeth
in the same manner and buzz like a bee. You write z pointed this way."
"Now put your teeth together and say j, written with a dot." At the
next lessons the throat-letters were given; first the hard guttural
was sounded, and they were told three ways to write it, c, k, q,
distinguished as _round_, _high_, and _with a tail_. C was not sounded
_see_, but _ke_ (ke, ka, ku). Another lesson gave them the soft guttural
g, but did not sound it _jee_; and the aspirate, but did not call it

Another lesson gave the vowels, (or voice-letters, as she called them,)
and it was made lively by her writing afterwards all of them in one
word, _mieaou_, and calling it the cat's song. It took from a week
to ten days to teach these letters, one lesson a day of about twenty
minutes. Then came words: mamma, papa, puss, pussy, etc. The vowels were
always sounded as in Italian, and i and y distinguished as _with the
dot_ and _with a tail_. At first only one word was the lesson, and the
letters were reviewed in their divisions of lip-letters, throat-letters,
tooth-letters, voice-letters. The latter were sounded the Italian way,
as in the words _a_rm, _e_gg, _i_nk, _o_ak, and Per_u_. This teacher had
Miss Peabody's "First Nursery Reading-Book," and when she had taught the
class to make all the words on the first page of it, she gave each of
the children the book and told them to find first one word and then
another. It was a great pleasure to them to be told that now they could
read. They were encouraged to copy the words out of the book upon their

The "First Nursery Reading-Book" has in it _no_ words that have
exceptions in their spelling to the sounds given to the children as
the powers of the letters. Nor has it any diphthong or combinations of
letters, such as oi, ou, ch, sh, th. After they could read it at sight,
they were told that all words were not so regular, and their attention
was called to the initial sounds of thin, shin, and chin, and to the
proper diphthongs, ou, oi, and au, and they wrote words considering
these as additional characters. Then "Mother Goose" was put into their
hands, and they were made to read by rote the songs they already knew
by heart, and to copy them. It was a great entertainment to find the
_queer_ words, and these were made the nucleus of groups of similar
words which were written on the blackboard and copied on their slates.

We have thought it worth while to give in detail this method of teaching
to read, because it is the most entertaining to children to be taught
so, and because many successful instances of the pursual of this plan
have come under our observation; and one advantage of it has been,
that the children so taught, though never going through the common
spelling-lessons, have uniformly exhibited a rare exactness in

In going through this process, the children learn to print very nicely,
and generally can do so sooner than they can read. It is a small matter
afterwards to teach them to turn the print into script. They should be
taught to write with the lead pencil before the pen, whose use need not
come into the Kindergarten.

But we must not omit one of the most important exercises for children
in the Kindergarten,--that of block-building. Froebel has four Gifts of
blocks. Ronge's "Kindergarten Guide" has pages of royal octavo filled
with engraved forms that can be made by variously laying eight little
cubes and sixteen little planes two inches long, one inch broad, and
one-half an inch thick. Chairs, tables, stables, sofas, garden-seats,
and innumerable forms of symmetry, make an immense resource for
children, who also should be led to invent other forms and imitate other
objects. So quick are the fancies of children, that the blocks will
serve also as symbols of everything in Nature and imagination. We have
seen an ingenious teacher assemble a class of children around her large
table, to each of whom she had given the blocks. The first thing was to
count them, a great process of arithmetic to most of them. Then she made
something and explained it. It was perhaps a light-house,--and some
blocks would represent rocks near it to be avoided, and ships sailing in
the ocean; or perhaps it was a hen-coop, with chickens inside, and a fox
prowling about outside, and a boy who was going to catch the fox and
save the fowls. Then she told each child to make something, and when it
was done hold up a hand. The first one she asked to explain, and then
went round the class. If one began to speak before another had ended,
she would hold up her finger and say,--"It is not your turn." In the
course of the winter, she taught, over these blocks, a great deal about
the habits of animals. She studied natural history in order to be
perfectly accurate in her symbolic representation of the habitation of
each animal, and their enemies were also represented by blocks. The
children imitated these; and when they drew upon their imaginations for
facts, and made fantastic creations, she would say,--"Those, I think,
were Fairy hens" (or whatever); for it was her principle to accept
everything, and thus tempt out their invention. The great value of this
exercise is to get them into the habit of representing something they
have thought by an outward symbol. The explanations they are always
eager to give teach them to express themselves in words. Full scope is
given to invention, whether in the direction of possibilities or of the
impossibilities in which children's imaginations revel,--in either case
the child being trained to the habit of embodiment of its thought.

Froebel thought it very desirable to have a garden where the children
could cultivate flowers. He had one which he divided into lots for the
several children, reserving a portion for his own share in which they
could assist him. He thought it the happiest mode of calling their
attention to the invisible God, whose power must be waited upon, after
the conditions for growth are carefully arranged according to _laws_
which they were to observe. Where a garden is impossible, a flowerpot
with a plant in it for each child to take care of would do very well.

But the best way to cultivate a sense of the presence of God is to draw
the attention to the conscience, which is very active in children, and
which seems to them (as we all can testify from our own remembrance)
another than themselves, and yet themselves. We have heard a person say,
that in her childhood she was puzzled to know which was herself, the
voice of her inclination or of her conscience, for they were palpably
two, and what a joyous thing it was when she was first convinced that
one was the Spirit of God, whom unlucky teaching had previously embodied
in a form of terror on a distant judgment-seat. Children are consecrated
as soon as they get the spiritual idea, and it may be so presented that
it shall make them happy as well as true. But the adult who enters into
such conversation with a child must be careful not to shock and profane,
instead of nurturing the soul. It is possible to avoid both discouraging
and flattering views, and to give the most tender and elevating

But children require not only an alternation of physical and mental
amusements, but some instruction to be passively received. They delight
in stories, and a wise teacher can make this subservient to the highest
uses by reading beautiful creations of the imagination. Not only such
household-stories as "Sanford and Merton," Mrs. Farrar's "Robinson
Crusoe," and Salzmann's "Elements of Morality," but symbolization like
the heroes of Asgard, the legends of the Middle Ages, classic and
chivalric tales, the legend of Saint George, and "Pilgrim's Progress,"
can in the mouth of a skilful reader be made subservient to moral
culture. The reading sessions should not exceed ten or fifteen minutes.

Anything of the nature of scientific teaching should be done by
presenting _objects_ for examination and investigation.[C] Flowers and
insects, shells, etc., are easily handled. The observations should be
drawn out of the children, not made to them, except as corrections of
their mistakes. Experiments with the prism, and in crystallization
and transformation, are useful and desirable to awaken taste for
the sciences of Nature. In short, the Kindergarten should give the
beginnings of everything. "What is well begun is half done."

[Footnote C: Calkin's _Object Lessons_ will give hints.]

We must say a word about the locality and circumstances of a
Kindergarten. There is published in Lausanne, France, a newspaper
devoted to the interests of this mode of education, in whose early
numbers is described a Kindergarten; which seems to be of the nature of
a boarding-school, or, at least, the children are there all day. Each
child has a garden, and there is one besides where they work in common.
There are accommodations for keeping animals, and miniature tools to do
mechanical labor of various kinds. In short, it is a child's world. But
in this country, especially in New England, parents would not consent
to be so much separated from their children, and a few hours of
Kindergarten in the early part of the day will serve an excellent
purpose,--using up the effervescent activity of children, who may
healthily be left to themselves the rest of the time, to play or rest,
comparatively unwatched.

Two rooms are indispensable, if there is any variety of age. It is
desirable that one should be sequestrated to the quiet employments. A
pianoforte is desirable, to lead the singing, and accompany the plays,
gymnastics, frequent marchings, and dancing, when that is taught,--which
it should be. But a hand-organ which plays fourteen tunes will help to
supply the want of a piano, and a guitar in the hands of a ready teacher
will do better than nothing.

Sometimes a genial mother and daughters might have a Kindergarten, and
devote themselves and the house to it, especially if they live in one
of our beautiful country-towns or cities. The habit, in the city of New
York, of sending children to school in an omnibus, hired to go round the
city and pick them up, suggests the possibility of a Kindergarten in one
of those beautiful residences up in town, where there is a garden before
or behind the house. It is impossible to keep Kindergarten _by the
way_. It must be the main business of those who undertake it; for it is
necessary that every individual child should be borne, as it were, on
the heart of the _garteners_, in order that it be _inspired_ with order,
truth, and goodness. To develop a child from within outwards, we must
plunge ourselves into its peculiarity of imagination and feeling. No
one person could possibly endure such absorption, of life in labor
unrelieved, and consequently two or three should unite in the
undertaking in order to be able to relieve each other from the enormous
strain on life. The compensations are, however, great. The charm of the
various individuality, and of the refreshing presence of conscience yet
unprofaned, is greater than can be found elsewhere in this work-day
world. Those were not idle words which came from the lips of Wisdom
Incarnate:--"Their angels do always behold the face of my Father": "Of
such is the kingdom of heaven."



Sweet child, I prithee stand,
While I try my novel hand
At a portrait of thy face,
With its simple childish grace.

Cheeks as soft and finely hued
As the fleecy cloud imbued
With the roseate tint of morn
Ere the golden sun is born:--
Lips that like a rose-hedge curl,
Guarding well the gates of pearl,
--What care I for pearly gate?
By the rose-hedge will I wait:--
Chin that rounds with outline fine,
Melting off in hazy line;
As in misty summer noon,
Or beneath the harvest moon,
Curves the smooth and sandy shore,
Flowing off in dimness hoar:--
Eyes that roam like timid deer
Sheltered by a thicket near,
Peeping out between the boughs,
Or that, trusting, safely browse:--
Arched o'er all the forehead pure,
Giving us the prescience sure
Of an ever-growing light;
As in deepening summer night,
Over fields to ripen soon
Hangs the silver crescent moon.

* * * * *



The winter sun streamed pleasantly into the room. On the tables lay the
mother's work of the morning,--the neatly folded clothes she had just
been ironing. A window was opened a little way to let some air into the
room too closely heated by the brisk fire. The air fanned the leaves of
the ivy-plant that stood in the window, and of the primrose which
seemed ready to open in the warm sun. Above, there hung a cage, and a
canary-bird shouted out now and then its pleasure at the sunny day, with
a half-dream perhaps of a tropical climate in the tropical air with
which the coal-fire filled the room. Mrs. Schroder leaned back in her
old-fashioned rocking-chair, and folded her hands, one over the other,
ready to rest after her morning's labor. She was willing to take the
repose won by her work; indeed, this was the only way she had managed to
preserve her strength for all the work it was necessary for her to do.
She had been conscious that her powers had answered for just so much and
no more, and she had never been able to make further demands upon them.

When years before she was left a widow, with two sons to support and
educate, all her friends and neighbors prophesied that her health would
prove unequal to either work, and agreed that it was very fortunate that
she had a rich relation or two to help her. But, unfortunately, the rich
relations preferred helping only in their own way. One uncle agreed to
send the older boy to his father's relations in Germany, while the other
wished to take the younger with him to his home in the South; and an
aunt-in-law promised Mrs. Schroder work enough as seamstress to support

It is singular how hard it is, for those who have large means and
resources, to understand how to supply the little wants and needs of
those less fortunate. The smallest stream in the mountains will find its
way through some little channel, over rocks, or slowly through quiet
meadows, into the great rivers, and finally feeds the deep sea, which
is very thankless, and thinks little of restoring what is so prodigally
poured into it. It only knows how to sway up with its grand tide upon
the broad beaches, or to wrestle with turreted rocks, or, for some
miles, perhaps, up the great rivers, it is willing to leave some flavor
of its salt strength. So it is that we little ones, to the last, pour
out our little stores into the great seas of wealth,--and the Neptunes,
the gods of riches, scarcely know how to return us our due, if they

When Mrs. Schroder, then, refused these kindly offers, because she knew
that her husband had wished his boys should be brought up together and
in America, and because she could not separate them from each other or
from herself, the relations thought best to leave her to her own will,
and drew back, feeling that they had done their part for humanity and
kinship. Now and then Mrs. Schroder received a present of a worn
shawl or a bonnet out of date, and one New Year there came inclosed a
dollar-bill apiece for the boys. Ernest threw his into the fire before
his mother could stop him, while Harry said he would spend his for the
very meanest thing he could think of; and that very night he bought some
sausages with it, to satisfy, as he said, only their lowest wants.

Mrs. Schroder succeeded in carrying out her will, in spite of prophecy.
Her very delicacy of body led her to husband her strength, while the
boys very early learned that they must help their mother to get through
her day's work. Her feebleness of health helped her, too, in another
way,--by stopping their boy-quarrels.

"Boys, don't wrangle so! If you knew how it makes my head ache!"

When these words came from the mother resting in her chair, the quarrel
ceased suddenly. It ended without settlement, to be sure, which is the
best way of finishing up quarrels. There are always seeds of new wars
sown in treaties of peace. Austria is not content with her share of
Poland, and Russia privately determines upon another bite of Turkey.
John thinks it very unjust that he must give up his ball to Tom, and
resolves to have the matter out when they get down into the street;
while Tom, equally dissatisfied, feels that he has been treated like a
baby, and despises the umpire for the partial decision.

These two boys, indeed, had their perpetual quarrel. Harry, the older,
always got on in the world. He had a strong arm, a jolly face, and a
solid opinion of himself that made its way without his asking for it.
Ernest, on the other hand, was obliged to be constantly dependent on his
brother for defence, for his position with other boys at school,--as he
grew up, for his position in life, even. Harry was the favorite always.
The schoolmaster--or teacher, as we call him nowadays--liked Harry best,
although he was always in scrapes, and often behindhand in his studies,
while Ernest was punctual, quiet, and always knew his lessons, though
his eyes looked dreamily through his books rather than into them.

Harry had great respect for Ernest's talent, made way for it, would
willingly work for him. Ernest accepted these benefits: he could not
help it, they were so generously offered. But the consciousness that
he could not live without them weighed him down and made him moody. He
alternately reproached himself for his ingratitude, and his brother for
his favors. Sometimes he called himself a slave for being willing to
accept them; at other times he would blame himself as a tyrant for
making such demands upon an elder brother.

As Mrs. Schroder leaned back in her chair after her morning's labor,
the door opened, and a young girl came into the room. She had a fresh,
bright face, a brown complexion, a full, round figure. She came in
quickly, nodded cheerily to Mrs. Schroder, and knelt down in front of
the fire to warm her hands.

"I did want to come in this morning," she said,--"the very last day! I
should have liked to help you about Ernest's things. But Aunt Martha
must needs have a supernumerary wash, and I have just come in from
hanging the last of the clothes upon the line."

"It is very good of you, Violet," answered Mrs. Schroder, "but I was
glad to-day to have plenty to do. It is the thinking that troubles me.
My boys are grown up into men, and Ernest is going! It is our first
parting. To-day I would rather work than think."

Violet was the young girl's name. A stranger might think that the name
did not suit her. In her manner was nothing of the shrinking nature that
is a characteristic of the violet. Timidity and reserve she probably did
have somewhere in her heart,--as all women do,--but it had never been
her part to play them out. She had all her life been called upon to show
only energy, activity, and self-reliance. She was an only child, and
had been obliged to be son and daughter, brother and sister in one. Her
father was the owner of the house in which were the rooms occupied by
Mrs. Schroder and her sons. The little shop on the lower floor was his
place of business. He was a watchmaker, had a few clocks on the shelves
of his small establishment, and a limited display of jewelry in the
window, together with a supply of watch-keys, and minute-hands and
hour-hands for decayed watches. For though his sign proclaimed him a
watchmaker, his occupation perforce was rather that of repairing and
cleaning watches and clocks than in the higher branch of creation.

Violet's childhood was happy enough. She was left in unrestrained
liberty outside of the little back-parlor, where her Aunt Martha
held sway. Out of school-hours, her joy and delight were to join the
school-boys in their wildest plays. She climbed fences, raced up and
down alley-ways, stormed inoffensive door-yards, chased wandering
cats with the best of them. She was a favorite champion among the
boys,--placed at difficult points of espionage, whether it were over
beast, man, woman, or boy. She was proud of mounting some imaginary
rampart, or defending some dangerous position. Sometimes a taunt was
hurled from the enemy upon her allies for associating with a "girl;" but
it always received a contemptuous answer,--"You'd better look out, she
could lick any one of you!" And at the reply, Violet would look down
from her post on the picketed fence, shake her long curls triumphantly,
and climb to some place inaccessible to the enemy, to show how useful
her agility could be to her own party.

The time of sorrow came at twilight, when the boys separated for their
homes,--when Harry and Ernest clattered up to their mother's rooms. They
could be boys still. They might throw open the house-doors with a
shout and halloo, and fling away caps and boots with no more than an
uncared-for reprimand. But Violet must go noiselessly through the dark
entry, and, as she turned to close the door that let her into the
parlor, she was greeted by Aunt Martha's "Now do shut the door quietly!"
As she lowered the latch without any sound, she would say to herself,
"Why is it that boys must have all the fun, and girls all the work?"
She felt as if she shut out liberty and put on chains. Her work began
then,--to lay the tea-table, to fetch and carry as Aunt Martha ordered.
All this was pleasanter than the quiet evening that followed, because
she liked the occupation and motion. But to be quiet the whole evening,
that was a trial! After the tea-things were cleared away, she would
sit awhile by the stove, imagining all sorts of excitements in the
combustion within; but she could not keep still long without letting a
clatter of shovel and tongs, or some vigorous blows of the poker, show
what a glorious drum she thought the stove would make. Or if Aunt Martha
suggested her unloved and neglected dolls, she would retire to the
corner with them inevitably to come back in disgrace. Either the large
wooden-headed doll came noisily down from the high-backed chair, where
she had been placed as the Maid of Saragossa, or a suspicious smell of
burning arose, when Joan of Arc really did take fire from the candle on
her imaginary funeral-pile. Knitting was no more of a sedative, though
for many years it had stilled Aunt Martha's nerves. It was singular how
the cat contrived always to get hold of Violet's ball of yarn and keep
it, in spite of Violet's activity and the jolly chase she had for it all
round the room, over chairs and under tables. Even her father, during
these long evenings, often looked up over his round spectacles, through
which he was perusing a volume of the "Encyclopedia," to wonder if
Violet could never be quiet.

As she grew up, there was activity enough in her life, through which her
temperament could let off its steam: a large house to be cared for and
kept in order, some of the lodgers to be waited upon, and Aunt Martha,
with her failing strength, more exacting than ever. Her evenings now
were her happy times, for she frequently spent them in Mrs. Schroder's
room. One of the economies in the Schroders' life was that their
pleasures were so cheap. What with Harry's genial gayety and Ernest's
spiritual humor, and the gayety and humor of the friends that loved
them, they did not have to pay for their hilarity on the stage. There
were quiet evenings and noisy ones, and Violet liked them both. She
liked to study languages with Ernest; she liked the books from the
City Library that they read aloud,--romances that were taken for
Mrs. Schroder's pleasure, Ruskins which Ernest enjoyed, and Harry's
favorites, which, to tell the truth, were few. He begged to be made the
reader,--otherwise, he confessed, he was in danger of falling asleep.

Violet had grown up into a woman, and the boys had become men; and now
she was kneeling in front of Mrs. Schroder's fire.

"Ernest's last day at home," she said, dreamily. "Oh, now I begin to
pity Harry!"

"To pity Harry?" said Mrs. Schroder. "Yes, indeed! But it is Ernest that
I think of most. He is going away among strangers. He depends upon Harry
far more than Harry depends upon him."

"It is just that," said Violet. "Harry has always been the one to give.
But it will be changed now, when Ernest comes home. You see, he will be
great then. He has been dependent upon us, all along, because genius
must move so slowly at first; but when he comes back, he will be above
us, and, oh! how shall we know where to find him?"

"You do not mean that my boy will look down upon his mother?" said Mrs.
Schroder, raising herself in her chair.

"Look down upon us?" cried Violet. "Oh, no! it is only the little that
do that, that they may appear to be high. The truly great never look
down. They are kneeling already, and they look up. If they only would
look down upon us! But it is the old story: the body can do for a while
without the spirit, can make its way in the world for a little, and
meantime the spirit is dependent upon the body. Of course it could not
live without the body,--what we call life. But by-and-by spirit must
assert itself, and find its wings. And where, oh, where, will it rise
to? Above us,--above us all!"

"How strangely you talk!" said Mrs. Schroder, looking into Violet's
face. "What has this to do with poor Ernest?"

"I was thinking of poor Harry," said Violet. "All this time he has been
working for Ernest. Harry has earned the money with which Ernest goes
abroad,--which he has lived upon all these years,--not only his daily
bread, but what his talent, his genius, whatever it is, has fed itself
with. Ernest is too unpractical to have been able even to feed himself!"

"And he knows it, my poor Ernest!" said Mrs. Schroder. "This is why
he should be pitied. It is hard for a generous nature to owe all to
another. It has weighed Ernest down; it has embittered the love of the
two brothers."

"But it is more bitter for Harry," persisted Violet. "All this time
Ernest could think of the grand return he could bring when his time
should come. But Harry! He brings the clay out of which Ernest moulds
the statue; but the spirit that Ernest breathes into the form,--will
Harry understand it or appreciate it? The body is very reverent of the
soul. But I think the spirit is not grateful enough to the body. There
comes a time when it says to it, 'I can do without thee!' and spurns the
kind comrade which has helped it on so far. Yet it could not have done
without the joy of color and form, of sight and hearing, that the body
has helped it to."

"You do not mean that Ernest will ever spurn Harry?--they are brothers!"
said poor Mrs. Schroder.

Violet looked round and saw the troubled expression in Mrs. Schroder's
face, and laughed as she laid her head caressingly in her friend's lap.

"I have frightened you with my talk," she said. "I believe the hot air
in the room bewildered my senses and set me dreaming. Yes, Harry and
Ernest are brothers, and I believe they will always work together and
for each other. I have no business with forebodings, this laughing,
sunny day. The March sun is melting the icicles, and they came
clattering down upon me, as I was in the yard, with a happy, twinkling,
childish laugh. There are spring sounds all about, water melting and
dripping everywhere, full of joy. I am the last person, dear mother
Schroder, to make you feel sad."

Violet got up quickly, and busied herself about the room: filled the
canary's cup with water, drew out the table, and made all the usual
preparations necessary for dinner, talking all the time gayly, till she
had dispersed all the clouds on Mrs. Schroder's brow, and then turned to
go away.

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