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Atlantic Monthly, Volume 7, Issue 41, March, 1861 by Various

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VOL. VII.--MARCH, 1861.--NO. XLI.



"Which of the German universities would be the best adapted to my
purpose?" is the question of many an American student, who, having gone
through the usual course in the United States, looks abroad for the
completion of his scientific or liberal studies. Of Goettingen and
Heidelberg he will often have read and heard; the reputation of the
comparatively new university of Berlin will not be unfamiliar to him;
but of Tuebingen, Wuerzburg, Erlangen, Halle, or Bonn, even, he will
perhaps know little more than the name. In the majority of the
last-named places, foreigners, especially his own countrymen, are rare;
none of his friends have studied there; they have followed the current,
since the last century, and spent their time in Goettingen or Heidelberg,
perhaps a winter in Berlin. They have found these institutions good, and
affording every facility for study; but would not Munich, or Leipzig, or
Jena, or any other one of the twenty-six universities of Germany, better
answer the purpose of many a student?

During the last winter, in many conversations with a retired professor
in Berlin, who manifested a special interest in American institutions,
mainly in the American educational system, he was very particular in
inquiring as to what we meant by our term _College_. He had read the
work of the historian Raumer on America, and declared that from this he
could get no notion whatever as to what the term meant with us. The very
same thing occurs daily in the United States in regard to foreign, or,
more properly, the Continental universities. Accustomed as we are to the
prevalence of the tutorial system, the use of text-books,--in many parts
of the Union not defining clearly the difference between the terms
University, College, Institute, and Academy, giving the first name often
to institutions having but one faculty, and that at times incomplete,
with no theological, and often no law or medical department, forgetting
that the University should, from its very name, be as universal as
possible in its teachings, comprehending in its list of studies the
combined scientific and literary pursuits of the age,--we are apt to
look upon foreign schools of learning as similar in nature and purpose
to our own, differing not in the quality or specific character of the
teaching, but rather in the scope and extent of the branches taught. Yet
nothing is farther from the truth. The result is, that many a one starts
for Europe full of hope, to seek what he would have found better at
home,--or, when prepared and mature for European travel, is left to
chance or one-sided advice in the choice of a locality in which to
prosecute further studies. Often with only book-knowledge of the
language of the country, accident will lead him to the very university
the least adequate to his purpose.

Having now spent some time in four of the leading German universities,
and contemplating a longer stay for the purpose of visiting others, the
writer has thought that some general remarks might call attention to
points often disregarded, and serve to give some insight into the nature
of the institutions of learning of the country,--rather aiming to
characterize the system of higher education as it now exists than to
give detailed historical notices, including something of student-life,
and the professors,--in fine, such observations as would not be likely
to be made by a general tourist, and such as native writers deem it
unnecessary to make, presupposing a knowledge of the facts in their own

The German universities are the culminating point of German culture.
They concentrate within themselves the intellectual pith of the country.
Dating their foundation as far back as the fourteenth century, as
Prague, Vienna, and Heidelberg,--or established but of late years in
the nineteenth, as Berlin, Bonn, and Munich,--they attract to themselves
the mental strength of the land, forming a focus from which radiates,
whether in Theology, Science, Literature, or Art, the new world of
thought, which finds its way to remotest regions, often filtered
and unacknowledged. They number among their professors the most
distinguished men of the century, whether poets, philosophers, or
divines. All who lay claim to authorship find in the lecture-room a
firm stand and rank in society, as Government is ever ready to insure a
life-position to distinguished scholars. To mention only a few
examples of men who would scarcely be thought of in a professorial
career,--Schiller was Professor of History in Jena, Rueckert Professor in
Berlin, Uhland in Tuebingen.

In nothing can Germany manifest a better-grounded feeling of national
pride than in this, its university system. Politically inert, divided
into petty states, powerless, the ever-ready prey of more active or
ambitious neighbors, it has played a pitiful _role_ in the world's
history, with annals made up of petty feuds and jealousies and
tyrannical meannesses, never working as one people, save when driven to
extremity. With countless differences of dialect, manners, customs, it
is one and national in nothing save in its literature, and feels that,
through the high culture of its scholars, through the new paths its
men of science have opened, through the profound investigations of
the learned in every sphere, it holds its place at the head of every
intellectual movement of the age. It feels that its universities are the
laboratories whence issue the thoughts whose significance the world is
ever more and more ready to acknowledge. France even, selfish and proud
of its past supremacy in all things, has within the last quarter of a
century laid aside much of its exclusiveness, and a Germanic infusion is
perceptible through all the mannerism of the latest and best productions
of the French school. Comparatively of late years is it, that the
English mind has fairly come in contact with this German culture. Its
first loud manifestation may be heard in the prose of Carlyle and his
school; yet even now its influence has permeated our whole literature so
much, that, when reading some of our latest poetry, tones and melodies
will come like distant echoes from the groves on the hillsides where
warble the nightingales of Germany.

A most unpractical people, however, the Germans, who have been so active
in almost every possible field of speculation, have produced nothing
which could give one unacquainted with their university system a true
notion of its workings and actual state. Much has been written on
Pedagogy, its history general and special, the common schools and
gymnasia; but until 1854 there was not even a general work on the
history of the universities. To Karl von Raumer, former Minister of
Public Worship in Prussia, we owe the first _Beitrag_, as he modestly
calls it, the fourth volume of his "History of Pedagogy" being devoted
exclusively to these. Partly made up of historical sketches, partly
narrations of the writer's personal experience as student from 1801, as
professor in various places from 1811, it does not aim and is but little
calculated to give a clear idea of the system itself. Special works, as
the one of Tomek on Prague, and of Kluepfel on Tuebingen, do exist,
but otherwise nothing but personal observation can be made use of.
Statistics, every information, in fine, concerning the present
intellectual wealth of the nation, must be acquired either orally, or
from the catalogues, programmes, and hundreds of local pamphlets that
are issued yearly. The work of the Rev. Dr. Schaff, "Germany, its
Universities, Theology, and Religion," (Philadelphia, 1857,) rather aims
to characterize the nature and tendency of German theology, the latter
part being taken up with interesting and well-written sketches of the
leading divines.

Before proceeding to these high-schools themselves, let us glance at the
general system of German education. In spite of political differences,
there exists much uniformity in this throughout the Confederation. The
German States are exceedingly _paternal_ in the care they take of their
subjects. They extend their parental supervision even to the family
interior, every relation of life regulated by fixed laws, and even
after death the inhumation must be conducted the forms and with the
precautions prescribed. The new-born child _must_ be baptized within
six weeks after birth. If the parents neglect it, Government sees to
it,--unless they claim the privileges of Israelites, in which case the
rites of their religion must be followed. Between his sixth and
seventh year the child _must_ enter some school or receive elementary
instruction at home. So far is education compulsory; beyond, it is
optional. When duly prepared, he enters, if the parents desire it, the
Government Gymnasium or Lyceum, answering pretty much to our College; it
fits the youth for entering the University. It confers no degrees; only,
at the conclusion of the studies, an _Examen Maturitatis_ takes place.
The youth is then declared ripe for matriculation. Without having
undergone this examination, he can never become a regular student. Even
should he have attended regularly any of the many private academies, or
the _Realschule_, where thorough instruction is given, but with less
special, though no slight attention to Latin and Greek, and more to
mathematics and practical branches, even then he must acquire from
one of the gymnasia the exemption-and-maturity-right. In the slang of
student-life, the gymnasiast is styled a _Frog_, the school itself
a _Pond_; between the time of his declaration of maturity and his
reception as student, he is called a _Mule_.

The course is no light one the candidate has gone through,--nine or ten
years of classical training, Latin the whole time, Greek the last six or
seven years, Hebrew the last four, generally optional, though in many
cases required at future examinations. The modern languages have not
been neglected: French he has pursued seven years, English or Italian
the last three or four. Beside all these, the elements of Philosophy,
Moral and Natural, History, Mathematics, etc. In fine, the certificate
of maturity would in most cases equal, in many surpass, what our
colleges is styled the degree of A.M. Of course, the parallel must not
be understood as existing with respect to many of the older institutions
in the United States, which presuppose, in the entering freshman, a
preparatory course of several years.

The classical training so strictly required of natives who enter
these high-schools is not so rigidly inquired into in the case of
foreigners,--though in this respect the regulations differ in various
states. In Prussia and generally, the passport is all-sufficient; but
in Wuertemberg, a diploma or some certificate of former studies must be
exhibited before admission. The officers of some of the universities, as
Tuebingen, for instance, are very particular in enforcing all the rules,
inquiring of the applicant, whatever be his age or nationality, whether
he has a written permission from his parents to study abroad and in
their university, whether he has the money necessary to pay the debts he
may contract, and such other minute questions as will strike an American
especially as particularly impertinent. The precaution is carried
so far, that, when no positive information is given as to means of
subsistence, the letter of credit must be delivered into the hands
of the beadle as security. Yet such little incidents are but slight
annoyances at most, which a little good-humor and desire to conform to
the habits and ways of doing of the country will remove. He who goes
abroad always ready to bristle up against what does not exactly conform
to his preconceived ideas of propriety, measuring and weighing all
things with his own national weights and measures, will be continually
making himself disagreeable and unhappy, and in the end profit little by
his absence from home.

The conclusion of the training-system in the gymnasia usually occurs
before the nineteenth or twentieth year. With the reception of the
certificate of maturity the youth may be said to have donned the virile
toga. He enjoys during his university years a degree of liberty such as
he never enjoyed before, never will enjoy again when his student-days
are over. Having taken out his matriculation-papers, and given the
_Handschlag_ (taken the oath) to obey the laws of the land and the
statutes of the university, he has become a student,--a _Fox_, as the
freshman is styled,--he chooses his own career, his own professors,
hears the lectures he pleases, attends or omits as he pleases, leads the
life of a god for a triennium or a quadrennium, fights his duels, drinks
his beer, sings his club-and-corps songs.--But of student-life more in
due time.--There is no check, no constraint whatever, during the whole
time the studies last. At the expiration of three or four, sometimes
even five years, an examination takes place before the degree of Doctor
can be conferred,--not a severe one by any means, confined as it is to
the special branch to which the candidate wishes to devote himself.
In the Medical and Law Departments it is more serious than in the
Philosophical. This examination is followed by a public discussion in
presence of the dean and professors of the faculty, held in Latin, on
some thesis that has been treated and printed in the same language by
the candidate. His former fellow-students, and any one present that
wishes, stand as opponents. This disputation, whatever may have been its
merits in former days, has degenerated in the present into a mere piece
of acted mummery, where the partakers not only stutter and stammer over
bad Latin, but even help themselves, when their memory fails utterly,
with the previously written notes of their extempore objections and
answers. The principal requisite for the attainment of the Doctor's
degree, when the necessary amount of time has been given, in the
Philosophical Faculty at least, is the fees, which often mount quite

From the ranks of such as have attained this _title_, for so it should
be called, every office of any importance in the State is filled.
Through every ramification of the complicated system of government,
recommendations and testimonials play the greatest _role_,--the first
necessary step for advancement being the completion of the university
studies--And by public functionaries must not be understood merely those
holding high civil or military grades. Every minister of the Church,
every physician, chemist, pharmaceutist, law-practitioner of any
grade, every professor and teacher, all, in fact, save those devoting
themselves to the merely mechanical arts or to commercial pursuits, and
even these, though with other regulations, receive their appointment or
permission to exercise their profession from the State. It is one huge
clock-work, every wheel working into the next with the utmost precision.
To him who has gone so far, and received the Doctorate, several
privileges are granted. He has claims on the State, claims for a
position that will give him a means of subsistence, if only a scanty
one. With talent and industry and much enduring toil, he may reach the
highest places. He belongs to the aristocracy of learning,--a poor,
penniless aristocracy, it may be, yet one which in Germany yields in
point of pride to none.

We proceed to the Professors. It is within the power of all to attain
the position of Lecturer in a university. The diploma once obtained, the
farewell-dinner, the _comilat_, and general leave-taking over, the man's
career has commenced in earnest. If he turn his attention to education,
he may find employment in some of the many schools of the State. Does he
look more directly to the University, he undergoes, when duly prepared
on the branches to which he wishes to devote himself, the _Examen
Rygorosum_, delivers a trial-lecture in presence of his future
colleagues, and is entitled to lecture in the capacity of a
_Privat-Docent_. As such be receives no remuneration whatever from
Government; his income depends upon what he receives from his hearers,
two to six dollars the term from each. All who aspire to the dignity of
Professor must have passed through this stage; rarely are men called
directly from other ranks of life,--though eminent scholars,
physicians, or jurists have been sometimes raised immediately to an
academical seat. After a few years, five or more, the _Privat-Docent_
who has met with a reasonable degree of success may hope for a
professorship,--though many able men have remained in this inferior
position for long years, some even for life. If their hearers are but
few, they resort to private lessons, to book-making, anything that
will aid them in maintaining their position, always with the hope that
"something must turn up."

The _Privat-Docent_ system, though condemned by some, has been much
extolled by many German writers. It is, say the latter, a warranty for
the freedom of teaching, no slight point In a country where all is
subservient to the political rulers, forming men for the professorship,
and giving them a confidence in their own powers, as they must rely
exclusively for their support on the income they receive from their
hearers. From among their number are chosen those constituting the
regular faculties; and thus there are ever at hand men ready to fill the
highest places upon any vacancy, men not new or inexperienced, but whose
whole life has been one training for the position they may be called to

The _Privat-Docent_ may be raised directly to a seat in the faculty, but
more generally he passes through the intermediate stage of _Professor
Extraordinarius_. The Professors Extraordinary receive no, or at most a
very small, income from the State; they are merely titled lecturers,
and nothing more; yet in their ranks, as well as among the more modest
_Privatim-Docentes_, are often found men of the greatest learning, whose
names are known abroad, whose contributions to science are universally
acknowledged, whose lecture-rooms are thronged with students, while the
halls of some of the regular professors may be left empty. No vacancy
may have occurred in their department,--or, as is unfortunately
oftener the case, some political reasons may be the occasion of their

We come to the regular faculty of the university, the _Professores
Ordinarii_. They enjoy the fullest privileges, are appointed for life,
and receive beside the tuition-fees regular incomes. They may be elected
to the Academic Senate and to the Rectorship, the Rector or Chancellor
not being appointed for life, but changing yearly,--the various
faculties being represented in turn. He is styled _Rector Magnificus_.

The faculties are usually four in number. In several universities,
of late, a fifth has been created,--the _Staatswissenschaftliche_,
Cameralistic; so that in institutions where both Catholic and Protestant
Theology are represented, there are in fact six faculties. The
Philosophical Department stretches over so wide a field, that, were it
separated into its real divisions, as Philosophy proper, Philology,
History, the Mathematical and Natural Sciences, the faculties would
extend far beyond the present number. In France, it is divided into
a _Faculte des Lettres and a Faculte des Sciences._ The present
comprehensive use of the term is but an extension of the Middle-Age
division of the liberal arts into the Trivium,--Grammar, Rhetoric,
Dialectics,--and the Quadrivium,--Arithmetic, Music, Geometry, and
Astronomy,--as expressed in the verse,--

"Lingus, tropus, ratio, numerus, tenor,
angulus, astra."

The term _Magister Artium Liberalium,_ so often met with, refers to
these. Those pursuing these studies were denominated _Artisti._ As the
number of studies increased, the name was changed, and the department
now includes all branches not ranged under one of the heads of Theology,
Law, or Medicine; so that every student, whatever his pursuits may be,
if he does not confine himself exclusively to them, will wish to hear
one or more courses of lectures in this faculty.

The Professors Ordinary and Extraordinary, together with the
_Privat-Docents_, form the active force of the German university. In
Tuebingen are _Repetenten_, who lecture or comment on classical and
Biblical writers and form classes in the ancient or modern languages.
Those teaching the modern languages exclusively are styled _Lectors_.
The title, _Professor Honorarius_, as of Gervinus in Heidelberg, is
conferred merely as a mark of honor, the bearer lecturing only when he
pleases. To complete this enumeration, it may not be unnecessary to
state, connected with each university are masters for riding, fencing,
swimming, gymnastics, and dancing, regular places appointed for these
exercises, beside access to museums, the university library, scientific
collections, etc.

The number of professors--and under this name we include the three
divisions of lecturers--varies from forty to one hundred and seventy and
upwards, according to the size and importance of the institution. In
Berlin, last winter, there were one hundred and sixty-nine; in Erlangen,
but forty-four; in Munich, one hundred and eleven. The University
of Kiel, with not one hundred and thirty students, numbers fifty
professors. These each deliver at least one course of lectures; most
deliver more,--some as many as four or five. In Prussia, each is
required by law to read one course, at least, gratis (_publice_);
otherwise the lectures are _privatim_, a fee being paid by the
hearer,--say four or five dollars on the average for the term. The
_privatissime_ are private lessons or lectures, the when and where to be
settled with the lecturer himself.

The year is divided into two terms, varying somewhat in different
places. The summer session is the shorter of the two, lasting from near
the middle of April till August, when the long vacation takes place. The
winter semester usually commences in October and lasts till the latter
part of March.

As to the scope and variety of the lectures, it is unlimited, and varies
yearly. In Berlin, during the winter semester of 1859-60, there were
no less than three hundred and forty-six courses in all, besides the
clinics, demonstrative and practical courses, philological exercises,
and the like. These were divided as follows:--

In Theology . . . . . . 38
" Law. . . . . . . . 56
" Medicine . . . . . . 78
" Philosophy . . . . . 174

In the latter department there were,--

In Philosophy proper . . . 18
" Mathematical Sciences . . 19
" Natural " . . 45
" Political Economy, etc. . 10
" History and Geography . . 12
" Aesthetics . . . . 19
" Philology . . . . . 51

But Berlin is by far the most complete university in Germany, however
much it may be surpassed in many points by others. Lesser institutions
do not exhibit half this number of courses, though there are always
enough to satisfy the student who does not devote himself to a narrow
speciality. Private tuition can always be resorted to.

Beside the lectures, there are also occasionally _Seminaren_, mostly
conducted in Latin, where classical or Biblical authors are explained
and read by the students, or where discussions take place, in presence
of a professor, on philosophical, historical, or philological
subjects,--resembling, however, in nothing our debating-societies.

It is only since the middle of the last century that instruction in
the higher branches has been usually carried on in German. Latin was
formerly in general use; it is now seldom made a medium. There is
occasionally a course delivered in English, Italian, or French,--in
Berlin often in one of the Sclavonic languages. Modern Literature and
Philology are by no means extensively cultivated. Lectures on the
Provencal, the Langue d'Oil, the Old-German, the Cyrillic, are not
uncommon, though but poorly attended. The study of the modern languages
themselves must be pursued with private teachers. A knowledge of these,
as well as a thorough preparatory training in Latin and Greek, is
presupposed. Modern History, on the contrary, has of late years become
an important branch of study. The "Period of Revolutions" is fully
treated every semester, and always draws crowds of students. The spirit
that animates them is the unity of the Fatherland. Classical studies,
though not holding the same undisputed ascendency as in former times,
are yet very actively pursued, embracing Greek and Roman history and
antiquities, comments on classical authors, lectures, critical and
minute in the extreme, where every line is made the subject of
microscopic investigation, and different readings are weighed and
compared, with often an unlimited amount of abuse of editors who have
differed in opinion from the lecturer. The German philologers are not
remarkable for mildness when speaking of each other; and many a one,
as Haupt in Berlin, will enrich his vocabulary with ever-varying,
new-coined epithets to characterize the ridiculousness, tameness, and
stupidity of emendations proposed, and that, too, when speaking of such
men as Orelli and Kirchner, his own colleagues in the profession. A
laugh raised at the expense of a brother is enough to justify the
severest slash. Comparative Philology, which owes its existence
and progress to the labors of German scholars, and whose first
representative, Bopp, is still living and teaching in Berlin, is more
and more pursued of late. Sanscrit is now taught universally; and
lectures are delivered on the affinities of the Indo-Germanic languages
with each other and with the mother-tongue of all. A perceptible
movement is being felt to introduce this study into the preparatory
departments. Such a change would result in a complete revolution of the
methods formerly employed in elementary classical tuition. The higher
laws of affinity, as applied to the Romanic languages, are also daily
more a matter of investigation. Diez and Delius, in Bonn, are at the
head of this movement. In Philosophy, properly so called, the list
of studies is often very full, comprising lectures on Logic, the
Encyclopedia of Science, Metaphysics, Anthropology and Psychology,
Ethics, the Philosophy of Nature, of Law, of History, of Religion, the
History of Philosophy, general and special, and the Philosophy of Art,
or Aesthetics,--the latter general, or branching into specialities, as
Music, Painting, Sculpture, Ancient and Modern Art. Special points are
also treated,--as the Philosophy of Aristotle, of Kant, of Hegel, etc.
Mathematics and the Natural Sciences are not always cultivated to the
same extent as the above-named branches. They are made the subject of
particular attention, however, in the numerous Polytechnic Schools, the
most celebrated being those of Hanover and Carlsruhe. They have risen in
reputation and attendance of late to such a degree, that in the Grand
Duchy of Baden, for instance, a perceptible diminution is felt in
university attendance, while new appropriations have been made for the
enlargement of the Carlsruhe school.

The Theological Faculty ranks the highest, and comprises a wide range of
study. We quote from Dr. Schaff:--

"In modern times the field has been greatly enlarged by the addition
of Oriental Philology, Biblical Criticism, Hermeneutics, Antiquities,
Church-History and Doctrine-History, Homiletics, Catechetics, Liturgies,
Pastoral Theology, and Theory of Church-Government. No theological
faculty is considered complete now which has not separate teachers
for the exegetical, historical, systematic, and practical branches of
divinity. The German professors, however, are not confined to their
respective departments, as is the case in our American seminaries,
but may deliver lectures on any other branch, as far as it does not
interfere with their immediate duties. Schleiermacher, for instance,
taught, at different times, almost every branch of theology and

The Law Department, to which the celebrated school of Bologna served as
a first model, extends over a far wider field than similar institutions
elsewhere. Starting from the Roman Law, it embraces lectures on the
History of Jurisprudence, the Pandects, Civil, Criminal, and Common Law,
and Natural Rights, besides History and Philosophy, as applied to legal
studies,--branching into specialities for German Law and Practice, local
and general. To Americans, of course, only the first part of these
studies would be at all desirable. Moreover, the advantages are not all
of a practical nature.

The Medical Faculty embraces all the studies pursued in our medical
colleges, more specialities being treated,--the time required being
scarcely ever less than five years for the course, often more.
Examinations are severe. The faculties of Berlin, Munich, and Wuerzburg
are in especial repute,--Vienna also affording many advantages. In some
of the smaller university towns the means of study are limited for
the advanced student, extensive collections and large hospitals being
wanting. Medical studies are attended with more expense than any other.

The _Cameralistische Facultaet_ is devoted to those preparing themselves
for practical statesmanship. It is new, and established only of late
years in a few of the universities. In others, the branches taught
are still comprehended under the philosophical. Munich is in especial
repute. It comprises lectures on Political Economy in all its branches,
Mining, Engineering,--in fact, whatever is necessary to fit one for
service in the State.

Let no one, from the above comprehensive list of studies, form the idea,
that the outward incarnation of the German intellect, in speech or deed,
corresponds to its inner worth and solidity. The name _Dryasdust_
must cling to many a learned professor more firmly than to the most
chronological of the old historians. Germany is not the land of outward
form. To one accustomed to public speaking, the lecturers will often
appear far below the standard of mediocrity in their manner. Though such
men as Lasaulx in Munich, Haeusser in Heidelberg, Droyson and Werder
in Berlin deliver their lectures in a style that would grace the
lecture-room of any country, yet the great majority are far, very far,
from any eloquence in their delivery. Timid and bashful often to an
extreme, they ascend their rostrum with a shuffling, ambling gait, the
very opposite of manly grace and bearing, and, prefacing their
discourse with the short address, _"Meine Herren"_ keep on in one long,
never-varying, monotonous strain, from beginning to end,--reading wholly
or in part, often so slowly that the hearer can write down _every_ word,
often only the heads and substance of paragraphs, definitions and the
like,--and that so indistinctly, so carelessly of all but the very words
themselves, that it is not only unpleasant, at first, but even repulsive
to many. This dictating of every word, a relic of the times when
printing was yet unknown, is fast dying away. Many, both students and
professors, are loud against it, yet the tedious method is still pursued
in many places. The introductory remark of a celebrated lecturer is
characteristic. Seeing all his hearers, on the first day of the course,
ready with pen and paper, he began,--"Gentlemen, I will not dictate: if
that were necessary, I should send my maid-servant with my manuscript,
and you yours with pen and paper; my servant would dictate, yours would
write, and we in the mean while could enjoy a pleasant walk." This
is, however, not the only point that will be likely to produce an
unfavorable impression. To see a man whose name you have met in your
reading as the highest authority, whose works you have so often admired,
his style energetic, fiery, and impressive,--to see him ascend his
rostrum with every mark of negligence, uncouth and awkward in his
appearance, with every possible mannerism, talking through his nose,
indistinctly and unsteadily mumbling over his sentences, careless of all
outward form and polish, awakens anything but pleasant feelings, as the
preconceived ideal must give way to the living reality. And yet so it is
with many!

It may have contributed not a little to the reputation of Goettingen and
Heidelberg with foreigners, that a good and clear German is spoken in
both places by the professors. In Tuebingen, on the contrary, even in
Munich, to a great extent, the local dialect prevails to such a degree,
that students from Northern Germany, many of whom frequent these cities
in the summer session, find it difficult, nay, almost impossible, to
understand at first, especially the broad Suabian of Tuebingen. Here,
however, as the system of dictation prevails, the slowness of utterance
compensates in a measure for its indistinctness and incorrectness.

In some places, where academic freedom, as the students style it, exists
to a high degree, a general scraping of the feet admonishes the lecturer
to repeat his words or be more distinct and clear in his enunciation.
This pedal language, though often disregarded, still does not fail in
the end in producing the desired effect.

With such characteristics, it cannot be a matter of wonder, if some
time be required to be spent in hearing lectures daily before the full
benefit can be fairly appreciated. Many will appear slow in the extreme;
and the constant recourse to notes, and the tedious manner, will create
a feeling of weariness hard to overcome. However, these peculiarities
are soon forgotten in the excellence of the matter, and their
disagreeableness is scarcely noticed after a few weeks, except in
extreme cases. The mannerism fades away, and the hearer learns to follow
from thought to thought under the guidance of an experienced leader,
whose living words he hears, whose thought he feels as it is
communicated directly to him.

Not so much from the actual things heard, the actual facts mastered, is
the lecture-system valuable to the student, as for the method of
study which he derives from it. He is no longer like an automaton, a
school-boy guided by his teacher and text-book, but is spoken to as an
independent thinker. Authorities are quoted, which he may consult at his
leisure. No subject is exhausted,--it is only touched upon. He learns to
teach himself.

Far different is the mental training thus acquired from that gained in
the same amount of time spent in mere reading. Thought is stimulated to
a far greater degree. The lecture-room becomes a laboratory, where the
mind of the hearer, in immediate contact with that of a man mature in
the ways of study, of one whose whole life seems to have prepared him
for the present hour, assimilates to itself more than knowledge. The
lecturer gives what no books can give, his own force to impel his own
words. His mind is ever active while he speaks. The hearer feels its
workings, and his own is stirred into action by the contact. It is
not given to all to enjoy the conversation and intercourse of the
master-minds of the age: in the lecture-room they speak to us
immediately; we feel the current of their life-blood; it pulsates
through all they say.

That seeming exceptions may occur, as in the case of professors who year
after year deliver the same written course, can have no weight against
the system. The tone and gesture, the very look, must animate the
whole;--and these very written lectures, read and delivered so often,
are no dead stalk, but a living stem, which puts forth new leaves and
blossoms every spring.

Nor is the hearer himself without his corresponding influence. His
attention and eager desire for knowledge stimulate new thought in the
speaker day by day, hour by hour; and many a German scholar must have
felt with Friedrich August Wolf, when he says,--"I am one who has been
long accustomed to the gentle charm which lies in the momentaneous
unfolding of thought in the presence of attentive hearers, to that
living reaction softly felt by the teacher, whereby a perennial mental
harmony is awakened in his soul, which far surpasses the labors in the
study, before blank walls and the feelingless paper."


The first entrance into a German auditorium or _Hoersaal_, as the
lecture-rooms in the universities are called, will show much that is
characteristic. But little care is bestowed on the decoration of the
apartment. Whatever aesthetic culture the nation may have, it finds
little manifestation in the things of daily life, and elegance seems
little less than banished from the precincts of the learned world. The
academic halls present to the view nothing but dingy walls, rough floors
coated with the dust and mud of days or weeks, and, winter and summer,
the huge porcelain stove in one corner,--that immovable article of
cheerless German furniture, where wood is put in by the pound, and no
bright glow ever discloses the presence of that warmest friend of man,
a good fire. For the students there are coarse, long wooden desks and
benches, with places all numbered, cut up and disfigured to an extent
which will soon convince one that whittling is not a trait of American
destructiveness exclusively. Here are carved names and intertwined
lettering, arabesque masterpieces of penknife-ingenuity, with a general
preponderance of feminine appellatives, bold incisures, at times, of
some worthy professor in profile,--the whole besmutched with ink, and
dotted with countless punctures, the result of the sharp spike with
which every student's ink-horn is armed, that he may steady it upon the
slanting board. The preceding lecture ended when the university-clock
struck the hour; the next should begin within ten or fifteen minutes.
One by one the students drop in and take their places,--high and low,
rich and poor, all on the same straight-backed pine benches. The days
fire over, even in title-loving Germany, though not long since, when
the young counts and barons sat foremost, on a privileged, raised, and
cushioned seat, and were addressed by their title.

As the hearers thus assemble, they present a motley appearance,--being,
in the larger cities especially, from all lands, all ranks of society,
and of every age. Side by side with the young freshman in his first
semester, the _Fat Fox_, as he is called, who has just made a leap from
the strict discipline of the gymnasium to the unbounded freedom of the
university, will be a gray-haired man, to whom the academic title of
_Juvenis Studiosus_ will no longer apply. Here sits, with his gaudy
watch-guard, the colors of his corps, one of those students by
profession who have been inscribed year after year so long that they
have acquired the name of _Bemossed Heads_. Were his scientific
attainments measured by his capacities for beer-drinking and
sword-slashing, he would long ago have been dubbed a Doctor in all the
faculties. He hears a lecture now and then for form's sake, though it is
rather an unusual thing for him. By his side, but retiring and earnest,
may be one of the younger professors, who the hour before stood as a
teacher, and now sits among some of his former hearers to profit by the
experience of his older professional brother. Where the court resides
and many officers are garrisoned, the hall presents a spangled
appearance of bright epaulettes and glittering uniforms. It is no
unusual thing for young men during their years of service to attend the
courses regularly. The uncomfortable sword is laid on the knee, where it
may not dangle and clink with every motion of the wearer,--no easy
task in the very narrow space left between desk and desk. In the last
century, it was a universal custom for all students to wear the sword;
but this academic privilege, as it was considered, leading to numerous
abuses, laws were enacted against it, as well as other eccentricities in

The regular students are provided with portfolios, or rather, soft
leathern pouches, which they can fold and pocket, containing the _heft_
or quire of paper on which the lecture is transcribed by them wholly or
in part. These _hefts_ are often the object of much care and labor. Each
plants his ink-horn firmly in front of him. As the time approaches,
and all are in readiness with pen in hand, there is a universal buzz
throughout the room. Though, when the auditory is large, many nations
are represented, as well as the various provinces of the Confederation,
still the language heard is predominantly that of the country. Though
Poles and Greeks, English and Russians, may be in abundance, still they
rarely congregate in nationalities,--save the Poles, who speak their own
language at all times and places, and cling the more fondly to their own
idiom since they have been robbed of everything else. After some fifteen
minutes of expectation the professor enters. All is still in an instant.
He advances with hasty strides and bent-down head to his rostrum, an
elevated platform, on which stands a plain, high, pine desk. He unfolds
his notes, looks over the rim of his spectacles at the attentive
hearers, who sit ready to write down the words of wisdom he is about to
utter, and begins with the short address, "_Meine Herren._" There is
then an uninterrupted gliding of pens for three-quarters of an hour,
until, above the monotony, rarely the eloquence, of the speaker, the
great clock in the centre of the building gives the significant sound of
relief to busy fingers and rest to ear and brain unaccustomed to such
slow, entangled, lisping, laborious, in rare instances manly delivery.
The lecture is at an end, and each prepares to enter another auditorium,
or wends his way home, to study out the notes taken, consult the
authorities quoted, complete or even copy his work anew. In the study of
these _hefts_ consists the main preparation for future examinations, as
text-books are rarely used, save in Austria, and the examiners are the
professors themselves, who will not ask the candidate much beyond what
they have embraced in their own lesson.

With a remarkable degree of skill, the practised German student can take
down, even when the delivery is by no means slow, the pith and essence
of a whole lecture. Yet there is much abuse in this; and it has called
forth, ever since the invention of printing has made the multiplication
of books by transcription unnecessary, much just, though at times unjust
criticism. A German writer has said, that the man of genius takes his
notes on a slip of paper, he of good abilities on a half-page, while the
dunce must fill a whole sheet. Now the reverse would be quite as true
in many cases. For though thoughtless writing may be little more than
wasted labor, yet there is nothing that can fix more steadily thoughts
and facts in the mind than the precision and constant attention required
in following a lecture with the pen, especially when the words of the
professor are not taken down with slavish exactitude, but when, as is
most generally the case, merely the thoughts are noted in the hearer's
own language. The ideas thus gained have been assimilated and become the
listener's own property. There is thus generated a steady transfusion,
the surest remedy against flagging mental activity. Many a foreigner
writes down the lecture in his own tongue, and values highly this
training of constant translation, though, before many months, the mere
transposition from one language into the other must become purely
mechanical. It is amusing to see the puzzled expression of countenance
of some Swiss student who takes his notes in French, when one of those
long German compounds, involving some bold figure of speech, is uttered.
What circumlocutions must he not use, if he wish to give the full force
of the idea!

A real abuse, however, is the perpetual dictation-system still used by
some. For these, the three worthies in profile on the title-page of old
Elzevir editions are as if they had never existed; they teach as they
have been taught, perpetuating the methods in use in the days of
Abelard, when books were dearer than time. All that has been said and
written against the custom will do less towards abolishing it than the
recent introduction of lessons in phonography, or stenography rather,
which is now taught in several universities. The question is agitated
of introducing this study into the preparatory schools. The system is
different from the English or American, being based on the etymological
nature of the language. It is fast coming into use, though as yet not
general. The old slow delivery seems little better than spelling
to those that have mastered it. The students have usually special
abbreviations of their own, and so find no difficulty in taking down all
the important points, even when the utterance is rapid.

Not all, by any means, go through this labor of transcription. Many of
the wealthier and high-titled attend but irregularly, and when they do,
are impatient listeners. In Berlin may be seen many a youth who, from
the exquisite fit and finish of his dress, if he be not an American just
from Paris, must at least be a German count The young _Graf_ plays
with his lips on the ivory head of his bamboo, as he holds it with his
kid-gloved hand, sitting carefully the while, lest the elbow of his
French coat should be soiled by contact with a desk ignorant of duster
for many a month. He is condemned, however, to hear, day by day, over
and over, many a truth that will scarcely flatter his noble ears. The
_heft_ and the toil of writing down a lecture are unknown to him. He
pays a reasonable sum to some poor scholar who sits behind and copies
it all afterwards, while he takes his afternoon-ride towards
Charlottenburg, or saunters along Unter-den-Linden, ogling the pretty
English girls, and spying every chance of saluting, whenever a royal
equipage, preceded by a monkey-looking lackey, rolls by. These are, of
course, exceptions, rarer in the present than formerly. In Padua, in the
sixteenth century, it became notorious that the richer students never
attended in person, but always sent one of their servants who wrote a
good hand. Laws were enacted to prevent the evil, yet long after this
there were still many promotions of these paper-doctors.

Many, in taking their notes, abandon the German script as too illegible,
and make use of the Latin letters. A word or two on this subject, as
connected with general education. The German script, which any one may
learn in a few hours, is a constant source of vexation to a foreigner.
To write, and write fast, too, is easy enough; but then to read one's
own handwriting, not to mention the crumpled notices of the professors
tacked on the blackboard in the _Aula_, is almost impossible without
much practice. Why the Germans should have kept their Gothic lettering
and peculiar script, when all other European nations, save the Russian,
have adopted the Roman, it is difficult to say, unless it be with them
a matter of national pride. And they have been unnational in so many
things! That the Russians should have their own alphabet is natural
enough; they have sounds and letters and combinations--which neither the
Germanic nor the Romanic group of languages possess. And yet both in
Polish and Zechish, where the same sounds exist to a great extent, the
deficiencies are made up by accented and dotted letters. So, though
we have a universal standard of spelling for names and places on the
Continent, we find in our most popular histories and geographies a
divergence in the lesser known Russian names, not far removed from that
we daily meet in the nomenclature of the gods of Hindoo mythology.

The like plea of necessity cannot be urged in regard to the Teutonic or
Scandinavian languages. Within the last quarter of a century, the chief
scientific works issued in Northern Germany, and many even in Southern,
have been printed in the Roman character. Were there no other argument
in favor of its universal adoption, it has been found less trying to the
eyes. It can be read by all nations; and the other is at best but an
additional difficulty for the learner, even in the case of native
children, who are plagued with two alphabets and two diametrically
opposite systems of penmanship in their earliest years. The result is
evident: a good hand is a rare thing In Germany. It is a good sign, that
of late years public acts and records, works of learning, all the higher
literature, in fact, not purely national, as poetry and romance, are all
printed in the Roman character. Nor will any look upon this as a servile
imitation. Some of the most national of German writers and scholars, as
the brothers Grimm, have pronounced themselves loudly in favor of the
change. The tendency of the age is towards universality. It will occur
to none to talk of French imitation because chemists make use of the
excellent and universally applicable system of the decimal French
weights and measures.

What has been said above is not altogether irrelevant as characterizing
the tendency of the higher institutions of learning. Every movement in
Germany, even the least, since the Reformation, whose chief
propagators were professors in the universities,--Luther, Reuchlin,
Melancthon,--every permanent and pervading conquest of the new and good
over the old and worn-out, has issued from the lecture-room. Whatever
sticklers for old forms and crab-like progress may be found, there is
always an overbalancing power. The unity of Germany as one nation has
never stood a better chance of being realized than now, when the very
men who were students and flocked as volunteers when the iron hand of
Napoleon I. weighed heavily on their Fatherland stand as lecturers in
the days of Napoleon III., warning of the past, and preaching louder
than Schiller or Koerner or Arndt for the brotherhood of Prussian and
Bavarian, of those that dwell on the Rhine and those that inhabit the
regions of the Danube.

Thanks, not to her statesmen, not to her nobility, not to her princes
even, that Germany has at last fairly shaken off the self-imposed yoke
of servile French imitation, but thanks to her scholars who centre in
her twenty-six universities! There was a time, and that not a century
ago, when the German language was considered to be of too limited
circulation for works of general scientific interest. Lectures were
all delivered in Latin, until Thomasius broke open a new path, and now
lessons otherwise than in the vernacular tongue are exceptions. French
was long the universal medium. Even Humboldt wrote most of his works
in that language; and it is not two years since one of the most
distinguished Egyptian scholars of Prussia published his History of
Egypt in French. The last representatives of this tendency are dying
off. The days are over, when every petty German prince must create in
his domains a servile imitation of the stiff parks of Versailles,--the
days of powdered wigs and long cues,--when French ballet-dancers gave
the tone, and French actors strutted on every stage,--when Boileau was
the great canon of criticism, and Racine and Moliere perpetuated in
tragedy and comedy a pseudo-classicism. They are far, those times when
Frederick the Great wrote French at which Voltaire laughed, and could
find no better occupation for his leisure hours at Sans-Souci than the
discussion of the materialistic philosophy of the Encyclopedists, while
he affected to despise his own tongue, rejecting every effort towards
the popularization of a national literature. Well is it for Germany that
other ideas now prevail,--well, that Goethe in his old age overcame the
Gallomania, which for a while possessed him, of translating all his
works, and thenceforth writing only in French. The iron hand of Goetz of
Berlichingen would burst the seams of a Paris kid-glove. The bold lyric
and dramatic poesy of a language whose figures well up in each word
with primitive freshness can ill be contained in an idiom _blase_ by
conventionality and frozen into crystal rigidity by the academy of the
illustrious forty,--in an idiom in which an unfortunate pun or allusion
can destroy the effect of a whole piece. We need but call to mind that
Shakspeare's "Othello" was laughed off the stage of the Odeon, owing to
the ridiculous ideas the word "napkin" or "handkerchief" called up in
the auditory.

Nor is the influence of the university in Germany exerted in matters
of great national interest only. It pervades the social, literary,
and political organization of the people. The least part of what
characterizes an individual nation ever comes into its books. Here it
finds its way from mouth to mouth to the remotest corners of the land.
When Luther, the Professor of Wittenberg, spoke against indulgences, it
was more than priest or monk that was heard. The voice of the monk would
not have echoed beyond his cell, and the influence of the priest would
have been arrested and checked before it could have been exerted beyond
the limits of his parish or town. But the Professor Luther addressed
himself to a more influential audience. His words were carried before
many years into every part of the Empire.

Setting aside the Austrian universities, which are no longer what they
were formerly, the teaching in these higher schools, whatever the State
restrictions may be, is eminently free,--freer than in France,--freer
than in England,--in many respects even, however it may sound, freer
than in the United States. As a result, the land is a hot-bed of the
boldest philosophical systems and the wildest theological aberrations.
There is no branch of speculation that does not find its representative.
In law, in medicine, in philology, in history, the old methods of study
and research have been revolutionized. But the State stands before the
innovators, firm and conservative in its practice. And in the end it has
been found, that, whatever wild theories may spring up in theology and
in philosophy, the corrective is nigh at hand, and truth will make its
way when the field is open to all.

It must be remembered that the German university is no preparatory
school; those who enter it have gone through studies and a mental
training that have made them capable of judging for themselves. They
hear whom they please. Their chief study, whatever they acquire in the
lecture-room, is done when alone. They attend on an average for three
or four hours a day, spending as much time in the libraries, from which
they have the privilege of taking out books. As a completion to their
lectures, the professors generally have _Seminaren_ once or twice a
week, or _Exercitationes_ in history, philology, etc., in which the
Socratic method of teaching in dialogue is made use of. Museums and
scientific collections are richly provided in the larger institutions.
In some of these lectures are held: thus, Lepsius explains Egyptian
archaeology in the Egyptian halls in Berlin. The libraries provided by
the State, and to which all have access, are often considerable: thus,
Goettingen has 350,000 volumes; Berlin, 600,000; Munich, 800,000.

As for the expenses of study, they are inconsiderable; thirty or
thirty-five dollars the term will cover them, as there are generally
several courses public. The students often attend for months as guests,
_hospitanten_. As they say,--"The _Fox_ pays for more than he hears, and
the _Bursch_ hears more than he pays for." The lecturers take no notice
of those present; and, provided the matriculation-papers have been taken
out, the beadle has nothing to say. There is the fullest liberty of
wandering from room to room, and hearing, if only once or twice, any one
of the professors. As for the expenses of living, they vary. To one who
would be satisfied with German student-fare and comforts, four hundred
dollars a year will answer every purpose, even in the dearest cities:
many do with much less. In Southern Germany, life is simpler and cheaper
than in Northern, and the saying is true in Munich, that a _Gulden_
there will go as far as a _Thaler_ in Prussia. There are poorer
students, who are exempted from college-fees, and support themselves by
_Stipendia,_ whose outlay never exceeds a hundred dollars a year.

When several hundred or thousand young men are thus thrown together,
with their time all their own, and none to whom they are responsible
for their actions, it may easily be supposed that many abuses and
irregularities will occur. Yet the great mass are better than they have
been represented; though regular attendance upon lectures is true
only of those who _ox_ it at home, as the phrase goes, and who by the
rioting, beer-drinking _Burschen_ are styled _Philistines_ or _Camels_.
These same quiet individuals, whom the Samsons affect to despise, will
be found to be by far in preponderance, when the statistics of _Corps,
Landmannschaften_, and all such clubs, are looked into; though the
characteristic of the latter, always to be seen at public places of
amusement with their colored caps, gaudy watch-guards, or cannon-boots,
would lead one to suppose that German student-life was one round of
beer-drinking, sword-slashing, and jolly existence, as represented, or
rather, misrepresented, by William Howitt, in the halo of poetry he
throws around it. No,--the fantastically dressed fellows whom the
tourist may notice at Jena, and the groups of starers who stop every
narrow passageway in front of the confectionery-shops of Heidelberg, or
amuse themselves of summer-afternoons with their trained dogs, diverting
the attention of the temporary guest of "Prince Carl" from the
contemplation of the old ruined castle of the Counts-Palatine,--these
are but a fraction of the German students. From, among them may be
chosen those tight-laced officers who make the court-residences of
Europe look like camps; or, as they are often the sons of noblemen or
rich parents, they may reach some of the sinecures in the State. They
make their student-years but a pretext for a life of rough debauchery,
from which they issue with a bought diploma; and, in many cases,
satiated and disgusted with their own lives, they dwindle down into
the timeserving reactionaries, the worst enemies of free development,
because they themselves have abused in youth the little liberty they

If the numbers be counted of those who lead the life so much extolled
by William Howitt,--who, by the way, has left out some of its roughest
traits,--they will be found, even where most numerous, as in the smaller
towns, never to exceed one-fourth of those inscribed as students.
The linguists and philosophers of Germany, her historians and men of
letters, her professors and _savans_, have come from the ranks of that
stiller and more numerous class whom the stranger will never notice:
for their triennium is spent mostly in the lecture-room or at home; and
their conviviality--for there are neither disciples nor apostles of
temperance in this beer-drinking land--is of a nature not to divert them
from their earnest pursuits.

Truth and earnestness are the distinguishing traits of the German
character; and these qualities show no less strongly in the youth who
frequent the universities than in the professors themselves. The latter,
conscientious to a nicety in exposing the fullest fruits of their
laborious researches, are ever faithful to the trust reposed in them.
Placed by the State in a position beyond ordinary ambition and above
pecuniary cares, they can devote themselves exclusively to their
calling, concentrating their powers in one channel,--to raise, to
ennoble, to educate. It contributes not a little to their success, that
their hearers are permeated, whatever wild and unbridled freaks they may
fall into at times, with the fullest sense of honor and manly worth,
with an ardent love for knowledge and science for their own sake, not
for future utility. Their sympathies are awake for the good everywhere,
their minds receptive of the highest teachings. Their loves and likes
are great and strong,--as it behooves, when the first bubblings of
mental and physical activity are manifested in action. They abandon
themselves, body and soul, to the occupation of the moment, be it study,
be it pleasure. Their gatherings and feasts and excursions are ennobled
by vocal music from the rich store of healthy, vigorous German song,--
from which they learn, in the words of one of their most popular
melodies, to honor "woman's love, man's strength, the free word, the
bold deed, and the FATHERLAND!"

* * * * *




The Reverend Chauncy Fairweather's congregation was not large, but
select. The lines of social cleavage run through religious creeds as
if they were of a piece with position and fortune. It is expected of
persons of a certain breeding, in some parts of New England, that they
shall be either Episcopalians or Unitarians. The mansion-house gentry of
Rockland were pretty fairly divided between the little chapel with the
stained window and the trained rector, and the meeting-house where the
Reverend Mr. Fairweather officiated.

It was in the latter that Dudley Venner worshipped, when he attended
service anywhere,--which depended very much on the caprice of Elsie. He
saw plainly enough that a generous and liberally cultivated nature might
find a refuge and congenial souls in either of these two persuasions,
but he objected to some points of the formal creed of the older church,
and especially to the mechanism which renders it hard to get free
from its outworn and offensive formulae,--remembering how Archbishop
Tillotson wished in vain that it could be "well rid of" the Athanasian
Creed. This, and the fact that the meeting-house was nearer than the
chapel, determined him, when the new, rector, who was not quite up to
his mark in education, was appointed, to take a pew in the "liberal"
worshippers' edifice.

Elsie was very uncertain in her feeling about going to church. In
summer, she loved rather to stroll over The Mountain on Sundays. There
was even a story, that she had one of the caves before mentioned fitted
up as an oratory, and that she had her own wild way of worshipping the
God whom she sought in the dark chasms of the dreaded cliffs. Mere
fables, doubtless; but they showed the common belief, that Elsie, with
all her strange and dangerous elements of character, had yet strong
religions feeling mingled with them. The hymn-book which Dick had found,
in his midnight invasion of her chamber, opened to favorite hymns,
especially some of the Methodist and Quietist character. Many had
noticed, that certain tunes, as sung by the choir, seemed to impress her
deeply; and some said, that at such times her whole expression would
change, and her stormy look would soften so as to remind them of her
poor, sweet mother.

On the Sunday morning after the talk recorded in the last chapter, Elsie
made herself ready to go to meeting. She was dressed much as usual,
excepting that she wore a thick veil, turned aside, but ready to conceal
her features. It was natural enough that she should not wish to be
looked in the face by curious persons who would be staring to see what
effect the occurrence of the past week had had on her spirits. Her
father attended her willingly; and they took their seats in the pew,
somewhat to the surprise of many, who had hardly expected to see them,
after so humiliating a family development as the attempted crime of
their kinsman had just been furnishing for the astonishment of the

The Reverend Mr. Fairweather was now in his coldest mood. He had passed
through the period of feverish excitement which marks a change of
religious opinion. At first, when he had begun to doubt his own
theological positions, he had defended them against himself with more
ingenuity and interest, perhaps, than he could have done against
another; because men rarely take the trouble to understand anybody's
difficulties in a question but their own. After this, as he began
to draw off from different points of his old belief, the cautious
disentangling of himself from one mesh after another gave sharpness to
his intellect, and the tremulous eagerness with which he seized upon the
doctrine which, piece by piece, under various pretexts and with various
disguises, he was appropriating, gave interest and something like
passion to his words. But when he had gradually accustomed his people
to his new phraseology, and was really adjusting his sermons and his
service to disguise his thoughts, he lost at once all his intellectual
acuteness and all his spiritual fervor.

Elsie sat quietly through the first part of the service, which was
conducted in the cold, mechanical way to be expected. Her face was
bidden by her veil; but her father knew her state of feeling, as well by
her movements and attitudes as by the expression of her features. The
hymn had been sung, the short prayer offered, the Bible read, and the
long prayer was about to begin. This was the time at which the "notes"
of any who were in affliction from loss of friends, the sick who
were doubtful of recovery, those who had cause to be grateful for
preservation of life or other signal blessing, were wont to be read.

Just then it was that Dudley Venner noticed that his daughter was
trembling,--a thing so rare, so unaccountable, indeed, under the
circumstances, that he watched her closely, and began to fear that some
nervous paroxysm, or other malady, might have just begun to show itself
in this way upon her.

The minister had in his pocket two notes. One, in the handwriting of
Deacon Soper, was from a member of this congregation, returning thanks
for his preservation through a season of great peril,--supposed to
be the exposure which he had shared with others, when standing in the
circle around Dick Venner. The other was the anonymous one, in a female
hand, which he had received the evening before. He forgot them both. His
thoughts were altogether too much taken up with more important matters.
He prayed through all the frozen petitions of his expurgated form of
supplication, and not a single heart was soothed or lifted, or reminded
that its sorrows were struggling their way up to heaven, borne on the
breath from a human soul that was warm with love.

The people sat down as if relieved when the dreary prayer was finished.
Elsie alone remained standing until her father touched her. Then she sat
down, lifted her veil, and looked at him with a blank, sad look, as if
she had suffered some pain or wrong, but could not give any name or
expression to her vague trouble. She did not tremble any longer, but
remained ominously still, as if she had been frozen where she sat.

--Can a man love his own soul too well? Who, on the whole, constitute
the nobler class of human beings? those who have lived mainly to make
sure of their own personal welfare in another and future condition of
existence, or they who have worked with all their might for their race,
for their country, for the advancement of the kingdom of God, and left
all personal arrangements concerning themselves to the sole charge of
Him who made them and is responsible to Himself for their safe-keeping?
Is an anchorite, who has worn the stone floor of his cell into basins
with his knees bent in prayer, more acceptable than the soldier who
gives his life for the maintenance of any sacred right or truth, without
thinking what will specially become of him in a world where there are
two or three million colonists a month, from this one planet, to be
cared for? These are grave questions, which must suggest themselves to
those who know that there are many profoundly selfish persons who are
sincerely devout and perpetually occupied with their own future, while
there are others who are perfectly ready to sacrifice themselves for any
worthy object in this world, but are really too little occupied with
their exclusive personality to think so much as many do about what is to
become of them in another.

The Reverend Chauncy Fairweather did not, most certainly, belong to this
latter class. There are several kinds of believers, whose history we
find among the early converts to Christianity.

There was the magistrate, whose social position was such that he
preferred private interview in the evening with the Teacher to following
him with the street-crowd. He had seen extraordinary facts which had
satisfied him that the young Galilean had a divine commission. But still
he cross-questioned the Teacher himself. He was not ready to accept
statements without explanation. That was the right kind of man. See how
he stood up for the legal rights of his Master, when the people were for
laying hands on him!

And again, there was the government official, intrusted with public
money, which, in those days, implied that he was supposed to be honest.
A single look of that heavenly countenance, and two words of gentle
command, were enough for him. Neither of these men, the early disciple
nor the evangelist, seems to have been thinking primarily about his own
personal safety.

But now look at the poor, miserable turnkey, whose occupation shows
what he was like to be, and who had just been thrusting two respectable
strangers, taken from the hands of a mob, covered with stripes and
stripped of clothing, into the inner prison, and making their feet fast
in the stocks. His thought, in the moment of terror, is for himself:
first, suicide; then, what he shall do,--not to save his household,--not
to fulfil his duty to his office,--not to repair the outrage he has been
committing,--but to secure his own personal safety. Truly, character
shows itself as much in a man's way of becoming a Christian as in any

----Elsie sat, statue-like, through the sermon. It would not be fair to
the reader to give an abstract of that. When a man who has been bred to
free thought and free speech suddenly finds himself stepping about, like
a dancer amidst his eggs, among the old addled majority-votes which he
must not tread upon, he is a spectacle for men and angels. Submission to
intellectual precedent and authority does very well for those who have
been bred to it; we know that the under-ground courses of their minds
are laid in the Roman cement of tradition, and that stately and splendid
structures may be reared on such a foundation. But to see one laying a
platform over heretical quicksands, thirty or forty or fifty years deep,
and then beginning to build upon it, is a sorry sight. A new convert
from the reformed to the ancient faith may be very strong in the arms,
but he will always have weak legs and shaky knees. He may use his hands
well, and hit hard with his fists, but he will never stand on his legs
in the way the man does who inherits his belief.

The services were over at last, and Dudley Venner and his daughter
walked home together in silence. He always respected her moods, and saw
clearly enough that some inward trouble was weighing upon her. There
was nothing to be said in such cases, for Elsie could never talk of her
griefs. An hour, or a day, or a week of brooding, with perhaps a sudden
flash of violence: this was the way in which the impressions which make
other women weep, and tell their griefs by word or letter, showed their
effects in her mind and acts.

She wandered off up into the remoter parts of The Mountain, that day,
after their return. No one saw just where she went,--indeed, no one
knew its forest-recesses and rocky fastnesses as she did. She was gone
until late at night; and when Old Sophy, who had watched for her, bound
up her long hair for her sleep, it was damp with the cold dews.

The old black woman looked at her without speaking, but questioning her
with every feature as to the sorrow that was weighing on her.

Suddenly she turned to Old Sophy.

"You want to know what there is troubling me," she said. "Nobody loves
me. I cannot love anybody. What is love, Sophy?"

"It's what poor ol' Sophy's got for her Elsie," the old woman answered.
"Tell me, darlin',--don' you love somebody?--don' you love----? you
know,--oh, tell me, darlin', don' you love to see the gen'l'man
that keeps up at the school where you go? They say he's the pootiest
gen'l'man that was ever in the town here. Don' be 'fraid of poor Ol'
Sophy, darlin',--she loved a man once,--see here! Oh, I've showed you
this often enough!"

She took from her pocket a half of one of the old Spanish silver coins,
such as were current in the earlier part of this century. The other half
of it had been lying in the deep sea-sand for more than fifty years.

Elsie looked her in the face, but did not answer in words. What strange
intelligence was that which passed between them through the diamond
eyes and the little beady black ones?--what subtile intercommunication,
penetrating so much deeper than articulate speech? This was the nearest
approach to sympathetic relations that Elsie ever had: a kind of dumb
intercourse of feeling, such as one sees in the eyes of brute mothers
looking on their young. But, subtile as it was, it was narrow and
individual; whereas an emotion which can shape itself in language opens
the gate for itself into the great community of human affections; for
every word we speak is the medal of a dead thought or feeling, struck in
the die of some human experience, worn smooth by innumerable contacts,
and always transferred warm from one to another. By words we share the
common consciousness of the race, which has shaped itself in these
symbols. By music we reach those special states of consciousness
which, being without _form_, cannot be shaped with the mosaics of the
vocabulary. The language of the eyes runs deeper into the personal
nature, but it is purely individual, and perishes in the expression. If
we consider them all as growing out of the consciousness as their root,
language is the leaf, music is the flower; but when the eyes meet and
search each other, it is the uncovering of the blanched stem through
which the whole life runs, but which has never taken color or form from
the sunlight.

For three days Elsie did not return to the school. Much of the time she
was among the woods and rocks. The season was now beginning to wane, and
the forest to put on its autumnal glory. The dreamy haze was beginning
to soften the landscape, and the most delicious days of the year were
lending their attraction to the scenery of The Mountain. It was not very
singular that Elsie should be lingering in her old haunts, from which
the change of season must soon drive her. But Old Sophy saw clearly
enough that some internal conflict was going on, and knew very well that
it must have its own way and work itself out as it best could. As much
as looks could tell Elsie had told her. She had said in words, to be
sure, that she could not love. Something warped and thwarted the emotion
which would have been love in another, no doubt; but that such an
emotion was striving with her against all malign influences which
interfered with it the old woman had a perfect certainty in her own

Everybody who has observed the working of emotions in persons of various
temperaments knows well enough that they have periods of _incubation_,
which differ with the individual, and with the particular cause and
degree of excitement, yet evidently go through a strictly self-limited
series of evolutions, at the end of which, their result--an act of
violence, a paroxysm of tears, a gradual subsidence into repose, or
whatever it may be--declares itself, like the last stage of an attack of
fever and ague. No one can observe children without noticing that there
is a _personal equation_, to use the astronomer's language, in their
tempers, so that one sulks an hour over an offence which makes another a
fury for five minutes, and leaves him or her an angel when it is over.

At the end of three days, Elsie braided her long, glossy, black hair,
and shot a golden arrow through it. She dressed herself with more than
usual care, and came down in the morning superb in her stormy beauty.
The brooding paroxysm was over, or at least her passion had changed its
phase. Her father saw it with great relief; he had always many fears for
her in her hours and days of gloom, but, for reasons before assigned,
had felt that she must be trusted to herself, without appealing to
actual restraint, or any other supervision than such as Old Sophy could
exercise without offence.

She went off at the accustomed hour to the school. All the girls had
their eyes on her. None so keen as these young misses to know an inward
movement by an outward sign of adornment: if they have not as many
signals as the ships that sail the great seas, there is not an end of
ribbon or a turn of a ringlet which is not a hieroglyphic with a hidden
meaning to these little cruisers over the ocean of sentiment.

The girls all looked at Elsie with a new thought; for she was more
sumptuously arrayed than perhaps ever before at the school; and they
said to themselves that she had come meaning to draw the young master's
eyes upon her. That was it; what else could it be? The beautiful, cold
girl with the diamond eyes meant to dazzle the handsome young gentleman.
He would be afraid to love her; it couldn't be true, that which some
people had said in the village; she wasn't the kind of young lady to
make Mr. Langdon happy. Those dark people are never safe: so one of the
young blondes said to herself. Elsie was not literary enough for such
a scholar: so thought Miss Charlotte Ann Wood, the young poetess. She
couldn't have a good temper, with those scowling eyebrows: this was the
opinion of several broad-faced, smiling girls, who thought, each in her
own snug little mental _sanctum_, that, if, etc., etc. she could make
him _so_ happy!

Elsie had none of the still, wicked light in her eyes, that morning.
She looked gentle, but dreamy; played with her books; did not trouble
herself with any of the exercises,--which in itself was not very
remarkable, as she was always allowed, under some pretext or other, to
have her own way.

The school-hours were over at length. The girls went out, but she
lingered to the last. She then came up to Mr. Bernard, with a book in
her hand, as if to ask a question.

"Will you walk towards my home with me to-day?" she said, in a very low
voice, little more than a whisper.

Mr. Bernard was startled by the request, put in such a way. He had a
presentiment of some painful scene or other. But there was nothing to be
done but to assure her that it would give him great pleasure.

So they walked along together on their way toward the Dudley mansion.

"I have no friend," Elsie said, all at once. "Nothing loves me but one
old woman. I cannot love anybody. They tell me there is something in my
eyes that draws people to me and makes them faint. Look into them, will

She turned her face toward him. It was very pale, and the diamond eyes
were glittering with a film, such as beneath other lids would have
rounded into a tear.

"Beautiful eyes, Elsie," he said,--"sometimes very piercing,--but soft
now, and looking as if there were something beneath them that friendship
might draw out. I am your friend, Elsie. Tell me what I can do to render
your life happier."

"_Love me!_" said Elsie Venner.

What shall a man do, when a woman makes such a demand, involving such
an avowal? It was the tenderest, cruellest, humblest moment of Mr.
Bernard's life. He turned pale, he trembled almost, as if he had been a
woman listening to her lover's declaration.

"Elsie," he said, presently, "I so long to be of some use to you, to
have your confidence and sympathy, that I must not let you say or do
anything to put us in false relations. I do love you, Elsie, as a
suffering sister with sorrows of her own,--as one whom I would save at
the risk of my happiness and life,--as one who needs a true friend more
than any of all the young girls I have known. More than this you would
not ask me to say. You have been through excitement and trouble lately,
and it has made you feel such a need more than ever. Give me your hand,
dear Elsie, and trust me that I will be as true a friend to you as if we
were children of the same mother."

Elsie gave him her hand mechanically. It seemed to him that a cold
_aura_ shot from it along his arm and chilled the blood running through
his heart. He pressed it gently, looked at her with a face full of grave
kindness and sad interest, then softly relinquished it.

It was all over with poor Elsie. They walked almost in silence the rest
of the way. Mr. Bernard left her at the gate of the mansion-house, and
returned with sad forebodings. Elsie went at once to her own room, and
did not come from it at the usual hours. At last Old Sophy began to
be alarmed about her, went to her apartment, and, finding the door
unlocked, entered cautiously. She found Elsie lying on her bed, her
brows strongly contracted, her eyes dull, her whole look that of great
suffering. Her first thought was that she had been doing herself a harm
by some deadly means or other. But Elsie saw her fear, and reassured

"No," she said, "there is nothing wrong, such as you are thinking of; I
am not dying. You may send for the Doctor; perhaps he can take the pain
from my head. That is all I want him to do. There is no use in the pain,
that I know of; if he can stop it, let him."

So they sent for the old Doctor. It was not long before the solid trot
of Caustic, the old bay horse, and the crashing of the gravel under the
wheels, gave notice that the physician was driving up the avenue.

The old Doctor was a model for visiting practitioners. He always
came into the sick-room with a quiet, cheerful look, as if he had a
consciousness that he was bringing some sure relief with him. The way a
patient snatches his first look at his doctor's face, to see whether
he is doomed, whether he is reprieved, whether he is unconditionally
pardoned, has really something terrible about it. It is only to be
met by an imperturbable mask of serenity, proof against anything and
everything in a patient's aspect. The physician whose face reflects his
patient's condition like a mirror may do well enough to examine people
for a life-insurance office, but does not belong to the sick-room. The
old Doctor did not keep people waiting in dread suspense, while he
stayed talking about the case,--the patient all the time thinking that
he and the friends are discussing some alarming symptom or formidable
operation which he himself is by-and-by to hear of.

He was in Elsie's room almost before she knew he was in the house. He
came to her bedside in such a natural, quiet way, that it seemed as if
he were only a friend who had dropped in for a moment to say a pleasant
word. Yet he was very uneasy about Elsie until he had seen her; he never
knew what might happen to her or those about her, and came prepared for
the worst.

"Sick, my child?" he said, in a very soft, low voice.

Elsie nodded, without speaking.

The Doctor took her hand,--whether with professional views, or only in a
friendly way, it would have been hard to tell. So he sat a few minutes,
looking at her all the time with a kind of fatherly interest, but with
it all noting how she lay, how she breathed, her color, her expression,
all that teaches the practised eye so much without a single question
being asked. He saw she was in suffering, and said presently,--

"You have pain somewhere; where is it?"

She put her hand to her head.

As she was not disposed to talk, he watched her for a while, questioned
Old Sophy shrewdly a few minutes, and so made up his mind as to the
probable cause of disturbance and the proper means to be used.

Some very silly people thought the old Doctor did not believe in
medicine, because he gave less than certain poor half-taught creatures
in the smaller neighboring towns, who took advantage of people's
sickness to disgust and disturb them with all manner of ill-smelling
and ill-behaving drugs. To tell the truth, he hated to give any thing
noxious or loathsome to those who were uncomfortable enough already,
unless he was very sure it would do good,--in which case, he never
played with drugs, but gave good, honest, efficient doses. Sometimes he
lost a family of the more boorish sort, because they did not think they
got their money's worth out of him, unless they had something more than
a taste of everything he carried in his saddle-bags.

He ordered some remedies which he thought would relieve Elsie, and left
her, saying he would call the next day, hoping to find her better.
But the next day came, and the next, and still Elsie was on her
bed,--feverish, restless, wakeful, silent. At night she tossed about
and wandered, and it became at length apparent that there was a settled
attack, something like what they called formerly a "nervous fever."

On the fourth day she was more restless than common. One of the women
of the house came in to help to take care of her; but she showed an
aversion to her presence.

"Send me Helen Darley," she said at last.

The old Doctor told them, that, if possible, they must indulge this
fancy of hers. The caprices of sick people were never to be despised,
least of all of such persons as Elsie, when rendered irritable and
exacting by pain and weakness.

So a message was sent to Mr. Silas Peckham, at the Apollinean Institute,
to know if he could not spare Miss Helen Darley for a few days, if
required to give her attention to a young lady who attended his school
and who was now lying ill,--no other person than the daughter of Dudley

A mean man never agrees to anything without deliberately turning it
over, so that he may see its dirty side, and, if he can, sweating the
coin he pays for it. If an archangel should offer to save his soul for
sixpence, he would try to find a sixpence with a hole in it. A gentleman
says yes to a great many things without stopping to think: a shabby
fellow is known by his caution in answering questions, for fear of
compromising his pocket or himself.

Mr. Silas Peckham looked very grave at the request. The dooties of Miss
Darley at the Institoot were important, very important. He paid her
large sums of money for her time,--more than she could expect to get in
any other institootion for the education of female youth. A deduction
from her salary would be necessary, in case she should retire from the
sphere of her dooties for a season. He should be put to extra expense,
and have to perform additional labors himself. He would consider of the
matter. If any arrangement could be made, he would send word to Squire
Venner's folks.

"Miss Darley," said Silas Peckham, "the' 's a message from Squire
Venner's that his daughter wants you down at the mansion-house to see
her. She's got a fever, so they inform me. If it's any kind of ketchin'
fever, of course you won't think of goin' near the mansion-house. If
Doctor Kittredge says it's safe, perfec'ly safe, I can't objec' to your
goin', on sech conditions as seem to be fair to all concerned. You will
give up your pay for the whole time you are absent,--portions of days to
be caounted as whole days. You will be charged with board the same as
if you eat your victuals with the household. The victuals are of no use
after they're cooked but to be eat, and your bein' away is no savin' to
our folks. I shall charge you a reasonable compensation for the demage
to the school by the absence of a teacher. If Miss Crabs undertakes any
dooties belongin' to your department of instruction, she will look to
you for sech pecooniary considerations as you may agree upon between
you. On these conditions I am willin' to give my consent to your
temporary absence from the post of dooty. I will step down to Doctor
Kittredge's, myself, and make inquiries as to the nature of the

Mr. Peckham took up a rusty and very narrow-brimmed hat, which he cocked
upon one side of his head, with an air peculiar to the rural gentry. It
was the hour when the Doctor expected to be in his office, unless he had
some special call which kept him from home.

He found the Reverend Chauncy Fairweather just taking leave of the
Doctor. His hand was on the pit of his stomach, and his countenance
expressive of inward uneasiness.

"Shake it before using," said the Doctor; "and the sooner you make up
your mind to speak right out, the better it will be for your digestion."

"Oh, Mr. Peckham! Walk in, Mr. Peckham! Nobody sick up at the school, I

"The haalth of the school is fust-rate," replied Mr. Peckham. "The
sitooation is uncommonly favorable to saloobrity." (These last words
were from the Annual Report of the past year.) "Providence has spared
our female youth in a remarkable measure, I've come with reference to
another consideration. Dr. Kittredge. is there any ketchin' complaint
goin' about in the village?"

"Well, yes," said the Doctor, "I should say there was something of that
sort. Measles. Mumps. And Sin,--that's always catching."

The old Doctor's eye twinkled; once in a while he had his little touch
of humor. Silas Peckham slanted his eye up suspiciously at the Doctor,
as if he was getting some kind of advantage over him. That is the way
people of his constitution are apt to take a bit of pleasantry.

"I don't mean sech things, Doctor; I mean fevers. Is there any ketchin'
fevers--bilious, or nervous, or typus, or whatever you call 'em--now
goin' round this village? That's what I want to ascertain, if there's no

The old Doctor looked at Silas through his spectacles.

"Hard and sour as a green cider-apple," he thought to himself. "No," he
said,--"I don't know any such cases."

"What's the matter with Elsie Venner?" asked Silas, sharply, as if he
expected to have him this time.

"A mild feverish attack, I should call it in anybody else; but she has
a peculiar constitution, and I never feel so safe about her as I should
about most people."

"Anything ketchin' about it?" Silas asked, cunningly.

"No, indeed!" said the Doctor,--"catching?--no,--what put that into
your head, Mr. Peckham?"

"Well, Doctor," the conscientious Principal answered, "I naterally
feel a graat responsibility, a very graiiiit responsibility, for the
noomerous and lovely young ladies committed to my charge. It has been a
question, whether one of my assistants should go, accordin' to request,
to stop with Miss Venner for a season. Nothin' restrains my givin' my
full and free consent to her goin' but the fear lest contagious maladies
should be introdooced among those lovely female youth. I shall abide by
your opinion,--I understan' you to say distinc'ly, her complaint is
not ketchin'?--and urge upon Miss Darley to fulfil her dooties to a
sufferin' fellow-creature at any cost to myself and my establishment. We
shall miss her very much; but it is a good cause, and she shall go,--and
I shall trust that Providence will enable us to spare her without
permanent demage to the interests of the Institootion."

Saying this, the excellent Principal departed, with his rusty
narrow-brimmed hat leaning over, as if it had a six-knot breeze abeam,
and its gunwale (so to speak) was dipping into his coat-collar. He
announced the result of his inquiries to Helen, who had received a brief
note in the mean time from a poor relation of Elsie's mother, then at
the mansion-house, informing her of the critical situation of Elsie
and of her urgent desire that Helen should be with her. She could not
hesitate. She blushed as she thought of the comments that might be made;
but what were such considerations in a matter of life and death? She
could not stop to make terms with Silas Peckham. She must go. He might
fleece her, if he would; she would not complain,--not even to Bernard,
who, she knew, would bring the Principal to terms, if she gave him the
least hint of his intended extortions.

So Helen made up her bundle of clothes to be sent after her, took a book
or two with her to help her pass the time, and departed for the Dudley
mansion. It was with a great inward effort that she undertook the
sisterly task which was thus forced upon her. She had a kind of terror
of Elsie; and the thought of having charge of her, of being alone with
her, of coming under the full influence of those diamond eyes,--if,
indeed, their light were not dimmed by suffering and weariness,--was one
she shrank from. But what could she do? It might be a turning-point in
the life of the poor girl; and she must overcome all her fears, all her
repugnance, and go to her rescue.

"Is Helen come?" said Elsie, when she heard, with her fine sense
quickened by the irritability of sickness, a light footfall on the
stair, with a cadence unlike that of any inmate of the house.

"It's a strange woman's step," said Old Sophy, who, with her exclusive
love for Elsie, was naturally disposed to jealousy of a new-comer. "Lot
Ol' Sophy set at th' foot o' th' bed, if th' young missis sets by th'
piller,--won' y', darlin'? The' 's nobody that's white can love y' as
th' ol' black woman does;--don' sen' her away, now, there's a dear

Elsie motioned her to sit in the place she had pointed to, and Helen at
that moment entered the room. Dudley Venner followed her.

"She is your patient," he said, "except while the Doctor is here. She
has been longing to have you with her, and we shall expect you to make
her well in a few days."

So Helen Darley found herself established in the most unexpected manner
as an inmate of the Dudley mansion. She sat with Elsie most of the
time, by day and by night, soothing her, and trying to enter into her
confidence and affections, if it should prove that this strange creature
was really capable of truly sympathetic emotions.

What was this unexplained something which came between her soul and
that of every other human being with whom she was in relations? Helen
perceived, or rather felt, that she had, folded up in the depths of
her being, a true womanly nature. Through the cloud that darkened her
aspect, now and then a ray would steal forth, which, like the smile of
stern and solemn people, was all the more impressive from its contrast
with the expression she wore habitually. It might well be that pain and
fatigue had changed her aspect; but, at any rate, Helen looked into
her eyes without that nervous agitation which their cold glitter had
produced on her when they were full of their natural light. She felt
sure that her mother must have been a lovely, gentle woman. There were
gleams of a beautiful nature shining through some ill-defined medium
which disturbed and made them flicker and waver, as distant images do
when seen through the rippling upward currents of heated air. She loved,
in her own way, the old black woman, and seemed to keep up a kind of
silent communication with her, as if they did not require the use of
speech. She appeared to be tranquillized by the presence of Helen, and
loved to have her seated at the bedside. Yet something, whatever it was,
prevented her from opening her heart to her kind companion; and even now
there were times when she would lie looking at her, with such a still,
watchful, almost dangerous expression, that Helen would sigh, and change
her place, as persons do whose breath some cunning orator has been
sucking out of them with his spongy eloquence, so that, when he stops,
they must get some air and stir about, or they feel as if they should be
half-smothered and palsied.

It was too much to keep guessing what was the meaning of all this. Helen
determined to ask Old Sophy some questions which might probably throw
light upon her doubts. She took the opportunity one evening when Elsie
was lying asleep and they were both sitting at some distance from her

"Tell me, Sophy," she said, "was Elsie always as shy as she seems to be
now, in talking with those to whom she is friendly?"

"Alway jes' so, Miss Darlin', ever sence she was little chil'. When she
was five, six year old, she lisp some,--call me _Thophy_; that make her
kin' o' 'shamed, perhaps: after she grow up, she never lisp, but she
kin' o' got the way o' not talkin' much. Fac' is, she don' like talkin'
as common gals do, 'xcep' jes' once in a while with some partic'lar
folks,--'n' then not much."

"How old is Elsie?"

"Eighteen year this las' September."

"How long ago did her mother die?" Helen asked, with a little trembling
in her voice.

"Eighteen year ago this October," said Old Sophy.

Helen was silent for a moment. Then she whispered, almost
inaudibly,--for her voice appeared to fail her,--

"What did her mother die of, Sophy?"

The old woman's small eyes dilated until a ring of white showed round
their beady centres. She caught Helen by the hand and clung to it, as if
in fear. She looked round at Elsie, who lay sleeping, as if she might be
listening. Then she drew Helen towards her and led her softly out of the

"'Sh!--'sh!" she said, as soon as they were outside the door. "Don'
never speak in this house 'bout what Elsie's mother died of!" she said.
"Nobody never says nothin' 'bout it. Oh, God has made Ugly Things wi'
death in their mouths, Miss Darlin', an' He knows what they're for; but
my poor Elsie!--to have her blood changed in her before--It was in July
Mistress got her death, but she liv' till three week after my poor Elsie
was born."

She could speak no more. She had said enough. Helen remembered the
stories she had heard on coming to the village, and among them one
referred to in an early chapter of this narrative. All the unaccountable
looks and tastes and ways of Elsie came back to her in the light of an
ante-natal impression which had mingled an alien element in her nature.
She knew the secret of the fascination which looked out of her cold,
glittering eyes. She knew the significance of the strange repulsion
which--she felt in her own intimate consciousness underlying the
inexplicable attraction which drew her towards the young girl in
spite of this repugnance. She began to look with new feelings on the
contradictions in her moral nature,--the longing for sympathy, as shown
by her wishing for Helen's company, and the impossibility of passing
beyond the cold circle of isolation within which she had her being.
The fearful truth of that instinctive feeling of hers, that there was
something not human looking out of Elsie's eyes, came upon her with
a sudden flash of penetrating conviction. There were two warring
principles in that superb organization and proud soul. One made her a
woman, with all a woman's powers and longings. The other chilled all the
currents of outlet for her emotions. It made her tearless and mute, when
another woman would have wept and pleaded. And it infused into her soul
something--it was cruel now to call it malice--which was still and
watchful and dangerous,--which waited its opportunity, and then shot
like an arrow from its bow out of the coil of brooding premeditation.
Even those who had never seen the white scars on Dick Venner's wrist,
or heard the half-told story of her supposed attempt to do a graver
mischief, knew well enough by looking at her that she was one of the
creatures not to be tampered with,--silent in anger and swift in

Helen could not return to the bedside at once after this communication.
It was with altered eyes that she must look on the poor girl, the victim
of such an unheard-of fatality. All was explained to her now. But it
opened such depths of solemn thought in her awakened consciousness, that
it seemed as if the whole mystery of human life were coming up again
before her for trial and judgment. "Oh," she thought, "if, while the
will lies sealed in its fountain, it may be poisoned at its very source,
so that it shall flow dark and deadly through its whole course, who are
we that we should judge our fellow-creatures by ourselves?" Then came
the terrible question, how far the elements themselves are capable of
perverting the moral nature: if valor, and justice, and truth, the
strength of man and the virtue of woman, may not be poisoned out of a
race by the food of the Australian in his forest,--by the foul air and
darkness of the Christians cooped up in the "tenement-houses close by
those who live in the palaces of the great cities?"

She walked out into the garden, lost in thought upon these dark and deep
matters. Presently she heard a step behind her, and Elsie's father came
up and joined her. Since his introduction to Helen at the distinguished
tea-party given by the Widow Rowens, and before her coming to sit with
Elsie, Mr. Dudley Venner had in the most accidental way in the world met
her on several occasions: once after church, when she happened to be
caught in a slight shower and he insisted on holding his umbrella
over her on her way home;--once at a small party at one of the
mansion-houses, where the quick-eyed lady of the house had a wonderful
knack of bringing people together who liked to see each other;--perhaps
at other times and places; but of this there is no certain evidence.

They naturally spoke of Elsie, her illness, and the aspect it had taken.
But Helen noticed in all that Dudley Venner said about his daughter a
morbid sensitiveness, as it seemed to her, an aversion to saying much
about her physical condition or her peculiarities,--a wish to feel
and speak as a parent should, and yet a shrinking, as if there were
something about Elsie which he could not bear to dwell upon. She thought
she saw through all this, and she could interpret it all charitably.
There were circumstances about his daughter which recalled the great
sorrow of his life; it was not strange that this perpetual reminder
should in some degree have modified his feelings as a father. But what
a life he must have been leading for so many years, with this perpetual
source of distress which he could not name! Helen knew well enough, now,
the meaning of the sadness which had left such traces in his features
and tones, and it made her feel very kindly and compassionate towards

So they walked over the crackling leaves in the garden, between the
lines of box breathing its fragrance of eternity;--for this is one of
the odors which carry us out of time into the abysses of the unbeginning
past; if we ever lived on another ball of stone than this, it must be
that there was box growing on it. So they walked, finding their way
softly to each other's sorrows and sympathies, each meeting some
counterpart to the other's experience of life, and startled to see how
the different, yet parallel, lessons they had been taught by suffering
had led them step by step to the same serene acquiescence in the
orderings of that Supreme Wisdom which they both devoutly recognized.

Old Sophy was at the window and saw them walking up and down the
garden-alleys. She watched them as her grandfather the savage watched
the figures that moved among the trees when a hostile tribe was lurking
about his mountain.

"There'll be a weddin' in the ol' house," she said, "before there's
roses on them bushes ag'in. But it won' be my poor Elsie's weddin', 'n'
Ol' Sophy won' be there."

When Helen prayed in the silence of her soul that evening, it was not
that Elsie's life might be spared. She dared not ask that as a favor of
Heaven. What could life be to her but a perpetual anguish, and to those
about her an ever-present terror? Might she but be so influenced by
divine grace, that what in her was most truly human, most purely
woman-like, should overcome the dark, cold, unmentionable instinct which
had pervaded her being like a subtile poison: that was all she could
ask, and the rest she left to a higher wisdom and tenderer love than her

* * * * *


So your zeal for physical training begins to wane a little, my friend? I
thought it would, in your particular case, because it began too ardently
and was concentrated too exclusively on your one hobby of pedestrianism.
Just now you are literally under the weather. It is the equinoctial
storm. No matter, you say; did not Olmsted foot it over England under
an umbrella? did not Wordsworth regularly walk every guest round
Windermere, the day after arrival, rain or shine? So, the day before
yesterday, you did your four miles out, on the Northern turnpike, and
returned splashed to the waist; and yesterday you walked three miles
out, on the Southern turnpike, and came back soaked to the knees. To-day
the storm is slightly increasing, but you are dry thus far, and wish to
remain so; exercise is a humbug; you will give it all up, and go to the
Chess-Club. Don't go to the Chess-Club; come with me to the Gymnasium.

Chess may be all very well to tax with tough problems a brain otherwise
inert, to vary a monotonous day with small events, to keep one awake
during a sleepy evening, and to arouse a whole family next morning
for the adjustment over the breakfast-table of that momentous
state-question, whether the red king should have castled at the fiftieth
move or not till the fifty-first. But for an average American man, who
leaves his place of business at nightfall with his head a mere furnace
of red-hot brains and his body a pile of burnt-out cinders, utterly
exhausted in the daily effort to put ten dollars more of distance
between his posterity and the poor-house,--for such a one to kindle up
afresh after office-hours for a complicated chess-problem seems much as
if a wood-sawyer, worn out with his week's work, should decide to order
in his saw-horse on Saturday evening, and saw for fun. Surely we have
little enough recreation at any rate, and, pray, let us make that little
un-intellectual. True, something can be said in favor of chess--for
instance, that no money can be made out of it, and that it is so far
profitable to us overworked Americans: but even this is not enough. For
this once, lock your brains into your safe, at nightfall, with your
other valuables; don't go to the Chess-Club; come with me to the

Ten leaps up a steep, worn-out stairway, through a blind entry to
another stairway, and yet another, and we emerge suddenly upon the floor
of a large lighted room, a mere human machine-shop of busy motion, where
Indian clubs are whirling, dumb-bells pounding, swings vibrating, and
arms and legs flying in all manner of unexpected directions. Henderson
sits with his big proportions quietly rested against the weight-boxes,
pulling with monotonous vigor at the fifty-pound weights,--"the
Stationary Engine" the boys call him. For a contrast, Draper is floating
up and down between the parallel bars with such an airy lightness, that
you think he must have hung up his body in the dressing-room, and is
exercising only in his arms and clothes. Parsons is swinging in the
rings, rising to the ceiling before and behind; up and down he goes,
whirling over and over, converting himself into a mere tumbler-pigeon,
yet still bound by the long, steady vibration of the human pendulum.
Another is running a race with him, if sitting in the swing be running;
and still another is accompanying their motion, clinging to the
_trapeze_. Hayes, meanwhile, is spinning on the horizontal bar, now
backward, now forward, twenty times without stopping, pinioned through
his bent arms, like a Fakir on his iron. See how many different ways
of ascending a vertical pole these boys are devising!--one climbs with
hands and legs, another with hands only, another is crawling up on
all-fours in Feegee fashion, while another is pegging his way up by
inserting pegs in holes a foot apart,--you will see him sway and
tremble a bit, before he reaches the ceiling. Others are at work with a
spring-board and leaping-cord; higher and higher the cord is moved, one
by one the competitors step aside defeated, till the field is left to a
single champion, who, like an India-rubber ball, goes on rebounding till
he seems likely to disappear through the chimney, like a Ravel. Some
sturdy young visitors, farmers by their looks, are trying their
strength, with various success, at the sixty-pound dumb-bell, when some
quiet fellow, a clerk or a tailor, walks modestly to the hundred-pound
weight, and up it goes as steadily as if the laws of gravitation had
suddenly shifted their course, and worked upward instead of down. Lest,
however, they should suddenly resume their original bias, let us cross
to the dressing-room, and, while you are assuming flannel shirt or
complete gymnastic suit, as you may prefer, let us consider the merits
of the Gymnasium.

Do not say that the public is growing tired of hearing about physical
training. You might as well speak of being surfeited with the sight of
apple-blossoms, or bored with roses,--for these athletic exercises are,
to a healthy person, just as good and refreshing. Of course, any one
becomes insupportable who talks all the time of this subject, or of any
other; but it is the man who fatigues you, not the theme. Any person
becomes morbid and tedious whose whole existence is absorbed in any
one thing, be it playing or praying. Queen Elizabeth, after admiring a
gentleman's dancing, refused to look at the dancing-master, who did it
better. "Nay," quoth her bluff Majesty,--"'tis his business,--I'll none
of him." Professionals grow tiresome. Books are good,--so is a boat;
but a librarian and a ferryman, though useful to take you where you
wish to go, are not necessarily enlivening as companions. The annals
of "Boxiana" and "Pedestriana" and "The Cricket-Field" are as pathetic
records of monomania as the bibliographical works of Mr. Thomas Dibdin.
Margaret Fuller said truly, that we all delight in gossip, and differ
only in the department of gossip we individually prefer; but a monotony
of gossip soon grows tedious, be the theme horses or octavos.

Not one-tenth part of the requisite amount has yet been said of athletic
exercises as a prescription for this community. There was a time when
they were not even practised generally among American boys, if we may
trust the foreign travellers of a half-century ago, and they are but
just being raised into respectability among American men. Motley says
of one of his Flemish heroes, that "he would as soon have foregone his
daily tennis as his religious exercises,"--as if ball-playing were then
the necessary pivot of a great man's day. Some such pivot of physical
enjoyment we must have, for no other race in the world needs it so
much. Through the immense inventive capacity of our people, mechanical
avocations are becoming almost as sedentary and intellectual as the
professions. Among Americans, all hand-work is constantly being
transmuted into brain-work; the intellect gains, but the body suffers,
and needs some other form of physical activity to restore the
equilibrium. As machinery becomes perfected, all the coarser tasks are
constantly being handed over to the German or Irish immigrant,--not
because the American cannot do the particular thing required, but
because he is promoted to something more intellectual. Thus transformed
to a mental laborer, he must somehow supply the bodily deficiency. If
this is true of this class, it is of course true of the student, the
statesman, and the professional man. The general statement recently made
by Lewes, in England, certainly holds not less in America:--"It is rare
to meet with good digestion among the artisans of the brain, no matter
how careful they may be in food and general habits." The great majority
of our literary and professional men could echo the testimony of
Washington Irving, if they would only indorse his wise conclusion:--"My
own case is a proof how one really loses by over-writing one's self
and keeping too intent upon a sedentary occupation. I attribute all my
present indisposition, which is losing me time, spirits, everything, to
two fits of close application and neglect of all exercise while I was at
Paris. I am convinced that he who devotes two hours each day to vigorous
exercise will eventually gain those two and a couple more into the

Indeed, there is something involved in the matter far beyond any merely
physical necessity. All our natures need something more than mere bodily
exertion; they need bodily enjoyment. There is, or ought to be, in all
of us a touch of untamed gypsy nature, which should be trained, not
crushed. We need, in the very midst of civilization, something which
gives a little of the zest of savage life; and athletic exercises
furnish the means. The young man who is caught down the bay in a sudden
storm, alone in his boat, with wind and tide against him, has all the
sensations of a Norway sea-king,--sensations thoroughly uncomfortable,
if you please, but for the thrill and glow they bring. Swim out after a
storm at Dove Harbor, topping the low crests, diving through the high
ones, and you feel yourself as veritable a South-Sea Islander as if you
were to dine that day on missionary instead of mutton. Tramp, for a
whole day, across hill, marsh, and pasture, with gun, rod, or whatever
the excuse may be, and camp where you find yourself at evening, and
you are as essentially an Indian on the Blue Hills as among the Rocky
Mountains. Less depends upon circumstances than we fancy, and more upon
our personal temperament and will. All the enjoyments of Browning's
"Saul," those "wild joys of living" which make us happy with their
freshness as we read of them, are within the reach of all, and make us
happier still when enacted. Every one, in proportion as he develops his
own physical resources, puts himself in harmony with the universe, and
contributes something to it; even as Mr. Pecksniff, exulting in his
digestive machinery, felt a pious delight after dinner in the thought
that this wonderful apparatus was wound up and going.

A young person can no more have too much love of adventure than a mill
can have too much water-power; only it needs to be worked, not wasted.
Physical exercises give to energy and daring a legitimate channel,
supply the place of war, gambling, licentiousness, highway-robbery, and
office-seeking. De Quincey, in like manner, says that Wordsworth made
pedestrianism a substitute for wine and spirits; and Emerson thinks the
force of rude periods "can rarely be compensated in tranquil times,
except by some analogous vigor drawn from occupations as hardy as war."
The animal energy cannot and ought not to be suppressed; if debarred
from its natural channel, it will force for itself unnatural ones. A
vigorous life of the senses not only does not tend to sensuality in the
objectionable sense, but it helps to avert it. Health finds joy in mere
existence; daily breath and daily bread suffice. This innocent enjoyment
lost, the normal desires seek abnormal satisfactions. The most brutal
prize-fighter is compelled to recognize the connection between purity
and vigor, and becomes virtuous when he goes into training, as the
heroes of old observed chastity, in hopes of conquering at the Olympic
Games. The very word _ascetic_ comes from a Greek word signifying the
preparatory exercises of an athlete. There are spiritual diseases which
coil poisonously among distorted instincts and disordered nerves, and
one would be generally safer in standing sponsor for the soul of the
gymnast than of the dyspeptic.

Of course, the demand of our nature is not always for continuous
exertion. One does not always seek that "rough exercise" which Sir John
Sinclair asserts to be "the darling idol of the English." There are
delicious languors, Neapolitan reposes, Creole siestas, "long days and
solid banks of flowers." But it is the birthright of the man of the
temperate zones to alternate these voluptuous delights with more heroic
ones, and sweeten the reverie by the toil. So far as they go, the
enjoyments of the healthy body are as innocent and as ardent as those of
the soul. As there is no ground of comparison, so there is no ground of
antagonism. How compare a sonata and a sea-bath or measure the Sistine
Madonna against a gallop across country? The best thanksgiving for each
is to enjoy the other also, and educate the mind to ampler nobleness.
After all, the best verdict on athletic exercises was that of the great
Sully, when he said, "I was always of the same opinion with Henry
IV. concerning them: he often asserted that they were the most solid
foundation, not only of discipline and other military virtues, but also
of those noble sentiments and that elevation of mind which give one
nature superiority over another."

We are now ready, perhaps, to come to the question, How are these
athletic enjoyments to be obtained? The first and easiest answer is, By
taking a long walk every day. If people would actually do this, instead
of forever talking about doing it, the object might be gained. To be
sure, there are various defects in this form of exercise. It is not a
play, to begin with, and therefore does not withdraw the mind from its
daily cares; the anxious man recurs to his problems on the way; and each
mile, in that case, brings fresh weariness to brain as well as body.
Moreover, there are, according to Dr. Grau, "three distinct groups
of muscles which are almost totally neglected where walking alone is
resorted to, and which consequently exist only in a crippled state,
although they are of the utmost importance, and each stands in close
_rapport_ with a number of other functions of the greatest necessity to
health and life." These he afterwards classifies as the muscles of the
shoulders and chest, having a bearing on the lungs,--the abdominal
muscles, bearing on the corresponding organs,--and the spinal muscles,
which are closely connected with the whole nervous system.

But the greatest practical difficulty is, that walking, being the least
concentrated form of exercise, requires a larger appropriation of
time than most persons are willing to give. Taken liberally, and in
connection with exercises which are more concentrated and have more play
about them, it is of great value, and, indeed, indispensable. But so
far as I have seen, instead of these other pursuits taking the place of
pedestrianism, they commonly create a taste for it; so that, when the
sweet spring-days come round, you will see our afternoon gymnastic class
begin to scatter literally to the four winds; or they look in for a
moment, on their way home from the woods, their hands filled and scented
with long wreaths of the trailing arbutus.

But the gymnasium is the normal type of all muscular exercise,--the only
form of it which is impartial and comprehensive, which has something for
everybody, which is available at all seasons, through all weathers,
in all latitudes. All other provisions are limited: you cannot row
in winter nor skate in summer, spite of parlor-skates and ice-boats;
ball-playing requires comrades; riding takes money; everything needs
daylight: but the gymnasium is always accessible. Then it is the only
thing which trains the whole body. Military drill makes one prompt,
patient, erect, accurate, still, strong. Rowing takes one set of muscles

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