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Gala-Days by Gail Hamilton

Part 2 out of 6

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We laughed, and followed, well content. But after he had gone
perhaps an eighth of a mile, his speed slackened down to the
former jog-trot. Three times we attempted to pass before we
really comprehended the fact that that infamous woman was
deliberately detaining and annoying us. The third time, when
we had so nearly passed them that our horse was turning into
the road again, she struck hers up so suddenly and unexpectedly
that her wheels almost grazed ours. Of course, understanding
her game, we ceased the attempt, having no taste for
horse-racing; and nearly all the way from Newburyport to
Rowley, she kept up that brigandry, jogging on, and forcing
us to jog on, neither going ahead herself nor suffering us to
do so,--a perfect and most provoking dog in a manger. Her
girl-associate would look behind every now and then to take
observations, and I mentally hoped that the frisky Bucephalus
would frisk his mistress out of the cart and break her ne--
arm, or at least put her shoulder out of joint. If he did,
I had fully determined in my own mind to hasten to her
assistance, and shame her to death with delicate and assiduous
kindness. But fate lingered like all the rest of us. She
reached Rowley in safety, and there our roads separated.
Whether she stopped there, or drove into Ethiopian wastes
beyond, I cannot say; but have no doubt that the milk which she
carried into Newburyport to market was blue, the butter frowy,
and the potatoes exceedingly small.

Now do you mean to tell me that any man would have been guilty
of such a thing? I don't mean, would have committed such
discourtesy to a woman? Of course not; but would a man ever
do it to a man? Never. He might try it once or twice, just
for fun, just to show off his horse, but he never would have
persisted in it till a joke became an insult, not to say a
possible injury.

Still, as I was about to say, when that Rowley jade interrupted
me, though I have small faith in Di-Vernonism generally, and
no large faith in my own personal prowess, I did feel myself
equal to the task of holding the reins while our Rosinante
walked along an open road to a pump. I therefore resented
Halicarnassus's contemptuous tones, mounted the wagon with as
much dignity as wagons allow, sat straight as an arrow on the
driver's seat, took the reins in both hands,--as they used to
tell me I must not, when I was a little girl, because that was
women's way, but I find now that men have adopted it, so I
suppose it is all right,--and proceeded to show, like Sam
Patch, that some things can be done as well as others.
Halicarnassus and the Anakim took up their position in line
on the other side of the road, hat in hand, watching.

"Go fast, and shame them," whispered Grande, from the
back-seat, and the suggestion jumped with my own mood.
It was a moment of intense excitement. To be or not to
be. I jerked the lines. Pegasus did not start.

"C-l-k-l-k!" No forward movement.

"Huddup!" Still waiting for reinforcements.

"H-w-e." (Attempt at a whistle. Dead failure.)

(Sotto voce.) "O you beast!" (Pianiassimo.) "Gee! Haw! haw!
haw!" with a terrible jerking of the reins.

A voice over the way, distinctly audible, utters the cabalistic
words, "Two forty." Another voice, as audible, asks, "Which'll
you bet on?" It was not soothing. It did seem as if the imp
of the perverse had taken possession of that terrible nag to
go and make such a display at such a moment. But as his will
rose, so did mine, and my will went up, my whip went with it;
but before it came down, Halicarnassus made shift to drone out,
"Wouldn't Flora go faster, if she was untied?"

To be sure, I had forgotten to unfasten him, and there those
two men had stood and known it all the time! I was in the
wagon, so they were secure from personal violence, but I have
a vague impression of some "pet names" flying wildly about in
the air in that vicinity. Then we trundled safely down the
lane. We were to go in the direction leading away from home,--
the horse's. I don't think he perceived it at first, but as
soon he did snuff the fact, which happened when he had gone
perhaps three rods, he quietly turned around and headed the
other way, paying no more attention to my reins or my terrific
"whoas!" than if I were a sleeping babe. A horse is none of
your woman's-rights men. He is Pauline. He suffers not the
woman to usurp authority over him. He never says anything nor
votes anything, but declares himself unequivocally by taking
things into his own hands, whenever he knows there is nobody
but a woman behind him,--and somehow he always does know.
After Halicarnassus had turned him back and set him going the
right way, I took on a gruff, manny voice, to deceive.
Nonsense! I could almost see him snap his fingers at me. He
minded my whip no more than he did a fly,--not so much as he
did some flies. Grande said she supposed his back was all
callous. I acted upon the suggestion, knelt down in the bottom
of the wagon, and leaned over the dasher to whip him on his
belly, then climbed out on the shafts and snapped about his
ears; but he stood it much better than I. Finally I found that
by taking the small end of the wooden whip-handle, and sticking
it into him, I could elicit a faint flash of light; so I did
it with assiduity, but the moderate trot which even that
produced was not enough to accomplish my design, which was to
outstrip the two men and make them run or beg. The opposing
forces arrived at the pump about the same time.

Halicarnassus took the handle, and gave about five jerks. Then
the Anakim took it and gave five more. Then they both stopped
and wiped their faces.

"What do you suppose this pump was put here for?" asked

"A milestone, probably," replied the Anakim.

Then they resumed their Herculean efforts till the water came,
and then they got into the wagon, and we drove into the
blackberries once more, where we arrived just in season to
escape a thunder-shower, and pile merrily into one of several
coaches waiting to convey passengers in various directions as
soon as the train should come.

It is very selfish, but fine fun, to have secured your own
chosen seat and bestowed your own luggage, and have nothing to
do but witness the anxieties and efforts of other people. The
exquisite pleasure we enjoyed for fifteen minutes, edified at
the last by hearing one of our coachmen call out, "Here, Rosey,
this way!"--whereupon a manly voice, in the darkness, near us,
soliloquized, "Respectful way of addressing a judge of the
Supreme Court!" and, being interrogated, the voice informed us
that "Rosey" was the vulgate for Judge Rosecranz; whereupon
Halicarnassus over the rampant democracy by remarking that the
diminutive was probably a term of endearment rather than
familiarity; whereupon the manly voice--if I might say it--
snickered audibly in the darkness, and we all relapsed into
silence. But could anything be more characteristic of a
certain phase of the manners of our great and glorious country?
Where are the Trollopes? Where is Dickens? Where is Basil

It is but a dreary ride to Lake George on a dark and rainy
evening, unless people like riding for its own sake, as I do.
If there are suns and stars and skies, very well. If there
are not, very well too: I like to ride all the same. I like
everything in this world but Saratoga. Once or twice our
monotony was broken up by short halts before country inns.
At one an excitement was going on. "Had a casualty here this
afternoon," remarked a fresh passenger, as soon as he was
fairly seated. A casualty is a windfall to a country village.
It is really worth while to have a head broken occasionally,
for the wholesome stirring-up it gives to the heads that are
not broken. On the whole, I question whether collisions and
collusions do not cause as much good as harm. Certainly,
people seem to take the most lively satisfaction in receiving
and imparting all the details concerning them. Our
passenger-friend opened his budget with as much complacence as
ever did Mr. Gladstone or Disraeli, and with a confident air
of knowing that he was going not only to enjoy a piece of
good-fortune himself, but to administer a great gratification
to us. Our "casualty" turned out to be the affair of a
Catholic priest, of which our informer spoke only in dark hints
and with significant shoulder-shrugs and eyebrow-elevations,
because it was "not exactly the thing to get out, you know";
but if it wasn't to get out, why did he let it out? and so from
my dark corner I watched him as a cat does a mouse, and the
lamp-light shone full upon him, and I understood every word and
shrug, and I am going to tell it all to the world. I
translated that the holy father had been "skylarking" in a
boat, and in gay society had forgotten his vows of frugality
and abstinence and general mortification of the flesh, and had
become, not very drunk, but drunk enough to be dangerous, when
he came ashore and took a horse in his hands, and so upset his
carriage, and gashed his temporal artery, and came to grief,
which is such a casualty as does not happen every day, and I
don't blame people for making the most of it. Then the moral
was pointed, the tale adorned, and the impression deepened,
solemnized, and struck home by the fact that the very horse
concerned in the "casualty" was to be fastened behind our
coach, and the whole population came out with interns and
umbrellas to tie him on,--all but one man, who was deaf, and
stood on the piazza, anxious and eager to know everything that
had been and was still occurring, and yet sorry to give
trouble, and so compromising the matter and making it worse,
as compromisers generally do, by questioning everybody with a
deprecating, fawning air.

Item. We shall all, if we live long enough, be deaf, but we
need not be meek about it. I for one am determined to walk up
to people and demand what they are saying at the point of the
bayonet. Deafness, if it must be so, but independence at any

And when the fulness of time is come, we alight at
Fort-William-Henry Hotel, and all night long through the
sentient woods I hear the booming of Johnson's cannon, the
rattle of Dieskan's guns, and that wild war-whoop, more
terrible than all. Again old Monro watches from his
fortress-walls the steadily approaching foe, and looks in
vain for help, save to his own brave heart. I see the light
of conquest shining in his foeman's eye, darkened by the
shadow of the fate that waits his coming on a bleak Northern
hill but, generous in the hour of victory, he shall not be
less noble in defeat,--for to generous hearts all generous
hearts are friendly, whether they stand face to face or side
by side.

Over the woods and the waves, when the morning breaks, like a
bridegroom coming forth from his chamber, rejoicing as a strong
man to run a race, comes up the sun in his might and crowns
himself king. All the summer day, from morn to dewy eve, we
sail over the lakes of Paradise. Blue waters, and blue sky,
soft clouds and green islands, and fair, fruitful shores,
sharp-pointed hills, long, gentle slopes and swells, and the
lights and shadows of far-stretching woods; and over all the
potence of the unseen past, the grand, historic past,--soft
over all the invisible mantle which our fathers flung at their
departing,--the mystic effluence of the spirits that trod these
wilds and sailed these waters,--the courage and the fortitude,
the hope that battled against hope, the comprehensive outlook,
the sagacious purpose, the resolute will, the unhesitating
self-sacrifice, the undaunted devotion which has made this
heroic ground; cast these into your own glowing crucible, O
gracious friend, and crystallize for yourself such a gem of
days as shall worthily be set forever in your crown of the


Sometimes I become disgusted with myself. Not very often, it
is true, for I don't understand the self-abhorrence that I
occasionally see long drawn out in the strictly private printed
diaries of good dead people. A man's self-knowledge, as
regards his Maker, is a matter that lies only between his Maker
and himself, of which no printed or written (scarcely even
spoken) words can give, or ought to give, a true transcript;
but in respect of our relations to other people I suppose we
may take tolerably accurate views, and state them without
wickedness, if it comes in the way; and since the general trend
of opinion seems to be towards excessive modesty, I will
sacrifice myself to the good of society, and say that, in the
main, I think I am a rather "nice" sort of person. Of course
I do a great many things, and say a great many things, and
think a great many things, that I ought not; but when I think
of the sins that I don't commit,--the many times when I feel
cross enough to "bite a ten-penny nail in two," and only bite
my lips,--the sacrifices I make for other people, and don't
mention it, and they themselves never know it,--the quiet
cheerfulness I maintain when the fire goes out, or unexpected
guests arrive and there is no bread in the house, or my
manuscript is respectfully declined by that infatuated editor,--
when I reflect upon these things, and a thousand others like
unto them, I must say, I am lost in admiration of my own
virtues. You may not like me, but that is a mere difference
of taste. At any rate, I like myself very well, and find
myself very good company. Many a laugh, and "lots" or "heaps"
(according as you are a Northern or a Southern provincial) of
conversation we have all alone, and are usually on exceeding
good terms, which is a pleasure, even when other people like
me, and an immense consolation when they don't. But as I was
saying, I do sometimes fall out with myself, and with human
nature in general (and, in fact, I rather think the secret of
self-complacence lurks somewhere hereabouts,--in a mental
assumption that our virtues are our own, but our faults belong
to the race). But to think that we were so puny and puerile
that we could not stand the beauty that breathed around us!
I do not mean that it killed us, but it drained us. It did not
cease to be beautiful, but we ceased to be overpowered. When
the day began, eye and soul were filled with the light that
never was on sea or shore. We spoke low and little, gazing
with throbbing hearts, breathless, receptive, solemn, and
before twelve o'clock we flatted out and made jests. This is
humiliation,--that our dullard souls cannot keep up to the
pitch of sublimity for two hours; that we could sail through
Glory and Beauty, through Past and Present, and laugh. Low as
I sank with the rest, though, I do believe I held out the
longest: but what can one frail pebble do against a river?
"How pretty cows look in a landscape," I said; for you know,
even if you must come down, it is better to roll down an
inclined plane than to drop over a precipice; and I thought,
since I saw that descent was inevitable, I would at least
engineer the party gently through aesthetics to puns. So I
said, "How pretty cows look in a landscape, so calm and
reflective, and sheep harmoniously happy in the summer-tide."

"Yes," said the Anakim, who is New Hampshire born; "but you
ought to see the New Hampshire sheep, if you want the real

"I don't," I responded. "I only want the picture."

"Ever notice the difference between Vermont and New Hampshire
sheep?" struck up Halicarnassus, who must always put in his

"No," I said, "and I don't believe there is any."

"Pooh! Tell New Hampshire sheep as far off as you can see
'em," he persisted, "by their short legs and long noses. Short
legs to bring 'em near the grass, and long noses to poke under
the rocks and get it."

"Yes, my boy, yes," said the Anakim pleasantly. "I O U 1"

"He hath made everything beautiful in his time," murmured
Grande, partly because, gazing at the distant prospect, she
thought so, and partly as a praiseworthy attempt, in her turn,
to pluck us out of the slough into which we had fallen.

"I have heard," said Halicarnassus, who is always lugging in
little scraps of information apropos to everything,--"I have
been told that Dr. Alexander was so great an admirer of the
Proverbs of Solomon, that he used to read them over every three

"I beg your pardon," I interposed, glad of the opportunity to
correct and humiliate him, "but that was not one of the
Proverbs of Solomon."

"Who said it was?" asked the Grand Mogul, savagely.

"Nobody; but you thought it was when she said it," answered his
antagonist, coolly.

"And whose proverb is it, my Lady Superior?"

"It is in Ecclesiastes," I said.

"Well, Ecclesiastes is next door to Solomon. It's all one."
Halicarnassus can creep through the smallest knot-hole of any
man of his size it has ever been my lot to meet, provided there
is anything on the other side he wishes to get at. If there
is not, and especially if anything is there which he wishes to
shun, a four hundred and fifty pounder cannot crash a hole
large enough for you to push him through. By such a pitiful
chink as that did his Infallible Highness wriggle himself out
of the range of my guns, and pursue his line of remark.

"But I really cannot say that I have been able to detect the
excessive superiority of Solomon's proverbs. If it were not
for the name of it, I think Sancho Panza's much better."

"Taisez-vous. Hold your tongue," I said, without mitigation.
If there is anything I cannot away with, it is trivial
apostasy. I tolerate latitudinarianism when it is hereditary.
Where people's fathers and mothers before them have been
Pagans, and Catholics, and Mohammedans, you don't blame THEM
for being so. You regret their error, and strive to lead them
back into the right path; only they are not inflammatory. But
to have people go out from the faith of their fathers with
malice aforethought and their eyes open--well, that is not
exactly what I mean either. That is a sorrowful, but not
necessarily an exasperating thing. What I mean is this: I
see people Orthodox from their cradles, (and probably only from
their cradles, certainly not from their brains,) who think it
is something pretty to become Unitarianistic. They don't
become Unitarians, as they never were Orthodox, because they
have not thought enough or sense enough to become or to be
anything; but they like to make a stir and attract attention.
They seem to think it indicates great liberality of character,
and great breadth of view, to be continually flinging out
against their own faith, ridiculing this, that, and the other
point held by their Church, and shocking devout and
simple-minded Orthodox by their quasi-profanity. Now for
good Orthodox Christians I have a great respect; and for good
Unitarian Christians I have a great respect; and for sincere,
sad seekers, who can find no rest for the sole of their foot,
I have a great respect; but for these Border State men, who
are neither here nor there, on whom you never can lay your
hand, because they are twittering everywhere, I have a profound
contempt. I wish people to be either one thing or another.
I desire them to believe something, and know what it is, and
stick to it. I have no patience with this modern outcry
against creeds. You hear people inveigh against them, without
for a moment thinking what they are. They talk as if creeds
were the head and front of human offending, the infallible sign
of bigotry and hypocrisy, incompatible alike with piety and
wisdom. Do not these wise men know that the thinkers and doers
of the earth, in overwhelming majority, have been creed men?
Creeds may exist without religion, but neither religion, nor
philosophy, nor politics, nor society, can exist without
creeds. There must be a creed in the head, or there cannot be
religion in the heart. You must believe that Deity exists,
before you can reverence Deity. You must believe in the fact
of humanity, or you cannot love your fellows. A creed is but
the concentration, the crystallization, of belief. Truth is
of but little worth till it is so crystallized. Truth lying
dissolved in oceans of error and nonsense and ignorance makes
but a feeble diluent. It swashes everywhere, but to deluge,
not to benefit. Precipitate it, and you have the salt of the
earth. Political opposition, inorganic, is but a blind,
cumbrous, awkward, inefficient thing; but construct a platform,
and immediately it becomes lithe, efficient, powerful. Even
before they set foot on these rude shores, our forefathers made
a compact, and a nation was born in that day. It is on creeds
that strong men are nourished, and that which nourishes the
leaders into eminence is necessary to keep the masses from
sinking. A man who really thinks, will think his way into
light. He may turn many a somersault, but he will come right
side up at last. But people in general do not think, and if
they refuse to be walled in by other people's thoughts, they
inevitably flop and flounder into pitiable prostration. So
important is it, that a poor creed is better than none at all.
Truth, even adulterated as we get it, is a tonic. Bring
forward something tangible, something positive, something that
means something, and it will do. But this flowery, misty,
dreamy humanitarianism,--I say humanitarianism, because I don't
know what that is, and I don't know what the thing I am driving
at is, so I put the two unknown quantities together in a
mathematical hope that minus into minus may give plus,--this
milk-and-watery muddle of dreary negations, that remits the
world to its original fluidic state of chaos, I spew it out of
my mouth. It was not on such pap our Caesars fed that made
them grow so great. I believe that the common people of early
New England were such lusty men, because they strengthened
themselves by gnawing at their tough old creeds. Give one
something to believe, and he can get at it and believe it; but
set out butting your head against nothing, and the chances are
that you will break your neck. Take a good stout Christian,
or a good sturdy Pagan, and you find something to bring up
against; but with nebulous vapidists you are always slumping
through and sprawling everywhere.

Of course, I do not mean that sincere and sensible people never
change nor modify their faith. I wish to say, for its
emphasis, if you will allow me, that they never do anything
else; but generally the change is a gradual and natural one,--
a growth, not a convulsion,--a reformation, not a revolution.
When it is otherwise, it is a serious matter, not to be lightly
done or flippantly discussed. If you really had a religious
belief, it threw out roots and rootlets through all your life.
It sucked in strength from every source. It intertwined itself
through love and labor, through suffering and song, about every
fibre of your soul. You cannot pull it up or dig it up, or in
any way displace it, without setting the very foundations of
your life a-quivering. True, it may be best that you should
do this. If it was but a cumberer of the ground, tear it up,
root and branch, and plant in its stead the seeds of that tree
whose leaves are for the healing of the nations. But such
things are done with circumspection,--not as unto man. If you
are gay and jovial about it, if you feel no darts of torture
flashing through be fastnesses of your life, do not flatter
yourself that you are making radical changes. You are only
pulling up pig-weed to set out smart-weed, and the less you
say about it the better.

Now Halicarnassus is really just as Orthodox as I. He would
not lie or steal any quicker than I. He would not willingly
sacrifice one jot or tittle of his faith, and yet he is always
startling you with small heresies. He is like a calf tied to
a tree in the orchard by a long rope. In the exuberance of his
glee Bossy starts from the post, tail up, in a hand gallop.
You would think, from the way he sets out, that he was going
to race around the whole orchard, and probably he thinks he is
himself. But by the time he is fairly under full headway, his
rope tightens up with a jerk, and away he goes heels over head.
The only difference is, that Halicarnassus knows the length of
his tether, and always fetches up in time to escape an
overturn; but other people do not know it, and they imagine he
is going pell-mell into infidelity. Now I was determined to
have none of this trash in a steamboat. One has no desire to
encounter superfluous risks in a country where life and limb
are held on so uncertain a tenure as in this. There are quite
chances enough of shipwreck without having any Jonahs aboard.
Besides, in point of the fine arts, heterodoxy is worse than
puns. So I headed him off at the first onset. But I should
not have been so entirely successful in the attempt had I not
been assisted by a pair of birds who came to distract his and
our attention from a neighboring thicket. They wheeled--the
gentle, graceful, sly, tantalizing things--in circles and
ellipses, now skimming along the surface of the water, now
swooping away in great smooth curves, then darting off in
headlong flight and pursuit. "My kingdom for a gun!" exclaimed
Halicarnassus with amateur ardor.

"I am glad you have no gun," said compassionate Grande. "Why
should you kill them?"

"Do not be alarmed," I said, soothingly, "a distaff would be
as deadly in his hands."

"Do you speak by the book, Omphale?" asked the Anakim, who
still carried those New Hampshire sheep on his back.

"We went a-ducking once down in Swampshire," I answered.

"Did you catch any?" queried Grande.

"Duckings? no," said Halicarnassus.

"Nor ducks either," I added. "He made great ado with his guns,
and his pouches, and his fanfaronade, and knocking me with his
elbows and telling me to keep still, when no mouse could be
more still than I, and after all he did not catch one."

"Only fired once or twice," said Halicarnassus, "just for fun,
and to show her how to do it."

"How not to do it, you mean," said the Anakim.

"You fired forty times," I said quietly, but firmly, "and the
ducks would come out and look at you as interested as could be.
You know you didn't scare a little meadow-hen. They knew you
couldn't hit."

"Trade off your ducks against my sheep, and call it even?"
chuckled the Anakim; and so, chatting and happy, we glided
along, enjoying, not entranced, comfortable, but not sublime,
content to drink in the sunny sweetness of the summer day,
happy only from the pleasant sense of being, tangling each
other in silly talk out of mere wantonness, purling up bubbles
of airy nothings in sheer effervescence of animal delight;
falling into periodic fits of useful knowledge, under the
influence of which we consulted our maps and our watches in a
conjoint and clamorous endeavor to locate ourselves, which
would no sooner be satisfactorily accomplished than something
would turn up and set our calculations and islands adrift, and
we would have to begin new. Dome Island we made out by its
shape, unquestionably; Whortleberry we hazarded on the strength
of its bushes; "Hen and Chicks," by a biggish island brooding
half a dozen little ones; Flea Island, from a certain
snappishness of aspect; Half-Way Island, by our distance from
dinner; Anthony's Nose, by its unlikeness to anything else,
certainly not from its resemblance to noses in general, let
alone the individual nose of Mark Antony, or Mad Anthony, or
any Anthony between. And then we disembarked and posted
ourselves on the coach-top for a six-mile ride to Champlain;
and Grande said, her face still buried in the map, "Here on the
left is 'Trout Brook' running into the lake, and a cross on it,
and 'Lt. Howe fell, 1758.' That is worth seeing."

"Yes," I said, "America loved his brother."

"America loved HIM," howled Halicarnassus, thinking to correct
me and avenge himself. Now I knew quite well that America
loved him, and did not love his brother, but with the mention
of his name came into my mind the tender, grieved surprise of
that pathetic little appeal, and I just said thought it aloud,--
assuming historic knowledge enough in my listeners to prevent
misconception. But to this day Halicarnassus persists in
thinking or at least in asserting, that I tripped over Lord
Howe. As he does not often get such a chance, I let him
comfort himself with it as much as he can; but that is the way
with your whippersnapper critics. They put on their "specs,"
and pounce down upon some microscopic mote, which they think
to be ignorance, but which is really the diamond-dust of
imagination. "But let us see the place," said Grande. "We
must drive within sight of it."

"Yes," I said. "Halicarnassus, ask the driver to he sure to
tell us where Lord Howe fell."

"Fell into the brook," said that Oracle, and sat as stiff as
a post.

Ticonderoga,--up-hill and down-hill for six miles, white houses
and dark, churches and shops, and playing children and loungers,
and mills, and rough banks and haggard woods, just like any other
somewhat straggling country village. O no! O no! There are
few like this. _I_ have seen no other. Churches and shops and
all the paraphernalia of busy, bustling common life there may be,
but we have no eyes for such. Yonder on the green high plain
which we have already entered is a simple guide-post, guiding you,
not on to Canada, to New York, to Boston, but back into the dead
century that lived so fiercely and lies so still. We stand on
ground over-fought by hosts of heroes. Here rise still the
breastworks, grass-grown and harmless now, behind which men awaited
bravely the shock of furious onset, before which men rushed as
bravely to duty and to death. Slowly we wind among the little
squares of intrenchments, whose deadliest occupants now are peaceful
cows and sheep, slowly among tall trees,--ghouls that thrust out
their slimy, cold fingers everywhere, battening on horrid
banquets,--nay, sorrowful trees, not so. Your gentle, verdant
vigor nourishes no lust of blood. Rather you sprang in pity
from the cold ashes at your feet, that every breeze quivering
through your mournful leaves may harp a requiem for Polydorus.
Alighting at the landing-place we stroll up the hill and among
the ruins of the old forts, and breast ourselves the surging
battle-tide. For war is not to this generation what it has
been. The rust of long disuse has been rubbed off by the iron
hand of fate,--shall we not say, rather, by the good hand of
our God upon us?--and the awful word stands forth once more,
red-lettered and real. Marathon, Waterloo, Lexington, are no
longer the conflict of numbers against numbers, nor merely of
principles against principles, but of men against men. And as
we stand on this silent hill, the prize of so many struggles,
our own hearts swell with the hopes and sink with the fears
that its green old bluffs have roused. Up from yon water-side
came stealing the Green-Mountain Boys, with their grand and
grandiloquent leader, and, at the very gateway where we stand,
as tradition says, (et potius Dii numine firment,) he thundered
out, with brave, barbaric voice, the imperious summons, "In the
name of the great Jehovah and the Continental Congress." No
wonder the startled, half-dressed commander is confounded, and
"the pretty face of his wife peering over his shoulder" is
filled with terror. Well may such a motley crew frighten the
fair Europeanne. "Frenchmen I know, and Indians I know, but
who are ye?" Ah! Sir Commander, so bravely bedight, these are
the men whom your parliamentary knights are to sweep with their
brooms into the Atlantic Ocean. Bring on your besoms, fair
gentlemen; yonder is Champlain, and a lake is as good to drown
in as an ocean. Look at them, my lords, and look many times
before you leap. They are a rough set, roughly clad, a
stout-limbed, stout-hearted race, insubordinate, independent,
irrepressible, almost as troublesome to their friends as to
their foes; but there is good stock in them,--brain and brawn,
and brain and brawn will yet carry the day over court and
crown, in the name of the right, which shall overpower all
things. We clamber down into arched passages, choked with
debris, over floors tangled with briers, and join in the wild
wassail of the bold outlaw, fired by his victorious career.
We clamber up the rugged sides and wind around to the headland.
Brilliant in the "morning-shine," exultant in the pride and
pomp of splendid preparation, ardent for conquest and glory,
Abercrombie sails down the lovely inland sea, to sail back
dismantled and disgraced. The retrieving fleet of Amherst
follows, as brilliant and as eager,--to gain the victory of
numbers over valor, but to lose its fruit, as many a blood-
bought prize has since been lost, snatched from the conqueror's
hand by the traitor, doubt. But this is only the prologue of
our great drama. Allen leaps first upon the scene, bucklered
as no warrior ever was since the days of Homer or before. Then
Arnold comes flying in, wresting laurels from defeat,--Arnold,
who died too late. Here Schuyler walks up at night, his
military soul vexed within him by the sleeping guards and the
intermittent sentinels, his gentle soul harried by the rustic
ill-breeding of his hinds, his magnanimous soul cruelly
tortured by the machinations of jealousy and envy and
evil-browed ambition. Yonder on the hill Burgoyne's battery
threatens death, and Lincoln avenges us of Burgoyne. Let
the curtain fall; a bloodier scene shall follow.

* * * * *

And then we re-embark on Lake Champlain, and all the summer
afternoon sail down through phantom fleets, under the frowning
ramparts of phantom forts, past grim rows of deathful-throated
cannon, through serried hosts of warriors, with bright swords
gleaming and strong arms lifted and stern lips parted; but from
lips of man or throat of cannon comes no sound. A thousand
oars strike through the leaping waves, but not a plash breaks
on the listening ear. A thousand white sails swell to the
coming breeze, that brings glad greeting from the inland hills,
but nothing breaks the silences of time.

And of all beautiful things that could have been thought of or
hoped for, what should come to crown our queen of days but a
thunder-storm, a most real and vivid thunder-storm, marshalling
up from the west its grand, cumulose clouds; black, jagged,
bulging with impatient, prisoned thunder biding their time,
sharp and fierce against the brilliant sky, spreading swiftly
over the heavens, fusing into one great gray pall, dropping a
dim curtain of rain between us and the land, closing down upon
us a hollow hemisphere pierced with shafts of fire and
deafening with unseen thunders, wresting us off from the
friendly skies and shores, wrapping us into an awful solitude.
O Princess Rohan, come to me! come from the hidden caves, where
you revel in magical glories, come up from your coralline caves
in the mysterious sea, come from those Eastern lands of
nightingale, roses, and bulbuls, where your tropical soul was
born and rocked in the lap of the lotus! O sunny Southern
beauty, lost amongst Northern snows, flush forth in your
mystical splendor from the ruby wine of Hafiz, float down from
your clouds of the sunset with shining garments of light, open
the golden door of your palace domed in a lily, glide over
these inky waves, O my queen of all waters, come to me wherever
you are, with your pencil dipped in darkness, starry with
diamond dews and spanned with the softness of rainbows, and set
on this land-locked Neptune your cross of the Legion of Honor,
assure to the angry god his bowl in Valhalla, that the
thunder-vexed lake may be soothed with its immortality!

But the storm passes on, the clouds sweep magnificently away,
and the glowing sky flings up its arch of promise. The lucent
waters catch its gleam and spread in their depths a second arch
as beautiful and bright. So, haloed with magnificence, an
earth-born bark on fairy waters, completely circled by this
glory of the skies and seas, we pass through our triumphal
gateway "deep into the dying day," and are presently doused in
the mud at Rouse's Point. Rouse's Point is undoubtedly a very
good place, and they were good women there, and took good care
of us; but Rouse's Point is a dreadful place to wake up in
when you have been in Dream-Land,--especially when a circus is
there, singing and shouting under your windows all night long.
I wonder when circus-people sleep, or do they not sleep at all,
but keep up a perpetual ground and lofty tumbling? From
Rouse's Point through Northern New York, through endless woods
and leagues of brilliant fire-weed, the spirit of the dead
flames that raved through the woods, past corn-fields that
looked rather "skimpy," certainly not to be compared to a
corn-field I wot of, whose owner has a mono-mania on the
subject of corn and potatoes, and fertilizes his fields with
his own blood and brain,--a snort, a rush, a shriek, and the
hundred miles is accomplished, and we are at Ogdensburg, a
smart little town, like all American towns, with handsome
residences up, and handsomer ones going up, with haberdashers'
shops, and lawyers' offices, and judges' robes, and most
hospitable citizens,--one at least,--and all the implements and
machinery of government and self-direction, not excepting a
huge tent for political speaking and many political speeches,
and everybody alert, public-spirited, and keyed up to the
highest pitch. All this is interesting, but we have seen it
ever since we were born, and we look away with wistful eyes to
the north; for this broad, majestic river stretching sky-ward
like the ocean, is the Lawrence. Up this river, on the day of
St. Lawrence, three hundred years ago, came the mariner of St.
Malo,--turning in from the sea till his straining eyes beheld
on both sides land, and planted the lilies of France. Now it
is the boundary line of empires. Those green banks on the
other side are a foreign country, and for the first time I am
not monarch of all I survey. That fine little city, with
stately trees towering from the midst of its steeples and gray
roofs, is Prescott. At the right rise the ramparts of Fort
Wellington, whence cannon-balls came hissing over to Ogdensburg
some fifty years ago. We stand within a pretty range, suppose
they should try it again! Farther on still is a plain, gray
tower, where a handful of "patriots" intrenched and destroyed
themselves with perverse martyrophobia in a foolish and
fruitless endeavor. The afternoon is before us; suppose we
row over; here is a boat, and doubtless a boatman, or the
ferry-steamer will be here directly. By no means; a ferry-steamer
is thoroughly commonplace; you can ferry-steam anywhere. Row,
brothers, row, perhaps you will never have the chance again.
Lightly, lightly row through the green waters of the great St.
Lawrence, through the sedge and rank grass that wave still in
his middle depths, over the mile and a half of great rushing
billows that rock our little boat somewhat roughly: but I am
not afraid,--for I can swim.

"You can, can you?" says the Anakim, incredulously.

"Indeed I can, can't I, Halicarnassus?" appealingly.

"Like a brick!" ejaculates that worthy, pulling away at the
oars, and on we shoot, steadily nearing the rustic stone city
that looks so attractive, so different from our hasty, brittle,
shingly American half-minute houses,--massive, permanent, full
of character and solid worth. And now our tiny craft butts
against the pier, and we ascend from the Jesuit river and stand
on British soil. No stars and stripes here, but Saint George
and his dragon fight out their never-ending brawl. No war, no
volunteering, no Congress here; but peace and a Parliament and
a Queen, God bless her! and this is her realm, a kingdom. Now
if it had been a year ago I do not know that I should not, like
Columbus, have knelt to kiss these dingy stones, so much did
I love and reverence England, and whatever bore the dear
English name. But we--they, rather--have changed all that.
Among the great gains of this memorable year,--among the
devotions, the sacrifices, the heroisms,--all the mighty,
noble, and ennobling deeds by which we stand enriched
forevermore,--there broods the shadow of one irreparable loss,--
the loss of England. Success or failure can make no difference
there. English gold, English steel, English pluck, stand today
as always; but English integrity, English staunchness, English
love, where are they? Just where Prescott is, now that we have
come to it; for the substantial stone city a mile and a half
away turns out to be a miserable little dirty, butty, smutty,
stagnant owl-cote when you get into it. What we took for stone
is stolidity. It is old, but its age is squalid, not picturesque.
We stumble through the alleys that answer for streets, and come
to the "Dog and Duck," a dark, dingy ale-room, famous for its
fine ale, we are told, or perhaps it was beer: I don't remember.
It is not in male nature to go by on the other side of such a
thing, and we enter,--they to test the beverage, Grande and I to
make observation of the surroundings. We take position in the
passage between the bar-room and parlor. A yellow-haired Saxon
child, with bare legs and fair face, crawls out from some inner
hollow to the door, and impends dangerous on the sill, throwing
numerous scared backward glances over his shoulder. The parlor
is taken bodily out of old English novels, a direct descendant,
slightly furbished up and modernized, of the Village inn parlor
of Goldsmith,--homely, clean, and comfortless. A cotton tidy
over the rocking-chair bewrays, wrought into its crocheted
gorgeousness, the name of Uncle Tom. This I cannot stand.
Time may bring healing, but now the wound is still fresh. "O,
you did Uncle-Tom it famously," I hurl out, doubling my fist
at the British lion which glares at me from that cotton tidy.
"I remember those days. O yes! you were rampant on Uncle Tom.
You are a famous friend of Uncle Tom, with your Exeter Halls,
and your Lord Shaftesburys, and your Duchess of Sutherlands!
Cry your pretty eyes out over Uncle Tom, dear, tender-hearted
British women. Write appealing letters to your sisters over
the waters, affectionate, conscientious kindred; canonize your
saint, our sin, in tidies, and chair-covers, and Christmas
slippers,--we know how to take you now; we have found out what
all that is worth we can appraise your tears by the bottle--in
pounds, shillings, and pence." But the beer-men curtail my
harangue, so I shake my departing fist at the cowering lion,
and, leaving this British institution, proceed to investigate
another British institution,--the undaunted English army, in
its development in Fort Wellington. A wall shuts the world out
from those sacred premises; a stile lets the world in,--over
which stile we step and stand on the fort grounds. A party of
soldiers are making good cheer in a corner of the pasture,--
perhaps I ought to say parade-ground. As no sentinel accosts
us, we hunt up one, and inquire if the fort is accessible. He
does not know, but inclines to the opinion that it is. We go
up the hill, walk round the wall, and mark well her bulwarks,
till we come to a great gate, but it refuses to turn. The
walls are too high to scale, besides possible pickets on the
other side. I have no doubt in the world that we could creep
under, for the gate has shrunk since it was made, and needs to
have a tuck let down; but what would become of dignity? Grande
and the Anakim make a reconnaissance in force, to see if some
unwary postern-gate may not permit entrance. Halicarnassus
fumbles in his pockets for edge-tools, as if Queen Victoria,
who rules the waves, on whose dominions the sun never sets,
whose morning drum-beat encircles the world, would leave the
main gate of her main fort on one of the frontiers of her
empire so insecurely defended that a single American can carry
it with his fruit-knife. Such ideas I energetically enforce,
till I am cut short by the slow retrogression of the massive
gate on ponderous hinges turning.

"What about the fruit-knife?" inquires Halicarnassus as I pass
in. The reconnoitering party return to report a bootless
search, and are electrified to find the victory already gained.

"See the good of having been through college," exults Halicarnassus.

"How did you do it?" asks Grande, admiringly.

"By genius and assiduity," answers Halicarnassus.

"And lifting the latch," I append, for I have been examining
the mechanism of the gate since I came in, and have made a
discovery which dislodges my savant from his pinnacle; namely,
that the only fastening on the gate is a huge wooden latch,
which not one of us had sense enough to lift; but then who
thinks of taking a fort by assault and battery on the latch?
Halicarnassus hit upon it by mere accident, and I therefore
remorselessly expose him. Then we saunter about the place,
and, seeing a woman eying us suspiciously from an elevated
window, we show the white feather and ask her if we may come
in, which, seeing we have been in for some ten minutes, we
undoubtedly may; and then we mount the ramparts and peer into
Labrador and Hudson's Bay and the North Pole, and, turning to
a softer sky, gaze from a "foreign clime" upon our own dear
land, home of freedom, hope of the nations, eye-sore of the
Devil, rent by one set of his minions, and ridiculed by
another, but coming out of her furnace-fires, if God please
and man will, heartier and holier, because freer and truer,
than ever before. O my country, beautiful and beloved, my
hope, my desire, my joy, and my crown of rejoicing, immeasurably
dearer in the agony of your bloody sweat than in the high noon
of your proud prosperity! standing for the first time beyond
your borders, and looking upon you from afar, now and forevermore
out of a full heart I breathe to you benedictions.


Down the St. Lawrence in a steamer, up the St. Lawrence on the
maps, we sail through another day full of eager interest.
Everything is fresh, new, novel. Is it because we are in high
latitudes that the river and the country look so high? I could
fancy that we are on a plateau, overlooking a continent. Now
the water expands on all sides like an ocean meeting the sky,
and now we are sailing through hay-fields and country orchards,
as if the St. Lawrence had taken a turn into our back-yard.
We hug the Canada shore, and thick woods come down the banks
dipping their summer tresses in the cool Northern river,--broad
pasture-lands stretch away, away from river to sky,--brown,
dubious villages sail by at long intervals. On the distant
southern shore America has stationed her outposts, and
unfrequent spires attest a civilized, if remote life. In the
sunny day all things are sunny, save when a Claude Lorraine
glass lends a dark, rich mystery to every hill and cloud. The
Claude Lorraine glass is a rara avus, and not only gives new
lights to the scenery, but brings out the human nature on board
in great force. The Anakim tells us of one man who asked him
in a confidential aside, if it was a show, whereat we all
laugh. Even I laugh at the man's ignorance,--I, a thief, an
assassin, a traitor, who six weeks ago had never heard of a
Claude Lorraine glass; but nobody can tell who has not tried
it how much credit one gets for extensive knowledge, if only
he holds his tongue. In all my life I am afraid I shall never
learn as much as I have been inferred to know simply because
I kept still.

Down the St. Lawrence in an English steamer, where everything
is not so much English as John Bull-y. The servants at the
table are thoroughly and amusingly yellow-plush,--if that is
the word I want, and if it is not that, it is another; for I
am quite sure of my idea, though not of the name that belongs
to it. The servants are smooth and sleek and intense. They
serve as if it was their business, and a weighty business at
that, demanding all the energies of a created being.
Accordingly they give their minds to it. The chieftain
yonder, in white choker and locks profusely oiled and brushed
into a resplendent expanse, bears Atlas on his shoulders.
His lips are compressed, his brow contracted, his eyes alert,
his whole manner as absorbed as if it were a nation, and not
a plum-pudding, that he is engineering through a crisis. Lord
Palmerston is nothing to him, I venture to say. I know the
only way to accomplish anything is to devote yourself to it;
still I cannot conceive how anybody can give himself up so
completely to a dinner, even if it is his business and duty.
However, I have nothing to complain of in the results, for we
are well served, only for a trifle too much obviousness. Order
and system are undoubtedly good things, but I don't like to see
an ado made about them. Our waiters stand behind, at given
stations, with prophetic dishes in uplifted hands, and, at a
certain signal from the arch-waiter, down they come like the
clash of fate. Now I suppose this is all very well, but for
me I never was fond of military life. Under my housekeeping
we browse indiscriminately. When we have nothing else to do,
we have a meal. If it is nearer noon than morning, we call it
dinner. If it is nearer night than noon, we call it supper,
unless we have fashionable friends with us, and then we call
it dinner, and the other thing lunch; and ten to one it is so
scattered about that it has no name at all. At breakfast you
will be likely to find me on the door-step with a bowl of bread
and milk, while Halicarnassus sits on the bench opposite and
brandishes a chicken-bone with the cat mewing furiously for it
at his feet. A surreptitious doughnut is sweet and dyspeptic
over the morning paper, and gingerbread is always to be had by
systematic and intelligent foraging. Consequently this British
drill and discipline are thoroughly alarming to me, and I am
surprised and grateful to find that we are not individually
regulated by a time-table. I expect a drum-beat;--one,
incision; two, mastication; three, deglutition;--but what
tyranny does one not expect to find under monarchical
institutions? Put that into your next volume, intelligent
British tourist.

Down the St. Lawrence with millionaires, and artists, and gay
young girls, and sallow-faced invalids, and weary clergymen and
men of business who do not know what to do with their unwonted
leisure and find pleasuring a most unmitigated bore, and
mothers with sick children, dear little unnatural pale faces
and heavy eyes,--may your angels bring you health, tiny ones!--
and, most interesting of all to me, a party of priests and
nuns on their travels. They sit near me, and I can see them
without turning my head, and hear them without marked
listening. The priests are sleekheaded men, and such as sleep
o' nights, ruddy, rotund, robust, with black hair and white
bands, well-dressed, well-fed, well-to-do, jolly, gentlemanly,
clique-y, sensible, shrewd, au fait. The nuns--now I am vexed
to look at them. Are nuns expected to be any more dead to the
world than priests? Then I should like to know why they must
make such frights of themselves, while priests go about like
Christians? Why shall a nun walk black, and gaunt, and lank,
with a white towel wrapped around her face, all possible beauty
and almost all attractiveness despoiled by her hideously
unbecoming dress, while priests wear their hair and their hats
and their coats and their collars like any other gentleman?
Why are the women to be set up as targets, while the men may
pass unnoticed and unknown? If the woman's head must be shorn
and shaven, why not the man's? It is not fair. I can think
of no reason, pretext, or excuse, unless it is to be found in
the fact that women are more beautiful than men, and need
greater disfigurement to make them ugly. That is a fact which
I have long suspected, and observations made on this journey
confirm my suspicions,--intensify them into certainty. An ugly
woman is handsomer than a handsome man,--if you examine them
closely. She is finer-grained, more soft, more delicate. Men
are animals more than women. I do not now mean the generic
sense in which we are all animals, but specifically and
superficially. Men look more like horses and cows. See our
brave soldiers returning from the wars--Heaven's blessing rest
upon them!--grand, but are they not gruff? A woman's face may
be browned, roughened, and reddened by exposure, yet her skin
is always skin; but often when a man's face has been sheltered
from storm and shine, his skin is hide. His mane is not
generally so long and flowing as a horse's, but there it is.
Once, in a car, a man in front of me put his arm on the back
of his seat and fell asleep. Presently his hand dropped over,
and I looked at it,--a mass of broad, brawny vitality, great
pipes of veins, great crescents of nails, great furrows at the
joints, and you might cut a fine sirloin of beef off the ball
of the thumb; and this is a hand! _I_ call it an ox. A
woman's hand, by hard labor, spreads and cracks, and sprouts
bunches at the joints, and becomes tuberous at the ends of the
fingers, but you can see that it is a deformity and not nature.
It tells a sad story of neglect, of labor, perhaps of
heartlessness, cruelty, suffering. But this man's hand was
born so. You would not think of pitying him any more than you
would pity an elephant for being an elephant instead of an
antelope. A woman's hair is silky and soft, and, if not always
smooth, susceptible of smoothness. A man's hair is shag. If
he tries to make it anything else, he does not mend the matter.
Ceasing to be shag, it does not become beauty, but foppishness,
effeminacy, Miss Nancy-ism. A man is a brute by the law of his
nature. Let him ape a woman, and he does not cease to he
brutal, though be does become ridiculous. The only thing for
him to do is to be the best kind of a brute.

In all of which remarks there is nothing derogatory to a man,--
nothing at which any one need take offence. I do not say that
manhood is not a very excellent kind of creation. Everything
is good in its line. I would just as soon have been a beetle
as a woman, if I had never been a woman, and did not know what
it was. I don't suppose a horse is at all crestfallen because
he is a horse. On the contrary, if he is a thorough-bred,
blood horse, he is a proud and happy fellow, prancing,
spirited, magnificent. So a man may be so magnificently manly
that one shall say, Surely this is the monarch of the universe;
and hide and shag and mane shall be vitalized with a matchless
glory. Let a man make himself grand in his own sphere, and not
sit down and moan because he is only a connecting link between
a horse and a woman.

I suppose Mother Church is fully cognizant of the true state
of affairs, and thinks men already sufficiently Satyric, but
woman must be ground down as much as possible, or the world
will not be fended off. And ground down they are in body and
soul. O Mother Church! as I look upon these nuns, I do not
love you. You have done many wise and right deeds. You have
been the ark of the testimony, the refuge of the weary, the
dispenser of alms, the consoler of the sorrowful, the hope of
the dying, the blessing of the dead. You are convenient now,
wieldy in an election, effective when a gold ring is missing
from the toilette cushion, admirable in your machinery, and
astonishing in your persistency and power. But what have you
done with these women? In what secret place, in what dungeon
of darkness and despair, in what chains of torpidity and
oblivion, have you hidden away their souls? They are
twenty-five and thirty years old, but they are not women.
They are nothing in the world but grown-up children. Their
expression, their observation, their interests, are infantile.
There is no character in their faces. There are marks of
pettishness, but not of passion. Nothing deep, tender,
beneficent, maternal, is there. Time has done his part, but
life has left no marks. Their smiles and laughter are the
merriment of children, beautiful in children, but painful
here. Mother Church, you have dwarfed these women, helplessly,
hopelessly. You accomplish results, but you deteriorate

Down the St. Lawrence, the great, melancholy river, grand only
in its grandeur, solitary, unapproachable, cut off from the
companionship, the activities, and the interests of life by its
rocks and rapids; yet calm and conscious, working its work in
silent state.

The rapids are bad for traffic, but charming for travellers;
and what is a little revenue more or less, to a sensation?
There is not danger enough to awaken terror, but there is
enough to require vigilance; just enough to exhilarate, to
flush the cheek, to brighten the eye, to quicken the breath;
just enough for spice and sauce and salt; just enough for you
to play at storm and shipwreck, and heroism in danger. The
rocking and splashing of the early rapids is mere fun; but when
you get on, when the steamer slackens speed, and a skiff puts
off from shore, and an Indian pilot comes on board, and mounts
to the pilot-house, you begin to feel that matters are getting
serious. But the pilot is chatting carelessly with two or
three bystanders, so it cannot be much. Ah! this sudden
cessation of something! This unnatural quiet. The machinery
has stopped. What! the boat is rushing straight on to the
banks. H-w-k! A whole shower of spray is dashed into our
faces. Little shrieks and laughter, and a sudden hopping up
from stools, and a sudden retreat from the railing to the
centre of the deck. Staggering, quivering, aghast, the boat
reels and careens. Seethe and plunge the angry waters,
whirling, foaming, furious. Look at the pilot. No chatting
now, no bystanders, but fixed eyes and firm lips, every muscle
set, every nerve tense. Yes, it is serious. Serious! close
by us, seeming scarcely a yard away, frowns a black rock. The
maddened waves dash up its sullen back, the white, passionate
surf surges into its wrathful jaws. Here, there, before,
behind, black rocks and a wild uproar of waters, through all
which Providence and our pilot lead us safely into the still
deep beyond, and we look into each other's faces and smile.

And now the sunset reddens on the water, reddens on the bending
sky and the beautiful clouds, and men begin to come around with
cards and converse of the different hotels in the Montreal that
is to be; one tells us that the Prince of Wales beamed royal
light upon the St. Lawrence Hall, and we immediately decide to
make the balance true by patronizing its rival Donegana,
whereupon a man--a mere disinterested spectator of course--
informs us in confidence that the Donegana is nothing but
ruins; he should not think we would go there; burnt down a few
years ago,--a shabby place, kept by a grass widow; but when was
American ever scared off by the sound of a ruin? So Donegana
it is, the house with the softly flowing Italian name; and then
we pass under the arch of the famous Victoria Bridge, whose
corner-stone, or cap-stone, or whatever it is that bridges
have, was laid by the Prince of Wales. (And to this day I do
not know how the flag-staff of our boat cleared the arch. It
was ten feet above it, I should think, and I looked at it all
the time, and yet it shrivelled under in the most laughable yet
baffling manner.) In the mild twilight we disembarked, and
were quickly omnibused to the relics of Donegana, which turned
out to be very well, very well indeed for ruins, with a smart
stone front, and I don't know but stone all the way through,
with the usual allowance of lace curtains, and carpets, and
gilding in the parlors, notwithstanding flames and conjugal
desolation; also a hand welcomed us in the gas-lit square
adjoining, and we were hospitably entreated and transmitted to
the breakfast-table next morning in perfect sight-seeing trim;
only the Anakim was cross, and muttered that they had sent him
out in the village to sleep among the hens, and there was a
cackling and screaming and chopping off of heads all night
long. But the breakfast-table assured us that many a cackle
must have been the swan-song of death. Halicarnassus wondered
if something might not be invented to consume superfluous
noise, as great factories consume their own smoke, but the
Anakim said there was no call for any new invention in that
line so long as Halicarnassus continued in his present
appetite,--with a significant glance at the plump chicken which
the latter was vigorously converting into mammalia, and which
probably was the very one that disturbed the Anakim's repose.
And then we discussed the day's plan of operations.
Halicarnassus said he had been diplomatizing for a carriage.
The man in the office told him he could have one for five
dollars. He thought that was rather high. Man said it was
the regular price; couldn't get one for any less in the city.
Halicarnassus went out and saw one standing idle in the
market-place. Asked the price. Three dollars. For how
long? Drive you all round the city, Sir; see all the sights.
Then he went back and told the man at the office.

"Well," I said, after he had swallowed a wassail-bowl of
coffee, and showed no disposition to go on, "what did you
do then?"

"Came in to breakfast."

"Didn't you tell the clerk you would not take his carriage?"


"Didn't you tell the other man you would take his?"


"What DID you do?"

"Let it work. Don't be in a hurry. Give a thing time to work."

"And suppose it should work you out of any carriage at all?"

"No danger." And to be sure, when we had finished breakfast,
the three-dollar hack was there awaiting our pleasure. Our
pleasure was to drive out into the British possessions, first
around the mountain, which is quite a mountain for a villa,
though nothing to speak of as a mountain, with several handsome
residences on its sides, and a good many not so handsome; but
the mountain is a pet of Montreal, and, as I said, quite the
thing for a cockney mountain. Then we went to the French
Cathedral, which is, I believe, the great gun of ecclesiastical
North America, but it hung fire with me. It was large, but not
great. There was no unity. It was not impressive. It was
running over with frippery,--olla podrida cropping out
everywhere. It confused you. It distracted you. It wearied
you. You sighed for somewhat simple, quiet, restful. The
pictures were pronounced poor. I don't know whether they were
or not. I never can tell a picture as a cook tells her
mince-pie meat, by tasting it. One picture is a revealer and
one is a daub; but they are alike to me at first glance. For
a picture has an individuality all its own. You must woo it
with tender ardor, or it will not yield up its heart. The
chance look sees only color and contour; but as you gaze the
color glows, the contour throbs, the hidden soul heaves the
inert canvas with the solemn palpitations of life. Art is
dead no longer, but informed with divine vitality. There is
no picture but Hope crowned and radiant, or pale and patient
Sorrow, or the tender sanctity of Love. The landscape of the
artist is neither painting nor nature, but summer fields and
rosy sunsets over-flooded with his own inward light. Only from
her Heaven-anointed monarch, man, can Nature receive her
knightly accolade. And shall one detect the false or recognize
the true by the minute-hand? I suppose so, since some do. But
I cannot. People who live among the divinities may know the
goddess, for all her Spartan arms, her naked knee, and knotted
robe; but I, earth-born among earth-born, must needs behold the
auroral blush, the gliding gait, the flowing vestment, and the
divine odor of her purple hair.

In the vestibule of the French Cathedral, I believe it is,
you will behold a heart-rending sight in a glass case, namely,
a group of children, babies in long clothes and upwards, in a
dreadful state of being devoured by cotton-flannel pigs. Their
poor little white frocks are stained with blood, and they are
knocked about piteously in various stages of mutilation. A
label in front informs you that certain innocents in certain
localities are subject to this shocking treatment; and you are
earnestly conjured to drop your penny or your pound into the
box, to rescue them from a fate so terrible. You must be a
cannibal if you can withstand this appeal. Suffering that you
only hear of, you can forget, but suffering going on right
under your eyes is not so easily disposed of.

Leaving the pigs and papooses, we will go to--which of the
nunneries? The Gray? Yes. But when you come home, everybody
will tell you that you ought to have visited the Black Nunnery.
The Gray is not to be mentioned in the same year. Do not,
however, flatter yourself that in choosing the Black you will
be any more enviable; there will not be wanting myriads who
will assure you, that, not having seen the Gray, you might as
well have seen nothing at all. To the Gray Nunnery went we,
and saw pictures and altars and saints and candlesticks, and
little dove-cot floors of galleries jutting out, where a few
women crossed, genuflected, and mumbled, and an old woman came
out of a door above one of them, and asked the people below not
to talk so loud, because they disturbed the worshippers; but
the people kept talking, and presently she came out again, and
repeated her request, with a little of the Inquisition in her
tones and gestures,--no more than was justifiable under the
circumstances: but she looked straight at me; and O old woman!
it was not I that talked, nor my party. We were noiseless as
mice. It was that woman over there in a Gothic bonnet, with
a bunch of roses under the roof as big as a cabbage. Presently
the great doors opened, and a procession of nuns marched in
chanting their gibberish. Of course they wore the disguise of
those abominable caps, with gray, uncouth dresses, the skirts
taken up in front and pinned behind, after the manner of
washerwomen. Yet there were faces among them on which the eye
loved to linger,--some not too young for their years, some
furtive glances, some demure looks from the yet undeadened
youth under those ugly robes,--some faces of struggle and some
of victory. O Mother Church, here I do not believe in you!
These natures are gnarled, not nurtured. These elaborately
reposeful faces are not natural. These downcast eyes and
droning voices are not natural. Not one thing here is natural.
Whisk off these clinging gray washing-gowns, put these girls
into crinoline and Gothic bonnets, and the innocent finery that
belongs to them, and send them out into the wholesome daylight
to talk and laugh and make merry,--the birthright of their
young years. A religion that deprives young girls or old
girls of this boon is not the religion of Jesus Christ.
Don't tell me!

The nuns pass out, and we wander through the silent yard,
cut off by all the gloom of the medieval times from the din,
activity, and good cheer of the street beyond, and are
conducted into the Old Men's Department. The floors and
furniture are faultlessly and fragrantly clean. The kitchen
is neat and susceptible of warmth and comfort, even when the
sun's short wooing is over. The beds are ranged along the
walls plump and nice; yet I hope that, when I am an old man,
I shall not have to sleep on blue calico pillow-cases. Here
and there, within and without, old men are basking in the rare
sweet warmth of summer, and with their canes and their sunshine
seem very well bestowed. Now I like you, Mother Church. You
do better by your old men than you do by your young women,--
simply because you know more about them. How can you, Papa
and Messrs. Cardinals, be expected to understand what is good
for a girl? If only you would confine yourself to what you
do comprehend,--if only you would apply your admirable
organizations to legitimate purposes, and not run mad on
machinery, you would do angels' work.

From the old men's quarters we go upstairs where sewing and
knitting and all manner of fancy-work, especially in beads, are
taught to long and lank little girls by longer and lanker large
girls, companioned by a few old women, with commonplace
knitting-work. Everything everywhere is thoroughly neat and
comfortable; but I have a desperate pang of home-sickness; for
if there is one condition of life more intolerable than any
other, it is a state of unvarying, hopeless comfort.

From the Gray Nunnery to the English Church, which I like much
better than the French Cathedral. There is a general tone of
oakiness, solid, substantial, sincere, like the England of
tradition,--set off by a brilliant memorial window and a
memorial altar, and other memorial things which I have
forgotten, but which I make no doubt the people who put them
there have not forgotten. Here also we find, as all along in
Canada, vestiges of his Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales.
We are shown the Bible which he presented to the Church, and
we gaze with becoming reverence upon the august handwriting,--
the pew in which he worshipped; and the loyal beadle sees
nothing but reverence in our momentary occupation of that
consecrated seat. Evidently there is but a very faint line
of demarcation in the old man's mind between his heavenly and
earthly king; but an old man may have a worse weakness than
this,--an unreasoning, blind, faithful fondness and reverence
for a blameless prince. God bless the young man, in that he
is the son of his father and mother. God help him, in that
he is to be King of England.

Chancel and window, altar, and arches and aisles and
treasures,--is there anything else? Yes, the apple that Eve
ate, transfixed to oak,--hard to understood, but seeing is
believing. And then past Nelson's monument, somewhat battered,
like the hero whom it commemorates; past the Champ de Mars, a
fine parade-ground, hard and smooth as a floor; past the
barracks and the reservoir, to the new Court-House, massive
and plain. Then home to dinner and lounging; then
travelling-dresses, and the steamer, and a most lovely sunset
on the river; and then a night of tranquillity running to fog,
and a morning approach to the unique city of North America,--
the first and the only walled city _I_ ever saw, or you either,
I dare say, if you would only be willing to confess it. The
aspect of the city, as one first approaches it, is utterly
strange and foreign,--a high promontory jutting into the river,
with a shelf of squalid, crowded, tall and shaky, or low and
squatty tenements at its base, almost standing on the water and
rising behind them, for the back of the shelf, a rough, steep
precipice abutted with the solid masonry of wall and citadel.
A board fastened somehow about half-way up the rocky cliff,
inscribed with the name of Montgomery, marks the spot where a
hero, a patriot, a gentleman, met his death. Disembarking, we
wind along a stair of a road, up steep ascents, and enter in
through the gates into the city,--the walled, upper city,-
-walls thick, impregnable, gates ponderous, inert, burly. You
did well enough in your day, old foes; but with Armstrongs and
iron-clads, and Ericsson still living, where would you be?--
answer me that. Quaint, odd, alien old city,--a faint
phantasmagoria of past conflicts and forgotten plans, a dingy
fragment of la belle France, a clinging reminiscence of
England, a dim, stone dream of Edinburgh, a little flutter of
modern fashion, planted upon a sturdy rampart of antiquity, a
little cobweb of commerce and enterprise, netting over a great
deal of church and priest and king with an immovable basis of
stolid existence,--that is the Quebec I inferred from the
Quebec I saw. Nothing in it was so interesting to me as
itself. But passing by itself for the nonce, we prudently took
advantage of the fine morning, and drove out to the Falls of
Montmorency with staring eyes that wanted to take in all views,
before, behind, on this side and that, at once; and because we
could not, the joints of my neck at least became so dry with
incessant action that they almost creaked. Low stone cottages
lined the road-sides, with windows that opened like doors, with
an inevitable big black stove whenever your eye got far enough
in, with a pleasant stoop in front, with women perpetually
washing the floors and the windows, with beautiful and brilliant
flowers blooming profusely in every window, and often trailing
and climbing about its whole area. Here, I take it, is the home
of a real peasantry, a contented class, comfortable and looking
for no higher lot. These houses seem durable and ultimate.
The roofs of both houses and piazzas are broken, projected,
picturesque, and often ornamented. They shelter, they protect,
they brood, they embrace. There are little trellises and cornices
and fanciful adornments. The solid homeliness is fringed with
elegance. The people and the houses do not own each other, but
they are married. There is love between them, and pride, and a
hearty understanding. I can think of a country where you see
little brown or red clapboarded houses that are neither solid
nor elegant, that are both slight and awkward,--angular and
shingly and dismal. The roofs are intended just to cover the
houses, and are scanty at that. The sides are straight, the
windows inexorable; and for flowers you have a hollyhock or two,
and perhaps an uncomfortably tall sunflower, sovereign for hens.
There is no home-look and no home-atmosphere. I love that country
better than I like this; but, if you kill me for it, this drive is
picturesque. These dumpy little smooth, white, flounced and
flowered cottages look like wicker-gates to a happy valley,--
born, not built. The cottages of the country, in my thoughts,
yes, and in my heart, are neither born nor built, but "put
up,"--just for convenience, just to lodge in while waiting for
something better, or till the corn is grown. Coming man,
benefactor of our race, you who shall show us how to be
contented without being sluggish,--how to be restful, and yet
aspiring,--how to take the goods the gods provide us, without
losing out of manly hearts the sweet sense of providing,--how
to plant happy feet firmly on the present, and not miss from
eager eyes the inspiriting outlook of the future,--how to make
a wife of today, and not a mistress of tomorrow,--come quickly
to a world that sorely needs you, and bring a fresh evangel.

The current of our thoughts is broken in upon by a new and
peculiar institution. Every single child, and every group of
children on the road, leaves its play as we pass by, and all
dart upon us on both sides of the carriage, almost under the
wheels, almost under the horses' feet, with out-stretched
blackened hands, and intense bright black eyes, running,
panting, shouting, "Un sou! un sou! un sou!" I do not think
I am quite in love with this as an institution, but it is very
lively as a spectacle; and the little fleet-footed, long-winded
beggars show a touching confidence in human nature. There is
no servility in their beggary; and when it is glossed over with
a thin mercantile veneering, by the brown little paws holding
out to you a gorgeous bouquet of one clover-blossom, two
dandelions, and a quartette of sorrel-leaves, why, it ceases
to be beggarly, and becomes traffic overlaid with grace, the
acanthus capital surmounting the fluted shaft. We meet also
continual dog-carts, something like the nondescript which
"blind Carwell" used to drag. Did you never see it? Well,
then, like the cart in which the ark went up to Kirjath-jearim.
Now you must know. Stubborn two-wheeled vehicles, with the
whole farm loaded into the body, and the whole family on the
seat. Here comes one drawn by a cow, not unnatural. Unnatural!
It is the key-note of the tune. Everything is cow-y,--slow and
sure, firm, but not fast, kindly, sunny, ruminant, heavy,
lumbering, basking, content. Calashes also we meet,--a cumbrous,
old-fashioned "one-hoss shay," with a yellow body, a suspicion of
springlessness, wheels with huge spokes and broad rims, and the
driver sitting on the dash-board. Now we are at the Falls of
Montmorency. If you would know how they look, go and see them.
If you have seen them, you don't need a description; and if you
have not seen them, a description would do no good. From the
Falls, if you are unsophisticated, you will resume your carriage
and return to the city; but if you are au fait, you will cross
the high-road, cross the pastures, and wind down a damp, mossy
wood-path to the steps of Montmorency,--a natural phenomenon,
quite as interesting as, and more remarkable than, the Falls,--
especially if you go away without seeing it. Any river can
fall when it comes to a dam. In fact, there is nothing for it
to do but fall; but it is not every river that can carve out
in its rage such wonderful stairways as this,--seething and
foaming and roaring and leaping through its narrow and
narrowing channel, with all the turbulence of its fiery soul
unquelled, though the grasp of Time is on its throat, silent,
mighty, irresistible.

Montmorency,--Montmorenci,--sweet and storied name! You, too,
have received the awful baptism. Blood has mingled with your
sacrifices. The song of your wild waves has been lost in the
louder thunders of artillery, and the breezes sweeping through
these green woods have soothed the agonies of dying men. Into
one heart this ancient name, heavy with a weight of disaster
and fancied disgrace, sank down like lead,--a burden which only
death could cast off, only victory destroy; and death came hand
in hand with victory.

Driving home, we take more special note of what interested us
aggressively before,--Lord Elgin's residence,--the house
occupied by the Duke of Kent when a young man in the army here,
long I suppose before the throne of England placed itself at
the end of his vista. Did the Prince of Wales, I wonder, visit
this place, and, sending away his retinue, walk slowly alone
under the shadows of these sombre trees, striving to bring back
that far-off past, and some vague outline of the thoughts, the
feelings, the fears and fancies of his grandfather, then, like
himself, a young man, but, not like himself, a fourth son, poor
and an exile, with no foresight probably of the exaltation that
awaited his line,--his only child to be not only the lady of
his land, but our lady of the world,--a warm-hearted woman
worthily seated on the proud throne of Britain,--a noble and
great-souled woman, in whose sorrow nations mourn, for whose
happiness nations pray,--whose name is never spoken in this
far-off Western world but with a silent blessing. Another
low-roofed, many-roomed, rambling old house I stand up in the
carriage to gaze at lingeringly with longing, misty eyes,--
the sometime home of Field Marshal the Marquis de Montcalm.
Writing now of this in the felt darkness that pours up from
abandoned Fredericksburg, fearing not what the South may do in
its exultation, but what the North may do in its despondency,
I understand, as I understood not then, nor ever before, what
comfort came to the dying hero in the certain thought, "I shall
not live to see the surrender of Quebec."

Now again we draw near the city whose thousands of silver (or
perhaps tin) roofs dazzle our eyes with their resplendence, and
I have an indistinct impression of having been several times
packed out and in to see sundry churches, of which I remember
nothing except that I looked in vain to see the trophies of
captured colors that once hung there, commemorating the
exploits of the ancients,--and on the whole, I don't think I
care much about churches except on Sundays. Somewhere in
Canada--perhaps near Lorette--is some kind of a church, perhaps
the oldest, or the first Indian church in Canada,--or may be
it was interesting because it was burnt down just before we got
there. That is the only definite reminiscence I have of any
church in Quebec and its suburbs, and that is not so definite
as it might be. I am sure I inspected the church of St. Roque
and the church of St. John, because I have entered it in my
"Diary"; but if they were all set down on the table before me
at this moment, I am sure I could not tell which was which, or
that they had not been transported each and all from Boston.

But we ascend the cliff, we enter the citadel, we walk upon the
Plains of Abraham, and they overpower you with the intensity
of life. The heart beats in labored and painful pulsations
with the pressure of the crowding past. Yonder shines the
lovely isle of vines that gladdened the eyes of treacherous
Cartier, the evil requiter of hospitality. Yonder from Point
Levi the laden ships go gayly up the sparkling river, a festive
foe. Night drops her mantle, and silently the unsuspected
squadron floats down the stealthy waters, and debarks its
fateful freight. Silently in the darkness, the long line of
armed men writhe up the rugged path. The rising sun reveals
a startling sight. The impossible has been attained. Now, too
late, the hurried summons sounds. Too late the deadly fire
pours in. Too late the thickets flash with murderous rifles.
Valor is no substitute for vigilance. Short and sharp the
grapple, and victor and vanquished alike lie down in the arms
of all-conquering death. Where this little tree ventures forth
its tender leaves, Wolfe felt the bullet speeding to his heart.
Where this monument stands, his soldier-soul fled, all anguish
soothed away by the exultant shout of victory,--fled from
passion and pain, from strife and madness, into the eternal calm.

Again and again has this rock under my feet echoed to the tramp
of marching men. Again and again has this green and pleasant
plain been drenched with blood, this blue, serene sky hung with
the black pall of death. This broad level of pasture-land,
high up above the rushing waters of the river, but coldly wooed
by the faint northern sun, and fiercely swept by the wrathful
northern wind, has been the golden bough to many an eager
seeker. Against these pitiless cliffs full many a hope has
hurtled, full many a heart has broken. Oh the eyes that have
looked longingly hither from far Southern homes! Oh the
thoughts that have vaguely wandered over these bluffs,
searching among the shouting hosts, perhaps breathlessly among
the silent sleepers, for household gods! Oh the cold forms
that have lain upon these unnoting rocks! Oh the white cheeks
that have pressed this springing turf! Oh the dead faces
mutely upturned to God!

Struggle, conflict, agony,--how many of earth's Meccas have
received their chrism of blood! Thrice and four times hopeless
for humanity, if battle is indeed only murder, violence, lust
of blood, or power, or revenge,--if in that wild storm of
assault and defence and deathly hurt only the fiend and the
beast meet incarnate in man. But it cannot be. Battle is the
Devil's work, but God is there. When Montgomery cheered his
men up their toilsome ascent along this scarcely visible path
over the rough rocks, and the treacherous, rugged ice, was he
not upborne by an inward power, stronger than brute's, holier
than fiend's, higher than man's? When Arnold flung himself
against this fortress, when he led his forlorn hope up to these
sullen, deadly walls, when, after repulse and loss and bodily
suffering and weakness, he could still stand stanch against the
foe and exclaim, "I am in the way of my duty, and I know no
fear!" was it not the glorious moment of that dishonored life?
Battle is of the Devil, but surely God is there. The
intoxication of excitement, the sordid thirst for fame and
power, the sordid fear of defeat, may have its place; but
there, too, stand high resolve, and stern determination,--
pure love of country, the immortal longing for glory, ideal
aspiration, god-like self-sacrifice, loyalty to soul, to man,
to the Highest. The meanest passions of the brute may raven
on the battle-field, but the sublimest exaltations of man have
found there fit arena.

From the moment of our passing into the citadel enclosure, a
young soldier has accompanied us,--whether from caution or
courtesy,--and gives us various interesting, and sometimes
startling information. He assures us that these guns will fire
a ball eight miles,--a long range, but not so long as his bow,
I fear. I perceive several gashes or slits in the stone wall
of the buildings, and I ask him what they are. "Them are for
the soldiers' wives hin the garrison," he replies promptly.
I say nothing, but I do not believe they are for the soldiers'
wives. A soldier's wife could not get through them. "How many
soldiers in a regiment are allowed to have wives?" asks
Halicarnassus. "Heighty, sir," is the ready response. I am a
little horror-struck, when we leave, to see Halicarnassus hold
out his hand as if about to give money to this brave and
British soldier, and scarcely less so to see our soldier
receive it quietly. But I need not be, for my observation
should have taught me that small change--fees I believe it is
called--circulates universally in Canada. Out doors and in,
it is all one. Everybody takes a fee, and is not ashamed.
You fee at the falls, and you fee at the steps. You fee the
church, and here we have feed the army; and if we should call
on the Governor-General, I suppose one would drop a coin into
his outstretched palm, and he would raise his hat and say,
"Thank you, sir." I do not know whether there is any
connection between this fact and another which I noticed; but
if the observation be superficial, and the connection
imaginary, I shall be no worse off than other voyageurs, so I
will hazard the remark, that I saw very few intellectual or
elegant looking men and women in Quebec, or, for that matter,
in Canada. Everybody looked peasant-y or shoppy, except the
soldiers, and they were noticeably healthy, hale, robust, well
kept; yet I could not help thinking that it is a poor use to
put men to. These soldiers seem simply well-conditioned
animals, fat and full-fed; but not nervous, intellectual,
sensitive, spiritual. However, if the people of Canada are
not intellectual, they are pious. "Great on saints here," says
Halicarnassus. "They call their streets St. Genevieve, St.
Jean, and so on; and when they have run through the list, and
are hard up, they club them and have a Street of All Saints."

Canada seemed to be a kind of Valley of Jehoshaphat for
Secessionists. We scented the aroma somewhat at Saratoga;
nothing to speak of, nothing to lay hold of; but you were
conscious of a chill on your warm loyalty. There were petty
smirks and sneers and quips that you could feel, and not see
or hear. You SENSED, to use a rustic expression, the presence
of a class that was not palpably treasonable, but rather half
cotton. But at Canada it comes out all wool. The hot South
opens like a double rose, red and full. The English article is
cooler and supercilious. I say nothing, for my role is to see;
but Halicarnassus and the Anakim exchange views with the
greatest nonchalance, in spite of pokes and scowls and various
subtabular hints.

"What is the news?" says one to the other, who is reading the
morning paper.

"Prospect of English intervention," says the other to one.

"Then we are just in season to see Canada for the last time as
a British province," says the first.

"And must hurry over to England, if we design to see St. George
and the dragon tutelizing Windsor Castle," says the second;
whereupon a John Bull yonder looks up from his 'am and heggs,
and the very old dragon himself steps down from the banner-folds,
and glares out of those irate eyes, and the ubiquitous British
tourist, I have no doubt, took out his notebook, and put on his
glasses and wrote down for home consumption another instance of
the insufferable assurance of these Yankees.

"Where have you been?" I ask Halicarnassus, coming in late to

"Only planning the invasion of Canada," says he, coolly, as if
it were a mere pre-prandial diversion, all of which was not
only rude, but quite gratuitous, since, apart from the fact
that we might not be able to get Canada, I am sure we don't
want it. I am disappointed. I suppose I had no right to be.
Doubtless it was sheer ignorance, but I had the idea that it
was a great country, rich in promise if immature in fact,--a
nation to be added to a nation when the clock should strike the
hour,--a golden apple to fall into our hands when the fulness
of time should come. Such inspection as a few days'
observation can give, such inspection as British tourists find
sufficient to settle the facts and fate of nations, leads me
to infer that it is not golden at all, and not much of an
apple; and I cannot think what we should want of it, nor what
we should do with it if we had it. The people are radically
different from ours. Fancy those dark-eyed beggars and those
calm-mouthed, cowy-men in this eager, self-involved republic.
They might be annexed to the United States a thousand times and
never be united, for I do not believe any process in the world
would turn a French peasant into a Yankee farmer. Besides, I
cannot see that there is anything of Canada except a broad
strip along the St. Lawrence River. It makes a great show on
the map, but when you ferret it out, it is nothing but show--
and snow and ice and woods and barrenness; and I, for one,
hope we shall let Canada alone.

"I think we shall be obliged to leave Quebec tomorrow evening,"
says Halicarnassus, coming into the hotel parlor on Saturday

"Not at all," I exclaim, promptly laying an embargo on that

"Otherwise we shall be compelled to remain till Monday
afternoon at four o'clock."

"Which we can very contentedly do."

"But lose a day."

"Keeping the Sabbath holy is never losing a day," replies his
guide, philosopher, and friend, sententiously and severely,
partly because she thinks so, and partly because she is well
content to remain another day in Quebec.

"But as we shall not start till five o'clock," he lamely
pleads, "we can go to church twice like saints."

"And begin at five and travel like sinners."

"It will only be clipping off the little end of Sunday."

Now that is a principle the beginning of which is as when one
letteth out water, and I will no tolerate it. Short weights
are an abomination to the Lord. I would rather steal outright
than be mean. A highway robber has some claims upon respect;
but a petty, pilfering, tricky Christian is a damning spot on
our civilization. Lord Chesterfield asserts that a man's
reputation for generosity does not depend so much on what he
spends, as on his giving handsomely when it is proper to give
at all; and the gay lord builded higher and struck deeper than
he knew, or at least said. If a man thinks the Gospel does not
require the Sabbath to be strictly kept, I have nothing to say;
but if he pretends to keep it, let him keep the whole of it.
It takes twenty-four hours to make a day, whether it be the
first or the last of the week. I utterly reject the idea of
setting off a little nucleus of Sunday, just a few hours of
sermon, and then evaporating into any common day. I want the
good of Sunday from beginning to end. I want nothing but
Sunday between Saturday and Monday. Week-days filtering in
spoil the whole. What is the use of having a Sabbath-day, a
rest-day, if Mondays and Tuesdays are to be making continual
raids upon it? What good do dinner-party Sundays and
travelling Sundays and novel-reading Sundays do? You want
your Sunday for a rest,--a change,--a breakwater. It is a
day yielded to the poetry, to the aspirations, to the best and
highest and holiest part of man. I believe eminently in this
world. I have no kind of faith in a system that would push men
on to heaven without passing through a novitiate on earth.
What may be for us in the future is but vaguely revealed,--just
enough to put hope at the bottom of our Pandora's box; but our
business is in this world. Right through the thick and thin
of this world our path lies. Our strength, our worth, our
happiness, our glory, are to be attained through the occupations
and advantages of this world. Yet through discipline, and not
happiness, is the main staple here, it is not the only product.
Six days we must labor and do all work, but the seventh is a
holiday. Then we may drop the absorbing now, and revel in
anticipated joys,--lift ourselves above the dusty duties, the
common pleasures that weary and ensoil, even while they ennoble
us, and live for a little while in the bright clear atmosphere
of another life,--soothed, comforted, stimulated by the sweetness
of celestial harmonies.

"O day most calm, most bright,
The fruit of this, the next world's bud,
The indorsement of Supreme delight,
Writ by a Friend, and with his blood,--
The couch of time, care's balm and bay,--
The week were dark but for thy light,
Thy torch doth show the way."

He is no friend to man who would abate one jot or tittle of our
precious legacy.

Afloat in literature may be found much objurgation concerning
the enforced strictures of the old Puritan Sabbath. Perhaps
there was a mistake in that direction; but I was brought up on
them, and they never hurt me any. At least I was never
conscious of any harm, certainly of no suffering. As I look
back, I see no awful prisons and chains and gloom, but a
pleasant jumble of best clothes,--I remember now their smell
when the drawer was opened,--and Sunday-school lessons, and
baked beans, and a big red Bible with the tower of Babel in it
full of little bells, and a walk to church two miles through
the lane, over the bars, through ten-acres, over another pair
of bars, through a meadow, over another pair of bars, by Lubber
Hill, over a wall, through another meadow, through the woods,
over the ridge, by Black Pond, over a fence, across a railroad,
over another fence, through a pasture, through the long woods,
through a gate, through the low woods, through another gate,
out upon the high-road at last. And then there was the long
service, during which a child could think her own thoughts,
generally ranging no higher than the fine bonnets around her,
but never tired, never willing to stay at home; and then Sunday
school, and library-books, and gingerbread, and afternoon
service, and the long walk home or the longer drive, and
catechism in the evening and the never-failing Bible. O
Puritan Sabbaths! doubtless you were sometimes stormy without
and stormy within; but looking back upon you from afar, I see
no clouds, no snow, but perpetual sunshine and blue sky, and
ever eager interest and delight,--wild roses blooming under the
old stone wall, wild bees humming among the blackberry-bushes,
tremulous sweet columbines skirting the vocal woods, wild
geraniums startling their shadowy depths; and I hear now the
rustle of dry leaves, bravely stirred by childish feet, just
as they used to rustle in the October afternoons of long ago.
Sweet Puritan Sabbaths! breathe upon a restless world your
calm, still breath, and keep us from the evil!

Somewhat after this fashion I harangued Halicarnassus, who was
shamed into silence, but not turned from his purpose; but the
next morning he came up from below after breakfast, and
informed me, with an air mingled of the condescension of the
monarch and the resignation of the martyr, that, as I was so
scrupulous about travelling on the Sabbath, he had concluded
not to go till Monday afternoon. No, I said, I did not wish
to assume the conduct of affairs. I had given my protest, and
satisfied my own conscience; but I was not head of the party,
and did not choose to assume the responsibility of its
movements. I did not think it right to travel on Sunday, but
neither do I think it right for one person to compel a whole
party to change its plans out of deference to his scruples.
So I insisted that I would not cause detention. But
Halicarnassus insisted that he would not have my conscience
forced. Now it would seem natural that so tender and profound
a regard for my scruples would have moved me to a tender and
profound gratitude; but nobody understands Halicarnassus except
myself. He is a dark lane, full of crooks and turns,--a
labyrinth which nobody can thread without the clew. That clew
I hold. I know him. I can walk right through him in the
darkest night without any lantern. He is fully aware of it.
He knows that it is utterly futile for him to attempt to
deceive me, and yet, with the infatuation of a lunatic, he is
continually producing his flimsy little fictions for me as
continually to blow away. For instance, when we were walking
down the path to the steps of Montmorency, Grande called out
in delight at some new and beautiful white flowers beside the
path. What were they? I did not know. What are they,
Halicarnassus? "Ah! wax-flowers," says he, coming up, and
Grande passed on content, as would ninety-nine out of a
hundred; but an indescribable something in his air convinced
me that he was not drawing on his botany for his facts. I
determined to get at the root of the matter.

"Do you mean," I asked, "that the name of those flowers is

"Of course," he replied. "Why not?"

"Do you mean," I persisted, confirmed in my suspicions by his
remarkable question, "that you know that they are wax-flowers,
or that you do not know that they are not wax-flowers?"

"Why, look at 'em for yourself. Can't you see with your own
eyes?" he ejaculated, attempting to walk on.

I planted myself full in front of him. "Halicarnassus, one
step further except over my lifeless body you do not go, until
you tell me whether those are or are not wax-flowers?"

"Well," he said, brought to bay at last, and sheepishly enough
whisking off the heads of a dozen or two with his cane, "if
they are not that, they are something else." There!

So when he showed his delicate consideration for my conscience,
I was not grateful, but watchful. I detected under the glitter
something that was not gold. I made very indifferent and
guarded acknowledgments, and silently detached a corps of
observation. In five minutes it came out that no train left
Quebec on Sunday!


So we remained over Sunday in Quebec, and in the morning
attended service at the French Cathedral; and as we all had the
American accomplishments of the "Nonne, a Prioresse," who spoke

"ful fayre and fetisly
After the scole of Stratford atte Bowe,
The Frenche of Paris was to hire unknowe,"

it may be inferred that we were greatly edified by the service.
From the French, as one cannot have too much of a good thing,
we proceeded without pause to the English Cathedral,--cathedral
by courtesy?--and heard a sermon by a Connecticut bishop,
which, however good, was a disappointment, because we wanted
the flavor of the soil. And after dinner we walked on the high
and sightly Durham terrace, and then went to the Scotch church,
joined in Scotch singing, and heard a broad Scotch sermon. So
we tried to worship as well as we could; but it is impossible
not to be sight-seeing where there are sights to see, and for
that matter I don't suppose there is any harm in it. You don't
go to a show; but if the church and the people and the minister
are all a show, what can you do about it?

As I sat listening in the French Cathedral to a service I but
a quarter comprehended, the residual three fourths of me went
wandering at its own sweet will, and queried why it is that a
battle-ground should so stir the blood, while a church suffers
one to pass calmly and coldly out through its portals. I do
not believe it is total depravity; for though the church stands
for what is good, the battle-field does not stand for all that
is bad. The church does indeed represent man's highest
aspirations, his longings for holiness and heaven. But the
battle-field speaks not, I think, of retrogression. It is in
the same line as the church. It stands in the upward path.
The church and its influences are the dew and sunshine and
spring rains that nourish a gentle, wholesome growth. Battle
is the mighty convulsion that marks a geologic era. The fierce
throes of battle upheave a continent. The church clothes it
with soft alluvium, adorns it with velvet verdure, enriches it
with fruits and grains, glorifies it with the beauty of blooms.
In the struggle all seems to be chaos and destruction; but
after each shock the elevation is greater. Perhaps it is that
always the concussion of the shock impresses, while the soft,
slow, silent constancy accustoms us and is unheeded; but I
think there is another cause. In any church you are not sure
of sincerity, of earnestness. Church building and church
organization are the outgrowth of man's wants, and mark his
upward path; but you do not know of a certainty whether this
individual edifice represents life, or vanity, ostentation,
custom, thrift. You look around upon the worshippers in a
church, and you are not usually thrilled. You do not see the
presence and prevalence of an absorbing, exclusive idea.
Devotion does not fix them. They are diffusive, observant,
often apparently indifferent, sometimes positively EXHIBITIVE.
They adjust their draperies, whisper to their neighbors, took
vacant about the mouth. The beat of a drum or the bleat of a
calf outside disturbs and distracts them. An untimely comer
dissipates their attention. They are floating, loose,
incoherent, at the mercy of trifles. The most inward, vital
part of religion does not often show itself in church, though
it be nursed and nurtured there. So when we go into an empty
church, it is--empty. Hopes, fears, purposes, ambitions, the
eager hours of men, do not pervade and penetrate those courts.
The walls do not flame with the fire of burning hearts. The
white intensity of life may never have glowed within them. No
fragrance of intimate, elemental passion lingers still. No
fine aroma of being clings through the years and suffuses you
with its impalpable sweetness, its subtile strength. You are
not awed, because the Awful is not there. But on the battle-
field you have no doubt. Imagination roams at will, but in the
domains of faith. Realities have been there, and their ghosts
walk up and down forever. There men met men in deadly earnest.
Right or wrong, they stood face to face with the unseen, the
inevitable. The great problem awaited them, and they bent
fiery souls to its solution. But one idea moved them all and
wholly. They threw themselves body and soul into the raging
furnace. All minor distractions were burned out. Every self
was fused and lost in one single molten flood, dashing madly
against its barrier to whelm in rapturous victory or be broken
in sore defeat.

And it is earnestness that utilizes the good. It is sincerity
that makes the bad not infernal.

Monday gave us the Indian village, more Indian-y than
village-y,--and the Falls of Lorette. For a description, see
the Falls of Montmorency. Lorette is more beautiful, I think,
more wild, more varied, more sympathetic,--not so precipitous,
not so concentrated, not so forceful, but more picturesque,
poetic, sylvan, lovely. The descent is long, broad, and
broken. The waters flash and foam over the black rocks like
a white lace veil over an Ethiop belle, and then rush on to
other woodland scenes.

We left Quebec ignobly, crossing the river in a steamer to
which the eminently English adjective nasty can fitly apply,--
a wheezy, sputtering, black, crazy old craft, muddy enough
throughout to have been at the bottom of the river and sucked
up again half a dozen times. With care of the luggage, shawls,
hackmen, and tickets, we all contrived to become separated, and
I found myself crushed into one corner of a little Black Hole
of Calcutta, with no chair to sit in, no space to stand in, and
no air to breathe, on the sultriest day that Canada had known
for years. What windows there were opened by swinging inwards
and upwards, which they could not do for the press, and after
you had got them up, there was no way to keep them there except
to stand and hold them at arm's length. So we waddled across
the river. Now we have all read of shipwrecks, and the moral
grandeur of resignation and calmness which they have developed.
We have read of drowning, and the gorgeous intoxication of the
process. But there is neither grandeur nor gorgeousness in
drowning in a tub. If you must sink, you at least would like
to go down gracefully, in a stately ship, in mid-ocean, in a
storm and uproar, bravely, decorously, sublimely, as the
soldiers in Ravenshoe, drawn up in line, with their officers
at their head, waving to each other calm farewells. I defy
anybody to be graceful or heroic in plumping down to the
bottom of a city river amid a jam of heated, hurried, panting,
angry passengers, mountains of trunks, carpet-bags, and
indescribable plunder, and countless stratifications of
coagulated, glutinous, or pulverized mud. To the credit of
human nature it must be said, that the sufferers kept the peace
with each other, though vigorously denouncing the unknown
author of all their woes. After an age of suffocation and
fusion, there came a stir which was a relief because it was a
stir. Nobody seemed to know the cause or consequence, but
everybody moved; so I moved, and bobbing, fumbling, groping
through Egyptian darkness, stumbling over the beams, crawling
under the boilers, creeping through the steam-pipes, scalping
ourselves against the funnels, we finally came out gasping into
the blessed daylight. "Here you are!" exclaimed cheerily the
voice of Halicarnassus, as I went winking and blinking in the
unaccustomed light. "I began to think I had lost my cane,"--
he had given it to me when he went to look up the trunks.
"Why?" I asked faintly, not yet fully recovered from my long
incarceration. "It is so long since I saw you, that I thought
you must have fallen overboard," was his gratifying reply. I
was still weak, but I gathered up my remaining strength and
plunged the head of the cane, a dog's head it was, into his
heart. His watch, or his Bible, or something interposed, and
rescued him from the fate he merited; and then we rode over the
miserable, rickety farther end of the Grand Trunk Railway, and
reached Island Pond at midnight,--in time to see the
magnificent Northern Lights flashing, flickering, wavering,
streaming, and darting over the summer sky; and as the people
in the Pond were many and the rooms few, we had plenty of time
to enjoy the sight. It was exciting, fascinating, almost
bewildering; and feeling the mystic mood, I proposed to write
a poem on it, to which Halicarnassus said he had not the
smallest objection, provided he should not be held liable to
read it, adding, as he offered me his pencil, that it was just
the thing,--he wanted some narcotic to counteract the stimulus
of the fresh cold air after the long and heated ride, or he
should get no sleep for the night.

I do not believe there is in our beautiful but distracted
country a single person who is the subject of so cold-blooded,
unprovoked, systematic, malignant neglect and abuse on any one
point as the writer of these short and simple annals on this.
If there is one thing in the whole range of human possibilities
on which I pride myself, it is my poetry. I cannot do much at
prose. That requires a depth, an equilibrium, a comprehension,
a sagacity, a culture, which I do not possess and cannot
command. Nor in the domestic drudgery line, nor the parlor
ornament line, nor the social philanthropic line, nor the
ministering angel line, can I be said to have a determinate
value. As an investment, as an economic institution, as an
available force, I suppose I must be reckoned a failure; but
I do write lovely poetry. That I insist on: and yet,
incredible as it may seem, of that one little ewe lamb have I
been repeatedly and remorselessly robbed by an unscrupulous
public, and a still more unscrupulous private. Whenever I
come into the room with a sheet of manuscript in my hand,
Halicarnassus glances at it, and if the lines are not all of
the same length, he finds at once that he has to go and shovel
a path, or bank up the cellar, or get in the wood, unless I
have taken the precaution to lock the door and put the key in
my pocket. When, by force or fraud, I have compelled a
reluctant audience, he is sure to strike in by the time I have
got to the second stanza, breaking right into the middle of a
figure or a rapture, and asking how much more there is of it.
I know of few things better calculated to extinguish the poetic
fire than this. I regret to be obliged to say that
Halicarnassus, by his persistent hostility,--I believe I may
say, persecution,--has disseminated his plebeian prejudices
over a very large portion of our joint community, and my muse
consequently is held in the smallest esteem. Not but that
whenever there is a church to be dedicated, or a centennial to
be celebrated, or a picnic to be sung, or a fair to be closed,
I am called on to furnish the poetry, which, with that
sweetness of disposition which forms a rare but fitting
background to poetic genius, I invariably do, to be praised
and thanked for a week, and then to be again as before told,
upon the slightest provocation, "You better not meddle with
verses." "You stick to prose." "Verses are not your forte."
"You can't begin to come up with ----, and ----, and ----."
On that auroral night, crowned with the splendors of the wild
mystery of the North, I am sure that the muse awoke and stirred
in the depths of my soul, and needed but a word of recognition

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