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Title: Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol. XII. No. 30. September, 1873

Author: Various

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Language: English

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LIPPINCOTT'S MAGAZINE

OF

POPULAR LITERATURE AND SCIENCE.


SEPTEMBER, 1873.
Vol XII, No. 30.




TABLE OF CONTENTS

ILLUSTRATIONS.

THE NEW HYPERION [Illustrated] by EDWARD STRAHAN.

III.—The Feast Of Saint Athanasius. (249)

TWO MOODS by MARY STEWART DOUBLEDAY. (261)

THE RIDE OF PRINCE GERAINT by MARTIN I. GRIFFIN. (262)

SKETCHES OF EASTERN TRAVEL. [Illustrated]

I.—The Count De Beauvoir In China. (263)

A PRINCESS OF THULE by WILLIAM BLACK.

Chapter XIV.—Deeper And Deeper. (275)

Chapter XV.—A Friend In Need. (285)

ENGLISH COURT FESTIVITIES (294)

RAMBLES AMONG THE FRUITS AND FLOWERS OF THE TROPICS by FANNIE R. FEUDGE.

Concluding Paper (302)

A LOTOS OF THE NILE by CHRISTIAN REID. (309)

ECHO. by A.J. (321)

OUR HOME IN THE TYROL [Illustrated] by MARGARET HOWITT.

Chapter IX. (322)

Chapter X. (327)

COLORADO AND THE SOUTH PARK by S.C. CLARKE. (332)

THE PATRONS OF HUSBANDRY by MARIE ROWLAND. (338)

ON THE CHURCH STEPS by SARAH C. HALLOWELL.

Chapter VI. (343)

Chapter VII. (346)

Chapter VIII. (348)

Chapter IX. (352)

HOW THEY "KEEP A HOTEL" IN TURKEY by EDWIN DE LEON. (354)

OUR MONTHLY GOSSIP.

The Californian At Vienna by PRENTICE MULFORD. (357)

Ghostly Warriors. (360)

A Warning To Lovers. (362)

NOTES. (363)

LITERATURE OF THE DAY. (365)

Books Received.



ILLUSTRATIONS

THE PAULISTS.

THE REWARD OF AN INVENTOR.

CARDINAL BALUE.

AN UNCIVIL ENGINEER.

LOCOMONIAC POSSESSION.

LE RAINCY: THE CHATEAU.

CATHEDRAL OF MEAUX.

BOURSAULT, THE RESIDENCE OF CLIQUOT.

CHURCH-DOOR, ÉPERNAY.

THE BEGGAR WHO DRANK CHAMPAGNE.

ADMIRATION.

MAC MEURTRIER.

THE BLACK DOMINO.

TAM O'SHANTER'S RIDE.

THE CROOKED MAN.

THE GRAVITY ROAD.

THE ANIMATED CELLS.

THE TRAVELER'S REST.

PALACE AT STRASBURG.

THE MANDARIN CHING'S CART.

HALT OF THE CARAVAN AT HO-CHI-WOU.

AVENUE OF ANIMALS LEADING TO THE TOMBS OF THE EMPERORS.

PORTICO TO THE TOMBS OF THE EMPERORS.

THE GREAT WALL: THE NANG-KAO PASS.

CHAPEL OF THE SUMMER PALACE.

VALLEY AND BEEHIVES.

COWS COMING DOWN THE HILLSIDE BY A MOUNTAIN STREAM.

A PROCESSION.



[pg 249]

THE NEW HYPERION.

FROM PARIS TO MARLY BY WAY OF THE RHINE.

III.—THE FEAST OF SAINT ATHANASIUS.

THE PAULISTS.THE PAULISTS.

As I parted from my stout old friend Joliet, I saw him turn to empty the last half of our bottle into the glasses of a couple of tired soldiers who were sucking their pipes on a bench. And again the old proverb of Aretino came into my head: "Truly all courtesy and good manners come from taverns." I grasped my botany-box and pursued my promenade toward Noisy.

The village of Noisy has made (without a pun) some noise in history. One of its ancient lords, Enguerrand de Marigny, was the inventor of the famous gibbet of Montfauçon, and in the poetic justice which should ever govern such cases he came to be hung on his own gallows. He was convicted of manifold extortions, and launched by the common executioner into that eternity whither he could carry none of his ill-gotten gains with him. Here, at least, we succeed in meeting a guillotine which catches its maker. By a singular coincidence another lord of Noisy, Cardinal Balue, underwent a long detention in an iron-barred cage—one of those famous cages, so much favored by Louis XI., of which the cardinal, as we learn from the records of the time, had the patent-right for invention, or at least improvement. Once firmly engaged in his own torture—while his friend Haraucourt, bishop of Verdun, experienced alike penalty in [pg 250] a similar box, and the foxy old king paced his narrow oratory in the Bastile tower overhead—we may be sure that Balue gave his inventive mind no more to the task of fortifying his cages, but rather to that of opening them.

THE REWARD OF AN INVENTOR.
THE REWARD OF AN INVENTOR.

These ugly reminiscences were not so much the cause of a prejudice I took against Noisy, as caused by it. At Noisy I was in the full domain of my ancient foe the railway, where two lines of the Eastern road separate—the Ligne de Meaux and the Ligne de Mulhouse. The sight of the unhappy second-class passengers powdered with dust, and of the frantic nurses who had mistaken their line, and who madly endeavored to leap across to the other train, stirred all my bile. It was on this current of thought that the nobleman who had been hung and the cardinal who had pined in a cage were borne upon my memory. "Small choice," said I, "whether the bars are perpendicular or horizontal. You lose your independence about equally by either monopoly."

CARDINAL BALUE.
CARDINAL BALUE.

I crossed the Canal de l'Ourcq, and watched it stretching like a steel tape to meet the Canal Saint—Denis and the Canal Saint-Martin in the great basin at La Villette—a construction which, finished in 1809, was the making of La Villette as a commercial and industrial entrepôt. I meant to walk to Bondy, and after a botanic stroll in its beautiful forest to retrace my steps, gaining Marly next day by Baubigny, Aubervilliers and Nanterre. "The Aladdins of our time," I said as I leaned over the soft gray water, "are the engineers. They rub their theodolites, and there springs up, not a palace, but a town."

AN UNCIVIL ENGINEER.
AN UNCIVIL ENGINEER.

"Who speaks of engineers?" said a strong baritone voice as a weighty hand fell on my shoulder. "Are you here to take the train at Noisy?"

"Let the train go to Jericho! I am trying, on the contrary, to get away from it."

"Do you mean, then, to go on foot to Épernay?"

"What do you mean, Épernay?"

"Why, have you forgotten the feast of Saint Athanasius?"

"What do you mean, Athanasius?"

The baritone belonged to one of my [pg 251] friends, an engineer from Boston. He had an American commission to inspect the canals of Europe on the part of a company formed to buy out the Sound line of steamers and dig a ship-canal from Boston to Providence. The engineer had made his inspection the excuse for a few years of not disagreeable travel, during which time the company had exploded, its chief financier having cut his throat when his peculations came out to the public.

LOCOMONIAC POSSESSION.
LOCOMONIAC POSSESSION.

"Are you trying, then, to escape from one of your greatest possible duties and one of your greatest possible pleasures? You have the remarkable fortune to possess a friend named Athanasius; you have in addition, the strange fate to be his godfather by secondary baptism; and you would, after these unparalleled chances, be the sole renegade from the vow which you have extracted from the others."

The words were uncivil and rude, the hand was on my shoulder like a vise; but there floated into my head a recollection of one of the pleasantest evenings I have ever enjoyed.

We were dining with James Grandstone, one of my young friends. I have some friends of whom I might be the father, and doubt not I could find a support for my practice in Sir Thomas Browne or Jeremy Taylor if I had time to look up the quotation. We dined in the little restaurant Ober, near the Odéon, with a small party of medical students, to which order Grandstone's friends mostly belonged. We were all young that night; and truly I hold that the affectionate confusion of two or three different generations adds a charm to friendship.

LE RAINCY: THE CHATEAU.
LE RAINCY: THE CHATEAU.

At dessert the conversation happened to strike upon Christian names. I attacked the cognomens in ordinary use, maintaining that their historic significance was lost, their religious sentiment forgotten, their euphony mostly questionable. Alfred, Henry and William no longer carried the thoughts back to the English kings—Joseph and Reuben were powerless to remind us of the mighty family of Israel.

[pg 252]

"I have no complaint to make of my own name," I protested, "which has been praised by Dannecker the sculptor. That was at Würtemberg, gentlemen. 'You are from America,' the old man said to me, 'but you have a German name: Paul Flemming was one of our old poets.' The thought has been a pleasant one to me, though I have not the faintest idea what my ancient godparent wrote. But in the matter of originality my Christian name of Paul certainly leaves much to desire."

CATHEDRAL OF MEAUX.
CATHEDRAL OF MEAUX.

I was gay enough that evening, and in the vein for a paradox. I set up the various Pauls of our acquaintance, and maintained that in any company of fifty persons, if a feminine voice were to call out "Paul!" through the doorway, six husbands at least would start and say, "Coming, dear!" I computed the Pauls belonging to one of the grand nations, and proved that an army recruited from them would be large enough to carry on a war against a power of the second order.

"If the Jameses were to reinforce the Pauls," I declared, looking toward my young host, "Russia itself would tremble.—Are you to make your start in life with no better name?" I asked him maliciously. "Must you be for ever kept in mediocrity by an address that is not the designation of an individual, but of a whole nation? Could you not have been called by something rather less oecumenical?"

"You may style me by what title you please, Mr. Flemming," said Grandstone nonchalantly. "I am to enter a great New York wine-house after a little examination of the grape-country here. Doubtless a Grandstone will have, by any other name, a bouquet as sweet."

The idea took. An almanac of saints' days, which is often printed in combination with the menu of a restaurant, was lying on the table. Beginning at the letter A, the name of Ambrose was within an ace of being chosen, but Grandstone protested against it as too short, and Athanasius was the first of five syllables that presented. Our engineering friend, who was present, had in his pocket a vial of water from the Dardanelles, which fouls ships' bottoms; and with that classic liquid the baptism was effected by myself, the bottle being broken on poor Grandstone's crown as on the prow of a ship.

"You are no longer James to us, but Athanasius," I said. "If you remain moderately virtuous, we will canonize you. Meantime, let us vow to meet on the next canonical day of Saint Athanasius and hold a love-feast."

We drank his health, and glorified him, and laughed, and the next day I forgot whether Grandstone was called Athanasius or Epaminondas. And my confusion on the subject had not clarified in the least up to the rude reminder given by my engineer.

"I had quite forgotten my engagement," I confessed. "Besides, Grandstone [pg 253] is living now, as you remind me, at Épernay—that is to say, at seventy or eighty miles' distance."

"Say three hours," he retorted: "on a railway line we don't count by miles. But are you really not here at Noisy to satisfy your promise and report yourself for the feast of Saint Athanasius? If you are not bound for Épernay, where are you bound?"

"I am off for Marly."

"You are going in just the contrary direction, old fellow. You can be at Épernay sooner."

"And Hohenfels joins me at Marly to-morrow," I continued, rather helplessly; "and Josephine my cook is there this afternoon boiling the mutton-hams."

"Fine arguments, truly! You shall sleep to-night in Paris, or even at Marly, if you see fit. I have often heard you argue against railroads—a fine argument for a geographer to uphold against an engineer! Now is the instant to bury your prejudice. Do you see that soft ringlet of smoke off yonder? It is the message of the locomotive, offering to reconcile your engagements with Grandstone and Hohenfels. Come, get your ticket!"

BOURSAULT, THE RESIDENCE OF CLIQUOT.
BOURSAULT, THE RESIDENCE OF CLIQUOT.

And his hand ceased squeezing my shoulder like a pincer to beat it like a mallet. A rapid sketch of the situation was mapped out in my head. I could reach Épernay by five o'clock, returning at eight, and, notwithstanding this little lasso flung over the champagne-country, I could resume my promenade and modify in no respect my original plan; and I could say to Hohenfels, "My boy, I have popped a few corks with the widow Cliquot."

Such was my vision. The gnomes of the railway, having once got me in their grasp, disposed of me as they liked, and quite unexpectedly.

From the car-window, as in a panorama of Banvard's, the landscape spun out before my eyes. Le Raincy, which I had intended to visit at all events on the same day, but afoot, offered me the roofs of its ancient château, a pile built in the most pompous spirit of the Renaissance, and whose alternately round and square pavilions, tipped with steep mansards, I was fain to people with throngs of gay visitors in the costume of the grand siècle. Then came the cathedral of Meaux, before which I reverently took off my cap to salute the great Bossuet—"Eagle of Meaux," as they justly called him, and on the whole a noble [pg 254] bird, notwithstanding that he sang his Te Deum over some exceedingly questionable battle-grounds. Then there presented itself a monument at which my engineering friend clapped his hands. It was a crown of buildings with extinguisher roofs encircling the brow of a hill, and presenting the antique appearance of some chastel of the Middle Ages.

CHURCH-DOOR, ÉPERNAY.
CHURCH-DOOR, ÉPERNAY.

"Do you see those round, pot-bellied towers, like tuns of wine stood upon end?" he said—"those donjons at the corners, tapering at the top, and presenting the very image of noble bottles? There needs nothing but that palace to convince you that you have arrived in the champagne region."

"I do not know the building," I confessed.

"Can you not guess? Ah, but you should see it in a summer storm, when the rain foams and spirts down those huge bottles of mason-work, and the thunder pops among the roofs like the corks of a whole basket of champagne! That fine castle, Flemming, is the château of Boursault, apparently built in the era of the Crusades, but really a marvel of yesterday. It rose into being, not to the sound of a lyre, like the towers of Troy, but at the bursting of innumerable bottles, causing to resound all over the world the name of the widow Cliquot."

At length we entered the station of Épernay. There I received my first shock in learning that the only return-train stopping at Noisy was one which left at midnight, and would land me in the extreme suburbs of Paris at three o'clock in the morning.

Our friend Grandstone, whom we found amazing the streets of Épernay with a light American buggy drawn by a colossal Morman horse, received us with still more surprise than delight. He had relapsed into plain James, and had never dreamed that his second baptism would bear fruit. Besides, he proved to us that we were in error as to the date. The feast of Saint Athanasius, as he showed from a calendar shoved beneath a quantity of vintners' cards on his study-table, fell on the second of May, and could not be celebrated before the evening of the first. It was now the thirtieth of April. He invited us, then, for the next day at dinner, warning us at the same time that the evening of that same morrow would see him on his way to the Falls of Schaffhausen. This idea of dining with an absentee puzzled me.

THE BEGGAR WHO DRANK CHAMPAGNE.
THE BEGGAR WHO DRANK CHAMPAGNE.

We both laughed heartily at the engineer's mistake of twenty-four hours, and he for his part made me his excuses.

Athanasius—whose name I obstinately keep, because it gives him, as I maintain, [pg 255] a more distinct individuality,—Athanasius happened to be driving out for the purpose of collecting some friends whom he was about to accompany to Schaffhausen, and whom he had invited to dinner. He contrived to stow away two in his buggy, and the rest assembled in his chambers. We dined gayly and voraciously, and I hardly regretted even that old hotel-dinner at Interlaken, when the landlord waited on us in his green coat, and when Mary Ashburton was by my side, and when I praised hotel-dinners because one can say so much there without being overheard.

Dinner over, we went out for a stroll through the town. The city of Épernay offers little remarkable except its Rue du Commerce, flanked with enormous buildings, and its church, conspicuous only for a flourishing portal in the style of Louis XIV., in perfect contradiction to the general architecture of the old sanctuary. The environs were little note worthy at the season, for a vineyard-land has this peculiarity—its veritable spring, its pride of May, arrives in the autumn.

ADMIRATION.
ADMIRATION.

One very vinous trait we found, however, in the person of a beggar. He was sitting on Grandstone's steps as we emerged. Aged hardly fourteen, he had turned his young nose toward the rich fumes coming up from the kitchen with a look of sensuality and indulgence that amused me. The maid, on a hint of mine, gave him a biscuit and the remainders of our bottles emptied into a bowl. A smile of extreme breadth and intelligence spread over his face. Opening his bag, he laid by the biscuit, and extracted a morsel of iced cake: at the same time he produced an old-fashioned, long-waisted champagne-glass, nicked at the rim and quite without a stand. Filling this from his bowl, he drank to the health of the waitress with the easiest politeness it was ever my lot to see. Ragged as a beggar of Murillo's, courteous as a hidalgo by Velasquez, he added a grace and an epicurism completely French. I thought him the best possible figure-head for that opulent spot, cradle of the hilarity of the world. I gave him five francs.

MAC MEURTRIER.
MAC MEURTRIER.

We proceeded to admire the town. The great curiosities of Épernay, its glory and pomp, are not permitted to see the daylight. They are subterranean and introverted. They are the cellars. Those rich colonnades of Commerce street, all those porticoes surmounted with Greek or Roman triangles in the nature of pediments, of what antique [pg 256] religion are they the representations? They are cellar-doors.

THE BLACK DOMINO.
THE BLACK DOMINO.

It was impossible to quit the city without visiting its cellars, said Grandstone, and we betook ourselves under his guidance to one of the most renowned.

I only thought of seeing a battle-field of bottles, but I found the Eleusinian mysteries.

TAM O'SHANTER'S RIDE.
TAM O'SHANTER'S RIDE.

In the temple-porch of Eleusis was fixed a large pale face, in the middle parts of which a red nose was glowing like a fuse. Several other personages, in company with this visage, received us on our approach with a world of solemn and terrifying signals.

Directly a man in a cloak and slouched hat, and holding in his hands a wire fencing-mask, extinguished with it the red nose. The latter met his fate with stolid fortitude. All were perfectly still, but the twitching cheeks of most of the spectators betrayed a laugh retained with difficulty. The cloak then advanced, like a less beautiful Norma, to a bell in the portico, and struck three tragical strokes. A strong, pealing bass voice came from the interior: "Who dares knock at this door?"

"A night-bird," said the man in the cloak, who took the part of spokesman. "What has the night-bird to do with the eagle?" replied the strong voice. "What can there be in common between the heathen in his blindness and the Ancient of the Mountain throned in power and splendor?"

"Grand Master, it is in that splendor the new-comer wishes to plunge." After this imitation of some Masonic mystery the red-nosed man was quickly taken by the shoulders and hurtled in at the door, where a flare of red theatrical fire illuminated his sudden plunge.

"What nonsense is this?" I said to Athanasius.

"The man in the iron mask," he explained, "is in that respect what we shall all be in a minute. Without such a protector, in passing amongst the first year's bottles we might receive a few hits in the face."

"And do you know the new apprentice?"

"No: some stranger, evidently."

THE CROOKED MAN.
THE CROOKED MAN.

"It is not hard to guess his extraction," [pg 257] said one of our dinner-party. "In the East there are sorcerers with two pupils in each eye. For his part, he seems to be braced with two pans in each knee. He is long in the stilts like a heron, square—headed and square-shouldered: I give you my word he is a Scotchman. For certain," he added, "I have seen his likeness somewhere—Ah yes, in an engraving of Hogarth's!"

The author of this charitable criticism was a little crooked gentleman, at whose side I had dined—a man of sharpness and wit, for which his hunch gave him the authority. As we penetrated finally into the immense crypt, long like a street, provided with iron railways for handling the stores, and threaded now and then by heavy wagons and Normandy horses, my interest in the surrounding wonders was distracted by apprehensions of the fate awaiting the unfortunate red nose.

THE GRAVITY ROAD
THE GRAVITY ROAD.

The gallop of a steed was heard at length, then a dreadful exploding noise. I should have thought that a hundred drummers were marching through the catacombs.

Relieved of his mask, fixed like a dry forked stick, wrong side foremost, on a frightened steed which galloped down the avenue, and pursued by the racket of empty bottles beaten against the wine-frames, came the Scotchman, like an unwilling Tam O'Shanter. At a new outburst of resonant noises, which we could not help offering to the general confusion, the horse stopped, and assumed twice or thrice the attitude of a gymnast who walks on his hands. The figure of the man, still rigid, flew up into the air like a stick that pops out of the water. The Terrible Brothers received him in their arms.

Hardly restored to equilibrium, the patient was quickly replaced in the saddle, but the saddle was this time girded upon a barrel, and the barrel placed upon a truck, and the truck upon an inclined tramway. His impassive countenance might be seen to kindle with indignation and horror, as the hat which had been jammed over his eyes flew off, and he found himself gliding over an iron road at a rate of speed continually increasing.

He was fated to other tests, but at this point a little discussion arose among ourselves. Grandstone, his fluffy young whiskers quite disheveled with laughter, said, "Fellows, we had better stop somewhere. There will be more of this, and it will be tedious to see in the rôle of uninvited spectators, and it is not certain [pg 258] we are wanted. I always knew there was a Society of Pure Illumination at Épernay. It is not a Masonic order, but it has its signs, its passes, its grips, and in a word its secret. I have recognized among these gentlemen some active members of the order—among others, notwithstanding his disguise, a jolly good fellow we have here, Fortnoye."

"You cannot have seen Fortnoye," said one of the party: "he is at Paris."

"And who is your Fortnoye, pray?" I asked.

"The best tenor voice in Épernay; but his presence here does not give me an invitation, you see. The Society of Pure Illumination has its rites and mysteries more important than everybody supposes, and probably complicated with board-of-trade secrets among the wine-merchants. We have hit upon a bad time. Let us go and visit another cellar."

There was opposition to this measure: different opinions were expressed, and I was chosen for moderator.

"My dear boys," I said, "as the grayest among you I may be presumed to be the wisest. But I do not feel myself to be myself. I have received to-day a succession of unaccustomed influences. I have been dragged about by an impertinent locomotive; I have been induced to dine heavily; I have absorbed champagne, perhaps to the limit of my measure. These are not my ordinary ways: I am naturally thoughtful, studious and pensive. The Past, gentlemen, is for me an unfaded morning-glory, whose closed cup I can coax open at pleasure, and read within its tube legends written in dusted gold. But the Present to the true philosopher is also—In fact, I never was so much amused in my life. I am dying to see what they will do with that Scotchman."

THE ANIMATED CELLS
THE ANIMATED CELLS.

Athanasius submitted. At the end of one of the cross galleries we could already see a flickering glimmer of torches. There, evidently, was held the council. We stole on tiptoe in that direction, and ensconced ourselves behind a long file of empty bottle-shelves, worn out after long service and leaning against a wall.

Through the holes which had fixed the bottles in position we could see everything without being discovered. The grand dignitaries, sitting in a semicircle, were about to proceed from physical to moral tests. Before them, his red nose hanging like a cameo from the white bandage which covered his eyes, and relieved upon his face, still perfectly white and calm, stood the Scot. The Grand Master arose—I should have said the Reverend—his head nodding with senility, his beard white as a waterfall: he appeared to be eighty years of age at least. He was truly venerable to look at, and reminded me of Thor. He wore a sort of dalmatica embroidered with gold. Calmness and goodness were so plainly marked on the aspect of this worthy that I felt ashamed of playing the spy, and felt inclined to return humbly to the good counsel of Athanasius, when the latter, pushing my elbow behind the shelves, said, referring to the Ancient of the Mountain, "That's Fortnoye: I knew I couldn't be mistaken."

I was greatly mystified at discovering the first tenor voice of Épernay in an aged man; but the catechism now commencing, I thought only of listening.

"The barleycorns of your native North having been partially cleaned out of your hair by contact with the two enchanted steeds—the steed you bridled without a head, and the steed that ran away with you without legs," said the Ancient—"we have brought you hither for examination. We might have gone much farther with the physical tests: we might have forced you, at the present session, to relieve yourself of those envelopes considered indispensable by all Europeans beneath your own latitude, and in our presence perform the sword-dance."

"So be it," said the disciple, executing a galvanic figure with his legs, his countenance still like marble.

"If we demanded the head of your best friend, would you bring it in?"

"I am the countryman of Lady Macbeth," replied the red nose. "Give me the daggers."

"We would fain dispense with that proof, necessarily painful to a man of such evident sensibility as yours." The red nose bowed. "What is your name?"

He pronounced it—apparently MacMurtagh.

"In future, among us, you are named Meurtrier."

"MacMeurtrier," muttered the Scotchman in a tone of abstraction.

"No! Meurtrier unadulterated. Your business?"

"I am a homoeopathic doctor."

"Are you a believer in homoeopathy? Be careful: remember that the [pg 259] Ancient of the Mountain hears what you say."

The Scot held up his hand: "I believe in the learned Hahnemann, and in Mrs. Hahnemann, no less learned than himself; but," he added, "homoeopathy is a science still in its baby-clothes. I have invented a system perfectly novel. In mingling homoeopathy with vegetable magnetism the most encouraging results are obtained, as may be observed daily in the villa of Dr. Van Murtagh, near Edinburgh—"

"Enough!" cried the Ancient: "circulars are not allowed here. Forget nothing, Meurtrier! And how were you inspired with the pious ambition of becoming our brother?"

"At the hotel table: it was the young clerks from the wine-houses. I mentioned that I wished to be a Free Mason, and the lodge of Épernay—"

"Silence! The words you use, lodge and Free Mason, are most improper in this temple, which is that of the Pure Illumination, and nothing less. Will you remember, Meurtrier?"

"MacMeurtrier," muttered the novice again. The last proofs were now tried upon him, called the "five senses." For that of hearing he was made to listen to a jewsharp, which he calmly proclaimed to be the bagpipe; for that of touch, he was made to feel by turns a live fish, a hot iron and a little stuffed hedgehog. The last he took for a pack of toothpicks, and announced gravely, "It sticks me." The laughs broke out from all sides, even from behind the bottle-shelves.

Alas! on this occasion the laugh was not altogether on my side of that fatal honeycomb!

THE TRAVELER'S REST.
THE TRAVELER'S REST.

They had made him swallow, in a glass, some fearful mixture or other, and he had imperturbably declared that it was in his opinion the wine of Moët: after this evidence of taste the proof of sight was to follow, and the semicircle [pg 260] of purple faces was quite blackening with bottled laughter, when Grandstone touched me on the shoulder. My hour for departure was come, and I had not a minute to spare.

PALACE AT STRASBURG.
PALACE AT STRASBURG.

Apparently, the last test of the red nose resulted in a triumph: as we were effecting our covert and hasty retreat we heard all the voices exclaim in concert, "It is the Pure Illumination!"

Gay as we were on entering the great wine-cellar, we were perfectly Olympian when we came out. The crypts of these vast establishments, where a soft inspiration perpetually floats upward from the wine in store, often receive a visitor as a Diogenes and dismiss him as an Anacreon.

Our consumption of wine at dinner had been, like Mr. Poe's conversation with his soul, "serious and sober." In the cellar no drop had passed our mouths. I was alert as a lark when I entered: I came out in a species of voluptuous dream.

All the band conducted me to the railway-station, and I was very much touched with the attention. It was who should carry my botany-box, who should set my cap straight, who should give me the most precise and statistical information about the train which returned to Paris, with a stop at Noisy; the while, Ophelia-like, I chanted snatches of old songs, and mingled together in a tender reverie my recollections of Mary Ashburton, my coming Book and my theories of Progressive Geography.

"Take this shawl: the night will be chilly before you get to the city."

"Don't let them carry you beyond Noisy."

"Come back to Épernay every May-day: never forget the feast of Saint Athanasius."

"Be sure you get into the right train: here is the car. Come, man, bundle up! they are closing the barrier."

I was perfectly melted by so much sympathy. "Adieu," I said, "my dear champanions—"

I turned into an excellent car, first class, and fell asleep directly.

Next day I awoke—at Strasburg! The convivials of the evening before, making for the Falls of Schaffhausen on the Rhine, had traveled beside me in the adjoining car.

My friends, uncertain how their practical joke would be received, clustered around me.

[pg 261]

"Ah, boys," I said, "I have too many griefs imprisoned in this aching bosom to be much put out by the ordinary 'Horrid Hoax.' But you have compromised my reputation. I promised to meet Hohenfels at Marly: children, bankruptcy stares me in the face."

Grandstone had the grace to be a little embarrassed: "You wished to dine with me at the Feast of Saint Athanasius, but you mistook the day. Your engineer is the true culprit, for he voluntarily deceived you. The fact is, my dear Flemming, we have concocted a little conspiracy. You are a good fellow, a joyful spirit in fact, when you are not in your lubies about the Past and the Future. We wanted you, we conspired; and, Catiline having stolen you at Noisy, Cethigus tucked you into a car with the intention of making use of you at Schaffhausen."

"Never! I have the strongest vows that ever man uttered not to revisit the Rhine. It is an affair of early youth, a solemn promise, a consecration. You have got me at Strasburg, but you will not carry me to Schaffhausen."

He was so contrite that I had to console him. Letting him know that no great harm was done, I saw him depart with his friends for Bâle. For my part, I remained with the engineer, whose professional duties, such as they were, kept him for a short time in the capital of Alsace. In his turn, however, the latter took leave of me: we were to meet each other shortly.

It was seven in the morning. This time, to be sure of my enemy the railroad, I procured a printed Guide. But the Guide was a sorry counselor for my impatience. The first train, an express, had left: the next, an accommodation, would start at a quarter to one. I had five hours and three-quarters to spare.

One of the greatest pleasures in life, according to my poor opinion, is to have a recreation forced on one. Some cherub, perhaps, cleared the cobwebs away from my brain that morning; but, however it might be, I was glad of everything. I was glad the "champanions" were departed, glad I had a stolen morning in Strasburg, glad that Hohenfels and my domestics would be uneasy for me at Marly.

In such a mood I applied myself to extract the profit out of my detention in the city.

EDWARD STRAHAN.

[TO BE CONTINUED.]

TWO MOODS.

All yesterday you were so near to me,

It seemed as if I hardly moved or spoke

But your heart moved with mine. I woke

To a new life that found you everywhere,

As if your love was as some wide-girt sea,

Or as the sunlit air;

And so encompassed me,

Whether I thought or not, it could not but be there.

To-day your words approve me, and your heart

Is mine as ever, yet that heavenly sense

Of oneness that made every hour intense

With Love's full perfectness, is gone from thence;

And, though our hands are clasped, our souls are two,

And in my thoughts I say, "This is myself—this you!"

MARY STEWART DOUBLEDAY. [pg 262]

THE RIDE OF PRINCE GERAINT.

And Prince Geraint, now thinking that he heard

The noble hart at bay, now the far horn,

A little vext at losing of the hunt,

A little at the vile occasion, rode

By ups and downs through many a glassy glade

And valley, with fixt eye following the three.

Enid.

Through forest paths his charger strode,

His heron plume behind him flowed,

Blood-red the west with sunset glowed,

Far down the river golden flowed,

And in the woods the winds were still:

No helm had he, nor lance in rest;

His knightly beard flowed down his breast;

In silken costume gayly drest,

Out from the glory of the west

He flashed adown the purple hill.

His sword hung tasseled at his side,

His purple scarf was floating wide,

And all his raiment many-dyed,

As if he came to seek a bride,

And not the combat that he sought;

Yet rode he like a prince, and one

Native to noble deeds alone,

Who many a valiant tilt had run,

And many a prize of tourney won

In Arthur's lists at Camelot.

Cool grasses and green mosses made

Soft carpet for his charger's tread,

As 'neath the oak boughs dark o'erhead,

By belts of pasture scant of shade,

Into the Castle Town he rode:

He heard, as things are heard in dreams,

The sound of far-off falling streams,

The shriller bird-choir's evening hymns:

He saw but only helmet-gleams,

The smith that smote, the fire that glowed,

The sheen of lances, and the cloud

From many a field-forge fire, the crowd

Of gay-clad squires, and, neighing loud,

The war-horse with rich trappings proud,

That arched his neck and pawed the ground;

Old armorers grave and stern in stall,

Where low-crowned morions, helmets tall,

Shone gilt and burnished on the wall;

And, shining brighter than them all,

The eyes of maidens sun-embrowned.

MARTIN I. GRIFFIN.

[pg 263]

SKETCHES OF EASTERN TRAVEL.

I.—THE COUNT DE BEAUVOIR IN CHINA.

Within the last twenty years the East has opened wide its gates, and China, Japan and India are as anxious to become acquainted with the later but more fully developed civilizations of Europe and this country as we are to examine their social, political and industrial systems. We have had accounts from English, American, German and French travelers in the East, each tinged, [pg 264] in a measure, with the national spirit of their respective countries. In the case of the traveler, as of the astronomer, a certain allowance, known as the personal equation, has to be made in receiving the accounts of his observations.

THE MANDARIN CHING'S CART.
THE MANDARIN CHING'S CART.

The journey round the world made by the count de Beauvoir in company with the duke de Penthièvre, son of the prince de Joinville, is entitled to especial notice, as the attentions shown to the travelers by the Chinese and Japanese authorities enabled them to obtain the best conditions for investigating various matters of interest.

On landing at Shanghai their hearts were gladdened by seeing "on the quay a French custom-house official, with his kepi over his ear, his rattan in his hand, dressed in a dark-green tunic, and full of the inquisitiveness of the customs inspector—as martial and as authoritative as in his native land." The appearance of the population here struck our travelers as different from that of the native Chinese farther south. Those were yellow, copper-colored, lean, and slightly clad in garments of cotton cloth; these were rosy as children and fat as pigs: they were besides wrapped up in four or five pelisses, worn one over the other, lined with sheepskins, so that a single man smelt like a whole flock of sheep. Their style of dress was this: half a dozen waistcoats without sleeves, covered with a single overcoat with extremely long sleeves, falling down to their knees. These garments made them resemble balls of wool rather than men.

By accident, the party passed first through the quarter of the town devoted to the restaurants. Here they were for every grade of fortune, from the millionaire to the ragged poor. The street filled with these latter was terrible: it swarmed with thousands of beggars, hardly human in form and almost naked, though there was frozen snow upon the ground. A group, seeming even joyous, attracted attention. The cause of their happiness was a dead dog which they had found in one of the gutters. Even, however, in this degradation the politeness of these people struck our Frenchmen forcibly. The guests gathered about this fortuitous repast treated each other with a ceremonious deference strange enough in such surroundings. In a still lower stratum, however, among even a more degraded class, whose feasts were obtained from the live preserves carried upon their own persons, this politeness, the last quality a Chinaman loses from the degradation of poverty, was wanting.

A few miles from Shanghai lies Zi-Ka-Wai, a colony founded by the Jesuits, of which our traveler gives a most interesting account. The road to Zi-Ka-Wai lay over a sandy plain intersected with canals. On both sides of the road were hundreds of coffins resting upon the surface of the ground. In the northern part of China there are no grave-yards, and the coffins were arranged sometimes in piles in the fields. It is said that they thus remain until a change takes place in the reigning dynasty, when they are all destroyed. As the present dynasty has reigned about three hundred years, the accumulation may be imagined. This traditional respect for the inviolability of the dead is one of the chief obstacles in the way of the introduction of the telegraph and railroad in China. A commercial house in Shanghai had built a telegraph to Wo-Soung to announce the arrival of the mail, but in a few days the wire was cut in more than five hundred places—at all the points where its shadow from the rising sun fell upon the coffins lying on the ground.

At Zi-Ka-Wai the Jesuits have an educational institution, and, dressed in the Chinese costume, smoking the long native pipes, received their visitors with great cordiality. Their pupils are divided into three classes. The first consists of the children of the neighboring towns who have been deserted by their parents and left to die of hunger. The majority of them are lepers, and have been more or less perfectly cured by the Fathers. When brought to the institution they are thoroughly cleaned, being rubbed with pumice stone. They receive an industrial as well as a literary education. In one building they are taught to read and [pg 265] write, and in another are the schools for shoemaking, carpentering, printing and other manual arts; so that, being received at the age of five or six, at twenty to twenty-one they are launched upon the world with an education and a trade.

There are about four hundred children in this class, and the activity, the order and organization of the workshops, and the exquisite cleanliness of the surroundings, are delightful to see. Near at hand is a school of a higher grade, to which the most promising pupils are transferred for the study of Chinese literature. The system of teaching here is peculiar: all the pupils are required to study aloud, and the din is in consequence deafening and incessant. Then there is the highest class, consisting of about two hundred and fifty youths, the sons of rich mandarins, who pay heavily for their instruction. These are destined to become rhetoricians, and, step by step, bachelors, licentiates, doctors, then mandarins [pg 266] and members of the governing class of the Middle Kingdom. The studies are Chinese, and the Fathers have with wonderful patience learned not only the Chinese language, as well as its written characters, but also the nice critical points of its idioms, so as to be able to teach with authority the poetry and legends and the commentaries upon the writings of Confucius. This they have done for the purpose of having an opportunity to convert the orphans they have adopted, and thus by degrees introduce into the government an element which will be essentially Christian. Thus far, the profession of Christianity is not essentially incompatible with the office of mandarin, though it is impossible to hold this position without performing some idolatrous rites.

HALT OF THE CARAVAN AT HO-CHI-WOU.
HALT OF THE CARAVAN AT HO-CHI-WOU.

On the 13th of March the ice was sufficiently broken to open the navigation of the Pei-Ho, and the party started upon the steamer Sze-Chuen for Tien-Tsin and Pekin. They were joined by an English commissioner of the Chinese custom-house, whose position as a high functionary of the Celestial government, together with his knowledge of Chinese, proved of great service. The trip to Pekin was brought to a sudden temporary close by the Sze-Chuen running aground on the bar of the Pei-Ho, where she remained nearly two days, but was finally got off after the removal of a part of her cargo.

The navigation of the Pei-Ho is difficult on account of the narrowness of the stream and its exceedingly sinuous course. Frequently the steamer had to be towed by a line passed on shore and fastened round a tree. At Tien-Tsin the travelers landed, and witnessed a review of some imperial cavalry regiments mounted upon Tartar ponies, with high saddles and short stirrups. The warriors wore queues and were dressed in long robes. Their moustaches gave them, however, a fierce martial air, and they were armed with English sabres and American revolvers.

Tien-Tsin ("Heaven's Ford") is a city of about four hundred thousand inhabitants, and lies at the junction of the Imperial Canal with the Pei-Ho. The country from here to Pekin, about three days' journey by land, is sandy, and the trip is made a very disagreeable one by the clouds of dust, which blind the traveler and effectually prevent any examination of the country passed through.

The cavalcade comprised seven of the native carts, each drawn by two mules. Their construction may be thus described: A sort of barrow made of blue cloth hangs like a box upon an axletree about a yard long, furnished with two clumsy wheels. It is impossible to lie down in them, because they are too short, nor can a bench to sit on be placed in them, because they are too low. As a compensation, however, they are so light that they can go anywhere. The driver sits on the left shaft, where he is conveniently placed for leaping down to beat the mules. These are harnessed, one in the shafts and the other in front, with long traces tied upon the axletree near the left wheel. As they are guided only by the voice, the course of the cart depends chiefly upon the fancy they may take for following or neglecting the road; while from the manner in which they are harnessed their draught is always sideways, and they therefore trot obliquely.

At Yang-Soun the party was joined by a mandarin with a crystal button, sent by the governor of the province of Tien-Tsin, Tchoung-Hao, with a profusion of passports and safe-conducts. During the rest of the journey this mandarin, Ching, led the way in his cart drawn by a fine black mule, and on arriving at the villages on the route displayed his function, as a man of letters, by putting on an immense pair of spectacles, the glasses of which were about three inches in diameter. At Ho-Chi-Wou the procession halted during the middle of the day, and was photographed by one of its members. The curious crowd of spectators which gathered in every village to inspect the "foreign devils" scattered when the camera was posed, and for a few moments our travelers were freed from their intrusiveness.

[pg 267]
AVENUE OF ANIMALS LEADING TO THE TOMBS OF THE EMPERORS.
AVENUE OF ANIMALS LEADING TO THE TOMBS OF THE EMPERORS.

Starting next morning at daylight, at [pg 268] three in the afternoon the party entered Pekin. The relief was great to leave the sandy, dusty road for one of the paved ways which radiate from the city. The first sight of the city struck the travelers as the most grandiose spectacle of the Celestial Empire. In front rose a high tower, with a five-storied roof of green tiles, pierced with five rows of large portholes, from which grinned the mouths of cannon; while to the right and left, as far as could be seen, stretched the gigantic wall surrounding the city, built partly of granite and partly of large gray bricks, with salients, battlements and loopholes, wearing a decidedly martial air. This impression was somewhat modified, however, by the discovery that the grinning cannons were made of wood. The entrance was under a vaulted archway, through which streamed a converging crowd of Chinese, Mongols, Tartars, with their various costumes, together with blue carts, files of mules and caravans of heavily-loaded camels.

Pekin was built by Kublai-Khan about 1282, near the site of an important city which dated from the Chow dynasty, or some centuries before the Christian era. The city covers an enclosed space about twenty miles in circumference. It is rectangular in form, and divided into two parts, the Chinese and the Tartar cities. The walls of the Tartar city are the largest and widest, being forty to fifty feet high, and, tapering slightly from the base, about forty feet wide at the top. They are constructed upon a solid foundation of stone masonry resting upon concrete, while the walls themselves are built of a solid core of earth, faced with massive brick: the top is paved with tiles, and defended by a crenelated parapet. Bastions, some of which are fifty feet square, are built upon the outside at distances of about one hundred feet. There are sixteen gates, seven of which are in the Chinese town, six in the Tartar town, and three in the partition wall between these two. In the centre of the Tartar city is an enclosure, also walled, called the Imperial City, and within this another, called the Forbidden City, which contains the imperial palaces and pleasure-grounds. Broad straight avenues, crossing each other at right angles, run through the whole city, which in this respect is very unlike other Chinese towns. A stream entering the Tartar city near its north-west corner divides into two branches, which enter the Imperial City and surround the Forbidden City, and then uniting again pass through the Tartar and Chinese towns, to empty in the Tung-Chau Canal.

The foreign legations are in the southern part of the Tartar city, on the banks of this stream. The top of the walls forms the favorite promenade of the foreign settlers, and from here a fine view of the whole city is obtained. M. de Beauvoir, however, from his more minute examination, comes to the following conclusions: "This immense city, in which nothing is repaired, and in which it is forbidden under the severest penalties to demolish anything, is slowly disintegrating, and every day changing itself into dust. The sight of this slow decomposition is sad, since it promises death more certainly than the most violent convulsions. In a century Pekin will exist no longer; it must then be abandoned: in two centuries it will be discovered, like a second Pompeii, buried under its own dust."

The gates of Virtuous Victory and of Great Purity, the temples to the Heavens, to Agriculture, to the Spirit of the Winds and of the Thunder, and to the Brilliant Mirror of the Mind, occupied the attention of the party. They saw the gilded plough and the sacred harrow with which the emperor yearly traces a furrow to obtain divine favor for the crops, as well as the yellow straw hat he wears during this ceremony; and also the vases made of iron wire in which he every six months burns the sentences of those who have been condemned to death in the empire. They visited also the magnificent observatory built by Father Verbiest, a Jesuit, for the emperor You-Ching, in the seventeenth century. The instruments are of bronze, and mounted upon fantastic dragons, and [pg 269] are still in good condition, though they have been exposed to the open air all this time. One of them was a celestial sphere eight feet in diameter, containing all the stars known in 1650 and visible in Pekin.

PORTICO TO THE TOMBS OF THE EMPERORS.
PORTICO TO THE TOMBS OF THE EMPERORS.

Visits to the theatres, to the temple of the Moon, that of the Lamas, that of Confucius, and to others made the days spent in Pekin pass quickly. Among the wonders shown was the largest suspended bell in the world—the great bell of Moscow has never been hung—twenty-five feet high, weighing ninety thousand pounds, and richly sculptured.

The private life of the Chinese it is almost impossible for a stranger to take part in. To do so requires a knowledge of Chinese, which can be gained only by years of assiduous study, and that the applicant should, as far as possible in dress and general appearance, make [pg 270] himself a Chinese. Even then, complete success is gained only by a fortunate combination of circumstances. The streets devoted to shops of all kinds afford, however, to the traveler a never-ending succession of changing and interesting pictures. Yet the general spirit of the Chinese leads them also to be sparing of all outward decoration, reserving their forces for interior display. The Forbidden City even, though marvelous stories are told of its interior splendors, has outside a mean appearance. "A pagoda of the thirty-sixth rank has more effect than the sacred dwelling of the Son of Heaven."

In the military quarters, and in those inhabited by the nobility, the party in their wanderings were struck with an expression of disdain on the countenances of those natives whom they met. Elsewhere the curiosity to see the foreigners was even greater than the Chinese themselves ever excited in the capitals of Europe; but at home the higher classes passed the foreigners without even turning to look at them, or else glanced at them indifferently or disdainfully. Some of the noble class walked, but generally they rode in carts similar to that of the mandarin Ching. The higher the rank of the owner, the farther behind are the wheels placed. With a prince's cart they are so far behind that the rider hangs between them and the mule. Palanquins, carried upon the shoulders of the porters, offer another and the most convenient means of locomotion used in China: this method is, however, forbidden except for princes and ministers of state.

In the busy streets of trade the scene is most animated. Thousands of scarlet signs with gilded inscriptions hang from oblique poles raised in front of the shops. Carts, palanquins, mules, camels, coolies, soldiers and merchants throng the streets, while to add to the confusion myriads of children play about your legs, and the old men carrying their kites toward the walls add to the singularity of the scene. The kites, representing dragons, eagles, etc., are managed with a dexterity which comes only from a lifelong practice. They are sometimes furnished with various aeolian attachments which imitate the songs of birds or the voices of men. The pigeons also in Pekin are frequently provided with a very light kind of aeolian harp, which is secured tightly to the two central feathers of their tails, so that in flying through the air the harps sound harmoniously. This curious, indistinct note had excited the count's attention, and he learned its cause from a pigeon which fell dead at his feet, having in its flight struck itself against the cord of one of the kites. Their use was explained by the natives as a protection against the hawks which are very common in Pekin.

Passing one day the place of execution, the travelers were shocked to see that the heads of the executed were exposed to the public gaze, labeled with the crimes for which they had suffered. Such sights as this, with the terrible filth of all the Chinese cities, the squalid suffering of the poor and the want of sympathy with indigence and disease, suggested to the count, as they too frequently suggest to European visitors, that the degradation of the Chinese is hopeless. Yet such sights were common a few generations ago in every European capital, and the same causes which have led to their cessation there are at work to-day in China, and bid fair to produce the same results.

[pg 271]
THE GREAT WALL: THE NANG-KAO PASS.
THE GREAT WALL: THE NANG-KAO PASS.

The service of the custom-house, which has been put into the hands of Europeans, and under the management of Mr. Robert Hart has been thoroughly organized, is having a great influence in civilizing the government, as well as in diffusing European ideas and methods among the people. A fixed rate of charges, an honesty of administration which is beyond question, prompt activity in the transaction of business, have replaced the depredations and the old methods in use under mandarin rule. It is the desire of the manager of the custom-house to inaugurate in China the establishment of a system of lighthouses, to organize the postal system, to introduce railroads and telegraphs and to [pg 272] open the coal-mines of the empire. Success in these reforms means bringing China into the circle of inter-dependent civilized nations; and so far all the steps in this direction have been sure and successful ones.

On leaving Pekin, our party set out to visit the Great Wall of China, which lies about three days' journey from that capital, on the route to Siberia. Mongolian ponies served for the means of transportation on this trip. These shaggy little animals were as full of tricks as they were ugly. The cavalcade was followed by two carts for carrying the money of the expedition. The whole of this capital amounted to about one hundred and fifty dollars, in the form of hundreds of thousands of the copper coins of the country, made with holes in their centres and strung by the thousand upon osier twigs. This is the only money which circulates in the agricultural portions of China, and a "barbarian" has to give a pound weight of them for a couple of eggs. The country soon began to become hilly, with the mountains of Mongolia visible in the distance. Trains of camels were passed, or could be seen winding in the plain below.

The next day the party arrived at the Tombs of the Emperors. These are the tombs of the Ming emperors, one of the most brilliant dynasties of Chinese history. They lie in a circular valley which opens out from a great plain, and is surrounded by limestone peaks and granite domes, forming a barren and waste amphitheatre. The grandeur of its dimensions and the awful barrenness of its desolation make it a fit resting-place for the imperial dead of the last native dynasty. At the foot of the surrounding heights thirteen gigantic tombs, encircled with green trees, are arranged in a semicircle. Five majestic portals, about eight hundred yards apart, form the entrance to the tombs. From the portico giving entrance to the valley to the tomb of the first emperor is more than a league, and the long avenue is marked first by winged columns of white marble, and next by two rows of animals, carved in gigantic proportions. Of these there are, on either side, two lions standing, two lions sitting; one camel standing, one kneeling; one elephant standing, one kneeling; one dragon standing, one sitting; two horses standing; six warriors, courtiers, etc. The lions are fifteen feet high, and the others equally colossal, while each of the figures is carved from a single block of granite.

At the end of the avenue are the tombs, with groups of trees about them. Each tomb is really a temple in which white and pink marble, porphyry and carved teak-wood are combined, not indeed with harmony or taste, but, what is rare in China, with lines of great purity and severity. One of the halls of these tombs is about a hundred feet long by about eighty wide. The ceiling is from forty to sixty feet high, and is supported by rows of pillars, each formed of a single stick of teak timber eleven feet in circumference. These sticks were brought for this purpose from the south of China. Though they have been in position over nine hundred years, they appear as sound as when first posed, nor has the austere splendor of the structure suffered in any degree.

The sombre obscurity well befits these sepulchral dwellings, and the dull sound of the deadened gongs struck by the guardians makes the vaults reverberate in a singular and impressive way. Behind the memorial temple rises an artificial mound about fifty feet high, access to the top of which is given by a rising arched passage built of white marble. On the top of the mound is an imposing marble structure consisting of a double arch, beneath which is the imperial tablet, a large slab, upon which is carved a dragon standing on the back of a gigantic tortoise. The remains of the emperor are buried somewhere within this mound, though the exact spot is not known: this precaution, it is said, was taken to preserve the remains from being desecrated in a search for the treasures which were buried with him, while the persons who performed this last office were killed upon the spot, in order further to preserve the secret.

[pg 273]
CHAPEL OF THE SUMMER PALACE.
CHAPEL OF THE SUMMER PALACE.

From this gigantic effort to preserve [pg 274] the memory of the dead our party hastened to the Great Wall, an equally immense work to preserve the living from the incursions of their neighboring enemies. Perhaps nowhere in the world are to be found in such close proximity two such striking evidences of the waste of human labor when undirected by scientific knowledge. The wall is to-day, and was from the first, as worthless for the purpose it was intended to serve as the temples are for obtaining immortality for the bodies they enclose.

Leaving the town of Nang-Kao, the party soon found themselves at the entrance of the pass of the same name, and during the six leagues which separated them from the wall the spectacle kept increasing in grandeur. The gorge at first was savage and sombre, shut in closely by the steep mountain-sides. Soon the first support of the Great Wall appeared in a chain of walls, with battlements and towers, built over the principal mountain-chain, and as far as the eye could reach following all the peaks. The effect of this wall is most striking. Like some enormous serpent it stretches away in the distance, climbing rocks which appear impracticable, and which would be so without its aid. The count was convinced that it would be as difficult to climb it for the purpose of defending it as it would be to do so in order to attack it. This first support of the wall is in itself a giant work.

As the party advanced in the valley, in the far distance the crenelated outlines of two other similar and parallel walls appeared, situated also upon the crests. The Great Wall was built about 200 B.C. as a barrier against the Tartar cavalry. It is said to have been built in twenty-two years. It was everywhere constructed of the materials at hand. On the plains it was built of a core of earth, pounded, and faced with tiles, the top being also covered with tiles and furnished with a parapet. On the mountains of stratified rock the facing was made of masonry, and the core of earth and cobble-stones. Where the rock is such as fractures irregularly, the wall is of solid masonry, tapering to the top, which is sharp. Throughout its whole length it is defended by towers occurring every few hundred feet. Every mountain-pass and weak point was defended by a fortified tower. At present the wall is in various conditions of preservation, according to the materials used in its construction. In the valleys, which were the points to defend, it has gradually crumbled to a mere heap of rubbish, which the plough year by year still further scatters.

The Great Wall is, however, a wonderful monument of the labor and organization of the Chinese nation two thousand years ago. The illustration is from a photograph taken on the spot by one of the party. In order to take a view which should be most effective the camera was placed upon the wall itself.

On their return to Pekin the party visited the ruins of the famous Summer Palace, Yuen-Ming-Yuen. The avenues were formerly adorned with porticoes, monuments and kiosques, which are now masses of ruins. Only two enormous bronze lions, the largest castings ever made in China, remain, and these simply because the allies could not carry them away. To have attempted it would have required the building of a dozen bridges over the streams between here and Tien-Tsin. The chapel of the Summer Palace escaped destruction only from the fact that it was situated upon a rock so high that the flames did not reach it. Looking at the confused ruins which are all that remain of this wonderful collection of the most admirable products of fifteen ages of civilization, of art and of industry, the count de Beauvoir says truly that no honest man can help shuddering involuntarily. Though his sentiment of national loyalty is very strong, yet he cannot avoid exclaiming, "Let us leave this place: let us run from this spot, where the soil burns us, the very view of which humbles us. We came to China as the armed champions of civilization and of a religion of mercy, but the Chinese are right, a thousand times right, in calling us barbarians."

[pg 275]

A PRINCESS OF THULE.

BY WILLIAM BLACK, AUTHOR OF "THE STRANGE ADVENTURES OF A PHAETON."

CHAPTER XIV.

DEEPER AND DEEPER.

Next morning Sheila was busy with her preparations for departure when she heard a hansom drive up. She looked out and saw Mr. Ingram step out; and before he had time to cross the pavement she had run round and opened the door, and stood at the top of the steps to receive him. How often had her husband cautioned her not to forget herself in this monstrous fashion!

"Did you think I had run away? Have you come to see me?" she said, with a bright, roseate gladness on her face which reminded him of many a pleasant morning in Borva.

"I did not think you had run away, for you see I have brought you some flowers," he said; but there was a sort of blush in the sallow face, and perhaps the girl had some quick fancy or suspicion that he had brought this bouquet to prove that he knew everything was right, and that he expected to see her. It was only a part of his universal kindness and thoughtfulness, she considered.

"Frank is up stairs," she said, "getting ready some things to go to Brighton. Will you come into the breakfast-room? Have you had breakfast?"

"Oh, you were going to Brighton?"

"Yes," she said; and somehow something moved her to add quickly, "but not for long, you know. Only a few days. It is many a time you will have told me of Brighton long ago in the Lewis, but I cannot understand a large town being beside the sea, and it will be a great surprise to me, I am sure of that."

"Ay, Sheila," he said, falling into the old habit quite naturally, "you will find it different from Borvabost. You will have no scampering about the rocks with your head bare and your hair flying about. You will have to dress more correctly there than here even; and, by the way, you must be busy getting ready, so I will go."

"Oh no," she said with a quick look of disappointment, "you will not go yet. If I had known you were coming—But it was very late when we will get home this morning: two o'clock it was."

"Another ball?"

"Yes," said the girl, but not very joyfully.

"Why, Sheila," he said with a grave smile on his face, "you are becoming quite a woman of fashion now. And you know I can't keep up an acquaintance with a fine lady who goes to all these grand places and knows all sorts of swell people; so you'll have to cut me, Sheila."

"I hope I shall be dead before that time ever comes," said the girl with a sudden flash of indignation in her eyes. Then she softened: "But it is not kind of you to laugh at me."

"Of course I did not laugh at you," he said taking both her hands in his, "although I used to sometimes when you were a little girl and talked very wild English. Don't you remember how vexed you used to be, and how pleased you were when your papa turned the laugh against me by getting me to say that awful Gaelic sentence about 'A young calf ate a raw egg'?"

"Can you say it now?" said Sheila, with her face getting bright and pleased again. "Try it after me. Now listen."

She uttered some half dozen of the most extraordinary sounds that any language ever contained, but Ingram would not attempt to follow her. She reproached him with having forgotten all that he had learnt in Lewis, and said she should no longer look on him as a possible Highlander.

"But what are you now?" he asked. "You are no longer that wild girl who used to run out to sea in the Maighdean-mhara [pg 276] whenever there was the excitement of a storm coming on."

"Many times," she said slowly and wistfully, "I will wish that I could be that again for a little while."

"Don't you enjoy, then, all those fine gatherings you go to?"

"I try to like them."

"And you don't succeed?"

He was looking at her gravely and earnestly, and she turned away her head and did not answer. At this moment Lavender came down stairs and entered the room.

"Hillo, Ingram, my boy! glad to see you! What pretty flowers! It's a pity we can't take them to Brighton with us."

"But I intend to take them," said Sheila firmly.

"Oh, very well, if you don't mind the bother," said her husband. "I should have thought your hands would have been full: you know you'll have to take everything with you you would want in London. You will find that Brighton isn't a dirty little fishing-village in which you've only to tuck up your dress and run about anyhow."

"I never saw a dirty little fishing-village," said Sheila quietly.

Her husband laughed: "I meant no offence. I was not thinking of Borvabost at all. Well, Ingram, can't you run down and see us while we are at Brighton?"

"Oh do, Mr. Ingram!" said Sheila with quite a new interest in her face; and she came forward as though she would have gone down on her knees and begged this great favor of him. "Do, Mr. Ingram! We should try to amuse you some way, and the weather is sure to be fine. Shall we keep a room for you? Can you come on Friday and stay till the Monday? It is a great difference there will be in the place if you come down."

Ingram looked at Sheila, and was on the point of promising, when Lavender added, "And we shall introduce you to that young American lady whom you are so anxious to meet."

"Oh, is she to be there?" he said, looking rather curiously at Lavender.

"Yes, she and her mother. We are going down together."

"Then I'll see whether I can in a day or two," he said, but in a tone which pretty nearly convinced Sheila that she should not have her stay at Brighton made pleasant by the company of her old friend and associate.

However, the mere anticipation of seeing the sea was much; and when they had got into a cab and were going down to Victoria Station, Sheila's eyes were filled with a joyful anticipation. She had discarded altogether the descriptions of Brighton that had been given her. It is one thing to receive information, and another to reproduce it in an imaginative picture; and in fact her imagination was busy with its own work while she sat and listened to this person or the other speaking of the seaside town she was going to. When they spoke of promenades and drives and miles of hotels and lodging-houses, she was thinking of the sea-beach and of the boats and of the sky-line with its distant ships. When they told her of private theatricals and concerts and fancy-dress balls, she was thinking of being out on the open sea, with a light breeze filling the sails, and a curl of white foam rising at the bow and sweeping and hissing down the sides of the boat. She would go down among the fishermen when her husband and his friends were not by, and talk to them, and get to know what they sold their fish for down here in the South. She would find out what their nets cost, and if there was anybody in authority to whom they could apply for an advance of a few pounds in case of hard times. Had they their cuttings of peat free from the nearest moss-land? and did they dress their fields with the thatch that had got saturated with the smoke? Perhaps some of them could tell her where the crews hailed from that had repeatedly shot the sheep of the Flannen Isles. All these and a hundred other things she would get to know; and she might procure and send to her father some rare bird or curiosity of the sea, that might be added to the little museum in which she used to sing in [pg 277] days gone by, when he was busy with his pipe and his whisky.

"You are not much tired, then, by your dissipation of last night?" said Mrs. Kavanagh to her at the station, as the slender, fair-haired, grave lady looked admiringly at the girl's fresh color and bright gray-blue eyes. "It makes one envy you to see you looking so strong and in such good spirits."

"How happy you must be always!" said Mrs. Lorraine; and the younger lady had the same sweet, low and kindly voice as her mother.

"I am very well, thank you," said Sheila, blushing somewhat and not lifting her eyes, while Lavender was impatient that she had not answered with a laugh and some light retort, such as would have occurred to almost any woman in the circumstances.

On the journey down, Lavender and Mrs. Lorraine, seated opposite each other in two corner seats, kept up a continual cross-fire of small pleasantries, in which the young American lady had distinctly the best of it, chiefly by reason of her perfect manner. The keenest thing she said was said with a look of great innocence and candor in the large gray eyes; and then directly afterward she would say something very nice and pleasant in precisely the same voice, as if she could not understand that there was any effort on the part of either to assume an advantage. The mother sometimes turned and listened to this aimless talk with an amused gravity, as of a cat watching the gambols of a kitten, but generally she devoted herself to Sheila, who sat opposite her. She did not talk much, and Sheila was glad of that, but the girl felt that she was being observed with some little curiosity. She wished that Mrs. Kavanagh would turn those observant gray eyes of hers away in some other direction. Now and again Sheila would point out what she considered strange or striking in the country outside, and for a moment the elderly lady would look out. But directly afterward the gray eyes would come back to Sheila, and the girl knew they were upon her. At last she so persistently stared out of the window that she fell to dreaming, and all the trees and the meadows and the farm-houses and the distant heights and hollows went past her as though they were in a sort of mist, while she replied to Mrs. Kavanagh's chance remarks in a mechanical fashion, and could only hear as a monotonous murmur the talk of the two people at the other side of the carriage. How much of the journey did she remember? She was greatly struck by the amount of open land in the neighborhood of London—the commons between Wandsworth and Streatham, and so forth—and she was pleased with the appearance of the country about Red Hill. For the rest, a succession of fair green pictures passed by her, all bathed in a calm, half-misty summer sunlight: then they pierced the chalk-hills (which Sheila, at first sight, fancied were of granite) and rumbled through the tunnels. Finally, with just a glimpse of a great mass of gray houses filling a vast hollow and stretching up the bare green downs beyond, they found themselves in Brighton.

"Well, Sheila, what do you think of the place?" her husband said to her with a laugh as they were driving down the Queen's road.

She did not answer.

"It is not like Borvabost, is it?"

She was too bewildered to speak. She could only look about her with a vague wonder and disappointment. But surely this great gray city was not the place they had come to live in? Would it not disappear somehow, and they would get away to the sea and the rocks and the boats?

They passed into the upper part of West street, and here was another thoroughfare, down which Sheila glanced with no great interest. But the next moment there was a quick catching of her breath, which almost resembled a sob, and a strange glad light sprang into her eyes. Here at last was the sea! Away beyond the narrow thoroughfare she could catch a glimpse of a great green plain—yellow-green it was in the sunlight—that the wind was whitening [pg 278] here and there with tumbling waves. She had not noticed that there was any wind in-land—there everything seemed asleep—but here there was a fresh breeze from the south, and the sea had been rough the day before, and now it was of this strange olive color, streaked with the white curls of foam that shone in the sunlight. Was there not a cold scent of sea-weed, too, blown up this narrow passage between the houses? And now the carriage cut round the corner and whirled out into the glare of the Parade, and before her the great sea stretched out its leagues of tumbling and shining waves, and she heard the water roaring along the beach, and far away at the horizon she saw a phantom ship. She did not even look at the row of splendid hotels and houses, at the gayly-dressed folks on the pavement, at the brilliant flags that were flapping and fluttering on the New Pier and about the beach. It was the great world of shining water beyond that fascinated her, and awoke in her a strange yearning and longing, so that she did not know whether it was grief or joy that burned in her heart and blinded her eyes with tears. Mrs. Kavanagh took her arm as they were going up the steps of the hotel, and said in a friendly way, "I suppose you have some sad memories of the sea?"

"No," said Sheila bravely, "it is always pleasant to me to think of the sea; but it is a long time since—since—"

"Sheila," said her husband abruptly, "do tell me if all your things are here;" and then the girl turned, calm and self-collected, to look after rugs and boxes.

When they were finally established in the hotel Lavender went off to negotiate for the hire of a carriage for Mrs. Kavanagh during her stay, and Sheila was left with the two ladies. They had tea in their sitting-room, and they had it at one of the windows, so that they could look out on the stream of people and carriages now beginning to flow by in the clear yellow light of the afternoon. But neither the people nor the carriages had much interest for Sheila, who, indeed, sat for the most part silent, intently watching the various boats that were putting out or coming in, and busy with conjectures which she knew there was no use placing before her two companions.

"Brighton seems to surprise you very much," said Mrs. Lorraine.

"Yes," said Sheila, "I have been told all about it, but you will forget all that; and this is very different from the sea at home—at my home."

"Your home is in London now," said the elder lady with a smile.

"Oh no!" said Sheila, most anxiously and earnestly. "London, that is not our home at all. We live there for a time—that will be quite necessary—but we shall go back to the Lewis some day soon—not to stay altogether, but enough to make it as much our home as London."

"How do you think Mr. Lavender will enjoy living in the Hebrides?" said Mrs. Lorraine with a look of innocent and friendly inquiry in her eyes.

"It was many a time that he has said he never liked any place so much," said Sheila with something of a blush; and then she added with growing courage, "for you must not think he is always like what he is here. Oh no! When he is in the Highlands there is no day that is nearly long enough for what has to be done in it; and he is up very early, and away to the hills or the loch with a gun or a salmon-rod. He can catch the salmon very well—oh, very well for one that is not accustomed—and he will shoot as well as any one that is in the island, except my papa. It is a great deal to do there will be in the island, and plenty of amusement; and there is not much chance—not any whatever—of his being lonely or tired when we go to live in the Lewis."

Mrs. Kavanagh and her daughter were both amused and pleased by the earnest and rapid fashion in which Sheila talked. They had generally considered her to be a trifle shy and silent, not knowing how afraid she was of using wrong idioms or pronunciations; but here was one subject on which her heart was set, and she had no more thought as to whether she said like-a-ness or likeness, or whether she said gyarden or garden. Indeed, [pg 279] she forgot more than that. She was somewhat excited by the presence of the sea and the well-remembered sound of the waves; and she was pleased to talk about her life in the North, and about her husband's stay there, and how they should pass the time when she returned to Borva. She neglected altogether Lavender's injunctions that she should not talk about fishing or cooking or farming to his friends. She incidentally revealed to Mrs. Kavanagh and her daughter a great deal more about the household at Borva than he would have wished to be known. For how could they understand about his wife having her own cousin to serve at table? and what would they think of a young lady who was proud of making her father's shirts? Whatever these two ladies may have thought, they were very obviously interested, and if they were amused, it was in a far from unfriendly fashion. Mrs. Lorraine professed herself quite charmed with Sheila's descriptions of her island-life, and wished she could go up to Lewis to see all these strange things. But when she spoke of visiting the island when Sheila and her husband were staying there, Sheila was not nearly so ready to offer her a welcome as the daughter of a hospitable old Highlandman ought to have been.

"And will you go out in a boat now?" said Sheila, looking down to the beach.

"In a boat! What sort of boat?" said Mrs. Kavanagh.

"Any one of those little sailing boats: it is very good boats they are, as far as I can see."

"No, thank you," said the elder lady with a smile. "I am not fond of small boats, and the company of the men who go with you might be a little objectionable, I should fancy."

"But you need not take any men," said Sheila: "the sailing of one of those little boats, it is very simple."

"Do you mean to say you could manage the boat by yourself?"

"Oh yes! It is very simple. And my husband, he will help me."

"And what would you do if you went out?"

"We might try the fishing. I do not see where the rocks are, but we would go off the rocks and put down the anchor and try the lines. You would have some ferry good fish for breakfast in the morning."

"My dear child," said Mrs. Kavanagh, "you don't know what you propose to us. To go and roll about in an open boat in these waves—we should be ill in five minutes. But I suppose you don't know what sea-sickness is?"

"No," said Sheila, "but I will hear my husband speak of it often. And it is only in crossing the Channel that people will get sick."

"Why, this is the Channel."

Sheila stared. Then she endeavored to recall her geography. Of course this must be a part of the Channel, but if the people in the South became ill in this weather, they must be rather feeble creatures. Her speculations on this point were cut short by the entrance of her husband, who came to announce that he had not only secured a carriage for a month, but that it would be round at the hotel door in half an hour; whereupon the two American ladies said they would be ready, and left the room.

"Now go off and get dressed, Sheila," said Lavender.

She stood for a moment irresolute.

"If you wouldn't mind," she said after a moment's hesitation—"if you would allow me to go by myself—if you would go to the driving, and let me go down to the shore!"

"Oh, nonsense!" he said. "You will have people fancying you are only a school-girl. How can you go down to the beach by yourself among all those loafing vagabonds, who would pick your pocket or throw stones at you? You must behave like an ordinary Christian: now do, like a good girl, get dressed and submit to the restraints of civilized life. It won't hurt you much."

So she left, to lay aside with some regret her rough blue dress, and he went down stairs to see about ordering dinner.

Had she come down to the sea, then, only to live the life that had nearly broken her heart in London? It seemed [pg 280] so. They drove up and down the Parade for about an hour and a half, and the roar of carriages drowned the rush of the waves. Then they dined in the quiet of this still summer evening, and she could only see the sea as a distant and silent picture through the windows, while the talk of her companions was either about the people whom they had seen while driving, or about matters of which she knew nothing. Then the blinds were drawn and candles lit, and still their conversation murmured around her unheeding ears. After dinner her husband went down to the smoking-room of the hotel to have a cigar, and she was left with Mrs. Kavanagh and her daughter. She went to the window and looked through a chink in the Venetian blinds. There was a beautiful clear twilight abroad, the darkness was still of a soft gray, and up in the pale yellow-green of the sky a large planet burned and throbbed. Soon the sea and the sky would darken, the stars would come forth in thousands and tens of thousands, and the moving water would be struck with a million trembling spots of silver as the waves came onward to the beach.

"Mayn't we go out for a walk till Frank has finished his cigar?" said Sheila.

"You couldn't go out walking at this time of night," said Mrs. Kavanagh in a kindly way: "you would meet the most unpleasant persons. Besides, going out into the night air would be most dangerous."

"It is a beautiful night," said Sheila with a sigh. She was still standing at the window.

"Come," said Mrs. Kavanagh, going over to her and putting her hand in her arm, "we cannot have any moping, you know. You must be content to be dull with us for one night; and after to-night we shall see what we can do to amuse you."

"Oh, but I don't want to be amused!" cried Sheila almost in terror, for some vision flashed on her mind of a series of parties. "I would much rather be left alone and allowed to go about by myself. But it is very kind of you," she hastily added, fancying that her speech had been somewhat ungracious—"it is very kind of you indeed."

"Come, I promised to teach you cribbage, didn't I?"

"Yes," said Sheila with much resignation; and she walked to the table and sat down.

Perhaps, after all, she could have spent the rest of the evening with some little equanimity in patiently trying to learn this game, in which she had no interest whatever, but her thoughts and fancies were soon drawn away from cribbage. Her husband returned. Mrs. Lorraine had been for some little time at the big piano at the other side of the room, amusing herself by playing snatches of anything she happened to remember, but when Mr. Lavender returned she seemed to wake up. He went over to her and sat down by the piano.

"Here," she said, "I have all the duets and songs you spoke of, and I am quite delighted with those I have tried. I wish mamma would sing a second to me: how can one learn without practicing? And there are some of those duets I really should like to learn after what you said of them."

"Shall I become a substitute for your mamma?" he said.

"And sing the second, so that I may practice? Your cigar must have left you in a very amiable mood."

"Well, suppose we try," he said; and he proceeded to open out the roll of music which she had brought down.

"Which shall we take first?" he asked.

"It does not much matter," she answered indifferently, and indeed she took up one of the duets by haphazard.

What was it made Mrs. Kavanagh's companion suddenly lift her eyes from the cribbage-board and look with surprise to the other end of the room? She had recognized the little prelude to one of her own duets, and it was being played by Mrs. Lorraine. And it was Mrs. Lorraine who began to sing in a sweet, expressive and well-trained voice of no great power—

Love in thine eyes for ever plays;

[pg 281]

and it was she to whom the answer was given—

He in thy snowy bosom strays;

and then, Sheila, sitting stupefied and pained and confused, heard them sing together—

He makes thy rosy lips his care,

And walks the mazes of thy hair.

She had not heard the short conversation which had introduced this music; and she could not tell but that her husband had been practicing these duets—her duets—with some one else. For presently they sang "When the rosy morn appearing," and "I would that my love could silently," and others, all of them in Sheila's eyes, sacred to the time when she and Lavender used to sit in the little room at Borva. It was no consolation to her that Mrs. Lorraine had but an imperfect acquaintance with them; that oftentimes she stumbled and went back over a bit of the accompaniment; that her voice was far from being striking. Lavender, at all events, seemed to heed none of these things. It was not as a music-master that he sang with her. He put as much expression of love into his voice as ever he had done in the old days when he sang with his future bride. And it seemed so cruel that this woman should have taken Sheila's own duets from her to sing before her with her own husband.

Sheila learnt little more cribbage that evening. Mrs. Kavanagh could not understand how her pupil had become embarrassed, inattentive, and even sad, and asked her if she was tired. Sheila said she was very tired and would go. And when she got her candle, Mrs. Lorraine and Lavender had just discovered another duet which they felt bound to try together as the last.

This was not the first time she had been more or less vaguely pained by her husband's attentions to this young American lady; and yet she would not admit to herself that he was any way in the wrong. She would entertain no suspicion of him. She would have no jealousy in her heart, for how could jealousy exist with a perfect faith? And so she had repeatedly reasoned herself out of these tentative feelings, and resolved that she would do neither her husband nor Mrs. Lorraine the injustice of being vexed with them. So it was now. What more natural than that Frank should recommend to any friend the duets of which he was particularly fond? What more natural than that this young lady should wish to show her appreciation of those songs by singing them? and who was to sing with her but he? Sheila would have no suspicion of either; and so she came down next morning determined to be very friendly with Mrs. Lorraine.

But that forenoon another thing occurred which nearly broke down all her resolves.

"Sheila," said her husband, I don't think I ever asked you whether you rode."

"I used to ride many times at home," she said.

"But I suppose you'd rather not ride here," he said. "Mrs. Lorraine and I propose to go out presently: you'll be able to amuse yourself somehow till we come back."

Mrs. Lorraine had, indeed, gone to put on her habit, and her mother was with her.

"I suppose I may go out," said Sheila. "It is so very dull in-doors, and Mrs. Kavanagh is afraid of the east wind, and she is not going out."

"Well, there's no harm in your going out," answered Lavender, "but I should have thought you'd have liked the comfort of watching the people pass, from the window."

She said nothing, but went off to her own room and dressed to go out. Why she knew not, but she felt she would rather not see her husband and Mrs. Lorraine start from the hotel door. She stole down stairs without going into the sitting-room, and then, going through the great hall and down the steps, found herself free and alone in Brighton.

It was a beautiful, bright, clear day, though the wind was a trifle chilly, and all around her there was a sense of space and light and motion in the shining skies, the far clouds and the heaving [pg 282] and noisy sea. Yet she had none of the gladness of heart with which she used to rush out of the house at Borva to drink in the fresh, salt air and feel the sunlight on her cheeks. She walked away, with her face wistful and pensive, along the King's road, scarcely seeing any of the people who passed her; and the noise of the crowd and of the waves hummed in her ears in a distant fashion, even as she walked along the wooden railing over the beach. She stopped and watched some men putting off a heavy fishing-boat, and she still stood and looked long after the boat was launched. She would not confess to herself that she felt lonely and miserable: it was the sight of the sea that was melancholy. It seemed so different from the sea off Borva, that had always to her a familiar and friendly look, even when it was raging and rushing before a south-west wind. Here this sea looked vast and calm and sad, and the sound of it was not pleasant to her ears, as was the sound of the waves on the rocks at Borva. She walked on, in a blind and unthinking fashion, until she had got far up the Parade, and could see the long line of monotonous white cliff meeting the dull blue plain of the waves until both disappeared in the horizon.

She returned to the King's road a trifle tired, and sat down on one of the benches there. The passing of the people would amuse her; and now the pavement was thronged with a crowd of gayly-dressed folks, and the centre of the thoroughfare brisk with the constant going and coming of riders. She saw strange old women, painted, powdered and bewigged in hideous imitation of youth, pounding up and down the level street, and she wondered what wild hallucinations possessed the brains of these poor creatures. She saw troops of beautiful young girls, with flowing hair, clear eyes and bright complexions, riding by, a goodly company, under charge of a riding-mistress, and the world seemed to grow sweeter when they came into view. But while she was vaguely gazing and wondering and speculating her eyes were suddenly caught by two riders whose appearance sent a throb to her heart. Frank Lavender rode well, so did Mrs. Lorraine; and, though they were paying no particular attention to the crowd of passers-by, they doubtless knew that they could challenge criticism with an easy confidence. They were laughing and talking to each other as they went rapidly by: neither of them saw Sheila. The girl did not look after them. She rose and walked in the other direction, with a greater pain at her heart than had been there for many a day.

What was this crowd? Some dozen or so of people were standing round a small girl, who, accompanied by a man, was playing a violin, and playing it very well, too. But it was not the music that attracted Sheila to the child, but partly that there was a look about the timid, pretty face and the modest and honest eyes that reminded her of little Ailasa, and partly because, just at this moment, her heart seemed to be strangely sensitive and sympathetic. She took no thought of the people looking on. She went forward to the edge of the pavement, and found that the small girl and her companion were about to go away. Sheila stopped the man.

"Will you let your little girl come with me into this shop?"

It was a confectioner's shop.

"We were going home to dinner," said the man, while the small girl looked up with wondering eyes.

"Will you let her have dinner with me, and you will come back in half an hour?"

The man looked at the little girl: he seemed to be really fond of her, and saw that she was very willing to go. Sheila took her hand and led her into the confectioner's shop, putting her violin on one of the small marble tables while they sat down at another. She was probably not aware that two or three idlers had followed them, and were staring with might and main in at the door of the shop.

What could this child have thought of the beautiful and yet sad-eyed lady who was so kind to her, who got her all sorts of things with her own hands, and [pg 283] asked her all manner of questions in a low, gentle and sweet voice? There was not much in Sheila's appearance to provoke fear or awe. The little girl, shy at first, got to be a little more frank, and told her hostess when she rose in the morning, how she practiced, the number of hours they were out during the day, and many of the small incidents of her daily life. She had been photographed too, and her photograph was sold in one of the shops. She was very well content: she liked playing, the people were kind to her, and she did not often get tired.

"Then I shall see you often if I stay in Brighton?" said Sheila.

"We go out every day when it does not rain very hard."

Perhaps some wet day you will come and see me, and you will have some tea with me: would you like that?"

"Yes, very much," said the small musician, looking up frankly.

Just at this moment, the half hour having fully expired, the man appeared at the door.

"Don't hurry," said Sheila to the little girl: "sit still and drink out the lemonade; then I will give you some little parcels which you must put in your pocket."

She was about to rise to go to the counter when she suddenly met the eyes of her husband, who was calmly staring at her. He had come out, after their ride, with Mrs. Lorraine to have a stroll up and down the pavements, and had, in looking in at the various shops, caught sight of Sheila quietly having luncheon with this girl whom she had picked up in the streets.

"Did you ever see the like of that?" he said to Mrs. Lorraine. "In open day, with people staring in, and she has not even taken the trouble to put the violin out of sight!"

"The poor child means no harm," said his companion.

"Well, we must get her out of this somehow," he said; and so they entered the shop.

Sheila knew she was guilty the moment she met her husband's look, though she had never dreamed of it before. She had, indeed, acted quite thoughtlessly—perhaps chiefly moved by a desire to speak to some one and to befriend some one in her own loneliness.

"Hadn't you better let this little girl go?" said Lavender to Sheila somewhat coldly as soon as he had ordered an ice for his companion.

"When she has finished her lemonade she will go," said Sheila meekly. "But I have to buy some things for her first."

"You have got a whole lot of people round the door," he said.

"It is very kind of the people to wait for her," answered Sheila with the same composure. "We have been here half an hour. I suppose they will like her music very much."

The little violinist was now taken to the counter, and her pockets stuffed with packages of sugared fruits and other deadly delicacies: then she was permitted to go with half a crown in her hand. Mrs. Lorraine patted her shoulder in passing, and said she was a pretty little thing.

They went home to luncheon. Nothing was said about the incident of the forenoon, except that Lavender complained to Mrs. Kavanagh, in a humorous way, that his wife had a most extraordinary fondness for beggars, and that he never went home of an evening without expecting to find her dining with the nearest scavenger and his family. Lavender, indeed, was in an amiable frame of mind at this meal (during the progress of which Sheila sat by the window, of course, for she had already lunched in company with the tiny violinist), and was bent on making himself as agreeable as possible to his two companions. Their talk had drifted toward the wanderings of the two ladies on the Continent; from that to the Niebelungen frescoes in Munich; from that to the Niebelungen itself, and then, by easy transition, to the ballads of Uhland and Heine. Lavender was in one of his most impulsive and brilliant moods—gay and jocular, tender and sympathetic by turns, and so obviously sincere in all [pg 284] that his listeners were delighted with his speeches and assertions and stories, and believed them as implicitly as he did himself. Sheila, sitting at a distance, saw and heard, and could not help recalling many an evening in the far North when Lavender used to fascinate every one around him by the infection of his warm and poetic enthusiasm. How he talked, too—telling the stones of these quaint and pathetic ballads in his own rough—and—ready translations—while there was no self-consciousness in his face, but a thorough warmth of earnestness; and sometimes, too, she would notice a quiver of the under lip that she knew of old, when some pathetic point or phrase had to be indicated rather than described. He was drawing pictures for them as well as telling stories—of the three students entering the room in which the landlady's daughter lay dead—of Barbarossa in his cave—of the child who used to look up at Heine as he passed her in the street, awestricken by his pale and strange face—of the last of the band of companions who sat in the solitary room in which they had sat, and drank to their memory—of the king of Thule, and the deserter from Strasburg, and a thousand others.

"But is there any of them—is there anything in the world—more pitiable than that pilgrimage to Kevlaar?" he said. "You know it, of course. No? Oh, you must, surely. Don't you remember the mother who stood by the bedside of her sick son, and asked him whether he would not rise to see the great procession go by the window; and he tells her that he cannot, he is so ill: his heart is breaking for thinking of his dead Gretchen? You know the story, Sheila. The mother begs him to rise and come with her, and they will join the band of pilgrims going to Kevlaar, to be healed there of their wounds by the Mother of God. Then you find them at Kevlaar, and all the maimed and the lame people have come to the shrine; and whichever limb is diseased, they make a waxen image of that and lay it on the altar, and then they are healed. Well, the mother of this poor lad takes wax and forms a heart out of it, and says to her son, 'Take that to the Mother of God, and she will heal your pain.' Sighing, he takes the wax heart in his hand, and, sighing, he goes to the shrine; and there, with tears running down his face, he says, 'O beautiful Queen of Heaven, I am come to tell you my grief. I lived with my mother in Cologne: near us lived Gretchen, who is dead now. Blessed Mary, I bring you this wax heart: heal the wound in my heart.' And then—and then—"

Sheila saw his lip tremble. But he frowned, and said impatiently, "What a shame it is to destroy such a beautiful story! You can have no idea of it—of its simplicity and tenderness—"

"But pray let us hear the rest of it," said Mrs. Lorraine gently.

"Well, the last scene, you know, is a small chamber, and the mother and her sick son are asleep. The Blessed Mary glides into the chamber and bends over the young man, and puts her hand lightly on his heart. Then she smiles and disappears. The unhappy mother has seen all this in a dream, and now she awakes, for the dogs are barking loudly. The mother goes over to the bed of her son, and he is dead, and the morning light touches his pale face. And then the mother folds her hands, and says—"

He rose hastily with a gesture of fretfulness, and walked over to the window at which Sheila sat and looked out. She put her hand up to his: he took it.

"The next time I try to translate Heine," he said, making it appear that he had broken off through vexation, "something strange will happen."

"It is a beautiful story," said Mrs. Lorraine, who had herself been crying a little bit in a covert way: "I wonder I have not seen a translation of it. Come, mamma, Lady Leveret said we were not to be after four."

So they rose and left, and Sheila was alone with her husband, and still holding his hand. She looked up at him timidly, wondering, perhaps, in her simple [pg 285] way, as to whether she should not now pour out her heart to him, and tell him all her griefs and fears and yearnings. He had obviously been deeply moved by the story he had told so roughly: surely now was a good opportunity of appealing to him, and begging for sympathy and compassion.

"Frank," she said, and she rose and came close, and bent down her head to hide the color in her face.

"Well?" he answered a trifle coldly.

"You won't be vexed with me," she said in a low voice, and with her heart beginning to beat rapidly.

"Vexed with you about what?" he said abruptly.

Alas! all her hopes had fled. She shrank from the cold stare with which she knew he was regarding her. She felt it to be impossible that she should place before him those confidences with which she had approached him; and so, with a great effort, she merely said, "Are we to go to Lady Leveret's?"

"Of course we are," he said, "unless you would rather go and see some blind fiddler or beggar. It is really too bad of you, Sheila, to be so forgetful: what if Lady Leveret, for example, had come into that shop? It seems to me you are never satisfied with meeting the people you ought to meet, but that you must go and associate with all the wretched cripples and beggars you can find. You should remember you are a woman, and not a child—that people will talk about what you do if you go on in this mad way. Do you ever see Mrs. Kavanagh or her daughter do any of these things?"

Sheila had let go his hand: her eyes were still turned toward the ground. She had fancied that a little of that emotion that had been awakened in him by the story of the German mother and her son might warm his heart toward herself, and render it possible for her to talk to him frankly about all that she had been dimly thinking, and more definitely suffering. She was mistaken: that was all.

"I will try to do better, and please you," she said; and then she went away.

CHAPTER XV.

A FRIEND IN NEED.

Was it a delusion that had grown up in the girl's mind, and now held full possession of it—that she was in a world with which she had no sympathy, that she should never be able to find a home there, that the influences of it were gradually and surely stealing from her her husband's love and confidence? Or was this longing to get away from the people and the circumstances that surrounded her but the unconscious promptings of an incipient jealousy? She did not question her own mind closely on these points. She only vaguely knew that she was miserable, and that she could not tell her husband of the weight that pressed on her heart.

Here, too, as they drove along to have tea with a certain Lady Leveret, who was one of Lavender's especial patrons, and to whom he had introduced Mrs. Kavanagh and her daughter, Sheila felt that she was a stranger, an interloper, a "third wheel to the cart." She scarcely spoke a word. She looked at the sea, but she had almost grown to regard that great plain of smooth water as a melancholy and monotonous thing—not the bright and boisterous sea of her youth, with its winding channels, its secret bays and rocks, its salt winds and rushing waves. She was disappointed with the perpetual wall of white cliff, where she had expected to see something of the black and rugged shore of the North. She had as yet made no acquaintance with the sea-life of the place: she did not know where the curers lived; whether they gave the fishermen credit and cheated them; whether the people about here made any use of the back of the dog-fish, or could, in hard seasons, cook any of the wild-fowl; what the ling and the cod and the skate fetched; where the wives and daughters sat and spun and carded their wool; whether they knew how to make a good dish of cockles boiled in milk. She smiled to herself when she thought of asking Mrs. Lorraine about any such things; but she still cherished some vague hope that before she left Brighton she would have [pg 286] some little chance of getting near to the sea and learning a little of the sea-life down in the South.

And as they drove along the King's road on this afternoon she suddenly called out, "Look, Frank!"

On the steps of the Old Ship Hotel stood a small man with a brown face, a brown beard and a beaver hat, who was calmly smoking a wooden pipe, and looking at an old woman selling oranges in front of him.

"It is Mr. Ingram," said Sheila.

"Which is Mr. Ingram?" asked Mrs. Lorraine with considerable interest, for she had often heard Lavender speak of his friend. "Not that little man?"

"Yes," said Lavender coldly: he could have wished that Ingram had had some little more regard for appearances in so public a place as the main thoroughfare of Brighton.

"Won't you stop and speak to him?" said Sheila with great surprise.

"We are late already," said her husband. "But if you would rather go back and speak to him than go on with us, you may."

Sheila said nothing more; and so they drove on to the end of the Parade, where Lady Leveret held possession of a big white house with pillars overlooking the broad street and the sea.

But next morning she said to him, "I suppose you will be riding with Mrs. Lorraine this morning?"

"I suppose so."

"I should like to go and see Mr. Ingram, if he is still there," she said.

"Ladies don't generally call at hotels and ask to see gentlemen; but of course you don't care for that."

"I shall not go if you do not wish me."

"Oh, nonsense! You may as well go. What is the use of professing to keep observances that you don't understand? And it will be some amusement for you, for I dare say both of you will immediately go and ask some old cab-driver to have luncheon with you, or buy a nosegay of flowers for his horse."

The permission was not very gracious, but Sheila accepted it, and very shortly after breakfast she changed her dress and went out. How pleasant it was to know that she was going to see her old friend to whom she could talk freely! The morning seemed to know of her gladness, and to share in it, for there was a brisk southerly breeze blowing fresh in from the sea, and the waves were leaping white in the sunlight. There was no more sluggishness in the air or the gray sky or the leaden plain of the sea. Sheila knew that the blood was mantling in her cheeks; that her heart was full of joy; that her whole frame so tingled with life and spirit that, had she been in Borva, she would have challenged her deer-hound to a race, and fled down the side of the hill with him to the small bay of white sand below the house. She did not pause for a minute when she reached the hotel. She went up the steps, opened the door and entered the square hall. There was an odor of tobacco in the place, and several gentlemen standing about rather confused her, for she had to glance at them in looking for a waiter. Another minute would probably have found her a trifle embarrassed, but that, just at this crisis, she saw Ingram himself come out of a room with a cigarette in his hand. He threw away the cigarette, and came forward to her with amazement in his eyes.

"Where is Mr. Lavender? Has he gone into the smoking-room for me?" he asked.

"He is not here," said Sheila. "I have come for you by myself."

For a moment, too, Ingram felt the eyes of the men on him, but directly he said with a fine air of carelessness, "Well, that is very good of you. Shall we go out for a stroll until your husband comes?"

So he opened the door and followed her outside into the fresh air and the roar of the waves.

"Well, Sheila," he said, "this is very good of you, really: where is Mr. Lavender?"

"He generally rides with Mrs. Lorraine in the morning."

"And what do you do?"

"I sit at the window."

[pg 287]

"Don't you go boating?"

"No, I have not been in a boat. They do not care for it. And yesterday it was a letter to papa I was writing, and I could tell him nothing about the people here or the fishing."

"But you could not in any case, Sheila. I suppose you would like to know what they pay for their lines, and how they dye their wool, and so on; but you would find the fishermen here don't live in that way at all. They are all civilized, you know. They buy their clothing in the shops. They never eat any sort of sea-weed, or dye with it, either. However, I will tell you all about it by and by. At present I suppose you are returning to your hotel."

A quick look of pain and disappointment passed over her face as she turned to him for a moment with something of entreaty in her eyes.

"I came to see you," she said. "But perhaps you have an engagement. I do not wish to take up any of your time: if you please I will go back alone to—"

"Now, Sheila," he said with a smile, and with the old friendly look she knew so well, "you must not talk like that to me. I won't have it. You know I came down to Brighton because you asked me to come; and my time is altogether at your service."

"And you have no engagement just now?" said Sheila with her face brightening.

"No."

"And you will take me down to the shore to see the boats and the nets? Or could we go out and run along the coast for a few miles? It is a very good wind."

"Oh, I should be very glad," said Ingram slowly. "I should be delighted. But, you see, wouldn't your husband think it—wouldn't he, you know—wouldn't it seem just a little odd to him if you were to go away like that?"

"He is to go riding with Mrs. Lorraine," said Sheila quite simply. "He does not want me."

"Of course you told him you were coming to see—you were going to call at the Old Ship?"

"Yes. And I am sure he would not be surprised if I did not return for a long time."

"Are you quite sure, Sheila?"

"Yes, I am quite sure."

"Very well. Now I shall tell you what I am going to do with you. I shall first go and bribe some mercenary boatman to let us have one of those small sailing boats committed to our own exclusive charge. I shall constitute you skipper and pilot of the craft, and hold you responsible for my safety. I shall smoke a pipe to prepare me for whatever may befall."

"Oh no," said Sheila. "You must work very hard, and I will see if you remember all that I taught you in the Lewis. And if we can have some long lines, we might get some fish. Will they pay more than thirty shillings for their long lines in this country?"

"I don't know," said Ingram. "I believe most of the fishermen here live upon the shillings they get from passers-by after a little conversation about the weather and their hard lot in life; so that one doesn't talk to them more than one can help."

"But why do they need the money? Are there no fish?"

"I don't know that, either. I suppose there is some good fishing in the winter, and sometimes in the summer they get some big shoals of mackerel."

"It was a letter I had last week from the sister of one of the men of the Nighean-dubh, and she will tell me that they have been very lucky all through the last season, and it was near six thousand ling they got."

"But I suppose they are hopelessly in debt to some curer or other up about Habost?"

"Oh no, not at all. It is their own boat: it is not hired to them. And it is a very good boat whatever."

That unlucky "whatever" had slipped out inadvertently: the moment she had uttered it she blushed and looked timidly toward her companion, fearing that he had noticed it. He had not. How could she have made such a blunder? she asked herself. She had been most particular about the avoidance of [pg 288] this word, even in the Lewis. The girl did not know that from the moment she had left the steps of the Old Ship in company with that good friend of hers she had unconsciously fallen into much of her old pronunciation and her old habit of speech; while Ingram, much more familiar with the Sheila of Borvabost and Loch Roag than with the Sheila of Netting Hill and Kensington Gardens, did not perceive the difference, but was mightily pleased to hear her talk in any fashion whatsoever.

By fair means or foul, Ingram managed to secure a pretty little sailing vessel which lay at anchor out near the New Pier, and when the pecuniary negotiations were over Sheila was invited to walk down over the loose stones of the beach and take command of the craft. The boatman was still very doubtful. When he had pulled them out to the boat, however, and put them on board, he speedily perceived that this handsome young lady not only knew everything that had to be done in the way of getting the small vessel ready, but had a very smart and business-like way of doing it. It was very obvious that her companion did not know half as much about the matter as she did; but he was obedient and watchful, and presently they were ready to start. The man put off in his boat to shore again much relieved in mind, but not a little puzzled to understand where the young lady had picked up not merely her knowledge of boats, but the ready way in which she put her delicate hands to hard work, and the prompt and effectual fashion in which she accomplished it.

"Shall I belay away the jib or reef the upper hatchways?" Ingram called out to Sheila when they had fairly got under way.

She did not answer for a moment: she was still watching with a critical eye the manner in which the boat answered to her wishes; and then, when everything promised well and she was quite satisfied, she said, "If you will take my place for a moment and keep a good lookout, I will put on my gloves."

She surrendered the tiller and the mainsail sheets into his care, and, with another glance ahead, pulled out her gloves.

"You did not use to fear the salt water or the sun on your hands, Sheila," said her companion.

"I do not now," she said, "but Frank would be displeased to see my hands brown. He has himself such pretty hands."

What Ingram thought about Frank Lavender's delicate hands he was not going to say to his wife; and indeed he was called upon at this moment to let Sheila resume her post, which she did with an air of great satisfaction and content.

And so they ran lightly through the curling and dashing water on this brilliant day, caring little indeed for the great town that lay away to leeward, with its shining terraces surmounted by a faint cloud of smoke. Here all the roar of carriages and people was unheard: the only sound that accompanied their talk was the splashing of the waves at the prow and the hissing and gurgling of the water along the boat. The south wind blew fresh and sweet around them, filling the broad white sails and fluttering the small pennon up there in the blue. It seemed strange to Sheila that she should be so much alone with so great a town close by—that under the boom she could catch a glimpse of the noisy Parade without hearing any of its noise. And there, away to windward, there was no more trace of city life—only the great blue sea, with its waves flowing on toward them from out of the far horizon, and with here and there a pale ship just appearing on the line where the sky and ocean met.

"Well, Sheila, how do you like being on the sea again?" said Ingram, getting out his pipe.

"Oh, very well. But you must not smoke, Mr. Ingram: you must attend to the boat."

"Don't you feel at home in her yet?" he asked.

"I am not afraid of her," said Sheila, regarding the lines of the small craft with the eye of a shipbuilder, "but she [pg 289] is very narrow in the beam, and she carries too much sail for so small a thing I suppose they have not any squalls on this coast, where you have no hills and no narrows to go through."

"It doesn't remind you of Lewis, does it?" he said, filling his pipe all the same.

"A little—out there it does," she said, turning to the broad plain of the sea, "but it is not much that is in this country that is like the Lewis: sometimes I think I shall be a stranger when I go back to the Lewis, and the people will scarcely know me, and everything will be changed."

He looked at her for a second or two. Then he laid down his pipe, which had not been lit, and said to her gravely, "I want you to tell me, Sheila, why you have got into a habit lately of talking about many things, and especially about your home in the North, in that sad way. You did not do that when you came to London first; and yet it was then that you might have been struck and shocked by the difference. You had no home-sickness for a long time—But is it home-sickness, Sheila?"

How was she to tell him? For an instant she was on the point of giving him all her confidence; and then, somehow or other, it occurred to her that she would be wronging her husband in seeking such sympathy from a friend as she had been expecting, and expecting in vain, from him.

"Perhaps it is home-sickness," she said in a low voice, while she pretended to be busy tightening up the mainsail sheet. "I should like to see Borva again."

"But you don't want to live there all your life?" he said. "You know that would be unreasonable, Sheila, even if your husband could manage it; and I don't suppose he can. Surely your papa does not expect you to go and live in Lewis always?"

"Oh, no," she said eagerly. "You must not think my papa wishes anything like that. It will be much less than that he was thinking of when he used to speak to Mr. Lavender about it. And I do not wish to live in the Lewis always: I have no dislike to London—none at all—only that—that—" And here she paused.

"Come, Sheila," he said in the old paternal way to which she had been accustomed to yield up all her own wishes in the old days of their friendship, "I want you to be frank with me, and tell me what is the matter. I know there is something wrong: I have seen it for some time back. Now, you know I took the responsibility of your marriage on my shoulders, and I am responsible to you, and to your papa and to myself, for your comfort and happiness. Do you understand?"

She still hesitated, grateful in her in-most heart, but still doubtful as to what she should do.

"You look on me as an intermeddler," he said with a smile.

"No, no," she said: "you have always been our best friend."

"But I have intermeddled none the less. Don't you remember when I told you I was prepared to accept the consequences?"

It seemed so long a time since then!

"And once having begun to intermeddle, I can't stop, don't you see? Now, Sheila, you'll be a good little girl and do what I tell you. You'll take the boat a long way out: we'll put her head round, take down the sails, and let her tumble about and drift for a time, till you tell me all about your troubles, and then we'll see what can be done."

She obeyed in silence, with her face grown grave enough in anticipation of the coming disclosures. She knew that the first plunge into them would be keenly painful to her, but there was a feeling at her heart that, this penance over, a great relief would be at hand. She trusted this man as she would have trusted her own father. She knew that there was nothing on earth he would not attempt if he fancied it would help her. And she knew, too, that having experienced so much of his great unselfishness and kindness and thoughtfulness, she was ready to obey him implicitly in anything that he could assure her was right for her to do.

[pg 290]

How far away seemed the white cliffs now, and the faint green downs above them! Brighton, lying farther to the west, had become dim and yellow, and over it a cloud of smoke lay thick and brown in the sunlight. A mere streak showed the line of the King's road and all its carriages and people; the beach beneath could just be made out by the white dots of the bathing-machines; the brown fishing-boats seemed to be close in shore; the two piers were fore-shortened into small dusky masses marking the beginning of the sea. And then from these distant and faintly-defined objects out here to the side of the small white-and-pink boat, that lay lightly in the lapping water, stretched that great and moving network of waves, with here and there a sharp gleam of white foam curling over amid the dark blue-green.

Ingram took his seat by Sheila's side, so that he should not have to look in her downcast face; and then, with some little preliminary nervousness and hesitation, the girl told her story. She told it to sympathetic ears, and yet Ingram, having partly guessed how matters stood, and anxious, perhaps, to know whether much of her trouble might not be merely the result of fancies which could be reasoned and explained away, was careful to avoid anything like corroboration. He let her talk in her own simple and artless way; and the girl spoke to him, after a little while, with an earnestness which showed how deeply she felt her position. At the very outset she told him that her love for her husband had never altered for a moment—that all the prayer and desire of her heart was that they two might be to each other as she had at one time hoped they would be, when he got to know her better. She went over all the story of her coming to London, of her first experiences there, of the conviction that grew upon her that her husband was somehow disappointed with her, and only anxious now that she should conform to the ways and habits of the people with whom he associated. She spoke of her efforts to obey his wishes, and how heartsick she was with her failures, and of the dissatisfaction which he showed. She spoke of the people to whom he devoted his life, of the way in which he passed his time, and of the impossibility of her showing him, so long as he thus remained apart from her, the love she had in her heart for him, and the longing for sympathy which that love involved. And then she came to the question of Mrs. Lorraine; and here it seemed to Ingram she was trying at once to put her husband's conduct in the most favorable light, and to blame herself for her unreasonableness. Mrs. Lorraine was a pleasant companion to him, she could talk cleverly and brightly, she was pretty, and she knew a large number of his friends. Sheila was anxious to show that it was the most natural thing in the world that her husband, finding her so out of communion with his ordinary surroundings, should make an especial friend of this graceful and fascinating woman. And if at times it hurt her to be left alone—But here the girl broke down somewhat, and Ingram pretended not to know that she was crying.

These were strange things to be told to a man, and they were difficult to answer. But out of these revelations—which rather took the form of a cry than of any distinct statement—he formed a notion of Sheila's position sufficiently exact; and the more he looked at it the more alarmed and pained he grew, for he knew more of her than her husband did. He knew the latent force of character that underlay all her submissive gentleness. He knew the keen sense of pride her Highland birth had given her; and he feared what might happen if this sensitive and proud heart of hers were driven into rebellion by some—possibly unintentional—wrong. And this high-spirited, fearless, honor-loving girl—who was gentle and obedient, not through any timidity or limpness of character, but because she considered it her duty to be gentle and obedient—was to be cast aside and have her tenderest feelings outraged and wounded for the sake of an unscrupulous, shallow-brained woman of fashion, who was not fit to be Sheila's waiting-maid. Ingram [pg 291] had never seen Mrs. Lorraine, but he had formed his own opinion of her. The opinion, based upon nothing, was wholly wrong, but it served to increase, if that were possible, his sympathy with Sheila, and his resolve to interfere on her behalf at whatever cost.

"Sheila," he said, gravely putting his hand on her shoulder as if she were still the little girl who used to run wild with him about the Borva rocks, "you are a good woman."

He added to himself that Lavender knew little of the value of the wife he had got, but he dared not say that to Sheila, who would suffer no imputation against her husband to be uttered in her presence, however true it might be, or however much she had cause to know it to be true.

"And, after all," he said in a lighter voice, "I think I can do something to mend all this. I will say for Frank Lavender that he is a thoroughly good fellow at heart, and that when you appeal to him, and put things fairly before him, and show him what he ought to do, there is not a more honorable and straightforward man in the world. He has been forgetful, Sheila. He has been led away by these people, you know, and has not been aware of what you were suffering. When I put the matter before him, you will see it will be all right; and I hope to persuade him to give up this constant idling and take to his work, and have something to live for. I wish you and I together could get him to go away from London altogether—get him to take to serious landscape painting on some wild coast—the Galway coast, for example."

"Why not the Lewis?" said Sheila, her heart turning to the North as naturally as the needle.

"Or the Lewis. And I should like you and him to live away from hotels and luxuries, and all such things; and he would work all day, and you would do the cooking in some small cottage you could rent, you know."

"You make me so happy in thinking of that," she said, with her eyes growing wet again.

"And why should he not do so? There is nothing romantic or idyllic about it, but a good, wholesome, plain sort of life, that is likely to make an honest painter of him, and bring both of you some well-earned money. And you might have a boat like this."

"We are drifting too far in," said Sheila, suddenly rising. "Shall we go back now?"

"By all means," he said; and so the small boat was put under canvas again, and was soon making way through the breezy water.

"Well, all this seems simple enough, doesn't it?" said Ingram.

"Yes," said the girl, with her face full of hope.

"And then, of course, when you are quite comfortable together, and making heaps of money, you can turn round and abuse me, and say I made all the mischief to begin with."

"Did we do so before when you were very kind to us?" she said in a low voice.

"Oh, but that was different. To interfere on behalf of two young folks who are in love with each other is dangerous, but to interfere between two people who are married—that is a certain quarrel. I wonder what you will say when you are scolding me, Sheila, and bidding me get out of the house? I have never heard you scold. Is it Gaelic or English you prefer?"

"I prefer whichever can say the nicest things to my very good friends, and tell them how grateful I am for their kindness to me."

"Ah, well, we'll see."

When they got back to shore it was half-past one.

"You will come and have some luncheon with us?" said Sheila when they had gone up the steps and into the King's road.

"Will that lady be there?"

"Mrs. Lorraine? Yes."

"Then I'll come some other time."

"But why not now?" said Sheila. "It is not necessary that you will see us only to speak about those things we have been talking over?"

"Oh no, not at all. If you and Mr. [pg 292] Lavender were by yourselves, I should come at once."

"And are you afraid of Mrs. Lorraine?" said Sheila with a smile. "She is a very nice lady, indeed: you have no cause to dislike her."

"But I don't want to meet her, Sheila, that is all," he said; and she knew well, by the precision of his manner, that there was no use trying to persuade him further.

He walked along to the hotel with her, meeting a considerable stream of fashionably-dressed folks on the way; and neither he nor she seemed to remember that his costume—a blue pilot-jacket, not a little worn and soiled with the salt water, and a beaver hat that had seen a good deal of rough weather in the Highlands—was a good deal more comfortable than elegant. He said to her, as he left her at the hotel, "Would you mind telling Lavender I shall drop in at half-past three, and that I expect to see him in the coffee-room? I sha'n't keep him five minutes."

She looked at him for a moment, and he saw that she knew what this appointment meant, for her eyes were full of gladness and gratitude. He went away pleased at heart that she put so much trust in him. And in this case he should be able to reward that confidence, for Lavender was really a good sort of fellow, and would at once be sorry for the wrong he had unintentionally done, and be only too anxious to set it right. He ought to leave Brighton at once, and London too. He ought to go away into the country or by the seaside, and begin working hard, to earn money and self-respect at the same time; and then, in this friendly solitude, he would get to know something about Sheila's character, and begin to perceive how much more valuable were these genuine qualities of heart and mind than any social graces such as might lighten up a dull drawing-room. Had Lavender yet learnt to know the worth of an honest woman's perfect love and unquestioning devotion? Let these things be put before him, and he would go and do the right thing, as he had many a time done before, in obedience to the lecturing of his friend.

Ingram called at half-past three, and went into the coffee-room. There was no one in the long, large room, and he sat down at one of the small tables by the windows, from which a bit of lawn, the King's road and the sea beyond were visible. He had scarcely taken his seat when Lavender came in.

"Hallo, Ingram! how are you?" he said in his freest and friendliest way. "Won't you come up stairs? Have you had lunch? Why did you go to the Ship?"

"I always go to the Ship," he said. "No, thank you, I won't go up stairs."

"You are a most unsociable sort of brute?" said Lavender frankly. "Will you take a glass of sherry?"

"No, thank you."

"Will you have a game of billiards?"

"No, thank you. You don't mean to say you would play billiards on such a day as this?"

"It is a fine day, isn't it?" said Lavender, turning carelessly to look at the sunlit road and the blue sea. "By the way, Sheila tells me you and she were out sailing this morning. It must have been very pleasant, especially for her, for she is mad about such things. What a curious girl she is, to be sure! Don't you think so?"

"I don't know what you mean by curious," said Ingram coldly.

"Well, you know, strange—odd—unlike other people in her ways and her fancies. Did I tell you about my aunt taking her to see some friends of hers at Norwood? No? Well, Sheila had got out of the house somehow (I suppose their talking did not interest her), and when they went in search of her they found her in the cemetery crying like a child."

"What about?"

"Why," said Lavender with a smile, "merely because so many people had died. She had never seen anything like that before: you know the small church-yards up in Lewis, with their inscriptions in Norwegian and Danish and German. I suppose the first sight of all the white stones at Norwood was too much for her."

[pg 293]

"Well, I don't see much of a joke in that," said Ingram.

"Who said there was any joke in it?" cried Lavender impatiently. "I never knew such a cantankerous fellow as you are. You are always fancying I am finding fault with Sheila; and I never do anything of the kind. She is a very good girl indeed. I have every reason to be satisfied with the way our marriage has turned out."

"Has she?"

The words were not important, but there was something in the tone in which they were spoken that suddenly checked Frank Lavender's careless flow of speech. He looked at Ingram for a moment with some surprise, and then he said, "What do you mean?"

"Well, I will tell you what I mean," said Ingram slowly. "It is an awkward thing for a man to interfere between husband and wife, I am aware—he gets something else than thanks for his pains ordinarily—but sometimes it has to be done, thanks or kicks. Now, you know, Lavender, I had a good deal to do with helping forward your marriage in the North; and I don't remind you of that to claim anything in the way of consideration, but to explain why I think I am called on to speak to you now."

Lavender was at once a little frightened and a little irritated. He half guessed what might be coming from the slow and precise manner in which Ingram talked. That form of speech had vexed him many a time before, for he would rather have had any amount of wild contention and bandying about of reproaches than the calm, unimpassioned and sententious setting forth of his shortcomings to which this sallow little man was perhaps too much addicted.

"I suppose Sheila has been complaining to you, then?" said Lavender hotly.

"You may suppose what absurdities you like," said Ingram quietly; "but it would be a good deal better if you would listen to me patiently, and deal in a common-sense fashion with what I have got to say. It is nothing very desperate. Nothing has happened that is not of easy remedy, while the remedy would leave you and her in a much better position, both as regards your own estimation of yourselves and the opinion of your friends."

"You are a little roundabout, Ingram," said Lavender, "and ornate. But I suppose all lectures begin so. Go on."

Ingram laughed: "If I am too formal, it is because I don't want to make mischief by any exaggeration. Look here! A long time before you were married I warned you that Sheila had very keen and sensitive notions about the duties that people ought to perform, about the dignity of labor, about the proper occupations of a man, and so forth. These notions you may regard as romantic and absurd, if you like, but you might as well try to change the color of her eyes as attempt to alter any of her beliefs in that direction."

"And she thinks that I am idle and indolent because I don't care what a washerwoman pays for her candles?" said Lavender with impetuous contempt. "Well, be it so. She is welcome to her opinion. But if she is grieved at heart because I can't make hobnailed boots, it seems to me that she might as well come and complain to myself, instead of going and detailing her wrongs to a third person, and calling for his sympathy in the character of an injured wife."

For an instant the dark eyes of the man opposite him blazed with a quick fire, for a sneer at Sheila was worse than an insult to himself; but he kept quite calm, and said, "That, unfortunately, is not what is troubling her."

Lavender rose abruptly, took a turn up and down the empty room, and said, "If there is anything the matter, I prefer to hear it from herself. It is not respectful to me that she should call in a third person to humor her whims and fancies."

"Whims and fancies!" said Ingram, with that dark light returning to his eyes. "Do you know what you are talking about? Do you know that, while you are living on the charity of a woman you despise, and dawdling about the skirts of a woman who laughs at you, you are breaking the heart of a girl who has not her equal in England? Whims [pg 294] and fancies! Good God, I wonder how she ever could have—"

He stopped, but the mischief was done. These were not prudent words to come from a man who wished to step in as a mediator between husband and wife; but Ingram's blaze of wrath, kindled by what he considered the insufferable insolence of Lavender in thus speaking of Sheila, had swept all notions of prudence before it. Lavender, indeed, was much cooler than he was, and said, with an affectation of carelessness, "I am sorry you should vex yourself so much about Sheila. One would think you had had the ambition yourself, at some time or other, to play the part of husband to her; and doubtless then you would have made sure that all her idle fancies were gratified. As it is, I was about to relieve you from the trouble of further explanation by saying that I am quite competent to manage my own affairs, and that if Sheila has any complaint to make she must make it to me."

Ingram rose, and was silent for a moment.

"Lavender," he said, "it does not matter much whether you and I quarrel—I was prepared for that, in any case—but I ask you to give Sheila a chance of telling you what I had intended to tell you."

"Indeed, I shall do nothing of the sort. I never invite confidences. When she wishes to tell me anything she knows I am ready to listen. But I am quite satisfied with the position of affairs as they are at present."

"God help you, then!" said his friend, and went away, scarcely daring to confess to himself how dark the future looked.

[TO BE CONTINUED.]

ENGLISH COURT FESTIVITIES

Americans have an impression that the English think it a considerable distinction to be presented at court. But the ceremony of presentation has entirely ceased to have any social significance in England. Any young gentleman who imagines that the door of English society will be thrown open to him on the publication of his appearance at a drawing-room had better save the expense of a dress and carriage and stay at home. If a lady be ambitious of a social success, the money which a robe will cost might be expended to equal advantage anywhere else in London. However, a lady's dress may be worn again, and men may hire a court-suit for the day at a very small cost. Your tailor, if you get a good deal of him, will patch you up something tolerable for very little; so that sartorial expenses are comparatively light. One can get for the afternoon a two-horse brougham, with a coachman and footman, for a sum less than ten dollars. Still, going to court costs something, and its only possible advantage is that the spectacle is a fine and an interesting one. One has therefore to consider whether the sight is worth the fee.

A presentation at court is of quite as little advantage to an Englishman as to a foreigner coming to England. Almost anybody can be presented, and of those who are precluded from presentation, a great many occupy higher positions than many of those who have the privilege of going to court. Any graduate of a university, any clergyman, any officer in the army, is entitled to go. A merchant, an attorney, even a barrister, cannot; and yet in England a barrister, or, for that matter, a successful merchant, is apt to be a person of more consequence than a curate or a poor [pg 295] soldier. The court has scarcely any social significance in England. I once asked a young barrister if presentation would help him in the least in making his way in society. He said, "Not a bit."

In England the position of everybody is so well fixed that people cannot well change it by wishing it to be changed. Thus, for a poor East London curate to go to court would simply make him ridiculous. The parsons in the West End do present themselves, but there is no part of the British empire where clergymen are of such slight consequence as in the West End of London. The clergymen, as they file in along with the gayly-accoutred young guards-men, have a meek and gentle air which makes one feel that they had better have stayed away. They do not look half defiant enough. No person who is not already in such a position as to need no pushing could becomingly make his appearance at court. I remember in Shropshire to have heard a family who went down to London to be presented made the target for the ridicule of the whole neighborhood.

On a visit to London some years ago the writer was presented in the diplomatic circle, went to several of the drawing-rooms and levees at Buckingham and St. James's Palaces, and was invited to the court balls and concerts. Invitations to the court festivities are given only to those persons presented in the diplomatic circle. It must be understood that there is at every court in Europe a select and elegant and exclusive entrance, by which the diplomatists come in. Along with them enter also the ministers of state and the household officers of the Crown. The general circle, as it is called, includes everybody else. Another entrance and staircase are provided for it, and in that way all of British society, from a duke to a half-pay captain, gains admittance to the sovereign. When one is in the inside of Buckingham or St. James's Palace the same distinction exists. The room in which the members of the royal family receive the public is occupied during the entire ceremony by the diplomatic circle. Other persons, after bowing to the queen, pass into an antechamber.

Though I say it is of but small social advantage to an Englishman to be presented, yet undoubtedly the greatest people in the empire attend court, and are to be seen at the ceremonials and festivities at Buckingham and St. James's Palaces. At present the queen holds drawing-rooms and levees at Buckingham Palace, and the prince of Wales at St. James's Palace. The latter are attended only by gentlemen, and, though not so grand as the queen's, are pleasanter. Trousers are allowed, instead of the knee-breeches and stockings which must be worn at all court ceremonials where there are ladies. At two o'clock—for the prince is very punctual—the doors of the reception-room are thrown open, and the diplomatists begin to file in. First come the ambassadors. It must be remembered that there is a wide difference between an ambassador and an envoy or minister plenipotentiary. The original difference was that the ambassador was supposed, by a sort of transubstantiation, to represent the person of his sovereign. He had a right at any time to demand an audience with the king. An envoy must see the foreign secretary. This, of course, has ceased to have any practical significance in countries which have constitutions; and no doubt a minister can at any time demand an interview of the sovereign. It is still true, however, that an ambassador is accredited to the king, while an envoy is accredited to the foreign secretary. Practically, the difference is that an ambassador represents a bigger country, has better pay, lives in a finer house, and gives more parties and grander dinners. An ambassador has precedence of everybody in the country in which he resides, except the royal family.

There are five countries which send ambassadors to England—Russia, France, Germany, Austria and Turkey. These ambassadors enter the reception-room at the prince's levee in the order of seniority of residence. The Turkish [pg 296] ambassador, Musurus, who had been twenty years in London, came first on the occasions I speak of, the others following, I forget in what order. They were all persons of distinguished appearance. One, in particular, was singularly wise and dignified-looking, with an aspect which was either bland or severe, one could scarcely say which. Another resembled strikingly the typical diplomatist of romance, having a manner suave and infinitely deferential, but oh! so under-handed and insidious and diabolical! The duc de Broglie was the French ambassador in London at the time of my visit, and of all the corps his person and countenance possessed much the most distinction. His was a distinction of spirit and intellect: the distinction of the other continental "swells" was usually one of stomach and whiskers.

Behind each ambassador march the secretaries of the embassy. After the ambassadors come the ministers. The whole diplomatic corps moves from an anteroom into an apartment in which the prince of Wales awaits them. The prince and several of his brothers, his cousins, the duke of Cambridge and the prince of Teck, stand up in a row like an old-fashioned spelling class. Next to the prince, on his right, stands Viscount Sidney, the lord chamberlain, who calls off each detachment as it approaches—"Austrian ambassador," "the Spanish minister," "the United States minister," etc. The prince shakes hands with the head of the embassy or mission, and bows to the secretaries. When the diplomatists, cabinet ministers and household officers have all made their bow, it is the turn of British society. The diplomatic circle, and such as have the entree to it, remain in the room: the Englishmen pass out. The lord chamberlain in a loud voice calls off the name of each person as he appears, so that each comer is, as it were, labeled and ticketed. The observer learns quite as much as if the lord chamberlain was the verger and was showing off his collection.

One may often guess the rank or importance of the courtier by the manner of his reception. If he shakes hands with the prince, you may know he is somebody—if he shakes hands with all five or six of the princes, you may know he is a very great person. But if he gives the princes a wide berth, bows hastily and glances furtively at them, and runs by skittishly, then you may know that he is some half-pay colonel or insignificant civil servant. Something, too, may be inferred from the length of time the lord chamberlain takes to decipher the name of the comer on the slip of paper which is handed him. If he scans it long and hard, and holds it a good way from him and says "Major Te—e—e—bosh—bow," then in a loud voice, "Major Tebow," you will be safe in thinking that Major Tebow is not one of the greatest of warriors or largest of landed proprietors.

The ceremony lasts an hour and a half or two hours, and during the whole of it the talk and hand-shaking among the diplomatists go on very pleasantly. There is a great deal of esprit de corps among them, and perfect equality. Attachés, secretaries and ministers walk about through the room and exchange greetings. The ambassadors are rather statelier: these do not mix themselves with the crowd of diplomatists, but stand up apart, all five in a row, leaning against the wall, chatting easily, looking quite like another row of princes, a sort of after-glow of the royalties.

At all other court entertainments ladies are present. Of course there are a great many very pretty ones, and their brilliant toilets increase the magnificence of the spectacle. The queen's levees are very much longer than those of the prince of Wales. Then, at all ceremonials where there are ladies, men are compelled to wear, as I have said, silk stockings and knee-breeches, slippers and shoe-buckles. One can support this costume in tolerable comfort in a warm room, but in getting from the carriage to the door it is often like walking knee-deep in a tub of cold water. A cold hall or a draught from an open door will give very unpleasant sensations. In many of the large rooms of the palaces [pg 297] huge fireplaces, with great logs of wood, roar behind tall brass fenders. Once in front of one of these, the courtier who isn't a Scotchman feels as if he would never care to go away. Fortunately, most of these ceremonials are in summer, but the first of them come in February, and London is often cool well up into June.

The ceremony of a presentation to the queen is quite the same as that at a prince of Wales's levee. The spelling-class of royal ladies stand up in a rigid row. On the queen's right is the lord chamberlain, who reads off the names. Next to the queen, on her left, is Alexandra, then the queen's daughters and the Princess Mary of Cambridge. Next to them stand the princes, and the whole is a phalanx which stretches entirely across the room. Behind this line, drawn up in battle array, stand three or four ranks of court ladies.

The act of presentation is very easy and simple. Formerly—indeed, until within a few years—it must have been a very perilous and important feat. The courtier (the term is used inaccurately, but there is no noun to describe a person who goes to court for a single time) was compelled to walk up a long room, and to back, bowing, out of the queen's presence. For ladies who had trails to manage the ordeal must have been a trying one. Now it has been made quite easy. There is but one point in which a presentation to the queen differs from that already described at the prince of Wales's levee. You may turn your back to the prince, but after bowing to the queen you step off into the crowd, still facing her. There (if you have had the good luck to be presented in the diplomatic circle) you may stand and watch a most interesting pageant. To the young royalties, perhaps, it is not very amusing, though they evidently have their little joke afterward over anything unusual that occurs. It is natural enough that they should, of course, and the fatigue which they sustain entitles them to all the amusement they can get out of what must be to them a very monotonous and familiar spectacle. There is plenty in it to occupy and interest the man who sees it for the first or second time. You do not have to ask "Who is this?" and "Who is that?" The lord chamberlain announces each person as he or she appears. You hear the most heroic and romantic names in English history as some insignificant boy or wizened old woman appears to represent them. They are not all, by any means, insignificant boys and wizened old women. Many of the ladies are handsome enough to be well worth looking at, whether their names be Percy or Stanhope or Brown or Smith. The young slips of girls who come to be presented for the first time, frightened and pale or flushed, one admires and feels a sense of instinctive loyalty to.

The name of each is called out loudly by the lord chamberlain: "The duchess of Fincastle," "The countess of Dorchester," "Lady Arabella Darling on her marriage," etc. The ladies bow very low, and those to whom the queen gives her hand to kiss nearly or quite touch their knee to the carpet. No act of homage to the queen ever seems exaggerated, her behavior being so modest and the sympathy with her so wide and sincere; but ladies very nearly kneel in shaking hands with any member of the royal family, not only at court, but elsewhere. It is not so strange-looking, the kneeling to a royal lady, but to see a stately mother or some soft maiden rendering such an act of homage to a chit of a boy or a gross young gentleman impresses one unpleasantly. The curtsy of a lady to a prince or princess is something between kneeling and that queer genuflection one meets in the English agricultural districts: the props of the boys and girls seem momentarily to be knocked away, and they suddenly catch themselves in descending. It astonished me, I remember, at a court party, to see one patrician young woman—"divinely tall" I should describe her if her decided chin and the evidently Roman turn of her nose and of her character had not put divinity out of the question—shake hands with a not very imposing young prince, and bend [pg 298] her regal knees into this curious and sudden little cramp. I saw her, this adventurous maid, some days afterward in a hansom cab (shade of her grandmother, think of it!), directing with her imperious parasol the cabby to this and that shop. It struck me she should have been a Roman damsel, and have driven a chariot with three steeds abreast.

The levees and the drawing-rooms may be called the court ceremonials. There are besides the court festivities, the balls and concerts at Buckingham Palace. There are four or five of these given in a season—two balls and two concerts. The balls are the larger and less select, but much the more amusing. The ball-room of the palace is a large rectangular apartment. At one end is the orchestra—at the other a raised dais on which the royalties sit. On each side, running the length of the hall, are three tiers of benches, which are for ladies and such gentlemen as can get a seat. The tiers on the left of the dais are for diplomatists. English society has the tiers upon the other side. By ten the ball-room is usually filled with people waiting for the appearance of the royalties. The band strikes up, and the line of princes and princesses advances down the long hall leading to the ball-room. The queen and Prince Albert used formerly to preside at these balls. The queen does not come now: the prince and princess of Wales take her place.

First enters a line of gentlemen bearing long sticks. Behind them come the princesses, bowing on each hand. The princess of Wales advances first, with a naïve, faltering, hesitating step, a strange and quite delicious blending of timidity and child-like confidence in her manner. Then come, walking by twos, some daughters of the queen. Then approaches the princess of Teck (Mary of Cambridge), a large and very jolly-looking person, with vast good-nature and a profuse smile, which she seems to throw all over everybody. A German duchess or two follow her. The curtsies of these German princesses are indeed quite wonderful. After entering the hall one of them will espy (such, I suppose, is the fiction) some persons to whom she wishes to bow, and she then proceeds to execute a performance of some minutes' duration. Before curtsying, she stops and seems to "shy," and looks at the ladies as a frightened horse examines intently the object which alarms him: she then sinks slowly backward almost to the ground, and recovers herself with the same slowness. It would seem that such a genuflection must be, of necessity, ridiculous. But it is not so in the least: it is quite successful, and rather pleasing. After the ladies come the prince of Wales and his suite. The royalties then all go upon the stage, and after music the ball begins.

There are two sets of dancers. The princes and princesses open the ball with the diplomatists and some of the highest nobility on the space just in front of the dais. The rest of the hall is occupied by the other dancers, who later in the evening find their way into the diplomatic set. The dancing in the quadrilles and Lancers is of a rather stately and ceremonious sort. In waltz or galop the English always dance the same step, the deux temps, and the aim of the dancing couple is to go as much like a spinning-top as possible. They make occasional efforts to introduce puzzling novelties like the trois temps, the Boston dip, etc., but, I am glad to say, without any success. The result is, that once having learned to dance in England, you are safe.

The great hall during the waltz is a brilliant spectacle. There are many beautiful women, the toilets are dazzling, and all the men are "flaming in purple and gold." There is every variety of magnificent dress. Officers of a Russian body-guard are gold from head to foot. Hungarians wear purple and fur-trimmed robes of dark crimson of the utmost splendor. The young men of the Guards' clubs in gold and scarlet coats, and in spurred boots which reach above their knees, clank through the halls. Scotch lords sit about, and exhibit legs of which they are justly proud. Here, with swinging gait, wanders the queen's piper, a sort of [pg 299] poet-laureate of the bagpipes, arrayed in plaid and carrying upon his arm the soft, enchanting instrument to the music of which, no doubt, the queen herself dances. The music of the orchestra is perfect, and he must be a dull man who does not feel the festivity, the buoyancy and the elation of the scene.

Besides the ball-room, many handsome apartments are thrown open, through which people promenade; and if you will but push aside the curtains there are balconies where one can look down, by moonlight, on the lakes and fountains of the gardens, "the watery ways of palaces." I do not think the balconies are much occupied: they are a trifle too romantic for British mammas. But there is plenty of flirting in the halls and alcoves. One room I remember very pleasantly, the refreshment-room, which was kept open during the evening till supper-time. There one could get sandwiches, cold coffee, champagne, sherry, etc., without having to hurry or be greedy in the least. I can't say so much for the supper, though by waiting a little one could always get something. The princes went first, then the diplomatists, and then everybody else. The jostling was such that when young ladies asked for a plate of soup you wished they had wanted ham and chicken. A young American, I think, would very much dislike to go up to a table and eat a solitary supper with ladies looking on, and young and pretty ones, too. But I have seen a young guardsman, with an enormous helmet and boots as big as himself, stand up at the table and "solitary and alone" work his jaws with such effect as to shake and set trembling the whole of his paraphernalia. Behind him pressed other hungry courtiers, whom his gigantic helmet shut out from even the possibility of supper, and who revenged themselves by sarcastic congratulations aside upon the length and heartiness of his meal.

"Concert" is an expression which to a hungry man has a strong suggestion of tea and maccaroons. But a court concert gives you such a supper as only a night's dancing is ordinarily supposed to entitle you to. The concerts are given in the ball-room of the palace, and are much more select than the balls. The royalties occupy very slight gilt chairs placed just before the orchestra. There they sit with grace and an appearance of comfort through the whole of it, while happier and humbler mortals may walk about and whisper, or seek the refreshment-room, or look at the pictures. They have very good music, the best singers are provided, and some pretty familiar songs, like "Home, sweet home," are sung.

Before the royalties lead the way to supper they step forward to the bar which divides the orchestra from the audience and say a few civil things to each of the prominent artists, who in their turn bow and look very much delighted. I wonder that singers who are almost queens when they come to American cities, who have here any amount of praise and attention entirely free from patronage, and who even in European capitals may have excellent society, should be willing to put themselves in such a position. While the social status of musical artists has not been raised relatively in the last quarter of a century, and while that of the theatrical profession has been indeed, in London at least, relatively lowered, reason is gradually curing the old societies of Europe of many of their savage and silly notions. The cord stretched between the guests and the performers used to be a feature of musical entertainments at private houses. Grisi went once to sing at a concert given by the duke of Wellington at his country-seat. The old man asked her when she would dine. "Oh, when you do," she said. He saw her mistake and did not correct it; so it happened that she dined at the same table with the guests, and the incident, it is said, excited considerable horror among people of the old sort. Think how barbarous, how savage, how utterly uncivilized, is such an instinct! Women, of course, persecute each other, but it seems inconceivable that a man and a gentleman could have entertained such a sentiment.

[pg 300]

Of course, a supper at a concert is just the same as at a ball, only there are fewer people and more leisure. The prince of Wales, and to a less degree the other royalties, move among the throng and make a point of speaking to any one to whom they wish to be civil. "The Prince," as he is commonly called, takes advantage of the suppers at balls and parties to make himself agreeable. The rule is, let me remind the reader, to wait until the prince addresses you before speaking, and to wait also for him, when in conversation, to turn away: it would be considered very rude to terminate the interview yourself. A subject in talking with the prince is always expected to call him "Sir." The queen is addressed as "Ma'am." It is not understood in this country that to call a man "sir" is a confession of your inferiority to him. But it is so in England, and the fact illustrates the strong hold these absurd and uncomfortable egotisms have upon the British mind. No gentleman in England says "sir" to another, unless it be a very young person to an old one. [A] A subordinate in an office might "sir" a superior, but he would not "sir" a man of the same rank as his superior with whom he had no connection. "Sir" is the term applied by any Englishman of whatever rank to a member of the royal family. Our committees, when princes visit America, usually address them in notes as "Your Royal Highness." But "Your Royal Highness" is not a vocative: it can be used only in the third person. However, the princes are then in America, and perhaps we are under no obligation to know everything of their ways at home. Should the reader ever meet a prince in that prince's country, I should advise him to do just as other people do there. He will probably question, and not unreasonably, if he should accept the implied inferiority; but the best of all principles for extempore action is to do what seems the usual thing, unless we have previously decided from mature consideration to do the unusual thing. It is not the prince's fault that he is a prince: he means to be civil to you, and you can do no good by making him and yourself uncomfortable. Indeed, a truculent person does not succeed in asserting his equality. The prince has been so long in that kind of life that he probably has thought through the mistake under which the republican stranger is laboring, and considers him a goose. Moreover, an American may reflect that he will probably have very little in life to do with princes, and that his interview with a prince has been an "experience." It would be about as foolish to assert one's dignity with the Mammoth Cave or the Matterhorn. 1

Besides these balls and concerts there are yet the queen's and prince of Wales's breakfasts or garden-parties, which come off about 3 P.M. These are the most exclusive and unattainable of all the court entertainments. There are two or three of these in a season, and out of all London society only a couple of hundred are invited. There are certain persons who are always invited, and others who are eligible and are invited occasionally. A large part of the diplomatic corps are always present. Each ambassador or minister, with one or two secretaries of legation, is invariably among the guests; but a queen's breakfast is the highest point which a secretary of legation can touch. No secretary ever dines with the queen: the minister himself only goes once a year, and he "not without shedding of blood."

The dress worn by gentlemen at these breakfasts is a curious one, and anything but pretty: it consists of a dress-coat and light trousers. The dress which our diplomatic representatives are now compelled to wear at the other court ceremonies and festivities needs a word of mention. Our people in America are somewhat conceited, somewhat prone to be confident, upon questions of which they know very little. Congress, at a [pg 301] distance of many thousand miles from courts, thought itself competent to decide what sort of court dress an American diplomatist should wear. An able though crotchety man brought forward a measure, and, once proposed, it was certain to go through, because to oppose its passage would have been to be aristocratic and un-American. Mr. Sumner's bill required Americans to go in the "ordinary dress of an American citizen." There was no attempt to indicate what that should be. Up to that time our diplomatists had worn the uniform used by the non-military diplomatists of other countries. This consists of a blue coat with more or less gold upon it, white breeches, silk stockings, sword and chapeau.

An attempt or two had been made before by the State Department to interfere with the trappings of its servants abroad. Marcy issued a circular requesting American diplomatists to go to court without uniform. This afforded James Buchanan an opportunity of making one of the best speeches attributed to him. The circular of Mr. Marcy threw consternation into the breasts of certain ancient functionaries of the European courts, for shortly after its appearance the lord high fiddlestick in waiting called upon Mr. Buchanan, who was then the United States minister in London, and said that a certain very distinguished person had heard of the recent wish which the American government had expressed with regard to the costume of its agents, and that while she would be happy to see Mr. Buchanan in any dress in which he might choose to present himself, she yet hoped he would so far consult her wishes as to consent to carry a sword. "Tell that very distinguished personage," said Mr. Buchanan, "that not only will I wear a sword, as she requests, but, should occasion require it, will hold myself ready to draw it in her defence." This strikes me as in just that tone of respectful exaggeration and playful acquiescence which a gentleman in this country may very becomingly take toward the whole question. Neither Mr. Buchanan nor any one else, I believe, heeded the request of the Department, and Mr. Marcy himself, it is said, subsequently repudiated it.

But what was only a request of the State Department in Mr. Marcy's time is now a law. I had good opportunities to observe how very uncomfortable our poor diplomatists were made by this piece of legislation. Its object was, of course, to give them a very unpretending and subdued appearance. The result is, that with the exception of Bengalese nabobs, the son of the mikado of Japan, and the khan of Khiva, the American legations are the most noticeable people at any court ceremony or festivity in Europe. When everybody else is flaming in purple and gold the ordinary diplomatic uniform is exceedingly simple and modest; but the Yankee diplomats are the most scrutinized and conspicuous persons to be seen. One of the secretaries said to me: "I am afraid to wander off by myself among these ladies: they inspect me as the maids of honor in the palace of Brobdingnag did Gulliver. I feel toward Columbia as a cruel mother who won't dress me like these other little boys." It would require more than ordinary courage to attempt to dance in this rig. I should think that our representatives would huddle together in the most unconspicuous portion of a room, and never leave it. Said the secretary above quoted: "I always feel here that I am of some use to my chief: I am one more pair of legs with which to divide the gaze of British society."

The dress in which our diplomats attend court at present is a plain dress-coat and vest, with knee-breeches, black silk stockings, slippers, etc. It is difficult to see in what sense this is the "ordinary dress of an American citizen." The dress is not so ugly as it would seem to be; indeed, with the help of a white vest and liberal watch-chain, it might be made quite becoming were it not so excessively conspicuous. An English cabinet minister at a party given in his own house usually wears it, and all persons invited to the Empress Eugenie's private parties came got up in [pg 302] that manner. But in London it was not till recently that American diplomatists were allowed to go to court even thus attired. Everywhere else in Europe the legations were admitted in evening dress, the concession of knee-breeches not having been required. But at Buckingham Palace there are two or three very old men who were courtiers when Queen Victoria was a baby, and who still control the court etiquette. These aged functionaries, who can very well remember Waterloo, and whose fathers remembered the American Revolution, put down their foot, and would admit no Americans without the proper garments. The consequence was, that our legation was compelled to stay at home. This state of things continued until Reverdy Johnson came out, who arranged what was called "the Breeches Protocol." Owing to the unreasonable state of the public mind during his term of office, this was the only measure which that good and able man succeeded in accomplishing. The compromise which Mr. Johnson's good-humor and the friendly impulse of the British public toward us at that time wrung from these ancient chamberlains and gold-sticks (for you may say what you will, public opinion is irresistible), was to allow the minister and the two secretaries of legation to appear in the breeches above described. Americans who are presented at court, and who get invitations to the festivities, are all required to wear a court dress. Of what good compelling the poor diplomatists to make scarecrows of themselves may be I do not know. Mr. Sumner's proposition was just one of those absurdities to which men are liable who have considerable conscience and no sense of humor. Senators and Congressmen fell in with it because they feared to be un-American, and because it is not their wont to be very dignified or (in matters of this sort) very scrupulous.

Footnote 1: (return)

[The rule, more correctly stated, is, that "sir" is never used except to indicate a difference of age or position so great as to forbid familiarity or to be incompatible with social equality. It may be employed by the elder in addressing the younger, and by the superior in addressing the inferior, as well as vice versa. Hence the saying, in English society, that only princes and servants are spoken to as "sir."]

RAMBLES AMONG THE FRUITS AND FLOWERS OF THE TROPICS.

CONCLUDING PAPER.

An Arab vessel from Bombay, touching at Singapore on her way to Bangkok, afforded us an opportunity we had been longing for to visit the most splendid of Oriental cities.

Dining at the house of the Malayan rajah, we chanced to meet the nárcodah (supercargo), who was also the owner, of the Futtel Barrie. He was a handsome, courtly, and intelligent Arab, glad always to mingle with Europeans; and in response to our inquiry whether he had room for passengers, he proffered us a free ticket to and from Bangkok, with the use of his own cabin. We must be on board the next day at noon, he said, and it was already verging toward sunset; so we had small time for preparation. But with the migratory habits of Oriental tourists it was easy to throw together a few indispensables; and we were set down on the Barrie's quarterdeck, portmanteaus, sketch-books, specimen-baskets and all, before the anchor was weighed.

The monsoon was favorable, and seven days' sail brought us to the river's mouth, and a pull thence of thirty miles in the nárcodah's boat to the "city of kings."

Siam is verily the queen of the tropics in regard to the abundance, variety and unequaled lusciousness of her fruits. Here are found those of China, greatly enriched in tint and flavor by being transplanted to this warmer climate; and those of Western Asia, in this fruitful soil far more productive than in the [pg 303] sterile regions of Persia and Arabia; while numberless varieties from the Malayan and Indian archipelagoes, united with the host of those indigenous to the country, complete a list of some two hundred or more species of edible fruits. In this clime of perennial freshness trees bear nearly the year round, and so productive is the soil that the annual produce is almost incredible. The tax on orchards alone yields to the Crown a revenue of some five millions of dollars per annum, as I was informed by the late "second king" of Siam. It is not unusual to find on a single branch the bud and blossom, together with fruit in several different stages. Thus, at the merest trifle of expense a table may be supplied during the entire year with forty or fifty specimens of fresh, ripe fruit. Among these are many varieties of oranges and pineapples, pumeloes, shaddocks, pawpaws, guavas, bananas, plantains, durians, jack-fruit, melons, grapes, mangoes, cocoa-nuts, pomegranates, soursaps, linchies, custard-apples, breadfruit, cassew-nuts, plums, tamarinds, mangosteens, rambustans, and scores of others for which we have no names in our language. Tropical fruits are generally juicy, sweet with a slight admixture of acid, luscious, and peculiarly agreeable in a warm climate; and when partaken of with temperance and due regard to quality they are highly promotive of health. For this reason Booddhists regard the destruction of a fruit tree as quite an act of sacrilege, and their sacred books pronounce a heavy malediction on those who wantonly commit so great a crime. One who has tasted the fruits of the tropics only at a distance from the soil that produces them can form no conception of the real flavor of plums and grapes that never felt the frosty atmosphere of our northern clime; of oranges plucked ripe from the fragrant stem and eaten fresh while the morning dew still glitters on their golden-tinted cheeks; of the rare, rosy pomegranate juice, luscious as nectar.

After eating the fruits of all climes, I place the mangosteen at the head of the list as absolutely perfect in flavor and fragrance. The fruit is spherical in form, about the size of a small orange, of a rich crimson-purple hue without, and filled with a succulent, half-transparent pulp that melts in the mouth. There are three species of the mangosteen tree, but of only one, the Garania mangostina, is the fruit edible. The others are valuable for timber, and the bark for the manufacture of a dye that resists the attacks of every sort of insect.

Next to the mangosteen I should name the custard-apple (Anona squamosa), a rich and delicate fruit of the form and dimensions of a medium-sized quince, but made up of lesser cones, each with its apex directed toward the centre, and each containing a smooth black seed. The pulp is pure white, about the consistency of a baked custard, and in flavor very like strawberries and cream.

The delicious soursap is very similar to the custard-apple, but of larger size and slightly acid in taste. The bearded, rosy rambustan (Nephelium lappaceum) looks like a mammoth strawberry, but when the outer hairy covering has been removed a semi-transparent pulp is revealed, in taste so similar to our best Malaga grapes that a blind man would be unable to distinguish them.

Pineapples are good and abundant all over South-eastern Asia, but are in their perfection at Singapore and Malacca, weighing frequently four pounds or more. Passing, one warm afternoon, along the Singapore bazaar, I noticed a Chinese fruit-dealer who had among other delicacies outspread before him the largest and finest pineapples I had ever seen. As I inquired the price, the Celestial, after a long harangue on the extraordinary excellence of his wares, and the trouble he had taken to obtain them, expressed a hope that he should not be considered extortionate in selling them so very high, the price demanded for a whole four-pound pineapple, peeled, sliced, and ready for eating, being the equivalent of half a cent! The ordinary, medium-sized fruit could be purchased, he knew, at one-fifth of that sum, and his conscience, no doubt, was chiding him for extortion.

[pg 304]

One of the most singular-looking fruits is the jack-fruit (Artocarpus integrifolia), growing in all its immensity of thirty or forty pounds weight directly out of the largest branches or on the stem of the huge tree. Externally, it has a rough, pale-green coat: internally, it has a luscious, golden-hued pulp, in which are embedded a dozen or more smooth, oval seeds about the size of large chestnuts, which they strikingly resemble in flavor.

The mango (Mangifera Indica) is a drupe of the plum kind, four or five inches long, and three at least in diameter. Greenish-colored outside, and not very inviting, you are most agreeably surprised at the rare, rich flavor of the bright yellow pulp that adheres like the clinging peach to a large flat seed.

The gamboge tree (Stalagmitis Cambogioides) grows luxuriantly in Siam, and also in Ceylon. It has small narrow, pointed leaves, a yellow flower, and an oblong, golden-colored fruit. Even the stem has a yellow bark, like the gamboge it produces. The drug is obtained by wounding the bark of the tree, and also from the leaves and young shoots. The natives say that they have sold it to white foreigners for hundreds of years past; and we know it was introduced into Europe early in the seventeenth century.

The plantain (Musa paradisaica) is one of the best gifts of Providence to the teeming multitudes of tropical lands, living, as many of them do, without stated homes, and gathering food and drink as they find them on the roadside and in the jungle. Under a friendly palm the simple peasants find needed shelter from the sun by day and the dews by night, while a bunch of plantains or bananas plucked fresh from the tree will furnish an abundant meal, and the water of a green cocoa-nut all the drink they desire. The plantain tree grows to about twenty feet in height, its round, soft stem being composed of the elongated foot-stalks of the leaves, and its cone of a nodding flower-spike or cluster of purple blossoms that are very graceful and beautiful. Like the palms, this tree has no branches, but its smooth, glossy leaves are from six to eight feet in length and two or more in breadth. At the root of a leaf a double row of fruit comes out half around the stalk; the stem then elongates a few inches, and another leaf is deflected, revealing another double row; and so on, till there come to be some thirty rows containing about two hundred plantains, weighing in all sixty or seventy pounds. This mammoth bunch is the sole product of the tree for the time: after the fruit is plucked the stalk is cut down, and another shoots up from the same root; and it is thus constantly renewed for many successive years. The incalculable blessing of such a tree in regions where the intolerable heat renders all labor oppressive may be conceived from the estimate of Humboldt, who reckons the surface of ground needed to the production of four thousand pounds of ripe plantains to suffice for the raising of only thirty-three pounds of wheat or ninety-nine pounds of potatoes. What would induce the indolent East Indian to make the exchange of crops?

The cassew-nut (Anacardium occidentale) is remarkable as the only known fruit of which the seed grows on the outside. A full-grown tree is twenty feet high, with graceful form and widespread branches. The leaves are oval, and the beautiful crimson flowers grow in clusters. The fruit is pear-shaped, of a purplish color outside and bright yellow within; and the seed, which is in the form of a crescent, looks just as if it had been stuck on the bur end, instead of growing there. When roasted the kernels are not unlike a very fine chestnut.

The guava (Psidium pomiferum), of which the noted Indian jelly is made, is about the size and shape of our sugar pears—pale, yellowish-green externally, and revealing, when opened, a soft, rose-colored pulp studded with tiny seeds. Both taste and odor are very peculiar, and are seldom liked by foreigners till after long use.

The tamarind tree (Tamarindus Indicus), [pg 305] a huge growth, with trunk a hundred feet tall and fifteen or more in circumference, has branches extending widely, and a dense foliage of bright green composite leaves, very nearly resembling those of the sensitive plant. The flowers, growing in clusters, are exquisite, of a rich golden tint veined with red; while the fruit hangs pendent, like bean-pods strung all over the branches of the mammoth tree. The diminutive leaves, blossoms and fruit are so singularly opposed to the stately growth as to appear almost ludicrous, yet the tout ensemble is "a thing of beauty" never to be forgotten.

It remained for us, on our return to Singapore, to see the spice plantations, with the beautiful clove and nutmeg trees, about which every new-comer goes into ecstasies. Mr. Princeps' estate, one of the largest and finest on the island, occupies two hundred and fifty acres, including three picturesque hills—Mount Sophia, Mount Emily and Mount Caroline, each surmounted by a pretty bungalow—and from these avenues radiate, intersecting every portion of the plantation. Here were planted some five thousand nutmeg trees, and perhaps a thousand of the clove, besides coffee trees, palms, etc. The nutmeg is an evergreen of great beauty, conical in shape, and from twenty to twenty-five feet in height, the branches thickly decorated with polished, deep-green foliage rising from the ground to the summit. Almost hidden among these emerald leaves grows the pear-shaped fruit. As it ripens the yellow external tegument opens, revealing the dark-red mace, that is closely enwrapped about a thin black shell. This, in turn, encloses a fragrant kernel, the nutmeg of commerce. Both leaf and blossom are marked by the same aromatic perfume that distinguishes the fruit.

The clove tree, though somewhat smaller than the nutmeg, is quite similar in appearance, and, if possible, even more graceful and beautiful. The leaves are shaped like a lance, the blossoms pure white and deliciously fragrant, and they cluster thickly on every branch and twig almost to the summit of the tree. The cloves—"spice nails," as they are often called—are not a fruit, but undeveloped buds, the stem being the calyx, and the head the folded petals. Their dark color, as we see them, is due to the smoking process through which they pass in curing. The clove is a native of the Moluccas, and has been transplanted to many parts of the East Indies; but nowhere, not even in its picturesque Faderland, does it thrive better than in Singapore, Pulo Penang and other islands of the Malayan Archipelago.

One singular-looking fruit that I saw in China I must not forget to mention—the flat peach, called by the Chinese ping taou, or "peach cake." It has the appearance of having been flattened by pressure at the head and stalk, being something less than three-fourths of an inch through the centre from eye to stem, and consisting wholly of the stone and skin; while the sides, which swell around the centre, are only an eighth of an inch in thickness. Its transverse diameter is about two and a half inches.

The camphor tree (Laurus camphora) grows abundantly in China and Japan, producing a very large proportion of the gum that supplies the markets of Europe and our own country, as well as the trunks and chests so universally esteemed as protectives against the ravages of moths and the still more destructive white ant of the tropics. This tree grows to the height of twenty feet, with a circumference of about eighteen, and has luxuriant branches from seven to nine feet in girth. In obtaining the gum, freshly-gathered branches are cut in small pieces, and steeped in water for several days, after which they are boiled, the liquid being constantly stirred until the gum, in the form of a white jelly, begins to appear, when the whole is poured into a glazed vessel, and becomes concreted in cooling. It is afterward purified by means of sublimation, the gum attaching itself to a conical cover placed over the boiling liquid while at its greatest heat. There is another species of camphor tree (Dryobalanops camphora) growing in Borneo; and a single tree is found on the island of [pg 306] Sumatra, a very giant in dimensions, even amid the huge growth of those dense forests. The gum yielded by this species is found occupying portions of about a foot or a foot and a half in the heart of the tree. The Malays and Bugis make a deep incision in the trunk about fifteen inches from the ground with a b'ling or Malayan axe, in order to ascertain whether the gum is there; and when it is found the tree is felled and the impregnated portion carefully extracted. The same tree, while young, yields a liquid oily matter that has nearly the same properties as the camphor, and is supposed to be the first stage of its formation. Some eight China catties (eleven pounds) of this oil may be obtained from a medium-sized tree, which, after having been cut off for the purpose of abstracting the oil, will, if left standing for a few years, produce abundantly an inferior article of camphor.

In British India we saw whole fields of the opium poppy, stately, beautiful plants four or five feet high, the stem of a sea-green color, round, erect and smooth, and the gay blooms of ripe crimson hue. The plant is an annual, the seed being sown in autumn and the crop gathered in August. After the flowers have fallen circular incisions are made close around the capsules of the plant, and from these wounds exudes a white, milky juice, that is afterward concreted by the heat of the sun into dark-brown masses. These constitute the opium of commerce in its crude state; but to prepare it for smoking the Chinese take it through quite a complicated process, boiling, purifying and condensing till it assumes the appearance of a thick gelatinous paste of a purplish-black color.

The habit of opium-smoking is unquestionably the direst curse under which vast, populous China groans. One who has never visited an opium shop can have no conception of the fatal fascination that holds its victims fast bound—mind, heart, soul and conscience, all absolutely dead to every impulse but the insatiable, ever-increasing thirst for the damning poison. I entered one of these dens but once, but I can never forget the terrible sights and sounds of that "place of torment." The apartment was spacious, and might have been pleasant but for its foul odors and still fouler scenes of unutterable woe—the footprints of sin trodden deep in the furrows of those haggard faces and emaciated forms. On all four sides of the room were couches placed thickly against the walls, and others were scattered over the apartment wherever there was room for them. On each of these lay extended the wreck of what was once a man. Some few were old—all were hollow-eyed, with sunken cheeks and cadaverous countenances; many were clothed in rags, having probably smoked away their last dollar; while others were offering to pawn their only decent garment for an additional dose of the deadly drug. A decrepit old man raised himself as we entered, drew a long sigh, and then with a half-uttered imprecation on his own folly proceeded to refill his pipe. This he did by scraping off, with a five-inch steel needle, some opium from the lid of a tiny shell box, rolling the paste into a pill, and then, after heating it in the blaze of a lamp, depositing it within the small aperture of his pipe. Several short whiffs followed; then the smoker would remove the pipe from his mouth and lie back motionless; then replace the pipe, and with fast-glazing eyes blow the smoke slowly through his pallid nostrils. As the narcotic effects of the opium began to work he fell back on the couch in a state of silly stupefaction that was alike pitiable and disgusting. Another smoker, a mere youth, lay with face buried in his hands, and as he lifted his head there was a look of despair such as I have seldom seen. Though so young, he was a complete wreck, with hollow eyes, sunken chest and a nervous twitching in every muscle. I spoke to him, and learned that six months before he had lost his whole patrimony by gambling, and came hither to quaff forgetfulness from these Lethean cups; hoping, he said, to find death as well as oblivion. By far the larger proportion of the smokers were so entirely under the [pg 307] influence of the stupefying poison as to preclude any attempt at conversation, and we passed out from this moral pest-house sick at heart as we thought of these infatuated victims of self-indulgence and their starving families at home. This baneful habit, once formed, is seldom given up, and from three to five years' indulgence will utterly wreck the firmest constitution, the frame becoming daily more emaciated, the eyes more sunken and the countenance more cadaverous, till the brain ceases to perform its functions, and death places its seal on the wasted life.

On "Araby's plains" I saw for the first time the beautiful wild palm, the "lighthouse of the desert," always an object of intense desire to the weary traveler as he traverses those sterile regions, for as it looms up in the distance, sometimes in groups, but more generally standing in solitary grandeur near a tiny bubbling spring, its waving plumes tell him not only of shelter and needed rest, but of water also to bathe his tired limbs and quench the burning thirst that oppresses him almost to death. Should the friendly tree prove a date-palm, he will find food also—a dainty repast of ripe, golden fruit, wholesome and nourishing—ready prepared to his hand. But, after all, to a traveler over those sterile regions water is the grand desideratum, and this he is sure to find in the vicinity of the wild palm. The Bedouins, who consider it beneath their dignity to sow or reap, gather the date where they can find it growing wild; but the Arabs of the plains cultivate the tree with great care and skill, thus improving the size and flavor of the fruit, and producing some twenty or more varieties. In some they have succeeded in doing away with the seed altogether; and the seedless dates, being very large and delicately-flavored, bring always the highest price in the market. Date-honey is made by expressing the juice of the fresh fruit, and the luxury of fresh dates may be enjoyed through the entire year by keeping them in tight vessels, covered over with this honey. Date-flour, made by exposing the ripe fruit to the heat of the sun until sufficiently dry to be ground into fine powder, furnishes the ordinary sustenance of the Arabs in their frequent journeys across the deserts. This is food in its most condensed form, easily carried and needing no cooking. It is simply moistened with a little water, and so eaten. But the value of the date tree is by no means confined to the fruit. An agreeable beverage, known as palm wine, is drawn from the trunk by tapping; the trunks of the old trees make excellent timber; the leaves are used for hats and baskets; and the fibrous part, when stripped out, makes twine and ropes. Even the stones are of use—the fresh ones for planting, and the dried are turned to account—in Egypt for cattle-feed, in China for the manufacture of Indian ink, and in Spain for making the tooth-powder known as "ivory black." The date is indigenous to both Asia and Africa: it was introduced into Spain by the Moors, and some few trees are still found even in the south of France. But the most extensive forests are those of the Barbary states, where they are sometimes miles in length. When growing thus in groves the palms are very beautiful, their towering crests waving in unison as they seem to form an immense natural temple, about which vines and creepers wreath their graceful tendrils, while birds of varied plumage sing their matin and vesper songs, plucking meanwhile the golden fruit that grows in clusters at the very summit of the tree. The Arabs' mode of gathering this fruit is odd enough. The trunk, sixty feet high, has not, it must be remembered, a single branch to hold on by or furnish a foothold; and, besides, the whole stem is rough with thick scales or horny protuberances, not very pleasant to the touch of fingers or palms. So a strong rope is passed across the climber's back and under his armpits, and then, after being passed around the tree, the two ends are knotted firmly together. The rope is next placed over one of the notches left by the footstalk of an old leaf, while the man slips the portion that is under his armpits toward the middle of his back, so as to allow the lower part of [pg 308] the shoulder-blades to rest upon it. Then with hands and knees he firmly grasps the trunk, and raises himself a few inches higher; when, still holding fast by knees and feet and one hand, he with the other slips the rope a little higher up the tree, letting it rest on another of these horny protuberances, and so on till the summit is gained. When the fruit is reached it is easily plucked with one hand, while the gatherer maintains his position with the other, and the clusters are thrown down into a large cloth held at the corners by four persons.

The far-famed banian or Indian fig (Ficus Indica) is perhaps the grandest of tropical trees—the most beautiful of Nature's products, even in that fertile soil kissed ever by the sun's rays, where she sports with such profusion and variety, clothing the earth in gorgeous flowers, variegated mosses and feathery ferns, till it seems to groan beneath the manifold treasures of beauty and fragrance lavished thereon. This noble tree grows wild in many Eastern countries and islands, and sometimes attains to a size and an extent that are marvelous to contemplate. Shoots are everywhere thrown out toward the ground from the horizontal branches, increasing in size as they tend downward, till at last they strike into the ground and become stems. From these shoot new branches, which in their turn extend and form roots and new stems, till at length a solitary tree becomes the parent of an extensive grove, appropriately characterized by the bard as "a pillared shade high overarched." And as they are thus continually increasing, seeming meanwhile almost exempt from the general law of decay, a tiny sapling borne to the spot in an infant's hand may come in time to cover thousands of feet of soil. Such a specimen is the noted Cubber Burr, growing on a picturesque little island in the river Nerbudda, near Baroach, in the province of Guzerat. This wonderful tree, named after a venerated Hindoo saint, occupies a space that exceeds two thousand feet in circumference. The principal stems number three or four hundred, and the smaller ones more than three thousand, though some have been destroyed by high floods, that have carried away not only portions of the giant tree, but of the banks of the island itself. The beauty and magnitude of the Cubber Burr are famous all over the East. Indian armies have encamped beneath its sheltering branches, and Hindoo festivals, to which thousands of votaries repair, are often held under its leafy shadow. I was told that seven thousand people could find ample shelter under its widespread branches; and we often knew of English gentlemen forming hunting or shooting excursions to the island, and encamping for weeks together beneath this delightful pavilion. Their only hosts were frolicsome monkeys and whole colonies of doves, peacocks, wood-pigeons and singing birds, that find a permanent abode among the thick foliage, and plentiful sustenance from the small, scarlet-colored figs that hang pendent from every branch. The banian tree may be regarded as a natural temple in Oriental regions, and the Hindoos especially look upon it with profound veneration. Tiny, fancifully-adorned temples and pagodas are erected beneath its shadowy boughs, where are pleasant walks and long vistas of umbrageous canopy, effectually shielded from the fierce rays of the tropical sun. Many Brahmins spend their entire lives within these quiet retreats, and all ranks and classes seek them for rest and recreation. The banian is styled also "the tree of councils," from the prevalent custom of assembling legislators, magistrates and savants under its protecting canopy to deliberate on civil affairs; while all around, ensconced in every niche, are the tutelary gods and goddesses that make up the Hindoo mythology. It is indeed a quaint, weird spot, full of the witchery of romance and legendary lore; and though years have passed since I last sat under the Cubber Burr's sheltering boughs with a merry party of picnicking maidens, now grown to womanhood, imagination still loves to roam among its shadows, and build fairy castles within the mazy windings of the hoary banian of Nerbudda's isle.

FANNIE R. FEUDGE.

[pg 309]

A LOTOS OF THE NILE.

It was nine o'clock on a night of clear July starlight. The heat of the day had been intense, and all the guests of The Willows were assembled on the lawn, intent upon the effort of keeping cool, if such a thing were at all possible. A hopeless effort it seemed, however, for the heavy foliage of the trees hung quite motionless, and the fans which were plied unceasingly made the only possible approach to a breeze. Everything was so still that the voice of the river was distinctly audible as it fretted and surged along its rocky bed, distant at least a mile. The scene was full of the dim, mysterious look which makes summer starlight so fascinating. White dresses, shadowy faces, suggestive outlines of form and head, now and then the glimmer of an ornament: after one had looked long enough it was even possible to tell who was who, but at first the voices were the only clue to recognition. Behind the group rose the house, with light streaming from its lace-draped windows, the pictures and globe-like lamps of the deserted drawing-room making a charming effect.

Everybody had been silent for some time—that is, for half a minute, which seems a long time under such circumstances—when Mrs. Lancaster's voice broke the stillness. "Oh for a whiff of mountain-air or a sea-breeze!" she said. "I came to spend two weeks with you, dear Mrs. Brantley, and I have spent a month—who ever did leave The Willows when they meant to do so?—but I really must be thinking of taking flight. Suppose we get up a party for the White Sulphur?—it is always so tiresome to go away by one's self. Who will join it? Eleanor, will you?"

"I am not going to the White Sulphur this year," answered Eleanor Milbourne.

"Not going to the White Sulphur!" repeated Mrs. Lancaster in a tone of surprise. Then she laughed. "How stupid I am!" she said. "Of course I might have known that the temptation to break the pledge of total abstinence from flirtation would be too great in that paradise of flirtation. Besides, Mr. Brent's yacht is homeward bound, is it not?"

"I am not aware that there is any connection between Mr. Brent's yacht and my decision about the White Sulphur," answered Miss Milbourne haughtily. Then she turned to the person next her, a recumbent figure lying at full length on the grass. "I don't know anything of which one grows so weary as of watering-place life when one has seen much of it," she said. "Its pettiness, its routine, its vapidity, its gossip, all oppress one like a hideous nightmare. I don't think I shall ever go to a watering-place again."

"Take care!" said the recumbent. "Don't make an abstinence pledge of that kind: you will only be tempted to break it, for what will you do with yourself in summer?"

"I should like to travel. I am possessed with an intense desire to see the world and the wonders thereof."

"With a yacht such a desire would be easily gratified."

"But I have no yacht," said she with a sharp chord in her voice. It was an expressive voice at all times, and doubly expressive in this dim, mysterious starlight.

"Mr. Brent has, however, and I am sure he will be happy to place it at your service."

"You are very kind to answer for Mr. Brent."

"I answer for him because I judge him by myself. If I had a fleet it should be subject to your command."

"You are very generous," said she; and now there was a little ripple as of pleasure in her tone.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Lancaster was calling over the roll of the company like an orderly sergeant, intent upon beating up [pg 310] recruits for the White Sulphur. "Major Clare!" she said at last: "where is Major Clare?" Then, when the gentleman who had just offered Miss Milbourne his airy fleet responded lazily, "Here!" she added, "You will go, will you not?"

"I regret to say that it is impossible," he answered. "I have danced my last galop at the White Sulphur. This time next month I shall probably be en route for Egypt."

"For Egypt!" she repeated; and a chorus of voices instantly echoed the exclamation. "For Egypt! Nonsense! You are jesting."

"No, I am not jesting," said Victor Clare, lifting himself on one elbow: "I am in earnest. I received a letter from ——" (naming a distinguished officer) "to-day, offering me a position if I would join him in Cairo. I say nothing about what the position is, because my mind is not yet made up to accept it; and even if it were, such things should not be published on the house-tops. But if anybody here has a fancy for joining the army of the khedive, I may be able to give him a few important particulars."

Nobody responded. The gentlemen seemed to prefer enlisting under Mrs. Lancaster's banner for the White Sulphur. The ladies shrugged their shoulders and said the idea was dreadful, Victor Clare sank back in the grass and addressed himself to Miss Milbourne.

"There is nothing else for me to do," he said in an argumentative tone. "I only waste money on the impoverished acres of that old place of mine. The house itself is falling down over my head. What remains, then, but to go forth and tempt Fortune to do her best—or worst? At least the profession of arms has been in all ages the calling of a gentleman."

For a minute Eleanor Milbourne did not speak. She sat in the starlight a graceful, shadowy figure, furling and unfurling her fan with a slightly nervous motion. Perhaps she was uncertain what to answer. But at last she spoke in a very low tone: "Yet you said you had not decided."

"No, I have not decided. In truth, I have been rooted in idleness and indifference so long that I scarcely feel as if I cared enough about myself to take advantage of the offer. Then I cannot bring myself to think of selling Claremont, though I know that a penniless man has no right to the luxury of sentimental attachments. If I were in Egypt it would not matter to me that some upstart speculator owned the old place."

"I think it would," said Miss Milbourne.

"No, it would not" was the obstinate reply. "I should take care to find a lotos as soon as I reached the Nile. Whoever eats of that forgets his past life, you know. I have scant reason for wishing to remember mine," he added a little bitterly.

"Memory is certainly more often a sting than a pleasure," said Miss Milbourne. "It is strange," she added, "that we should both have thought of obtaining forgetfulness through the same means. When Mr. Brent asked me what he should bring me from Egypt, I said a lotos of the Nile. If he fulfills his promise I will share it with you."

"I am not sure that I care to be indebted even for forgetfulness to Mr. Brent," said Victor Clare ungratefully.

He was sorry the moment after for having spoken so curtly, and would have made amends by promising to accept a dozen lotoses if she desired to bestow so many upon him; but Miss Milbourne had already turned to her neighbor on the other side and plunged into conversation. "Is it not strange that Egypt should be waking from her sleep of centuries?" she said; and—while the gentleman whom she addressed took up the theme readily—Mrs. Lancaster rose and sauntered round the group to where Victor Clare was lying.

"Come, Monsieur Indolence, and take a walk," she said. "I think the policeman's motto is right—'Keep moving.' When one stops to think about anything, even about the heat, it makes it worse."

Now, however comfortable a man may be, if he is bidden to rise by a [pg 311] pretty woman who stands imperiously over him, the chances are that he obeys. So it was with Clare. He most assuredly did not want to go with Mrs. Lancaster, and quite as assuredly he did want to stay just where he was, with the hem of Eleanor Milbourne's dress touching him and a pervading sense of her presence near, even when she encouraged stupid people to expose their ignorance on the Egyptian question. Yet he found himself walking away with the pretty widow before five minutes had passed.

"I know you are not obliged to me," she said when they had gone some distance. "But your divinity is talking commonplaces, or listening to them, which amounts to the same thing; so I fancied you might spare me ten minutes. I want to know if that was a mere assertion for effect a minute ago, or if you are in earnest in thinking of going to Egypt?"

"I never talk for effect," said Victor with a hauteur that was spoilt by a slight touch of petulance. "I always mean what I say, and I certainly am in earnest in thinking of going to Egypt."

"May I ask why?"

"I am surprised that you should need to ask. One's friends usually know one's affairs at least as well as one's self—sometimes much better. Everybody who knows me knows that I am a poor man."

"Not so poor that you need go to Egypt in search of a fortune, however," said she, stopping short and looking at him keenly. "Confess," she added, "that you are about to expatriate yourself in this absurd fashion because Eleanor Milbourne means to marry Marston Brent."

"Your acuteness has carried you too far," said he laughing, but not quite naturally. "Miss Milbourne's matrimonial choice is nothing to me. I have thought of this step for some time. General ——'s letter is a reply to my application forwarded months ago. Yet now that the answer has come," he went on, "I scarcely care to grasp the advantage it offers. Indifference has infected me like a poison. I feel more inclined to rust out on the old place than to sound 'Boots and saddle' again."

"But why rust out?" she asked impetuously. "Are there not careers enough open to you?" Then, after a minute, "Are there not other women in the world besides Eleanor Milbourne?"

"Perhaps so," a little doggedly. "There are other stars in the heavens besides Venus, but who sees them when she is above the horizon?"

"How kind and complimentary you are!" said Mrs. Lancaster with a slight tone of bitterness in her voice.

"Forgive me," said he after a minute. "I am a fool on this subject, and, like a fool, I always say more than I mean. No doubt there are other women in the world even more beautiful and more charming than Eleanor Milbourne, but they are nothing to me."

"In other words, you are determined to believe that the grapes above your reach, instead of being sour, are the sweetest in existence."

"At least I harm only myself by such an hallucination, if it is an hallucination."

"But you may harm yourself more than you imagine," said she with a nervous cadence, in her voice. "For the sake of a hopeless passion for a woman who has no more heart than my fan you will sacrifice more than you are aware of—more, perhaps, than you can ever regain."

She laid her hand—a pretty, white hand, gleaming with jewels—on his arm at the last words, and it was fortunate, perhaps, that she could not tell with what an effort he restrained himself from shaking it impatiently off. A quick feeling of repulsion came over him like an electric shock. Hitherto he had been somewhat flattered, somewhat amused, and only occasionally a little bored, by the favor which the beautiful and wealthy young widow had so openly accorded him; but now in a second he felt that thrill of disgust which always comes to a sensitive man when he sees a woman step beyond the pale of delicate womanhood. If he had been one shade less of a gentleman, he would have said [pg 312] something which Mrs. Lancaster could never have forgotten. As it was, he had sufficient command of himself to speak carelessly. "I was never quick at reading riddles," he said. "I am unable to imagine what sacrifice I should make by indulging the 'hopeless passion' for Miss Milbourne with which you are kind enough to credit me."

"With which I credit you?" she repeated eagerly. "Am I wrong, then? If you can tell me that, Victor—"

But he interrupted her quickly: "You ought to know, Mrs. Lancaster, that this is a thing which a sensible man only tells to one woman; but, since you seem to take an interest in the subject, there is nothing which I need hesitate to acknowledge in the fact that, however hopeless my passion for Eleanor Milbourne may be, it is the very essence of my life, and can only end with my life."

"We all think that when we are young and foolish, and very much in love," said Mrs. Lancaster coolly—whatever stab his words gave the kindly darkness hid—"but I think you are more than usually mad. If she is not already engaged to Marston Brent, she will be as soon as he returns. I know that her family confidently expect the match, and in any case" (emphatically) "Eleanor Milbourne is the last woman in the world whom a penniless man need hope to win."

"I know that as well as you do," said Clare. "I have no hope of winning her, and I am going to Egypt next month."

He uttered the last words as if he meant them to end the subject, but it is doubtful whether they would have done so if they had not at that moment found themselves close upon the house, having paid little attention to the path which they were following. As they emerged from the shrubbery they were both a little surprised to see a carriage standing in the full glow of the light from the open hall door.

"Who can have arrived?" said Mrs. Lancaster, not sorry, perhaps, for a diversion. "I did not know that Mrs. Brantley was expecting any one."

"Who has come, Ellis?" Victor said carelessly to a young man who emerged from the house as they approached.

"Marston Brent," was the answer. "It seems the Clytie made a very quick trip, and came into port yesterday; so of course her owner has come at once to report his safe arrival at head-quarters."

Mrs. Lancaster, whose hand was still on Clare's arm, felt the quick start which he gave at this information, but she was a discreet woman, and she said nothing until they were standing on the verandah steps and he had bidden her good-night, saying that he must ride back to Claremont.

"I understand why you will not remain," she said; "but do not make any rash resolution about Egypt—above all, do not commit yourself to anything." Then she bent forward and touched his hand lightly. "Tell me when you come again that you will join my party for the White Sulphur," she said softly. "It will be the wisest thing you can do."

The result of this disinterested advice was, that as soon as he reached home, after a lonely, starlit ride of six miles, Clare sat down and wrote to General ——, accepting the position he had offered, and promising to report in Cairo as soon as possible.

After this it was several days before the future Egyptian soldier was seen again at The Willows. What went on in that gay abode during this interval he neither knew nor sought to know. He endeavored to banish all memory of the place and the people whom it contained from his mind. They were nothing to him, he told himself. It was impossible to say whether he shrank most from the pain of meeting Eleanor Milbourne with her accepted lover by her side, or from the thrill of disgust with which the mere thought of Mrs. Lancaster inspired him. He buried himself in listless idleness at Claremont for some time: then ordered his horse one day, rode to a neighboring town and made arrangements for the sale of his property with much the same feeling as if he had ordered the execution of his mother. It was when he returned weary and depressed from this [pg 313] excursion that he found a note from Mrs. Brantley awaiting him.

"DEAR MAJOR CLARE" (it ran), "why have you forsaken us? We have looked for you, wished for you and talked of you for days, but you seem to have determined that we shall learn the full meaning of the verb 'to disappoint.' Will you not come over to dinner to-day? I think you have played hermit quite long enough.

"Truly yours, L.M.B."

To say that Clare declined this invitation would be equivalent to saying that a moth of its own accord kept at a safe distance from the glowing flame which enticed it. As he read the note his heart gave a leap. He began to wonder and ask himself why he had remained away so long. Was it not the sheerest folly and absurdity? What was Eleanor Milbourne to him that he should banish himself on her account from the only pleasant house within a radius of twenty miles? A man should have some self-respect, he thought. He should not let every inquisitive fool see when and how and where a shaft has wounded him. Why should he not go? A heartache or two additional would not matter in Egypt. As for Mrs. Lancaster, he could certainly keep at a safe distance from her, even if she had not gone to the White Sulphur, as he hoped to heaven she had.

This devout hope was destined to disappointment. The first person whom he saw when he entered the well-filled drawing-room of The Willows was the pretty widow, in radiant looks and radiant spirits, not to mention a radiant toilette of the lightest possible and most becoming mourning. Despite his previous resolutions, Clare found himself gravitating to her side as soon as his respects had been paid to Mrs. Brantley—a fact which may serve as a small proof of the weakness of man's resolve, and his general inability to fight against fate, especially when it is embodied in a woman's bright eyes.

"What have you been doing with yourself?" she asked after the first salutations were over. "Have you been taking counsel with solitude on the Egyptian question? Or have you decided like a sensible man to go to the White Sulphur? Whatever has been the cause of your absence, you have at least been charitable in furnishing us with a topic of conversation. I scarcely know what we should have done without the 'Victor Clare disappearance,' as Mr. Ellis has called it, during the last week."

"I am sure you ought to be obliged to me, then," Clare said, flushing and laughing. "Assuredly I could not have furnished you with a topic of conversation for a whole week if I had been present."

"Opinion has been divided concerning the mystery of your fate," she went on. "One party has maintained that, rushing away in desperation when you heard of Mr. Brent's arrival, you started the next day for Suez; the other, that you were hanging about the grounds, armed to the teeth, and only waiting an opportunity to dare your rival to deadly combat."

"How kind one's friends are, to be sure, especially when they are in the country, and have nothing in particular with which to amuse themselves!"

"But what have you been doing? I should like to know, if you do not object to telling me."

"I have been very busy making my final arrangements for leaving the country," answered he, stretching a point, it must be owned.

"You are really going, then?" she asked after a minute's silence—a minute during which she was horribly conscious that her changing countenance might readily have betrayed to any looker-on how deeply she felt this unexpected blow.

"I wrote to General —— on the night I saw you last, accepting his offer," Clare answered. "Of course I am in duty bound, therefore, to report in Cairo as soon as possible."

"And you will sell Claremont?"

"I have no alternative."

She said nothing more, but he saw [pg 314] her hand—the same white jeweled hand that had gleamed on his arm in the starlight—go to her throat with a quick, convulsive movement. Instead of the thrill of repulsion which he had felt before, a sudden sense of pity and regret came over him now. He was not enough of a puppy to feel a certain keen enjoyment and gratified vanity in the realization of this woman's folly. He appreciated, on the contrary, how entirely she had been a spoiled child of fortune all her life—a queen-regnant, to whom all things must submit themselves—and he felt how bitter must be this first sharp proof of her own impotence to secure the toy on which she had set her heart. It was these thoughts which made his voice almost gentle when he spoke again: "You must not think that I am ungrateful for your kind interest in my behalf. You can imagine, perhaps, how much I hate to part with Claremont, which has been the seat of my family for generations; but when a thing must be done there is no use in making a moan over it. I cannot sacrifice my life to a tradition of the past; and that would be what I should do if I clung to the old place, instead of cutting loose with one sharp stroke and swimming boldly out to sea."

"But you might stay if you would," said she with that tremulous accent which the French call "tears in the voice."

"No, I could not stay," said Clare resolutely. "I have no money, nor any means of making any in America."

This ended the discussion. Even Mrs. Lancaster, fast and daring and willful as she was, could not say, "I have money—more than I know what to do with: take it." Her eyes said as much, but Clare did not look at her eyes. A minute longer passed in embarrassed silence. Then somebody came up, and Victor was able to walk away. As he crossed the room he saw Eleanor Milbourne for the first time since his arrival. He had not even inquired if she was still at The Willows, and her unexpected appearance, for he had begun to fear that she was gone, filled him with a rush of feelings of which the first and most prominent was delight. After all, did it matter whether or not she was engaged to Marston Brent? Simply to look at her was enough to fill a man's soul with pleasure, to steep him in that "dewlight of repose" which only a few rare things on this earth of ours are capable of inspiring. Did any sane person ever fly from the sight of Venus when she held her court all alone in the lovely summer heaven, because he could not possess her magic lustre for his own? The comparison was not at all highflown to Clare, whatever it may seem to anybody else. He had always entertained as much hope of winning the star as of winning the woman; and as for an abstract question of beauty, he would have held that Venus herself could not have surpassed Eleanor Milbourne. She was an adorable goddess whom any man might be content to worship from a distance, he thought; and he was preparing to go and sun himself in the glance of her eyes, which seemed like bits of heaven in their blueness and their fairness, when Mrs. Brantley touched his arm and bade him take a newly-arrived piece of white muslin in to dinner. Clare looked a little crestfallen, but against the decision of his hostess on this important subject what civilized man was ever known to revolt? He took the white muslin in to dinner, and had the satisfaction of finding himself separated by the length of the table from Miss Milbourne.

After dinner Mrs. Brantley claimed his attention. It seemed that there was a plan under discussion for showing the sole lion of the neighborhood—a hill of considerable eminence known as Farley's Mount—to the guests of The Willows. But it was distant twelve miles, What did Major Clare think of their starting early, breaking the ride by rest and luncheon at Claremont, then going on to the mountain, making the ascent, and returning by moonlight?

"It will not do at all," said Victor. "Twenty-four miles is too much to be undertaken on a July day by a mere party of pleasure. You would break yourselves down and see nothing. I [pg 315] propose an amendment: Take two days instead of one, and spend a night on the mountain. If you have never camped on a mountain, the novelty is well worth experiencing, and these midsummer nights have scarcely any length, you know. Then the sunrise is magnificent."

"That is exactly what we will do," cried Mrs. Brantley, clapping her hands with childish glee. And the proposal, being submitted to the company, was unanimously carried.

Meanwhile, Eleanor Milbourne was walking with Mr. Brent in the soft summer twilight on the lawn.

"You should not press me so hard," she said as they paced slowly to and fro. "I fear I can never give you what you desire, but I cannot tell yet. Grant me a little time."

"A little time! But think how much time you have had!" the gentleman urged, not without reason. "You said when I went abroad that you were not sure enough of your heart to accept me then, but that you would give me a final answer when I returned. You had all the months of my absence to consider what this answer should be, and when I came for it, spending not so much as an hour in tarrying on the road, I found that it was not ready for me—that I had yet longer to wait. Eleanor, is this kind? is it even just?"

"It is neither," said Eleanor, turning to him with a strange deprecation on her fair proud face. "I know that you have been everything that is patient and generous, and I am sorry—oh I am more than sorry—to have seemed to trifle with you; but what can I do? Remember that when I decide, it is for my whole life. You cannot doubt that I will hold fast to my promise when it is once given."

"I do not doubt it, and therefore I desire that promise above all things."

"But you would not desire the letter without the spirit?" said she eagerly. "I dare not bind myself—I dare not—until I am certain of myself."

"But, good Heavens!" said Marston Brent, who, although usually the most quiet and dignified of human beings, was now fairly driven to vehemence, "when do you mean to be certain of yourself? Surely you have had time enough. Can you not love me, Eleanor?" he asked a little wistfully. "If that is it—if that is the doubt that holds you back—say so, and let me go. Anything is better than suspense like this."

But Eleanor was plainly not ready to say that. She stood still for a moment, then turned to him with a sudden light of resolve in her eyes. "You are right," she said. "This must end. I may be weak and foolish, but I have no right to make you suffer for my weakness and my folly. I pledge myself to tell you to-morrow night whether or not I can be your wife. You will give me till then, will you not? It is the last delay I shall ask."

"I wish you would understand that you could not ask anything which I should not be glad to grant," said he, a little sadly. "For Heaven's sake, do not think of me as your persecutor—do not force yourself to answer me at any given time. I can wait."

"You have waited," said she gratefully—"waited too long already. Do not encourage me in my weakness. Believe that I will tell you to-morrow night my final decision."

Later in the evening, Victor Clare was leaving the drawing-room as Miss Milbourne entered it. They came face to face rather unexpectedly, and while the gentleman fell back, the lady extended her hand.

"Have you stayed away so long that you have forgotten your friends, Major Clare?" she said with a smile which was bright but rather tremulous, like a gleam of sunshine on rippling water. "You have not even said good-evening to me, and yet you have an air as if you had said good-night to the rest of the company."

"So I have," answered Victor, smiling in turn, partly from the pleasure of meeting her, partly from the sheer magnetism of her glance, "but it is no fault of mine that I have not been able to speak to you: I have found no opportunity."

[pg 316]

"But I thought you always said that; people made opportunities when they desired to do so?"

"Then the time has come for me to retract my assertion. As a general rule, a man cannot make opportunities: he can only take advantage of them when they come, as I hope to take advantage of the present," he added smiling.

"But I thought you were going home?"

"I was going home a minute ago, but so long as you will let me talk to you I shall stay."

"It is a very small favor to grant," said Eleanor, blushing a little. "But why were you leaving so early?"

"Partly because I had no hope of seeing you; partly because I am not a 'young duke' to pencil a line to my steward and know that a princely collation will be served at noon to-morrow for half a hundred, or even for a dozen or two people."

"What do you mean?" she asked, for though she caught the allusion to Disraeli's rose-colored romance, the application puzzled her.

"I see you have not heard of our gypsy plan," he answered, and at once proceeded to detail it.

She was not so much delighted as he expected, but a pretty, lucid gleam came into her eyes at the mention of Claremont.

"I shall be glad to see your home," she said quietly. "I have heard so much of its beauty and its antiquity."

"It is pretty, and it is old," said he, "but it will not be mine much longer. I am negotiating its sale now."

She started: "What! you were in earnest, then? You are really going to Egypt?"

"Yes, I am going to Egypt. Why should I stay? What has life to offer me here save vegetation? There, at least, I can find action."

She looked at him with a strange, wistful expression which struck and startled him. He felt as if a prisoned soul suddenly sprang up and gazed at him out of the clear blue depths of her eyes. "Oh what a good thing it is to be a man!" she said. "How free you are! how able to do what you please and go where you please—to seek action and to find it! Oh, Major Clare, you ought to thank God night and day that He did not make you a woman!"

"I am glad, certainly, that I am a man," said Victor honestly. "But you are the last woman in the world from whom I should have expected to hear such rebellious sentiments."

"I am not rebellious," said Eleanor more quietly. "What is the good of it? All the rebellion in the world could not make me a man; and I have no fancy to be an unsexed woman. But nobody was ever more weary of conventional routine, nobody ever longed more for freedom and action than I do."

It was on the end of Victor's tongue to say, "Then come with me to Egypt," but he caught himself in time. Was he mad to imagine that "the beautiful Miss Milbourne"—a woman at whose feet the most desirable matches of "society" had been laid—would end her brilliant career by marrying a soldier of fortune, and expatriating herself from her country and her kindred? He gave a grim sort of smile which Eleanor did not quite understand, as he said: "Where is your lotos? It ought to make you more content with the things that be."

"I have it," Eleanor said with child-like simplicity. "Mr. Brent remembered and brought it to me. I have not forgotten my promise to share it with you."

"Take it to the mountain to-morrow night, then," said he quickly. "Let us eat it together there. I should like to link you even with my farewell to the past."

And, since an interruption came just then, they parted with this understanding.

The next day Major Clare was standing on the terrace of Claremont—a stately, solidly-built old house, bearing itself with an air of conscious pride and disdain of modern frippery, despite certain significant signs of decay—when his guests arrived in formidable procession. There was something of the "old school" in his manner of welcoming them—a grace and courtesy which struck more [pg 317] than one of them as at once very perfect and very charming.

"The man suits the house, does he not?" said Mrs. Brantley to Mrs. Lancaster. "It is like a vintage of rare old wine in an old bottle. We fancy that it has an aroma which it would lose in a new cut-glass decanter."

"I always thought Major Clare had delightful manners," said Mrs. Lancaster, who could not trust herself to say anything more. She felt with a pang how much she would have liked to bring wealth and prosperity and elegant hospitality back again to the old house, if its owner had not been so madly blind to his own interest, so absurdly in love with Eleanor Milbourne's statue-like face, so insanely intent upon periling life and limb in the service of the viceroy of Egypt. The pretty widow gave a sigh as she arranged her hair before the quaint, old-fashioned mirror in the chamber to which the ladies had been conducted. If he had only been reasonable, how different things might be! She walked to a window which overlooked the garden with its formal walks and terraces, its borders of box and summer-houses of cedar. "He will change his mind before the month is out," she thought. "A man cannot surrender all the associations of his past and the home of his fathers without a struggle."

This consideration lost some of its consoling force, however, when, a few minutes later, two people, walking slowly and evidently talking earnestly, passed down the vista of one of the garden alleys, and were lost to sight behind a tall, clipped hedge. Even at that distance there was no mistaking the figure and bearing of Clare; neither was there another woman who walked with that free, stately grace in a riding-habit which Eleanor Milbourne possessed. "If she is engaged to Marston Brent, he might certainly put an end to such open flirtation as this," Mrs. Lancaster said between her teeth. "If he were not blind or mad, he might see that she is so much in love with Victor that she would go with him to Egypt to-morrow if he asked her to do so."

An old and sensible proverb with which we are all acquainted says that it is never well to judge others by ourselves; and if Mrs. Lancaster had possessed the invisible cap of the prince in the fairy-tale, and had followed the pair who had just passed out of sight, she would have received an immediate proof of the truth of this aphorism. They had paused in a square near the heart of the garden—a green, shaded spot, in the centre of which an empty basin bore witness to a departed fountain, though no pleasant murmur of water had broken the stillness for many a long day. Round the margin of this still ran a seat on which Eleanor sat down. Victor remained standing before her. A lime tree near by cast a soft, flickering shadow over them, and the tall hedges of evergreen which enclosed the square made a sombre but effective background.

"You see that ruin and decay are all that I have to offer you here," Victor was saying with a cadence of bitterness in his voice. "But if you had courage enough to end the life which you despise, to cut loose from all the ties which bind you in America, and go with me to Egypt, there I might have a future and a career for you to share—there at least, you would find freedom and action and life."

A flush came to Eleanor's cheek, and a light gleamed suddenly in her eyes, as if the very wildness of this proposal lent it fascination; but she shook her head, smiling a little sadly. "You are of my world," she said: "you ought to know better than that. I am not so brave as you think. I must do what is expected of me, and I am expected to marry Marston Brent."

"Forget the world and come with me."

"That is impossible. If I had only myself to care for, I would; but there are others of whom I must think." She was silent for a moment, then looked up at him piteously. "They have sacrificed so much for me at home," she said, "and they are so proud of me. They hope, desire, count on this marriage: I cannot disappoint them. Mr. Brent himself has been most kind and patient, and he does [pg 318] not expect very much. I am a coward, perhaps, but what can I do?"

Again he said, "You can come with me."

Again she answered, "It is impossible. Do you not see that it is impossible? Starting forth on a new career, it would be insane for you to burden yourself with a wife. As for me, I am no more fit to marry a poor man than to be a housemaid. Victor, it is hopeless. For Heaven's sake, let us talk of it no longer! The only thing we can do is to forget that we have ever talked of it at all."

"Will that be easy for you? I confess that nothing on earth could be harder for me."

"No, it will not be easy, but I shall try with all my strength to do it. God only knows," putting her hand suddenly to her face, "how I shall live if I am not able to do it." Then passionately, "Why did you speak? Why did you make the misery greater by dragging it to the light, so that we could face it, talk of it, discuss it? Oh why did you do it?"

"Because I wanted to see if you were not made of braver stuff than other women," said he almost sternly. "In my maddest hours I never dreamed of speaking, until—what you said last night. Thinking of that after I came home, I resolved to give you one opportunity to break through the artificial trammels of your life, and find the freedom you professed to desire. It was better to do this, I thought, than to be tormented all my life by a regret, a doubt, lest I had lost happiness where one bold stroke might have gained it."

"And now that you have found that I am not brave, that I am like all the other conventional women of my class, are you not sorry that you have inflicted useless pain upon yourself?"

"Of myself I do not think at all, and even when I think of you I cannot regret having spoken. Let the misery be what it will, it is something to have faced it together—it is everything to know that you love me, though you refuse to share my life."

"You must not say that," said she, starting and shrinking as if from a blow. "How can I venture to acknowledge that I love you when I am going to marry Marston Brent?"

"Are you going to marry him?"

"Have I not told you so?"

He turned from her and took one short, quick turn across the square. Like every man in his position, he felt outraged and indignant, without pausing to consider how infinitely more inexorable the laws of society are with regard to women than to men. He could put Mrs. Lancaster's fortune aside and go his way—to Egypt or to the dogs—without anybody crying out against his criminal folly, his criminal disregard of the duties and traditions of his class. But if Eleanor Milbourne put Marston Brent's princely fortune aside and disappointed all her friends, what remained to her but the bitter condemnation of those friends in particular and of society in general?

When he came back she rose to meet him, making a picture worth remembering as she stood in her graceful youth and picturesque habit by the broken fountain, with the sombre cedar hedge behind and the intense azure of the summer sky above.

"Let us go," she said. "By prolonging this we only give ourselves useless pain. All is said that can be said. Nothing remains now but to forget; and that can best be done in silence. Victor, let us go."

There was a tone of pathos, a tone as if she was not quite sure of herself, in those last words, which made Clare refrain from answering her. He turned silently, and they entered a green alley which led to the foot of the terrace surrounding the house. As they walked along, Marston Brent's figure appeared at the end of the vista, advancing toward them, and it was this apparition which first made Clare speak: "If you will not think me fanciful—I am sure you will not think me presumptuous—promise me that before you give that man his answer you will share the lotos with me of which you have spoken. I may be superstitious, but I feel as if we [pg 319] shall gain new strength with which to face the future after we have together renounced the past."

She shook her head. "I am not superstitious enough to think that it will enable us to forget one pang," she said. "But if you desire it, I promise."

When the afternoon shadows were lengthening the party from The Willows set forth again, and reached the foot of the mountain a little before sunset, making the ascent in time to see the day-god's last radiance streaming over the fair, broad expanse of country beneath them. There was a small cabin on the summit which was to be devoted to the ladies, and round the camp-fire which was soon sparkling brightly the gentlemen proposed to spend the night on the blankets with which they were all plentifully provided. Meanwhile, the party, dividing into groups and pairs, were soon scattered here and there, perched on the highest points of rock, enjoying the cool, fresh air which came as a message of love from the glowing west, and chattering like a chorus of magpies.

When the evening collation was over—a gypsy-like repast for which every one seemed to have an excellent appetite—Mr. Brent asked Eleanor if she would not accompany him to the eastern side of the mountain to see the moon rise. While she hesitated, uncertain what to say, Clare's voice spoke quietly at her side. "Miss Milbourne has an engagement with me," he said. "I fear you must defer the pleasure of admiring the moon in her society for a little while, Mr. Brent." Then to Eleanor, "Shall we go now?"

She assented, and they walked away. Mr. Brent, thus left behind, naturally felt aggrieved, and turned to Mrs. Brantley with some slight irritation stirring his usually courteous repose.

"It strikes me that Major Clare's manners decidedly lack polish," he said with an air of grave reprehension. "Is it true, as I am told, that he is going to sell that fine old place where we spent the day, and emigrate to Egypt?"

"He is quite ready for a lunatic asylum," said Mrs. Lancaster, who was standing near. "But, whatever his folly may be, I certainly do not agree with you, Mr. Brent, in thinking that his manners need any improvement."

Meanwhile, Eleanor was saying, "You should not have spoken so curtly to Mr. Brent."

"If I can avoid it, I shall never speak to him again," Clare answered. "Don't let us talk of him. I did not bring you away to discuss anybody we have left behind, or anything of which we have talked before. We are to be like immortals—to forget the past and live only in the present."

"Where are we going?" she asked.

"Round to a point from whence we can overlook Claremont."

She said nothing more, and he led her to the eastern side of the mountain, where, near the verge of an almost precipitous descent, they sat down together under the shadow of a great gray rock. From this point the view was more extensive than any they had commanded before. The rolling country, with the sunset glory fading from it, lay like a panorama at their feet—shadowy woods melting into blue distance, streams glancing here and there into sight, fields rich with cultivation bounded by fences that looked like a spider's thread. To the left Claremont, seated above its terraces, made an imposing landmark. Behind it the moon was rising majestically in a cloudless sky. After they had been silent for some time, Clare turned and looked at his companion. "How beautiful you are!" he said abruptly. "I wish I had a picture of you as you sit there now. It would be worth everything else in the world to me. But perhaps, after all, the best pictures are those which are taken on the heart."

"You have forgotten," said Eleanor, trying to smile, "that we are going to eat the lotos in order to efface all pictures."

"Nay," said he. "I thought it was to enable us to forget everything but the present, and this is the present."

"But it will be the past in a little while," said she, "and we must forget it, like all the rest. Victor, we must forget! [pg 320] They say that all things are possible to resolution: let us resolve to do that."

For some time longer they sat silent. Then Clare said, with something like a groan, "Would to God I could die here and now, or else that there was some spell by which one could make memory a blank!"

"Let us try the lotos," said Eleanor. "See, I brought it as you told me."

From her pocket she drew a paper which, being opened, proved to contain the dried petals of a flower, evidently an aquatic plant. Yellow and lifeless as it was, Eleanor looked at it with wistful reverence. "It came from Egypt," she said: then she added, "where you are going."

"We will see if there is any magic in it," said Clare.

So, together they took the dried petals and began to eat them, smiling a little sadly at each other as they did so.

"Herodotus says that when the Nile is full, 'and all the grounds round it are a perfect sea, there grows a vast quantity of lilies which the Egyptians call lotos, in the water,'" said Clare. "He adds that this flower, especially the root of it, is very sweet. If this is the same, it has certainly changed its flavor since that time."

"It is not disagreeable," said Eleanor. "But I fear we shall not find the effect for which we have hoped. It is of the lotos fruit that Homer and Tennyson have written."

"And the lotos flower of mythology is an East Indian, not an Egyptian, aquatic; but since we desire to link our fancy with the flower of the Nile, we will ignore the poets and the Brahmins. After all, we only desire it as a symbol of the renunciation of the past on which we have agreed. Eleanor, what if we should indeed resolve to leave the past behind us from this hour, and face our future together?"

He looked at her imploringly and passionately, but instead of replying she put her hand to her head. "How strangely dizzy I am!" she said. "Can it—do you think it can be the lotos?"

"Dizzy!" he repeated. "Then I must take you from the edge of this precipice. Perhaps it is that which affects you. It could not have been the lotos, or I should feel it too. Come, let me lead you round the rock."

But when he attempted to rise he found that to him, too, a sudden strange dizziness came. A constriction seemed gathering about his heart, a mist seemed rising before his eyes. Before he had half risen he sank back against the rock.

"Do you feel it too?" she asked quickly.

"Yes," he said slowly, putting his hand also to his head. "What can it mean? Could there have been anything wrong in that plant? The lotos itself is harmless, either flower or fruit. Eleanor, my darling!" he cried with sudden alarm. "Good Heavens! what is the matter? How pale you look!"

"I—I do not think it could have been the lotos. It must have been some poisonous plant," said she faintly. "This giddiness and numbness increase." Then she held out her hands tremulously. "Hold me," she said. "The earth seems slipping away from me. Oh, Victor, what if it should be fatal?"

"Do not imagine such a thing," he said. "It is impossible! The plant has probably some narcotic property which affects you temporarily. Lean on me until it is over. My God! how mad I was to have suffered you to eat it!"

"Do not blame yourself," she said, clinging to him, her fair head drooping heavily on his breast. "It was I who spoke of it—who sent for it—"

She stopped, gasping a little, and pressing her hand to her heart, where an iron clutch seemed arresting the circulation. A glance at her face filled Clare with a terror which he had not felt before. Partly this, partly his own sensations, told him that the poison of the plant which they had shared between them was fatal—one of the swift and terrible agents of death which abound in the East—and a sense too horrible to be dwelt upon came to him, warning him that aid, to avail at all, must be summoned quickly.

But how? The summit of the mountain was large, the rest of the party were [pg 321] far from them. He had purposely led his companion to this remote spot, where, even if he had been able to raise his voice, there was none to hear. As for leaving her, he doubted his own ability to walk ten steps. He felt sure that if he succeeded in gaining his feet he should reel and fall like a drunken man.

Still, the attempt must be made, and that instantly. Every second lessened the hope of its success—with every pulse-beat he felt the awful, reeling numbness increase. How much longer he could retain his consciousness he could not tell. He saw plainly that Eleanor was losing hers.

"My darling," he said, striving vainly to unclasp the arms that clung to him, "I must go—I must call assistance: this may be more serious than I thought. Try to rouse yourself, Eleanor: I must go!"

Alas! it was easy to say—it was awfully impossible to do. Even when Eleanor relaxed her already half-unconscious embrace, and he strove to rise, he found that not even desperation could give the requisite power. He literally could not gain his feet. Every effort failed: he sank back hopelessly.

Then he tried to raise his voice in a cry for help, but it refused to obey his bidding. He was not able to speak above a broken whisper. Finding this to be the case, he turned in an agony of despair to the girl beside him—the girl whom, with a last effort, he drew to his breast.

"Eleanor," he said, "it is hopeless. If this is poison we must die! Oh, my darling, can you forgive me? O my God, send us help! Eleanor, can you hear me? Eleanor, will you not speak to me?"

For a minute all was silence. Then the fair head raised itself, and the lids slowly and heavily lifted from the blue, flower-like eyes. The moon, which had now risen high in the cloudless July heaven, shone full on her face as she said, "Kiss me."

For the first time their lips met: when they parted both were cold.


Still clinging together, they were found. At their feet lay a fragment of the deadly-poisonous Egyptian river-plant which Marston Brent had ignorantly plucked for a lotos.

CHRISTIAN REID.

ECHO.

FROM THE RUSSIAN OF PUSCHKTN.

Roars there ever a beast in his forest den,

Hear we thunder in heaven, a horn among men,

On the hill sings a maiden now and then,—

Sound what may,

Answer through space thou mak'st again

With small delay.

Aware of the thunder's rattling roll,

Of the winds and the waves when without control,

Of the cries where the village shepherds stroll,

Reply thou giv'st;

Yet thou thyself, without one answering soul,

A poet liv'st.

A.J.
[pg 322]

OUR HOME IN THE TYROL.

CHAPTER IX.

Sometimes it was our simple hosts who led the conversation, which then, especially as they became at ease with us, always drifted more or less into the supernatural. Nor was this surprising, as the tales, legends, old manners and customs amongst the Tyrolese are thoroughly interwoven with threads of heathen mythology and with the occult belief of the Middle Ages.

VALLEY AND BEEHIVES.
VALLEY AND BEEHIVES.

Franz had a wonderful credence in lucky and unlucky days. Tuesday and Thursday were witches' days, and Wednesday was also evil, seeing Judas hanged himself on a Wednesday; therefore never drive cattle to the Olm on that day. Moreover, he believed that when two persons sneezed together a soul was loosed from purgatory. As for witches and ghosts, he knew enough about them too. Did not the witches still dance every night at eight o'clock on their meeting-place by Bad Scharst? His brother Jörgel could have told us about that if he would. The pächter Josef had likewise experiences which he might relate were he not so shy. "Josef was returning through the Reinwald one Thursday night, and had just crossed over the Giessbach when he met a black figure, whom he greeted in God's name; but the figure moved on, making no answer as a Christian would have done. He had not gone much farther up the wood when he met a second black form. Crossing himself, Josef spoke out boldly a 'God greet you!' but again silence. The figure had vanished. Josef crossed himself and prayed. Nevertheless, he met a third, and, waxing bold, not only greeted him, but turning round looked fixedly at the black figure to see whether it were sorcerer, gypsy, ghost or witch. And there, behold! it stood, grown as tall as a tree, grinning at Josef until he thought it best to escape. Next day the black cow went dry: otherwise you might say that Josef's hobgoblins were fir trees."

Whilst Jakob laughed at Josef's phantoms, he could not help telling us in his turn a tale which he considered much more noteworthy: "There was no denying that one winter's night a huntsman, [pg 323] losing himself in the deep snow, took refuge in a forsaken senner-hut. Content to suffer hunger if only thus sheltered for the night, he was shortly surprised by the entrance of a black man, who not only welcomed him to the hut, but proposed cooking him some supper; an offer most thankfully accepted. Upon this, the black man lighted a fire, suddenly produced a frying-pan, which had been invisible before, and began cooking strauben and cream pancakes from equally hidden stores. When supper was ready the huntsman begged the good-natured black cook to sit down and eat with him; and a very hearty meal he seemed to make, although, to the surprise of the huntsman, the food turned as black as a cinder before it entered his mouth. Both men lay down to rest; and after a comfortable sleep the hunter, rising up to go, thanked the black man for his kind hospitality, adding, 'May God reward you!' 'Oh,' replied the other, uttering a great sigh of relief, 'may God in His mercy equally reward you for those words! When I walked on the earth I laughed at religion: I was therefore sent back in the spirit to toil until some mortal should thank me in God's name for what I had done for him. This you have done, and now I am free;' and so saying he vanished."

"Yes," said Moidel, "these tales are as true as the gospel. You know Nanni, the maid who sings so sweetly? Her father some years since went on a pilgrimage with two other peasants to Maria Zell. Arriving late one night at a solitary farm-house, they rapped at the door, requesting a lodging. The bauer, however, excused himself: it was from no evil intention, he said, but he could not take strangers in. The three wanderers pleaded how ill would be their condition if left in the fields all night. Still the bauer made no other reply, until, on their pressing him, he finally declared, half in anger, that they must themselves be responsible for their night's rest. He wished to treat them well, but could offer them no better bed than the top of the oven in the stube. This offer they willingly accepted, but hardly had they lain down when a peasant-woman entered with a pail of water and brushes. In spite of their entreaties, she scrubbed and scrubbed away all night, and hardly had she finished when, the work not pleasing her, she began scrubbing the floor and woodwork over again. Thus the cleaning lasted the livelong night, until in the early morning the maid-servant entered and the woman disappeared; the floor and walls being, to their astonishment, as dry and dusty as the evening before. Whereupon they spoke to the bauer of their troublesome visitor. 'Do not accuse me,' he replied 'of inhospitality: this is a strange matter, from which I would fain have kept you. Intolerable as it has been to you, it is still worse for me, knowing that the woman who thus scrubs, and with so much din, is my poor dead wife. Her brain, when she was alive, was quite turned about cleaning. She could not even go to church with me and the neighbors, but must stay at home and clean. So, being a bad manager, and not washing her soul white, she seems unfit for heaven, and must needs come here every night to continue her work. Even masses don't seem to help her.'"

Such tales were either related by the hut-fire on airy mountain or in the fir woods. Moidel might have told us ghost-stories in the barn at night, but there, in the solitary darkness, they appeared to her too horribly real, especially with sleepy auditors, who might any moment drop into unconsciousness, leaving her in a dismal fright over her own tale.

One afternoon, accompanied by this faithful companion, we determined to attack the summit of the mountain, which in a mantle of fir wood rose immediately behind the huts. We were anxious to see what lay on the other side, but after a hard though exhilarating climb we learned that the mountain was but a huge overhanging shoulder, the rocky head of the giant rising up in the midst of wide sweeping moors some six miles distant. We changed, therefore, the object of our excursion, determining to visit the highest Olm of the district, [pg 324] Ober Kofel. Turning to the left, we pursued the moorland plateau until in half an hour we had reached a solitary white cabin. The door was firmly closed, but a pile of fire-wood and a rake, evidently flung recently down, were sufficient signs of habitation. A more lonely scene could not well be conceived. No trees nor flowers, only some yellow thistles growing by the side of a murmuring brook, which had persistently gone rushing on until it had worn the pebbles in its bed flat and thin. Tawny, dun-colored mountains rose behind, but before the hut the trät or open space, covered with the greenest turf, extended to a platform of rocks, where the glossy shrubs of the mountain rhododendron grew, presenting a scene well worth the climb. The view outward embraced the deep wooded gorge of the Giessbach, revealing far beyond the black, sinuous lines of distant mountains, cutting across the evening horizon. Black-brown crags some eight thousand feet high, peaked with snow, rose to the right; but the great snow spectacle was to the left. There the proud crests of the Hoch Gall, Wild Gall and Schnebige Nock rose out of a vast white glittering amphitheatre, a peculiar, bare, conical rock standing like an Alpine sphinx strangely forth from this desert of snow.

We sat on our verdant patch enjoying the wild, grand scenery, the wind playing around us in concert with a little calf which had just been promoted to a bell. At length the figure of a tall young man flitted in front of a distant cross, and advancing toward us proved to be the solitary senner of Ober Kofel. As he was the lord of the domain, and moreover acquainted with Moidel, it was not many minutes ere he sat on the grass before us. After giving us a welcome, he began talking to Moidel about the military exercises which were to begin again this week.

"The Ausserkofers," he said, "went down for the drilling immediately after their ascent of the Wild Gall: I am glad I was not drawn."

Then Moidel communicated to him that Jakob must leave on the morrow for drill, and that Tilemaker Martin, Carpenter Barthel's son, would arrive in the morning to take his place as herdsman.

The party now dropped into a dignified silence, which might have lasted as long as we had remained had it not appeared pleasanter to keep the senner intent on a story, rather than on each feature of our several faces.

Speaking proper German, also proving to be understood by him, one of the group began: "Of course you have heard of the clever Tyrolese peasant, still living, Hans Jakob Fetz?"

Neither he nor Moidel had ever heard of him, and as they both pricked up their ears, they learned the following: Fetz possesses a little farm called the Pines. It has, however, the disadvantage of lying on both sides of a wild rushing torrent, the Ache, a river given to inundations in the spring, and over which there is no bridge in his neighborhood. Thus, though Hans Jakob could sit at his door, and almost count the ears of corn in his fields across the river, he must make a circuit of five miles to reach them. Such an immense loss of time and labor troubled him no little, and, as he had no desire to sell his property, he determined by hook or by crook to remedy the evil. Day and night he turned the perplexing problem over in his mind. He might, to be sure, swim across, but then there were his tools to be carried. At last it flashed upon him: Why not make an aërial car? He bought for this purpose some very thick iron wire, stretched it in two parallel lines across the river, fastening the four ends very firmly; constructed a bench on iron rollers, which, sustained by the wire, ran across the river in a trice, and his aërial car was a reality. Here, indeed, was a triumph. It worked admirably, and the whole neighborhood became excited and astonished about the air-railway, as they called it. The news spreading, it brought finally some gentlemen from the town of Dornbirn, who were wild to have a ride across the river. Hans Jakob refused it: he doubted the strength being sufficient for more than one passenger; but they [pg 325] persisting in their urgent demand, he at last reluctantly consented. They would not, or else they could not, go without him. So, the party being seated on the bench, he unfastened the hook, when they should have been instantly whirled across. But, alas! his fears proved true: the wire gave way, and down they all went, plump into the wild rushing river. A great fright and wetting—that was all, for the time being, until the gentlemen, although they had promised not to say a word on the subject, having whispered it to this friend and that, leaving no part uncolored, the town of Dornbirn grew scandalized at a mad peasant's audacity. The authorities took it in hand, and a solemn gendarme visited Hans Jakob with strict orders from government to desist from such perilous, hairbreadth inventions for the future. Poor Hans! he now regarded himself not only as the laughing-stock of the whole country, but as a ruined man. He had spent all his savings on his first venture; but neither official reprimand nor loss of his money could keep his busy, active brain from puzzling out an improved plan, which, having perfected it in his mind, he boldly carried out. Instead of two simple iron wires, he employed two double coils, with a single wire in the centre and six feet higher. He stretched across two other strong parallel wires. He then contrived a little car with two seats and a cover against sun and rain. To the benches and the awning he fastened rollers, so that the car was propelled across both above and below. The weight which it would bear he proved to be fifteen hundredweight, and unfastened from the iron hooks which kept it to the bank, the car ran across in a few seconds with an easy, agreeable motion. Practice and a close investigation proved it now a perfect success. All the censures and ridicule were forgotten, and it proves at the present time both convenient and amusing to the gentlemen, ladies and children of the neighborhood. Hans Jakob willingly conveys them across the river in his flying car. He will, however, receive no fixed payment. He constructed it simply for his own use: were he to make a trade of it, he must either take out a patent, or else make some concessions to government, neither of which he has any inclination to do.

The senner and Moidel listened in astonishment. They had understood every word. Although they had never heard of Hans Jakob before, there was a full account of him in the Brixen calendar, an almanac which the senner owned to having had by him for the last eight months—another noticeable instance how tales and good advice in print are lost upon a people who, hitherto quietly slumbering, find for their hearts and minds enough to do in carrying on their slow agriculture and pattering their prayers. I believe that popular lecturers conversant with the dialect would be of infinite service in the rural districts of the Tyrol.

The senner, after this entertainment, offered us the hospitality of his hut. A lordly bowl of intensely rich cream was placed before us in the sleeping-room, with the sole option of lapping like the men of Gideon, seeing we were not sufficiently naturalized for each to carry a horn spoon in her pocket, had not a little tin drinking mug been fortunately remembered.

The next day the young tilemaker Martin, carrying his bundle, arrived at about nine. He had left the Hof at three that morning, making the whole journey of twenty-four miles on foot without a stop. Franz therefore seized hold of the frying-pan, and we dined an hour earlier than the usual time of ten. After coffee, Jakob had to initiate his successor into the various advantages of the several Alpine pastures, to point out the cattle and goat paths, and to introduce Martin to Kohli, Kraunsi, Blasi, Zottel, Nageli and all the other cows, as well as to Tiger, Schweiz and their fellow-oxen. We set out to accompany them, but the cattle were too far away on distant heights for us to continue long in the scramble. We therefore sat on a breezy mountain platform watching the athletic young men grow ever smaller, more indistinct, whilst Jakob's voice was borne to us on the [pg 326] rarefied air as he called lovingly, "Krudeli, Krudeli" to the calves, and "Köss, Köss" to the cows.

"It is a miracle," said Moidel, "how Martin, who was so weak and consumed away by his accident, should thus have recovered."

"What accident?" asked we.

"Why, does not the Herrschaft know how last November, on his very name-day, Martin was nearly killed? Young Niederberg—he who wears the finest carnations on his hat, but who then, it being cold weather, wore three cock's feathers gained in wrestling-matches—strutted down the Edelsheim street, arm in arm with his great friend, the fair-haired Hansel of Heinwiese, a rude young churl, praising each other for their strength of limb and good looks. Martin at the time was leaning against his father's door. 'The devil!' said Niederberg: 'why do you stay at your father's, when there is better wine and company at the Blauen Bock?' Martin, however, replied that he was a hard-working man, who could only spare time to see his old father and sick sister on a festival. 'No,' said Heinwiese in anger, 'thou art nothing but a miserable milk-sop, never at a wrestling-match, never at a dance.' 'But,' put in Niederberg, 'we'll teach thee to dance and sing;' and so saying, he suddenly plunged the blade of his big pocket-knife below Martin's ribs.

"Why he had become their prey none could tell, unless they were lost in drink. Great was the clamor in the usually quiet village. A doctor was sent for, who at first declared Martin's wound to be mortal. Then his young wife and little children were fetched with many tears from the tileyard, and the priest came with the Holy Death Sacrament. But the prayers and viaticum saved Martin. Still, for many months he had a frightful illness, and even in March he was so weak you could have knocked him down with a feather. Niederberg was immediately taken into custody, and was sentenced to sit in Bruneck Castle till St. John the Baptist's Day, fully six months, to pay the doctor's bill, and two hundred gulden to Martin; but the latter sum, being an evil-minded youth, though rich, he has never paid. He will leave that to Heinwiese, he says, who put him up to the deed: besides, why pay a man who had recovered? He would have stood the funeral and settled with the widow. However, father talks of dealing with Niederberg, for he must not thus despoil patient Martin."

Here, indeed, was a stabbing worthy of hot Italy, rather than cooler, quieter Tyrol. It proved, too, that the serpent and old Adam still moved in that garden of Eden, Edelsheim.

Jakob and the hero of the tragedy now returned, bright and brisk, bearing armfuls of edelweiss, long sprays of stag-horn's moss, and showing us with genuine pleasure roots of the edelraute, which they had gathered on the high ledges for us. This is a little insignificant plant, but called by the Tyrolese the noble rue, and prized by them far more than the edelweiss; perhaps one reason being that when dried it is said to emit a delicious scent, for which reason the housewives place it amongst linen. Jakob looked like a mountain dryad, his broad-brimmed beaver being completely covered with purple Michaelmas daisies, glowing amongst sheaves of silvery edelweiss, falling round in a soft gray woolen fringe. Aided by Jakob and Martin, we had the gratification of gathering edelweiss ourselves, always a notable feat. Martin really had most miraculously recovered. After those twenty-four miles of hard walking, followed by a climb of several thousand feet, we left him felling a pine tree as we bade Jakob adieu, for he was to leave very early in the morning.

A comical scene ensued after our return to the barn. Visitors of course we had none: Martin's arrival had been an immense event. Thus, as we sat in the barn partaking of hot wine and cake, great masses of shadow all around, with light breaking in only from the lantern, forming altogether a perfect Rembrandt effect, we heard a cheerful voice wishing us "Good-night and sweet repose" through the door. Immediately, believing [pg 327] it to be the pächter's moidel, a young lady usually engaged in cutting hay, one of the party rashly invited the voice to enter—an invitation instantly accepted in the most perfect good faith by either a mad woman or a tramp in a big, flapping straw hat, who seated herself in the golden light of the lantern, adding perhaps to the breadth and freedom of this Rembrandt picture, but certainly not to its ease. Ravenously consuming some cake, she attacked us with a continuous battery of God bless yous! Moidel, however, was up to the occasion, and it was not long ere she managed to get the unacceptable visitor outside the door, we begging her to bolt and bar it well, for after this call we were afraid of more lurking intruders. Moidel, however, bade us have no fears. The woman was neither cracked nor a Welscher: she was only a very poor Bachernthalerin, whose hut was generally under water. It was accessible now, however, and the poor soul had been round begging milk at the senner-huts.

CHAPTER X.

Life in the mountains was not half so ideal as we once foolishly might have imagined. Still, the visit thither had surpassed our expectations, and it was with no little regret that we bade farewell to the familiar barn the following morning. We settled a bill with the pachter at parting, including the dinner given to the knowing Ignaz. It amounted to the sum of one gulden. Who would not stay up at an Olm?

Again we gave the day to the ten-mile walk, now a steep but pleasant descent, choosing the village of Rein as our first halting-place. It was still early, a lovely autumn morning, the mountains rising in all their impressive majesty, but for a time all our powers of admiration and enjoyment were suddenly marred by the sight of meek sheep led to the shambles at the very window.

We would have hurried on, if we could, without stopping, but we had rashly promised to write our names in the important visitors' book, besides paying a small bill for wine. The landlord could not at all perceive why, as meat had to be eaten, any one could object to a preliminary exhibition, especially when the butcher could only make his rounds at stated times, and it was so convenient by the kitchen door. Indeed, so deadened in delicate perceptions were these people that the landlord observing a rare plant in one of our hands, he actually called the butcher in to tell us its name. The man, having at that moment ended his first stroke of business, came in red-handed, and proved a botanist. It was a Woodsia hyperborea—that was the Latin name—and was rare in those parts, he said; but the Herrschaft should come earlier for flowers. July was the month. Then there was geum, and pale blue-fringed campanulas, and rich lilac asters, yellow violets, the white scented wax-flower, arnica and yellow aconite, both excellent medicines; there were thunder-flowers, and blood-drops, and grass of Parnassus, and hundreds more, all cut down by the scythes. There were four thousand plants and upward in the Tyrol; only, alas! like the gentians, many species were being perfectly exterminated.

His energy interested us, and his hands were under the table. Frau Anna expressed great disappointment at the various beautiful gentians, common in Switzerland, being rare in the Tyrol.

"Ladies," replied the botanist with emphasis, "you know not the reason? Why, there is hardly a species of gentian which is not torn up by the roots for the making of schnapps. Schnapps is good when rheumatism works in the bones: there is then no better lotion; and a thimbleful of cheerfulness in the morning, and another of sleep at night, are what I wish for our wirth, myself and every peasant daily; but why need they pull up all the gentians, which were bits of heaven scattered over the mountain-sides? I know that their roots are better for schnapps distilling than those of other plants, or even than bilberries or cranberries; but oh for a little moderation, cutting the roots gently! for whilst a bit is left in the ground the plant springs up again. 'Poor as a root-grubber' is the proverb. I'm glad it is. For if they were not so wanton, they would not be so poor. They mostly come from the Zillerthal. It's a special trade. The men climb the mountains as soon as the snow melts. They build themselves rude huts, and spend the summer searching for and digging up roots. Now, however, as they have cut their own throats, so to speak, they must climb often to high mountain-ledges, letting themselves down by ropes, to gather fine roots, which they still sometimes find of the thickness of my wrist. In the late autumn they collect their bundles of dried gentian roots, which they carry to the distilling vats, where the Enzian, so dear to the Tyroler, is made."

[pg 328]
COWS COMING DOWN THE HILLSIDE BY A MOUNTAIN STREAM.
COWS COMING DOWN THE HILLSIDE BY A MOUNTAIN STREAM.

And the butcher, who had grown quite pathetic over the [pg 329] gentians, rose to return to his occupation. It was curious to observe the honorable position which he held with landlord, landlady and Moidel. What a surgeon or soldier would be in a higher class, that the butcher was to them. In this case, too, we joined in respect—a feeling we might entertain for many more of his trade, perhaps, had we the opportunity of judging. But we must onward.

Ere long a young woman wearing a pointed black felt hat, ornamented with yellow everlastings, overtook us and joined company with Moidel, giving us, however, equally the benefit of her conversation, whilst she insisted upon carrying a bag. She lived in Rein, she told us, and had now to consult the doctor in Taufers a second time about perpetual stitching pains in her throat. The doctor said it was quinsy, and arose from cold. Perhaps, she said, if she could bring herself to smoke a meerschaum, like other women in Rein, she might keep the mischief out; but it struck her as a disgrace to a female, and it made a great hole in the pocket. Those who were born in such a village as Rein were in an evil plight. The cottages were badly built, the kitchens reeked with smoke, and were so bitterly cold in winter, though the fowls had to roost there, that water froze in them. In fact, no one could stay in the kitchen in winter. Then all the family must crowd into the stube, living and sleeping there. When Nanni Muckhaus had the typhus she and her children and grandchildren must lie down together; and then all the neighbors had to visit her, unless they chose to pass as brutes; and so that was how the typhus spread. Fortunately, her husband and she were alone: they had no burdens. Still, life was hard—a vale of tears or a vale of snow. If the gentry could see the Reinthal in the winter, choked up with avalanches, they would say so. Her man had, however, enough to keep them. He had a license for the shooting of gemsen and other game, which he might use from holy Jakobi's Day to Candlemas. He had this year killed only five gemsen so far. The Post at Taufers was greedy for gemsen now, and bought up every ounce of the flesh at nineteen kreuzers the pound—bought snow-hens, too, at forty kreuzers each, and would never let her husband's gun be idle. When Candlemas came, and he could no longer shoot, then he worked in their fields; for we might not think it, but he, being a thrifty soul, had saved fifty gulden and bought some land. But oh the labors, the toils to which a Reinthaler was subjected! If his land lay on the mountain-side, he and his woman must slave and toil like beasts of burden, for what would be the help of horse or cow for riding, driving or ploughing on such steep, upright land? "The holy watch-angels help us!" she said. "Look up there and you will see, ladies, the truth of what I tell you."

Pointing with her finger, she drew our attention to the small figure of a man working upon a dizzy height some three thousand feet above us, his legs, like a pair of compasses, comically revealing a triangle of blue sky between them, whilst we with difficulty made out the figures of two women helping him.

"That's Seppl Mahlgruben and his daughters cutting down their green oats, too tardy to ripen. Some years since Moidel, the eldest girl, working on that precise point, knelt one inch too far over the precipice and was hurled into eternity, where a better fortune, I pray God, awaited her than the cruel trials of Reinthal."

Moidel told us afterward that she thought our informant took too gloomy a view, probably occasioned by "her stitching pains." Still, she owned to its being a toilsome, perilous life in every season of the year save summer.

In a broad sylvan meadow at the end of the narrow defile, within sound of the chief waterfall, we had the joy of seeing again the rest of our party, who had made an afternoon excursion thither to meet us. At a quiet, rural little inn just below, with an outside gallery possessing a view of the still, deep gorge in front and softer meadows beyond, kind hearts had already ordered coffee and rolls for nine. All were unanimous, however, [pg 330] that the ample supply was sufficient for ten, and the good woman of Rein was pressed to enter and partake. This she gratefully declined, adding, however, that it would be friendly and helpful of us to allow her to drink a cup of coffee there at six in morning on her return journey to Rein. Not that she had expected the least attention to be offered her, and hoped that it was not intended as a different mode of payment for her carrying a lady's handbag. Although we had felt that one good turn deserved another, we made her mind easy on that score, and she went tripping forward.

For us there was still no hurry. The evening sky was brilliantly clear, the mountain-summits and dark fir woods shone forth a burnished gold, so that it seemed almost a sin to dive into the deep shadows of the valley below. Besides, the inn possessed some beehive sheds, and a view beyond which must not escape the pencil of the artists, who busily sketched whilst the others rested, enjoying the great crimson bars of sunset drawn across the dewy valley to the rippling sound of a mad, merry little mill-brook.

How much sympathy and respect has been afforded in all ages and climes to those serviceable creatures, bees!

The little citizens create,

And waxen cities build.

Unlike Virgil, the good Tyrolese, however, would call them monks and nuns dwelling in cells, rather than "citizens." Formerly they delighted in erecting the most ornamental dwellings which they could devise for them, helping them in their constant toil by planting balmy thyme and other sweet honey-yielding flowers around the hives. These were constructed of wood, gayly painted with holy monograms and devices to add a blessing and security to the provident labors of the little inmates. They were, in fact, beatified bees, who had to be solemnly invited to attend the death mass when the owner died, else they would fly away, refusing to stay. If a swarm of bees hung to a house, it was simply as a warning that fire would break out there.

The beehives at this little inn still stood fresh, compact, with flowers blooming around them, the kindly woman evidently taking great pride in her bees. This, however, is not always the case. The grand beehives, like the grand old halls and castles of the Tyrol, are falling into decay: in both instances the paintings on the walls are peeling off or growing indistinct; the present generation has either lost its love for honey or much of its reverence for the bees—a fact difficult to define amongst a people with almost credulous veneration and intense belief in old customs. Still, much of the freshness and simplicity of the peasants is passing away with the discarding of their picturesque costumes.

As a certain endurable routine had been arrived at within the walls of the Elephant, we agreed, before retiring to rest, to remain still several days there, availing ourselves of the splendid weather to explore more thoroughly the beautiful, varied neighborhood of Taufers.

But, alas! the clear brilliant air and the deep rosy sunset had deceived us. The next morning mists and clouds obstructed the view, finally dissolving into a pitiless downfall, that detained us prisoners in the house, which was silent as the grave but for the rain steadily pattering against the casements.

Weary of the wet and without occupation, our disengaged minds, wandering out into the mist and rain, dreamily contemplated a slow band of pilgrims defiling along the distant hillside. Had the day been bright and clear, we should have seen them as sheaves of corn or clover stuck to dry upon light stakes with branching arms, the upper bundle being placed aslant to act as shelter to the rest. As it was, however, in the plashing rain it required no effort to believe them tired, defenceless pilgrims ever wandering on. Some despondingly beat their arms upon their breasts, others, heavy and exhausted, fell upon their knees; here a woman defended her infant from the biting blast, there an old man with rugged hair looked mournfully backward; but these were only a few amongst the endless figures [pg 331] of the tragic band, on a long, unceasing march.

Everywhere in the Tyrol, especially in the gloaming, whether in Alpine meadow or arable land of the valley, such weird companies may be seen. Bands of Indians, societies of cowled monks, ancient Italians fleeing from a buried city, wandering Israelites,—such and many others are the shapes which these drying sheaves of corn, hay or clover assume, all combining to act as one vast funeral procession of the summer that is no more.

A PROCESSION.
A PROCESSION.

In the afternoon a different company from these natural objects in the distance came to occupy our minds for the time being. Gradually the up stairs sitting-room, which we had foolishly perhaps imagined reserved for our party of nine, became invaded by priests in long coats down to their heels and muddy top-boots. We, the new-comers from the mountains, now learnt that this was the daily occurrence, and really the most unpleasant feature of the house, where the landlord and landlady remained as sleepy and unimpressionable as ever. We were soon, in fact, obliged to vacate the room, driven out not only by the fumes of bad tobacco, but by the unsatisfactory stare which was leveled at each intruder. The kellnerin, generally a slow, incommunicative mortal, now passed, from cellar to sitting-room in a flutter of excitement, her tongue, otherwise dormant, moving like a mill-clapper in the enlivening society of her spiritual fathers. These were the shepherds of the different adjoining parishes, whose custom it was to derive mental and corporeal comfort in sipping their acid wine and smoking their cheap tobacco in company. There might not have been any great harm in it, but nevertheless it seemed an apparent falling away from the singularly bright example which a good man, born only ten minutes from the Elephant, in the village of Mühlen, had once set them.

The priest Michael Feichter, at his death in 1832 the head of the clerical seminary at Brixen, became for a time, through his extreme goodness and grace, the unseen regenerator of the Church in the Tyrol. A simple, guileless man, with intense love and cheerfulness, he acted as if God his friend were ever by his side. The entire Bible, which he had chiefly studied on his knees, he knew literally by heart. Birds, flowers and stones gave him subjects for stirring sermons, and his evening conversations with his pupils were fraught with the most beneficent consequences through his intense sympathy and the power he unwittingly possessed of diving deep into the conscience. Sorrows were met invariably by him with a cheerful "Dominus providebit" or "parcat Deus." Cheating and deceit pained him greatly, and he therefore rejoiced to become acquainted with honest Jews, conscientious officials and religious soldiers. Thoughts of wealth and station never troubled him. He walked like a child through the world. When unable to wear his scholastic gown he moved about, his serene face beaming with cheerful urbanity from under the shadow of a broad-brimmed cocked hat, his pride and delight, as it spared him both sunshade and umbrella. His old coat of [pg 332] an antique cut still bore on the under side of a flap the dyer's mark. His waistcoat and stockings were of black knitted wool. On festive occasions, however, he fastened to the back of his coat collar a fluttering band denoting his doctorate. There was something humorous in his appearance: he knew it and laughed at it, and yet, says one of his pupils, "though we joined in the laugh, his whole person and demeanor touched us deeply: we knew that he was not of this world."

Was it strange that we felt a great discrepancy between the memory of this guileless man and some of the self-indulgent priests, once his pupils, in the upper stube?

The next day, the rain promising still to detain us prisoners, Moidel, fearing that her important services must be missed at the Hof, bravely defied wet and mud and tramped resolutely home. In the afternoon, utterly tired out, we too determined to shift our quarters to Edelsheim, and, engaging a large jolting vehicle, were borne through mire, rain and mist from the Elephant to the Hof.

Long before we reached the door we saw cheerful lights gleaming from the long rows of windows. Anton, Moidel, the aunt, Uncle Johann were at the door to receive us and our belongings. They felt sure, somehow, that we should come.

The floors of our rooms had been scrubbed white as snow in our absence, but we must not hesitate to enter with our damp shoes. Were not the rooms our own? Letters and newspapers were carefully laid according to their various directions, and with flowers and dainty dishes covered the supper-table. Moro, the good house-dog, stood by our chairs or caressed the hand of his favorite, E——. We felt that we had come home—to our home in the Tyrol.

MARGARET HOWITT.

[TO BE CONTINUED]

COLORADO AND THE SOUTH PARK.

On the 15th of August, 1871, two brothers and a sister—Sepia, an artist, Levell, an engineer, and Scribe, who is the narrator—left Chicago by the North-western Railroad, bound for Denver in Colorado, about eleven hundred miles west. The first day we were climbing the gradual ascent from the Lakes to the Mississippi, which we crossed at 4.30 P.M., at Clinton. The thirty years which had elapsed since I first traversed this region had changed it from wild, unbroken prairie to a well-cultivated country, full of corn-fields, cattle and flourishing towns. Then I traveled in a wagon four miles an hour, and had to find my own meat in the shape of a deer from the grove, a grouse from the prairie or a duck from the river. Now we rushed across the State in six hours, stopping fifteen minutes for dinner in a fine brick hotel, metropolitan in charges, if not in fare. In 1840, when we arrived at the great river, we waited two or three hours for the ferry-boat, and finally had to cross in a "dug-out," which seemed but a frail vessel to stem the rapid currents and whirling eddies of the Mississippi. Now we crossed upon a railroad bridge of iron, which cost more money than all Iowa contained in 1840. Still, I fancy that the first method of traveling was the more interesting.

Through the still summer afternoon we rushed on over the rolling prairies of Iowa, dotted with towns and villages and covered with great corn- and wheat-farms. Here in 1840 was absolute wilderness: we made our hunting-camp seventy-five miles west of the river, and we were twenty miles away from any white settler. Wolves howled and [pg 333] panthers screamed around our camp, we lived upon elk and deer meat, and our only visitors in two weeks were some Sac and Fox Indians, who disapproved of our intrusion upon their hunting-grounds.

At 9 A.M. on the 16th we arrived at Council Bluffs, and crossed the turbid and furious Missouri in a steam ferry-boat to Omaha in Nebraska. For many years Council Bluffs was one of the remotest military posts: to go there was to be banished from the world. Now it is a town of ten thousand inhabitants, struggling to overtake its rival on the other bank, Omaha, which has sixteen thousand.

Here our baggage was rechecked for Denver, for at Omaha begins the Union Pacific Railroad. A great road it is, and great are its charges. On the North-western, as on most others, the charge is about four cents per mile, but the Union Pacific, to which corporation Congress gave the usual land-grant, and more than enough money to build the road, cannot afford to carry you for less than ten. This may arise from the custom which has prevailed of giving free passes to all Congressmen, governors, editors and other privileged classes, so that, half the passengers paying nothing, the others have to pay double. Not only are the fares high, but you are charged for extra baggage. Like the elephant, who can drag a cannon or pick up a pin, this great corporation is able to give free passes to a whole legislature or to charge me twenty-five cents for five pounds of extra baggage.

From Nebraska into Wyoming, and we are nearly out of the United States, though the old flag still flies over us. The people here talk about going to the "States." All the region hereabouts, from the middle of Nebraska, lies in what used to be called by the French Les Mauvaises Terres, or "Bad Lands," and was eloquently described by Irving in Astoria as the Great American Desert. "This region," he writes, "resembles one of the immeasurable steppes of Asia, and spreads forth into undulating and treeless plains and desolate sandy wastes, which are supposed by geologists to have formed the ancient floor of the ocean countless ages ago, when its primeval waves beat against the granite bases of the Rocky Mountains. It is a land where no man permanently abides, for in certain seasons of the year there is no food either for the hunter or his steed. The herbage is parched and withered, the streams are dried up, the buffalo, the elk and the deer have wandered to distant parts, leaving behind them a vast, uninhabited solitude."

But this "land where no man permanently abides" is rapidly being settled, and is found to be rendered very fertile by the simple process of irrigation, which costs less than the manuring of Eastern farms. So the Great American Desert recedes before the immigrant, and, like the noble savage, is found to be a myth.

On the railroad midway between Cheyenne and Denver lies the new town of Greeley. Although not on the maps in 1870, it now contains fifteen hundred inhabitants, forty or fifty stores, six hotels, churches, schools, and all the apparatus of civilization. This aspiring town, 4779 feet above the sea-level, is an example of those colony towns so successful in the West, and on which we must depend for rebuilding society in the South. Greeley is surrounded by fertile farms, and every city lot looks fresh and green: all this is effected by irrigation. Two canals have been dug from the head-waters of the Platte—one twenty-six miles long, which will water fifty thousand acres; the other ten miles long, to furnish water for the town and five thousand acres. The prairie where it is not irrigated now, in midsummer, looks burned up and covered with a parched herbage, which, however unpromising to the eye, is really good sweet hay, dried and preserved by the hand of Nature for the buffalo and antelope, and now cropped by the flocks and herds of the white man.

Denver, the capital of the Territory, contains about eight thousand inhabitants. It is a true specimen of a Western town which fully believes in itself, and blows a loud trumpet from its elevation of five thousand feet. It was said [pg 334] of old "that the meek shall inherit the earth," but it was not by that quality that the Denverites obtained their location. Here are plenty of hotels, three banks and a mint: five railroads centre here, bringing in ten thousand tons of freight per month. Denver has schools and churches in satisfactory numbers, and her merchants sell ten millions of dollars' worth of goods per annum. Considering that the place was only settled in 1858, and has in these fifteen years been destroyed both by fire and water, and almost starved by an Indian blockade, it must be admitted to be a pretty smart specimen of a Western city.

We ride in a 'bus, city fashion, to the Broadwell House, a fatigued-looking structure of the earlier period, but probably no worse than the others. Directly we begin to plan an excursion to the South Park, seventy-five miles distant, and going out to look for wagon and horses, we catch our first sight of the Rocky Mountains, a line of dim, misty heights, with the more pronounced outline of the foot-hills beneath. We engage a strong covered wagon, with a good pair of horses and a driver, the latter only seventeen years old, but owner of the team, and carrying himself man-fashion, with the precocity of the Western youth. The wagon is brought to the hotel and loaded, so as to be ready for an early start in the morning: we have a tent and camp-equipage, with gun and fishing-rods for Levell and Scribe, and the sketching-gear belonging to Sepia.

So on the 18th, at 8 A.M., we drive over the bridge which crosses Cherry Creek, and then cross six miles of uninhabited prairie, seamed with gulches, and brown with withered herbage and cactus—no verdure except along the canals, where several species of Artemisia and a prickly poppy with a large white flower grow profusely. We then begin to mount the bare foot-hills, among which are curious masses of red rock as large as city churches, and washed by the storms of ages into various fantastic forms. We then enter a ravine or cañon through which flows Bear Creek, a tributary of the Platte.

Along Bear Creek are ranches where good crops of wheat are raised, and butter and milk made for the Denver market. The grass in this region makes the most delicious butter; indeed, I may say that I never tasted poor butter in Colorado. In the month of August it is as sweet and fragrant as the very best of our June butter in the States. The time will come when the butter of Colorado will be sent to the Atlantic cities: at present there is no surplus made.

We now began to ascend Bear Mountain by a road cut along its side: it was smooth and easy of ascent, but only wide enough for one carriage, with a precipice of several hundred feet on either side, so that we shuddered to think of the consequences of our meeting a wagon. Happily, we met with none, although we overtook one, and had to keep behind it till we reached the summit. Then down the other side to a strip of bottom-land on a creek, where we camped for the night, having come twenty miles from Denver.

August 19. Rose at five and breakfasted on fried pork, corn bread and coffee. Started at ten, and drove fourteen miles to Omaha Ranch; then to St. Louis Ranch, six miles, Roland's Ranch, five miles, and Bailey's, five miles, on the North Fork of the South Fork of the Platte. The weather was fine, and the air beautifully clear and bracing. The road wound among the mountains, up a rocky ravine, down a wooded cañon, then through little parks, surrounded by high hills and set with magnificent sugar pines, and carpeted with fresh grass and abundant flowers. In the ravines and on the mountain-sides the road was narrow, but we were lucky and met nothing, although we frequently overtook the immense wagons drawn by five or six yoke of oxen, and driven by the most ferocious-looking teamsters whom I have ever seen, brandishing enormous whips, which crack like rifle-shots in the woods. We found, however, that, being civilly entreated, they would always turn out of the road to let us pass. We were now at an elevation of probably six thousand feet, [pg 335] having been constantly ascending since we left Denver; and this evening we rose still higher, having climbed a long mountain which overlooked the head-waters of the Platte.

Our last descent of fifteen hundred feet in three miles brought us to the neat log tavern kept by W.L. Bailey, where we found a supper of trout just from the river, together with mountain-raspberries and delicious cream, and clean, comfortable beds. When we looked out next morning everything appeared so pleasant in this sheltered valley, and the house was so comfortable, that we determined to stay here a day and enjoy some sketching and fishing. Sepia took her pencils and ascended the hill behind the house, and we others got out our rods and followed the example set us by Simon Peter.

The Platte, which ran through the meadow about a quarter of a mile away, was a brown, shallow stream, twenty feet wide, fretting over a rocky bed, with little pools and rapids which had a promising look; so we looped on a red and a brown hackle and began to cast. Levell walked down stream about a quarter of a mile before he began, so as to leave a piece of water for the Scribe. The sun shone very bright and hot, and only a few small trout answered my invitations. They were darker and less brilliant in color than our Salmo fontinalis, and were, I think, Salmo Lewisii, which inhabits these waters. The valley was about half a mile wide, and shut in on each side by mountains of red granite, crowned with pines. Bailey's people were making hay in the valley, and I sat down on a fragrant haycock to await the return of my companion. Presently I observed a horseman coming up the valley: he was a hunter, followed by a couple of hounds, with the carcass of a mountain-sheep, or bighorn (Ovis montana), on the saddle in front of him. He told me he had killed it on the mountain behind us, and was taking it to Bailey's for sale. It was an animal something in color like a deer, and about as heavy, though shorter in the leg, with very large curved horns, like those of a ram. He said they were numerous in these mountains, and he had killed six of them in a day, but had to lower them down the precipices with a lariat, which was hard work. I asked if the story was true that these creatures would throw themselves from high rocks, and, turning over in the air, pitch upon their horns with safety. He said he had hunted them many years, but never saw that performance. Being asked if he thought they could do it, he replied that he reckoned they could, but would be smashed if they did. Being interrogated on the subject of grizzly bears, he replied that there were grizzlies hereabouts, but that he never hunted them: he had no use for grizzlies.

In a couple of hours Levell returned, having fished the stream for a mile or more: he had got about twenty small trout. We found that Sepia had been more successful than ourselves, for she had made some effective water-color sketches of the scenery.

Aug. 21. We started this morning at seven, and drove up the Platte Valley five miles to Slaight's, through a very picturesque region. Passed some heavy wagons bound to the mines, and met the mail-stage coming down the valley from Fairplay, with four horses at a gallop: we were luckily able to draw off and let them pass, which they did in a cloud of dust, through which could be dimly seen the long-bearded, red-shirted miners. A saw-mill at Slaight's, with two houses and some fields of oats. Then eight miles to Heffron's, at the forks of the river, where there are a post-office and one house. Two miles beyond we stopped to feed our horses in a lovely park-like bit of open forest of sugar pines. This species resembles the yellow pine of the Southern States, with the same rich purple trunk and widespreading branches. Many of them had been girdled by the Indians to obtain the sweet inner bark, which is a favorite luxury of the Utes. We see very few birds in these mountains, which are too wild for the warblers and insect-eating birds. We met with the mountain-grouse, a bird of about the size and color of Tetrao [pg 336] cupido, and one or two hawks. We also saw in the bushes at the roadside the mountain-rabbit (Lepus artemisia), which from its large size we at first mistook for a fawn. From Heffron's we continue to ascend for six miles, till just beyond a small lake we got the first view of the Park: it lay before us like a vast basin, some hundreds of feet below, surrounded with a rim of high mountains.

The Park itself is 9842 feet above the sea-level, or half as high again as Mount Washington. The surrounding rim is some two thousand feet higher, while in the distance, north, south and west, may be seen the snowy summits, fourteen thousand feet high, of Gray's Peak, Pike's Peak, Mount Lincoln, and

Other Titans, without muse or name.

The South Park is sixty miles long and thirty wide, with a surface like a rolling prairie, and contains hills, groves, lakes and streams in beautiful variety. It formerly abounded with buffalo and other game, and was a favorite winter hunting-ground of the Indians and the white trappers, but since the great influx of miners the buffaloes have mostly disappeared. Such, however, is the excellence of the pasture that great herds of cattle are driven up here to feed during the summer. Several towns and villages have sprung up around the mines in this vicinity, such as Hamilton, Fairplay and Tarryall, to which a stage-coach runs three times a week from Denver.

In our old atlases, forty years ago, we used to see the Rocky Mountains laid down as a great central chain or back-bone of the continent; but they are rather a congeries of groups scattered over an area of six hundred miles in width and a thousand miles long: among them are hundreds of these parks, from a few acres in extent to the size of the State of Massachusetts. These mountains differ so entirely from those usually visited and described by travelers, the Alps, the Scottish Highlands and the White Mountains, that one can scarcely believe that this warm air and rich vegetation exist ten thousand feet above the sea. In climate the Colorado mountains approach more nearly to the Andes, where the snow-line varies from fourteen thousand to seventeen thousand feet. Here snow begins at twelve thousand feet, and increases in quantity to the extreme height of the tallest peaks, about fourteen thousand two hundred and fifty feet, though even these are often bare in August. In these parks the cattle live without shelter in winter, and the timber is large and plentiful at eleven thousand feet elevation. Glaciers are wanting, but instead we have the rich vegetation, the wide range of mountains, the pure, dry and balmy atmosphere, and a variety, a depth and a softness of color which can hardly be equaled on earth.

Having stopped an hour to enjoy the view from the brow of the mountain which forms the rim of the Park, we were overtaken by one of the sudden rains which occur here, and had to drive six miles along the level bottom, till, crossing a brook, we found ourselves at sunset near a large log cabin, where we were glad to be allowed to lie down on the floor under shelter.

It was occupied by some young people named McLaughlin, two sisters and a brother, who had come up from the Plains, where their family lived, with a herd of cattle, from the milk of which the girls made one hundred pounds of butter per week, for which they got fifty cents a pound in the mines. In the fall they returned home, leaving the cattle for the winter in certain sheltered regions called "the range." They were stout, healthy young women, who did not fear to stay here all alone for days at a time while their brother was galloping about the Park on his broncho after his cattle. They did not keep tavern, but were often obliged to take in benighted travelers like ourselves, to whom they gave the shelter of their roof and the privilege of cooking at their stove. The house was about forty by twenty feet, all in one room, though one end was parted off by blankets, behind which they admitted the lady of our party. Sometimes they were visited by Utes, who are not unfriendly, though, like most Indians, they [pg 337] are audacious beggars. "They try to scare us sometimes," said Jane: "they tell us, 'Bimeby Utes get all this country—then you my squaw,' but we don't scare worth a cent." Their nearest neighbor is a sister four miles away, who is the wife of Squire Lechner, innkeeper and justice of the peace.

Aug. 23. Started this morning at eleven for Lechner's. Passed some deserted mining-camps, where the surface had been seamed and scarred by the diggers; then across a creek, where we saw ducks and a red-tailed hawk. Squire Lechner has a large log tavern on the brow of a hill: he was absent, but his wife took us in. Sepia went on the hill to sketch, and we others drove off in search of a trout-brook of which we heard flattering accounts. It was a very pretty stream, winding through the prairie with the gentle murmur so loved by the angler and poet, and lacked nothing but fish to make it perfect. It was rendered somewhat turbid by the late rains, so that if the trout were there they could not see our flies. We are told that trout are plenty on the other side of the mountains. "Go to the Arkansas," they say, "and you will find big ones."

Man never is, but always to be, blest.

We found Mrs. Lechner a friendly person, like her sisters. She told us that before her marriage her father kept this tavern. In 1864, most of the men being away in the Union army, they found the house one morning surrounded by a band of mounted rebels, who had come up from Texas through New Mexico to make a raid on the mines. They were a savage-looking band, about fifty in number, and were led by a man who had formerly worked for her father, and whom she recognized. They took what money and gold-dust was in the house, and seized all the best horses about the place; but when she saw them taking away her saddle-pony, she cried out, "Oh, Tom Smith! I didn't think you was that mean, to rob me of my pony! Wasn't you always well treated here?" He seemed to relent at this appeal, and not only restored her horse, but two of her father's also. The people collected and pursued the robbers, most of whom were captured or killed, but the leader escaped. Mrs. Lechner said she was glad he got away. "Tom must have had some good in him or he wouldn't have given me back my pony."

Aug. 24. Rose this morning at daybreak, and enjoyed the sight of a sunrise among these snowy peaks. Nothing can surpass the delicate tints of rose-color, silver gray, gold and purple which suffuse these summits in early morning. I called Sepia to sketch them, but what human colors can reproduce such glories? We left at seven, and drove to Bailey's, thirty-five miles, before sunset, stopping an hour at noon. On the top of a mountain, about 4 P.M., we were caught in a furious squall, attended with rain, snow and hail, with terrific thunder and lightning, which struck a tree close by. And here I must pay my tribute to the admirable qualities of our horses—steady, prompt and courageous; no mountain too steep for them to climb, no precipice too abrupt to descend; and they stood the pelting of that pitiless storm like four-legged philosophers. We found Bailey's house apparently full, but they made room for us. A handsome buggy and pair arrived soon after, from which descended a well-dressed gentleman and lady, whom we found to be the superintendent of a silver-mine at Hamilton and his wife. They told us that there was a very good boarding-house at that place, with fine scenery all around, which we ought to have seen. But in truth we had as much fine scenery as we could contain: we were saturated with it, and a few mountains more would have been wasted.

Aug. 25. A fine clear morning, and we started early, hoping to drive through to Denver, forty-five miles, but in about fifteen miles one of the horses lost a shoe, which it was thought necessary to replace, the road being rocky; so we went slowly to the junction, where was a blacksmith. He proved to be a mixture of tavern-keeper, farmer and blacksmith, and it was considered a favor to be shod by a man of such various talents. [pg 338] Deliberately he searched for a shoe: that found, he looked for the hammer. Who had seen the hammer? It was remembered that little Johnny had been playing with it. Johnny was looked for, and finally brought, but was unable or unwilling to find the tool so essential to our progress. "Look for it, Johnny," said the blacksmith; and he looked, but to no purpose. After waiting an hour for reason to dawn upon the mind of this infant, the blacksmith put on the shoe with the help of a hatchet, and we proceeded; but so much time had been lost night overtook us twelve miles from Denver. We tried at two taverns, which were full of teamsters, and we were obliged to diverge three miles down Bear's Creek Cañon to the house of Strauss. The good woman, after a mild protest, admitted us and gave us a supper of venison, with good beds. Strauss has a fine ranch along the creek, where he raises forty bushels of wheat to the acre, and his wife milks thirty-six cows and makes two hundred pounds of butter at a churning. Besides this, she cultivates a flower-garden, with many varieties of bloom, irrigated by a ditch from the creek.

Arrived at Denver at noon of the 26th, and found the mercury at 90°, and were glad to leave the crowded hotel next morning for Chicago.

I have only described what we actually saw, which was but a small part of the wonders and delights of Colorado. We were humble travelers, unattached to any party of Congressmen or of railroad potentates: we were not ushered into the Garden of the Gods, assisted up Gray's Park, or introduced to the Petrified Forest; but we saw enough of the new and beautiful to give us lasting recollections of Colorado and the South Park.

S.C. CLARKE.

THE PATRONS OF HUSBANDRY.

"Do you know anything about this 'grange' business?" asked a lady from the city the other day; and she added, "I can hardly take up a magazine or newspaper without falling on the words 'grange,' 'Patrons of Husbandry,' 'farmers' movement,' and all that."

"Why, I am a Patron myself," I replied.

"What! you have a grange here in this little New Jersey sandbank?" she exclaimed incredulously, and plied me with a storm of questions.

It was a quiet, rainy evening, and I devoted the whole of it to answering her queries, reading documents from our head-quarters, and quoting Mr. Adams's treatise on the Railroad Systems and other authorities to explain the present war between producers and carriers; and, believing that there are many others who, like my friend, are disposed to look into this "grange business," I will give them the substance of our conversation. A great deal of that which has found its way into the press touching our order is more characterized by confidence than correctness of statement. In a late magazine article it is stated that the organization known as the Patrons of Husbandry "was originally borrowed from an association which for many years had maintained a feeble existence in a community of Scotch farmers in North Carolina." This statement has no foundation in fact. The order is not the out-growth directly, or even indirectly, of any pre-existing organization. It is the result, so far as it is possible to trace impulses to their source, of the suggestion of a lady, communicated some years ago to Mr. O.H. Kelley, the present secretary of the National Grange, and the person who has done more than any other to establish [pg 339] the order as it exists to-day. The suggestion was in substance this: Why cannot the farmers protect themselves by a national organization, as do other trades and professions? Mr. Kelley seized the idea with enthusiasm, worked out the plan of a secret society, and traveled over the country seeking to arouse the farmers to organize for their mutual advantage. He met with constant disappointment at first, and his family and friends implored him to abandon a project which threatened to absorb every cent he possessed, as it did all his time and energy. But he persevered against every discouragement, and to-day he may well be proud of the results of his devotion.

The first grange was organized in St. Paul, Minnesota, and called the "North Star Grange," and it is one of the most efficient subordinate granges in the country to this day. Another was organized in Washington, one in Fredonia, New York, one in Ohio, another in Illinois, and a few others during the same year in different places. This was very nearly six years ago. Since that time they have been constantly increasing—at first slowly, then with a rapidity unheard of in the history of secret or any other organizations in this country or the world. We can hardly count three years since the order fairly began to grow, and now the granges are numbered by the thousand. Ten States on the twenty-fifth of June last had over a hundred granges, and seven of these between two and five hundred. Iowa to-day has seventeen hundred and ten, and others in process of organization. Thirty-one of the States and Territories had subordinate or both subordinate and State granges, according to the June returns. There were eight at that date in Canada, twenty-three in Vermont, five in New York State, three in New Jersey, two in Pennsylvania, and one in Massachusetts. Up to this time there has been little effort made to extend the organization into the Eastern and Middle States, but at present deputies from the National Grange are being sent to these "benighted regions," and the leaven is working finely. To show how rapidly the order is extending it will be only necessary to add that seven hundred and one charters for new granges were issued during the single month of May.

The discussion of party politics is excluded from the order by common consent, as well as by the terms of its constitution. How much this one wise provision tends to preserve harmony among those of different sects and political parties needs no comment. We know that on one or both of these rocks most great popular organizations have been wrecked. So far, the Patrons of Husbandry have worked together with great harmony, and the slight discords have been nothing more than the surface ripples on a great onward-setting current. Men and women are received on terms of absolute equality throughout all the seven degrees. Four are degrees conferred in subordinate granges, and the higher in the State granges or in the National Grange—the seventh in the latter only, constituting a national senate and court of impeachment, and having charge also of the secret work of the order. All officers are chosen by ballot—those of the National Grange for three years, of State granges for two years, and of subordinate granges for one year. The names of the first four degrees are respectively, for men and women, Laborer and Maid, Cultivator and Shepherdess, Harvester and Gleaner, Husbandman and Matron; and the initiations are not only exceedingly impressive and beautiful, but really instructive. It may also be added that they are never tedious, which will be agreeable information to those who, in entering secret societies, have been dragged through long, meaningless rigmaroles, conscious of being made a spectacle of, and preserving their temper only by the most strenuous efforts.

Into the initiations of the order of the Patrons there enter as machinery or symbols music and song, the expression of exalted sentiments, ceremonies replete, without exception, with significance and instruction, together with fruits and grains and flowers and simple feasts. [pg 340] Two fundamental objects of the organization are social and intellectual culture. The widespread realization of the importance of these among the people is the first great step toward securing them, and the first unmistakable sign that such step has already been taken is the rebelling against pure drudgery. Said the Master of the National Grange, Mr. Dudley W. Adams, in a late address: "It will doubtless be a matter of surprise to them" (editors, lawyers, politicians, etc.) "to learn that farmers may possibly entertain some wish to enjoy life, and have some other object in living besides everlasting hard work and accumulating a few paltry dollars by coining them from their own life-blood and stamping them with the sighs of weary children and worn wives. What we want in agriculture is a new Declaration of Independence. We must do something to dispel old prejudices and beat down old notions. That the farmer is a mere animal to labor from morning till eve, and into the night, is an ancient but abominable heresy."... "We have heard enough, ten times enough, about the 'hardened hand of honest toil,' the supreme glory of 'the sweating brow,' and how magnificent the suit of coarse homespun which covers a form bent with overwork."... "I tell you, my brother-workers of the soil, there is something worth living for besides hard work. We have heard enough of this professional blarney. Toil in itself is not necessarily glorious. To toil like slaves, raise fat steers, cultivate broad acres, pile up treasures of bonds and lands and herds, and at the same time bow and starve the god-like form, harden the hands, dwarf the immortal mind and alienate the children from the homestead, is a damning disgrace to any man, and should stamp him as worse than a brute."

Thus the farmers have joined the great strike of labor against drudgery, and it will never end until it is fully recognized that, while every unproductive life is a dishonorable life, drudgery is no less degrading than pure idleness. To be sure, the sages in all times have taught that there was a time to sing and dance as well as a time to labor, but it is not fifty years since it was generally accepted by the masses that a person might spend every day of his adult life in monotonous manual labor, and yet, other things being favorable, be just as intelligent, just as polished in manner, and graceful in bearing as if his occupation was varied and the more laborious portions of it never continued long at a time. To-day this fallacy is beginning to be generally recognized. Go into any farming district, and you will find that the farmer's sons who are regularly engaged in one kind of labor all day, as ploughing, planting, mowing, are great, awkward, heavy-mannered youths, while his daughters are, in comparison, easy in their movements and agreeable in their address; and simply because, though their labor has been as unremitting, it has been far less monotonous. As a general rule, they go from one thing to another, and through a great variety of muscular exercises from hour to hour.

It is no wonder, then, that the farmers' sons, to get rid of the terrible monotony of farm-labor as now organized, find peddling tin kettles an acceptable substitute, or turning somersets in a third-class circus a fortunate escape. The reason why our country youths are so impatient of farm-labor is not that they are less virtuous than formerly, but that they are wiser; and the railroad has opened a thousand fields for their ambitious daring undreamed of as possibilities in the olden time. Not even the combination of attractions afforded by the granges, with their libraries and reading-rooms, their processions and picnics, the decoration of grange halls in company with the ladies of the order, the working of degrees, the music, social reunions, balls and concerts, can keep young men on the farm unless something is done to render the labor less monotonous and disagreeable.

One of the Patrons during a late discussion of these questions predicted, from the growing intelligence of the people, and their better understanding of the possibilities of organization, that within a few years we shall see magnificent [pg 341] social palaces, something like the famous one at Guise, in many places in this country; and he went on to show how social and industrial life might be organized so as to secure the most complete liberty of the individual or family, magnificent educational advantanges, remunerative occupation and varied amusements for all, with perfect insurance against want for orphans, for the sick and the aged. Each palace was to be the centre of a great agricultural district exploited in the most scientific manner, and through the varied economies resulting from combination all the luxuries of industry and all the conditions for high culture were to be secured to all who were willing to labor even one-half the hours that the farmer now does. It was a glowing picture, and certainly very entertaining, whether a possibility of this, or, as one of the company suggested, of some happier planet than ours.

But whatever dreams for the future may be entertained by some of the Patrons, it is certain that they have work directly at hand, and that they are grappling it with a will. The Iowa granges, through agents appointed from among their members, now purchase their machinery and farming implements direct from the manufacturer and by wholesale. That State saved half a million during 1872 in this way, and Missouri, through the executive committee of her State grange, has just completed a contract in St. Louis for the same purpose. All members of the granges are thus enabled to secure these articles at greatly reduced prices; and as there are over three hundred and fifty granges, with a larger membership than in many other States, this is a very important item.

Now, in regard to the railroads, with which it is generally supposed the Patrons of Husbandry are in fierce conflict. Certainly, to the outside observer, the agriculturists of the South and West seem to have most grievous burdens to bear. It costs the price of three bushels of corn to carry one to the grain-marts by rail, and the whole world knows that they have been burning their three-year old crops as fuel in nearly all the Western States. Meanwhile, it seems clear that there is not too much corn raised, since a great famine has just swept over Persia, and others are threatening in different parts of the world.

The present high rates of transportation were never anticipated by the farmer. If in the beginning some great route charged high rates for carrying, his dissatisfaction was soothed by the assurance that the road had cost an enormous outlay of capital, and that as soon as the company was partially reimbursed the rates would be lowered. The sequel generally proved that the rates went up instead of down, and the still angrier mood of the farmer was again quieted by a new hope: a great competing railroad line was projected, and finally finished. Competition would certainly bring down the prices. This was the reasonable way to expect relief. Competition always had that effect. Alas for the simple producer! He had borne his burdens long and patiently only to learn the truth of George Stevenson's pithy apothegm, that "where combination is possible competition is impossible." The two great companies combined, became consolidated into one, and, having their victim completely in their power, swindled him without pity and divided the spoils between them.

The characteristic of the day is the tendency to consolidation. But nothing can prevent the people from fearing the results of great monopolies and "rings," or from organizing to circumvent their schemes. Those who make no calculation for the growing intelligence of industry are walking blindly. Never were the people so conscious of their power—never so fully aware that in this country the machinery for correcting abuses lies in the degree of concentration with which public opinion can be brought to bear in a given direction. Once let the people become fully aroused to the existence of an evil or abuse, and there is no interest nor combination of interests that can long hold out against them. The trouble heretofore has been the multiplicity of conflicting opinions everywhere disseminated, [pg 342] and the consequent difficulty of agreeing upon measures, and uniting a great number of people in their adoption for the accomplishment of certain ends. If we may rely upon the promise of the order of the Patrons of Husbandry, now slowly and surely sweeping toward the eastern shores of the country, and yet still widening and extending in the West, where it rose, we may hope that this is the great moving army of the people so long waited for, which is to work out the vexed problems of labor and capital by a sudden but peaceful revolution.

The record of the vast work that the order of the Patrons has accomplished for its members exists at present in a detached and scattered form among the different granges, and in piles of yet unused documents at the national head-quarters. The full history of the movement is promised, and in good time will doubtless appear.

Since the first part of this paper was written the Iowa granges have increased to over one thousand seven hundred and fifty. Twenty-nine new ones were organized during the week ending July 24. Over one-third of all the grain-elevators of the State are owned or controlled by the granges, which had, up to December last, shipped over five million bushels of grain to Chicago, besides cattle and hogs in vast quantities; and the reports received from these shipments show an increased profit to the producers of from ten to forty per cent. over that of the old "middlemen" system; and by the complete buying arrangements which the Western granges have effected it is calculated that the members save on an average one hundred dollars a year each. Large families find their expenses reduced by three or four hundred dollars annually, aside from amounts saved on sewing-machines, pianos, organs, reapers, mowers, corn-shellers and a hundred other costly articles; all of which any member of any grange can obtain to-day at a saving of from twenty-five to forty per cent. They are ordered in quantity from the manufacturers by the agents of the State granges of the West, and a single order even from a member of a new-formed grange in Vermont will be incorporated in the general State order. The granges of the Eastern and Middle States are as yet mostly engaged in the work of organizing, and have not yet realized the pecuniary advantages accruing to older granges. By this vast co-operative and entirely cash system all parties are well satisfied except certain unfortunate middlemen, who find their "occupation gone," and themselves obliged to become producers or to enter into the sale of the numerous small and low-priced articles not yet affected by the movement.

MARIE ROWLAND.

[It is desirable that an organization which is assuming such proportions and promising such results should be examined from every point of view, and the foregoing article, written from that of an enthusiastic member of the order, will, we may hope, assist in throwing light upon the subject. If there is some degree of vagueness in its statement of the aims and purposes with which the movement has been set on foot, it is probable that this exactly represents the state of mind of the great majority of those who are engaged in it. The one tangible thing which it would seem to be accomplishing, a combination of the farmers for the purchase of pianos and agricultural implements at wholesale prices, is not of a very startling character; and if this can be attained at no greater cost or trouble to the individual "Patrons" than that of "decorating the granges" and taking part in the singing and the symbolical rites, a considerable advantage will no doubt have been gained. How the cost of transportation is to be reduced, or why the railroads, by facilitating the exchange of productions, should have become the bête noire of the producers, are points on which more definite information would seem to be required. But "the people" being now "aroused," and the revolution in progress, we have only to await events in that hopeful state of mind which such announcements are calculated to inspire.—ED.]

[pg 343]

ON THE CHURCH STEPS.

CHAPTER VI.

I had a busy week of it in New York—copying out instructions, taking notes of marriages and intermarriages in 1690, and writing each day a long, pleading letter to Bessie. There was a double strain upon me: all the arrangements for my client's claims, and in an undercurrent the arguments to overcome Bessie's decision, went on in my brain side by side.

I could not, I wrote to her, make the voyage without her. It would be the shipwreck of all my new hopes. It was cruel in her to have raised such hopes unless she was willing to fulfill them: it made the separation all the harder. I could not and would not give up the plan. "I have engaged our passage in the Wednesday's steamer: say yes, dear child, and I will write to Dr. Wilder from here."

I could not leave for Lenox before Saturday morning, and I hoped to be married on the evening of that day. But to all my pleading came "No," simply written across a sheet of note-paper in my darling's graceful hand.

Well, I would go up on the Saturday, nevertheless. She would surely yield when she saw me faithful to my word.

"I shall be a sorry-looking bride-groom," I thought as I surveyed myself in the little mirror at the office. It was Friday night, and we were shutting up. We had worked late by gaslight, all the clerks had gone home long ago, and only the porter remained, half asleep on a chair in the hall.

It was striking nine as I gathered up my bundle of papers and thrust them into a bag. I was rid of them for three days at least. "Bill, you may lock up now," I said, tapping the sleepy porter on the shoulder.

"Oh, Mr. Munro, shure here's a card for yees," handing me a lady's card.

"Who left it, Bill?" I hurriedly asked, taking it to the flaring gaslight on the stairway.

"Two ladies in a carriage—an old 'un and a pretty young lady, shure. They charged me giv' it yees, and druv' off."

"And why didn't you bring it in, you blockhead?" I shouted, for it was Bessie Stewart's card. On it was written in pencil: "Westminster Hotel. On our way through New York. Leave on the 8 train for the South to-night. Come up to dinner."

The eight-o'clock train, and it was now striking nine!

"Shure, Mr. Charles, you had said you was not to be disturbed on no account, and that I was to bring in no messages."

"Did you tell those ladies that? What time were they here?"

"About five o'clock—just after you had shut the dure, and the clerks was gone. Indeed, and they didn't wait for no reply, but hearin' you were in there, they druv' off the minute they give me the card. The pretty young lady didn't like the looks of our office, I reckon."

It was of no use to storm at Bill. He had simply obeyed orders like a faithful machine. So, after a hot five minutes, I rushed up to the Westminster. Perhaps they had not gone. Bessie would know there was a mistake, and would wait for me.

But they were gone. On the books of the hotel were registered in a clear hand, Bessie's hand, "Mrs. M. Antoinette Sloman and maid; Miss Bessie Stewart." They had arrived that afternoon, must have driven directly from the train to the office, and had dined, after waiting a little time for some one who did not come.

"And where were they going?" I asked of the sympathetic clerk, who seemed interested.

"Going South—I don't know where. The elder lady seemed delicate, and the [pg 344] young lady quite anxious that she should stay here to-night and go on in the morning. But no, she would go on to-night."

I took the midnight train for Philadelphia. They would surely not go farther to-night if Mrs. Sloman seemed such an invalid.

I scanned every hotel-book in vain. I walked the streets of the city, and all the long Sunday I haunted one or two churches that my memory suggested to me were among the probabilities for that day. They were either not in the city or most securely hid.

And all this time there was a letter in the New York post-office waiting for me. I found it at my room when I went back to it on Monday noon.

It ran as follows:

"WESTMINSTER HOTEL. "Very sorry not to see you—Aunt Sloman especially sorry; but she has set her heart on going to Philadelphia to-night. We shall stay at a private house, a quiet boarding-house; for aunt goes to consult Dr. R—— there, and wishes to be very retired. I shall not give you our address: as you sail so soon, it would not be worth while to come over. I will write you on the other side. B.S."

Where's a Philadelphia directory? Where is this Dr. R——? I find him, sure enough—such a number Walnut street. Time is precious—Monday noon!

"I'll transfer my berth to the Saturday steamer: that will do as well. Can't help it if they do scold at the office."

To drive to the Cunard company's office and make the transfer took some little time, but was not this my wedding holiday? I sighed as I again took my seat in the car at Jersey City. On this golden Monday afternoon I should have been slowly coming down the Housatonic Valley, with my dear little wife beside me. Instead, the unfamiliar train, and the fat man at my side reading a campaign newspaper, and shaking his huge sides over some broad burlesque.

The celebrated surgeon, Dr. R——, was not at home in answer to my ring on Monday evening.

"How soon will he be in? I will wait."

"He can see no patients to-night sir," said the man; "and he may not be home until midnight."

"But I am an impatient," I might have urged, when a carriage dashed up to the door. A slight little man descended, and came slowly up the steps.

"Dr. R——?" I said inquiringly.

"Yes, sir."

"Just one minute, doctor, if you please. I only want to get an address from you."

He scanned me from head to foot: "Walk into my office, young man."

I might have wondered at the brusqueness of his manner had I not caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror over the mantelshelf. Dusty and worn, and with a keen look of anxiety showing out of every feature, I should scarcely have recognized myself.

I explained as collectedly as possible that I wanted the address of one of his patients, a dear old friend of mine, whom I had missed as she passed through New York, and that, as I was about to sail for Europe in a few days, I had rushed over to bid her good-bye. "Mrs. Antoinette Sloman, it is, doctor."

The doctor eyed me keenly: he put out his hand to the little silver bell that stood on the table and tapped it sharply. The servant appeared at the door: "Let the carriage wait, James."

Again the watchful, keen expression. Did he think me an escaped lunatic, or that I had an intent to rob the old lady? Apparently the scrutiny was satisfactory, for he took out a little black book from his pocket, and turning over the leaves, said, "Certainly, here it is—No. 30 Elm street, West Philadelphia."

Over the river, then, again: no wonder I had not seen them in the Sunday's search.

"I will take you over," said Dr. R——, replacing the book in his pocket again. "Mrs. Sloman is on my list. Wait till I eat a biscuit, and I'll drive you over in my carriage."

[pg 345]

Shrewd little man! thought I: if I am a convict or a lunatic with designs on Mrs. Sloman, he is going to be there to see.

"Till he ate a biscuit?" I should think so. To his invitation, most courteously urged, that I should come and share his supper—"You've just come from the train, and you won't get back to your hotel for two hours, at least"—I yielded a ready acceptance, for I was really very hungry: I forget whether I had eaten anything all day.

But the biscuit proved to be an elegant little supper served in glittering plate, and the doctor lounged over the tempting bivalves until I could scarce conceal my impatience.

"Do you chance to know," he said carelessly, as at last we rose from the table and he flung his napkin down, "Mrs. Sloman's niece, Miss Stewart?"

"Excellently well," I said smiling: "in fact, I believe I am engaged to be married to her."

"My dear fellow," said the doctor, bursting out laughing, "I am delighted to hear it! Take my carriage and go. I saw you were a lawyer, and you looked anxious and hurried; and I made up my mind that you had come over to badger the old lady into making her will. I congratulate you with all my soul—and myself, too," he added, shaking my hand. "Only think! Had it not been for your frankness, I should have taken a five-mile ride to watch you and keep you from doing my patient an injury."

The good doctor quite hurried me into the carriage in the effusion of his discovery; and I was soon rolling away in that luxurious vehicle over the bridge, and toward Bessie at last.

I cannot record that interview in words, nor can I now set down any but the mere outline of our talk. My darling came down to meet me with a quick flush of joy that she did not try to conceal. She was natural, was herself, and only too glad, after the contretemps in New York, to see me again. She pitied me as though I had been a tired child when I told her pathetically of my two journeys to Philadelphia, and laughed outright at my interview with Dr. R——.

I was so sure of my ground. When I came to speak of the journey—our journey—I knew I should prevail. It was a deep wound, and she shrank from any talk about it. I had to be very gentle and tender before she would listen to me at all.

But there was something else at work against me—what was it?—something that I could neither see nor divine. And it was not altogether made up of Aunt Sloman, I was sure.

"I cannot leave her now, Charlie. Dr. R—— wishes her to remain in Philadelphia, so that he can watch her case. That settles it, Charlie: I must stay with her."

What was there to be said? "Is there no one else, no one to take your place?"

"Nobody; and I would not leave her even if there were."

Still, I was unsatisfied. A feeling of uneasiness took possession of me. I seemed to read in Bessie's eyes that there was a thought between us hidden out of sight. There is no clairvoyant like a lover. I could see the shadow clearly enough, but whence, in her outer life, had the shadow come? Between us, surely, it could not be. Even her anxiety for her aunt could not explain it: it was something concealed.

When at last I had to leave her, "So to-morrow is your last day?" she said.

"No, not the last. I have changed my passage to the Saturday steamer."

The strange look came into her face again. Never before did blue eyes wear such a look of scrutiny.

"Well, what is it?" I asked laughingly as I looked straight into her eyes.

"The Saturday steamer," she said musingly—"the Algeria, isn't it? I thought you were in a hurry?"

"It was my only chance to have you," I explained, and apparently the argument was satisfactory enough.

With the saucy little upward toss with which she always dismissed a subject, "Then it isn't good-bye to-night?" she said.

[pg 346]

"Yes, for two days. I shall run over again on Thursday."

CHAPTER VII.

The two days passed, and the Thursday, and the Friday's parting, harder for Bessie, as it seemed, than she had thought for. It was hard to raise her dear little head from my shoulder when the last moment came, and to rush down stairs to the cab, whose shivering horse and implacable driver seemed no bad emblem of destiny on that raw October morning.

I was glad of the lowering sky as I stepped up the gangway to the ship's deck. "What might have been" went down the cabin stairs with me; and as I threw my wraps and knapsack into the double state-room I had chosen I felt like a widower.

It was wonderful to me then, as I sat down on the side of the berth and looked around me, how the last two weeks had filled all the future with dreams. "I must have a genius for castle-building," I laughed. "Well, the reality is cold and empty enough. I'll go up on deck."

On deck, among the piles of luggage, were various metal-covered trunks marked M——. I remember now watching them as they were stowed away.

But it was with a curious shock, an hour after we had left the dock, that a turn in my solitary walk on deck brought me face to face with Fanny Meyrick.

"You here?" she said. "I thought you had sailed in the Russia! Bessie told me you were to go then."

"Did she know," I asked, "that you were going by this steamer?"

On my life, never was gallantry farther from my thoughts: my question concerned Bessie alone, but Fanny apparently took it as a compliment, and looked up gayly: "Oh yes: that was fixed months ago. I told her about it at Lenox."

"And did she tell you something else?" I asked sharply.

"Oh yes. I was very glad to hear of your good prospect. Do be congratulated, won't you?"

Rather an odd way to put it, thought I, but it is Fanny Meyrick's way. "Good prospect!" Heavens! was that the term to apply to my engagement with Bessie?

I should have insisted on a distincter utterance and a more flattering expression of the situation had it been any other woman. But a lingering suspicion that perhaps the subject was a distasteful one to Fanny Meyrick made me pause, and a few moments after, as some one else joined her, I left her and went to the smokestack for my cigar.

It was impossible, in the daily monotony of ship-life, to avoid altogether the young lady whom Fate had thrown in my way. She was a most provokingly good sailor, too. Other women stayed below or were carried in limp bundles to the deck at noon; but Fanny, perfectly poised, with the steady glow in her cheek, was always ready to amuse or be amused.

I tried, at first, keeping out of her way, with the Trois Mousquetaires for company. But it seemed to me, as she knew of my engagement, such avoidance was anything but complimentary to her. Loyalty to her sex would forbid me to show that I had read her secret. Why not meet her on the frank, breezy ground of friendship?

Perhaps, after all, there was no secret. Perhaps her feeling was only one of girlish gratitude, however needless, for pulling her out of the Hudson River. I did not know.

Nor was I particularly pleased with the companion to whom she introduced me on our third day out—Father Shamrock, an Irish priest, long resident in America, and bound now for Maynooth. How he had obtained an introduction to her I do not know, except in the easy, fatherly way he seemed to have with every one on board.

"Pshaw!" thought I, "what a nuisance!" for I shared the common antipathy to his country and his creed. Nor was his appearance prepossessing—one of Froude's "tonsured peasants," as I looked down at the square shoulders, [pg 347] the stout, short figure and the broad beardlessness of the face of the padre. But his voice, rich and mellow, attracted me in spite of myself. His eyes were sparkling with kindly humor, and his laugh was irresistible.

A perfect man of the world, with no priestly austerity about him, he seemed a perpetual anxiety to the two young priests at his heels. They were on their dignity always, and, though bound to hold him in reverence as their superior in age and rank, his songs and his gay jests were evidently as thorns in their new cassocks.

Father Shamrock was soon the star of the ship's company. Perfectly suave, his gayety had rather the French sparkle about it than the distinguishing Italian trait, and his easy manner had a dash of manliness which I had not thought to find. Accomplished in various tongues, rattling off a gay little chanson or an Irish song, it was a sight to see the young priests looking in from time to time at the cabin door in despair as the clock pointed to nine, and Father Shamrock still sat the centre of a gay and laughing circle.

He had rare tact, too, in talking to women. Of all the ladies on the Algeria, I question if there were any but the staunchest Protestants. Some few held themselves aloof at first and declined an introduction. "Father Shamrock! An Irish priest! How can Miss Meyrick walk with him and present him as she does?" But the party of recalcitrants grew less and less, and Fanny Meyrick was very frank in her admiration. "Convert you?" she laughed over her shoulder to me. "He wouldn't take the trouble to try."

And I believe, indeed, he would not. His strong social nature was evidently superior to any ambition of his cloth. He would have made a famous diplomat but for the one quality of devotion that was lacking. I use the word in its essential, not in its religious sense—devotion to an idea, the faith in a high purpose.

We had one anxious day of it, and only one. A gale had driven most of the passengers to the seclusion of their state-rooms, and left the dinner-table a desert. Alone in the cabin, Father Shamrock, Fanny Meyrick, a young Russian and myself: I forget a vigilant duenna, the only woman on board unreconciled to Father Shamrock. She lay prone on one of the seats, her face rigid and hands clasped in an agony of terror. She was afraid, she afterward confessed to me, to go to her state-room: nearness and voices seemed a necessity to her.

When I joined the party, Father Shamrock, as usual, was the narrator. But he had dropped out of his voice all the gay humor, and was talking very soberly. Some story he was telling, of which I gathered, as he went on, that it was of a young lady, a rich and brilliant society woman. "Shot right through the heart at Chancellorsville, and he the only brother. They two, orphans, were all that were left of the family. He was her darling, just two years younger than she.

"I went to see her, and found her in an agony. She had not kissed him when he left her: some little laughing tiff between them, and she had expected to see him again before his regiment marched. She threw herself on her knees and made confession; and then she took a holy vow: if the saints would grant her once more to behold his body, she would devote herself hereafter to God's holy Church.

"She gathered all her jewels together in a heap and cast them at my feet. 'Take them, Father, for the Church: if I find him I shall not wear them again—or if I do not find him.'

"I went with her to the front of battle, and we found him after a time. It was a search, but we found his grave, and we brought him home with us. Poor boy! beyond recognition, except for the ring he wore; but she gave him the last kiss, and then she was ready to leave the world. She took the vows as Sister Clara, the holy vows of poverty and charity."

"But, Father," said Fanny, with a new depth in her eyes, "did she not die [pg 348] behind the bars? To be shut up in a convent with that grief at her heart!"

"Bars there were none," said the Father gently. "She left her vocation to me, and I decided for her to become a Sister of Mercy. I have little sympathy," with a shrug half argumentative, half deprecatory—"but little sympathy with the conventual system for spirits like hers. She would have wasted and worn away in the offices of prayer. She needed action. And she had the full of it in her calling. She went from bedside to bedside of the sick and dying—here a child in a fever; there a widow-woman in the last stages of consumption—night after night, and day after day, with no rest, no thought of herself."

"Oh, I have seen her," I could not help interposing, "in a city car. A shrouded figure that was conspicuous even in her serge dress. She read a book of Hours all the time, but I caught one glimpse of her eyes: they were very brilliant."

"Yes," sighed the Father, "it was an unnatural brightness. I was called away to Montreal, or I should never have permitted the sacrifice. She went where-ever the worst cases were of contagion and poverty, and she would have none to relieve her at her post. So, when I returned after three months' absence, I was shocked at the change: she was dying of their family disease. 'It is better, so,' she said, 'dear Father. It was only the bullet that saved Harry from it, and it would have been sure to come to me at last, after some opera or ball.' She died last winter—so patient and pure, and such a saintly sufferer!"

The Father wiped his eyes. Why should I think of Bessie? Why should the Sister's veiled figure and pale ardent face rise before me as if in warning?

Of just such overwhelming sacrifice was my darling capable were her life's purpose wrecked. Something there was in the portrait of the sweet singleness, the noble scorn of self, the devotion unthinking, uncalculating, which I knew lay hidden in her soul.

The Father warmed into other themes, all in the same key of mother Church. I listened dreamily, and to my own thoughts as well.

He pictured the priest's life of poverty, renunciation, leaving the world of men, the polish and refinement of scholars, to take the confidences and bear the burdens of grimy poverty and ignorance. Surely, I thought, we do wrong to shut such men out of our sympathies, to label them "Dangerous." Why should we turn the cold shoulder? are we so true to our ideals? But one glance at the young priests as they sat crouching in the outer cabin, telling their beads and crossing themselves with the vehemence of a frightened faith, was enough. Father Shamrock was no type. Very possibly his own life would show but coarse and poor against the chaste, heroic portraits he had drawn. He had the dramatic faculty: for the moment he was what he related—that was all.

Our vigilant duenna had gradually risen to a sitting posture, and drawn nearer and nearer, and as the narrator's voice sank into silence she said with effusion, "Well, you are a good man, I guess."

But Fanny Meyrick sat as if entranced. The gale had died away, and, to break the spell, I asked her if she wanted to take one peep on deck, to see if there was a star in the heavens.

There was no star, but a light rising and falling with the ship's motion, which was pronounced by a sailor to be Queenstown light, shone in the distance.

The Father was to leave us there. "We shall not make it to-night," said the sailor. "It is too rough. Early in the morning the passengers will land."

"I wish," said Fanny with a deep sigh, as if wakening from a dream, "that the Church of Rome was at the bottom of the sea!"

CHAPTER VIII.

Arrived at our dock, I hurried off to catch the train for London. The Meyricks lingered for a few weeks in Wales before coming to settle down for the winter. I was glad of it, for I could make my arrangements unhampered. [pg 349] So I carefully eliminated Clarges street from my list of lodging-houses, and finally "ranged" myself with a neat landlady in Sackville street.

How anxiously I awaited the first letter from Bessie! As the banker's clerk handed it over the counter to me, instead of the heavy envelope I had hoped for, it was a thin slip of an affair that fluttered away from my hand. It was so very slim and light that I feared to open it there, lest it should be but a mocking envelope, nothing more.

So I hastened back to my cab, and, ordering the man to drive to the law-offices, tore it open as I jumped in. It enclosed simply a printed slip, cut from some New York paper—a list of the Algeria's passengers.

"What joke is this?" I said as I scanned it more closely.

By some spite of fortune my name was printed directly after the Meyrick party. Was it for this, this paltry thing, that Bessie has denied me a word? I turned over the envelope, turned it inside out—not a penciled word even!

The shadow that I had seen on that good-bye visit to Philadelphia was clear to me now. I had said at Lenox, repeating the words after Bessie with fatal emphasis, "I am glad, very glad, that Fanny Meyrick is to sail in October. I would not have her stay on this side for worlds!" Then the next day, twenty-four hours after, I told her that I too was going abroad. Coward that I was, not to tell her at first! She might have been sorry, vexed, but not suspicious.

Yes, that was the ugly word I had to admit, and to admit that I had given it room to grow.

My first hesitancy about taking her with me, my transfer from the Russia to the later steamer, and, to crown all, that leaf from Fanny's pocket-book: "I shall love him for ever and ever"!

And yet she had faith in me. She had told Fanny Meyrick we were engaged. Had she not?

My work in London was more tedious and engrossing than I had expected. Even a New York lawyer has much to learn of the law's delay in those pompous old offices amid the fog. Had I been working for myself, I should have thrown up the case in despair, but advices from our office said "Stick to it," and I stayed.

Eating out my own heart with anxiety whenever I thought of my home affair, perhaps it was well for me that I had the monotonous, musty work that required little thought, but only a persistent plodding and a patient holding of my end of the clue.

In all these weeks I had nothing from Bessie save that first cruel envelope. Letter after letter went to her, but no response came. I wrote to Mrs. Sloman too, but no answer. Then I bethought me of Judge Hubbard, but received in reply a note from one of his sons, stating that his father was in Florida—that he had communicated with him, but regretted that he was unable to give me Miss Stewart's present address.

Why did I not seek Fanny Meyrick? She must have come to London long since, and surely the girls were in correspondence. I was too proud. She knew of our relations: Bessie had told her. I could not bring myself to reveal to her how tangled and gloomy a mystery was between us. I could explain nothing without letting her see that she was the unconscious cause.

At last, when one wretched week after another had gone by, and we were in the new year, I could bear it no longer. "Come what will, I must know if Bessie writes to her."

I went to Clarges street. My card was carried into the Meyricks' parlor, and I followed close upon it. Fanny was sitting alone, reading by a table. She looked up in surprise as I stood in the doorway. A little coldly, I thought, she came forward to meet me, but her manner changed as she took my hand.

"I was going to scold you, Charlie, for avoiding us, for staying away so long, but that is accounted for now. Why didn't you send us word that you were ill? Papa is a capital nurse."

"But I have not been ill," I said, bewildered, "only very busy and very anxious."

[pg 350]

"I should think so," still holding my hand, and looking into my face with an expression of deep concern. "Poor fellow! You do look worn. Come right here to this chair by the fire, and let me take care of you. You need rest."

And she rang the bell. I suffered myself to be installed in the soft crimson chair by the fire. It was such a comfort to hear a friendly voice after all those lonely weeks! When the servant entered with a tray, I watched her movements over the tea-cups with a delicious sense of the womanly presence and the home-feeling stealing over me.

"I can't imagine what keeps papa," she said, chatting away with woman's tact: "he always smokes after dinner, and comes up to me for his cup of tea afterward."

Then, as she handed me a tiny porcelain cup, steaming and fragrant, "I should never have congratulated you, Charlie, on board the steamer if I had known it was going to end in this way."

This way! Then Bessie must have told her.

"End?" I said stammering: "what—what end?"

"In wearing you out. Bessie told me at Lenox, the day we took that long walk, that you had this important case, and it was a great thing for a young lawyer to have such responsibility."

Poor little porcelain cup! It fell in fragments on the floor as I jumped to my feet: "Was that all she told you? Didn't she tell you that we were engaged?"

For a moment Fanny did not speak. The scarlet glow on her cheek, the steady glow that was always there, died away suddenly and left her pale as ashes. Mechanically she opened and shut the silver sugar-tongs that lay on the table under her hand, and her eyes were fixed on me with a wild, beseeching expression.

"Did you not know," I said in softer tones, still standing by the table and looking down on her, "that day at Lenox that we were engaged? Was it not for that you congratulated me on board the steamer?"

A deep-drawn sigh as she whispered, "Indeed, no! Oh dear! what have I done?"

"You?—nothing!" I said with a sickly smile; "but there is some mistake, some mystery. I have never had one line from Bessie since I reached London, and when I left her she was my own darling little wife that was to be."

Still Fanny sat pale as ashes, looking into the fire and muttering to herself. "Heavens! To think—Oh, Charlie," with a sudden burst, "it's all my doing! How can I ever tell you?"

"You hear from Bessie, then? Is she—is she well? Where is she? What is all this?" And I seated myself again and tried to speak calmly, for I saw that something very painful was to be said—something that she could hardly say; and I wanted to help her, though how I knew not.

At this moment the door opened and "papa" came in. He evidently saw that he had entered upon a scene as his quick eye took in the situation, but whether I was accepted or rejected as the future son-in-law even his penetration was at fault to discover.

"Oh, papa," said Fanny, rising with evident relief, "just come and talk to Mr. Munro while I get him a package he wants to take with him."

It took a long time to prepare that package. Mr. Meyrick, a cool, shrewd man of the world, was taking a mental inventory of me, I felt all the time. I was conscious that I talked incoherently and like a school-boy of the treaty. Every American in London was bound to have his special opinion thereupon, and Meyrick, I found, was of the English party. Then we discussed the special business which had brought me to England.

"A very unpresentable son-in-law," I read in his eye, while he was evidently astonished at his daughter's prolonged absence.

Our talk flagged and the fire grew gray in its flaky ashes before Fanny again appeared.

"I know, papa, you think me very rude to keep Mr. Munro so long waiting, [pg 351] but there were some special directions to go with the packet, and it took me a long time to get them right. It is for Bessie, papa—Bessie Stewart, Mr. Munro's dear little fiancée"

Escaping as quickly as possible from Mr. Meyrick's neatly turned felicitations—and that the satisfaction he expressed was genuine I was prepared to believe—hurried home to Sackville street.

My bedroom was always smothering in its effect on me—close draperies to the windows, heavy curtains around the bed—and I closed the door and lighted my candle with a sinking heart.

The packet was simply a long letter, folded thickly in several wrappers and tied with a string. The letter opened abruptly:

"What I am going to do I am sure no woman on earth ever did before me, nor would I save to undo the trouble I have most innocently made. What must you have thought of me that day at Lenox, staying close all day to two engaged people, who must have wished me away a thousand times? But I did not dream you were engaged.

"Remember, I had just come over from Saratoga, and knew nothing of Lenox gossip, then or afterward. Something in your manner once or twice made me look at you and think that perhaps you were interested in Bessie, but hers to you was so cold, so distant, that I thought it was only a notion of my jealous self.

"Was I foolish to lay so much stress on that anniversary time? Do you know that the year before we had spent it together, too?—September 28th. True, that year it was at Bertie Cox's funeral, but we had walked together, and I was happy in being near you.

"For, you see, it was from something more than the Hudson River that you had brought me out. You had rescued me from the stupid gayety of my first winter—from the flats of fashionable life. You had given me an ideal—something to live up to and grow worthy of.

"Let that pass. For myself, it is nothing, but for the deeper harm I have done, I fear, to Bessie and to you.

"Again, on that day at Lenox, when Bessie and I drove together in the afternoon, I tried to make her talk about you, to find out what you were to her. But she was so distant, so repellant, that I fancied there was nothing at all between you; or, rather, if you had cared for her at all, that she had been indifferent to you.

"Indeed, she quite forbade the subject by her manner; and when she told me you were going abroad, I could not help being very happy, for I thought then that I should have you all to myself.

"When I saw you on shipboard, I fancied, somehow, that you had changed your passage to be with us. It was very foolish; and I write it, thankful that you are not here to see me. So I scribbled a little note to Bessie, and sent it off by the pilot: I don't know where you were when the pilot went. This is, as nearly as I remember it, what I wrote:

"'DEAR BESSIE: Charlie Munro is on board. He must have changed his passage to be with us. I know from something that he has just told me that this is so, and that he consoles himself already for your coldness. You remember what I told you when we talked about him. I shall try now. F.M.'

"Bessie would know what that meant. Oh, must I tell you what a weak, weak girl I was? When I found out at Lenox, as I thought, that Bessie did not care for you, I said to her that once I thought you had cared for me, but that papa had offended you by his manner—you weren't of an old Knickerbocker family, you know—and had given you to understand that your visits were not acceptable.

"I am sure now that it was because I wanted to think so that I put that explanation upon your ceasing to visit me, and because papa always looked so decidedly queer whenever your name was mentioned.

"I had always had everything in life that I wanted, and I believed that in due time you would come back to me.

"Bessie knew well enough what that [pg 352] pilot-letter meant, for here is her answer."

Pinned fast to the end of Fanny's letter, so that by no chance should I read it first, were these words in my darling's hand:

"Got your pilot-letter. Aunt is much better. We shall be traveling about so much that you need not write me the progress of your romance, but believe me I shall be most interested in its conclusion. BESSIE S."

It was all explained now. My darling, so sensitive and spirited, had given her leave "to try."

CHAPTER IX.

But was that all? Was she wearing away the slow months in passionate unbelief of me? I could not tell. But before I slept that night I had taken my resolve. I would sail for home by the next steamer. The case would suffer, perhaps, by the delay and the change of hands: D—— must come out to attend to it himself, then, but I would suffer no longer.

No use to write to Bessie. I had exhausted every means to reach her save that of the detectives. "I'll go to the office, file my papers till the next man comes over, see Fanny Meyrick, and be off."

But what to say to Fanny? Good, generous girl! She had indeed done what few women in the world would have had the courage to do—shown her whole heart to a man who loved another. It would be an embarrassing interview; and I was not sorry when I started out that morning that it was too early yet to call.

To the office first, then, I directed my steps. But here Fate lay perdu and in wait for me.

"A letter, Mr. Munro, from D—— & Co.," said the brisk young clerk. They had treated me with great respect of late, for, indeed, our claim was steadily growing in weight, and was sure to come right before long. I opened and read:

"The missing paper is found on this side of the Atlantic—what you have been rummaging for all winter on the other. A trusty messenger sails at once, and will report himself to you."

"At once!" Well, there's only a few days' delay, at most. Perhaps it's young Bunker. He can take the case and end it: anybody can end it now.

And my heart was light. "A few days," I said to myself as I ran up the steps in Clarges street.

"Miss Fanny at home?" to the man, or rather to the member of Parliament, who opened the door—"Miss Meyrick, I mean."

"Yes, sir—in the drawing-room, sir;" and he announced me with a flourish.

Fanny sat in the window. She might have been looking out for me, for on my entrance she parted the crimson curtains and came forward.

Again the clear glow in her cheek, the self-possessed Fanny of old.

"Charlie," she began impetuously, "I have been thinking over shipboard and Father Shamrock, and all. You didn't think then—did you?—that I cared so very much for you? I am so glad that the Father bewitched me as he did, for I can remember no foolishness on my part to you, sir—none at all. Can you?"

Stammering, confused, I seemed to have lost my tongue and my head together. I had expected tears, pale cheeks, a burst of self-reproach, and that I should have to comfort and be very gentle and sympathetic. I had dreaded the rôle; but here was a new turn of affairs; and, I own it, my self-love was not a little wounded. The play was played out, that was evident. The curtain had fallen, and here was I, a late-arrived hero of romance, the chivalric elder brother, with all my little stock of property-phrases—friendship of a life, esteem, etc.—of no more account than a week-old playbill.

For, I must confess it, I had rehearsed some little forgiveness scene, in which I should magnanimously kiss her hand, and tell her that I should honor her above all women for her courage and her truth; and in which she would cry [pg 353] until her poor little heart was soothed and calmed; and that I should have the sweet consciousness of being beloved, however hopelessly, by such a brilliant, ardent soul.

But Mistress Fanny had quietly turned the tables on me, and I believe I was angry enough for the moment to wish it had not been so.

But only for a moment. It began to dawn upon me soon, the rare tact which had made easy the most embarrassing situation in, the world—the bravura style, if I may call it so, that had carried us over such a difficult bar.

It was delicacy, this careless reminder of the fascinating Father, and perhaps there was a modicum of truth in that acknowledgment too.

I took my leave of Fanny Meyrick, and walked home a wiser man.

But the trusty messenger, who arrived three days later, was not, as I had hoped, young Bunker or young Anybody. It was simply Mrs. D——, with a large traveling party. They came straight to London, and summoned me at once to the Langham Hotel.

I suppose I looked somewhat amazed at sight of the portly lady, whom I had last seen driving round Central Park. But the twin Skye terriers who tumbled in after her assured me of her identity soon enough.

"Mr. D—— charged me, Mr. Munro," she began after our first ceremonious greeting, "to give this into no hands but yours. I have kept it securely with my diamonds, and those I always carry about me."

From what well-stitched diamond receptacle she had extracted the paper I did not suffer myself to conjecture, but the document was strongly perfumed with violet powder.

"You see, I was coming over," she proceeded to explain, "in any event, and when Mr. D—— talked of sending Bunker—I think it was Bunker—with us, I persuaded him to let me be messenger instead. It wasn't worth while, you know, to have any more people leave the office, you being away, and—Oh, Ada, my dear, here is Mr. Munro!"

As Ada, a slim, willowy creature, with the surprised look in her eyes that has become the fashion of late, came gliding up to me, I thought that the reason for young Bunker's omission from the party was possibly before me.

Bother on her matrimonial, or rather anti-matrimonial, devices! Her maternal solicitude lest Ada should be charmed with the poor young clerk on the passage over had cost me weeks of longer stay. For at this stage a request for any further transfer would have been ridiculous and wrong. As easy to settle it now as to arrange for any one else; so the first of April found me still in London, but leaving it on the morrow for home.

"Bessie is in Lenox, I think," Fanny Meyrick had said to me as I bade her good-bye.

"What! You have heard from her?"

"No, but I heard incidentally from one of my Boston friends this morning that he had seen her there, standing on the church steps."

I winced, and a deeper glow came into Fanny's cheek.

"You will give her my letter? I would have written to her also, but it was indeed only this morning that I heard. You will give her that?"

"I have kept it for her," I said quietly; and the adieus were over.

SARAH C. HALLOWELL.

[TO BE CONTINUED.]

[pg 354]

HOW THEY "KEEP A HOTEL" IN TURKEY.

The charity of Islam is an article of practice as well as of faith, and manifests itself in ways astonishing to visitors from Christian lands. Thus, the impunity—nay, the protection and sympathy—afforded to the street-beggar, and the way in which the very poor divide their crust with those still more poverty-stricken than themselves, surprise the stranger who observes the scene in the open streets. Then, too, the public fountains, which are charitable offerings from pious persons, are more numerous in Constantinople than in any other city in the world. Nor does the law of kindness restrict itself to man. Islam has anticipated Mr. Bergh, and "The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals" had as its founder in the Orient no less a personage than Mohammed, whom "the faithful" revere as the Messenger (Résoul) of God, and whom we improperly term Prophet. The Koran specially inculcates kindness to the brute creation, and so thoroughly does the Mussulman obey the mandate that the streets are filled with homeless, masterless dogs, whose melancholy lives Moslem piety will not abridge by water-cure, as in Western lands. This is the more curious because the dog is an unclean animal, whose touch defiles the true believer. Therefore no one keeps a dog, or harbors him, or does more than throw him a bone or scraps of food.

Should a camel fall sick in the desert, or break a limb, his master does not mercifully put him out of his pain, but leaves him there to die "when it pleases Allah." The same sentiment runs through the whole of Eastern life, and it is notably manifested in religious foundations, which also serve as schools, and in khans or caravansaries, which are the Eastern substitutes for hotels. The khans had their origin in charity in the good old times of primitive Mohammedanism, before its simplicity was lost by contact with other creeds. They were wayside buildings intended for the use of commercial travelers or pilgrims, affording shelter from storms and protection from wild beasts, but no further accommodation. The hospitable doors were ever open, but the apparition of "mine host," ready to offer you board and lodging for a reasonable compensation, was undreamt of in the early Turkish philosophy. Every traveler literally "took up his bed and walked "—or rode—away in the morning, leaving the room he had tenanted as bare as he found it. Everybody had to bring his own cooking utensils, provender and materials for making a fire.

What in other countries is left for commercial enterprise to effect for the sake of profit is accomplished here by pious people, who leave legacies for the purpose, and never figure in newspapers, before or after death, as the reward of their munificence or charity. Many a wayworn traveler has blessed the memory of those truly religious men or women on reaching the rugged walls of a khan after a long day's ride under a Syrian sun or the pitiless down-pours of rain characteristic of the same region.

Some of these khans on the road to Damascus or other large Eastern cities are spacious buildings, and the scene presented within them when some caravan stops overnight, or several parties of travelers meet there, is picturesque in the extreme. Everybody wears bright-colored garments and everybody is armed, and the grunt of the camel and bray of the donkey make night, if not musical, certainly most melancholy to the untrained ear.

But innovation has crept in, and the city khan is now a kind of bastard hotel, with a rude host, who makes you pay for your own lodging and the provender of your animal; and as part and parcel of the establishment you also find a coffee-shop, coffee being the primal necessity of Oriental well—being, taking precedence even of tobacco, which, however, always accompanies it. There is [pg 355] always a bazaar close by, at which you can purchase savory kibabs of mutton and other cooked food. Men are no more ashamed to eat in the street than they are to pray there; so you may see multitudes taking their meals al fresco at the hours of morning, midday or sunset, after prayers.

Neither does the Mussulman need elaborate bed and bedding for his repose. He does not undress as we do, but only loosens his garments, without taking them off, and stretches himself on top of his bed or rug, as the case may be. When the weather is cold, he takes off his shoes, but wraps his head and the upper part of his person tightly in his blanket or shawl, at apparent risk of suffocation. Keeping the feet warm and the head cool, which is our great sanitary law, is reversed by the Turk, for he keeps his head covered and his feet uncovered as much as he possibly can. In the morning he gets up, shakes himself, tightens his garments, performs his matutinal ablutions, and his toilet is made for the day. Under these circumstances it will be seen that many things which we should regard as essential necessaries in our hostelry, would be pure superfluities to our Turkish or Arab brother.

Of course, in these places you meet a great mixture of nationalities and all classes and conditions, for the rich, in the absence of other hotel accommodations, must use them as well as the poor; only, as every man brings his own things with him, you find more luxury and comfort in some of the arrangements than in others. You may see rich merchants from Bagdad or Damascus sitting on piles of costly cushions, attended by obsequious slaves, and smoking perfumed Shiraz out of silver narghiles, whose long, snake-like tubes are tipped with precious amber and encircled by rows of precious stones worth a prince's ransom. Huddled together, in striking contrast to this picture, you may see, crouched on their old rugs and smoking the common clay chibouque, a bevy of street-beggars, also enjoying themselves after their fashion.

These khans serve also as shops or bazaars for the traveling merchant, Persian or Turk, who is ever ready to show you his wares, without seeming to care much whether you buy or not.

The city khans are very simply built in a quadrangle, with small rooms, like convent cells, running all round it. These are used both as sleeping-rooms and shops. The stables for the animals and the store-rooms are in a covered corridor beneath. As there are permanent residents here, and valuable merchandise and other articles stored away, there is a gate strongly bolted and barred, and often sheathed in iron, and a gate-keeper, generally to be seen sleeping or smoking, whose sole business is to prevent the entrance of improper or suspicious persons.

The evenings at the khan used to be, and sometimes still are, enlivened by the presence of the almés or dancing-girls, whose ancestors may have danced the same wild and wanton dances before Cleopatra. The singing-girls, monotonously chanting the same dolorous and drowsy tunes, with imitation guitar accompaniment on the sââb were also wont to wound the drowsy ear of night for the diversion of the guests. Drowsier and more sleep-compelling still were the interminable tales spun out by the professional story-teller, giving ragged versions of the Arabian Nights' Entertainments for the delectation of the tireless native listeners.

In those old days, too, the khans used to be the resort of the slave-merchants, who kept stowed safely away, for inspection and purchase, Circassian, Georgian or more dingy beauties, to suit all tastes. But civilization, in its encroachments on Turkey, has compelled the cessation of open sales of either white or black slaves in public places, though so long as the social and domestic system of the East remains unchanged, the sale of women for the house or harem will continue. It is conducted, however, with more privacy, and Christians are not permitted the privilege of viewing the proceedings. This restriction has taken away from the khans one of their former great attractions.

[pg 356]

To European or American travelers accustomed to the ease, luxury and profusion of our modern hotels, where the guests enjoy more comforts than most of them get at home, this kind of entertainment for man and beast certainly does not seem attractive. Yet there is enjoyment in it when the khan is tolerably free from fleas and "such small deer," and one is accustomed "to roughing it," and blessed with a good appetite and digestion.

Yet, truth to tell, it is more picturesque than pleasant at the best—more gratifying to the eye than to the other senses, especially to those of smell and hearing. For the odors arising from Turkish or Arab cooking are not those of Araby the Blest; and the close contiguity of the beasts of burden assails both the senses named more pungently than pleasantly. Besides, the Oriental, generally making it a rule to wrap up his head carefully in the covering, snores stertorously throughout the night; so that silence, which we regard as necessary for repose, does not rule over the khan; and when daybreak comes, the startled traveler may imagine Babel has broken loose again, since both men and animals rise with the dawn, and make most diabolical noises to indicate that they have risen.

Enterprising Europeans have set up many hotels in Eastern cities, but they are almost exclusively resorted to by strangers or Europeans resident in the country. Even the high Turks, lapped in luxury and sybaritic in their habits of personal ease, prefer their own hotel system to ours, carrying all their comforts along with them, and a retinue of servants to take charge of them. You will very rarely see a Turkish gentleman, even if educated in Europe, stopping at Messeir's or any of the great Eastern hotels on the European plan.

At Messeir's in Constantinople, or at Shepheard's hotel in Cairo—places of historic interest almost, through the vivid descriptions of travelers like the authors of Eothen and The Crescent and the Cross—a most motley medley of Western nationalities may be encountered, the adventurers, tourists and wanderers of the world congregated there during the winter months, and presenting a panoramic view of all the peculiar phases and contrasts of European civilization, more antagonistic there than elsewhere. There you see the German savant with his round spectacles, round face and round figure; the lean and restless Frenchman; the imperturbable Englishman, drinking his bottled beer under the shadow of the Pyramids; and the angular American, more curious, but more cosmopolite, than any of them. The returning Englishman or Englishwoman who has spent twenty years in India also presents an anomalous type, proving how climate and mode of life may alter the original; for it is curious to contrast the round, rosy faces of the fresh English girls outward bound with the sharp, sallow faces and flashing, restless eyes which characterize those who are returning. The babel of tongues at these tables-d'hôte, where conversations are being carried on in every European language, is most perplexing at first, though French and English predominate. Altogether, for the student of character there is no better field than one of these European hotels in the East—none where the lines of difference can be found more sharply defined; for travel and contact with strangers appear only to bring out the contrasts more clearly, and produce a more direct antagonism, instead of softening down or assimilating them, as one might expect.

Very few travelers see the city khans—fewer still ever venture to pass a night within their walls. Even on the routes of desert-travel the pilgrims for pleasure avoid them, substituting their own tents for the stone walls, and confiding in the arrangements made by their dragomen or guides, who contract to make the necessary provision for all their wants for a stipulated sum—one-half usually in advance, the balance payable at the expiration of the trip. To do these men justice, as a rule they provide liberally and well in all respects, their reputation and recommendations being their capital and stock in trade for securing [pg 357] subsequent tourists. Yet it cannot be doubted that this system has robbed the Eastern tour of some of its most salient and striking peculiarities, and has deprived the traveler of much opportunity for insight into the real life of the Oriental, only to be seen while he is journeying from place to place, since his own house is generally closed against the stranger, and it is only in the khan that a glimpse of his mode of life can be obtained.

The khan, like the harem, is one of the peculiar institutions of the East, and will probably so continue, in spite of the advancing tide of European civilization; which, however it may affect the outer aspects of that life, has as yet made little impression on its more essential features. The men may wear the Frank dress (all but the hat, which they will not accept), may smoke cigars instead of chibouques, and drink "gaseous lemonade" (champagne), in defiance of the Prophet's prohibition; the women may send from the high harems for French fashions, and "fearfully and wonderfully" array themselves therein; but in other respects the people will stubbornly adhere to their own social system and habits of life.

It follows that the traveler who goes to the East to study the manners and customs of its people will get only an imperfect and outside view if he makes himself comfortable in one of the hybrid European hotels we have described, instead of braving the picturesque discomforts of the Oriental hotel or khan, which he will find endurable by taking a few preliminary precautions easily suggested to him on the spot.

EDWIN DE LEON.

OUR MONTHLY GOSSIP.

THE CALIFORNIAN AT VIENNA.

I am in bonds and fetters through not understanding the German tongue. It is a weary torture to be a stupid, uncomprehended foreigner. I am lost in a linguistic swamp. It is necessary to employ one man to talk to another. The commisionnaire does not understand more than half I say. What might he not be interpreting to the other fellow? The most trivial want costs me a world of anxiety and trouble. I desired some blotting-paper. I went to a little stationery shop. I said, "Paper! paper! für die blot, you know. Ich bin Englisher—er: ink no dry; what you call um? Vas? vas? Hang it!" They took down all sorts of paper—letter-paper, wrapping-paper, foolscap, foreign post. I tried to make my want known by signs. I made myself simply ridiculous. The shopkeeper stared at me in perplexity, disgust and despair. Then he discussed the matter with his wife. I fretted, perspiring vigorously. I went away. I went to a commissionnaire at my hotel. It required five minutes to explain the matter to him. He discussed the matter with the portier. The portier is quite buried under gold lace and brass buttons. The commissionnaire returns to me. He thinks he knows what I require, but is not quite certain. All this trouble for a bit of blotting-paper! It is so with everything. Every little matter of every-day life, which at home to think of and do are almost identical, here costs so much time, labor and anxiety! My strength is all gone when I have purchased a paper of pins and a bottle of ink. Breakfast and dinner task me to the utmost. The slightest deviation from established custom seems to act on the people at the restaurant like a wrong figure in a table of logarithms. It required three days to convince a stunted boy in a long-tailed coat that I did not wish beer for dinner. He would bring [pg 358] beer. I would say, "I don't want beer! I want my—some dinner." He would depart and take counsel with the head-waiter, and I would feel as if I had been doing something for which I ought to be corrected. The latter functionary approaches and exclaims with domineering voice, "Vat you vants?" I reply with meekness, "Dinner, sir, if you please." He brings me an elegantly bound book containing the bill of fare. But it is in German: I look at it knowingly: Sanscrit would be quite as intelligible. I put my finger on a word which I suppose means soup. I look up meekly at the functionary. He glowers contemptuously upon me. He recommends me to an underling, and bustles off to guests more important. There are in the dining-hall French, German, Italian, English and Japanese. Tongues, plates, knives and forks clatter inside—wheels roll, rumble and clatter over the stony pavement outside. I wait for my soup. Hours seem to lag by. I appeal in vain to other waiters. Life is too busy and important a matter with them to pay any attention to me.

The aristocratic German waiter is cool and indifferent. It is beneath his dignity to approach you within half an hour after you sit down. He knows you are hungry, and enjoys your pangs. He is sensible of every signal, every expression of the eye with which you regard him. To appear not to know is the chief business of his life. He will with the minutest care arrange a napkin while a half dozen hungry men at different tables are trying to arrest his attention. Before I met this man my temper was mild and amiable: I believed in doing by my fellows as I would be done by. Now I am changed. I never visit the Vienna restaurant but I dwell in thought on battle, murder, pistols, bowie-knives, blood, bullets and sudden death. After eating a meal it requires another hour to pay for it. A nobleman, dressed de rigueur, condescends to take my money after he has made me wait long enough. There are two of these officials at the hotel. One in general manner resembles a heavy dealer in bonds and government securities—the other a modest, charming young clergyman of the Church of England. One morning, when the atmosphere was very sultry, I ventured to open a window. The dealer in government securities shut it immediately, and gave me a look which humiliated me for the day. I said I wanted, if possible, air enough to support life while eating my breakfast. He said that was against the rules of the house: the windows must not be opened. There was too much dust blowing in the street. What were a few common lives compared to the advent of dust in that dining-room?

You must live here by rule. Novelty is treason. It is the unalterable rule of life that because things have been done in a certain manner, so must they ever be done. It requires almost a revolution to have an egg boiled hard in Vienna. I said at my first meal, "Ein caffee und egg mit hard." It may be seen that I speak German with the English accent. The eggs came soft-boiled. I suppose that the nobleman who attended on my table went to the prince in disguise who governed the culinary department, and informed him of this new demand in the matter of eggs. It is presumable that the prince pronounced against me, for next morning my eggs were still soft-boiled. Then I braced myself up and said, "See here! I want mine zwei eggs, you know, hard, hard! You understand?" The nobleman looked at me with contempt. The eggs came about one-tenth of a degree harder than the previous morning. I resolved to gain my point. I saw how necessary it was to put more force, vigor, spirit and savagery into my culinary instructions to the nobleman. This despotism should not prevail against me. When the free, easy and enlightened American among the effete and crumbling monarchies of Europe shrieks for hard-boiled eggs, they must be produced, though the House of Hapsburg should reel, stumble and totter.

I said on the third morning, "Haben Sie ein hot Feuer in your kitchen?" Ja. "And hot Wasser?" Ja. "And will you put this hot Feuer under the said hot [pg 359] Wasser, and in that hot Wasser put the eggs and keep them there zehn Minuten, zwanzig Minuten, or a day or a week—any length of time, so that they are only boiled hard, just like stones, brickbats, rocks, boulders or the gray granite crest of Yosemite? I want mine eggs hard." Then I ground my teeth and looked wicked and savage, and squirmed viciously in my chair. There was some improvement in the eggs that morning, but they were not hard boiled.

The Viennese spend most of their time in the open air, drinking beer and coffee, reading light newspapers, eating and smoking. In the English and American sense they have neither politics nor religion. The government and the Church provide these articles, leaving the people little to do save enjoy themselves, float lazily down life's stream, and die when their souls become too spiritualized to remain longer in their bodies.

I am fast becoming German. I have my coffee at nine: it requires two hours to drink it. Then I dream a little, smoke a cigar and drink a glass of beer. At twelve comes dinner. This I eat at a café table on the sidewalk, with more beer. At two I take a nap. At five I awake, drink another glass of beer, and dream. From that time until nine is occupied in getting hungry for supper. This occupies two hours. Then more beer and tobacco. Some time in the night I retire. Sometimes I am aware of the operation of disrobing, sometimes not. This is Viennese life. One day merges into another in a vague, misty sort of way. Time is not checked off into short, sharp divisions as in busy, bustling America. From the windows opposite mine, on the other side of the street, protrude Germans with long pipes. They sit there hour after hour, those pipes hanging down a foot below the window-sill. Occasionally they emit a puff of smoke. This is the only sign of life about them.

The window-sills are furnished with cushions to lean on when you gaze forth. The one in mine is continually dropping down into the street below, and a man in a brass-mounted cap, who calls himself a "Dienstmann," does a good business in picking it up and bringing it up stairs at ten kreutzers a trip. The kreutzer is a copper coin equivalent to an English farthing. Every day here seems a sort of holiday, and in this respect Sunday stands pre-eminent.

The ladies, as a rule, are fine-looking, shapely, well-dressed and particular as to the fit of their gaiters and hose—a most refreshing sight to one for a year accustomed to the general dowdiness which in this respect prevails in England. Most of the English girls seem to have no idea that their feet should be dressed. The Viennese lady is very tasteful. She is neither slipshod nor gaudy. I never beheld more dainty toilettes. Everything about them, as a sailor would say, is cut "by the lifts and braces."

Vienna abounds in great bath-houses. I have tested one. I wandered about the establishment asking every one I met for a warm bath. Some pointed in one direction, some in another, and after blundering back and forth for a while, I found myself before a woman. For fifty kreutzers she gave me a ticket. Then she called for Marie. Marie, a black-eyed, bright German girl, came. She went to a shelf and burdened herself with a quantity of linen. Then she signed for me to follow. I did so in an expectant, wondering and rather anxious frame of mind. Marie showed me into a neatly-furnished bath-room. She spread a linen sheet in the tub, and turned on the water. I waited for the tub to fill and Marie to depart. Marie seemed in no hurry. I pondered over the possibilities involved in a German "Warm-bad." Perhaps Marie will attempt to scrub me! Never! At last she goes. I remove my collar. Suddenly Marie returns: it is to bring another towel. There is no lock on the door—nothing with which to defend one's self. I bathe in peace, however. On emerging I examine the pile of linen Marie has left. There is a small towel, and two large aprons without strings, long enough to reach from the shoulders [pg 360] to the knees. I study over their possible use. I conclude they are to dry the anatomy with. On subsequent inquiry I ascertained that they were to be worn while I rang the bell and Marie came in to substitute hot water for cold.

The American commission to the exhibition occupies a bare, disconsolate, shabby suite of rooms. They resemble much the editorial offices of those ephemeral daily papers which, commencing with very small capital, after a spasmodic career of a few months fall despairingly into the arms of the sheriff. I had once occasion to visit the commission on a little matter of business. What that was I have forgotten: I recollect only the multiplicity of doors in those apartments. When I turned to depart, I opened every door but the proper one. I went into closets, private apartments and intricate passages, and after making the entire round without discovering egress, I made another tour of them, but still could not find where I had entered. A solitary American was seated in the reading-room looking weary and homesick, and I asked him if he could tell me the right road out of the American commission. He said he hardly knew: this was his first visit, but he'd try. So both of us went prospecting around and opening all the doors we met, while a deaconish old gentleman behind a desk looked on apparently interested, yet offering nothing in the way of information or suggestion. I presume, however, this is the only amusement the man has in this forlorn place. I was beginning to think of descending by way of the windows when the strange American at last found a door which led into the main entry, and we both left at the same time, glad to escape.

I will do one side of the American department in the exhibition stern justice. It commences with a long picture placed there by the Pork Packers' Association of Cincinnati, descriptive of the processes which millions of American hogs are subjected to while being converted into pork. There are hogs going in long procession to be killed, and going, too, in a determined sort of way, as if they knew it was their business to be killed. Then come hogs killed, hogs scalded, hogs scraped, hogs cut up into shoulders, hams, sides, jowls; hogs salted, hogs smoked. Underneath this sketch are a number of unpainted buggy and carriage wheels; next, a pile of pick-handles; not far off, a little mound of grindstones; after the grindstones, a platoon of clothes-wringers; next, a solitary iron wheel-barrow communing with a patent fire-extinguisher; following these a crowd of green iron pumps, with sewing-machines in full force. Such is a bit of the American department.

It is the fashion here that every one should have a growl at the general slimness and slovenliness of our department. Every one gives our drooping eagle a kick. This is all wrong. We can't send our greatest wonders and triumphs to Europe. There is neither room nor opportunity in the building for showing off one of our political torchlight processions, or a vigilance-committee hanging, or a Chicago or Boston fire, or a steamboat blow-up, or a railway smash-up. Were the present chief of the commission a man of originality and talent, he might even now save the national reputation by bundling all the pumps, churns, patent clothes-washers, wheel-barrows and pick-handles out of doors, and converting one of the United States rooms into a reservation for the Modocs, and the other into a corral for buffaloes and grizzly bears. These, with a mustang poet or two from Oregon, a few Hard-Shell Democrats, a live American daily paper, with a corps of reporters trained to squeeze themselves through door-cracks and key-holes, might retrieve the national honor, if shown up realistically and artistically.

PRENTICE MULFORD.

GHOSTLY WARRIORS.

So strong a resemblance exists between a battle-scene of a mediaeval Spanish poet and the culminating incidents of Lord Macaulay's Battle of the Lake Regillus, as to justify somewhat extended citations. Of the Spanish writer, [pg 361] Professor Longfellow says, in his note upon the extract from the Vida de San Millan given in the Poets and Poetry of Europe, "Gonzalo de Berceo, the oldest of the Castilian poets whose name has reached us, was born in 1198. He was a monk in the monastery of Saint Millan, in Calahorra, and wrote poems on sacred subjects in Castilian Alexandrines." According to the poem, the Spaniards, while combating the Moors, were overcome by "a terror of their foes," since "these were a numerous army, a little handful those."

And whilst the Christian people stood in this uncertainty,

Upward toward heaven they turned their eyes and fixed their thoughts on high;

And there two persons they beheld, all beautiful and bright,—

Even than the pure new-fallen snow their garments were more white.

They rode upon two horses more white than crystal sheen,

And arms they bore such as before no mortal man had seen.


Their faces were angelical, celestial forms had they,—

And downward through the fields of air they urged their rapid way;

They looked upon the Moorish host with fierce and angry look,

And in their hands, with dire portent, their naked sabres shook.

The Christian host, beholding this, straightway take heart again;

They fall upon their bended knees, all resting on the plain,

And each one with his clenched fist to smite his breast begins,

And promises to God on high he will forsake his sins.

And when the heavenly knights drew near unto the battle-ground,

They dashed among the Moors and dealt unerring blows around;

Such deadly havoc there they made the foremost ranks among,

A panic terror spread unto the hindmost of the throng.

Together with these two good knights, the champions of the sky,

The Christians rallied and began to smite full sore and high.


Down went the misbelievers; fast sped the bloody fight;

Some ghastly and dismembered lay, and some half-dead with fright:

Full sorely they repented that to the field they came,

For they saw that from the battle they should retreat with shame.


Now he that bore the crosier, and the papal crown had on,

Was the glorified Apostle, the brother of Saint John;

And he that held the crucifix, and wore the monkish hood,

Was the holy San Millan of Cogolla's neighborhood.

Turn now to the Battle of the Lake Regillus. In a series of desperate hand-to-hand conflicts the Romans have on the whole been worsted by the allied Thirty Cities, armed to reinstate the Tarquins upon their lost throne. Their most vaunted champion, Herminius—"who kept the bridge so well"—has been slain, and his war-horse, black Auster, has barely been rescued by the dictator Aulus from the hands of Titus, the youngest of the Tarquins.

And Aulus the Dictator

Stroked Auster's raven mane;

With heed he looked unto the girths,

With heed unto the rein.

"Now bear me well, black Auster,

Into yon thick array;

And thou and I will have revenge

For thy good lord this day."

So spake he; and was buckling

Tighter black Auster's band,

When he was aware of a princely pair

That rode at his right hand.

So like they were, no mortal

Might one from other know:

White as snow their armor was:

Their steeds were white as snow.

Never on earthly anvil

Did such rare armor gleam;

And never did such gallant steeds

Drink of an earthly stream.


So answered those strange horsemen,

And each couched low his spear;

And forthwith all the ranks of Rome

Were bold and of good cheer:

And on the thirty armies

Came wonder and affright,

And Ardea wavered on the left,

And Cora on the right.

"Rome to the charge!" cried Aulus;

"The foe begins to yield!

Charge for the hearth of Vesta!

Charge for the Golden Shield!

Let no man stop to plunder,

But slay, and slay, and slay;

The gods who live for ever

Are on our side to-day."

Then the fierce trumpet-flourish

From earth to heaven arose;

The kites know well the long stern swell

That bids the Romans close.


And fliers and pursuers

Were mingled in a mass:

And far away the battle

Went roaring through the pass.

The scene of the following stanza is [pg 362] at Rome, where the watchers at the gates have learned from the Great Twin Brethren the issue of the day:

And all the people trembled,

And pale grew every cheek;

And Sergius, the High Pontiff,

Alone found voice to speak:

"The gods who live for ever

Have fought for Rome to-day!

These be the Great Twin Brethren

To whom the Dorians pray!"

Of course, we are not to be understood as intimating that Macaulay was consciously or otherwise guilty of a plagiarism. Indeed, he was at the pains, in his preface to the poem in question, to point out how certain of its features were designedly taken, and others might fairly be conceived to have been taken, from ballads of an age long before Livy, whom he cites in the matter of the Great Twin Brethren. He has even detailed a circumstance, in reference to the legendary appearance of the divine warriors, curiously relevant to the resemblance just pointed out. "In modern times," he wrote, "a very similar story actually found credence among a people much more civilized than the Romans of the fifth century before Christ. A chaplain of Cortez, writing about thirty years after the conquest of Mexico,...had the face to assert that, in an engagement against the Indians, Saint James had appeared on a gray horse at the head of the Castilian adventurers. Many of those adventurers were living when this lie was printed. One of them, honest Bernal Diaz, wrote an account of the expedition.... He says that he was in the battle, and that he saw a gray horse with a man on his back, but that the man was, to his thinking, Francesco de Morla, and not the ever-blessed apostle Saint James. 'Nevertheless,' Bernal adds, 'it may be that the person on the gray horse was the glorious apostle Saint James, and that I, sinner that I am, was unworthy to see him.'" Other striking instances of identity between classical, Castilian and Saxon legends are detailed by Lord Macaulay in the learned and interesting general preface to his Lays of Ancient Rome. But the reappearance of this particular story in such remote times and places, and with such marked similarities and variations, would entitle it to a place among the indestructible popular legends collated by Mr. Baring-Gould in his Curious Myths of the Middle Ages.

A WARNING TO LOVERS.

"Metildy, you are the most good-for-nothin', triflin', owdacious, contrary piece that ever lived."

"Oh, ma!" sobbed Matilda, "I couldn' help myself—'deed I couldn'."

"Couldn' help yourself? That's a pretty way to talk! Ain't he a nice young man?"

"Yes'm."

"Got money?"

"Yes'm."

"And good kinfolks?"

"Yes'm."

"And loves you to destrackshun?"

"Yes'm."

"Well, in the name o' common sense, what did you send him home for?"

"Well, ma, if I must tell the truth, I must, I s'pose, though I'd ruther die. You see, ma, when he fetcht his cheer clost to mine, and ketcht holt of my hand, and squez it, and dropt on his knees, then it was that his eyes rolled and he began breathin' hard, and his gallowses kept a creakin and a creakin', I till I thought in my soul somethin' terrible was the matter with his in'ards, his vitals; and that flustered and skeered me so that I bust out a-cryin'. Seein' me do that, he creaked worse'n ever, and that made me cry harder; and the harder I cried the harder he creaked, till all of a sudden it came to me that it wasn't nothin' but his gallowses; and then I bust out a laughin' fit to kill myself, right in his face. And then he jumpt up and run out of the house mad as fire; and he ain't comin' back no more. Boo-hoo, ahoo, boo-hoo!"

"Metildy," said the old woman sternly, "stop sniv'lin'. You've made an everlastin' fool of yourself, but your cake ain't all dough yet. It all comes of them no 'count, fashionable sto' gallowses—' 'spenders' I believe they calls 'em. Never mind, honey! I'll send [pg 363] for Johnny, tell him how it happened, 'pologize to him, and knit him a real nice pair of yarn gallowses, jest like your pa's; and they never do creak."

"Yes, ma," said Matilda, brightening up; "but let me knit 'em."

"So you shall, honey: he'll vally them a heap more than if I knit 'em. Cheer up, Tildy: it'll all be right—you mind if it won't."

Sure enough, it proved to be all right. Tildy and Johnny were married, and Johnny's gallowses never creaked any more.

NOTES.

Milton, in his famous description of the woman Delilah, sailing like a stately ship of Tarsus "with all her bravery on, and tackle trim," is particular to note "an amber scent of odorous perfume, her harbinger." Perfume as an adjunct of feminine dress has been celebrated from the days of the earliest poet, and probably will be to the latest; but it was reserved for the modern toilet to project a regular theory of harmony between odors and colors—a theory which might never have been dreamed of in the studio of the painter, but is not unworthy of the boudoir of the belle. It is the young Englishwomen at Vienna who, if we may believe Eugène Chapus, have taken the initiative in this new refinement of coquetry, which employs not only a greater variety and quantity of perfume than in previous years, but employs it according to a certain scientific system. At balls, perfumes are especially de rigueur, and it is in her ball-dress that Araminta aims to establish a species of relation between the nature of the perfume she carries and the general character of the toilette she wears. That is to say, gravely proceeds Monsieur Chapus, if pink predominates in the stuff of her gown, the proper perfume will be essence of roses; if light yellow, it will be Portugal water; if the color be réséda (which has such a run at present for ladies' costumes), the chosen perfume will be an essence of mignonette; and so on with the other flowers corresponding to the shades commonly used in fresh ball-toilettes. Undoubtedly to a Rimmel the relation between different odors and different styles of personal beauty or personal traits would be as obvious as is this newly-discovered harmony between perfume and costume; but we fear that the new fashion is due to coquettish art rather than aesthetic taste, and that, like many another whim of the drawing-room, it will die out before the science is fairly established.


The enfant terrible plays an important rôle in literature as in society during these modern days, and although a little of him goes a good way, yet it must be owned that his sayings are sometimes spicy.

A grandfather was holding Master Tom, a youth of five, on his knees, when the youngster suddenly asked him why his hair was white. "Oh," says grandpapa, "that's because I'm so old. Why, don't you know that I was in the ark?"

"In the ark?" cries Tommy: "why you aren't Noah, are you, grandpapa?"

"Oh no, I'm not Noah."

"Ah, then you're Shem."

"No, not Shem, either."

"Oh, then I suppose you're Japhet."

"No, you haven't guessed right: I'm not Japhet."

"Well, then, grandpapa," said the child, driven to the extremity of his biblical knowledge, "you must be one of the beasts."

Not less critical was the comment of a lad who was taken to church one Sunday for the first time.

"You see, Augustus," said his fond mamma, anxious to impress his tender mind at such a moment with lasting remembrances, "how many people come here to pray to God?"

"Yes, but not so many as go to the circus," says the practical lad.

Quite natural, also, was the reply of a little lady who was found crying by her mother because one of her companions had given her a slap.

"Well, I hope you paid her back?" cried the angry mother, her indignation getting the better of her judgment.

[pg 364]

"Oh yes, I paid her back before-hand!"

Another little girl, after attending the funeral of one of her schoolmates, which ceremony had been conducted at the school, was giving an animated account of the exercises on her return home.

"And I suppose you were all sobbing as if your hearts would break, poor things!" says papa.

"Oh no," replies the child: "only the front row cried."


It was one of the features of the shah-mania that British journalism was overrun and surfeited with Persian topics, Persian allusions and fragments of the Persian language and literature. Every pedant of the press displayed an unexpected and astonishing acquaintance with Persian history, Persian geography, Persian manners and customs. Desperate cramming was done to get up Persian quotations for leading articles, or at least a saying or two from Hafiz or Saadi of the sort commonly found at the end of a lexicon or in some popular book of maxims. Ludicrous disputes arose between morning papers as to the comparative profundity of each other's researches into Persian lore; but the climax was capped, we think, by one London journal, which politely offered advice to Nasr-ed-Dîn about his conduct and his reading. "Should Nasr-ed-Dîn be impressed by English flattery," said this editor gravely, "with an exaggerated sense of his own importance, His Majesty, as a corrective, may recall to mind the Persian fable of 'Ushter wa Dirâz-kush,' from the 'Baharistân' of Jaumy." In ordinary times an explanation might be vouchsafed of what the said fable is, but none was given in the present instance, it being taken for granted, during the shah's visit, that the Baharistân of Jaumy was as familiar to the average Englishman as Mother Goose. Upon the whole, our country has not been wholly unfortunate in not seeing the shah. Horace's famous "Persicos odi, puer, apparatus," has a very close application in the "Persian stuff" with which British journalism has lately been flooded.

How various his employments whom the world

Calls idle!

says Cowper. To describe the holiday amusement provided for the shah in England as having been a grand "variety entertainment" would feebly represent the mixture actually furnished him. One day, for example (a Monday), His Majesty began by reviewing the Fire Brigade; and then Captain Shaw was presented to the shah—likewise Colonel Hogg; and then, according to the Morning Advertiser, "Joe Goss, Ned Donelly, Alex. Lawson, and young Horn had the honor of appearing and boxing before the shah and a small company, at which His Majesty seemed highly delighted;" and next came deputations successively from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, the Bible Society, the Church Missionary Society, and the Evangelical Alliance; then a deputation from the Mohammedans residing in London was presented, and Sir Moses Montefiore had a private interview with His Majesty; and finally, to wind up the day's programme, the shah, attended by many princes and princesses, and an audience of 34,000 people, witnessed a performance at the Crystal Palace expressly selected to suit his taste—namely, gymnastic feats by Germans and Japanese, followed by "Signor Romah" on the trapeze. All this was done before dinner; and the curious combination of piety and pugilism, missionaries and acrobats, may be supposed to have had the effect of duly "impressing" the illustrious guest.

A French writer some time since informed his countrymen that in America wooden hams were a regular article of manufacture. This is a fact not generally known; but at any rate, according to Pierre Véron, we have not yet quite outdone the Old World in the arts of commercial fraud. Worthy Johnny Crapaud used to flatter himself that he outwitted the grocers in buying his coffee unground, but now rogues make artificial coffee-kernels in a mould, and the Paris police court (which does not appreciate [pg 365] ingenuity of that sort) lately gave six months in prison to some makers of sham coffee-grains, thus interfering with a business which was earning twenty thousand dollars a year. Some of the Paris pastry-cooks make balls for vol-au-vent with a hash of rags allowed to soak in gravy; sham larks and partridges for pâtés are constructed out of chopped-up meat, neatly shaped to represent those birds; peddlers of sweet-meats sell marshmallow paste made out of Spanish white; the fish-merchant inserts the eyes of a fresh mackerel in a stale turbot, to trick his sharp customers; and as to drinks, one dyer boldly puts over his door "Burgundy Vintages!" They make marble of pasteboard and diamonds of glass. Adulteration on adulteration, moans M. Véron, all is adulteration!


The problem of aërial navigation seems at present to be agitating as many pseudo-scientific minds as did that of perpetual motion not many years ago, or the philosopher's stone at a more remote period. It possesses perhaps a still stronger attraction in the danger connected with the experiments—the source, we suppose, of the eagerness shown by Professor Wise and his associates to fly to evils that they know not of. Perpetual motion received its quietus from the blasts of ridicule. Air-voyaging has a worse foe to encounter. It may survive the attacks of gayety, but it will succumb, we fancy, to the resistless force of gravity.

LITERATURE OF THE DAY.

Scintillations from the Prose Works of Heinrich Heine. New York: Holt & Williams.

The task formerly undertaken by Mr. Charles Godfrey Leland, in adapting to our language the songs of Heine, is now well supplemented with some versions from among his prose works by another Philadelphian translator, Mr. Simon Adler Stern. Heine's prose, delicate in its pellucid brightness as any of his poetry, cannot be held too precious by the interpreter. The latter must have all his wits about him, or he will not find English at once simple enough and distinguished enough to stand for the original. To get at Heine's prose exactly in another language must be almost as hard as to get at his poetry. The principal selection made by Mr. Stern is a long rambling rhapsody called "Florentine Nights," in which the author professes to pour into the ears of a dying mistress the history of some of his former amours and exaltations, the natural jealousy of the listener going for a stimulus in the recital. His first love, however, is an idealization—a Greek statue which he visits by moonlight, as Sordello in Browning's poem does the

Shrinking Caryatides

Of just-tinged marble, like Eve's lilied flesh.

This weird love-ballad in prose must have taxed the translator almost as much as if it had been in rhyme; for although an interpreter of poetry undeniably has the difficulties of form to struggle with, yet there is, on the other hand, an inspiration and waft of feeling in the metre which lends him wings and helps him on. If Mr. Stern does not encumber his style with a betrayal of the difficulties he has got over—if he does not give us pedantry and double-epithets, so common in vulgar renderings from the German—he certainly shows no timidity in turning the polished familiarity of Heine's prose into our commonest vernacular. "What lots of pleasure I found on my arrival;" "for the men, lots of patience:" trivialities of expression like these are not rare in his version. If they are not quite what Heine would have written if he had been writing in English, at least the fault of familiarity is [pg 366] better than the fault of hardness; and these translations are never at all hard or uncomfortable. When we add that Mr. Stern gives us an index without showing what works the extracts are taken from, and that he gives us an article on Heine without any mention that we can discover of Heine's wife, we have vented about all the objections we can make to this welcome publication; and they are very few to find in a collection of hundreds of "scintillations."

The pleasures that remain for the reader are manifold: so liberally and judiciously are the extracts chosen that we get a complete exhibit of Heine's mind on nearly all the topics he occupied himself about. We have his views on French and German politicians; on French, German and English authors; on art and poetry; on his own soul and character; on religion; besides a great deal of that persiflage, the most exquisite persiflage surely that ever was heard, which flutters clear away from the regions of sense and information, yet which only a man of sense and information could have uttered.

Heine came to Paris in 1831, and saw all the sights and found everything "charming." His wit is a little cheap, perhaps, when he calls the Senate Chamber at the Luxembourg "the necropolis in which the mummies of perjury are embalmed;" at least it becomes tiresome to hear his constant disparagement of the politics which he chose to live under, and which protected him so agreeably; but he is his own keen self where he observes that the signs of the revolution of 1830, what he calls the legend of liberté, egalité, fraternité at the street-corners, had "already been wiped away." Victor Hugo, for his part, did not find it so: he says that the years 1831 and 1832 have, in relation to the revolution of July, the aspect of two mountains, where you can distinguish precipices, and that they embody "la grandeur révolutionnaire." The cooler spectator from Hamburg inspects at Paris "the giraffe, the three-legged goat, the kangaroos," without much of the vertigo of precipices, and he sees "M. de La Fayette and his white locks—at different places, however," for the latter were in a locket and the hero was in his brown wig. Elsewhere he associates "the virtuous La Fayette and James Watt the cotton-spinner." The age of industry, commerce and the Citizen-King, in fact, was not quite suited to the poet who celebrated Napoleon; yet was Heine's admiration of Napoleon not such as an epic hero would be comfortable under: "Cromwell never sank so low as to suffer a priest to anoint him emperor," he says in allusion to the coronation. He respects Napoleon as the last great aristocrat, and says the combined powers ought to have supported instead of overturned him, for his defeat precipitated the coming in of modern ideas. The prospect for the world after his death was "at the best to be bored to death by the monotony of a republic." Ardent patriots in this country need not go for sympathy to the king-scorner Heine. For the theory of a commonwealth he had small love: "That which oppresses me is the artist's and the scholar's secret dread, lest our modern civilization, the laboriously achieved result of so many centuries of effort, will be endangered I by the triumph of Communism." We have drifted into the citation of these sentiments because many conservatives think of Heine only as an irreconcilable destroyer and revolutionist, and do not care to welcome in him the basis of attachment to order which must underlie every artist's or author's love of freedom. "Soldier in the liberation of humanity" as he was, that liberation was to be the result of growth, not of destruction. As for Communism, it talks but "hunger, envy and death." It has but one faith, happiness on this earth; and the millennium it foresees is "a single shepherd and a single flock, all shorn after the same pattern, and bleating alike." Such passages are the true reflection of Heine's keen but not great mind, miserably bandied between the hopes of a republican future, that was to be the death of art and literature, and the rags of a feudal present, whose conditions sustained him while they disgusted him. If Heine fought, scratched and bit with all his might among the convulsions of the politics he was helpless to rearrange, he was equally mordant when he turned his attention to society, and perhaps more frightfully impartial. He hated the English for "their idle curiosity, bedizened awkwardness, impudent bashfulness, angular egotism, and vacant delight in all melancholy objects." As for the French, they are "les comédiens ordinaires du bon Dieu;" yet "a blaspheming Frenchman is a spectacle more pleasing to the Lord than a praying Englishman." And Germany: "Germany alone possesses those colossal fools whose caps reach unto the heavens, [pg 367] and delight the stars with the ringing of their bells." Thus shooting forth his tongue on every side, Heine is shown "in action" by this little cluster of "scintillations," and the whole book is the shortest definition of him possible, for it makes the saliencies of his character jut out within a close compass. It can be read in a couple of hours, and no reading of the same length in any of his complete writings would give such a notion of the most witty, perverse, tender, savage, pitiable and inexcusable of men.

Monographs, Personal and Social. By Lord Houghton. New York: Holt & Williams.

Lord Houghton is one of those fortunate persons who seem to find without trouble the exact niches in life which Nature has designed them to fill. There probably never entered the world a man more eminently made to appreciate the best kind of "high life" which London has offered in the present century; and he has been able to avail himself of it to his heart's content. The son of a Yorkshire squire in affluent circumstances and of high character, Monckton Milnes was not spoilt by finding, as he might have done had he been the heir to a dukedom, the world at his feet; whilst at the same time all the good things were within his reach by a little of that exertion which does so much toward enhancing the enjoyment of them. From the period of his entry upon London life he displayed that anxiety to know celebrities which, though in a somewhat different way, was a marked feature of his contemporary and acquaintance, Crabb Robinson; and the story illustrative of this tendency which gained him the sobriquet of "the cool of the evening" will be always associated with the name he has since merged in a less familiar title.

Lord Houghton has now passed through some sixty London seasons, during which he has been more or less acquainted with nearly every social and literary celebrity in the English metropolis. Having regard to this circumstance, and the fact of his possessing a polished and graceful style of expressing himself, one would naturally expect a great deal from this volume of reminiscences. Nor will such expectations be entirely disappointed. The monographs are eight in number, and will be read with varying degrees of interest, according to the taste of the reader, as well as the subjects and quality of the papers. The portrait which will perhaps be the newest to American readers is that of Harriet, Lady Ashburton, wife of the second Baring who bore that title. Lady Ashburton was daughter of the earl of Sandwich, and Lord Houghton says of her: "She was an instance in which aristocracy gave of its best and showed at its best, although she may have owed little to the qualities she inherited from an irascible race and to an unaffectionate education"—a sentence reminding us of a remark in the London Times, that "with certain noble houses people are apt to associate certain qualities—with the Berkeleys, for instance, a series of disgraceful family quarrels." Lady Ashburton appears to us from this account to have been a brilliant spoilt child of fortune, who availed herself of her great social position to do and say what, had she remained Lady Harriet Montagu with the pittance of a poor nobleman's daughter, she would hardly have dared to do or say. It is one of the weak points of society in England that a woman who has rank, wealth, and ability, and contrives to surround herself with men of wit to whom she renders her house delightful, can be as hard and rude as she pleases to the world in general. Fortunately, in most cases native kindness of heart usually hurries to heal the wound that "wicked wit" may have made. This would scarcely seem to have been so with Lady Ashburton, for Lord Houghton tells us that "many who would not have cared for a quiet defeat shrank from the merriment of her victory," one of them saying, "I do not mind being knocked down, but I can't stand being danced upon afterward." Lord Houghton, however, defines this "jumping" as "a joyous sincerity that no conventionalities, high or low, could restrain—a festive nature flowing through the artificial soil of elevated life." And it must be owned that there was at least nothing petty or rancorous in a nature which showed so rare an appreciation of genius, and an equal capacity for warm and disinterested friendship.

In contrast with this chapter is the one on the Berrys, which is full of interesting details in regard to those remarkable women, and reveals a pathetic history hardly to have been expected in connection with the amusing gossip that has hitherto clustered around their names.

But by far the most interesting paper is that on Heinrich Heine. A letter from an [pg 368] English lady whom Heine had known and petted in her childhood, and who visited the poet in his last days, when he himself, wasted by disease, "seemed no bigger than a child under the sheet that covered him," gives what is perhaps the most lifelike picture we have ever had of a nature that seems equally to court and to baffle comprehension. Lord Houghton has little to add, on this subject, from his personal recollections; but his comments upon it evince perhaps as close a study and sagacious criticism, if not as much subtlety of thought, as Matthew Arnold's famous essay. The following passage, for example, sums up very felicitously the social aspect of Germany, and its influence on Heine: "The poem of 'Deutschland' is the one of his works where his humor runs over into the coarsest satire, and the malice can only be excused by the remembrance that he too had been exposed to some of the evil influences of a servile condition. Among these may no doubt be reckoned the position of a man of commercial origin and literary occupation in his relation to the upper order of society in the northern parts of Germany. ...Here there remained, and after all the events of the last year there still remains, sufficient element of discontent to justify the recorded expression of a philosophic German statesman, that 'in Prussia the war of classes had still to be fought out.'"

Of the other papers in the volume, those on Humboldt, Landor and Sydney Smith, though readable, contain little to supplement the biographies and correspondence that have long been before the world; while the one on "Suleiman Pasha" (Colonel Selves) suggests a doubt whether Lord Houghton has always taken pains to sift the information he has so eagerly accumulated. When we find him stating that the siege of Lyons occurred under the Directory—which it preceded by a year or two; that his hero, then seven years old, "grew up," entered the navy, was present at the battle of Trafalgar (1805), and, subsequently enlisted "in the Army of Italy, then flushed with triumph, but glad to receive young and vigorous recruits"—language indicating the campaign of 1796-97; that "soon after his enrollment in the regiment it became necessary to instruct the cavalry soldiers in infantry practice, and young Selves' knowledge of the exercise [acquired apparently on shipboard] was of the greatest use and brought him into general notice"—making him, we may infer, a special favorite of Bonaparte;—we can easily believe that these things were related, as he tells us they were, "with epic simplicity," and may even conclude that some other qualities of the epic would to more cautious ears have been equally perceptible in the narration. Of a like character, we suspect, is the statement that Selves, being on the staff of Grouchy on the day of Waterloo, "urgently represented to that general the propriety of joining the main body of the army as soon as the Prussians, whom he had been sent to intercept, were out of sight." Lord Houghton has evidently not read the best and most recent criticisms on the Waterloo campaign, but he should at least have known that Grouchy was sent, not to intercept, but to follow the Prussians in their retreat from Ligny, and that, if he lost sight of them, it was because, instead of falling back on their own line of communication, as Napoleon had expected them to do, they turned off to effect a junction with the English army.

Books Received.

Key to North American Birds: containing a concise account of every species of living and fossil bird at present known from the continent north of the Mexican and United States boundary. Illustrated by six steel plates and upward of two hundred and fifty wood-cuts. By Elliott Coues, Assistant Surgeon United States Army. Salem: Naturalists' Agency.

Modern Diabolism, commonly called Modern Spiritualism, with New Theories of Light, Heat, Electricity and Sound. By M.J. Williamson. New York: James Miller.

The True Method of Representation in Large Constituencies. By C.C.P. Clarke of Oswego, N.Y. New York: Baker & Godwin.

On the Eve: A Tale. By Ivan S. Turgénieff. Translated from the Russian by C.E. Turner. New York: Holt & Williams.

The Prophecies of Isaiah: A New and Critical Translation. By Franz Delitzsch, D.D. Philadelphia: The Lutheran Bookstore.

Harry Coverdale's Courtship and Marriage. By Frank E. Smedley. Illustrated. Philadelphia: T.B. Peterson & Brothers.

Afoot and Alone: A Walk from Sea to Sea by the Southern Route. Illustrated. Hartford: Columbian Book Company. Illustrated. Hartford: Columbian Book Company.





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