Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 10, No. 57, July, 1862
Part 4 out of 5
plan, without reminding them of an Oyster or a Clam, a Snail or a
Cuttle-Fish,--or of the Articulate plan, without calling up at once the
form of a Worm, a Lobster, or an Insect,--or of the Vertebrate plan,
without giving it the special character of Fish, Reptile, Bird, or
Mammal. Yet I insist that all living beings are but the different modes
of expressing these formulae, and that all animals have, within the
limits of their own branch of the Animal Kingdom, the same structural
elements, though each branch is entirely distinct. If this be true,
and if these organic formulae have the precision of mathematical
formulae, with which I have compared them, they should be susceptible
of the same tests.
The mathematician proves the identity of propositions that have the
same mathematical value and significance by their convertibility. If
they have the same mathematical quantities, it must be possible to
transform them, one into another, without changing anything that is
essential in either. The problem before us is of the same character.
If, for instance, all Radiates, be they Sea-Anemones, Jelly-Fishes,
Star-Fishes, or Sea-Urchins, are only various modes of expressing the
same organic formula, each having the sum of all its structural
elements, it should be possible to demonstrate that they are
reciprocally convertible. This is actually the case, and I hope to be
able to convince my readers that it is no fanciful theory, but may be
demonstrated as clearly as the problems of the geometer. The
naturalist has his mathematics, as well as the geometer and the
astronomer; and if the mathematics of the Animal Kingdom have a greater
flexibility than those of the positive sciences, and are therefore not
so easily resolved into their invariable elements, it is because they
have the freedom and pliability of life, and evade our efforts to bring
all their external variety within the limits of the same structural
law which nevertheless controls and includes them all.
I wish that I could take as the illustration of this statement animals
with whose structure the least scientific of my readers might be
presumed to be familiar; but such a comparison of the Vertebrates,
showing the identity and relation of structural elements throughout
the Branch, or even in any one of its Classes, would be too extensive
and complicated, and I must resort to the Radiates,--that branch of the
Animal Kingdom which, though less generally known, has the simplest
I will take, then, for the further illustration of my subject, the
Radiates, and especially the class of Echinoderms, Star-Fishes,
Sea-Urchins, and the like, both in the fossil and the living types; and
though some special description of these animals is absolutely
essential, I will beg my readers to remember that the general idea,
and not its special manifestations, is the thing I am aiming at, and
that, if we analyze the special parts characteristic of these
different groups, it is only that we may resolve them back again into
the structural plan that includes them all.
I have already in a previous article named the different Orders of this
Class in their relative rank, and have compared the standing of the
living ones, according to the greater or less complication of their
structure, with the succession of the fossil ones. Of the five Orders,
Beches-de-Mer, Sea-Urchins, Star-Fishes, Ophiurans, and
Crinoids,--or, to name them all according to their scientific
nomenclature, Holothurians, Echinoids, Asteroids, Ophiurans, and
Crinoids,--the last-named are lowest in structure and earliest in time.
Cuvier was the first naturalist who detected the true nature of the
Crinoids, and placed them where they belong in the classification of
the Animal Kingdom. They had been observed before, and long and
laborious investigations had been undertaken upon them, but they were
especially baffling to the student, because they were known only in the
fossil condition from incomplete specimens; and though they still have
their representatives among the type of Echinoderms as it exists at
present, yet, partly owing to the rarity of the living specimens and
partly to the imperfect condition of the fossil ones, the relation
between them was not recognized. The errors about them certainly did
not arise from any want of interest in the subject among naturalists,
for no less than three hundred and eighty different authors have
published their investigations upon the Crinoids, and the books that
have been printed about these animals, many of which were written long
before their animal nature was suspected, would furnish a library in
themselves. The ancients knew little about them. The only one to be
found in the European seas resembles the Star-Fish closely, and they
called it Asterias; but even Aristotle was ignorant of its true
structural relations, and alludes only to its motion and general
appearance. Some account of the gradual steps by which naturalists have
deciphered the true nature of these lowest Echinoderms and their
history in past times may not be without interest, and is very
instructive as showing bow such problems may be solved.
In the sixteenth century some stones were found bearing the impression
of a star on their surface. They received the name of Trochites, and
gave rise to much discussion. Naturalists puzzled their brains about
them, called them star-shaped crystals, aquatic plants, corals; and to
these last Linnaeus himself, the great authority of the time on all
such questions, referred them. Beside these stony stars, which were
found in great quantities when attention was once called to them,
impressions of a peculiar kind had been observed in the rocks,
resembling flowers on long stems, and called "stone lilies" naturally
enough, for their long, graceful stems, terminating either in a
branching crown or a closer cup, recall the lily tribe among flowers.
The long stems of these seeming lilies are divided transversely at
regular intervals;--the stem is easily broken at any of these natural
divisions, and on each such fragment is stamped a star-like impression
resembling those found upon the loose stones or Trochites.
About a century ago, Guettard the naturalist described a curious
specimen from Porto Rico, so similar to these fossil lilies of the
rocks that he believed they must have some relation to each other. He
did not detect its animal nature, but from its long stem and branching
crown he called it a marine palm. Thus far neither the true nature of
the living specimen, nor of the Trochites, nor of the fossil lilies
was understood, but it was nevertheless an important step to have found
that there was a relation between them. A century passed away, and
Guettard's specimen, preserved at the Jardin des Plantes, waited with
Sphinx-like patience for the man who should solve its riddle.
Cuvier, who held the key to so many of the secrets of Nature, detected
at last its true structure; he pronounced it to be a Star-Fish with a
stem, and at once the three series of facts respecting the Trochites,
the fossil lilies, and Guettard's marine palm assumed their true
relation to each other. The Troehites were recognized as simply the
broken portions of the stem of some of these old fossil Crinoids, and
the Crinoids themselves were seen to be the ancient representatives of
the present Comatulae and Star-Fishes with stems. So is it often with
the study of Nature; many scattered links are collected before the man
comes who sees the connection between them and speaks the word that
reconstructs the broken chain.
I will begin my comparison of all Echinoderms with an analysis of the
Star-Fishes and Sea-Urchins, because I think I can best show the
identity of parts between them, notwithstanding the difference in
their external form; the Sea-Urchins having always a spherical body,
while the Star-Fishes are always star-shaped, though in some the star
is only hinted at, sketched out, as it were, in a simply pentagonal
outline, while in others the indentations between the rays are very
deep, and the rays themselves so intricate in their ramifications as to
be broken up into a complete net-work of branches. But under all this
variety of outline, our problem remains always the same: to build with
the same number of pieces a star and a sphere, having the liberty,
however, of cutting the pieces differently and changing their relative
proportions. Let us take first the Sea-Urchin and examine in detail
all parts of its external structure. I shall say nothing of the
internal structure of any of these animals, because it does not affect
the comparison of their different forms and the external arrangement of
parts, which is the subject of the present article.
On the lower side is the mouth, and we may call that side and all the
parts that radiate from it the oral region. On the upper side is a
small area to which the parts converge, and which, from its position
just opposite the so-called mouth or oral opening, we may call the
_ab-oral region_. I prefer these more general terms, because, if
we speak of the mouth, we are at once reminded of the mouth in the
higher animals, and in this sense the word, as applied to the aperture
through which the Sea-Urchins receive their food, is a misnomer. Very
naturally the habit has become prevalent of naming the different parts
of animals from their function, and not from their structure; and in
all animals the aperture through which food enters the body is called
the mouth, though there is not the least structural relation between
the organs so designated, except within the limits of each different
branch or division. To speak of these opposite regions in the
Sea-Urchin as the upper and lower sides would equally mislead us,
since, as we have seen, there is, properly speaking, no above and
below, no right and left sides, no front and hind extremities in these
animals, all parts being evenly distributed around a vertical axis. I
will, therefore, although it has been my wish to avoid technicalities
as much as possible in these papers, make use of the unfamiliar terms
oral and ab-oral regions, to indicate the mouth with the parts
diverging from it and the opposite area towards which all these parts
converge. [Footnote: When reference is made to the whole structure,
including the internal organs as well as the solid parts of the
surface, the terms _actinal_ and _ab-actinal_ are preferable
to oral and ab-oral.]
[Illustration: Sea-Urchin seen from the oral side, showing the zones
with the spines and suckers; for the ab-oral side, on the summit of
which the zones unite, see February Number, p. 216.]
The whole surface of the animal is divided by zones,--ten in number,
five broader ones alternating with five narrower ones. The five broad
zones are composed of large plates on which are the most prominent
spines, attached to tubercles that remain on the surface even when the
spines drop off after death, and mark the places where the spines have
been. The five small zones are perforated with regular rows of holes,
and through these perforations pass the suckers or water-tubes which
are their locomotive appendages. For this reason these narrower zones
are called the _ambulacra_, while the broader zones intervening
between them and supporting the spines are called the
_interambulacra_. Motion, however, is not the only function of
these suckers; they are subservient also to respiration and
circulation, taking in water, which is conveyed through them into
various parts of the body.
[Illustration: Portion of Sea-Urchin representing one narrow zone with
a part of the broad zones on either side and the ab-oral area on the
The oral aperture is occupied by five plates, which may be called jaws,
remembering always that here again this word signifies the function,
and not the structure usually associated with the presence of jaws in
the higher animals; and each of these jaws or plates terminates in a
tooth. Even the mode of eating in these animals is controlled by their
radiate structure; for these jaws, evenly distributed about the
circular oral aperture, open to receive the prey and then are brought
together to crush it, the points meeting in the centre, thus working
concentrically, instead of moving up and down or from right to left,
as in other animals. From the oral opening the ten zones diverge,
spreading over the whole surface, like the ribs on a melon, and
converging in the opposite direction till they meet in the small space
which we have called the ab-oral region opposite the starting-point.
Here the broad zones terminate in five large plates differing somewhat
from those that form the zones in other parts of the body, and called
ovarian plates, because the eggs pass out through certain openings in
them; while the five narrow zones terminate in five small plates on
each of which is an eye, making thus five eyes alternating with five
ovarian plates. The centre of this area containing the ovarian plates
and the visual plates is filled up with small movable plates closing
the space between them. I should add that one of the five ovarian
plates is larger than the other four, and has a peculiar structure,
long a puzzle to naturalists. It is perforated with minute holes,
forming an exceedingly delicate sieve, and this is actually the purpose
it serves. It is, as it were, a filter, and opens into a canal which
conducts water through the interior of the body; closed by this sieve
on the outside, all the water that passes into it is purified from all
foreign substances that might be injurious to the animal, and is thus
fitted to pass into the water-system, from which arise the main
branches leading to the minute suckers which project through the holes
in the narrow zones of plates.
[Illustration: Star-Fish from the ab-oral side.]
Now in order to transform theoretically our Sea-Urchin into a
Star-Fish, what have we to do? Let the reader imagine for a moment that
the small ab-oral area closing the space between the ovarian plates and
the eye-plates is elastic and may be stretched out indefinitely; then
split the five broad zones along the centre and draw them down to the
same level with the mouth, carrying the ovarian plates between them.
We have then a star, just as, dividing, for instance, the peel of an
orange into five compartments, leaving them, of course, united at the
base, then stripping it off and spreading it out flat, we should have a
[Illustration: One arm of Star-Fish from the oral side.]
But in thus dividing the broad zones of the Sea-Urchins, we leave the
narrow zones in their original relation to them, except that every
narrow zone, instead of being placed between two broad zones, has now
one-half of each of the zones with which it alternated in the
Sea-Urchin on either side of it and lies between them. The adjoining
wood-cut represents a single ray of a Star-Fish, drawn from what we
call its lower side or the oral side. Along the centre of every such
ray, diverging from the central opening or the mouth, we have a
furrow, corresponding exactly to the narrower zones of the Sea-Urchin.
It is composed of comparatively small perforated plates through which
pass the suckers or locomotive appendages. On either side of the
furrows are other plates corresponding to the plates of the broad zones
in the Sea-Urchin. Where shall we look for the five eyes? Of course, at
the tip of every ray; exactly where they were when the rays were drawn
up to form the summit of a sphere, so that the eyes, which are now at
their extremities, were clustered together at their point of meeting.
Where shall we look for the ovarian plates? At each angle of the five
rays, because, when the broad zones of which they formed the summit
were divided, they followed the split, and now occupy the place which,
though it seems so different on the surface of the Star-Fish, is
nevertheless, relatively to the rest of the body, the same as they
occupied in the Sea-Urchin. Assuming, as we premised, that the central
area of the ab-oral region, forming the space between the plates at the
summit of the zones in the Sea-Urchin, is elastic, it has stretched
with the spreading out of the zones, following the indentation between
the rays, and now forms the whole upper surface of the body. All the
internal organs of the animal lie between the oral and ab-oral
regions, just as they did in the Sea-Urchin, only that in the Star-
Fish these regions are coequal in extent, while in the Sea-Urchin the
ab-oral region is very contracted, and the oral region with the parts
belonging to it occupies the greater part of its surface.
Such being the identity of parts between a Star-Fish and a Sea-Urchin,
let us see now how the Star-Fish may be transformed into the
Pedunculated Crinoid, the earliest representative of its Class, or
into a Comatula, one of the free animals that represent the Crinoids in
[Illustration: Crinoid with branching crown; oral side turned upward.]
We have seen that in the Sea-Urchins the ab-oral region is very
contracted, the oral region and the parts radiating from it and forming
the sides being the predominant features in the structure; and we
shall find, as we proceed in our comparison, that the different
proportion of these three parts, the oral and ab-oral regions and the
sides, determines the different outlines of the various Orders in this
Class. In the Sea-Urchin the oral region and the sides are predominant,
while the ab-oral region is very small. In the Star-Fish, the oral and
ab-oral regions are brought into equal relations, neither
preponderating over the other, and the sides are compressed, so that,
seen in profile, the outline of the Star-Fish is that of a slightly
convex disk, instead of a sphere, as in the Sea-Urchin. But when we
come to the Crinoids, we find that the great preponderance of the
ab-oral region determines all that peculiarity of form that
distinguishes them from the other Echinoderms, while the oral region is
comparatively insignificant. The ab-oral region in the Crinoid rises
to form a sort of cup-like or calyx-like projection. The plates forming
it, which in the Star-Fish or the Sea-Urchin are movable, are soldered
together so as to be perfectly immovable in the Crinoid. Let this
seeming calyx be now prolonged into a stem, and we see at once how
striking is the resemblance to a flower; turn it downwards, an attitude
which is natural to these Crinoids, and the likeness to a drooping
lily is still more remarkable The oral region, with the radiating
ambulacra, is now limited to the small flat area opposite the juncture
of the stem with the calyx; and whether it stretches out to form long
arms, or is more compact, so as to close the calyx like a cup, it
seems in either case to form a flower-like crown. In these groups of
Echinoderms the interambulacral plates are absent; there are no rows
of plates of a different kind alternating with the ambulacral ones, as
in the Sea-Urchins and the Star-Fishes, but the ab-oral region closes
immediately upon the ambulacra.
It seems a contradiction to say, that, though these Crinoids were the
only representatives of their Class in the early geological ages,
while it includes five Orders at the present time, Echinoderms were as
numerous and various then as now. But, paradoxical as it may seem, this
is nevertheless true, not only for this Class, but for many others in
the Animal Kingdom. The same numerical proportions, the same richness
and vividness of conception were manifested in the early creation as
now; and though many of the groups were wanting that are most prominent
in modern geological periods, those that existed were expressed in such
endless variety that the Animal Kingdom seems to have been as full
then as it is to-day. The Class of the Echinoderms is one of the most
remarkable instances of this. In the Silurian period, the Crinoids
stood alone; there were neither Ophiurans, Asteroids, Echinoids, nor
Holothurians; and yet in one single locality, Lockport, in the State
of New York, over an area of not more than a few square miles, where
the Silurian deposits have been carefully examined, there have been
found more different Species of Echinoderms than are living now along
our whole Atlantic coast from Maine to Florida.
There is nothing more striking in these early populations of the earth
than the richness of the types. It would seem as if, before the world
was prepared for the manifold existences that find their home here now,
when organic life was limited by the absence of many of the present
physical conditions, the whole wealth of the Creative Thought lavished
itself upon the forms already introduced upon the globe. After thirty
years' study of the fossil Crinoids, I am every day astonished by some
new evidence of the ingenuity, the invention, the skill, if I may so
speak, shown in varying this single pattern of animal life. When one
has become, by long study of Nature, in some sense intimate with the
animal creation, it is impossible not to recognize in it the immediate
action of thought, and even to specialize the intellectual faculties
it reveals. It speaks of an infinite power of combination and analysis,
of reminiscence and prophecy, of that which has been in eternal harmony
with that which is to be; and while we stand in reverence before the
grandeur of the Creative Conception as a whole, there breaks from it
such lightness of fancy, such richness of invention, such variety and
vividness of color, nay, even the ripple of mirthfulness,--for Nature
has its humorous side also,--that we lose our grasp of its completeness
in wonder at its details, and our sense of its unity is clouded by its
marvellous fertility. There may seem to be an irreverence in thus
characterizing the Creative Thought by epithets which we derive from
the exercise of our own mental faculties; but it is nevertheless true,
that, the nearer we come to Nature, the more does it seem to us that
all our intellectual endowments are merely the echo of the Almighty
Mind, and that the eternal archetypes of all manifestations of thought
in man are found in the Creation of which he is the crowning work.
In no group of the Animal Kingdom is the fertility of invention more
striking than in the Crinoids. They seem like the productions of one
who handles his work with an infinite ease and delight, taking pleasure
in presenting the same thought under a thousand different aspects.
Some new cut of the plates, some slight change in their relative
position is constantly varying their outlines, from a close cup to an
open crown, from the long pear-shaped oval of the calyx in some to its
circular or square or pentagonal form in others. An angle that is
simple in one projects by a fold of the surface and becomes a fluted
column in another; a plate that was smooth but now has here a
symmetrical figure upon it drawn in beaded lines; the stem which is
perfectly unbroken in one, except by the transverse divisions common to
them all, in the next puts out feathery plumes at every such transverse
break. In some the plates of the stem are all rigid and firmly soldered
together; in others they are articulated upon each other in such a
manner as to give it the greatest flexibility, and allow the seeming
flower to wave and bend upon its stalk. It would require an endless
number of illustrations to give even a faint idea of the variety of
these fossil Crinoids. There is no change that the fancy can suggest
within the limits of the same structure that does not find expression
among them. Since I have become intimate with their wonderful
complications, I have sometimes amused myself with anticipating some
new variation of the theme, by the introduction of some undescribed
structural complication, and then seeking for it among the specimens
at my command, and I have never failed to find it in one or other of
these ever-changing forms.
The modern Crinoid without stem, or the Comatula, though agreeing with
the ancient in all the essential elements of structure, differs from it
in some specific features. It drops its stem when full-grown, though
the ab-oral region still remains the predominant part of the body and
retains its cup-like or calyx-like form. The Comatulae are not
abundant, and though represented by a number of Species, yet the type
as it exists at present is meagre in comparison to its richness in
former times. Indeed, this group of Echinoderms, which in the earliest
periods was the exponent of all its kind, has dwindled gradually, in
proportion as other representatives of the Class have come in, and
there exists only one species now, the Pentacrinus of the West Indies,
which retains its stem in its adult condition. It is a singular fact,
to which I have before alluded, and which would seem to have especial
reference to the maintenance of the same numeric proportions in all
times, that, while a Class is represented by few types, those types are
wonderfully rich and varied, but in proportion as other expressions of
the same structure are introduced, the first dwindle, and, if they do
not entirely disappear, become at least much less prominent than
[Illustration: Ophiuran; showing one ray from the oral side.]
There remain only two other Orders to be considered, the Ophiurans and
the Holothurians. The Ophiurans approach the Crinoids more nearly than
any other group of Echinoderms, and in our classifications are placed
next above them. In them the ab-oral region, which has such a
remarkable predominance in the Crinoid, has become depressed; it no
longer extends into a stem, nor does it even rise into the calyx-like
or cup-like projection so characteristic of the Crinoids,--though,
when the animal is living, the ab-oral side of the disk is still quite
convex. The disk in the Ophiurans is small in comparison to the length
of the arms, and perfectly circular; it does not merge gradually in the
arms as in the Star-Fish, but the arms start abruptly from its
periphery. In these, as in the Crinoids, the interambulacral plates are
absent, and the interambulacral spaces are filled by an encroachment of
the ab-oral region upon them. There is an infinite variety and beauty
both of form and color in these Sea-Stars. The arms frequently measure
many times the diameter of the whole disk, and are so different in
size and ornamentation in the different Species that at first sight
one might take them for animals entirely distinct from each other. In
some the arms are comparatively short and quite simple,--in others
they are very long, and may be either stretched to their full length or
partly contracted to form a variety of graceful curves; in some they
are fringed all along the edges,--in others they are so ramified that
every arm seems like a little bush, as it were, and, intertwining with
each other, they make a thick network all around the animal. In the
geological succession, these Ophiurans follow the Crinoids, being
introduced at about the Carboniferous period, and perhaps earlier.
They have had their representatives in all succeeding times, and are
still very numerous in the present epoch.
To show the correspondence of the Holothurians with the typical formula
of the whole class of Echinoderms, I will return to the Sea-Urchins,
since they are more nearly allied with that Order than with any of the
other groups. We have seen that the Sea-Urchins approach most nearly to
the sphere, and that in them the oral region and the sides predominate
so greatly over the ab-oral region that the latter is reduced to a
small area on the summit of the sphere. In order to transform the
Sea-Urchin into a Holothurian, we have only to stretch it out from end
to end till it becomes a cylinder, with the oral region or mouth at
one extremity, and the ab-oral region, which in the Holothurian is
reduced to its minimum, at the other. The zones of the Sea-Urchin now
extend as parallel rows on the Holothurian, running from one end to the
other of the long cylindrical body. On account of their form, some of
them have been taken for Worms, and so classified by naturalists; but
as soon as their true structure was understood, which agrees in every
respect with that of the other Echinoderms, and has no affinity
whatever with the articulated structure of the Worms, they found their
true place in our classifications.
The natural attitude of these animals is different from that of the
other Echinoderms: they lie on one side, and move with the oral
opening forward, and this has been one cause of the mistakes as to
their true nature. But when we would compare animals, we should place
them, not in the attitude which is natural to them in their native
element, but in what I would call their normal position,--that is, such
a position as brings the corresponding parts in all into the same
relation. For instance, the natural attitude of the Crinoid is with
the ab-oral region downward, attached to a stem, and the oral region or
mouth upward; the Ophiuran turns its oral region, along which all the
suckers or ambulacra are arranged, toward the surface along which it
moves; the Star-Fish does the same; the Sea-Urchin also has its oral
opening downward; but the Holothurian moves on one side, mouth
foremost, as represented in the adjoining wood-cut, dragging itself
onward, like all the rest, by means of its rows of suckers. If, now, we
compare these animals in the various attitudes natural to them, we may
fail to recognize the identity of parts, or, at least, it will not
strike us at once. But if we place them all--Holothurian, Sea-Urchin,
Star-Fish, Ophiuran, and Crinoid--with the oral or mouth side
downward, for instance, we shall see immediately that the small area at
the opposite end of the Holothurian corresponds to the area on the top
of the Sea-Urchin; that the upper side of the Star-Fish is the same
region enlarged; that, in the Ophiuran, that region makes one side of
the small circular disk; while in the Crinoid it is enlarged and
extended to make the calyx-like projection and stem. In the same way,
if we place them in the same attitude, we shall see that the long,
straight rows of suckers along the length of the Holothurian, and the
arching zones of suckers on the spherical body of the Sea-Urchin, and
the furrows with the suckers protruding from them along the arms of
the Star-Fish and Ophiuran, and the radiating series of pores from the
oral opening in the Crinoid are one and the same thing in all, only
altered somewhat in their relative proportion and extent. Around the
oral opening of the Holothurian there are appendages capable of the
most extraordinary changes, which seem at first to be peculiar to these
animals, and to have no affinity with any corresponding feature in the
same Class. But a closer investigation has shown them to be only
modifications of the locomotive suckers of the Star-Fish and
Sea-Urchin, but ramifying to such an extent as to assume the form of
branching feelers. The little tufts projecting from the oral side in
the Sea-Urchins, described as gills, are another form of the same kind
The Holothurians have not the hard, brittle surface of the other
Echinoderms; on the contrary, their envelope is tough and leathery,
capable of great contraction and dilatation. No idea can be formed of
the beauty of these animals either from dried specimens or from those
preserved in alcohol. Of course, in either case, they lose their color,
become shrunken, and the movable appendages about the mouth shrivel up.
One who had seen the Holothurian only as preserved in museums would be
amazed at the spectacle of the living animal, especially if his first
introduction should be to one of the deep, rich crimson-colored
species, such as are found in quantities in the Bay of Fundy. I have
seen such an animal, when first thrown into a tank of sea-water, remain
for a while closely contracted, looking like a soft crimson ball.
Slowly, almost imperceptibly, as it becomes accustomed to its new
position, it begins to elongate; the fringes creep softly out,
spreading gradually all their ramifications, till one end of the animal
seems crowned with feathery, crimson sea-weeds of the most delicate
tracery. It is much to be regretted that these lower marine animals
are not better known. The plumage of the tropical birds, the down on
the most brilliant butterfly's wing, are not more beautiful in coloring
than the hues of many Radiates, and there is no grace of motion
surpassing the movements of some of them in their native element. The
habit of keeping marine animals in tanks is happily growing constantly
more popular, and before long the beauty of these inhabitants of the
ocean will be as familiar to us as that of Birds and Insects. Many of
the most beautiful among them are, however, difficult to obtain, and
not easily kept alive in confinement, so that they are not often seen
Having thus endeavored to sketch each different kind of Echinoderm, let
us try to forget them all in their individuality, and think only of the
structural formula that applies equally to each. In all, the body has
three distinct regions, the oral, the ab-oral, and the sides; but by
giving a predominance to one or other of these regions, a variety of
outlines characteristic of the different groups is produced. In all,
the parts radiate from the oral opening, and join in the ab-oral
region. In all, this radiation is accompanied by rows of suckers
following the line of the diverging rays. It is always the same
structure, but, endowed with the freedom of life, it is never
monotonous, notwithstanding its absolute permanence. In short, drop
off the stem of the Crinoid, and depress its calyx to form a flat disk,
and we have an Ophiuran; expand that disk, and let it merge gradually
in the arms, and we have a Star-Fish; draw up the rays of the
Star-Fish, and unite them at the tips so as to form a spherical
outline, and we have a Sea-Urchin; stretch out the Sea-Urchin to form
a cylinder, and we have a Holothurian.
And now let me ask,--Is it my ingenuity that has imposed upon these
structures the conclusion I have drawn from them?--have I so combined
them in my thought that they have become to me a plastic form, out of
which I draw a Crinoid, an Ophiuran, a Star-Fish, a Sea-Urchin, or a
Holothurian at will? or is this structural idea inherent in them all,
so that every observer who has a true insight into their organization
must find it written there? Had our scientific results anything to do
with our invention, every naturalist's conclusions would be colored
by his individual opinions; but when we find all naturalists
converging more and more towards each other, arriving, as their
knowledge increases, at exactly the same views, then we must believe
that these structures are the Creative Ideas in living reality. In
other words, so far as there is truth in them, our systems are what
they are, not because Aristotle, Linnaeus, Cuvier, or all the men who
ever studied Nature, have so thought and so expressed their thought,
but because God so thought and so expressed His thought in material
forms when He laid the plan of Creation, and when man himself existed
only in the intellectual conception of his Maker.
LYRICS OF THE STREET.
In her satin gown so fine
Trips the bride within the shrine.
Waits the street to see her pass,
Like a vision in a glass.
Roses crown her peerless head:
Keep your lilies for the dead!
Something of the light without
Enters with her, veiled about;
Sunbeams, hiding in her hair,
Please themselves with silken wear;
Shadows point to what shall be
In the dim futurity.
Wreathe with flowers the weighty yoke
Might of mortal never broke!
From the altar of her vows
To the grave's unsightly house
Measured is the path, and made;
All the work is planned and paid.
As a girl, with ready smile,
Where shall rise some ponderous pile,
On the chosen, festal day,
Turns the initial sod away,
So the bride with fingers frail
Founds a temple or a jail,--
Or a palace, it may be,
Flooded full with luxury,
Open yet to deadliest things,
And the Midnight Angel's wings.
Keep its chambers purged with prayer:
Faith can guard it, Love is rare.
Organ, sound thy wedding-tunes!
Priest, recite the sacred runes!
Hast no ghostly help nor art
Can enrich a selfish heart,
Blessing bind 'twixt greed and gold,
Joy with bloom for bargain sold?
Hail, the wedded task of life!
Mending husband, moulding wife.
Hope brings labor, labor peace;
Wisdom ripens, goods increase;
Triumph crowns the sainted head,
And our lilies wait the dead.
* * * * *
FRIEND ELI'S DAUGHTER.
The mild May afternoon was drawing to a close, as Friend Eli Mitchenor
reached the top of the long hill, and halted a few minutes, to allow
his horse time to recover breath. He also heaved a sigh of
satisfaction, as he saw again the green, undulating valley of the
Neshaminy, with its dazzling squares of young wheat, its brown patches
of corn-land, its snowy masses of blooming orchard, and the huge,
fountain-like jets of weeping-willow, half concealing the gray stone
fronts of the farm-houses. He had been absent from home only six days,
but the time seemed almost as long to him as a three-years' cruise to a
New-Bedford whaleman. The peaceful seclusion and pastoral beauty of the
scene did not consciously appeal to his senses; but he quietly noted
how much the wheat had grown during his absence, that the oats were up
and looking well, that Friend Comly's meadow had been ploughed, and
Friend Martin had built his half of the line-fence along the top of the
hill-field. If any smothered delight in the loveliness of the
spring-time found a hiding-place anywhere in the well-ordered chambers
of his heart, it never relaxed or softened the straight, inflexible
lines of his face. As easily could his collarless drab coat and
waistcoat have flushed with a sudden gleam of purple or crimson.
Eli Mitchenor was at peace with himself and the world,--that is, so
much of the world as he acknowledged. Beyond the community of his own
sect, and a few personal friends who were privileged to live on its
borders, he neither knew, nor cared to know, much more of the human
race than if it belonged to a planet farther from the sun. In the
discipline of the Friends he was perfect; he was privileged to sit on
the high seats, with the elders of the Society; and the travelling
brethren from other States, who visited Bucks County, invariably
blessed his house with a family-meeting. His farm was one of the best
on the banks of the Neshaminy, and he also enjoyed the annual interest
of a few thousand dollars, carefully secured by mortgages on real
estate. His wife, Abigail, kept even pace with him in the consideration
she enjoyed within the limits of the sect; and his two children, Moses
and Asenath, vindicated the paternal training by the strictest sobriety
of dress and conduct. Moses wore the plain coat, even when his ways led
him among "the world's people"; and Asenath had never been known to
wear, or to express a desire for, a ribbon of a brighter tint than
brown or fawn-color. Friend Mitchenor had thus gradually ripened to his
sixtieth year in an atmosphere of life utterly placid and serene, and
looked forward with confidence to the final change, as a translation
into a deeper calm, a serener quiet, a prosperous eternity of mild
voices, subdued colors, and suppressed emotions.
He was returning home, in his own old-fashioned "chair," with its heavy
square canopy and huge curved springs, from the Yearly Meeting of the
Hicksite Friends, in Philadelphia. The large bay farm-horse, slow and
grave in his demeanor, wore his plain harness with an air which made
him seem, among his fellow-horses, the counterpart of his master among
men. He would no more have thought of kicking than the latter would of
swearing a huge oath. Even now, when the top of the hill was gained,
and he knew that he was within a mile of the stable which had been his
home since colthood, he showed no undue haste or impatience, but waited
quietly, until Frient Mitchenor, by a well-known jerk of the lines,
gave him the signal to go on. Obedient to the motion, he thereupon set
forward once more, jogging soberly down the eastern slope of the
hill,--across the covered bridge, where, in spite of the tempting level
of the hollow-sounding floor, he was as careful to abstain from
trotting as if he had read the warning notice,--along the wooded edge
of the green meadow, where several cows of his acquaintance were
grazing,--and finally, wheeling around at the proper angle, halted
squarely in front of the gate which gave entrance to the private lane.
The old stone house in front, the spring-house in a green little hollow
just below it, the walled garden, with its clumps of box and lilac, and
the vast barn on the left, all joined in expressing a silent welcome to
their owner, as he drove up the lane. Moses, a man of twenty-five, left
his work in the garden, and walked forward in his shirt-sleeves.
"Well, father, how does thee do?" was his quiet greeting, as they shook
"How's mother, by this time?" asked Eli.
"Oh, thee needn't have been concerned," said the son. "There she is. Go
in: I'll 'tend to the horse."
Abigail and her daughter appeared on the piazza. The mother was a woman
of fifty, thin and delicate in frame, but with a smooth, placid beauty
of countenance which had survived her youth. She was dressed in a
simple dove-colored gown, with book-muslin cap and handkerchief, so
scrupulously arranged that one might have associated with her for six
months without ever discovering a spot on the former or an uneven fold
in the latter. Asenath, who followed, was almost as plainly attired,
her dress being a dark-blue calico, while a white pasteboard
sun-bonnet, with broad cape, covered her head.
"Well, Abigail, how art thou?" said Eli, quietly giving his hand to his
"I'm glad to see thee back," was her simple welcome.
No doubt they had kissed each other as lovers, but Asenath had
witnessed this manifestation of affection but once in her life,--after
the burial of a younger sister. The fact impressed her with a peculiar
sense of sanctity and solemnity: it was a caress wrung forth by a
season of tribulation, and therefore was too earnest to be profaned to
the uses of joy. So far, therefore, from expecting a paternal embrace,
she would have felt, had it been given, like the doomed daughter of the
Gileadite, consecrated to sacrifice.
Both she and her mother were anxious to hear the proceedings of the
Meeting, and to receive personal news of the many friends whom Eli had
seen; but they asked few questions until the supper table was ready and
Moses had come in from the barn. The old man enjoyed talking, but it
must be in his own way and at his own good time. They must wait until
the communicative spirit should move him. With the first cup of coffee
the inspiration came. Hovering, at first, over indifferent details, he
gradually approached those of more importance,--told of the addresses
which had been made, the points of discipline discussed, the testimony
borne, and the appearance and genealogy of any new Friends who had
taken a prominent part therein. Finally, at the close of his relation,
"Abigail, there is one thing I must talk to thee about. Friend
Speakman's partner--perhaps thee's heard of him, Richard Hilton--has a
son who is weakly. He's two or three years younger than Moses. His
mother was consumptive, and they're afraid he takes after her. His
father wants to send him into the country for the summer,--to some
place where he'll have good air, and quiet, and moderate exercise, and
Friend Speakman spoke of us. I thought I'd mention it to thee, and if
thee thinks well of it, we can send word down next week, when Josiah
"What does _thee_ think?" asked his wife, after a pause.
"He's a very quiet, steady young man, Friend Speakman says, and would
be very little trouble to thee. I thought perhaps his board would buy
the new yoke of oxen we must have in the fall, and the price of the fat
ones might go to help set up Moses. But it's for thee to decide."
"I suppose we could take him," said Abigail, seeing that the decision
was virtually made already; "there's the corner-room, which we don't
often use. Only, if he should get worse on our hands"--
"Friend Speakman says there's no danger. He's only weak-breasted, as
yet, and clerking isn't good for him. I saw the young man at the store.
If his looks don't belie him, he's well-behaved and orderly."
So it was settled that Richard Hilton the younger was to be an inmate
of Friend Mitchenor's house during the summer.
At the end of ten days he came.
In the under-sized, earnest, dark-haired and dark-eyed young man of
three-and-twenty Abigail Mitchenor at once felt a motherly interest.
Having received him as a temporary member of the family, she considered
him entitled to the same watchful care as if he were in reality an
invalid son. The ice over an hereditary Quaker nature is but a thin
crust, if one knows how to break it; and in Richard Hilton's case, it
was already broken before his arrival. His only embarrassment, in
fact, arose from the difficulty which he naturally experienced in
adapting himself to the speech and address of the Mitchenor family. The
greetings of old Eli, grave, yet kindly, of Abigail, quaintly familiar
and tender, of Moses, cordial and slightly condescending, and finally
of Asenath, simple and natural to a degree which impressed him like a
new revelation in woman, at once indicated to him his position among
them. His city manners, he felt, instinctively, must be unlearned, or
at least laid aside for a time. Yet it was not easy for him to assume,
at such short notice, those of his hosts. Happening to address Asenath
as "Miss Mitchenor," Eli turned to him with a rebuking face.
"We do not use compliments, Richard," said he; "my daughter's name is
"I beg pardon. I will try to accustom myself to your ways, since you
have been so kind as to take me for a while," apologized Richard
"Thee's under no obligation to us," said Friend Mitchenor, in his
strict sense of justice; "thee pays for what thee gets."
The finer feminine instinct of Abigail led her to interpose.
"We'll not expect too much of thee, at first, Richard," she remarked,
with a kind expression of face, which had the effect of a smile; "but
our ways are plain and easily learned. Thee knows, perhaps, that we're
no respecters of persons."
It was some days, however, before the young man could overcome his
natural hesitation at the familiarity implied by these new forms of
speech. "Friend Mitchenor" and "Moses" were not difficult to learn, but
it seemed a want of respect to address as "Abigail" a woman of such
sweet and serene dignity as the mother, and he was fain to avoid either
extreme by calling her, with her cheerful permission, "Aunt Mitchenor."
On the other hand, his own modest and unobtrusive nature soon won the
confidence and cordial regard of the family. He occasionally busied
himself in the garden, by way of exercise, or accompanied Moses to the
cornfield or the woodland on the hill, but was careful never to
interfere at inopportune times, and willing to learn silently, by the
simple process of looking on.
One afternoon, as he was idly sitting on the stone wall which separated
the garden from the lane, Asenath, attired in a new gown of
chocolate-colored calico, with a double-handled willow workbasket on
her arm, issued from the house. As she approached him, she paused and
"The time seems to hang heavy on thy hands, Richard. If thee's strong
enough to walk to the village and back, it might do thee more good than
Richard Hilton at once jumped down from the wall.
"Certainly I am able to go," said he, "if you will allow it."
"Haven't I asked thee?" was her quiet reply.
"Let me carry your basket," he said, suddenly, after they had walked,
side by side, some distance down the lane.
"Indeed, I shall not let thee do that. I'm only going for the mail, and
some little things at the store, that make no weight at all. Thee
mustn't think I'm like the young women in the city, who,--I'm told,--if
they buy a spool of cotton, must have it sent home to them. Besides,
thee mustn't over-exert thy strength."
Richard Hilton laughed merrily at the gravity with which she uttered
the last sentence.
"Why, Miss--Asenath, I mean--what am I good for, if I have not strength
enough to carry a basket?"
"Thee's a man, I know, and I think a man would almost as lief be
thought wicked as weak. Thee can't help being weakly-inclined, and it's
only right that thee should be careful of thyself. There's surely
nothing in that that thee need be ashamed of."
While thus speaking, Asenath moderated her walk, in order,
unconsciously to her companion, to restrain his steps.
"Oh, there are the dog's-tooth violets in blossom!" she exclaimed,
pointing to a shady spot beside the brook; "does thee know them?"
Richard immediately gathered and brought to her a handful of the
nodding yellow bells, trembling above their large, cool, spotted
"How beautiful they are!" said he; "but I should never have taken them
"They are misnamed," she answered. "The flower is an
_Erythronium_; but I am accustomed to the common name, and like
it. Did thee ever study botany?"
"Not at all--I can tell a geranium, when I see it, and I know a
heliotrope by the smell. I could never mistake a red cabbage for a
rose, and I can recognize a hollyhock or a sunflower at a considerable
distance. The wild flowers are all strangers to me; I wish I knew
something about them."
"If thee's fond of flowers, it would be very easy to learn. I think a
study of this kind would pleasantly occupy thy mind. Why couldn't thee
try? I would be very willing to teach thee what little I know. It's not
much, indeed, but all thee wants is a start. See, I will show thee how
simple the principles are."
Taking one of the flowers from the bunch, Asenath, as they slowly
walked forward, proceeded to dissect it, explained the mysteries of
stamens and pistils, pollen, petals, and calyx, and, by the time they
had reached the village, had succeeded in giving him a general idea of
the Linnaean system of classification. His mind took hold of the
subject with a prompt and profound interest. It was a new and wonderful
world which suddenly opened before him. How surprised he was to learn
that there were signs by which a poisonous herb could be detected from
a wholesome one, that cedars and pine-trees blossomed, that the gray
lichens on the rocks belonged to the vegetable kingdom! His respect for
Asenath's knowledge thrust quite out of sight the restraint which her
youth and sex had imposed upon him. She was teacher, equal, friend; and
the simple, candid manner which was the natural expression of her
dignity and purity thoroughly harmonized with this relation.
Although, in reality, two or three years younger than he, Asenath had a
gravity of demeanor, a calm self-possession, a deliberate balance of
mind, and a repose of the emotional nature, which he had never before
observed, except in much older women. She had had, as he could well
imagine, no romping girlhood, no season of careless, light-hearted
dalliance with opening life, no violent alternation even of the usual
griefs and joys of youth. The social calm in which she had expanded had
developed her nature as gently and securely as a sea-flower is unfolded
below the reach of tides and storms.
She would have been very much surprised, if any one had called her
handsome; yet her face had a mild, unobtrusive beauty, which seemed to
grow and deepen from day to day. Of a longer oval than the Greek
standard, it was yet as harmonious in outline; the nose was fine and
straight, the dark-blue eyes steady and untroubled, and the lips
calmly, but not too firmly closed. Her brown hair, parted over a high
white forehead, was smoothly laid across the temples, drawn behind the
ears, and twisted into a simple knot. The white cape and sunbonnet
gave her face a nun-like character, which set her apart, in the
thoughts of "the world's people" whom she met, as one sanctified for
some holy work. She might have gone around the world, repelling every
rude word, every bold glance, by the protecting atmosphere of purity
and truth which inclosed her.
The days went by, each bringing some new blossom to adorn and
illustrate the joint studies of the young man and maiden. For Richard
Hilton had soon mastered the elements of botany, as taught by Priscilla
Wakefield,--the only source of Asenath's knowledge,--and entered, with
her, upon the text-book of Gray, a copy of which he procured from
Philadelphia. Yet, though he had overtaken her in his knowledge of the
technicalities of the science, her practical acquaintance with plants
and their habits left her still his superior. Day by day, exploring the
meadows, the woods, and the clearings, he brought home his discoveries
to enjoy her aid in classifying and assigning them to their true
places. Asenath had generally an hour or two of leisure from domestic
duties in the afternoons, or after the early supper of summer was over;
and sometimes, on "Seventh-days," she would be his guide to some
locality where the rarer plants were known to exist. The parents saw
this community of interest and exploration without a thought of
misgiving. They trusted their daughter as themselves; or, if any
possible fear had flitted across their hearts, it was allayed by the
absorbing delight with which Richard Hilton pursued his study. An
earnest discussion as to whether a certain leaf was ovate or
lanceolate, whether a certain plant belonged to the species
_scandens_ or _canadensis_, was, in their eyes, convincing
proof that the young brains were touched, and therefore _not_ the
But love, symbolized by a rose-bud, is emphatically a botanical
emotion. A sweet, tender perception of beauty, such as this study
requires, or develops, is at once the most subtile and certain chain of
communication between impressible natures. Richard Hilton, feeling that
his years were numbered, had given up, in despair, his boyish dreams,
even before he understood them: his fate seemed to preclude the
possibility of love. But, as he gained a little strength from the
genial season, the pure country air, and the release from gloomy
thoughts which his rambles afforded, the end was farther removed, and a
future--though brief, perhaps, still a _future_--began to glimmer
before him. If this could be his life,--an endless summer, with a
search for new plants every morning, and their classification every
evening, with Asenath's help, on the shady portico of Friend
Mitchenor's house,--he could forget his doom, and enjoy the blessing of
The azaleas succeeded to the anemones, the orchis and trillium
followed, then the yellow gerardias and the feathery purple pogonias,
and finally the growing gleam of the golden-rods along the wood-side
and the red umbels of the tall eupatoriums in the meadow announced the
close of summer. One evening, as Richard, in displaying his collection,
brought to view the blood-red leaf of a gum-tree, Asenath exclaimed,--
"Ah, there is the sign! It is early, this year."
"What sign?" he asked.
"That the summer is over. We shall soon have frosty nights, and then
nothing will be left for us except the asters and gentians and
Was the time indeed so near? A few more weeks, and this Arcadian life
would close. He must go back to the city, to its rectilinear streets,
its close brick walls, its artificial, constrained existence. How could
he give up the peace, the contentment, the hope he had enjoyed through
the summer? The question suddenly took a more definite form in his
mind: How could he give up Asenath? Yes,--the quiet, unsuspecting girl,
sitting beside him, with her lap full of the September blooms he had
gathered, was thenceforth a part of his inmost life. Pure and beautiful
as she was, almost sacred in his regard, his heart dared to say.--"I
need her and claim her!"
"Thee looks pale to-night, Richard," said Abigail, as they took their
seats at the supper-table. "I hope thee has not taken cold."
"Will thee go along, Richard? I know where the rudbeckias grow," said
Asenath, on the following "Seventh-day" afternoon.
They crossed the meadows, and followed the course of the stream, under
its canopy of magnificent ash and plane trees, into a brake between the
hills. It was an almost impenetrable thicket, spangled with tall
autumnal flowers. The eupatoriums, with their purple crowns, stood like
young trees, with an undergrowth of aster and blue spikes of lobelia,
tangled in a golden mesh of dodder. A strong, mature odor, mixed alike
of leaves and flowers, and very different from the faint, elusive
sweetness of spring, filled the air. The creek, with a few faded leaves
dropped upon its bosom, and films of gossamer streaming from its bushy
fringe, gurgled over the pebbles in its bed. Here and there, on its
banks, shone the deep yellow stars of the flower they sought.
Richard Hilton walked as in a dream, mechanically plucking a stem of
rudbeckia, only to toss it, presently, into the water.
"Why, Richard! what's thee doing?" cried Asenath; "thee has thrown away
the very best specimen."
"Let it go," he answered, sadly. "I am afraid everything else is thrown
"What does thee mean?" she asked, with a look of surprised and anxious
"Don't ask me, Asenath. Or--yes, I _will_ tell you. I must say it
to you now, or never afterwards. Do you know what a happy life I've
been leading since I came here?--that I've learned what life is, as if
I'd never known it before? I want to live, Asenath,--and do you know
"I hope thee will live, Richard," she said, gently and tenderly, her
deep-blue eyes dim with the mist of unshed tears.
"But, Asenath, how am I to live without you? But you can't understand
that, because you do not know what you are to me. No, you never guessed
that all this while I've been loving you more and more, until now I
have no other idea of death than not to see you, not to love you, not
to share your life!"
"I knew you would be shocked, Asenath. I meant to have kept this to
myself. You never dreamed of it, and I had no right to disturb the
peace of your heart. The truth is told now,--and I cannot take it back,
if I wished. But if you cannot love, you can forgive me for loving
you,--forgive me now and every day of my life."
He uttered these words with a passionate tenderness, standing on the
edge of the stream, and gazing into its waters. His slight frame
trembled with the violence of his emotion. Asenath, who had become very
pale as he commenced to speak, gradually flushed over neck and brow as
she listened. Her head drooped, the gathered flowers fell from her
hands, and she hid her face. For a few minutes no sound was heard but
the liquid gurgling of the water, and the whistle of a bird in the
thicket beside them. Richard Hilton at last turned, and, in a voice of
hesitating entreaty, pronounced her name,--
She took away her hands and slowly lifted her face. She was pale, but
her eyes met his with a frank, appealing, tender expression, which
caused his heart to stand still a moment. He read no reproach, no
faintest thought of blame; but--was it pity?--was it pardon?--or--
"We stand before God, Richard," said she, in a low, sweet, solemn tone.
"He knows that I do not need to forgive thee. If thee requires it, I
also require His forgiveness for myself."
Though a deeper blush now came to cheek and brow, she met his gaze with
the bravery of a pure and innocent heart. Richard, stunned with the
sudden and unexpected bliss, strove to take the full consciousness of
it into a being which seemed too narrow to contain it. His first
impulse was to rush forward, clasp her passionately in his arms, and
hold her in the embrace which encircled, for him, the boundless promise
of life; but she stood there, defenceless, save in her holy truth and
trust, and his heart bowed down and gave her reverence.
"Asenath," said he, at last, "I never dared to hope for this. God bless
you for those words! Can you trust me?--can you indeed love me?"
"I can trust thee,--I do love thee!"
They clasped each other's hands in one long, clinging pressure. No kiss
was given, but side by side they walked slowly up the dewy meadows, in
happy and hallowed silence. Asenath's face became troubled as the old
farm-house appeared through the trees.
"Father and mother must know of this, Richard," said she. "I am afraid
it may be a cross to them."
The same fear had already visited his own mind, but he answered,
"I hope not. I think I have taken a new lease of life, and shall soon
be strong enough to satisfy them. Besides, my father is in prosperous
"It is not that," she answered; "but thee is not one of us."
It was growing dusk when they reached the house. In the dim
candle-light Asenath's paleness was not remarked; and Richard's silence
was attributed to fatigue.
The next morning the whole family attended meeting at the neighboring
Quaker meeting-house, in the preparation for which, and the various
special occupations of their "First-day" mornings, the unsuspecting
parents overlooked that inevitable change in the faces of the lovers
which they must otherwise have observed. After dinner, as Eli was
taking a quiet walk in the garden, Richard Hilton approached him.
"Friend Mitchenor," said he, "I should like to have some talk with
"What is it, Richard?" asked the old man, breaking off some pods from a
seedling radish, and rubbing them in the palm of his hand.
"I hope, Friend Mitchenor," said the young man, scarcely knowing how to
approach so important a crisis in his life,
"I hope thee has been satisfied with my conduct since I came to live
with thee, and has no fault to find with me as a man."
"Well," exclaimed Eli, turning around and looking up, sharply, "does
thee want a testimony from me? I've nothing, that I know of, to say
"If I were sincerely attached to thy daughter, Friend Mitchenor, and
she returned the attachment, could thee trust her happiness in my
"What?" cried Eli, straightening himself and glaring upon the speaker,
with a face too amazed to express any other feeling.
"Can you confide Asenath's happiness to my care? I love her with my
whole heart and soul, and the fortune of my life depends on your
The straight lines in the old man's face seemed to grow deeper and more
rigid, and his eyes shone with the chill glitter of steel. Richard, not
daring to say a word more, awaited his reply in intense agitation.
"So!" he exclaimed at last, "this is the way thee's repaid me! I didn't
expect _this_ from thee! Has thee spoken to her?"
"Thee has, has thee? And I suppose thee's persuaded her to think as
thee does. Thee'd better never have come here. When I want to lose my
daughter, and can't find anybody else for her, I'll let thee know."
"What have you against me, Friend Mitchenor?" Richard sadly asked,
forgetting, in his excitement, the Quaker speech he had learned.
"Thee needn't use compliments now! Asenath shall be a Friend while
_I_ live; thy fine clothes and merry-makings and vanities are not
for her. Thee belongs to the world, and thee may choose one of the
"Never!" protested Richard; but Friend Mitchenor was already ascending
the garden-steps on his way to the house.
The young man, utterly overwhelmed, wandered to the nearest grove and
threw himself on the ground. Thus, in a miserable chaos of emotion,
unable to grasp any fixed thought, the hours passed away. Towards
evening, he heard a footstep approaching, and sprang up. It was Moses.
The latter was engaged, with the consent of his parents, and expected
to "pass meeting" in a few weeks. He knew what had happened, and felt a
sincere sympathy for Richard, for whom he had a cordial regard. His
face was very grave, but kind.
"Thee'd better come in, Richard," said he; "the evenings are damp, and
I've brought thy overcoat I know everything, and I feel that it must be
a great cross for thee. But thee won't be alone in bearing it."
"Do you think there is no hope of your father relenting?" he asked, in
a tone of despondency which anticipated the answer.
"Father's very hard to move," said Moses; "and when mother and Asenath
can't prevail on him, nobody else need try. I'm afraid thee must make
up thy mind to the trial. I'm sorry to say it, Richard, but I think
thee'd better go back to town."
"I'll go to-morrow,--go and die!" he muttered hoarsely, as he followed
Moses to the house.
Abigail, as she saw his haggard face, wept quietly. She pressed his
hand tenderly, but said nothing. Eli was stern and cold as an Iceland
rock. Asenath did not make her appearance. At supper, the old man and
his son exchanged a few words about the farm-work to be done on the
morrow, but nothing else was said. Richard soon left the room and went
up to his chamber to spend his last, his only unhappy night at the
farm. A yearning, pitying look from Abigail accompanied him.
"Try and not think hard of us!" was her farewell the next morning, as
he stepped into the old chair, in which Moses was to convey him to the
village where he should meet the Doylestown stage. So, without a word
of comfort from Asenath's lips, without even a last look at her beloved
face, he was taken away.
True and firm and self-reliant as was the nature of Asenath Mitchenor,
the thought of resistance to her father's will never crossed her mind.
It was fixed that she must renounce all intercourse with Richard
Hilton; it was even sternly forbidden her to see him again during the
few hours he remained in the house; but the sacred love, thus rudely
dragged to the light and outraged, was still her own. She would take it
back into the keeping of her heart, and if a day should ever come when
he would be free to return, and demand it of her, he would find it
there, unwithered, with all the unbreathed perfume hoarded in its
folded leaves. If that day came not, she would at the last give it back
to God, saying, "Father, here is Thy most precious gift: bestow it as
As her life had never before been agitated by any strong emotion, so it
was not outwardly agitated now. The placid waters of her soul did not
heave and toss before those winds of passion and sorrow: they lay in
dull, leaden calm, under a cold and sunless sky. What struggles with
herself she underwent no one ever knew. After Richard Hilton's
departure, she never mentioned his name, or referred, in any way, to
the summer's companionship with him. She performed her household
duties, if not cheerfully, at least as punctually and carefully as
before; and her father congratulated himself that the unfortunate
attachment had struck no deeper root. Abigail's finer sight, however,
was not deceived by this external resignation. She noted the faint
shadows under the eyes, the increased whiteness of the temples, the
unconscious traces of pain which sometimes played about the dimpled
corners of the mouth, and watched her daughter with a silent, tender
The wedding of Moses was a severe test of Asenath's strength, but she
stood the trial nobly, performing all the duties required by her
position with such sweet composure that many of the older female
Friends remarked to Abigail, "How womanly Asenath has grown!" Eli
Mitchenor noted, with peculiar satisfaction, that the eyes of the young
Friends--some of them of great promise in the sect, and well endowed
with worldly goods--followed her admiringly. "It will not be long," he
thought, "before she is consoled."
Fortune seemed to favor his plans, and justify his harsh treatment of
Richard Hilton. There were unfavorable accounts of the young man's
conduct. His father had died during the winter, and he was represented
as having become very reckless and dissipated. These reports at last
assumed such a definite form that Friend Mitchenor brought them to the
notice of his family.
"I met Josiah Comly in the road," said he, one day at dinner. "He's
just come from Philadelphia, and brings bad news of Richard Hilton.
He's taken to drink, and is spending in wickedness the money his father
left him. His friends have a great concern about him, but it seems he's
not to be reclaimed."
Abigail looked imploringly at her husband, but he either disregarded or
failed to understand her look. Asenath, who had grown very pale,
steadily met her father's gaze, and said, in a tone which he had never
yet heard from her lips,--
"Father, will thee please never mention Richard Hilton's name when I am
The words were those of entreaty, but the voice was that of authority.
The old man was silenced by a new and unexpected power in his
daughter's heart: he suddenly felt that she was not a girl, as
heretofore, but a woman, whom he might persuade, but could no longer
"It shall be as thee wishes, Asenath," he said; "we had best forget
Of their friends, however, she could not expect this reserve, and she
was doomed to hear stories of Richard which clouded and embittered her
thoughts of him. And a still severer trial was in store. She
accompanied her father, in obedience to his wish, and against her own
desire, to the Yearly Meeting in Philadelphia. It has passed into a
proverb, that the Friends, on these occasions, always bring rain with
them; and the period of her visit was no exception to the rule. The
showery days of "Yearly-Meeting Week" glided by, until the last, and
she looked forward with relief to the morrow's return to Bucks County,
glad to have escaped a meeting with Richard Hilton, which might have
confirmed her fears, and could but have given her pain in any case.
As she and her father joined each other, outside the meeting-house, at
the close of the afternoon meeting, a light rain was falling. She took
his arm, under the capacious umbrella, and they were soon alone in the
wet streets, on their way to the house of the Friends who entertained
them. At a crossing, where the water, pouring down the gutter towards
the Delaware, caused them to halt, a man, plashing through the flood,
staggered towards them. Without an umbrella, with dripping, disordered
clothes, yet with a hot, flushed face, around which the long black hair
hung wildly, he approached, singing to himself, with maudlin voice, a
song which would have been sweet and tender in a lover's mouth. Friend
Mitchenor drew to one side, lest his spotless drab should be brushed by
the unclean reveller; but the latter, looking up, stopped suddenly,
face to face with them.
"Asenath!" he cried, in a voice whose anguish pierced through the
confusion of his senses, and struck down into the sober quick of his
"Richard!" she breathed, rather than spoke, in a low, terrified voice.
It was indeed Richard Hilton who stood before her, or rather--as she
afterwards thought, in recalling the interview--the body of Richard
Hilton, possessed by an evil spirit. His cheeks burned with a more than
hectic red, his eyes were wild and bloodshot, and though the
recognition had suddenly sobered him, an impatient, reckless devil
seemed to lurk under the set mask of his features.
"Here I am, Asenath," he said at length, hoarsely. "I said it was
death, didn't I? Well, it's worse than death, I suppose; but what
matter? You can't be more lost to me now than you were already. This is
_thy_ doing, Friend Eli!" he continued, turning to the old man,
with a sneering emphasis on the "_thy_." "I hope thee's satisfied
with thy work!"
Here he burst into a bitter, mocking laugh, which it chilled Asenath's
blood to hear.
The old man turned pale. "Come away, child!" said he, tugging at her
arm. But she stood firm, strengthened for the moment by a solemn
feeling of duty which trampled down her pain.
"Richard," she said, with the music of an immeasurable sorrow in her
voice, "oh, Richard, what has thee done? Where the Lord commands
resignation, thee has been rebellious; where He chasteneth to purify,
thee turns blindly to sin. I had not expected this of thee, Richard; I
thought thy regard for me was of the kind which would have helped and
uplifted thee,--not through me, as an unworthy object, but through the
hopes and the pure desires of thy own heart. I expected that thee would
so act as to justify what I felt towards thee, not to make my affection
a reproach,--oh, Richard, not to cast over my heart the shadow of thy
The wretched young man supported himself against the post of an awning,
buried his face in his hands, and wept passionately. Once or twice he
essayed to speak, but his voice was choked by sobs, and, alter a look
from the streaming eyes which Asenath could scarcely bear to meet, he
again covered his face. A stranger, coming down the street, paused out
of curiosity. "Come, come!" cried Eli, once more, eager to escape from
the scene. His daughter stood still, and the man slowly passed on.
Asenath could not thus leave her lost lover, in his despairing grief.
She again turned to him, her own tears flowing fast and free.
"I do not judge thee, Richard, but the words that passed between us
give me a right to speak to thee. It was hard to lose sight of thee
then, but it is still harder for me to see thee now. If the sorrow and
pity I feel could save thee, I would be willing never to know any other
feelings. I would still do anything for thee except that which thee
cannot ask, as thee now is, and I could not give. Thee has made the
gulf between us so wide that it cannot be crossed. But I can now weep
for thee and pray for thee as a fellow-creature whose soul is still
precious in the sight of the Lord. Fare thee well!"
He seized the hand she extended, bowed down, and showered mingled tears
and kisses upon it. Then, with a wild sob in his throat, he started up
and rushed down the street, through the fast-falling rain. The father
and daughter walked home in silence. Eli had heard every word that was
spoken, and felt that a spirit whose utterances he dared not question
had visited Asenath's tongue.
She, as year after year went by, regained the peace and patience which
give a sober cheerfulness to life. The pangs of her heart grew dull and
transient; but there were two pictures in her memory which never
blurred in outline or faded in color: one, the brake of autumn flowers,
under the bright autumnal sky, with bird and stream making accordant
music to the new voice of love; the other, a rainy street, with a lost,
reckless man leaning against an awning-post, and staring in her face
with eyes whose unutterable woe, when she dared to recall it, darkened
the beauty of the earth, and almost shook her trust in the providence
Year after year passed by, but not without bringing change to the
Mitchenor family. Moses had moved to Chester County soon after his
marriage, and had a good farm of his own. At the end of ten years
Abigail died; and the old man, who had not only lost his savings by an
unlucky investment, but was obliged to mortgage his farm, finally
determined to sell it and join his son. He was getting too old to
manage it properly, impatient under the unaccustomed pressure of debt,
and depressed by the loss of the wife to whom, without any outward show
of tenderness, he was, in truth, tenderly attached. He missed her more
keenly in the places where she had lived and moved than in a
neighborhood without the memory of her presence. The pang with which
lie parted from his home was weakened by the greater pang which had
It was a harder trial to Asenath. She shrank from the encounter with
new faces, and the necessity of creating new associations. There was a
quiet satisfaction in the ordered, monotonous round of her life, which
might be the same elsewhere, but here alone was the nook which held all
the morning sunshine she had ever known. Here still lingered the halo
of the sweet departed summer,--here still grew the familiar
wild-flowers which _the first_ Richard Hilton had gathered. This
was the Paradise in which the Adam of her heart had dwelt, before his
fall. Her resignation and submission entitled her to keep those pure
and perfect memories, though she was scarcely conscious of their true
charm. She did not dare to express to herself, in words, that one
everlasting joy of woman's heart, through all trials and sorrows,--"I
have loved, I have been beloved."
On the last "First-day" before their departure, she walked down the
meadows to the lonely brake between the hills. It was the early spring,
and the black buds of the ash had just begun to swell. The maples were
dusted with crimson bloom, and the downy catkins of the swamp-willow
dropped upon the stream and floated past her, as once the autumn
leaves. In the edges of the thickets peeped forth the blue, scentless
violet, the fairy cups of the anemone, and the pink-veined bells of the
miskodeed. The tall blooms through which the lovers walked still slept
in the chilly earth; but the sky above her was mild and blue, and the
remembrance of the day came back to her with a delicate, pungent
sweetness, like the perfume of the trailing arbutus in the air around
her. In a sheltered, sunny nook, she found a single erythronium, lured
forth in advance of its proper season, and gathered it as a relic of
the spot, which she might keep without blame. As she stooped to pluck
it, her own face looked up at her out of a little pool filled by the
spring rains. Seen against the reflected sky, it shone with a soft
radiance, and the earnest eyes met hers, as if it were her young self,
evoked from the past, to bid her farewell. "Farewell!" she whispered,
taking leave at once, as she believed, of youth and the memory of love.
During those years she had more than once been sought in marriage, but
had steadily, though kindly, refused. Once, when the suitor was a man
whose character and position made the union very desirable in Eli
Mitchenor's eyes, he ventured to use his paternal influence. Asenath's
gentle resistance was overborne by his arbitrary force of will, and her
protestations were of no avail.
"Father," she finally said, in the tone which he had once heard and
still remembered, "thee can take away, but thee cannot give."
He never mentioned the subject again.
Richard Hilton passed out of her knowledge shortly after her meeting
with him in Philadelphia. She heard, indeed, that his headlong career
of dissipation was not arrested,--that his friends had given him up as
hopelessly ruined,--and, finally, that he had left the city. After
that, all reports ceased. He was either dead, or reclaimed and leading
a better life, somewhere far away. Dead, she believed,--almost hoped;
for in that case might he not now be enjoying the ineffable rest and
peace which she trusted might be her portion? It was better to think of
him as a purified spirit, waiting to meet her in a holier communion,
than to know that he was still bearing the burden of a soiled and
blighted life. In any case, her own future was plain and clear. It was
simply a prolongation of the present,--an alternation of seed-time and
harvest, filled with humble duties and cares, until the Master should
bid her lay down her load and follow Him.
Friend Mitchenor bought a small cottage adjacent to his son's farm, in
a community which consisted mostly of Friends, and not far from the
large old meeting-house in which the Quarterly Meetings were held. He
at once took his place on the upper seat, among the elders, most of
whom he knew already, from having met them, year after year, in
Philadelphia. The charge of a few acres of ground gave him sufficient
occupation; the money left to him after the sale of his farm was enough
to support him comfortably; and a late Indian summer of contentment
seemed now to have come to the old man. He was done with the earnest
business of life. Moses was gradually taking his place, as father and
Friend; and Asenath would be reasonably provided for at his death. As
his bodily energies decayed, his imperious temper softened, his mind
became more accessible to liberal influences, and he even cultivated a
cordial friendship with a neighboring farmer who was one of "the
world's people." Thus, at seventy-five, he was really younger, because
tenderer of heart and more considerate, than he had been at sixty.
Asenath was now a woman of thirty-five, and suitors had ceased to
approach her. Much of her beauty still remained, but her face had
become thin and wasted, and the inevitable lines were beginning to form
around her eyes. Her dress was plainer than ever, and she wore the
scoop-bonnet of drab silk, in which no woman can seem beautiful, unless
she be very old. She was calm and grave in her demeanor, gave that her
perfect goodness and benevolence shone through and warmed her presence;
but, when earnestly interested, she had been known to speak her mind so
clearly and forcibly that it was generally surmised among the Friends
that she possessed "a gift," which might, in time, raise her to honor
among them. To the children of Moses she was a good genius, and a word
from "Aunt 'Senath" oftentimes prevailed when the authority of the
parents was disregarded. In them she found a new source of happiness;
and when her old home on the Neshaminy had been removed a little
farther into the past, so that she no longer looked, with every
morning's sun, for some familiar feature of its scenery, her submission
brightened into a cheerful content with life.
It was summer, and Quarterly-Meeting Day had arrived. There had been
rumors of the expected presence of "Friends from a distance," and not
only those of the district, but most of the neighbors who were not
connected with the sect, attended. By the by-road through the woods, it
was not more than half a mile from Friend Mitchenor's cottage to the
meeting-house, and Asenath, leaving her father to be taken by Moses in
his carriage, set out on foot. It was a sparkling, breezy day, and the
forest was full of life. Squirrels chased each other along the branches
of the oaks, and the air was filled with fragrant odors of
hickory-leaves, sweet-fern, and spice-wood. Picking up a flower here
and there, Asenath walked onward, rejoicing alike in shade and
sunshine, grateful for all the consoling beauty which the earth offers
to a lonely heart. That serene content which she had learned to call
happiness had filled her being until the dark canopy was lifted and the
waters took back their transparency under a cloudless sky.
Passing around to the "women's side" of the meeting-house, she mingled
with her friends, who were exchanging information concerning the
expected visitors. Micajah Morrill had not arrived, they said, but Ruth
Baxter had spent the last night at Friend Way's, and would certainly be
there. Besides, there were Friend Chandler, from Nine Partners, and
Friend Carter, from Maryland: they had been seen on the ground. Friend
Carter was said to have a wonderful gift,--Mercy Jackson had heard him
once, in Baltimore. The Friends there had been a little exercised about
him, because they thought he was too much inclined to "the newness,"
but it was known that the Spirit had often manifestly led him. Friend
Chandler had visited Yearly Meeting once, they believed. He was an old
man, and had been a personal friend of Elias Hicks.
At the appointed hour they entered the house. After the subdued
rustling which ensued upon taking their seats, there was an interval of
silence, shorter than usual, because it was evident that many persons
would feel the promptings of the Spirit. Friend Chandler spoke first,
and was followed by Ruth Baxter, a frail little woman, with a voice of
exceeding power. The not unmelodious chant in which she delivered her
admonitions rang out, at times, like the peal of a trumpet. Fixing her
eyes on vacancy, with her hands on the wooden rail before her, and her
body slightly swaying to and fro, her voice soared far aloft at the
commencement of every sentence, gradually dropping, through a melodious
scale of tone, to the close. She resembled an inspired prophetess, an
aged Deborah, crying aloud in the valleys of Israel.
The last speaker was Friend Carter, a small man, not more than forty
years of age. His face was thin and intense in its expression, his hair
gray at the temples, and his dark eye almost too restless for a child
of "the stillness and the quietness." His voice, though not loud, was
clear and penetrating, with an earnest, sympathetic quality, which
arrested, not the ear alone, but the serious attention of the auditor.
His delivery was but slightly marked by the peculiar rhythm of the
Quaker preachers; and this fact, perhaps, increased the effect of his
words, through the contrast with those who preceded him.
His discourse was an eloquent vindication of the law of kindness, as
the highest and purest manifestation of true Christian doctrine. The
paternal relation of God to man was the basis of that religion which
appealed directly to the heart: so the fraternity of each man with his
fellow was its practical application. God pardons the repentant sinner;
we can also pardon, where we are offended; we can pity, where we cannot
pardon. Both the good and the bad principles generate their like in
others. Force begets force; anger excites a corresponding anger; but
kindness awakens the slumbering emotions even of an evil heart. Love
may not always be answered by an equal love, but it has never yet
created hatred. The testimony which Friends bear against war, he said,
is but a general assertion, which has no value except in so far as they
manifest the principle of peace in their daily lives,--in the exercise
of pity, of charity, of forbearance, and Christian love.
The words of the speaker sank deeply into the hearts of his hearers.
There was an intense hush, as if in truth the Spirit had moved him to
speak, and every sentence was armed with a sacred authority. Asenath
Mitchenor looked at him, over the low partition which divided her and
her sisters from the men's side, absorbed in his rapt earnestness and
truth. She forgot that other hearers were present: he spake to her
alone. A strange spell seemed to seize upon her faculties and chain
them at his feet; had he beckoned to her, she would have arisen and
walked to his side.
Friend Carter warmed and deepened as he went on. "I feel moved to-day,"
he said,--"moved, I know not why, but I hope for some wise purpose,--to
relate to you an instance of Divine and human kindness which has come
directly to my own knowledge. A young man of delicate constitution,
whose lungs were thought to be seriously affected, was sent to the
house of a Friend in the country, in order to try the effect of air and
Asenath almost ceased to breathe, in the intensity with which she gazed
and listened. Clasping her hands tightly in her lap to prevent them
from trembling, and steadying herself against the back of the seat, she
heard the story of her love for Richard Hilton told by the lips of a
stranger!--not merely of his dismissal from the house, but of that
meeting in the street, at which only she and her father were present!
Nay, more, she heard her own words repeated, she heard Richard's
passionate outburst of remorse described in language that brought his
living face before her! She gasped for breath,--his face _was_
before her! The features, sharpened by despairing grief, which her
memory recalled, had almost anticipated the harder lines which fifteen
years had made, and which now, with a terrible shock and choking leap
of the heart, she recognized. Her senses faded, and she would have
fallen from her seat but for the support of the partition against which
she leaned. Fortunately, the women near her were too much occupied with
the narrative to notice her condition. Many of them wept silently, with
their handkerchiefs pressed over their mouths.
The first shock of death-like faintness passed away, and she clung to
the speaker's voice, as if its sound alone could give her strength to
sit still and listen further.
"Deserted by his friends, unable to stay his feet on the evil path," he
continued, "the young man left his home and went to a city in another
State. But here it was easier to find associates in evil than tender
hearts that might help him back to good. He was tired of life, and the
hope of a speedier death hardened him in his courses. But, my friends,
Death never comes to those who wickedly seek him. The Lord withholds
destruction from the hands that are madly outstretched to grasp it, and
forces His pity and forgiveness on the unwilling soul. Finding that it
was the principle of _life_ which grew stronger within him, the
young man at last meditated an awful crime. The thought of
self-destruction haunted him day and night. He lingered around the
wharves, gazing into the deep waters, and was restrained from the deed
only by the memory of the last loving voice he had heard. One gloomy
evening, when even this memory had faded, and he awaited the
approaching darkness to make his design secure, a hand was laid on his
arm. A man in the simple garb of the Friends stood beside him, and a
face which reflected the kindness of the Divine Father looked upon him.
'My child,' said he, 'I am drawn to thee by the great trouble of thy
mind. Shall I tell thee what it is thee meditates?' The young man shook
his head. 'I will be silent, then, but I will save thee. I know the
human heart, and its trials and weaknesses, and it may be put into my
mouth to give thee strength.' He took the young man's hand, as if he
had been a little child, and led him to his home. He heard the sad
story, from beginning to end; and the young man wept upon his breast,
to hear no word of reproach, but only the largest and tenderest pity
bestowed upon him. They knelt down, side by side, at midnight; and the
Friend's right hand was upon his head while they prayed.
"The young man was rescued from his evil ways, to acknowledge still
further the boundless mercy of Providence. The dissipation wherein he
had recklessly sought death was, for him, a marvellous restoration to
life. His lungs had become sound and free from the tendency to disease.
The measure of his forgiveness was almost more than he could bear. He
bore his cross thenceforward with a joyful resignation, and was
mercifully drawn nearer and nearer to the Truth, until, in the fulness
of his convictions, he entered into the brotherhood of the Friends.
"I have been powerfully moved to tell you this story," Friend Carter
concluded, "from a feeling that it may be needed, here, at this time,
to influence some heart trembling in the balance. Who is there among
you, my friends, that may not snatch a brand from the burning? Oh,
believe that pity and charity are the most effectual weapons given into
the hands of us imperfect mortals, and leave the awful attribute of
wrath in the hands of the Lord!"
He sat down, and dead silence ensued. Tears of emotion stood in the
eyes of the hearers, men as well as women, and tears of gratitude and
thanksgiving gushed warmly from those of Asenath. An ineffable peace
and joy descended upon her heart.
When the meeting broke up, Friend Mitchenor, who had not recognized
Richard Hilton, but had heard the story with feelings which he
endeavored in rain to control, approached the preacher.
"The Lord spoke to me this day through thy lips," said he; "will thee
come to one side, and hear me a minute?"
"Eli Mitchenor!" exclaimed Friend Carter; "Eli! I knew not thee was
here! Doesn't thee know me?"
The old man stared in astonishment. "It seems like a face I ought to
know," he said, "but I can't place thee."
They withdrew to the shade of one of the poplars. Friend Carter turned
again, much moved, and, grasping the old man's hands in his own,
"Friend Mitchenor, I was called upon to-day to speak of myself. I
am--or, rather, I was--the Richard Hilton whom thee knew."
Friend Mitchenor's face flushed with mingled emotions of shame and joy,
and his grasp on the preacher's hands tightened.
"But thee calls thyself Carter?" he finally said.
"Soon after I was saved," was the reply, "an aunt on the mother's side
died, and left her property to me, on condition that I should take her
name. I was tired of my own then, and to give it up seemed only like
losing my former self; but I should like to have it back again now."
"Wonderful are the ways of the Lord, and past finding out!" said the
old man. "Come home with me, Richard,--come for my sake, for there is a
concern on my mind until all is clear between us. Or, stay,--will thee
walk home with Asenath, while I go with Moses?"
"Yes. There she goes, through the gate. Thee can easily overtake her.
I'm coming, Moses!"--and he hurried away to his son's carriage, which
Asenath felt that it would be impossible for her to meet Richard
Hilton there. She knew not why his name had been changed; he had not
betrayed his identity with the young man of his story; he evidently did
not wish it to be known, and an unexpected meeting with her might
surprise him into an involuntary revelation of the fact. It was enough
for her that a saviour had arisen, and her lost Adam was
redeemed,--that a holier light than the autumn sun's now rested, and
would forever rest, on the one landscape of her youth. Her eyes shone
with the pure brightness of girlhood, a soft warmth colored her cheek
and smoothed away the coming lines of her brow, and her step was light
and elastic as in the old time.
Eager to escape from the crowd, she crossed the highway, dusty with its
string of returning carriages, and entered the secluded lane. The
breeze had died away, the air was full of insect-sounds, and the warm
light of the sinking sun fell upon the woods and meadows. Nature seemed
penetrated with a sympathy with her own inner peace.
But the crown of the benignant day was yet to come. A quick footstep
followed her, and erelong a voice, near at hand, called her by name.
She stopped, turned, and for a moment they stood silent, face to face.
"I knew thee, Richard!" at last she said, in a trembling voice; "may
the Lord bless thee!"
Tears were in the eyes of both.
"He has blessed me," Richard answered, in a reverent tone; "and this
is His last and sweetest mercy. Asenath, let me hear that thee forgives
"I have forgiven thee long ago, Richard,--forgiven, but not
The hush of sunset was on the forest, as they walked onward, side by
side, exchanging their mutual histories. Not a leaf stirred in the
crowns of the tall trees, and the dusk, creeping along between their
stems, brought with it a richer woodland odor. Their voices were low
and subdued, as if an angel of God were hovering in the shadows, and
listening, or God Himself looked down upon them from the violet sky.
At last Richard stopped.
"Asenath," said he, "does thee remember that spot on the banks of the
creek, where the rudbeckias grew?"
"I remember it," she answered, a girlish blush rising to her face.
"If I were to say to thee now what I said to thee there, what would be
Her words came brokenly.
"I would say to thee, Richard,--I can trust thee,--I _do_ love
"Look at me, Asenath."
Her eyes, beaming with a clearer light than even then when she first
confessed, were lifted to his. She placed her hands gently upon his
shoulders, and bent her head upon his breast. He tenderly lifted it
again, and, for the first time, her virgin lips knew the kiss of man.
TAXATION NO BURDEN.
According to returns made by the Census Bureau to the Secretary of the
Treasury, the gross value of the productions of the United States for
1860 was $3,900,000,000: namely,--the product of Manufactures, the
Mechanic Arts, Mining, and the Fisheries, $1,900,000,000; the product
of Agriculture, $2,000,000,000.
It is a well-understood principle of political economy, that the
annual product of a country is the source from which internal taxes
are to be derived.
The nation is to be considered a partnership, the several members
engaged in the various departments of business, and producing annually
products of the value of $3,900,000,000, which are distributed among
the partners, affording to each a certain share of profit. The firm is
out of debt, but a sudden emergency compels an investment, in a new
and not immediately profitable branch of business, of $1,500,000,000,
which sum the firm borrows. As the consequence of this liability, the
firm must afterward incur an annual additional expense as follows:
$100,000,000 for the payment of members not engaged in productive
labor, $90,000,000 for interest upon the debt incurred, and $60,000,000
for a sinking-fund which shall pay the debt in less than twenty years.
It is absolutely necessary for the future prosperity of the business of
the firm, that this immense investment, so unexpectedly called for,
shall be made to pay. How shall this problem be solved?
Large sums are confusing, and tend to prevent a clear understanding of
the matter; therefore let the nation be represented by Uncle Sam, an
active, middle-aged man, owning a farm and a factory, of which the
annual product is $40,000. The largest and best portion of his farm is
very badly cultivated; no intelligent laborers can be induced to remain
upon it, owing to certain causes, easily removable, but which, being
an easy-going man, well satisfied with his income as it has been,
Uncle Sam has been unwilling to take hold of with any determination.
Suddenly and without notice, he is compelled to borrow $15,000, and
spend it upon this portion of his farm; and he then finds, while
expending the money for another object and not a profitable one, he can
remove the only obstacle which prevented his obtaining a full supply
of the best and most intelligent labor, and that he can very soon
increase his annual product to $42,500. The increase of $2,500 each
year will enable him to pay his additional clerks, to meet the interest
on his liabilities, and to accumulate a sinking-fund sufficient to pay
his debts before his children come of age. He will be able to take some
comfort and satisfaction in his agricultural laborers; he will have a
larger amount of cotton to spin and to sell than ever before, and so
much wool, that, instead of being obliged to buy one-third the amount
required by his factory, as he has heretofore done, he will have more
than he can spin; and lastly, he will be able to raise fruit, to make
wine, to produce indigo, cochineal, and a great variety of articles
never produced on his farm before.
What sound business-man would not thus regulate his investment, when
compelled to make it, even though he had been unwilling to borrow the
money for the simple purpose of making such an improvement?
If a farm and factory, which badly managed produce $40,000 annually,
can by good management be made to produce $42,500, and can be very
much increased in value and ease of management by the process, the
owner had better borrow $15,000 to accomplish the object, and the tax
upon him of $2,500 required to meet the interest and sink the principal
will be no burden. That is the whole problem,--no more, no less.
We have been driven into a war to maintain the boundaries of our farm;
in so doing we shall probably spend $1,500,000,000. It behooves us not
only to meet the expenditure promptly, but to make the investment pay.
We have but to increase the annual product of the country six and
one-half per cent, and we shall meet the tax for expenses, interest,
and sinking-fund, and be as well off as we now are, provided the tax be
This increase can be made without any increase in the number of
laborers, by securing a larger return from those now employed, and by
the permanent occupation of the fertile soil of the South by a large
portion of the Union army, as settlers and cultivators, who have
heretofore spent their energies upon the comparatively unproductive
soil of the North.
Slavery is the one obstacle to be removed in order to render this war a
Under the false pretence that the climate of the South is too hot for
white men to labor in the fields, the degradation involved in
field-labor in a Slave State excludes intelligent cultivators from the
cotton-fields, a very large portion of which have a climate less hot
and less unsuitable for white men than that of Philadelphia, while
there is not a river-bottom in the whole South in which the extremes of
heat during the summer are so great as in St. Louis. Slave-labor
cultivates, in a miserable, shiftless manner, less than two per cent,
of the area of the Cotton States; and upon this insignificant portion a
crop of cotton has been raised in one year worth over $200,000,000.
There is ample and conclusive evidence to be found in the statistics of
the few well-managed and well-cultivated cotton-plantations, that
skilful, educated farmers can get more than double the product to the
hand or to the acre that is usually obtained as the result of
Again, it will be admitted that $350 per annum is more than an average
return for the work of a common laborer on an average New England farm,
including his own support.
It is capable of demonstration from, actual facts that an average
laborer, well directed, can produce a gross value of $1,000 per annum,
upon the uplands of Georgia and South Carolina, in the cultivation of
cotton and grain. Negro slaves under a negro driver, with no white man
on the premises, have produced this result in Hancock County, Georgia,
upon lands previously considered worthless, with a system of
cultivation singular and exceptional in that region, but common in all
well-cultivated sections, namely, a simple rotation of crops and a
moderate amount of manure.
Elevate the negro from a state of slavery to the dignity of a free
laborer, and his consumption of manufactured goods increases
enormously. In proof of this may be cited the trade with Hayti, and the
immense increase in the import of manufactured goods into the British
West Indies since emancipation. Slaves are furnished with two suits of
clothes in a year, made from the coarsest and cheapest materials: it is
safe to estimate, that, if the fair proportion of their earnings were
paid them, their demand upon the North for staple articles would be
doubled, while the importations of silks, velvets, and other foreign
luxuries, upon which their earnings have been heretofore lavished by
their masters, would decrease.
The commonly received view of the position of the cotton-planter is
that he is in a chronic state of debt. Such is the fact; not, however,
because he does not make a large amount of profit,--for cotton-planting
is the most profitable branch of agriculture in the United States,--but
because his standard of value is a negro, and not a dollar, and, in the
words of a Southern writer, "He is constantly buying more land to make
more cotton to buy more negroes to cultivate more land to raise more
cotton to buy more negroes," and for every negro he buys he gets
trusted for another. Both himself and his hands are of the least
possible value to the community. By maintaining his system he excludes
cheap labor from the cultivation of cotton,--slave-labor being the
most wasteful and the most expensive of any. He purchases for his
laborers the least possible amount of manufactured articles, and he
wastes his own expenditure in the purchase of foreign luxuries.
Reference has been made to the increase to be expected in the product
of wool, after the removal or destruction of Slavery.
We import annually 30,000,000 pounds of wool, and make little or no use
of the best region for growing wool in the whole country,--the western
slope of the Alleghany and Cumberland Mountains and of the Blue Ridge.
Free laborers will not go there, although few slaves are there to be
found; for they well know that there is no respect or standing for the
free laborer in any Slave State.
Again, throughout the uplands of Georgia, the Carolinas, and Alabama,
it has been proved that sheep can be raised upon the English system
with the greatest success. Upon their light lands, (selling at less
than $1 per acre,) turnips can be raised in great abundance and fed to
sheep in the field, and by the process the fields brought to a point of
fertility, for cotton or grain, equal to the best bottom-lands of
Mississippi or Louisiana. This fact has been sufficiently proved by the
experience of the very few good farmers in Georgia.
The climate of these sections is wonderfully healthy, and is far
better adapted to the production of wool than that of England, the
extremes of heat and cold being far greater, and yet the cold not being
sufficient to prevent the raising of turnips or feeding from the field
in winter. To produce fine fleece-wool, a warm summer and a cool
winter are requisite.
Let any one examine Southern writings upon agriculture, and note the
experience of the few working, sensible cultivators, who, by a system
of rewards and premiums partially equivalent to the payment of wages
to their slaves, have obtained the best results of which Slavery is
capable, and he will realize the immense increase to be expected when
free and intelligent labor shall be applied to Southern agriculture.
We hold, therefore, that by the destruction of Slavery, and by that
only, this war can be made to pay, and taxation become no burden.
By free labor upon Southern soil we shall add to the annual product of
the country a sum more than equal to the whole tax which will be
required to pay interest and expenses, and to accumulate a sinking-fund
which will pay the debt in less than twenty years; while to the North
will come the immensely increased demand for manufactured articles
required by a thrifty and prosperous middle class, instead of the small
demand for coarse, cheap articles required by slaves, and the demand
for foreign luxuries called for by the masters.
The addition of $250,000,000 to the product of the country would be a
gain to every branch of industry; and if the equable system of taxation
by a stamp-tax on all sales were adopted, the burden would not be
felt. The additional product being mostly from an improved system of
agriculture at the South, a much larger demand would exist for the
manufactures of the North, and a much larger body of distributors
would be required.
Let us glance for a moment at the alternative,--the restoration of the
Union without the removal of Slavery.
The system of slave-labor has been shaken to its foundation, and for
years to come its aggregate product will be far less than it has been,
thus throwing upon the North the whole burden of the taxes with no
compensating gain in resources.
Only the refuse of our army could remain in the Slave States, to
become to us in the future an element of danger and not of
security,--the industrious and respectable portion would come back to
the North, to find their places filled and a return to the pursuits of
peace difficult to accomplish.
With Slavery removed, the best part of our army will remain upon the
fertile soil and in the genial climate of the South, forming
communities, retaining their arms, keeping peace and good order with
no need of a standing army, and constituting the _nuclei_ around
which the poor-white trash of the South would gather to be educated in
the labor-system of the North, and thus, and thus only, to become loyal
The mass of the white population of the South are ignorant and deluded;
they need leaders, and will have them.
We have allowed them to be led by slaveholders, and are reaping our
reward. Remove Slavery, and their present leaders are crushed out
Give them new leaders from among the earnest and industrious portion of
our army, and we increase our resources and render taxation no burden,
and we restore the Union in fact and not simply in name.
Leave Slavery in existence, and we decrease our resources, throw the
whole tax upon the North, reinforce the Secession element with the
refuse of our army, and bequeath to our children the shadow of a Union,
a mockery and a derision to all honest men.
THE POET TO HIS READERS.
Nay, blame me not; I might have spared
Your patience many a trivial verse,
Yet these my earlier welcome shared,
So let the better shield the worse.
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