Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol. 15,

Part 3 out of 5

walls, the wild and undulating country, with its stretches of yellow
furze, its clumps of trees and its huge blocks of gray granite. She
remembered their passing into a curious little valley, densely wooded,
the winding path of which was not well fitted for a broad carriage and
a pair of horses. They had to watch the boughs and branches as they
jolted by. The sun was warm among the foliage: there was a resinous
scent of ferns about. By and by the valley abruptly opened on a wide
and beautiful picture. Lamorna Cove lay before them, and a cold fresh
breeze came in from the sea. Here the world seemed to cease suddenly.
All around them were huge rocks and wild-flowers and trees; and far up
there on their left rose a hill of granite, burning red with the
sunset; but down below them the strange little harbor was in shadow,
and the sea beyond, catching nothing of the glow in the west, was gray
and mystic and silent. Not a ship was visible on that pale plain; no
human being could be seen about the stone quays and the cottages; it
seemed as if they had come to the end of the world, and were its last
inhabitants. All these things Wenna thought of in after days, until
the odd and plain little harbor of Lamorna, and its rocks and bushes
and slopes of granite, seemed to be some bit of Fairyland, steeped in
the rich hues of the sunset, and yet ethereal, distant and

Mrs. Rosewarne did not at all understand the silence of these young
people, and made many attempts to break it up. Was the mere fact of
Mr. Trelyon returning to Eglosilyan next day anything to be sad about?
He was not a school-boy going back to school. As for Wenna, she had got
back her engaged ring, and ought to have been grateful and happy.

"Come now," she said: "if you propose to drive back by the Mouse Hole,
we must waste no more time here. Wenna, have you gone to sleep?"

The girl started as if she really had been asleep: then she walked
back to the carriage and got in. They drove away again without saying
a word.

"What is the matter with you, Wenna? Why are you so downcast?" her
mother said.

"Oh, nothing," the girl said hastily. "But--but one does not care to
talk much on so beautiful an evening."

"Yes, that is quite true," said Mr. Trelyon, quite as eagerly, and
with something of a blush: "one only cares to sit and look at things."

"Oh, indeed!" said Mrs. Rosewarne with a smile: she had never before
heard Mr. Trelyon give expression to his views upon scenery.

They drove round by the Mouse Hole, and when they came in sight of
Penzance again, the bay and the semicircle of houses and St. Michael's
Mount were all a pale gray in the twilight. As they drove quietly
along they heard the voices of people from time to time: the occupants
of the cottages had come out for their evening stroll and chat.
Suddenly, as they were passing certain huge masses of rock that sloped
suddenly down to the sea, they heard another sound--that of two or
three boys calling out for help. The briefest glance showed what was
going on. These boys were standing on the rocks, staring fixedly at
one of their companions, who had fallen into the water and was wildly
splashing about, while all they could do to help him was to call for
aid at the pitch of their voices.

"That chap's drowning," Trelyon said, jumping out of the carriage.
The next minute he was out on the rocks, hastily pulling of his coat.
What was it he heard just as he plunged into the sea?--the agonized
voice of a girl calling him back?

Mrs. Rosewarne was at this moment staring at her daughter with almost
a horror-stricken look on her face. Was it really Wenna Rosewarne who
had been so mean? and what madness possessed her to make her so? The
girl had hold of her mother's arm with both her hands, and held it
with the grip of a vice, while her white face was turned to the rocks
and the sea. "Oh, mother!" she cried, "it is only a boy, and he is a
man; and there is not another in all the world like him!"

"Wenna, is it you who are speaking, or a devil? The boy is drowning."

But he was drowning no longer. He was laid hold of by a strong arm,
dragged in to the rocks, and there fished out by his companions. Then
Trelyon got up on the rocks and calmly looked at his dripping clothes.
"You are a nice little beast, you are!" he said to the small boy, who
had swallowed a good deal of salt water, but was otherwise quite
unhurt. "How do you expect I am going home in these trousers? Perhaps
your mother'll pay me for a new pair, eh? And give you a jolly good
thrashing for tumbling in? Here's half a crown for you, you young
ruffian! and if I catch you on these rocks again, I'll throw you in
and let you swim for it: see if I don't."

He walked up to the carriage, shaking himself, and putting on his coat
as he went with great difficulty: "Mrs. Rosewarne, I must walk back: I
can't think of--"

He uttered a short cry. Wenna was lying as one dead in her mother's
arms, Mrs. Rosewarne vainly endeavoring to revive her. He rushed down
the rocks again to a pool and soaked his handkerchief in the water:
then he went hurriedly back to the carriage and put the cold
handkerchief on her temples and on her face.

"Oh, Mr. Trelyon, do go away or you will get your death of cold," Mrs.
Rosewarne said. "Leave Wenna to me. See, there is a gentleman who will
lend you his horse, and you will get to your hotel directly."

He did not even answer her. His own face was about as pale as that of
the girl before him, and hers was that of a corpse. But by and by
strange tremors passed through her frame: her hands tightened their
grip of her mother's arm, and with a sort of shudder she opened her
eyes and fearfully looked around. She caught sight of the young man
standing there: she scarcely seemed to recognize him for a moment. And
then, with a quick nervous action, she caught at his hand and kissed
it twice, hurriedly and wildly: then she turned to her mother, hid her
face in her bosom and burst into a flood of tears. Probably the girl
scarcely knew all that had taken place, but her two companions, in
silence and with a great apprehension filling their hearts, saw and
recognized the story she had told.

"Mr. Trelyon," said Mrs. Rosewarne, "you must not remain here."

Mechanically he obeyed her. The gentleman who had been riding along
the road had dismounted, and, fearing some accident had occurred, had
come forward to offer his assistance. When he was told how matters
stood, he at once gave Trelyon his horse to ride in to Penzance; and
then the carriage was driven off also at a considerably less rapid

That evening, Trelyon, having got into warm clothes and dined, went
along to ask how Wenna was. His heart beat hurriedly as he knocked at
the door. He had intended merely making the inquiry and coming away
again, but the servant said that Mrs. Rosewarne wished to see him.

He went up stairs and found Mrs. Rosewarne alone. These two looked at
each other: that single glance told everything. They were both aware
of the secret that had been revealed.

For an instant there was dead silence between them, and then Mrs.
Rosewarne, with a great sadness in her voice, despite its studied
calmness, said, "Mr. Trelyon, we need say nothing of what has
occurred. There are some things that are best not spoken of. But I
can trust to you not to seek to see Wenna before you leave here. She
is quite recovered--only a little nervous, you know, and frightened.
To-morrow she will be quite well again."

"You will bid her good-bye for me?" he said.

But for the tight clasp of the hand between these two, it was an
ordinary parting. He put on his hat and went out. Perhaps it was the
cold sea-air that made his face so pale.




Raphael. Still in this free, clear air that vision floats
Before my brain. I may nor banish it
Nor grasp it. 'Tis too fine, too spirit-like,
To offer as the type of motherhood.
Color and blood and life and truth it lacks.
Gods! can it be that our imaginings
Excel your handiwork? Must life seem dull,
Must earth seem barren and unbeautiful,
For ever unto him who can create
This rarer world of delicate phantasy?
I lift mine eyes, and nothing real responds
To those ideal forms. God pardon me!
There in the everlasting sunshine sits
The Mother with the Infant at her breast.
Hence, ghostly shadows! let me learn to draw
Mine inspiration from the common air.
A peasant-woman auburn-haired, large-eyed,
Within the shade of overhanging boughs
Suckles her babe, and sees her eldest born
Gambol upon the grass: the elf has wrought
With two snapt boughs the semblance of a cross,
And proudly holds the sacred symbol high
Above his head to win his mother's praise.
Mine art may haply reproduce that wealth
Of brilliant hues--the dusk hair's glimmering gold,
The auroral blush, the bare breasts shining white
Where the babe's warm rose-face is pressed against
That fount of generous life; but ah! what craft
May paint the unearthly peace upon her brow,
The holy love that from her dark moist orbs
Beams with no lesser glory than the eyes
Of the Maid-Mother toward her heaven-born Child.

_Little Boy with the Cross_.
Oh, mother, such a stranger comes this way!
I saw him as I climbed the olive tree
To break the branches for my crucifix--
tall, fair youth with floating yellow curls.
Is he an angel?

_Maria_. Silly darling, peace!
No longer dwell the angels on the earth,
And see, he comes.

_Raphael_. Madonna mia, hail!
God bless thee and thy cherubim!

_Maria_. Amen!
God bless thee also for the pious wish!
No cherubim are these, but, Heaven be thanked,
Two healthy boys. Pray, sit and rest with us:
The heat has been too fierce for wayfarers,
And 'neath these shady vines the afternoon
Is doubly fresh.

_Raphael_. Thanks, 'tis a grateful air:
The weariness of travel it uplifts
From heavy brow and body with its breath,
Delicious as cool water to the touch.

_Maria_. Bernardo, climb yon trunk again and pluck
Some ripened clusters for this gentleman.

_Raphael_. Ah, 'tis a radiant child: what full, lithe limbs!
What cream-white dimpling flesh! what golden lights
Glance through the foliage on his crisp-curled head!
What rosy shadows on the naked form
Against gray olive leaves and blue-green vine!
And see, where now the bright, round face peers down,
And smiles and nods, and beckons us as one
Who leaneth out of heaven.

_Maria_. A wanton imp,
And full of freaks. I marvel much thereat,
Since I have named him from a holy saint,
Who bode among us many years, and gave
His dying blessing unto me and mine.

_Raphael_. The child could be no other than he is
Without some loss, mother. But what saint
Had here his hermitage?

_Maria_. Nay, pardon me,
'Twas but my reverent love that sainted him;
Yet was he one most worthy of the crown,
If austere life of white simplicity,
Large charity and strict self-sacrifice
Can sanctify a mortal.

_Raphael_. Yet I see
No convent nigh.

_Maria_. Nay, sir, no convent his.
Beyond our comfortable homes he dwelt,
Not lonely though alone: 'neath yonder hill
His hut was reared; a tall full-foliaged oak
O'ershadowed it. 'Tis not so long agone
Since he was here to comfort, help and heal,
Yet now no earthly trace of him remains.
Spring freshets from the hills have washed away
The last wrecked fragments of his hermitage,
And though I pleaded hard, I could not save
The oak, his dear dumb daughter, from the axe,
Albeit 'twas she preserved him unto us.
Forgive me, sir, my chatter wearies you,
Here be the grapes my boy has plucked: they sate
Both thirst and hunger, pray refresh yourself.

_Raphael_. Dear mother, it is rest to hear thee speak.
'Tis not my hale young limbs that are forespent,
But an outwearied spirit, seeking peace,
Hath found it in thy voice. Speak on, speak on.
What of this holy saint? how chanced the tree
To save his life?

_Maria_. Ah, 'twas a miracle.
Through summer's withering heats and blighting droughts
His own hands gave the thirsty roots to drink.
In spring the first pale growth of tender green
Thrilled him with scarcely less delight than mine
At my babe's earliest glance of answering love.
Daily he fed the tame free birds that went
Singing among its boughs; he tended it,
He watched, he cherished, yea he talked to it,
As though it had a soul. God gave to him
Two daughters, he was wont to say--one mute,
And one who spake, the oak tree and myself.
A child, scarce older than my Bernard now,
I nestled to the quaint, kind hermit's heart,
And grew to girlhood with my hand in his.
I loved to prank his wretched cell with flowers.
Twisting bright weeds around his crucifix,
Or trailing ivy wreaths about his door.
One winter came when half my father's vines
Were killed with frost; the valley was as white
As yonder boldest mountain-top; the air
Cut like a knife; the brooks were still and stiff;
The high drifts choked the hollows of the hills.
When spring approached and swollen brooks ran free.
And in the ponds the blue ice cracked and brake,
The hard snows melted and the bladed green
Put forth again, then from the mountain-slopes,
The avalanches rolled; the streams o'erflowed;
The fields were flooded; flocks were swept away,
And folk fared o'er the pasture-ground in boats.
Two days and nights the sun and stars seemed drowned,
The air was thick with water, and the world
Lay ruined under rain and sliding snows.
Then day and night my thoughts were with the saint
Whose poor hut clung to yonder treacherous slope:
My dreams, my tears, my prayers were all for him.
Not till the flood subsided, and again
A watery sun shone forth, my prayers prevailed
Upon my father, and he went with me
To seek the holy man. "Just God!" he cried,
And I, with both hands pressed against mine eyes,
Burst into sobs. No hermitage was there:
Naught save one broken, tottering wall remained
Beneath the unshaken, firmly-rooted oak.
Then from the branches came a faint, thin voice,
"My children, I am saved!" and looking up,
We found him clinging with what strength was left
Unto the boughs. We led him home with us,
Starving and sick, and chilled through blood and bone.
Our tenderest care was needed to revive
The life half spent, and soon we learned the tale
Of his salvation. He had climbed at first
Unto his roof, but saw ere long small chance
For that frail hut to stand against the storm.
It rocked beneath him as a bark at sea,
The hard wind beat upon him, and the rain
Drenched him and seemed to scourge him as with flails.
He gave himself to God; composed with prayer
His spirit to meet death; when overhead
The swaying oak-limbs seemed to beckon him
To seek the branches' shelter and support.
His prayer till death was that the Lord would bless
His daughters, and distinguish them above
All children of the earth. For me his suit
Hath well prevailed, thank God! A happy wife,
A happy mother, I have naught to ask:
My blessings overflow.

_Raphael_. Thanks for thy tale,
Most gracious mother. See thy babe is lulled
To smiling sleep.

_Maria_. Yea, and the silence now
Awakens him. Ah, darling rogue, art flushed
With too much comfort? So! let the cool air
Play with thy curls and fan the plump, hot cheek.

_Raphael_. Hold, as the child uplifts his cherub face,
Opens his soft small arms to stroke thy cheek,
Crowing with glee, while the slant sunbeams light
A halo of gold fire about thy hair,
I see again a canvas that is hung
Over the altar in our church at home.
"_Mater amabilis_," yet here be traits,
Colors and tones the artist never dreamed.
Sweet mother, let me sketch thee with thy babe:
So rare a picture should not pass away
With the brief moment which it illustrates.

_Maria_. Art thou a painter too, Sir Traveler?
Where be thy brush and colors?

_Raphael_. Ah, 'tis true,
Naught have I with me. What is this? 'twill serve
My purpose.

_Maria_. 'Tis the cover of a cask,
Made of the very oak whereof I spake:
My father for his wine-casks felled the tree.

_Raphael_. A miracle! the hermit's daughters thus
Will be remembered in the years to come.
My pencil will suffice to scratch the lines
Upon the wood: my memory will hold
The lights, the tints, the golden atmosphere,
The genius of the scene--the mother-love.



In August, 1849, when I had been living at Calcutta nearly three
years, I was warned by my doctor that I must go on a sea-voyage or
else to the Himalaya Mountains, if life was an object with me. Such it
was, and very keenly. The four-and-twenty years of it which I had
divided between study and rollicking had approved themselves, like
this poor old world when it was new, "very good," and I had a strong
objection to parting with it on so short an acquaintance. True, my
hepatic apparatus, as the doctors grandly call the liver, had got
miserably out of gear, though I was a water-drinker, and though I had
a wholesome horror of tropical sunshine. But I had a good
constitution, and I had the word of the medical faculty for it that
many a man with not half so good a one as mine had pulled through a
much worse condition than I was in. To go away somewhere, however, was
proposed as my only alternative to migrating down to the hideous
cemetery among the bogs and jackals of Chowringhee. But where should I
go? After having been shot once and drowned twice when a boy, I had
been ship-wrecked at the mouth of the sacred and accursed Ganges, and
had just escaped with my life and Greek lexicon. Shooting--and I may
throw in hanging--I felt proof against, and as for drowning, I had no
fear of that. Nevertheless, I had been very near five months in coming
out from Boston under the blundering seamanship of Captain Coffin
(ominous cognomen!), and salt water, hard junk and weevilly biscuit
were as unattractive to me in possible prospect as they were in
retrospect. The sea I had weighed in the balance and had found it much
wanting. I would, then, go to the Himalayas.

So I prepared to make for Simla, which, however, I never saw, nor had
occasion to see, my liver complaint seeming to have been left behind,
with my good wishes, in the City of Palaces. In the early days of
Indian civilization to which I refer the most convenient way of
journeying on high-roads was by palanquin. One of the black
packing-cases so called was purchased, and an arrangement entered
into, after the custom of the country, with the post-office to have
relays of bearers provided on the road at stated times and places.
Thus, I was to go as far as Ghazeepore, where I had a friend living,
and there I was to give due notice if I wished to proceed farther.
Traveling in India has so frequently been a subject of description
that I shall not describe it anew. I allow myself, however, to say
that if, before venturing on it, you lay in a stock of boiled tongues,
sardines, marmalade, and tea and sugar, you could not do better by way
of forestalling starvation and repentance. Every day I stopped once or
twice at a travelers' bungalow, or rest-house; and I managed,
notwithstanding that my stock of Urdu was scanty, to make my wants
understood. That a great part of the copious monologue which my
purveyors expended, as we settled the details of breakfast or dinner,
was lost on me, did not seem, in the final result, to matter in the
least. What I needed I asked for, and then listened attentively for
the barbaric representative of "yes" or "no" in the Babel of sounds
that followed, neglecting the flux of verbiage that engulfed it with
the same lofty indifference which a mathematician professes toward
infinitely small quantities. With a view to avoiding cross-purposes
there is nothing like economy of speech. But how my tawny hosts could
contrive to realize such a fortune of talk out of their very meagre
capital of subject-matter excited my never-ending wonder. They could
provide forlorn pullets, certainly from the same farmyard with the
lean kine of Egypt, and to these they could add, what was much better
left unadded, a villainous species of unleavened bread, a sort of
hoecake, not at all improved--precisely like the run of travelers--by
leaving home and wandering in the Orient. And this was about all they
could provide. But, I repeat, how could expatiate on them! And how
bespattered one with compound epithets of adulation!

A friend of mine, a lady, when fresh in the country once compromised
herself rather astonishingly by lending an ear to their multiloquence,
instead of resolutely refusing her attention to all communication but
that consisting of "yea, yea," and "nay, nay." She had noted down, in
her tablets, the Urdu wherewith to ask whether a thing is procurable,
and to order it, if procurable, to be forthcoming, with the
appropriate outlandish words for "pullet" and "hoecake," and also
those for straightforward answers, affirmative and negative. She was
certain that with this lingual accoutrement she could not possibly be
taken at a disadvantage. The experience of a few hours, however,
unsettled her self-confidence very considerably. She alights at a
wayside hostelry. Khudabakhsh, the chief servant in attendance,
arrayed in more or less fine linen, without the purple, surmounted by
a turban after the likeness of Saturn and his rings in a pictorial
astronomy-book, presents himself, and worships her with lowly
salutations. "Is a fowl to be had?"--"Gharib-parwar," is the prompt
reply.--"Is hoecake to be had?"--"Dharm-antar," officiously cuts in
Khudabakhsh's mate, a low-caste Hindoo; and the principal thinks it
unnecessary to respond to the question a second time. Now, what is to
be done? What do they mean? Have they fowl and hoecake? Have they not
fowl and hoecake? Here, to be sure, is a very _bivium_ of
perplexities. The lady at last, with quiet nonchalance, demands the
production of a gharib-parwar and a dharm-antar, thus unconsciously
ordering a "cherisher of the poor" and an "incarnation of justice,"
the pretty appellations used to designate herself. "Queer things for
breakfast!" Khudabakhsh and his mate mentally reflect, exchanging
glances, but without moving a muscle. Breakfast is served, and my
friend sees before her just what she meant to order. On one dish reeks
the bony contour of a chicken, grinning thankfulness for extinction at
every joint, and on a second dish towers a pile of things like small
wooden trenchers pressed flat. Of course she has been puzzled, she
self-flatteringly concludes, by some less common names of the very
common viands which lie displayed before her. By and by, however, she
discovers that gharib-parwar and dharm-antar are not articles of
gastronomic indulgence, at least beyond the borders of those islands
of the blest where slices of cold missionary come on with the dessert.
When fully aware of her little blunder she marvels, and not
unreasonably, that any one should address a lady as "cherisher of the
poor" or as "incarnation of justice," rather than as plain "madam;"
and she thinks it equally strange that any one should so beat about
the bush as to substitute polysyllables of compliment for _han_, the
much more expeditious equivalent of "yes."

Everything went on smoothly and monotonously enough till I was within
twenty miles, roughly computed, of Ghazeepore. At this point, on
reaching the end of a stage, my bearers woke me to say there was no
relay waiting for them. It may have been midnight. I told them to set
me down, to make up a fire and to go to sleep around it, but keeping
watch, turn and turn about, each for an hour. Matters being thus
disposed, I shut and hooked the palanquin doors, readjusting my
blankets, and was soon dreaming of another hemisphere. At sunrise no
new bearers had yet shown themselves. My men belonged to the region we
were in, and I learned from them that the nearest European dwelt only
eight miles distant. I bargained with them to take me to his bungalow.
The unexpected wages which they were promised being liberal, they
trotted off with unwonted briskness. In due course the bungalow loomed
in sight, and as I approached it a burly figure, in shirt-sleeves and
with arms akimbo, appeared in the verandah, his eyes turned in the
direction of his unlooked-for visitor. "God bless you, Hugh Maxwell!
I'm devilish glad to see you," shouted the burly figure, benedictory,
but even in benediction not oblivious of the Old Teaser. "I wish to
Goodness I was Hugh Maxwell!" I returned, stepping to the ground. "Oh,
never mind," rejoined the hearty indigo-planter, perceiving his
mistake and offering me his hand. "There is just time for a bath
before breakfast," he added; and a good tubbing, in sufficient light
to see and evade creeping things by, was far from unacceptable. I
stayed with my good-natured host two days and nights, picking up, in
the mean while, much curious information touching the cultivation and
manufacture in which he was occupied. Like most persons of his
calling, he was an ardent sportsman. The early hours of the morning he
gave almost daily to a stroll with his gun; and the first evening I
passed with him he invited me, in startlingly piebald phraseology, to
accompany him on the morrow. "Be up by _top dage_," said he: "we will
have _chhoti haziri_, and then a _chal_ over the _khets_ for some
_shikar_" Why he did not prefer to say "gun-fire," "tea and toast,"
"run," "fields," and "game," probably he could not have told himself.
His way of peppering his English with Urdu was characteristic of his
class, and till I got accustomed to it I found it somewhat perplexing.
If he had known me all his life he could not have been more friendly.
Yet his kindness and hospitality were not exceptional things in the
India of a quarter of a century ago. All is changed there now--whether
much for the better I am skeptical. Twenty-two hours after they were
due my missing bearers made their appearance. Arrived at Ghazeepore, I
addressed a complaint to the postmaster-general. Thereupon two sides
of a large sheet of paper were spread for me with base official
circumlocution, through the darkness of which I groped out, after some
labor, the audacious libel that the blame, if there were any, rested
entirely with myself. This stuff, signed by the functionary aforesaid,
but doubtless concocted without his privity by one of his graceless
subordinates, I knew to be the only satisfaction I was to look for. A
request for revision of judgment would have been received with silent
scorn, and appeal there was none. Digesting my disgust as best I
could, I lighted my cheroot with the mendacious foolscap and blushed
for my species.

Let us pass on to the beginning of 1851. Having then been stationary
at Benares for a whole year, I was longing for a little variety. Oude,
deservedly called the Garden of India, was, by all accounts, well
worth visiting. I resolved to visit it. But not merely was independent
exploration in that kingdom attended with risk: in strict propriety,
one had no business there except by royal authority, which royal
authority, as concerned a traveler, strongly recommended itself to
respectful consideration from including a guard, and that free of
expense. An acquaintance of mine wrote a letter for me to the Resident
at Lucknow, Sir Henry Sleeman. The royal authority was obtained, and
the guard inclusive was to meet me on the Oude frontier. Tents were
borrowed; servants and camels were hired; long consultations were held
with old stagers in the marching line. The canvas which was to shelter
me for six weeks was built up in front of my house, and already I felt
myself half a nomad. The last evening was spent with veterans in the
ways of camping out, and at three o'clock the next morning I mounted
my horse and began my journey. My road lay through Jaunpoor, and here
I encountered a violent thunderstorm in the middle of the night, with
floods of rain. At the cost of being almost drowned out and blown
away, I learned the expediency of trenching one's tabernacle, and the
wisdom of putting one's confidence in none but brand-new cordage. In
the city of Jaunpoor there is not much to arrest notice, saving its
very durable bridge, dating from the time of Akbar, and the Atala
Masjid, a mosque deformed from a rather ancient Hindoo temple; and the
rest of the district of Jaunpoor which my route lay through was
altogether uninteresting. The borders of the district crossed, after
traversing a narrow strip of Oude I came again to British territory.
This fragment formed a perfect island, so to speak, the domains of the
nawab hemming it in on every side. The one European inhabitant of this
isolated but fertile spot was an indigo-planter, near whose bungalow
and factory I encamped for a night. His establishment was of long
standing, but he had no neighbor within many miles, and there was that
about the place which filled me with a sense of utter dreariness and
depression. Hard by the house was a burial-ground, and wholly by that
house it had been peopled with all its many tenants. Saddening were
the brief and almost unvaried histories recorded on its unpretending
monuments. There was a name, and then a date, and then that word at
the bare mention of which there are few old Indians who, as it calls
up memories of bygone shocks and griefs, can refrain from a sickening
shudder--"cholera." Among all who rested there in peace, so far away
from every reminder of childhood and of home, not one had passed the
prime of life. It was easy to picture to one's self the last gloomy
hours of those hapless exiles, stricken down by the fell scourge in
the pride of their strength, and perhaps at the full tide of their
prosperity, with none to succor, and with no hope from the first but
that they must perish. Nor was this quite all. How could their sole
companions, their servants, people of the country, and bound to their
masters by none but the mercenary tie of a hireling, soothe their
dying moments with any genuine sympathy, or supply in the dread
travail of mortality the room of a friend, or even of a
fellow-countryman? This is no baseless sketch of fancy. Familiar facts
dispense with all need to draw on the imagination in outlining the end
of one who meets a destiny like theirs. The planter suddenly finds
himself ill; he rapidly grows worse; a few hours of agony in his
solitude, and all is over. Tidings of the event are carried to the
nearest factory, and then to another and another. Two or three of his
former acquaintances ride over to his bungalow, knock up a rude
coffin, mumble a few sentences about "the resurrection and the life,"
"our dear brother here departed," and "ashes to ashes, dust to dust,"
bury him out of sight, and set up a decent stone over his grave. His
place is filled again in a few weeks or months, and his successor,
regardless of warnings, toils on in the old routine, possibly to share
his miserable fate.

As I have said above, a guard was directed to await me on the Oude
borders. Various, conflicting, and all of them wide of the mark, were
my speculations on its outward and visible form, and the martial
equipment by which it was to strike terror in all beholders. Was it to
consist of horse or of foot? and of how many men? and so forth. The
mystery was resolved at the time and place appointed. A camel--a
picked sample, seemingly, for general ugliness and the vicious way it
writhed its mouth--shambled up to my tent. Its rider, who in all
specialties of repulsiveness tallied with the beast to a hair, impaled
a letter on the tip of his spear and handed it down. It was from the
Resident at Lucknow. In its unpromising bearer I beheld my guard. If
the look of a thorough ruffian, much unwashed, with the spear just
mentioned, a matchlock, and an assortment round his waist of what
resembled carving-knives and skewers, was to be my sufficient defence
in time of trouble, I was well provided for. However it was to be
explained, no harm came to me anywhere on my march. But my guard, if
he looked zealously after my interests, looked full as zealously after
his own. For what I knew he was licensed, as a servant of the state,
to billet himself at free quarters on his royal master's subjects: at
any rate, so he did. But, greatly to his vexation, I would not hear of
his compelling the shopkeepers with whom my butler had daily dealings
in buying necessaries for me to provision my camp at their own charge.
The man was for carrying things with a high hand; and at the period of
which I am writing to do so was in Oude wellnigh the universal rule.
Justice was fast dying out in the land, and violence already reigned
prevalent in its stead. The taxes, exorbitant as apportioned at the
court, were farmed by merciless wretches who made them more exorbitant
still, and who collected them, for the most part, at the point of the
sword. Open robbery, deadly brawls and private assassination had
become matters of perpetual occurrence. There was scarcely a day
during my tour that I was not in the close vicinity of fatal
skirmishes, and that I did not fall in with parties carrying away from
them the dead or wounded. Obviously, this state of affairs could not
exist for any very long duration. The nawab was advised, warned, and
then menaced with deposal, provided things were not righted in his
dominions, radically and speedily, to the satisfaction of the East
India Company. Harsh measures, equally with mild, were, however,
altogether wasted on him. Personally, he was a groveling debauchee,
exhausted alike in mind and in body to sheer imbecility; and his
courtiers and counselors were little better than himself. To anarchy,
insurrection seemed inevitably imminent. It was precluded by
annexation, and the kingdom of Oude, not an hour in advance of its
deserts, took its place in finished history.

Game of a humbler description I met with in abundance everywhere in
Oude, but I had hunted the tiger with the rajah of Benares, and since
then had conceived a disdain of feathered things, bustards excepted.
Moreover, I had lately bought a superb double-barreled Swiss rifle, as
yet untested in real work. With inviting jungles constantly within
easy reach, not to experiment with this lordly implement on something
bigger than a wild pig demanded abnegation beyond my philosophy. I had
no companion, but then I would control my impetuosity, do nothing
rash, and, if I could, keep out of the way of temptation. One day,
therefore, breakfast despatched, I shouldered my lovely Switzer, and
struck off at random across the open. Woodland was not far to seek,
and before I had been away an hour I was in the heart of a dense
jungle. Ordinary deer and "such-like" I might have shot at will, but I
happened to be in an exclusive mood of mind, and was determined to
drop a blue-cow, if anything. But let not my Occidental reader
reproach me with having meditated such an atrocity as bovicide. I have
literally translated the Hindoo _nil gae_, the misleading name given
in India to the white-footed antelope, sometimes called also _rojh_.
At last my slaughterous appetite was gratified, and a blue-cow bore
witness to the merit of my rifle, if not to my marksmanship. It had
cost me a tiresome search, and, being a shy animal, much stealthy
tracking. Yet when the beautiful creature lay stretched at my feet it
seemed as if I had been guilty of wanton cruelty, and I wished my aim
had miscarried, proud as I had just before been of having done
execution at what looked to be an impracticably long range. Not
improbably I tried to extenuate my inhumanity by the argument that if
I had not killed it somebody else would have done so. Be this how it
may, I could never bring myself to shoot another, though I had many a
fair chance. All things considered, then, I am disposed to strike a
balance in my favor.

However, a little while previously I had done a bit of bloodshed which
could not have lain on the very tenderest of consciences. The
circumstances were these: Near my camp was a patch of sugar-cane,
which I noticed bore marks of visitation by some creature with a taste
for sweets. The neighborhood, I ascertained, was infested with wild
hogs. In the afternoon I surveyed the fields adjoining the sugar-cane,
and made my dispositions against night. The moon was at the full. As
soon as it rose I took my rifle and repaired to a position selected
with reference to a certain tree. This tree had a low--but not too
low--horizontal branch, strong enough, as proved by experiment, to
bear my weight. Presently, an unmistakable concert of snorting and
grunting announced the approach of swine. I picked out their fugleman,
a well-grown boar, and fired. He was only wounded, and immediately
gave chase after me. I might discharge my second barrel at him, but
suppose I should miss? Perched out of his reach, I might miss him
with impunity, and load again. All this I had pondered beforehand. So
I started for my tree, which I reached some ten seconds sooner than
the boar, swung myself up on its low branch, and there took my seat.
The boar rushed furiously to and fro, raging like the heathen of the
Psalmist, and also, like the Psalmist's people--not a well-ordered
democracy like ours, of course--imagining a vain thing. Again and
again he quixotically charged the bole of the tree, no doubt thinking
it to be myself in a new shape. A fine classical boar he must have
been, with his poetic faith in instantaneous metamorphosis. His
classicality, however, what with his unmannerly savageness and my own
suspension between heaven and earth, I did not feel bound to respect.
So, without the slightest emotion of sentimentality, I put a ball
through his head.

Let us now hark back to the blue-cow, beautiful and breathless.
Satisfied, for the nonce, with my prowess in laying it low, I plunged
into the forest, just to explore. I must have rambled several miles,
when I suddenly came upon an impervious barrier of quickset. Following
its course a little way, I found that it curved, and at one point I
espied through it a broad ditch filled with water, and a wall beyond.
By and by I reached a gap in the barrier, and a drawbridge leading up
to a large gate. I crossed the bridge, knocked at the gate, parleyed
with an invisible porter, and was admitted. My visit was evidently
viewed with a mixture of dislike and suspicion, but with no sign of
alarm when it was seen that I was really unaccompanied, as, while
still outside, I had said I was. Looking around, I perceived that I
was in a substantial fortress. Eight or ten ruffianly fellows came
about me and wished to know what I wanted. I asked who lived there,
and they informed me, adding an expression of surprise at my putting
such a question. Was their master at home? He was. And could I see
him? They would let me know directly. On this I was conducted to a
small room, and left there, The roughs paced backward and forward
before the door, casting glances at me which I fancied to be sinister.
In a few minutes their chief, a stalwart, brawny biped, swaggered in,
twirling his moustaches, clanking his sword, and studying to seem
truculent. He, no less than his men, was at a loss to know what I
could have come there for. So I told him the unvarnished facts of the
case, and paused for his reply. He had none to make. The latest news
from Lucknow he inquired for, indeed, but as I had come from the
opposite direction, and withal did not know the latest news of the
capital from the stalest, I could contribute nothing to his
enlightenment. Besides my rifle, I had in my belt a pair of loaded
pistols. He desired to look at them, but took in good part enough my
objection that I never trusted them in any hands but my own. We went
on talking for a little while, when he called for betel and pan. This
meant that I might go. I helped myself, took leave and recrossed the
drawbridge. It was a notorious freebooter, a Hindoo Robin Hood, that I
had dropped upon. But why did he not tumble me into his ditch and
enrich his armory with my rifle and pistols? It may be that prudence
operated, in his letting me go free, as a check on his lust for a very
small gain. Despite the then disordered condition of the country--or,
in some instances, by very reason of it--people of his stamp were
every here and there called to a summary reckoning. A bandit would
know the haunts of other bandits, and either to conciliate the
government or in the hope of reward occasionally betrayed or slew a
fellow-outlaw. While in Oude, one morning just after breakfast I was
told there was something to show me in a basket. The cover was
removed, and there I saw sixteen human heads. Their late proprietors
were a famous brigand and his merry men, only looking quite the
reverse of merry in the grim ghastliness of decapitation. I scarcely
recovered my appetite before tiffin.

By an odd concurrence of circumstances, when near Fyzabad I was for
three days thrown on the hospitality of a wealthy Mohammedan. Nothing
could have exceeded his kindness, but the peculiar nature of the
entertainment he gave me may be conjectured when I mention that he had
not such a thing as a chair, table, knife, fork or spoon to his name.
Perforce, I had to dine sitting on the floor and with the sole aid of
my fingers. However, I accepted my fate without a murmur, and soon
learned to feed after the fashion of Eden as deftly as if I had been
bred to it. Hindoo cookery I could rarely screw up my courage so
heroically as to venture upon. Even the odor of my Calcutta washerman,
redolent with the fragrance of castor oil, was too much for my
unchastised squeamishness; and as to assafoetida, the favorite
condiment of our Aryan cousins, I was so uncatholic as to bring away
from India the same aversion to it that I had carried out there. But a
Mohammedan has, with some unimportant reservations, highly rational
notions as concerns the eatable and the drinkable. His endless variety
of kabobs and pilaus is worthy of all commendation; and his sherbets,
which refresh without a sting or a resipiscent headache next morning,
are no doubt the style of phlegm-cutters and gum-ticklers which one
had better patronize pretty exclusively while between the tropics. The
gentleman of the circumcision whom I had for host was, I suspect,
something of an epicure, and his cooking was such as I found eminently
toothsome. My dinner was on the floor at the polite hour of eight,
after which he would come to me for a short talk and to chant a little
Persian poetry. At nine he was due in his harem, which, he gave me to
understand, was a populous establishment.

For my special service he detailed, to my surprise, not a man, but a
young woman, who, I take it, was in bonds. Under considerate Hindoo
and Mohammedan masters slavery is, however, the lightest of hardships,
and the damsel appropriated to wait on me, if she were not a slave,
could not have been lighter-hearted. A student of all the natural
products of the East, I did not neglect while there to bestow a proper
share of study on Indian womankind; and as my Fyzabad abigail was a
noteworthy specimen of her species, I may as well gratify the
curiosity of the untraveled to know what she was like. Such as she was
the queen of Sheba would perhaps have been if scoured very bright and
pared shapely. Her name was Dilruba, which signifies, being
interpreted, "Heart-ravisher." She may have been seventeen or
eighteen; she was of a good height and elegantly proportioned, with a
well-set neck, sloping shoulders, and fine bust; and her carriage had
that stately and sylph-like grace which no words can depict, and which
is found nowhere on earth but among the Orientals. Her hands and feet
were exquisitely small and symmetrical. Her arms, which were bare
to the shoulder, displayed everything of fullness, rotundity and
lines of beauty that could be desired. Their hue and delicacy
of texture would have reminded a connoisseur of brownish satin.
Her waist, tight-cinctured, was--which is the highest praise--not
ultra-fashionable, and the undulations of her gauzy drapery disclosed,
as she receded, enough of ankle and crural adjacency to furnish hints
of improvement to most classical sculptors. Her lips, I regret to say,
were too liny, and not of the true ruby tint, but with the exception
of her mouth all her features were, not to say more, good. As to her
eyes, I should do injustice by any attempt to describe them. An object
must be susceptible of calm and dispassionate contemplation if one
would analyze it afterward without complete disaster. A very
irresistible little piece of orientality she must indeed have been,
perchance the reader will conclude. And yet, if the reader is a man
and a brother--that is to say, a brother white man--I answer him he is
altogether in too great a hurry. He has forgotten her color; and color
is a matter which we narrow--minded dwellers in the North find it
impossible to be liberal about. Not by five-and-twenty shades, at the
least, did the trim creature resemble any lily of the valley but a
very dark one; and of the rose she was totally unsuggestive. If I had
been so cosmopolitan as to make love to her, she could not have
called up a blush to save her pretty little soul and body. She might
have turned green or yellow, for aught I know, but by no possibility
could she have done what she ought to have done.

At Fyzabad there is but little to see, and that little is rather
uninteresting. What impressed me there, more than anything else, was a
particular private dwelling, and especially a certain room in it. The
edifice to which I refer belonged to an opulent Mohammedan, and had
been erected by an English architect. Being constructed pretty closely
on the model of a mansion in Belgravia, it was wholly unsuited in a
hot climate to any purpose except that of torture. In all probability,
its constructor, as he roasted over his work, omitted of set intention
to fit it up with fireplaces. In this omission, however, there was a
breach of contract, for in all its details the building was to be
thoroughly English. The defect was pointed out at the last moment, and
strict injunctions were given to repair it. Fireplaces there must be,
and a full complement of them. The matter was finally compromised by
providing a single small square room at the top of the house with one
in each of its side walls. In the same spirit of determination not to
come short of the mark, a rich Bengalee baboo whom I once knew
furnished his drawing-room, a large apartment, with thirty-two round
tables and an equal number of musical boxes.

A great deal more might be said of Oude as I saw it, but the region,
since it became English territory, has been so often and so fully
described that I forbear to dwell on it. At Lucknow, its capital, I
spent a week as guest of Sir Henry Sleeman, with whom, from that time
to the end of his life, I was in constant correspondence. That Sir
Henry was a man altogether out of the common must be evident from his
various publications. I came to know his mind on most subjects very
intimately. In every respect he was original and peculiar, and but for
a rooted aversion to anything like Boswellism I might here depict a
character such as one seldom meets with in these days. To his personal
influence it was largely owing that for many a long year the
annexation of Oude to the Indian empire was suspended in disastrous



Once and again I have nestled in the lap of a small village and
wondered at the necessity of any world beyond my peaceful horizon.
Once and again, after long years, I have entered the old school-room
with the fearful and impatient heart of a boy: I have paced the
play-ground and gone to and fro in the village streets singing, but
the song I once sang came not again to my lips, for it no longer
suited the time or the occasion.

I thought to take up the thread of life where I had dropped it near a
score of years before, and complete the web which fancy had
embroidered with many a flower of memory and hope and love. I had
forgotten that the loom weaves steadily and persistently whether my
hand be on it or not, and that I can never mend the rent in the fabric
I so long neglected.

My record elsewhere is replete with numerous accidents by flood and
field--with the epochs of meetings and marryings, of births and
deaths. Meanwhile, the friends who had held fast to me through all
these changes wrote ever in the selfsame vein, and plotted for my
return with such even and sturdy faith that I had grown to look upon
them as having drunk at the fountain of immortal youth.

Of course the delectable spring gushed out of the heart of one of
those dear old hills that walled in the village, for how else could
they have quaffed it? The bones of more than two centuries pave the
highway between New England and California. As jubilant as young
Lochinvar, I came out of the West one summer dawn, and took train for
Heartsease. I had resolved to compass in a single week the innumerable
landmarks that dot mountain and desert and prairie--to leap as it were
from sea to sea, from the present to the past, from manhood to early

Is it any wonder that I forestalled the time, and was a day and a
night distant before inquiring friends discovered my flight? Is it any
wonder that the shrieking and swaying train seemed slow to me, for
already my spirit had folded its swift wings in the nest-like village
of Heartsease? I had, moreover, by this brilliant manoeuvre, left the
bitter cup of parting untasted--but nothing more serious than
this--and seemed to have won a whole day from the clutches of Time,
who deals them out so stingily to the expectant and impatient watcher.

San Francisco faces the sunrise, but there is a broad glittering bay
and a coast range with brawny bare shoulders between them: I sailed
over the flashing water, rode under the mountains and threaded three
tunnels before I began to realize that I was a fugitive from home. It
was midsummer; the car-windows were half open; whiffs of warm wind
blew in upon me scented with bay-leaves and sage. For a moment I
forgot Heartsease and the home of my youth, and turned tenderly to
take a last farewell of the beloved land of my adoption. The corn was
cut and stacked in long dusty rows: it looked like a deserted camp;
the grain was down; small squirrels skipped lightly over the shining
stubble, whisking their bushy tails like puffs of smoke. It seemed to
me that no fairer land ever baked in summer's sunshine. Even the
parched earth, with its broken and powdered crust, was lovely in my
eyes. Small day-owls sat in the corners of the fences, when there were
any fences to sit in, and nodded to me from behind their feather
masks: all the birds of the air taunted me with heads on one side and
drooping wings. I might escape trusting humanity and steal away
betimes, but these airy messengers waylaid me and chirped a sarcastic
adieu from every field we crossed.

In the compulsory solitude of travel a man is thrown back upon
himself: at any rate, I am, and with waning courage and a growing
regret I sank into a corner of my seat by the window, and glowered at
the interminable slices of landscape that slid past me on both sides
of the rocking train. Have you ever noted the refrain of the flying
wheels as they hurry from town to town? There is a sharp shriek from
the locomotive, and a groan from one end of the train to the other, as
if every screw were rheumatic and nothing but a miracle held it in its
place. Then the song begins, very slowly at first, and in the old
familiar strain: "Ko--ka--chi--lunk, ko--ka--chilunk, koka--chilunk,
kokachilunk," repeated again and again, varied only when the short
rails are crossed, where it adds a few extra syllables in this style:
"Kokachilunk--chilunk, chilunk," growing faster and faster every
moment until the utmost speed is attained: it then soars into this
impressive refrain: "Lickity-cut, lickity-cut, lickity-cut,
lickity-cut," repeated as often and as rapidly as possible. All the
world goes by in two dizzy landscapes, yet the song is unvaried until
you approach a town with a straggling and unfinished edge, where the
houses are waltzing about as if they had not yet decided upon any
permanent location. Here you slacken speed and drop into a third
movement, as monotonous as the others and far more drowsy, for it
suggests all that is soothing and nerve-relaxing and sleep-begetting.
It is "Killi-kinick, killi--kinick, killi--kin--nick; eh! ah! bang!" A
long groan from the wheels, a deep sigh from the locomotive, and you
are stockstill at some inland hamlet that knows no emotion greater
than that occasioned by your arrival.

To this dull accompaniment I climbed out of the golden lowlands, the
basins of the San Joaquin and the Sacramento, into the silver
mountains where the full moon was just rising. The train seemed to
soar through space; we passed from cliff to cliff, above dark ravines,
on bridges like spider-webs; we whirled around sharp corners as if we
had started for some planet, but thought better of it and clung to
earth, with our hair on end and half the breath out of our bodies. We
were continually ascending; the locomotive panted hideously; every
throb of the powerful machine sent a shudder through the whole length
of the train.

Again and again we paused: it seemed that we could not go farther
without rest. Sometimes we hung on the edge of a chasm in whose
fathomless shadow were buried a forest and a stream, both of which
sent upward to us a fragrant and melodious greeting; sometimes we
rested under a mighty mountain, whose adamantine brow scowled upon us,
and we were glad when we once more resumed the toilsome ascent of the
Sierras and escaped unharmed from that giant's lair.

Once we tarried on the brink of a wild canon. Midnight and silence
seemed to slumber there: the moon flooded one half the mysterious gulf
with light, revealing a slender waterfall whose plash was faintly
heard: it served only to make the silence more profound. Near at hand
the torn and ragged earth, robbed of its treasure, looked painful even
in that softening light. On the dark side of the canon, in among the
trees, a flame danced. I saw the gaunt forms of rough-clad men
gathered about the camp-fire, and beyond them a rude cabin of
un-barked logs, looking cheerful enough in the rosy light.

There was nothing lovelier than this or more characteristic in the
glorious ride over the Sierras--not even the lake, above whose green
shores we rushed with half a mountain between us; nor the ice-gorges,
nor the black forests, nor the chaos of rock and ravine that has
defied the humanizing touch of time. I felt the burden of the
mountains then, and it is for ever associated with a memory of the
high Sierras, caught and fixed as we swept onward into the wild, wide

The burden of the mountains: There shall come a day when the ravine
for the silver is drained and the gold-seekers turn from thee
disconsolate, but thy years are unnumbered and thy strength unfailing:
the grass shall cover thy nakedness and the pine-boughs brood over
thee for ever and ever; the clouds shall visit thee and the springs
increase; the snows shall gather in the clefts of thy bosom; thy
breasts shall give nourishment, thy breath life to the fainting, and
the sight of thy face joy. The people shall go up to thee and build in
thy shadow; their flocks shall feed in peace: out of thy days shall
come fatness, and out of thy nights rest, for thou hast that within
thee more precious than silver, yea, better than much fine gold.

When the burden was past I looked out into the night. A soft wind was
stirring; I scented the balsam of the piny woods; the moon had
descended beyond the crest of the mountain, and above me the sky was
flooded with pale and palpitating stars. We slid out of the mountains
into the broad Humboldt desert one cloudless day: it was like getting
on the roof of the world--the great domed roof with its eaves sloping
away under the edges of heaven, and whereon there is nothing but a
matting of sagebrush, looking like grayish moss, and a deep alkali
dust as white and as fine as flour.

There were but two features in the landscape on which to fix the eye,
and these were infrequent--the dusty beds of the dead rivers and the
wind-sculptured rocks. It was the abomination of desolation: the air
was thin, but spicy; the sky was bare. When we had followed with eager
glance the shadow-like gazelle in his bounding flight, and brought the
heavy-headed buffalo to a momentary stand, with his small evil eye
fixed upon us, he wheeled suddenly and disappeared in a cloud of dust;
and we were alone in the desert.

Those mellow hours by the inland sea, where sits the Garden City, with
its wide grass-grown streets and its vine-veiled cottages basking in
summer sunshine, were precious indeed! We had ample opportunity for
developing philosophy, sentiment and politics at one sitting. Coming
out of the fair and foul refuge of the fleshly saints, I thought of
the wisdom of the French poet who once said to me, "Oui, monsieur:
life is an oasis in which there is many a desert." In the unfruitful
shoots of those thorn-bearing vines and withered fig trees I learned
the burden of the desert: Though it blossom as the rose, if it yield
not honey it shall be laid waste; though it deck itself with beauty,
though it sing with the voice of the charmer, its fairness is a mock
and its song is the song of the harlot. Harbor it not in your hearts.
Let it be purged of uncleanness, let the stain be washed from it.
Though the builders build cunningly, they have builded in vain. There
is blood on their lintels, and their hearts are full of lust. He that
sits in the seat of the scornful and is girded about with pride, let
him fall as the tree falls, even the king of the forest, for there is
rottenness at the core.

Like pilgrims in the earthly paradise we ploughed the long grass of
the prairies; like a fiery snake our train trailed over the flowering
land; its long undulations were no impediment; the grassy billows
parted before us; we cleft the young forests that have here and there
sprung up at the call of patient husbandry; myriads of wild-fowl
wheeled over the fragrant and boundless fields; every flower in the
floral calendar seemed at home in those meadow-lands of the world: the
sunset was not more glorious than the gentle slopes that swept to our
feet like a long wave of the sea, and then broke in a foam of flowers.
Not only was the delicious day promise-crammed, but the night, loud
with the chirp of the cricket and the cry of the sentinel owl, seemed
the realization of some splendid dream.

Out of the redundant and prophetic life of that land I heard a
prophecy, and the prophecy was the burden of the prairies. It is the
chant of the future, full of life and hope. I see now rows of men and
women, the toilers of the earth; they have planted forests and the
strong wind is stayed; they have broken the soil and the grain is
breast-high; they are merry, for they are free, and their stores
increase with the years. Wine and oil are their portion, and fat kine
and all manner of cunning workmanship; their cities are greater and
better than the old cities, for they are builded on virgin soil; and
the day shall come when the jubilee of the prairies will assemble the
hosts from the borders of the two seas, and they will hear their
praises sung and receive tribute, for the strength of the land is

And we came into other countries that were full of people, and of
cities great and small. A thousand strange faces were turned upon us
as we shot past the open doors of houses wherein the table was spread
for the domestic meal. We hailed the field-laborers and the
town-artisans at their toil, and every hour plunged deeper and deeper
into the old civilization of the East, which in some respects differs
greatly from that of our breezy West. It was time to be thinking on my
journey's end and its probable results. I seemed to read it all
beforehand: Ellen would greet me at the gate of the parsonage on the
edge of Heartsease, looking just as she looked when I parted with her
long, long years before. Ellen had not changed with time: she had
written me the same sweet, placid, sympathetic letters from the
beginning, and the beginning was when, a mere child, I had worn out my
heart with longing for home, and had at last been welcomed back over
the two seas and across the slender chain of flowers that binds the
two Americas together--back to the land I love, California. Ellen
would lead me in all the old paths; we would see the garden in which,
as a beautiful boy, I more than once sought her to confess some grief,
knowing there was no ear so willing as hers, no heart tenderer, no
counsel more comforting. We would row up the stream that runs under
the hill by the willows, and strand in the same shallow nook, in honor
of the festal Saturdays dead and gone. We would gather the old friends
about us, and eat very large apples by the study-window; we would
hunt nests in the hayloft and acorns in the wood; the school-room
would take us back again, and all the half-obliterated memories of the
past would glow with fresher color. A hundred hands would be stretched
out to me, and I would recognize the clasp of each. Ah, happy day when
I again returned to Heartsease and found the lost thread of my youth
unbroken, and I had only to weave on and complete the fabric so long

There were a dozen trains to enter and get out of before I could be
whirled across the country to Heartsease. Now that Heartsease was
easily attainable, all the restless world would be fleeing thither,
and it would no longer be worthy of its name. I felt my way from town
to town, pausing an hour here, another hour there, in an impatient
mood, for the last train was behind time, and I feared I should not
arrive in the village at the moment of all others I most desired to.
Why should I not come at sunset to the parsonage--one from the land of
the sunset wearing, as it were, his colors on his heart? The hour is
so mysterious and pathetic--the very hour to step in upon the village,
for so you can gloat over it all night, before the sun has laid the
whole truth bare to you on the following morning. And moreover I had
not written Ellen of my intended visit: why should I, when she had
been looking for me these ten years at least? Why should I say, "At
last I am coming," when a thousand things might have prevented me? Was
it not better to walk up the long road from the station at twilight,
pass silently through the quiet, familiar streets, and then, as I
approached the gate of the parsonage, discover a form waiting there as
if expecting some one, but whom it was hard to say? Drawing nearer, I
would recognize the form, slender and graceful, and then the face,
placid and pale, with the soft hair drawn smoothly over the temples
and the thin hands folded in peace. Oh yes, it was much better thus.

At the last change of trains, ten miles from Heartsease, a heavy
summer shower was drenching the town; the very rain was hot, and the
earth steamed lustily. I feared, my plan was spoiled, my meeting at
the gate after long years of patient and hopeful waiting. But the rain
passed over, and I was again under way. Now every inch of the land was
familiar: I recognized old houses and barns and strips of fence and
streams that had not been in my mind once in all these years. I knew
every block of forest that had been left on the border of the upland
fields, and all the meadows, marshy or dry: the very faces of the
people seemed to recall some one I had known before. The hills were
like lessons learned by heart; and now I came upon the actual haunts
of my school-boy days--the wood where we gave our picnics; the red
house, a little out of the village, where one of the boys
lived--strangely enough, the house I remembered, but the boy's looks
and name had gone from me--and then the train stopped. I felt a
tingling sensation, as if the blood were coming to the surface all
over me.

A switchman, and a stranger, waved us welcome with a yard of flaming
bunting. I hurried out of the car and alighted within half a mile of
Heartsease. On the platform, where I had parted with my schoolmates
fifteen years before, I waited till the train had passed onward and
out of sight. I was alone: the switchman asked no odds of me, but
furled his bunting and immediately withdrew. For a moment I looked
about me in bewilderment. I think I could have turned back had I been
encouraged to do so, for I felt half guilty in thus surprising my
friends. A moment later I plucked up heart and struck into the road
that leads up to the village.

The road has a margin of grass and weeds, and there are meadows on
both sides. I walked in the very middle of it, with my portmanteau in
my hand, and looked straight ahead. Before me lay the village, a
cluster of white houses embowered in trees. It was sunset; the rain
had washed the leaves and laid the dust in the road; the air was
exquisitely fragrant and of uncommon softness; the white spire of the
village church, flanked by a long line of poplars, was gilded with a
sunbeam, but the lowly roofs of the villagers were bathed in the
radiant twilight that had deepened under the western hills. Cattle
were lowing in the meadows; the crickets chirped everywhere; a barbed
swallow clove the air like an arrow whose force is nigh spent; and a
child's voice rang out on the edge of the village as clear as a
clarion. I paused and laughed aloud. I was mad with joy; an exquisite
thrill ran through me; it seemed to me that the most delicious moment
of my life had come.

I entered the village a boy again, with all the wild ambition of a boy
and with a boy's roguish spirit. I resolved to play upon them at the
parsonage. If Ellen were not at the gate waiting for me, I would enter
as a stranger and remain a season before throwing off disguise. I
would cunningly lead the conversation from topic to topic until we
came naturally to the past, and there in the past my shadow would
appear, and then at the right moment I would throw myself at Ellen's
feet and bury my head in her lap and weep for very joy.

These dreams beguiled me as I drew near the village. My step was
buoyant; I scarcely felt the weight of my portmanteau; I was drunk
with expectation and delight. In the village I found the streets and
houses and signs for the most part unchanged, but I looked in vain for
a familiar face. A few lads were playing about "the corners," and when
I saw them it suddenly occurred to me that all those youngsters under
fifteen were not born when I was a school-boy in Heartsease. I turned
away from them with a feeling of unutterable disappointment. Why
should not all my playmates be married or dead or have moved out of
the village if changes had come to it? I had not thought much of
change in this connection, and it was a hard blow.

A faint flush was in the evening sky: it was the afterglow, and in its
light I pressed onward toward the parsonage. A hollow in the road,
through which a stream rippled, lay between me and the grove that
sheltered Ellen's home: I hastened down it, and began climbing the
easy ascent on the other side of the stream. I seemed to grow years
older with every step I took, for I knew that the change which comes
to all must have come to me in like measure, though I was a boy again
when I came up the road laughing and heard the first sweet village

There was no form at the gate awaiting me, but the house was quite
unaltered, and I knew every leaf in the garden. The flush in the sky
had turned to gold and the air throbbed with light as I hid my
portmanteau under the rosebush by the gate and stole up to the
study-door. I would not give so palpable a clew to my identity as
that: I wished to appear like one who had dropped in for a moment to
ask the hour or the loan of a late journal. I rapped at the shutters
that enclosed the outer door, and waited in a tremor of expectation:
there was no response. Again I rapped, and again waited in vain for a

The shadows deepened in the grove; a thin light sifted down through
the leaves and fell upon the doorstep in pale disks that seemed to
tremble with agitation and suspense. I grew uneasy, and feared it was
not wise of me to have come without announcement, and my heart beat
heavily. I walked nervously to the side of the house and glanced in at
the deep bow-window; a shadow crossed the room: it was Ellen's shadow,
and unchanged, thank God! I knew she would not change, for she was one
whom time wearied not and fear fretted not, but to whom all things
were alike welcome, inasmuch as they came from the Hand that can work
no ill.

I returned to the study-door and rapped again, and then grew suddenly
much excited: I almost wished I had not summoned her so soon, but
already I heard her step upon the carpet, her hand on the latch and
the shutters swung apart. I strove to calm myself and ask carelessly
if she were at home, when I thought I saw a difference in the form and
face before me: they were so like Ellen's, but not hers. Had it been
in my power to do so, I would have turned at that moment and gone out
into the world without questioning any one: I would gladly have
avoided any revelation of ill that might have befallen that
household, and gone on as before, thinking it was well with them. But
it was too late: at the same instant we recognized one another.

"Is it Emma?" I asked fearfully.

"You are not--"

Ah, yes, it was he who had promised all these years to come, and had
come at last!

Then she added, "You have come too late: Ellen left us one week ago."

I knew what that meant: it was the leaving that takes all along with
it, and there remains nothing but a memory instead. It was the leaving
that lays bare the heart of hearts, and strikes blind and dumb the
agonized soul--the leaving and the leave-taking that is all
bitterness, call it by what name you will--that makes weak, the strong
and confounds the wise, and strikes terror to the breast of stone--the
leaving which is the leaving off of everything that is near and dear
and familiar, and the taking on of all that is new and strange--Death!
Death! at the thought of which even the Son of God faltered and cried,
"If it be possible let this cup pass from Me," alone in that wild
night in the garden, with watching and prayers and tears.

I had dreamed out my dream: it was glorious while it lasted, but I
wakened to a reality that was as cruel as it was unexpected.

Emma was a mere child when I left Heartsease: she had grown into the
living image of her sister. Whenever Emma spoke I seemed to hear the
voice and feel the presence of the one who had been gone a whole week
when I came in search of her. I entered the stricken home: father,
mother and maiden aunt--that good angel of all homes--were to me as if
I had parted with them but yesterday. We sat in silence for a time: it
seemed to me that if any one spoke there the very walls of the house
would distill sorrowful drops. Our hearts were brimming, our lips were
quivering, with inexpressible grief. It was a solemn and a holy hour;
the night closed in about us with unutterable tenderness; the summer
stars shed down their radiant beams.

The vesper-song of some invisible bird called me into the garden, and
I walked there alone. Did I walk utterly alone? A spirit was with me.
I wandered out to the gate and drew my portmanteau from its
hiding-place: I placed my hand upon the latch; the gate swung easily,
but I paused a moment. Shall I go or shall I stay? asked my heart:
"Stay," said the spirit that was with me. I returned to the house and
joined in the evening meal: sorrow sat at the board with us, but not a
hopeless sorrow. The magnetism of her touch had not yet left that
home: it never need, it never will leave it, for it is treasured
there. Her piano was closed, and I would not open it: any harmony
would have been too harsh for the hallowed silence of the place. Her
books, her pictures, her dainty needlework, _her words_--all that had
been a part of her life--still lived, though she had left us.

Those were sweet days to me. Emma and I went side by side to the old
haunts--to most of them, but not all, for there were some I cared no
longer to revisit. Before we had compassed the narrow limits of
Heartsease I began to wonder if there was a stone left that would give
back to me the impression of my early days: they all told another
story now, and most of them a sad one. Even the school-room was as a
dead thing, though I sat on the old benches and mounted the rostrum
whereon I was wont to "speak my piece" with much trepidation of spirit
and an inexplicable weakness of the knees. I wrote my name on the wall
in an obscure corner, simply because I didn't want it to be stricken
off from the roll entirely, and then turned back into the street with
less regret than I had reckoned on.

Of all the old friends I had known in boyhood, I saw but two besides
Emma--two sisters whose histories were strange and wonderful. They
greeted me as of yore, and we talked of the past with pity mingled
with delight. Dick, my old chum, Emma's soldier-brother, was miles and
miles away: not a boy of all our tribe was left in Heartsease to tell
me the story of the past. I began to be glad that it was so, for the
great gulf that lay between me and the boy I had been seemed to render
up no ghosts but were shrouded in sorrow.

There was one spot I might have visited, but did not: it seemed to me
better to wander to and fro about the dear old parsonage with the
living spirit near me, and to go out again into the world with the
softened influences of that lessened but unbroken circle consoling me,
than to seek the new grave that had not yet had time to clothe itself
with violets, and the sight of which could have given me nothing but
pain. By and by, I thought, let me return, and when it has healed over
and is sweet with summer flowers I will sprinkle rue upon it and
breathe her name. I went back from Heartsease like the bearer of
strange news. We had all sat together and thought, rather than
uttered, the memories of the past: they weighed me down, but they were
precious freights. When I looked once more, and for the last time,
upon the darling village drowsing in the sunshine, I felt that I had
learned the burden of the hearth: Not length of days is given, but the
sweetness and strength thereof: their memory shall live even though
the dead be dust. Out of the loam of this corrupting body springs
heavenward the invisible blossom of the soul. You have watered it with
tears: let the performance thereof comfort you. Though ye die, yet
shall ye live: thus saith the Lord. But shall the old days delight us
and the past live? Yea, verily, saith the Spirit--once, but never



It has been my good fortune to be thrown much with men of science, and
to find among them companions made agreeable by the best of social
qualities and by many larger capacities. Perhaps it is their life
apart, their consciousness of belonging to a distinct class, that has
made them, as I have found them, so strikingly individual, and partly
for this very reason so interesting. Indeed, it is curious to observe
how varied and how utterly different maybe the non-essentials, moral
and mental, of the beings to whom God has given the rare gift of power
to look into the secrets He has scattered around us in plant and earth
and animal life. Consistently with various grades of competence for
investigation, the man may be social, or may flee his fellows; may be
witty, or incapable of seeing the broadest fun; a poet, or almost
devoid of creative imagination; full of refinement and rife with
multiple forms of culture, or neither scholarly nor well-informed
outside of his especial line of work. According as he is endowed with
mental graces and forms of culture, apart from his science, will be
his charm as a companion; but while the absence of these means of
pleasing is sometimes met with, and while their lack in no wise
lessens his power of investigation, I have found most men of science
to possess in a high degree qualities which rendered them delightful
as comrades at the camp-fire or as guests at the dinner-table. Indeed,
the best talkers I know are men of science--not the mere students of a
knowledge already garnered, but those who discover new facts or who
spend their lives in original research. The most mirthful, cheery,
happy and liberal-minded of men are to be found in the limited ring of
those who are known in this country as investigators. On the European
continent the same remark holds true, but in Europe this class is very
often less refined than with us. In England the same class is
undoubtedly notable for a curious absence of the wide range of general
information constantly found in America, so that English men of
science often amaze us in social life by their lack not so much of
culture, as of wide knowledge of matters outside of their own studies,
as well as by their inaptitude to share the lighter chat of the

Even in Great Britain--and yet more in Germany and France--the habits
of life make it less of a sacrifice than here for men to abandon all
that money gives and to devote themselves to the quiet life of the
closet and the laboratory. Once set in a groove, the average man
abroad is less apt, to seek to rise out of it or depart from it; while
with us the constant flow of a too intensely active life is for ever
luring men with baits of greed to take the easy step aside from pure
science into the golden ways of gain. Honored be they in this land of
eager money-getting who withstand the temptation, and in quiet and
peace, undisturbed by the turmoil about them, pursue those noble
quests which give to humanity its highest training! What these men
lose we know: to them are neither great houses nor the hoards of
successful commerce. Their lives are often vexed by the trouble and
worry of wretchedly incompetent incomes, and what trials they endure
those they love must also share. Their incomes, in fact, are usually
such as a well-paid bank-clerk or dry-goods salesman would despise.
Officers of the navy or army are, as a rule, as well paid as men of
science who hold the chairs of teachers; but while the former class
are the most signal and steady grumblers, the latter are, of all the
men I know, the most tranquilly content. What they miss in life we can
well imagine; what they gain the general public little comprehends;
but those who know them best will readily understand why it is that
their lives are seemingly so happy.

And here, again, I would remind the reader that the class I speak of
are not the mere college professors, useful as they are, but those
men, in or out of that class, whose lives are devoted to the
acquisition of facts fresh from Nature--to the original study of bird
and beast and stone and flower--and those who, on a yet higher plane
of work, are busy with the patient investigation of physics and
physiology. Such men do not rely for success in their pursuits on
their knowledge of human nature, or the passions and foibles and lower
wants of their fellows, but, for ever turning toward a more quiet
life, are living among those strange problems which haunt the
naturalist, or among those awful forces which rule the stars and
pervade the dead and living world of matter. There must be something
quieting and ennobling in this steady contemplation of vast
machineries, which have all the force and terror of human passions,
and yet the serene steadiness and certainty of unchanging law. It is
"a purer ether, a diviner air," from whence its citizens can afford to
look down in peace, perhaps in scorn, upon the ignoble strifes beneath

I suppose, too, that other men can hardly dream of the one vast
pleasure which comes to these searchers when ever so little a new
truth or a fresh analogy reaches them as the result of their work. The
pursuit itself is all absorbing, all exacting, and when at last the
purpose is attained, and out of darkness flashes the light of some
novel law, the knowledge of some new connecting link, some simple
explanation of a range of facts or phenomena, or even the discovery of
a fresh analogy or homology, or of an undescribed fossil being, the
purity of the pleasure which they win is something which to be
understood must have been felt. "I think," said Jeffries Wyman once to
the writer, "that the most happy and heartfilling thing in the world
is to come face to face with something which no one but God ever saw
before." How transcendent must have been this form of joy when it
rewarded the first who saw the spectrum analysis of starlight in its
fullness of meaning, or to him who first knew where and how the blood
runs its wonderful courses!

Then, too, the life of other men, of the merchant and the lawyer,
palls as age advances and its rewards are paid in dollars or in honor.
Their experiences are limited and work out, but the naturalist or
investigator only gathers day by day new interests about his life of
duties. His work is as pleasant as play, and his play is usually only
some new form of work. Nature is his--a mistress whose charms are
unfading, and who is his for life. Go to some meeting of men of
science and see how this is. The oldest has as keen a zest as the
youngest, and while life becomes to others a weariness, to these men
the pleasure in their steady work is absolutely unfailing. I heard the
other day a half-jesting remark at a dinner-table of men of science to
the effect that life might become a tiresome thing as we grew older.
"Not for me," said one of them, whose name is known wherever science
is held in honor: "there must be no end of Rhizopods I have never
studied." Thus it is that men who live ever gazing at the surely
widening horizon of truth, who know that they at least need never sigh
for new worlds to conquer, who day by day are coming into closer
company with the yet unwhispered thoughts of the great Maker, are
happy and contented in the tasks to which their lives are given, and
serenely patient of what their duties deny them of luxury and wealth
and freedom to wander or to rest.

It might well be thought that men living so far apart from the general
paths, and pursuing purposes so remote from those of the trader, would
become obnoxious to that bitterest of American reproaches, the charge
of being unpractical. The directness of aim of scientific training and
the lofty code of honor among students of science, with their fair
share of cis-Atlantic pliability, makes them, however, most useful and
trustworthy people whenever it becomes requisite to entrust to them
the mixture of commercial and scientific labor which is needed by
heads of boards of weights and measures, of lighthouses, of coast
surveys, and for the affairs and mere business conduct of societies
and colleges or museums. Indeed, as regards this kind of work, they
have too much of it--too much of that sort of labor which in England
is well and wisely done by wealthy aristocrats who are amateurs in
science or eager to find work of some kind. The popular opinion
certainly conceives of the man of true science as being almost unfit
for the practical every-day duties which bring him into working
contact with his fellow-men. This is, as it were, a reversed form of
the prejudice which believes that a physician or a lawyer will be a
worse doctor or advocate because he writes verses or amuses an hour of
leisure by penning a magazine article. As regards medicine, this
popular decree is swiftly fading, though it still has some mischievous
power. It was once believed, at least in this country, that a doctor
should be all his life a doctor, and nothing else: the notion still
lingers, so that young medical men who at the outset of their career
seek to become known as investigators in any of the sciences related
to medicine are, I fear, liable to be looked upon by many older
physicians, and by a part of the lay public, as less likely than
others to attain eminence in the purely practical part of medical
life. It is time that this phantom of vulgar prejudice faded out.
"Whatever you do," said a late teacher of physiology in my presence to
a young doctor, "do not venture to become an experimental
physiologist--that is, if you wish afterward to succeed as a doctor.
It is fatal to that. It is sure to ruin you with the public." Yet
Brodie, Cooper, Erichson and many others so employed their earlier
years of leisure, and I might point in this country to some noble
instances of like success in practice following upon careers which at
first were purely scientific. But, in truth, every physician is more
or less an investigator, and those who have been early trained to the
sternly accurate demands of work in the laboratory of the experimental
physiologist are only the better fitted for study at the bedside.

There is, however, a long list of physicians who have begun life in
the pursuit of science, and have found its charms too potent to allow
them to depart thence into the more lucrative ways of medical
practice. One of this class was Jeffries Wyman, whose character and
career well illustrate all that I have said of the scientific life,
its trials and rewards. There are some graves on which we cannot lay
too many flowers; and if, therefore, after those who knew him best, I
venture to add my words of honor and affection, and to state the
impressions derived from my intercourse with the very remarkable
student of science whose loss we have all lamented, I trust that the
strong feeling which prompts me may be held a sufficient excuse.

I had three or four sets of associations with Wyman, no one of which
fails to come back to my remembrance filled with the charm of a man
whose whole nature was simple, wholesome, pure and generous. Others
have said all that need be said of what he did for his much-loved
science: it is less easy to convey to those who knew him not an
impression of the influence he exerted upon younger workers, and a
sense of the social pleasure which came of his remarkable combination
of vast knowledge and general culture, combined with a certain
loveliness of character and an almost childlike simplicity. I once
heard our greatest preacher nobly illustrate, with Samson's riddle as
his text, the delightfulness of that form of human character in which
sweetness and strength are blended. As I listened, somehow I began to
recall Wyman, for it was just here that his social charm resided. He
was intellectually stronger even than any of his completed work
showed, but he was also the most lovable of men. His mind was very
active and remarkably suggestive--so much so that in social chat, even
the most careless, he was constantly saying things which made you
think or left you thoughtful. For many years he wrote to me
frequently, and his letters are filled with the most lucid and happy
suggestions, explanations or comments. After the failure on the part
of one of his friends to attain a deserved object of just ambition, he
wrote to me to state his own extreme regret; and this not once, but
thrice, as if he was haunted by the sorrow of another's
disappointment. At times he was full of the most boyish spirit of
jesting, as when in 1862 he wrote to me grieving over the secession of
Virginia, because we had both of us thus lost our easiest supply of
rattlesnakes. Then he rejoiced over the fact that we still had the
bull-frog; and in an another note regrets that the rattlesnakes had
not been allowed to vote on the question of seceding.

As I write I pause to turn over these records of a dearly-valued
friendship. They begin years ago with words of encouragement as to
certain investigations in which both of us felt interest. Here and
there they touch on matters of social or personal value, but for the
most part they deal only with science. I used to wonder in those days,
and still am surprised anew as again I turn over these letters, at the
amount of what I might call suggestiveness in Wyman. He replies, for
example, in one letter to the gift of a scientific essay, and then in
a postscript runs off over eight pages of comment, explanation and
novel suggestions which put the subject in a new light; while every
here and there, amidst the wealth of scientific illustration and
useful hints given to aid another's work, there is some pause to
express a courteous doubt of his own opinions. Everywhere, indeed, his
letters, which made the most of our intercourse, were full of the
broadest sympathy in pursuits which often were--but often were not--in
the same direction as his own lifelong studies. At times, too, the
sympathy broke out into the extreme of generosity. Thus, having
learned from me that certain very important and hitherto undescribed
anatomical structures would probably be found in serpents and frogs,
he tells me soon after that he has found them; also, that he has
discovered them in birds, and that he has been led finally to a series
of unlooked-for discoveries in the anatomy of the nerves of the frog;
and he wishes experiments made on living frogs to learn the
physiological use of the structures thus found. Then not long after he
proposes that as the first discovery came from this writer, he should
take and use the notes and drawings which recorded his own researches,
and should use them in a second paper. It is needless to say that this
was declined, and the results appeared under Wyman's name. It was
characteristic of the man, and was not the only time when I had to
thank him for the kindest offers of aid.

To see Dr. Wyman in his museum was one of the most pleasant
exhibitions of the man at his best. I well remember one Sunday
afternoon in May three years ago, when, walking in Cambridge with
H----, one of the most prominent of our great railway presidents--and,
better than this, a man notable for genial social qualities, high
culture and a broad range of the readiest sympathies--I proposed to
him to call on Wyman and ask him to show us the Archaeological Museum.
We found Wyman at home, and if you had asked a bright little girl to
show you her baby-house she could have been no better pleased than he.
At first, as we went from case to case, he was quiet and said little,
but as we showed the interest and admiration we so warmly felt, he
also grew eager and vivid in description, until as he went on his talk
became a marvel of illustrative learning--so wide, so varied, so
complete, that we were carried along the current of his thoughts in
wonder at this strange combination of intense interest, of almost
childlike satisfaction, of a concentration on his subject of vast
antiquarian knowledge and of absolutely perfect anatomical skill. Mr.
H---- called his attention to the curious distortions and odd
enlargements of the protruded tongue in some of the Alaskan wooden
masks, and on this little text he was away in a moment from case to
case in the museum, and from century to century, pointing out the use
of the tongue as an organ of facial expression in various ages. Here
were Roman or Greek examples, here Sioux or Alaskan types of the same
usages, and here was a new thought he had never had before, and we
were thanked for awakening it; and so in his talk over this little
point he showed us how barbarian natures had like thoughts everywhere,
and, as much amused as we, he quoted and laughed and talked, still
always pleased and easy under the vast weight of learning which,
coming from his lips, was so utterly free from the least appearance of
being ponderous or tiresome. I think I never knew any other man whose
learning sat upon him as lightly or was given to others as gracefully.

I had once a like pleasure in raking over an Indian shell-heap with
Wyman. The quiet, amused amazement of the native who plied the spade
for us was an odd contrast to Wyman's mood of deep interest and
serious occupation. He had a boy's pleasure in the quest, and again
displayed for me the most ready learning as to everything involved in
the search. Bits of bones were named as I would name the letters of
the alphabet: bone needles, fragments of pottery and odds and ends of
nameless use went with a laugh or some ingenious comment into his
little basket. In truth, a walk with Wyman at Mount Desert was
something to remember.

The acquaintances of the merchant or lawyer grow fewer as age comes
on, but the naturalist is always enlarging his circle of living or
dead things in which he takes interest, and none more profited thus by
the years as they came than Wyman. The bird, the tree, the flower, the
rock, tiny worlds beneath damp stones, little dramas of minute life
within mouldy tree-trunks, the quaint menageries in the sea-caves,
shifted with every tide, whatever the waves brought or the winds
carried or the earth bore were one and all acquaintances of this
delightful and delighted companion. Not without a manly interest in
the world of men and politics, he lived for the most part serenely
above its ferment and passions. Without the large means which, had
they been his, had been in the truest sense and for the best purposes
_means,_ he lived a life of quiet, studious content, made somewhat
hard by ill-health, but, so far as I know, undisturbed by envy of
easier lots than his. Whatever were his crosses in this world--and
they must have been many--no man who knew Wyman could now wish them to
have been changed, if, as no doubt was the case, they helped to build
up a character so filled with honest labor, so pure, so lofty and so

Nor could Humanity resign
A life which bade her heart beat high,
And blazoned Duty's stainless shield,
And set a star in Honor's sky.



Apple-blossoms and the pale wild roses that grow in the shadow of
woody lanes were things of which she always reminded you, she was so
slight and so fair, with just a suggestion of bloom about her--the
bloom of youth. Hardly beautiful, but then seventeen summers have a
beauty of their own--a beauty of firm round curves and velvety color,
whose absence a dozen years later works utter transformation. When
Lilian should approach thirty, and the blush that shifted now with
every word she spoke, almost with every thought, should have
paled--when time and tears should perhaps have dimmed the soft
eyes--then she might be, to those who love fleshly magnificence alone,
of sufficiently commonplace appearance, but just now there was
something about her so unique and so attractive that every one when
she passed by turned to discover what it was. For the clear blue of
her eye and the lofty purity of her brow seemed to tell of a spirit
whose beauty far exceeded that of its temple, and the brightness of
the glance and the sweetness of the smile warmed the heart in her
behalf as regular outline and perfect contour are seldom known to do.
Happiness, too, is a crowning charm to any woman, and Lilian was
deeply and contentedly happy: a smile perpetually played in the
little, half-guessed dimples at the corners of her mouth, and her wide
clear eyes were full of peace. No; though years should rob Lilian of
bloom, it was plain that they could but add fresh charms to her soul;
and Lilian's lover must needs love her soul.

She was to be married in a couple of years--her mother would not hear
of it at present--to one who had been her lover from her cradle, and
who loved her with a tender and devoted passion, who thought her
embodied loveliness, and who would have made any sacrifice, even to
death, for her welfare. She had seemed to him from the hour when he
first saw her--a blue-eyed, rosy child with an aureole of palest
yellow hair--a being not made of clay--something remote and different
as the angels are; and when he first discovered that he loved her he
had felt momentarily as if he committed a sacrilege, and though he
lost that sensation soon enough, she always, seemed to him a holy and
perfect thing. The only cloud that crossed her sky now was sometimes
when this passion of Sterling's oppressed her or constrained her, and
made her feel that her love was less than his.

Sterling was in the first flush of manhood, some half dozen years her
senior--a hazel-eyed, bright-haired Saxon, and a noble, upright
fellow: he was as prosperous in his fortunes as he had a right to
expect, for his father had established him in a good business, and
with suitable thrift and care there was no reason why he should not
succeed. His father was a man of such strict adherence to theory that
he allowed the boy, as he still called him, only the same chance that
he himself had had: he lent him his capital and exacted a rigid
payment of the interest. "John shall share my fortune equally with
Helen and his mother," Mr. Sterling used to say, "when he has shown me
that he deserves it and can double it." And John, sure that any theory
of his father's was as right as a law of the universe, was only
anxious to keep the warm affection that he knew lay behind the stern

He lived with Lilian's mother, whom he had persuaded, when she found
it necessary to make exertion, to come to the city and rent a house
there for himself and two or three of his friends. He meant to take
the house off her hands as soon as he was able to afford so large an
expenditure, and meantime he did all he could to help her render it
attractive and homelike. If it was not yet all they wished, or all he
intended it should be, he knew that they were young, and felt that
they could wait; and he said as much to Lilian when he saw her stand
on tiptoe before a picture or look longingly at a bit of bronze;
conscious the while that there was an artistic and luxurious side to
the child's nature that he did not gratify--with which, indeed, he had
little sympathy--and evidence of which it often vexed him to observe,
as if it were a barrier between them, when her rapt face revealed
feelings unknown to him as she looked into the sunset; as she stood at
the door on summer nights while bell-notes and flower-scents went by
on the wind; as she listened to orchestral music which in his ears was
a noisy snarl. But, for all that, he said to himself that this ideal
intelligence, so to call it, of Lilian's, was something higher than
his own rude senses; he had no wish to place her on a lower level; he
must do away the barrier by surmounting it himself; and he used his
leisure time to study pictures and music, to discover the entrance to
this world of art whose atmosphere he fancied to be Lilian's native
air; and already he began to be able to translate into ideas the
strange and awful thrill he felt before some great white marble where
genius and inspiration had wrought together, and to find the thread by
which he might one day follow the vast windings of those symphonies
which Lilian always grew so pale to hear. But he was a person of
singular reserves, and Lilian learned nothing of such effort or
accomplishment as yet. "You think I am so perfect!" she would say.
"You have built up a great hollow idol around me, and it is like
living in a vacuum. Don't you know it is very tiresome to be chained
up to such a standard?" And John only adored her all the more for her
candor, did not believe it, and hastened home from business the

In fact, if this home, in which they all shared, was not exactly as
they would have liked it to be, it was nevertheless a delightful place
to John Sterling. He already had a sense of proprietorship in it. He
lined its walls with books as he grew able, with prints, with now and
then a painting, with plaster till he could get marble; Lilian's ivies
clambered everywhere, and her azaleas and great lilies seemed to have
a secret of perpetual flowering; a bright fire cast rosy lights and
shadows over it all; and John would declare, as he sank into his
easy-chair in the half twilight and surveyed the warm place, which
seemed only a ruddy background for Lilian's fairness, that he never
wanted anything better than this as long as he lived. It hurt him
sometimes, though, to remember that Lilian never made any response to
such words. "Well, well," he would say to himself in a way he had,
"why should she? and why should I expect it of her? If people are born
with wings, they do not want to creep. She beautifies everything she
touches, and she is only in her right place when all the flower of the
world's beauty is about her. But some day that shall be; and meantime
there is nothing to hinder my liking this." He had almost an ideal
home with Lilian's mother, as he wrote to his own mother, and every
time he went out of it in the morning he felt himself a better man
than he was when he went into it at night. His mother and father
journeyed a thousand miles to see it, and felt as John did
himself--thanked Heaven for the promise of a child like Lilian--one so
forgetful of herself, so thoughtful for every one else, so candid, so
generous, so gentle, so good. "She is nothing but a child," said Mrs.
Sterling for the thousandth time, "and yet how lofty she is!--so lofty
and so sweet! What will she be at thirty if she is this at seventeen?
It makes me tremble to think of John's being blest so, as if it were
too much, as if some fate must overtake him."

"He must become a very superior man under the influence of such a wife
as Lilian will be," said Mr. Sterling. "Helen shall go on and spend
the winter with John: they teach canaries to sing," said he, stroking
Helen's black hair, "by hanging up their cages in the same room with a

And so Helen was despatched on the journey, and made another member in
the little family, for John's friends merely had rooms, and enjoyed
no more sufferance than other guests in the penetralia of the house.
She was a gaunt and big-eyed child, with a certain promise of
magnificence that, as Reyburn said, might be fulfilled in a year or
two in a sumptuous sort of beauty. But now she was a morbid and
retiring creature, fourteen or fifteen years old, looking out askance
and half suspiciously on the world from under the shadow of her
immense eyelashes, and singing from room to room with a strange voice
that a year or two would ripen into tones fit for a siren. There was
just the difference in age between her and Lilian that, while it
allowed them companionship, gave Lilian, together with the fact of her
engagement to John, a glorious dignity in Helen's eyes that she would
not have her abate a jot. Her gowns, her shawls, her simple laces and
few jewels seemed the appanage of a superior state of existence; they
brought close to her the possibilities of that charmed time when she
too would be a woman grown. She could not tire of gazing at the blush
flitting over Lilian's face as she spoke, at the way her steady eyelid
slanted toward her cheek as she read: the sound of her voice had an
intimate music that acted like a charm; and when this wonderful being
entertained her in her well hours and cosseted her in her ill ones,
listened to her, waited on her and caressed her, Helen rewarded her by
worshiping her. It was Lilian who constantly procured Helen pleasures,
who shielded her little faults, who sympathized with her joys and her
griefs and her sentimentalities, making merry with her to-day, crying
with her to-morrow, and who shone upon her with unvarying sunshine; it
was Lilian who did all this in another way for John; it was Lilian who
made every one's happiness that came near her; and Helen's affection
for her became something romantic and ideal. As for her brother John,
Helen had always held him in a place apart: she loved him far better
than she loved her strict, stern father; he was a portion of herself;
her universe revolved around him; she had never formed a fancy of what
life and the world would be without him; and much as she worshiped
Lilian, she had more than once doubted if she were altogether worthy
of John--not because she was Lilian, but because he was John. She used
to watch Lilian sometimes when John's friends came in in the
evening--used to watch her and admire her flushing face, her perfect
toilette, her gracious manner; but used to wonder if all betrothed
women treated their lovers' friends so exactly as they did their
lovers, with that same unchanging courtesy and gentle sweetness. Once
she saw the manner vary: it was while she herself was singing to them
all, facing down the room, and John held his pawn suspended in the
crisis of a game of chess, while Mr. Reyburn walked familiarly up and
down, now turning the music for her, now bending with a word in
Lilian's ear, now joining in the burden of the song:

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry--
Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun.

"What a being Burns was!" interrupted John, without looking up. "How
precisely he knew my feelings toward any one who would show me how to
escape this checkmate!" And Lilian sprang to her feet, upsetting her
workbasket, and ran to him and commenced talking hurriedly, while Mr.
Reyburn, whose eyes had been resting on her face for some time, kept
on singing after Helen ceased--

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun.

And Helen, child as she was, looking at him and listening to him,
recognized a veiled meaning in the tone of the singing, and thought
she hated the singer.

That night, when all the others had gone, and Lilian's mother was
folding her work, and John was locking a window, and Helen closing the
piano, she saw Mr. Reyburn stoop over Lilian's hand as he said
good-night--stoop low, and press his lips upon its dimpled back. In
after years Helen might recall his manner of that moment and
understand it, half reverence, half passion, as it was, but now she
only saw Lilian turn white and tremble, and clasp her hand over her
eyes in a bewildered way when he had gone to his rooms on the other
side of the hall, and walk up stairs as though she feared to rouse an

"Oh, Lilian," said Helen, following her into her mother's room, "how
dared he kiss your hand? How dared he look at you so while he sang? I
hate him!"

"Hush, child," said Lilian gently, almost solemnly. And Helen,
remembering who Lilian was, and the deep friendship between her
brother and the other, felt as if she had committed an unpardonable
sin, and crept away to bed, and did not see the man again during the
short remainder of her stay.

But Lilian saw him often. Perhaps she never went out without seeing
him, perhaps she never remained at home that he did not come in: going
by the parlor-door half a dozen times a day, nothing was easier. In
fact, few men have friends who think it worth their while to pay such
attentions to another's chosen wife as this friend of John's did.
To-day he gave flowers and helped her heap them in the vases; on the
morrow he brought in for inspection a borrowed portfolio of the
wonderful water--colors that some mad artist had dashed off among the
painted canons, or brought perhaps the artist himself; when he was
absent he wrote her letters, sent to John's care indeed, and conveying
messages to John--letters full of what John called Reyburn's
transcendental twaddle, but which were meat and drink to Lilian,
living half alone in her world of fancy; when he was in town again he
took her through galleries of pictures and statues where John had not
an entree; he placed his opera-box at her disposal; and when John, who
insisted on her acceptance of Reyburn's courtesies, heard them talk
together about the mysteries of the music or the ballet there, he
could have found it possible to question the justice of Fate that had
mated such spirit with such clod in giving Lilian to himself--for he
felt that she was already given, and they were mated by their long
affection beyond all divorce but death's--could have found it possible
to question the justice of Fate if he had not remembered, with a sort
of pain, that, charming and brilliant as Reyburn was, having a sweet
and reckless gayety and generosity, winning friends who loved him
almost as men love women, he was nevertheless as inconstant as the
breeze that rifles a rose.

"Yes," said he one day, in speaking of Reyburn to Lilian as they
looked at him through the open door of the drawing-room--"yes, we men
may love Reyburn safely enough, as we ask for no devotion in return,
but woe be to the woman who builds her house on that sand!"

"Will it slide away?" asked Lilian, not glancing from her needle.

"Well--Look at him now. Possession palls on him, they say. Half an
hour ago he plucked that bud. If it had hung as high as heaven, he
would have climbed for it, having once set his heart on it, and have
been tireless till he got it. On the whole, the thing is lucky that he
did not tear it to pieces in his dissecting love of laying bare its
heart. He has been inhaling its delicious soul this half hour: let us
see what he does with it." And as they looked they saw Reyburn lift
the half-forgotten flower, whose pale bloom had begun to tarnish ever
so little, glance at it lightly and give it a careless fillip to the
marble floor of the hall where he was walking up and down, and where,
as he came back, he set his heel upon it without knowing that he did

It was just after Helen went home that Lilian's health began to
fail--to fail gently and slowly, but surely. She shut herself up at
first, and lay all day listless and melancholy. She did not come down
in the morning before John went out, but he usually found her on the
sofa when he came in. And there she stayed, either on the sofa or half
lost among the cushions of an arm-chair, during the evenings when
John's friends came. But by and by the house-friends one by one ceased
to drop in as they passed down the hall; other friends ceased to ring
the bell: the old lively evenings were impossible with one so frail
and delicate to be cared for.

Reyburn, to be sure, came every day, and no message could shut him
out. If Lilian was not in the parlors, he ran up stairs into the
little sitting-room: if he could not see Lilian, he would walk in and
see her mother. Sometimes John took her out to drive--to give her a
color, as he said--but he was unable to do it often, and then Reyburn
took his place till she declared she would ride no more. It was not so
easy to discover what ailed Lilian as it was to see she failed. One
doctor said she had merely functional derangement of the heart;
another talked about complicated depression of the nerves; and a third
said she was whimsical, and nothing at all was the matter with her,
and she had better marry and taste the hard realities of life, and she
would soon be cured of her follies. But Lilian firmly and quietly
refused to be married yet: possibly she knew that her emotions were
not what they should be for marriage with the man to whom she was
plighted; possibly hoped that time might make it right; possibly
wanted nothing more definite than delay. Once John impressed Reyburn
into his service in the matter: they were so thoroughly intimate, so
like brothers of one family, that he appealed to him without a second
thought. What Reyburn meant by urging her to fix the day for her
wedding with John, Lilian might have marveled had he not kept his eyes
on the floor while he spoke the few curt sentences, and held her hand
with the grip of death. It was no marriage with John that Reyburn
wanted for her, she knew too well: he also looked forward to delay.
But she told John that when she was herself again it would be time
enough to talk of marriage: she should not bind him to a dead woman.
And somehow, though the relation between her and John remained the
same, the usual evidences of it, one by one, had disappeared. If he
took her in his arms, she slipped away; if he bent to kiss her lips,
she held her cheek. Still, though caresses ceased, the tender word and
the kindly glance remained. John fancied the rest to be but a part of
the nervous whims of her illness, from which she was to recover in
time; and he waited with all the old love in his soul. And as for
Lilian, the old affection was with her too--the affection of childhood
and girlhood, the deep and grateful feeling associated with all her
life--but it struggled and wrestled with a novel power that while it
promised pleasure gave only pain. It made her suffer to see John
suffer: she hurt him as little as she could, but for the life of her
she was able to do no differently. She thought it would be better for
him if she should die; and when she found his great sad eyes fastened
on her, with their longing for her return to him, she wished to
disappear out of the world and his memory together. She grew whiter
and thinner, more tired and sore at heart, all the time, till the two
years that had been fixed as the period of their engagement had
passed--grew so transparent and spiritual that sometimes, as John hung
over her in despair, he felt as if, instead of being bound to a dead
woman, he were already bound to an angel.

One evening, after an absence, Reyburn came in as John sat reading by
Lilian's side: he brushed away the book and insisted on their playing
an odd new game of cards, and Lilian unaccountably brightened and
sparkled and laughed, as in the old time, for more than an hour; and
as he left them at last he came back to declare his belief that a
change was all Lilian needed--other climates, other scenes. "Come,
Sterling," said he, "my little yacht, the Beachbird, sails on a cruise
next week. I will have a cabin fitted up for Miss Lilian if you will
take her and her mother and come along. The house can keep itself;
your clerks can keep your books; we shall all escape the east winds.
It will be a certain cure for her, and do you good yourself."

And talking of it lightly at first, presently it grew feasible--all
the more so that Helen and her father were spending their second
winter down there in one of those "summer isles of Eden," and word
could be sent to them in advance to be in readiness to join the
Beachbird. And the end of all the talk was that at the close of the
next week John's business had been left in the hands of others, and
John and Lilian and her mother were on the Beachbird's deck as she
slipped down the harbor.

Mr. Reyburn's prophecy proved true: whether the sea-breeze fanned
Lilian into fresh life, whether there were healing balms in the
perpetual summer through which they sailed, or whether she abandoned
herself to the pleasures of the flying hours, she began to regain
strength and color, her languor disappeared, she spent the day in the
soft blissful air with her books or work, her mother knitting and
nodding near by; while John, if not sick himself, yet feeling very
miserable, lay on a mattress on the deck, sometimes dozing, sometimes
following with his eye the graceful lines and snowy dazzle of the
perfect little yacht as mast and sheet and shroud made their relief
upon the sky; sometimes listening to Lilian and Reyburn; sometimes
watching them as they walked up and down in the twilight, her dress
fluttering round her and her fair hair blowing in the wind. John
wondered at her as he watched her: she seemed to be possessed with an
unnatural life; a flickering, dancing sort of fire burned in her eye,
on her cheek and lip, in her restless manner: she was like one who
after long slumber felt herself alive and receiving happiness at every
pore, but a strange, treacherous sort of happiness that might slip


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