The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. IV, No. 22, Aug., 1859

Part 3 out of 5

with God; and so can I.

"Such, my dear friend, are my thoughts, poor and unworthy; yet they seem
to me as certain as my life, or as anything I see. Am I unduly
confident? I ask your prayers that I may be guided aright.

"Your affectionate friend,


There are in this world two kinds of natures,--those that have wings,
and those that have feet,--the winged and the walking spirits. The
walking are the logicians: the winged are the instinctive and poetic.
Natures that must always walk find many a bog, many a thicket, many a
tangled brake, which God's happy little winged birds flit over by one
noiseless flight. Nay, when a man has toiled till his feet weigh too
heavily with the mud of earth to enable him to walk another step, these
little birds will often cleave the air in a right line towards the bosom
of God, and show the way where he could never have found it.

The Doctor paused in his ponderous and heavy reasonings to read this
real woman's letter; and being a loving man, he felt as if he could have
kissed the hem of her garment who wrote it. He recorded it in his
journal, and after it this significant passage from Canticles:--

"I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the
hinds of the field, that ye stir not up nor awake this lovely one till
she please."

Mrs. Scudder's motherly eye noticed, with satisfaction, these quiet
communings. "Let it alone," she said to herself; "before she knows it,
she will find herself wholly under his influence." Mrs. Scudder was a
wise woman.


In the course of a day or two, a handsome carriage drew up in front of
Mrs. Scudder's cottage, and a brilliant party alighted. They were
Colonel and Madame de Frontignac, the Abbe Lefon, and Colonel Burr. Mrs.
Scudder and her daughter, being prepared for the call, sat in afternoon
dignity and tranquillity, in the best room, with their knitting-work.

Madame de Frontignac had divined, with the lightning-like tact which
belongs to women in the positive, and to French women in the superlative
degree, that there was something in the cottage-girl, whom she had
passingly seen at the party, which powerfully affected the man whom she
loved with all the jealous intensity of a strong nature, and hence she
embraced eagerly the opportunity to see her,--yes, to see her, to study
her, to dart her keen French wit through her, and detect the secret of
her charm, that she, too, might practise it.

Madame de Frontignac was one of those women whose beauty is so striking
and imposing, that they seem to kindle up, even in the most prosaic
apartment, an atmosphere of enchantment. All the pomp and splendor of
high life, the wit, the refinements, the nameless graces and luxuries of
courts, seemed to breathe in invisible airs around her, and she made a
Faubourg St. Germain of the darkest room into which she entered. Mary
thought, when she came in, that she had never seen anything so splendid.
She was dressed in a black velvet riding-habit, buttoned to the throat
with coral; her riding-hat drooped with its long plumes so as to cast a
shadow over her animated face, out of which her dark eyes shone like
jewels, and her pomegranate cheeks glowed with the rich shaded radiance
of one of Rembrandt's pictures. Something quaint and foreign, something
poetic and strange, marked each turn of her figure, each article of her
dress, down to the sculptured hand on which glittered singular and
costly rings,--and the riding-glove, embroidered with seed-pearls, that
fell carelessly beside her on the floor.

In Antwerp one sees a picture in which Rubens, who felt more than any
other artist the glory of the physical life, has embodied his conception
of the Madonna, in opposition to the faded, cold ideals of the Middle
Ages, from which he revolted with such a bound. _His_ Mary is a superb
Oriental sultana, with lustrous dark eyes, redundant form, jewelled
turban, standing leaning on the balustrade of a princely terrace, and
bearing on her hand, _not_ the silver dove, but a gorgeous paroquet. The
two styles, in this instance, were both in the same room; and as Burr
sat looking from one to the other, he felt, for a moment, as one would
who should put a sketch of Overbeck's beside a splendid painting of

For a few moments, everything in the room seemed faded and cold, in
contrast with the tropical atmosphere of this regal beauty. Burr watched
Mary with a keen eye, to see if she were dazzled and overawed. He saw
nothing but the most innocent surprise and delight. All the slumbering
poetry within her seemed to awaken at the presence of her beautiful
neighbor,--as when one, for the first time, stands before the great
revelations of Art. Mary's cheek glowed, her eyes seemed to grow deep
with the enthusiasm of admiration, and, after a few moments, it seemed
as if her delicate face and figure reflected the glowing loveliness of
her visitor, just as the virgin snows of the Alps become incarnadine as
they stand opposite the glorious radiance of a sunset sky.

Madame de Frontignac was accustomed to the effect of her charms; but
there was so much love in the admiration now directed towards her, that
her own warm, nature was touched, and she threw out the glow of her
feelings with a magnetic power. Mary never felt the cold, habitual
reserve of her education so suddenly melt, never felt herself so
naturally falling into language of confidence and endearment with a
stranger; and as her face, so delicate and spiritual, grew bright with
love, Madame de Frontignac thought she had never seen anything so
beautiful, and, stretching out her hands towards her, she exclaimed, in
her own language,--

"_Mais, mon Dieu! mon enfant, que tu es belle_!"

Mary's deep blush, at her ignorance of the language in which her visitor
spoke, recalled her to herself;--she laughed a clear, silvery laugh, and
laid her jewelled little hand on Mary's with a caressing movement.

"_He_ shall not teach you French, _ma toute belle_" she said, indicating
the Abbe, by a pretty, wilful gesture; "_I_ will teach you;--and you
shall teach me English. Oh, I shall try _so_ hard to learn!" she said.

There was something inexpressibly pretty and quaint in the childish lisp
with which she pronounced English. Mary was completely won over. She
could have fallen into the arms of this wondrously beautiful fairy
princess, expecting to be carried away by her to Dream-land.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Scudder was gravely discoursing with Colonel Burr and M.
de Frontignac; and the Abbe, a small and gentlemanly personage, with
clear black eye, delicately-cut features, and powdered hair, appeared to
be absorbed in his efforts to follow the current of a conversation
imperfectly understood. Burr, the while, though seeming to be entirely
and politely absorbed in the conversation he was conducting, lost not a
glimpse of the picturesque aside which was being enacted between the two
fair ones whom he had thus brought together. He smiled quietly when he
saw the effect Madame de Frontignac produced on Mary.

"After all, the child has flesh and blood!" he thought, "and may feel
that there are more things in heaven and earth than she has dreamed of
yet. A few French ideas won't hurt her."

The arrangements about lessons being completed, the party returned to
the carriage. Madame de Frontignac was enthusiastic in Mary's praise.

"_Cependant_" she said, leaning back, thoughtfully, after having
exhausted herself in superlatives,--"_cependant elle est devote,--et a
dix-neuf comment cela se peut il_?"

"It is the effect of her austere education," said Burr. "It is not
possible for you to conceive how young people are trained in the
religious families of this country."

"But yet," said Madame, "it gives her a grace altogether peculiar;
something in her looks went to my heart. I could find it very easy to
love her, because she is really good."

"The Queen of Hearts should know all that is possible in loving," said

Somehow, of late, the compliments which fell so readily from those
graceful lips had brought with them an unsatisfying pain. Until a woman
really _loves_, flattery and compliment are often like her native air;
but when that deeper feeling has once awakened in her, her instincts
become marvellously acute to detect the false from the true. Madame de
Frontignac longed for one strong, unguarded, real, earnest word from the
man who had stolen from her her whole being. She was beginning to feel
in some dim wise what an untold treasure she was daily giving for tinsel
and dross. She leaned back in the carriage, with a restless, burning
cheek, and wondered why she was born to be so miserable. The thought of
Mary's saintly face and tender eyes rose before her as the moon rises on
the eyes of some hot and fevered invalid, inspiring vague yearnings
after an unknown, unattainable peace.

Could some friendly power once have made her at that time clairvoyant
and shown her the _reality_ of the man whom she was seeing through the
prismatic glass of her own enkindled ideality! Could she have seen the
calculating quietness in which, during the intervals of a restless and
sleepless ambition, he played upon her heart-strings, as one uses a
musical instrument to beguile a passing hour,--how his only
embarrassment was the fear that the feelings he was pleased to excite
might become too warm and too strong, while as yet his relations to her
husband were such as to make it dangerous to arouse his jealousy! And if
he could have seen that pure ideal conception of himself which alone
gave him power in the heart of this woman,--that spotless, glorified
image of a hero without fear, without reproach,--would he have felt a
moment's shame and abasement at its utter falsehood?

The poet says that the Evil Spirit stood abashed when he saw virtue in
an angel form! How would a man, then, stand, who meets face to face his
own glorified, spotless ideal, made living by the boundless faith of
some believing heart? The best must needs lay his hand on his mouth at
this apparition; but woe to him who feels no redeeming power in the
sacredness of this believing dream,--who with calculating shrewdness
_uses_ this most touching miracle of love only to corrupt and destroy
the loving! For him there is no sacrifice for sin, no place for
repentance. His very mother might shrink in her grave to have him laid
beside her.

Madame de Frontignac had the high, honorable nature of the old blood of
France, and a touch of its romance. She was strung heroically, and
educated according to the notions of her caste and church, purely and
religiously. True it is, that one can scarcely call _that_ education
which teaches woman everything except herself,--_except_ the things that
relate to her own peculiar womanly destiny, and, on plea of the holiness
of ignorance, sends her without one word of just counsel into the
temptations of life. Incredible as it may seem, Virginie de Frontignac
had never read a romance or work of fiction of which love was the
staple; the _regime_ of the convent in this regard was inexorable; at
eighteen she was more thoroughly a child than most American girls at
thirteen. On entrance into life, she was at first so dazzled and
bewildered by the mere contrast of fashionable excitement with the
quietness of the scenes in which she had hitherto grown up, that she had
no time for reading or thought,--all was one intoxicating frolic of
existence, one dazzling, bewildering dream.

He whose eye had measured her for his victim verified, if ever man did,
the proverbial expression of the iron hand under the velvet glove. Under
all his gentle suavities there was a fixed, inflexible will, a calm
self-restraint, and a composed philosophical measurement of others, that
fitted him to bear despotic rule over an impulsive, unguarded nature.
The position, at once accorded to him, of her instructor in the English
language and literature, gave him a thousand daily opportunities to
touch and stimulate all that class of finer faculties, so restless and
so perilous, and which a good man approaches always with certain awe. It
is said that he once asserted that he never beguiled a woman who did not
come half-way to meet him,--an observation much the same as a serpent
might make in regard to his birds.

The visit of the morning was followed by several others. Madame de
Frontignac seemed to conceive for Mary one of those passionate
attachments which women often conceive for anything fair and
sympathizing, at those periods when their whole inner being is made
vital by the approaches of a grand passion. It took only a few visits to
make her as familiar as a child at the cottage; and the whole air of the
Faubourg St. Germain seemed to melt away from her, as, with the
pliability peculiar to her nation, she blended herself with the quiet
pursuits of the family. Sometimes, in simple straw hat and white
wrapper, she would lie down in the grass under the apple-trees, or join
Mary in an expedition to the barn for hen's eggs, or a run along the
sea-beach for shells; and her childish eagerness and delight on these
occasions used to arouse the unqualified astonishment of Mrs. Katy

The Doctor she regarded with a _naive_ astonishment, slightly tinctured
with apprehension. She knew he was very religious, and stretched her
comprehension to imagine what he might be like. She thought of Bossuet's
sermons walking about under a Protestant coat, and felt vaguely alarmed
and sinful in his presence, as she used to when entering under the
shadows of a cathedral. In her the religious sentiment, though vague,
was strong. Nothing in the character of Burr had ever awakened so much
disapprobation as his occasional sneers at religion. On such occasions
she always reproved him with warmth, but excused him in her heart,
because he was brought up a heretic. She held a special theological
conversation with the Abbe, whether salvation were possible to one
outside of the True Church,--and had added to her daily prayer a
particular invocation to the Virgin for him.

The French lessons, with her assistance, proceeded prosperously. She
became an inmate in Mrs. Marvyn's family also. The brown-eyed, sensitive
woman loved her as a new poem; she felt enchanted by her; and the
prosaic details of her household seemed touched to poetic life by her
innocent interest and admiration. The young Madame insisted on being
taught to spin at the great wheel; and a very pretty picture she made of
it, too, with her earnest gravity of endeavor, her deepening cheek, her
graceful form, with some strange foreign scarf or jewelry waving and
flashing in odd contrast with her work.

"Do you know," she said, one day, while thus employed in the north room
at Mrs. Marvyn's,--"do you know Burr told me that princesses used to
spin? He read me a beautiful story from the 'Odyssey,' about how
Penelope cheated her lovers with her spinning, while she was waiting for
her husband to come home;--_he_ was gone to sea, Mary,--her _true_
love,--you understand."

She turned on Mary a wicked glance, so full of intelligence that the
snowdrop grew red as the inside of a sea-shell.

"_Mon enfant_! thou hast a thought _deep in here_!" she said to Mary,
one day, as they sat together in the grass under the apple-trees.

"Why, what?" said Mary, with a startled and guilty look.

"Why, what? _petite_!" said the fairy princess, whimsically mimicking
her accent. "_Ah! ah! ma belle_! you think I have no eyes;--Virginie
sees deep in here!" she said, laying her hand playfully on Mary's heart.
"_Ah, petite_!" she said, gravely, and almost sorrowfully, "if you love
him, wait for him,--_don't marry another_. It is dreadful not to have
one's heart go with one's duty."

"I shall never marry anybody," said Mary.

"Nevare marrie anybodie!" said the lady, imitating her accents in tones
much like those of a bobolink. "Ah! ah! my little saint, you cannot
always live on nothing but the prayers, though prayers are verie good.
But, _ma chere_," she added, in a low tone, "don't you ever marry that
good man in there; priests should not marry."

"Ours are not priests,--they are ministers," said Mary. "But why do you
speak of him?--he is like my father."

"Virginie sees something!" said the lady, shaking her head gravely; "she
sees he loves little Mary."

"Of course he does!"

"Of-course-he-does?--ah, yes; and by-and-by comes the mamma, and she
takes this little hand, and she says, 'Come, Mary!' and then she gives
it to him; and then the poor _jeune homme_, when he comes back, finds
not a bird in his poor little nest. _Oh, c'est ennuyeux cela_!" she
said, throwing herself back in the grass till the clover-heads and
buttercups closed over her.

"I do assure you, dear Madame!"--

"I do assure you, dear Mary, _Virginie knows_. So lock up her words in
your little heart; you will want them some day."

There was a pause of some moments, while the lady was watching the
course of a cricket through the clover. At last, lifting her head, she
spoke very gravely,--

"My little cat! it is _dreadful_ to be married to a good man, and want
to be good, and want to love him, and yet never like to have him take
your hand, and be more glad when he is away than when he is at home; and
then to think how different it would all be, if it was only somebody
else. That will be the way with you, if you let them lead you into this;
so don't you do it, _mon enfant_."

A thought seemed to cross Mary's mind, as she turned to Madame de
Frontignac, and said, earnestly,--

"If a good man were my husband, I would never think of another,--I
wouldn't let myself."

"How could you help it, _mignonne_? Can you stop your thinking?"

Mary said, after a moment's blush,--

"I can _try_!"

"Ah, yes! But to try all one's life,--oh, Mary, that is too hard! Never
do it, darling!"

And then Madame de Frontignac broke out into a carolling little French
song, which started all the birds around into a general orchestral

This conversation occurred just before Madame de Frontignac started for
Philadelphia, whither her husband had been summoned as an agent in some
of the ambitious intrigues of Burr.

It was with a sigh of regret that she parted from her friends at the
cottage. She made them a hasty good-bye call,--alighting from a splendid
barouche with two white horses, and filling their simple best-room with
the light of her presence for a last half-hour. When she bade good-bye
to Mary, she folded her warmly to her heart, and her long lashes drooped
heavily with tears.

After her absence, the lessons were still pursued with the gentle, quiet
little Abbe, who seemed the most patient and assiduous of teachers; but,
in both houses, there was that vague _ennui_, that sense of want, which
follows the fading of one of life's beautiful dreams! We bid her adieu
for a season;--we may see her again.


The summer passed over the cottage, noiselessly, as our summers pass.
There were white clouds walking in saintly troops over blue mirrors of
sea,--there were purple mornings, choral with bird-singing,--there were
golden evenings, with long, eastward shadows. Apple-blossoms died
quietly in the deep orchard grass, and tiny apples waxed and rounded and
ripened and gained stripes of gold and carmine; and the blue eggs broke
into young robins, that grew from gaping, yellow-mouthed youth to
fledged and outflying maturity. Came autumn, with its long Indian
summer, and winter, with its flinty, sparkling snows, under which all
Nature lay a sealed and beautiful corpse. Came once more the spring
winds, the lengthening days, the opening flowers, and the ever-renewing
miracle of buds and blossoms on the apple-trees around the cottage. A
year had passed since the June afternoon when first we showed you Mary
standing under the spotty shadows of the tree, with the white dove on
her hand--a year in which not many outward changes have been made in the
relations of the actors of our story.

Mary calmly spun and read and thought; now and then composing with care
very English-French letters, to be sent to Philadelphia to Madame de
Frontignac, and receiving short missives of very French-English in

The cautions of Madame, in regard to the Doctor, had not rippled the
current of their calm, confiding intercourse; and the Doctor, so very
satisfied and happy in her constant society and affection, scarcely as
yet meditated distinctly that he needed to draw her more closely to
himself. If he had a passage to read, a page to be copied, a thought to
express, was she not ever there, gentle, patient, unselfish? and scarce
by the absence of a day did she let him perceive that his need of her
was becoming so absolute that his hold on her must needs be made

As to his salary and temporal concerns, they had suffered somewhat for
his unpopular warfare with reigning sins,--a fact which had rather
reconciled Mrs. Scudder to the dilatory movement of her cherished hopes.
Since James was gone, what need to press imprudently to new
arrangements? Better give the little heart time to grow over before
starting a subject which a certain womanly instinct told her might be
met with a struggle. Somehow she never thought without a certain
heart-sinking of Mary's look and tone the night she spoke with her about
James; she had an awful presentiment that that tone of voice belonged to
the things that cannot be shaken. But yet, Mary seemed so even, so
quiet, her delicate form filled out and rounded so beautifully, and she
sang so cheerfully at her work, and, above all, she was so entirely
silent about James, that Mrs. Scudder had hope.

Ah, that silence! Do not listen to hear whom a woman praises, to know
where her heart is! do not ask for whom she expresses the most earnest
enthusiasm! but if there be one she once knew well, whose name she never
speaks,--if she seem to have an instinct to avoid every occasion of its
mention,--if, when you speak, she drops into silence and changes the
subject,--why, look there for something! just as, when going through
deep meadow-grass, a bird flies ostentatiously up before you, you may
know her nest is not there, but far off, under distant tufts of fern and
buttercup, through which she has crept with a silent flutter in her
spotted breast, to act her pretty little falsehood before you.

Poor Mary's little nest was along the sedgy margin of the sea-shore,
where grow the tufts of golden-rod, where wave the reeds, where crimson,
green, and purple sea-weeds float up, like torn fringes of Nereid
vestures, and gold and silver shells lie on the wet wrinkles of the

The sea had become to her like a friend, with its ever-varying monotony.
Somehow she loved this old, fresh, blue, babbling, restless giant, who
had carried away her heart's love to hide him in some far-off palmy
island, such as she had often heard him tell of in his sea-romances.
Sometimes she would wander out for an afternoon's stroll on the rocks,
and pause by the great spouting cave, now famous to Newport
_dilettanti_, but then a sacred and impressive solitude. There the
rising tide bursts with deafening strokes through a narrow opening into
some inner cavern, which, with a deep thunder-boom, like the voice of an
angry lion, casts it back in a high jet of foam into the sea.

Mary often sat and listened to this hollow noise, and watched the
ever-rising columns of spray as they reddened with the transpiercing
beams of the afternoon sun; and thence her eye travelled far, far off
over the shimmering starry blue, where sails looked no bigger than
miller's wings; and it seemed sometimes as if a door were opening by
which her soul might go out into some eternity,--some abyss, so wide and
deep, that fathomless lines of thought could not sound it. She was no
longer a girl in a mortal body, but an infinite spirit, the adoring
companion of Infinite Beauty and Infinite Love.

As there was an hour when the fishermen of Galilee saw their Master
transfigured, his raiment white and glistening, and his face like the
light, so are there hours when our whole mortal life stands forth in a
celestial radiance. From our daily lot falls off every weed of
care,--from our heart-friends every speck and stain of earthly
infirmity. Our horizon widens, and blue, and amethyst, and gold touch
every object. Absent friends and friends gone on the last long journey
stand once more together, bright with an immortal glow, and, like the
disciples who saw their Master floating in the clouds above them, we
say, "Lord, it is good to be here!" How fair the wife, the husband, the
absent mother, the gray-haired father, the manly son, the bright-eyed
daughter! Seen in the actual present, all have some fault, some flaw;
but absent, we see them in their permanent and better selves. Of our
distant home we remember not one dark day, not one servile care, nothing
but the echo of its holy hymns and the radiance of its brightest
days,--of our father, not one hasty word, but only the fulness of his
manly vigor and noble tenderness,--of our mother, nothing of mortal
weakness, but a glorified form of love,--of our brother, not one
teasing, provoking word of brotherly freedom, but the proud beauty of
his noblest hours,--of our sister, our child, only what is fairest and

This is to life the true ideal, the calm glass, wherein looking, we
shall see, that, whatever defects cling to us, they are not, after all,
permanent, and that we are tending to something nobler than we yet
are;--it is "the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the
purchased possession." In the resurrection we shall see our friends
forever as we see them in these clairvoyant hours.

We are writing thus on and on, linking image and thought and feeling,
and lingering over every flower, and listening to every bird, because
just before us there lies a dark valley, and we shrink and tremble to
enter it.

But it _must_ come, and why do we delay?

Towards evening, one afternoon in the latter part of June, Mary returned
from one of these lonely walks by the sea, and entered the kitchen. It
was still in its calm and sober cleanness;--the tall clock ticked with a
startling distinctness. From the half-closed door of her mother's
bedroom, which stood ajar, she heard the chipper of Miss Prissy's voice.
She stayed her light footsteps, and the words that fell on her ear were

"Miss Marvyn fainted dead away;--she stood it till he came to _that_;
but then she just clapped both hands together, as if she'd been shot,
and fell right forward on the floor in a faint!"

What could this be? There was a quick, intense whirl of thoughts in
Mary's mind, and then came one of those awful moments when the powers of
life seem to make a dead pause and all things stand still; and then all
seemed to fail under her, and the life to sink down, down, down, till
nothing was but one dim, vague, miserable consciousness.

Mrs. Scudder and Miss Prissy were sitting, talking earnestly, on the
foot of the bed, when the door opened noiselessly, and Mary glided to
them like a spirit,--no color in check or lip,--her blue eyes wide with
calm horror; and laying her little hand, with a nervous grasp, on Miss
Prissy's arm, she said,--

"Tell me,--what is it?--is it?--is he--dead?"

The two women looked at each other, and then Mrs. Scudder opened her

"My daughter!"

"Oh! mother! mother!"

Then fell that long, hopeless silence, broken only by hysteric sobs from
Miss Prissy, and answering ones from the mother; but _she_ lay still and
quiet, her blue eyes wide and clear, making an inarticulate moan.

"Oh! are they _sure_?--_can_ it be?--_is_ he dead?" at last she gasped.

"My child, it is too true; all we can say is, 'Be still, and know that I
am God!'"

"I shall _try_ to be still, mother," said Mary, with a piteous, hopeless
voice, like the bleat of a dying lamb; "but I did not think he _could_
die! I never thought of that!--I never _thought_ of it!--Oh! mother!
mother! mother! oh! what shall I do?"

They laid her on her mother's bed,--the first and last resting-place of
broken hearts,--and the mother sat down by her in silence. Miss Prissy
stole away into the Doctor's study, and told him all that had happened.

"It's the same to her," said Miss Prissy, with womanly reserve, "as if
he'd been an own brother."

"What was his spiritual state?" said the Doctor, musingly.

Miss Prissy looked blank, and answered mournfully,--

"I don't know."

The Doctor entered the room where Mary was lying with closed eyes. Those
few moments seemed to have done the work of years,--so pale, and faded,
and sunken she looked; nothing but the painful flutter of the eyelids
and lips showed that she yet breathed. At a sign from Mrs. Scudder, he
kneeled by the bed, and began to pray,--"Lord, thou hast been our
dwelling-place in all generations,"--prayer deep, mournful, upheaving
like the swell of the ocean, surging upward, under the pressure of
mighty sorrows, towards an Almighty heart.

The truly good are of one language in prayer. Whatever lines or angles
of thought may separate them in other hours, _when they pray in
extremity_, all good men pray alike. The Emperor Charles V. and Martin
Luther, two great generals of opposite faiths, breathed out their dying
struggle in the self-same words.

There be many tongues and many languages of men,--but the language of
prayer is one by itself, _in_ all and _above_ all. It is the inspiration
of that Spirit that is ever working with our spirit, and constantly
lifting us higher than we know, and, by our wants, by our woes, by our
tears, by our yearnings, by our poverty, urging us, with mightier and
mightier force, against those chains of sin which keep us from our God.
We speak not of _things_ conventionally called prayers,--vain mutterings
of unawakened spirits talking drowsily in sleep,--but of such prayers as
come when flesh and heart fail, in mighty straits;--_then_ he who prays
is a prophet, and a Mightier than he speaks in him; for the "_Spirit_
helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we
ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us, with groanings
which cannot be uttered."

So the voice of supplication, upheaving from that great heart, so
childlike in its humility, rose with a wisdom and a pathos beyond what
he dreamed in his intellectual hours; it uprose even as a strong angel,
whose brow is solemnly calm, and whose wings shed healing dews of


The next day broke calm and fair. The robins sang remorselessly in the
apple-tree, and were answered by bobolink, oriole, and a whole tribe of
ignorant little bits of feathered happiness that danced among the
leaves. Golden and glorious unclosed those purple eyelids of the East,
and regally came up the sun; and the treacherous sea broke into ten
thousand smiles, laughing and dancing with every ripple, as
unconsciously as if no form dear to human hearts had gone down beneath
it. Oh! treacherous, deceiving beauty of outward things! beauty, wherein
throbs not one answering nerve to human pain!

Mary rose early and was about her morning work. Her education was that
of the soldier, who must know himself no more, whom no personal pain
must swerve from the slightest minutiae of duty. So she was there, at
her usual hour, dressed with the same cool neatness, her brown hair
parted in satin bands, and only the colorless cheek and lip differing
from the Mary of yesterday.

How strange this external habit of living! One thinks how to stick in a
pin, and how to tie a string,--one busies one's self with folding robes,
and putting away napkins, the day after some stroke that has cut the
inner life in two, with the heart's blood dropping quietly at every

Yet it is better so! Happy those whom stern principle or long habit or
hard necessity calls from the darkened room, the languid trance of pain,
in which the wearied heart longs to indulge, and gives this trite prose
of common life, at which our weak and wearied appetites so revolt! Mary
never thought of such a thing as self-indulgence;--this daughter of the
Puritans had her seed within her. Aerial in her delicacy, as the
blue-eyed flax-flower with which they sowed their fields, she had yet
its strong fibre, which no stroke of the flail could break; bruising and
hackling only made it fitter for uses of homely utility. Mary,
therefore, opened the kitchen-door at dawn, and, after standing one
moment to breathe the freshness, began spreading the cloth for an early
breakfast. Mrs. Scudder, the mean while, was kneading the bread that had
been set to rise over-night; and the oven was crackling and roaring with
a large-throated, honest garrulousness.

But, ever and anon, as the mother worked, she followed the motions of
her child anxiously.

"Mary, my dear," she said, "the eggs are giving out; hadn't you better
run to the barn and get a few?"

Most mothers are instinctive philosophers. No treatise on the laws of
nervous fluids could have taught Mrs. Scudder a better _role_ for this
morning, than her tender gravity, and her constant expedients to break
and ripple, by changing employments, that deep, deadly under-current of
thoughts which she feared might undermine her child's life.

Mary went into the barn, stopped a moment, and took out a handful of
corn to throw to her hens, who had a habit of running towards her and
cocking an expectant eye to her little hand, whenever she appeared. All
came at once flying towards her,--speckled, white, and gleamy with hues
between of tawny orange-gold,--the cocks, magnificent with the bladelike
waving of their tails,--and, as they chattered and cackled and pressed
and crowded about her, pecking the corn, even where it lodged in the
edge of her little shoes, she said, "Poor things, I am glad they enjoy
it!"--and even this one little act of love to the ignorant fellowship
below her carried away some of the choking pain which seemed all the
while suffocating her heart. Then, climbing into the hay, she sought the
nest and filled her little basket with eggs, warm, translucent,
pinky-white in their freshness. She felt, for a moment, the customary
animation in surveying her new treasures; but suddenly, like a vision
rising before her, came a remembrance of once when she and James were
children together and had been seeking eggs just there. He flashed
before her eyes, the bright boy with the long black lashes, the dimpled
cheeks, the merry eyes, just as he stood and threw the hay over her when
they tumbled and laughed together,--and she sat down with a sick
faintness, and then turned and walked wearily in.

[To be continued.]





Directly above the Piazza di Spagna and opposite to the Via di Condotti,
rise the double towers of the Trinita de' Monti. The ascent to them is
over one hundred and thirty-five steps, planned with considerable skill,
so as to mask the steepness of the Pincian, and forming the chief
feature of the Piazza. Various landings and dividing walls break up
their monotony; and a red granite obelisk, found in the gardens of
Sallust, crowns the upper terrace in front of the church. All day long,
these steps are flooded with sunshine, in which, stretched at length, or
gathered in picturesque groups, models of every age and both sexes bask
away the hours when they are free from employment in the studios. Here,
in a rusty old coat and long white beard and hair, is the _Padre
Eterno_, so called from his constantly standing as model for the First
Person of the Trinity in religious pictures. Here is the ferocious
bandit, with his thick black beard and conical hat, now off duty, and
sitting with his legs wide apart, munching in alternate bites an onion,
which he holds in one hand, and a lump of bread, which he holds in the
other. Here is the _contadina_, who is always praying at a shrine with
upcast eyes, or lifting to the Virgin the little child, among whose dark
curls, now lying tangled in her lap, she is on a vigorous hunt for the
animal whose name denotes love. Here is the invariable pilgrim, with his
scallop-shell, who has been journeying to St. Peter's and reposing by
the way near aqueducts or broken columns so long that the memory of man
runneth not to the contrary, and who is now fast asleep on his back,
with his hat pulled over his eyes. When the _forestieri_ come along, the
little ones run up and thrust out their hands for _baiocchi_; and so
pretty are they, with their large, black, lustrous eyes, and their
quaint, gay dresses, that new comers always find something in their
pockets for them. Sometimes a group of artists, passing by, will pause
and steadily examine one of these models, turn him about, pose him,
point out his defects and excellences, give him a _baiocco_, and pass
on. It is, in fact, the model's exchange. [Footnote: During this last
winter, the government have prohibited the models, for I know not what
reason, from gathering upon these steps; and they now congregate at the
corner of the Via Sistina and Capo le Case, near the Pizzicheria, from
which they supply themselves with groceries.]

All this is on the lower steps, close to the Piazza di Spagna; but as
one ascends to the last platform, before reaching the upper piazza in
front of the Trinita de' Monti, a curious squat figure, with two
withered and crumpled legs, spread out at right angles and clothed in
long stockings, comes shuffling along on his knees and hands, which are
protected by clogs. As it approaches, it turns suddenly up from its
quadrupedal position, takes off its hat, shows a broad, stout, legless
_torso_, with a vigorous chest and a ruddy face, as of a person who has
come half-way up from below the steps through a trap-door, and with a
smile whose breadth is equalled only by the cunning which lurks round
the corners of the eyes, says, in the blandest and most patronizing
tones, with a rising inflection, "_Buon giorno, Signore! Oggi fa bel
tempo_," or "_fa cattivo tempo_," as the case may be. This is no less a
person than Beppo, King of the Beggars, and permanent bore of the Scale
di Spagna. He is better known to travellers than the Belvedere Torso of
Hercules at the Vatican, and has all the advantage over that wonderful
work, of having an admirable head and a good digestion. Hans Christian
Andersen has celebrated him in "The Improvvisatore," and unfairly
attributed to him an infamous character and life; but this account is
purely fictitious, and is neither _vero_ nor _ben trovato_. Beppo, like
other distinguished personages, is not without a history. The Romans say
of him, "_Era un Signore in paese suo_"--"He was a gentleman in his own
country,"--and this belief is borne out by a certain courtesy and style
in his bearing which would not shame the first gentleman in the land. He
was undoubtedly of a good family in the provinces, and came to Rome,
while yet young, to seek his fortune. His crippled condition cut him off
from any active employment, and he adopted the profession of a
mendicant, as being the most lucrative and requiring the least exertion.
Remembering Belisarius, he probably thought it not beneath his own
dignity to ask for an _obolus_. Should he be above doing what a general
had done? However this may be, he certainly became a mendicant, after
changing his name,--and, steadily pursuing this profession for more than
a quarter of a century, by dint of his fair words, his bland smiles, and
his constant "_Fa buon tempo_" and "_Fa cattivo tempo_," which, together
with his withered legs, were his sole stock in starting, he has finally
amassed a very respectable little fortune. He is now about fifty-five
years of age, has a wife and several children; and a few years ago, on
the marriage of a daughter to a very respectable tradesman, he was able
to give her what was considered in Rome a more than respectable dowry.
The other day, a friend of mine met a tradesman of his acquaintance
running up the Spanish steps.

"_Dove andate in una tanta affretta?_" he inquired.

"_Al Banchiere mio._"

"_Al Banchiere? Ma quale Banchiere sta in su le scale?_"

"_Ma Beppo_," was the grave answer. "_Ho bisogna di sessanta scudi, e
lui mele prestera senza difficolta._"

"_Da vero?_" said my friend.

"_Eh sicuro, come gli pare_," said the other, as he went on to his
banker. [Footnote: "Where are you going in such haste?"]

"To my banker."

"To your banker? But what banker is there above the steps?"

"Only Beppo. I want sixty _scudi_, and he can lend them to ma without


"Of course."

Beppo hires his bank--which is the upper platform of the steps--of the
government, at a small rent _per annum_; and woe to any poor devil of
his profession who dares to invade his premises! Hither, every fair day,
at about noon, he comes mounted on his donkey and accompanied by his
valet, a little boy, who, though not lame exactly, wears a couple of
crutches as a sort of livery,--and as soon as twilight begins to thicken
and the sun is gone, he closes his bank, (it is purely a bank of
deposit,) crawls up the steps, mounts a stone post, and there
majestically waits for his valet to bring the donkey. But he no more
solicits deposits. His day is done; his bank is closed; and from his
post he looks around, with a patronizing superiority, upon the poorer
members of his profession, who are soliciting, with small success, the
various passers by, as a king smiles down upon his subjects. The donkey
being brought, he shuffles on to its crupper and makes a joyous and
triumphant passage down through the streets of the city to his home. The
bland business smile is gone. The wheedling subserviency of the day is
over. The cunning eye opens largely. He is calm, dignified, and
self-possessed. He mentions no more the state of the weather. What's
Hecuba to him, at this free moment of his return? It is the large style
in which all this is done that convinces me that Beppo was a "_Signore
in paese suo_." He has a bank, and so has Sir Francis Baring. What of
that? He is a gentleman still. The robber knights and barons demanded
toll of those who passed their castles, with violence and threats, and
at the bloody point of their swords. Whoso passes Beppo's castle is
prayed in courtesy to leave a remembrance, and receives the blandest bow
and thanks in return. Shall we, then, say, the former are nobles and
gentlemen,--the other is a miserable beggar? Is it worse to ask than to
seize? Is it meaner to thank than to threaten? If he who is supported by
the public is a beggar, our kings are beggars, our pensions are charity.
Did not the Princess Royal hold out her hand, the other day, to the
House of Commons? and does any one think the worse of her for it? We are
all, in measure, beggars; but Beppo, in the large style of kings and
robber-barons, asks for his _baiocco_, and, like the merchant-princes,
keeps his bank. I see dukes and _guardie nobili_, in shining helmets,
spurs, and gigantic boots, ride daily through the streets on horseback,
and hurry to their palaces; but Beppo, erectly mounted on his donkey in
his short-jacket, (for he disdains the tailored skirts of a fashionable
coat, though at times over his broad shoulders a great blue cloak is
grandly thrown, after the manner of the ancient emperors,) is far more
impressive, far more princely, as he slowly and majestically moves at
nightfall towards his august abode. The shadows close around him as he
passes along; salutations greet him from the damp shops; and darkness at
last swallows up for a time the great square _torso_ of the "King of the

Begging, in Rome, is as much a profession as praying and shop-keeping.
Happy is he who is born _stroppiato_, with a withered limb, or to whom
Fortune sends the present of a hideous accident or malady; it is a stock
to set up trade upon. St. Vitus's dance is worth its hundreds of _scudi_
annually; epileptic fits are also a prize; and a distorted leg and
hare-lip have a considerable market value. Thenceforth the creature who
has the luck to have them is absolved from labor. He stands or lies in
the sun, or wanders through the Piazza, and sings his whining,
lamentable strophe of, "_Signore, povero stroppiato, datemi qualche cosa
per amor di Dio!_"--and when the _baiocco_ falls into his hat, like ripe
fruit from the tree of the stranger, he chants the antistrophe, "_Dio la
benedica, la Madonna e tutti santi!_" [Footnote: Signore, a poor
cripple; "give me something, for the love of God!--May God bless you,
the Madonna, and all the saints!"] No refusal but one does he recognize
as final,--and that is given, not by word of mouth, but by elevating the
fore-finger of the right hand, and slowly wagging it to and fro. When
this finger goes up he resigns all hope, as those who pass the gate of
the Inferno, replaces his hat and lapses into silence, or turns away to
some new group of sunny-haired foreigners. The recipe to avoid beggars
is, to be black-haired, to wear a full beard, to smoke in the streets,
speak only Italian, and shake the fore-finger of the right hand when
besieged for charity. Let it not be supposed from this that the Romans
give nothing to the beggars, but pass them by on the other side. This is
quite a mistake. On the contrary, they give more than the foreigners;
and the poorest class, out of their little, will always find something
to drop into their hats for charity.

The ingenuity which the beggars sometimes display in asking for alms is
often humoristic and satirical. Many a woman on the cold side of thirty
is wheedled out of a _baiocco_ by being addressed as _Signorina._ Many a
half-suppressed exclamation of admiration, or a prefix of _Bella_,
softens the hearts of those to whom compliments on their beauty come
rarely. The other day, as I came out of the city gate of Siena, a ragged
wretch, sitting, with one stump of a leg thrust obtrusively forward, in
the dust of the road, called out, "_Una buona passeggiata, Signorino
mio!_" (and this although my little girl, of thirteen years, accompanied
me.) Seeing, however, that I was too old a bird for that chaff, he
immediately added, "_Ma prima pensi alia conservazione dell' anima
sua._" [Footnote: "A pleasant walk, young gentleman!"--"But first pay
heed to the salvation of your soul."] A great many _baiocchi_ are also
caught, from green travellers of the middle class, by the titles which
are lavishly squandered by these poor fellows. _Illustrissimo,
Eccellenza, Altezza_, will sometimes open the purse, when plain
"_Mosshoe_" will not.

The profession of a beggar is by no means an unprofitable one. A great
many drops finally make a stream. The cost of living is almost nothing
to them, and they frequently lay up money enough to make themselves very
comfortable in their old age. A Roman friend of mine, Conte C., speaking
of them one day, told me this illustrative anecdote:--

"I had occasion," he said, "a few years ago, to reduce my family," (the
servants are called, in Rome, the family,) "and having no need of the
services of one under-servant, named Pietro, I dismissed him. About a
year after, as I was returning to my house, after nightfall, I was
solicited by a beggar, who whiningly asked me for charity. There was
something in the voice which struck me as familiar, and, turning round
to examine the man more closely, I found it was my old servant, Pietro.
'Is that you, Pietro?' I said; 'you begging here in the streets! what
has brought you to this wretched trade?' He gave me, however, no very
clear account of himself, but evidently desired to avoid me when he
recognized who I was. But, shocked to find him in so pitiable a
condition, I pressed my questions, and finally told him I could not bear
to see any one who had been in my service reduced to beggary; and though
I had no actual need of his services, yet, rather than see him thus, he
might return to his old position as servant in my house, and be paid the
same wages as he had before. He hesitated, was much embarrassed, and,
after a pause, said,--'A thousand thanks, your Excellency, for your
kindness; but I cannot accept your proposal, because, to tell you the
truth, I make more money by this trade of begging.'"

But though the beggars often lay by considerable sums of money, so that
they might, if they chose, live with a certain degree of comfort, yet
they cannot leave off the habit of begging after having indulged it for
many years. They get to be avaricious, and cannot bring their minds to
spend the money they have. The other day, an old beggar, who used to
frequent the steps of the Gesu, when about to die, ordered the hem of
her garment to be ripped up, saying that there was money in it. In fact,
about a thousand _scudi_ were found there, three hundred of which she
ordered to be laid out upon her funeral, and the remainder to be
appropriated to masses for her soul. This was accordingly done, and her
squalid life ended in a pompous procession to the grave.

The great holidays of the beggars are the country _festas_. Thronging
out of the city, they spread along the highways, and drag, drive, roll,
shuffle, hobble, as they can, towards the festive little town.
Everywhere along the road they are to be met,--perched on a rock, seated
on a bank, squatted beneath a wall or hedge, and screaming, with
outstretched hand, from the moment a carriage comes in sight until it is
utterly passed by. As one approaches the town where the _festa_ is held,
they grow thicker and thicker. They crop up along the road like
toadstools. They hold up every hideous kind of withered arm, distorted
leg, and unsightly stump. They glare at you out of horrible eyes, that
look like cranberries. You are requested to look at horrors, all without
a name, and too terrible to be seen. All their accomplishments are also
brought out. They fall into improvised fits; they shake with sudden
palsies; and all the while keep up a chorus, half whine, half scream,
which suffers you to listen to nothing else. It is hopeless to attempt
to buy them all off, for they are legion in number, and to pay one
doubles the chorus of the others. The clever scamps, too, show the
utmost skill in selecting their places of attack. Wherever there is a
sudden rise in the road, or any obstacle which will reduce the gait of
the horses to a walk, there is sure to be a beggar. But do not imagine
that he relies on his own powers of scream and hideousness alone,--not
he! He has a friend, an ambassador, to recommend him to your notice, and
to expatiate on his misfortunes. Though he himself can scarcely move,
his friend, who is often a little ragged boy or girl, light of weight
and made for a chase, pursues the carriage and prolongs the whine,
repeating, with a mechanical iteration, "_Signore! Signore! datemi
qualche cosa, Signore!_" until his legs, breath, and resolution give out
at last; or, what is still commoner, your patience is wearied out or
your sympathy touched, and you are glad to purchase the blessing of
silence for the small sum of a _baiocco_. When his whining fails, he
tries to amuse you; and often resorts to the oddest freaks to attract
your notice. Sometimes the little rascal flings himself heels over head
into the dust, and executes somersets without number, as if they had
some hidden influence on the sentiment of compassion. Then, running by
the side of the carriage, he will play upon his lips with both hands,
making a rattling noise, to excite your curiosity. If you laugh, you are
lost, and he knows it.

As you reach the gates of the town, the row becomes furious. There are
scores of beggars on either side the road, screaming in chorus. No
matter how far the town be from the city, there is not a wretched,
maimed cripple of your acquaintance, not one of the old stumps who have
dodged you round a Roman corner, not a ragged baron who has levied toll
for passage through the public squares, a privileged robber who has shut
up for you a pleasant street or waylaid you at an interesting church,
but he is sure to be there. How they got there is as inexplicable as how
the apples got into the dumplings in Peter Pindar's poem. But at the
first ring of a _festa_-bell, they start up from under ground, (those
who are legless getting only half-way up,) like Roderick Dhu's men, and
level their crutches at you as the others did their arrows. An English
lady, a short time since, after wintering at Rome, went to take the
baths at Siena in the summer. On going out for a walk, on the first
morning after her arrival, whom should she meet but King Beppo, whom she
had just left in Rome! He had come with the rest of the nobility for
recreation and bathing, and of course had brought his profession with

Owing to a great variety of causes, the number of beggars in Rome is
very large. They grow here as noxious weeds in a hot-bed. The government
neither favors commerce nor stimulates industry. Its policy is averse to
change of any kind, even though it be for the development of its own
resources or of the energies of the people. The Church is Brahmanic,
contemplating only its own navel. Its influence is specially restrictive
in Rome, because it is also the State there. It restrains not only
trade, but education; it conserves exploded ideas and usages; it prefers
not to grow, and looks with abhorrence upon change.

Literature may be said to be dead in Rome. There is not only no free
press there, but no press at all. The "Diario Romano" contains about as
much news as the "Acta Diurna" of the ancient Romans, and perhaps less.
I doubt whether at present such facts as those given by Petronius, in an
extract from the latter, would now be permitted to be published.
However, we know that Augustus prohibited the "Acta Diurna,"--and the
"Diario Romano" exists still; so that some progress has been made. And
it must be confessed that Tuscany is scarcely in advance of Rome in this
respect; and Naples is behind both. Even the introduction of foreign
works is so strictly watched and the censorship so severe, that few
liberal books pass the cordon. The arguments in favor of a censorship
are very plain, but not very conclusive. The more compressed the
energies and desires of a people, the more danger of their bursting into
revolution. There is no safety-valve to passions and desires like the
utterance of them,--no better corrective to false ideas than the free
expression of them. Freedom of thought can never be suppressed, and
ideas kept too long pent up in the bosom, when heated by some sudden
crisis of passion, will explode into license and fury. Let me put a
column from Milton here into my own weak plaster; the words are well
known, but cannot be too well known. "Though all the winds of doctrine,"
he says, "were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the
field, we do injuriously by licensing and prohibiting to misdoubt her
strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the
worse in a free and open encounter? Her confuting is the best and surest
suppressing." Here in Rome genius rots. The saddest words I almost ever
heard were from a young Italian of ability and _esprit_.

"Why," said I, in conversation with him, one day, "do you not devote
your talents to some worthy object, instead of frittering them away in
dancing, chatting, fencing, and morning-calls?"

"What would you have me do?" he answered.

"Devote yourself to some course of study. Write something."

"_Mio caro_" was his reply, "it is useless. How can I write what I
think? How can I publish what I write? I have now manuscript works begun
in my desk, which it would be better to burn. Our only way to be happy
is to be idle and ignorant. The more we know, the unhappier we must be.
There is but one avenue for ambition,--the Church. I was not made for

This restrictive policy of the Church makes itself felt everywhere, high
and low; and by long habit the people have become indolent and supine.
The splendid robes of ecclesiastical Rome have a draggled fringe of
beggary and vice. What a change there might be, if the energies of the
Italians, instead of rotting in idleness, could have a free scope!
Industry is the only purification of a nation; and as the fertile and
luxuriant Campagna stagnates into malaria, because of its want of
ventilation and movement, so does this grand and noble people. The
government makes what use it can, however, of the classes it exploits by
its system; but things go in a vicious circle. The people, kept at a
stand-still, become idle and poor; idleness and poverty engender vice
and crime; crime fills the prisons; and the prisons afford a body of
cheap slaves to the government.

To-day, as I am writing, some hundreds of _forcats_, in their striped
brown uniforms, are tugging at their winches and ropes to drag the
column of the Immaculate Virgin to its pedestal on the Piazza di Spagna.
By the same system of compulsory labor, the government, despite its
limited financial resources, is enabled to carry out public projects
which, with well-paid workmen, would be too expensive to be feasible. In
this manner, for instance, for an incredibly small sum, was built the
magnificent viaduct which spans with its triple tier of arches the
beautiful Val di L'Arriccia. But, for my own part, I cannot look upon
this system as being other than very bad, in every respect. And when,
examining into the prisons themselves, I find that the support of these
poor criminal slaves is farmed out by the government to some responsible
person at the lowest rate that is offered, generally for five or six
_baiocchi_ apiece _per diem_, and often refarmed by him at a still lower
rate, until the poor wretches are reduced to the very minimum of
necessary food as to quantity and quality, I confess that I cannot look
with pleasure on the noble viaduct at L'Arriccia, or the rich column to
the Immaculate Virgin, erected by the labor of their hands.

Within a few years the government seemed to become conscious of the
great number of beggars in Rome, and of the reproach they offered to the
wise and paternal regulations of the priestcraft. Accordingly, for a
short time, they carried on a move in the right direction, which had
been begun by the Triumvirate of 1849, during their short career. Some
hundreds of the beggars were hired at the rate of a few _baiocchi_ a day
to carry on excavations in the Forum and in the Baths of Caracalla. The
selection was most appropriate. Only the old, decrepit, and broken-down
were taken,--the younger and sturdier were left. Ruined men were in
harmony with the ruined temples. Such a set of laborers was never before
seen. Falstaff's ragged regiment was a joke to them. Each had a
wheelbarrow, a spade, or pick, and a cloak; but the last was the most
important part of their equipment. Some of them picked at the earth with
a gravity that was equalled only by the feebleness of the effort and the
poverty of the result. Three strokes so wearied them that they were
forced to pause and gather strength, while others carried away the
ant-hills which the first dug up. It seemed an endless task to fill the
wheelbarrows. Fill, did I say? They were never filled. After a bucketful
of earth had been slowly shovelled in, the laborer paused, laid down his
spade carefully on the little heap, sighed profoundly, looked as if to
receive congratulations on his enormous success, then, flinging, with a
grand sweep, the tattered old cloak over his left shoulder, lifted his
wheelbarrow-shafts with dignity, and marched slowly and measuredly
forward towards the heap of deposit, as Belisarius might have moved at a
funeral in the intervals of asking for _oboli_. But reduced gentlemen,
who have been accustomed to carry round the hat as an occupation, always
have a certain air of condescension when they work for pay, and, by
their dignity of deportment, make you sensible of their former superior
state. Occasionally, in case a _forestiere_ was near, the older, idler,
and more gentlemanlike profession would be resumed for a moment, (as by
parenthesis,) and if without success, a sadder dignity would be seen in
the subsequent march. Very properly for persons who had been reduced
from beggary to work, they seemed to be anxious both for their health
and their appearance in public, and accordingly a vast deal more time
was spent in the arrangement of the cloak than in any other part of the
business. It was grand in effect, to see these figures, incumbered in
their heavy draperies, guiding their wheelbarrows through the great
arches of Caracalla's Baths or along the Via Sacra. It often reminded me
of modern _bassi-rilievi_ and portrait statues, in which gentlemen
looking sideways with very modern faces, and both hands full of swords,
pens, or books, stand impotently swaddled up in ancient togas or the
folds of similar enormous cloaks. The antique treatment with the modern
subject was evident in both. If sometimes, with a foolish spirit of
innovation, one felt inclined to ask what purpose in either case these
heroic mantles subserved, and whether, in fact, they could not be
dispensed with to advantage, he was soon made to know that his inquiry
indicated ignorance, and a desire to debase in the one case Man, in the
other Art.

It would, however, be a grievous mistake to suppose that all the beggars
in the streets of Rome are Romans. In point of fact, the greater number
are strangers, who congregate in Rome during the winter from every
quarter. Naples and Tuscany send them by thousands. Every little country
town of the Abruzzi Mountains yields its contribution. From north,
south, east, and west they flock here as to a centre where good pickings
may be had of the crumbs that fall from the rich men's tables. In the
summer season they return to their homes with their earnings, and not
one in five of those who haunted the churches and streets in the winter
is to be seen.

It is but justice to the Roman government to say that its charities are
very large. If, on the one hand, it does not encourage commerce and
industry, on the other, it liberally provides for the poor. In
proportion to its means, no government does more, if so much. Every
church has its _Cassa dei Poveri_. Numerous societies, such as the
_Sacconi_, and other confraternities, employ themselves in accumulating
contributions for the relief of the poor and wretched. Well-endowed
hospitals exist for the care of the sick and unfortunate; and there are
various establishments for the charge and education of poor orphans. A
few figures will show how ample are these charities. The revenue of
these institutions is no less than eight hundred and forty thousand
_scudi_ annually, of which three hundred thousand are contributed by the
Papal treasury, forty thousand of which are a tax upon the Lottery. The
hospitals, altogether, accommodate about four thousand patients, the
average number annually received amounting to about twelve thousand; and
the foundling hospitals alone are capable of receiving upwards of three
thousand children annually. Besides the hospitals for the sick, there is
also a hospital for poor convalescents at Sta Trinita dei Pellegrini, a
lunatic asylum containing about four hundred patients, one for
incurables at San Giacomo, a lying-in hospital at San Rocco, and a
hospital of education and industry at San Michele. There are also
thirteen societies for bestowing dowries on poor young girls on their
marriage; and from the public purse, for the same object, are expended
every year no less than thirty-two thousand _scudi_. In addition to
these charities, are the sums collected and administered by the various
confraternities, as well as the sum of one hundred and seventy-two
thousand _scudi_ distributed to the poor by the commission of subsidies.
But though so much money is thus expended, it cannot be said that it is
well administered. The proportion of deaths at the hospitals is very
large; and among the foundlings, it amounted, between the years 1829 and
1833, to no less than seventy-two _per cent_.

The arrangements at these institutions were very much improved during
the career of the Triumvirate, and, under the auspices of the Princess
Belgiojoso, cleanliness, order, and system were introduced. The heroism
of this noble-hearted woman during the trying days of the Roman siege
deserves a better record than I can give. She gave her whole heart and
body to the regeneration of the hospitals, and the personal care of the
sick and wounded. Her head-quarters were at the Hospital _dei
Pellegrini_. Day after day and night after night she was at her post,
never moving from her chair, except to visit the various wards, and to
comfort with tender words the sufferers in their beds. Their faces,
contorted with pain, smoothed at her approach; and her hand and voice
carried consolation wherever she went. Many a scene have I witnessed
there more affecting than any tragedy, in which I knew not which most to
admire, the heroism of the sufferers or the tender humanity of the
consoler and nurse. In all her arrangements she showed that masterly
administrative faculty in which women are far superior to men. When she
came to the Pellegrini, all was in disorder; but a few days sufficed to
reduce a chaotic confusion to exact and admirable system. Hers was the
brain that regulated all the hospitals. Always calm, she distributed her
orders with perfect tact and precision, and with a determination of
purpose and clearness of perception which commanded the minds of all
about her. The care, fatigue, and labor which she underwent would have
broken down a less determined spirit. Nothing moved except from her
touch. In a little damp cell, a pallet of straw was laid on the brick
floor, and there, when utterly overcome, she threw herself down to sleep
for a couple of hours,--no more; all the rest of the time she sat at her
desk, writing orders, giving directions, and supervising the new
machinery which owed its existence to her.

With the return of the Papal government came the old system. Certain it
is that _that_ system does not work well. Despite the enormous sums
expended in charity, the people are poor, the mortality in the hospitals
is very large. "Something is rotten in the state of" Rome.

There is one noble exception not to be forgotten. To the Hospital of San
Michele Cardinal Tosti has given a new life and vigor, and set an
example worthy of his elevated position in the Church. This foundation
was formerly an asylum for poor children and infirm and aged persons;
but of late years an industrial and educational system has been
ingrafted upon it, until it has become one of the most enlarged and
liberal institutions that can anywhere be found. It now embraces not
only an asylum for the aged, a house of correction for juvenile
offenders and women, and a house of industry for children of both sexes,
but also a school of arts, in which music, painting, drawing,
architecture, and sculpture are taught gratuitously to the poor, and a
considerable number of looms, at which from eight hundred to one
thousand persons are employed for the weaving of woollen fabrics for the
government. A stimulus has thus been given to education and to industry,
and particularly to improvements in machinery and manufacture. Once a
year, during the holy week, religious dramas and operas, founded on some
Biblical subject, are creditably performed by the pupils in a private
theatre connected with the establishment. I was never present but at one
of these representations, when the tragical story of Shadrach, Meshach,
and Ahednego was performed. Honor to Cardinal Tosti for his successful
efforts in this liberal direction!

At many of the convents in Rome, it is the custom at noon to distribute,
gratis, at the door, a quantity of soup, and any poor person may receive
a bowlful on demand. Many of the beggars thus become pensioners of the
convents, and may be seen daily at the appointed hour gathering round
the door with their bowl and wooden spoon, in expectation of the _Frate_
with the soup. This is generally made so thick with cabbage that it
might be called a cabbage-stew; but Soyer himself never made a dish more
acceptable to the palate of the guests than this. No nightingales'
tongues at a banquet of Tiberius, no edible birds-nests at a Chinese
feast, were ever relished with more gusto. The figures and actions of
these poor wretches, after they have obtained their soup, make one sigh
for human nature. Each, grasping his portion as if it were a treasure,
separates himself immediately from his brothers, flees selfishly to a
corner, if he can find one empty, or, if not, goes to a distance, turns
his back on his friends, and, glancing anxiously at intervals all
around, as if in fear of a surprise, gobbles up his cabbage, wipes out
his bowl, and then returns to companionship or disappears. The idea of
sharing his portion with those who are portionless occurs to him only as
the idea of a robber to the mind of a miser.

Any account of the beggars of Rome without mention of the Capuchins and
Franciscans would be like performing the "Merchant of Venice" with no
Shylock; for these orders are founded in beggary and supported by
charity. The priests do not beg; but their ambassadors, the
lay-brothers, clad in their long, brown serge, a cord around their
waist, and a basket on their arm, may be seen shuffling along at any
hour and in every street, in dirty sandalled feet, to levy contributions
from shops and houses. Here they get a loaf of bread, there a pound of
flour or rice, in one place fruit or cheese, in another a bit of meat,
until their basket is filled. Sometimes money is given, but generally
they are paid in articles of food. There is another set of these
brothers who enter your studio or ring at your bell and present a little
tin box with a slit in it, into which you are requested to drop any sum
you please, for the holidays, for masses, for wax candles, etc. As a big
piece of copper makes more ring than gold, it is generally given, and
always gratefully received. Sometimes they will enter into conversation,
and are always pleased to have a little chat about the weather. They are
very poor, very good-natured, and very dirty. It is a pity they do not
baptize themselves a little more with the material water of this world.
But they seem to have a hydrophobia. Whatever the inside of the platter
may be, the outside is far from clean. They walk by day and they sleep
by night in the same old snuffy robe, which is not kept from contact
with the skin by any luxury of linen, until it is worn out. Dirt and
piety seem to them synonymous. Sometimes I have deemed, foolishly
perhaps, but after the manner of my nation, that their goodness would
not wash off with the soil of the skin,--that it was more than
skin-deep; but as this matter is above reason, in better moods I have
faith that it would. Still, in disbelieving moments, I cannot help
applying to them Charles Lamb's famous speech,--"If dirt were trumps,
what a hand they would have of it!" Yet, beggars as they are, they have
the reputation at Rome of being the most inoffensive of all the
conventual orders, and are looked upon by the common people with
kindliness, as being thoroughly sincere in their religious professions.
They are, at least, consistent in many respects in their professions and
practice. They really mortify the flesh by penance, fasting, and
wretched fare, as well as by dirt. They do not proclaim the virtues and
charms of poverty, while they roll about in gilded coaches dressed in
"purple and fine linen," or gloat over the luxuries of the table. Their
vices are not the cardinal ones, whatever their virtues may be. The
"Miracles of St. Peter," as the common people call the palaces of Rome,
are not wrought for them. Their table is mean and scantily provided with
the most ordinary food. Three days in the week they eat no meat; and
during the year they keep three _Quaresime_. But, good as they are,
their sour, thin wine, on empty, craving stomachs, sometimes does a mad
work; and these brothers in dirt and piety have occasionally violent
rows and disputes in their refectories over their earthen bottles. It is
only a short time since that my old friends the Capuchins got furious
together over their wine, and ended by knocking each other about the
ears with their earthen jars, after they had emptied them. Several were
wounded, and had time to repent and wash in their cells. But one should
not be too hard on them. The temper will not withstand too much fasting.
A good dinner puts one at peace with the world, but an empty stomach is
the habitation often of the Devil, who amuses himself there with pulling
all the nerve-wires that reach up into the brain. I doubt whether even
St. Simeon Stylites always kept his temper as well as he did his fast.

As I see them walking up and down the alleys of their vegetable garden,
and under the sunny wall where oranges glow and roses bloom, without the
least asceticism, during the whole winter, I do not believe in their
doctrine, nor envy them their life. And I cannot but think that the one
hundred and fifty thousand _Frati_ who are in the Roman States would do
quite as good service to God and man, if they were an army of laborers
on the Campagna, or elsewhere, as in their present life of beggary and
self-contemplation. I often wonder, as I look at them, hearty and stout
as they are, despite their mode of life, what brought them to this pass,
what induced them to enter this order,--and recall, in this connection,
a little anecdote current here in Rome, to the following effect:--A
young fellow, from whom Fortune had withheld her gifts, having become
desperate, at last declared to a friend that he meant to throw himself
into the Tiber, and end a life which was worse than useless. "No, no,"
said his friend, "don't do that. If your affairs are so desperate,
retire into a convent, become a Capuchin." _"Ah, non!_" was the
indignant answer; "I am desperate; but I have not yet arrived at such a
pitch of desperation."

Though the Franciscans live upon charity, they have almost always a
garden connected with their convent, where they raise multitudes of
cabbages, cauliflowers, _finocchi_, peas, beans, artichokes, and
lettuce. Indeed, there is one kind of the latter which is named after
them,--_capuccini_. But their gardens they do not till themselves; they
hire gardeners, who work for them. Now I cannot but think that working
in a garden is just as pious an employment as begging about the streets,
though perhaps scarcely as profitable. The opinion, that, in some
respects, it would be better for them to attend to this work themselves,
was forced upon my mind by a little farce I happened to see enacted
among their cabbages, the other day, as I was looking down out of my
window. My attention was first attracted by hearing a window open from a
little three-story-high _loggia_, opposite, hanging over their garden. A
woman came forth, and, from amid the flower-pots which half-concealed
her, she dropped a long cord to the ground. "_Pst, Pst_," she cried to
the gardener at work below. He looked up, executed a curious pantomime,
shrugged his shoulders, shook his fore-finger, and motioned with his
head and elbow sideways to a figure, visible to me, but not to her, of a
brown Franciscan, who was amusing himself in gathering some _finocchi_,
just round the corner of the wall. The woman, who was fishing for the
cabbages, immediately understood the predicament, drew up her cord,
disappeared from the _loggia_, and the curtain fell upon the little
farce. The gardener, however, evidently had a little soliloquy after she
had gone. He ceased working, and gazed at the unconscious Franciscan for
some time, with a curious grimace, as if he were not quite satisfied at
thus losing his little perquisite.

These brown-cowled gentlemen are not the only ones who carry the tin
box. Along the curbstones of the public walks, and on the steps of the
churches, sit blind old creatures, and shake at you a tin box, outside
of which is a figure of the Madonna, and inside of which are two or
three _baiocchi_, as a rattling accompaniment to an unending invocation
of aid. Their dismal chant is protracted for hours and hours, increasing
in loudness whenever the steps of a passer-by are heard. It is the old
strophe and antistrophe of begging and blessing, and the singers are so
wretched that one is often softened into charity. Those who are not
blind have often a new _Diario_ or _Lunario_ to sell towards the end of
the year, and at other times they vary the occupation of shaking the box
by selling lives of the saints, which are sometimes wonderful enough.
One sad old woman, who sits near the Quattro Fontane, and says her
prayers and rattles her box, always touches my heart, there is such an
air of forlornness and sweetness about her. As I was returning, last
night, from a mass at San Giovanni in Laterano, an old man glared at us
through great green goggles,--to which Jealousy's would have yielded in
size and color,--and shook his box for a _baiocco_. "And where does this
money go?" I asked. "To say masses for the souls of those who die over
opposite," said he, pointing to the Hospital of San Giovanni, through
the open doors of which we could see the patients lying in their beds.

Nor are these the only friends of the box. Often in walking the streets
one is suddenly shaken in your ear, and, turning round, you are startled
to see a figure entirely clothed in white from head to foot, a rope
round his waist, and a white _capuccio_ drawn over his head and face,
and showing, through two round holes, a pair of sharp black eyes behind
them. He says nothing, but shakes his box at you, often threateningly,
and always with an air of mystery. This is a penitent _Saccone_; and as
this _confraternita_ is composed solely of noblemen, he may be one of
the first princes or cardinals in Rome, performing penance in expiation
of his sins; or, for all you can see, it may be one of your intimate
friends. The money thus collected goes to various charities. They always
go in couples,--one taking one side of the street, the other the
opposite,--never losing sight of each other, and never speaking. Clothed
thus in secresy, these _Sacconi_ can test the generosity of any one they
please with complete impunity, and they often amuse themselves with
startling foreigners. Many a group of English girls, convoyed by their
mother, and staring into some mosaic or cameo shop, is scared into a
scream by the sudden jingle of the box, and the apparition of the
spectre in white who shakes it. And many a simple old lady retains to
the end of her life a confused impression, derived therefrom, of
Inquisitions, stilettos, tortures, and banditti, from which it is vain
to attempt to dispossess her mind. The stout old gentleman, with a bald
forehead and an irascibly rosy face, takes it often in another
way,--confounds the fellows for their impertinence, has serious notions,
first, of knocking them down on the spot, and then of calling the
police, but finally concludes to take no notice of them, as they are
nothing but _Eye_-talians, who cannot be expected to know how to behave
themselves in a rational manner. Sometimes a _santa elemosina_ is
demanded after the oddest fashion. It was only yesterday that I met one
of the _confraternita_, dressed in a shabby red suit, coming up the
street, with the invariable oblong tin begging-box in his hand,--a
picture of Christ on one side, and of the Madonna on the other. He went
straight to a door, opening into a large, dark room, where there was a
full cistern of running water, at which several poor women were washing
clothes, and singing and chatting as they worked. My red acquaintance
suddenly opens the door, letting in a stream of light upon this
Rembrandtish interior, and, lifting his box with the most wheedling of
smiles, he says, with a rising inflection of voice, as if asking a
question,--"_Prezioso sangue di Gesu Christo?_"--( Precious blood of
Jesus Christ?)

The last, but by no means the meanest, of the tribe of pensioners whom I
shall mention, is my old friend, "Beefsteak,"--now, alas! gone to the
shades of his fathers. He was a good dog,--a mongrel, a Pole by
birth,--who accompanied his master on a visit to Rome, where he became
so enamored of the place that he could not be persuaded to return to his
native home. Bravely he cast himself on the world, determined to live,
like many of his two-legged countrymen, upon his wits. He was a dog of
genius, and his confidence in the world was rewarded by its
appreciation. He had a sympathy for the arts. The crowd of artists who
daily and nightly flocked to the Lepre and the Caffe Greco attracted his
notice. He introduced himself to them, and visited them at their studios
and rooms. A friendship was struck between them and him, and he became
their constant visitor and their most attached ally. Every day, at the
hour of lunch, or at the more serious hour of dinner, he lounged into
the Lepre, seated himself in a chair, and awaited his friends, confident
of his reception. His presence was always hailed with a welcome, and to
every new comer he was formally presented. His bearing became, at last,
not only assured, but patronizing. He received the gift of a
chicken-bone or a delicate titbit as if he conferred a favor. He became
an epicure, a _gourmet_. He did not eat much; he ate well. With what a
calm superiority and gentle contempt he declined the refuse bits a
stranger offered from his plate! His glance, and upturned nose, and
quiet refusal, seemed to say,--"Ignoramus! know you not I am Beefsteak?"
His dinner finished, he descended gravely, and proceeded to the Caffe
Greco, there to listen to the discussions of the artists, and to partake
of a little coffee and sugar, of which he was very fond. At night, he
accompanied some one or other of his friends to his room, and slept upon
the rug. He knew his friends, and valued them; but perhaps his most
remarkable quality was his impartiality. He dispensed his favors with an
even hand. He had few favorites, and called no man master. He never
outstayed his welcome "and told the jest without the smile," never
remaining with one person for more than two or three days at most. A
calmer character, a more balanced judgment, a better temper, a more
admirable self-respect,--in a word, a profounder sense of what belongs
to a gentleman, was never known in any dog. But Beefsteak is now no
more. Just after the agitations of the Revolution of '48, with which he
had little sympathy,--he was a conservative by disposition,--he
disappeared. He had always been accustomed to make a _villegratura_ at
L'Arriccia during a portion of the summer months, returning only now and
then to look after his affairs in Rome. On such visits he would often
arrive towards midnight, and rap at the door of a friend to claim his
hospitality, barking a most intelligible answer to the universal Roman
inquiry of "_Chi e_?" "One morn we missed him at the accustomed" place,
and thenceforth he was never seen. Whether a sudden homesickness for his
native land overcame him, or a fatal accident befell him, is not known.
Peace to his manes! There "rests his head upon the lap of earth" no
better dog.

In the Roman studio of one of his friends and admirers, Mr. Mason, I had
the pleasure, a few days since, to see, among several admirable and very
spirited pictures of Campagna life and incidents, a very striking
portrait of Beefsteak. He was sitting in a straw-bottomed chair, as we
have so often seen him in the Lepre, calm, dignified in his deportment,
and somewhat obese. The full brain, the narrow, fastidious nose, the
sagacious eye, were so perfectly given, that I seemed to feel the actual
presence of my old friend. So admirable a portrait of so distinguished a
person should not be lost to the world. It should be engraved, or at
least photographed.


Under Mount Etna he lies;
It is slumber, it is not death;
For he struggles at times to arise,
And above him the lurid skies
Are hot with his fiery breath.

The crags are piled on his breast,
The earth is heaped on his head;
But the groans of his wild unrest,
Though smothered and half suppressed,
Are heard, and he is not dead.

And the nations far away
Are watching with eager eyes;
They talk together and say,
"To-morrow, perhaps to-day,
Enceladus will arise!"

And the old gods, the austere
Oppressors in their strength,
Stand aghast and white with fear,
At the ominous sounds they hear,
And tremble, and mutter, "At length!"

Ah, me! for the land that is sown
With the harvest of despair!
Where the burning cinders, blown
From the lips of the overthrown
Enceladus, fill the air!

Where ashes are heaped in drifts
Over vineyard and field and town,
Whenever he starts and lifts
His head through the blackened rifts
Of the crags that keep him down!

See, see! the red light shines!
'Tis the glare of his awful eyes!
And the storm-wind shouts through the pines
Of Alps and of Apennines,
"Enceladus, arise!"


The decree of October 1, 1830, approved by a royal ordinance, March 21,
1831, created two battalions of Zouaves. To perceive the necessity for
this body of troops, to understand the nature of the service required of
them, and to obtain a just notion of their important position in African
affairs, it will be necessary to glance, for a moment, at the previous
history of Algeria under the Deys, and especially at the history of that
Turkish militia which they were to replace,--a body of irresponsible
tyrants, which, since 1516, had exercised the greatest power in Africa,
and had rendered their name hated and feared by the most distant tribes.

Algeria was settled in 1492, by Moors driven from Spain. They recognized
a kind of allegiance to the Sultan of Turkey, which was, however, only
nominal; he appointed their Emirs, but further than this there was no
restraint on their actions. Hard pressed by the Spaniards in 1509, the
Emirs sent in haste to Turkey for aid; and Barbarossa, a noted pirate,
sailed to their help, drove out the Christians, but fixed upon the Moors
the yoke of Turkish sovereignty. In 1516, he declared himself Sultan, or
Dey, of Algiers; and his brother succeeding him, the Ottoman power was
firmly established in the Northwest of Africa. Hated by the people of
this great territory, both Moors and Arabs, menaced not only by their
dissensions, but frequently attacked by the Christians from the North,
there was but one method by which the Dey could maintain his power. He
formed a large body of mercenary soldiers, drawn entirely from Turkey,
united with himself and each other by a feeling of mutual dependence and
common danger, and bound by no feeling of interest or affection to the
inhabitants of the soil. Brave they were, as they proved in 1541,
against Charles the Fifth, whose forces they defeated and nearly
destroyed at Haratsch,--in 1565, at the siege of Malta,--in 1572, in the
seafight of Lepanto,--in many smaller combats at different times,
defending their land triumphantly in 1775 against the Spaniards under
O'Reilly and Castejon. Hardy and ready they were, from the very
necessity of the case; for they were hated and dreaded beyond measure by
the Arabs, and theirs was a life of constant exertion. Other than united
they could not be; for they were in continual warfare of offence or of
defence; they suppressed rebellion and anarchy,--for without a leader
and union they had been cut off by the restless foe, whose piercing eyes
watched, and whose daggers waited only _for the time_. In constant
danger, they could not sink into that sloth that eats out the heart of
Eastern and Southern nations; for it was only in unrest that safety
lay;--he who slumbered on those burning plains, no less than the sleeper
on Siberian ice, was lost utterly and without remedy.

This body of troops, called the _Odjack_, elected or deposed Deys at
pleasure; the Dey, nominally their ruler, was in reality their tool. In
one period of twenty years there were six Deys, of whom four were
decapitated, one abdicated through fear, and one died peacefully in the
exercise of his governing functions. [Footnote: _Voyage pour la
Redemption des Captifs aux Royaumes d'Alger et de Tunis, fait en 1720._
Paris, 1721.] In 1629, they declared the kingdom free from the
domination of Turkey; soon after, they expelled the Koulouglis, or
half-breed Turks, and enslaved the Moors. Admitting some of the latter
to service in the militia, they never allowed them to hope for
advancement in the State, or, what was the same thing, the army. Only
Turks, or in some instances renegade Christians, could lead the
soldiers, whom thus no feeling of local patriotism mollified in their
course of savage cruelty, grinding the face of the poor natives till
spirit and hope were lost and resistance ceased to be a settled idea in
their minds.

Now when the French navy came up to the port of Algiers, June 12, 1830,
the unity between the soldiers and their master, Hussein Pacha, was
tottering on the verge of dissolution; a plot against his life had just
been discovered, he had punished the ringleaders with death, and many
who had been concerned in the conspiracy felt that there was no safety
for them with him. Beaten constantly in every skirmish or battle, they
conceived a high respect for the military genius of the invaders, and,
ere the close of the summer campaign, offered their services in a body
to General Clausel; this offer he promptly declined, and they thereupon
withdrew, carrying their swords to the aid of other powers less

The news, however, that the terrible Odjack had offered themselves to
serve under the French spread a lively terror through the Arab tribes,
who, believing themselves about to suffer an aggravation of their
already intolerable oppression, experienced a sensation of relief and an
elevation of spirit no less marked, on hearing that the newly formed
government had rejected their services. Perceiving the fear in which
these Algerine Praetorians were held by the tribes, Marshal Clausel
conceived the plan of replacing them by a corps of light infantry,
consisting of two battalions, to perform the services of household
troops, and to receive some name as significant as that held by their
predecessors under the old _regime_. Consequently, after some
consideration, the newly constituted body was called by the name of
_Zouaves_, from the Arabic word _Zouaoua_.

The Zouaoua are a tribe, or rather a confederation of tribes, of the
Kabyles, who inhabit the gorges of the Jurjura Mountains, the boundary
of Algeria on the east, separating it from the province of Constantine.
They are a brave, fierce, laborious people, whose submission to the
Turks was never more than nominal; yet they were well known in the city
of Algiers, whither they came frequently to exchange the products of
their industry for the luxuries of comparative civilization. As they had
the reputation of being the best soldiers in the Regency, and had
occasionally lent their services to the Algerine princes, their name was
given to the new military force; while, to give it the character of a
French corps, the number of native soldiers received into its ranks was
limited, and all its officers, from the highest to the lowest grade,
were required to be native-born Frenchmen. The service in this corps was
altogether voluntary, none being appointed to the Zouaves who did not
seek the place; but there were found enough young and daring spirits who
embraced with enthusiasm this life, so harassing, so full of privation,
of rude labor, of constant peril. The first battalion was commanded by
Major Maumet; the second by Captain Duvivier, (since General,) who died
in Paris, 1848, of wounds received in the African service. Levaillant,
(since General of Division,) Verge, (now General of Brigade,) and
Molliere, who died Colonel, of wounds received at the siege of Rome,
were officers in these first two battalions.

Scarcely six weeks had elapsed since their formation, when the Zouaves
took the field under Marshal Clausel, marching against Medeah, an
important station in the heart of Western Algeria. On the hill of
Mouzaia they fought their first battle, in which they were completely
successful. They remained two months as a garrison in Medeah. Here they
showed proofs of a valor and patience most extraordinary. Left alone in
a frontier post, constantly in the vicinity of a savage foe, watching
and fighting night and day, leaving the gun only to take up the spade,
compelled to create everything they needed, reduced to the last
extremities for food, cut off from all communications,--it was a rough
trial for this little handful of new soldiers. The place was often
attacked; they were always at their posts; till in the last days of
April they were recalled, and the fortress yielded up to the feeble Bey
whom the French had decided to establish there. In June, troubles having
again arisen, General Berthezene conducted some troops of the regular
army to Medeah, to which was added the second battalion of Zouaves,
under its gallant captain, Duvivier. On his return, the troops were
attacked with fury on the hill of Mouzaia, the spot where the Zouaves
had in February of the same year received their baptism of fire. Wearied
with the long night-march, borne down by insupportable heat, stretched
in a long straggling line through mountain-passes, the commander of the
van severely wounded at the first discharge, they themselves separated,
without chiefs, and surrounded by enemies, the French troops recoiled;
when Duvivier, seeing the peril that menaced the army, advanced with his
battalion. Shouting their war-cry, they rushed on the Kabyles, supported
by the Volunteers of the Chart, or French Zouaves, thundering forth the
Marseillaise; turning the pursuers into pursued, they covered the
retreat of their associates to the farm of Mouzaia, where the army
rallied and proceeded without further loss to Algiers. This retreat, and
its attendant circumstances, made the Zouaves, before regarded, if not
with contempt, at least with dislike, _free of the camp_.

But now the losses sustained by the two battalions began to be seriously
felt,--for the growing hostility of the Arabs rendered it difficult to
recruit from native sources; and an ordinance of the king, dated March
7,1833, united the two battalions into one, consisting of ten companies,
eight of which were to be exclusively European, and two to be _not_
exclusively Algerine,--it being required that in each native company
there should be at least twelve Frenchmen. Duvivier was called to
Bougie; Maumet was compelled by his wounds to return to Paris; Captain
Lamoriciere was, therefore, appointed chief of the united battalion,
having given proof of his capacity in every way,--whether as soldier,
linguist, or negotiator,--being a wise and prudent man. It is to the
training the Zouaves received under this remarkable man that much of
their subsequent success must be ascribed. In his dealings with the
Arabs he had shown himself the first who could treat with them by other
means than the rifle or bayonet. [Footnote: _Annales Algeriennes_, Tom.
ii. p. 72.] In his capacity of Lieutenant-Colonel of Zouaves he showed
talents of a high order. He infused into them the spirit, the activity,
the boldness and impetuosity which he himself so remarkably possessed,
with a certain independence of character which demanded from those who
commanded them a resolute firmness on essential, and a dignified
indulgence on unessential points. [Footnote: _Conquete d'Alger_. Par A.
Nettement. p. 546.] To the course of discipline used by him, and still
maintained in this arm of the service, are due their tremendous working
power, their tirelessness, their self-dependence, and all their
qualities differing from those of other soldiers; so that by his means
one of the most irregular species of warfare has produced a body of
irresistible regular soldiers, and border combats have given rise to the
most rigid discipline in the world.

The post of Dely Ibrahim was assigned to the Zouaves. At this place they
were obliged to work laboriously, making for themselves whatever was
needed; whether as masons, ditchers, blacksmiths, carpenters, or
farmers,--whatever business was to be performed, they were, or learned
to be, sufficient for it. No idlers in that camp,--each must earn his
daily bread. What time was not devoted to labor was given to the
practice of arms and the acquisition of instruction in all departments
of military science; so that many a soldier was there fitted for the
position he afterwards acquired, of officer, colonel, or general. To
fence with the mounted bayonet, to wrestle, to leap, to climb, to run
for miles, to swim, to make and to destroy temporary bridges, to throw
up earth-walls, to carry great weights, to do, in short, what Indians
learn to do, and much that they do not learn,--these served as the
relaxations of the unwearied Zouaves. To vary the monotony of such a
life, there was enough adventure to be found for the seeking,--now an
incursion into the Sahel, or into the plains of Mitidja, or a wild foray
through the northern gorges of the Atlas. Day by day progress appeared;
they learned to march rapidly and long, to sustain the extremes of
hunger, thirst, and weather, and to manoeuvre with intelligent
precision; diligently fitting themselves, in industry, discipline, and
warlike education, for the position they had to fill. Their costume and
equipment were brought near perfection; they wore the Turkish dress,
slightly modified,--a dress perfectly suited to the changes of that
climate, and without which their movements would have been cramped and
constrained. Only the officers retained the uniform of the hussars,
which is rich and easy to wear. The cost of a suitable Turkish uniform
would have been too heavy for them, besides that the dress of a Turk of
rank is somewhat ridiculous. Certain officers on the march used,
however, to wear the _fez_, or, as the Arabs called it, the _chechia_.
Lamoriciere was known in Algeria as _Bou Chechia_, or _Papa with the
Cap_,--as he was known later in Oran as _Bou Araoua, Papa with the
Stick_. One finds, however, nothing of Orientalism in the regulations of
this body of troops; not the least negligence or slovenliness is allowed
in the most trifling detail. In fine, the care, and that descending to
note the smallest minutiae, which brought this race of soldiers to such
a pitch of perfection, leaving them their gayety and sprightliness, and,
notwithstanding the rigidness of the discipline, giving solidity and
precision to irregular troops, was rewarded by success unparalleled in
history. It was the best practical school for soldiers and officers; and
many of the best generals in the French army began their military career
in the wild guerrilla combats or the patient camp-life of this band of

Nearly two years had passed away in this training, when Marshal Clausel
returned to Africa, and led the Zouaves, whose fitness for the service
he well knew, into Oran. Here they added fresh laurels to those already
acquired. In the expedition of Mascara, where they fought under the eye
of the Duke of Orleans, they covered themselves with glory; insomuch
that on his return to Paris he procured a decree, 1835, constituting the
First Regiment of Zouaves, of two battalions, of six companies each,
and, should occasion justify the measure, of ten companies. Lamoriciere
continued in command.

In 1836 the Zouaves again took the hill of Mouzaia. This time they razed
its fortifications even with the ground, and returned to Algiers, where
they remained during General Clausel's first and unfortunate expedition
into Constantine, the eastern province of French Africa. In 1837 the
second expedition was made, and in this the Zouaves took part. One of
the divisions of the army was under the command of the Duke of Nemours.
In this division were the Zouaves under Lamoriciere, who here showed
themselves worthy of their renown. Fighting by the side of the most
excellent soldiers in the regular army, they proved themselves bravest
where all were brave. They were placed at the head of the first column
of attack. Lamoriciere was the first officer on the breach, and carried
all before him. The soldiers whom he had trained supported him nobly;
but when they had won the day, they found that many companies were
decimated, some nearly annihilated; numbers of their officers were dead
in the breach, "Those who are not mortally wounded rejoice at this great
success," said an officer to the Duke; and it was a significant
sentence. [Footnote: Verbal report of Colonel Combes to the Duke of

To form some notion of those troops, among whom the Zouaves showed
themselves like the gods in the war of Troy, one anecdote will suffice,
chosen from many which prove the valor of the army my generally. The
rear-guard at Mansourah was under the command of Changarnier; it was
reduced to three hundred men; he halted this little troop and said,
"Come, my men, look these fellows in the face; they are six thousand,
you are three hundred; surely the match is even." This speech was
sufficient. The Frenchmen awaited the onset till the enemy was within
pistol-shot; then, after a murderous volley, they charged on the Arabs,
who broke and fled in dismay. During the remainder of the day they would
not approach this band nearer than long rifle range. [Footnote:
_Moniteur_, December 16, 1833; report of Marshal Clausel.]

The siege of Constantine may properly be said to have ended the war of
occupation in Africa. Hitherto we have seen the Zouaves only in time of
active war, or in the defence of hill-forts, obliged to unity through
fear of an ever-menacing foe, and laboring for their own preservation or
comfort only; but now commenced a new training for them, no less severe
and dangerous, in which they showed themselves equally willing and
competent,--a war against stubborn Nature in all her most forbidding
aspects. Under the blazing suns of that tropical climate they
recommenced at Coleah the work already begun at Dely Ibrahim; ditches
were to be dug, works thrown up, roads made, draining accomplished,
farms tended, all that was necessary for the establishment of those
permanent colonies which France was so anxious to settle in Algeria was
to be done by the Zouaves; yet, despite that terrible labor, the danger
and hardship, the sickness and death, the ranks of the regiment filled
up rapidly; and, joined by the wrecks of the battalion of Mechouar, they
were kept full to overflowing. This battalion of Mechouar was a troop
left by Clausel in the _mechouar_, or citadel, of Tlemcen, in the West
of Oran, under the command of Captain Cavaignac; on the conclusion of
the war, in 1837, they, of course, returned to their regiment at Coleah.

This deceitful peace lasted only till 1839. In this year the vigilant
colonel of Zouaves perceived in his native troops alarming symptoms of
mutiny, and learned, to his surprise, that they were in a ripe condition
for revolt. Wild Santons of the desert, emissaries, doubtless, of
Abd-el-Kader, held secret meetings near the camp; many soldiers attended
them, and were seduced by artfully prepared inflammatory harangues and
prophecies. In the month of December, 1839, at the raising of the
standard of Islam, the natives flocked in vast numbers to rid the land
of the Christians; and most of the native Zouaves deserted to join the
fortunes of the prince whom they reverenced as a prophet. Old soldiers,
trained in the French service to a thorough acquaintance with European
tactics, and gray with battling long for Lamoriciere, suddenly left him,
and by their knowledge of the art of war gave great advantage to the
Arab force. In their combats with the Sultan, the Zouaves not
infrequently found that a sharp resistance or a masterly retreat on the
part of the enemy was executed under the direction of one of their
former comrades in arms. It was a critical moment for the Zouaves; but
at the announcement of the renewal of hostilities volunteers flowed in
on all sides, whether of young men full of ardor and excitement, or, as
in many instances, of old soldiers who had already served their time.
After a winter of petty skirmishing and reestablishing in Algeria the
semblance of security, the Duke of Orleans led the army, considerably
reinforced, in a raid against the Arabs under Abd-el-Kader in their own
territory. The Zouaves accompanied this expedition, and whether in their
charges against the mountaineers, who, with the aid of the Arab
regulars, defended each pass, or sustaining the shock of the provincial
cavalry, or even standing unmoved before the attack of Abd-el-Kader's
terrible "Reds," [Footnote: The mounted body-guard of Abd-el-Kader, so
called by the French from their complete red uniform.] they maintained
their character of rapid, intrepid, and successful soldiers. What names
we find in this regiment! Lamoriciere, Regnault, Renault, (now General
of Division,) Cavaignac, Leflo, (now General of Brigade,) and St.
Arnaud, who died Marshal of France two days after the victory of the

A singular instance of the _handiness_ of the Zouaves is found in the
notice of their forced march on this campaign, undertaken May 20th, to
support the retreating Seventeenth Light Infantry. Their cartridges were
fired away, the regulars of Abd-el-Kader were upon them, and nothing
seemed to remain but an heroic death, when, "Comrades," cried one, "see,
here are stones!" Not a word more; each caught the hint, and, with
simultaneous volleys of stones, drove off the charging enemy, and broke
their way to where the remains of the Seventeenth rallied under Colonel
Bedeau, after a retreat more properly to be called a continual attack!

Hard at work during the winter of 1840-41, General Bugeaud found these
indefatigable soldiers in perfect condition to take the field again,
when he landed in April. There had been sharp fighting during the past
year at Mouzaia, in which the Zouaves always led the van, and were, as
in every engagement they ever fought, covered with honor. "The Second,
electrified by the example of its officers, and led by Colonel
Changarnier, flung itself on the intrenchments; the redoubts were
carried, etc. At the same time, in the other column, Lamoriciere led the
way with his Zouaves, followed by the other troops. The Zouaves
surmounted the almost impassable cliffs, attacked and carried two lines
of intrenchment, and, in the teeth of a murderous fire, forced a third;
a few moments later the two columns joined, and, rushing up the
acclivity, planted the flag of France on the highest peak of the Atlas."
[Footnote: Report of Marshal Valee: _Moniteur_.] Little variation is
found in the reports of generals concerning the Zouaves at this time;
they say of these troops always, "The First," or "The Second, was
covered with glory."

But now, with the arrival of Bugeaud, the war in Africa was changed;
hitherto it had been a mere war of occupation,--a holding of the ground
already French against the attacking Arabs; now it was to be a duel, a
war of devastation; thus only could France hope to tame the
indefatigable Abd-el-Kader, and permanently hold her own. The trouble
was not so much to fight him as to get near enough to fight him; for he
pursued a truly Fabian policy, and being lighter armed, was consequently
swifter than the invaders. Under Marshal Clausel, the French, drawing
with them the heavy wagons and munitions of European warfare, were
obliged to follow the high-roads, and the Arabs could never be taken by
surprise; scouts gave information of their numbers, and after harassing
marches they would find that the foe had either retreated to unknown
fastnesses or assembled on the spot in prodigious force. Now Lamoriciere
proposed a plan, in the execution of which he was eminently successful.
Bugeaud's design was, to follow the Arabs into the desert, to climb the
steep mountains, to plunge into their chasms, to storm every hill-fort,
and to drive, step by step, the swift Abd-el-Kader far from the land
which his presence so troubled; but how? for swift troops are
light-armed, carry no luggage, and but little provision; and to follow
without food the Arabs who concealed food in _silos_, _caches_ in the
ground, seemed hopeless. Lamoriciere required but his Zouaves, who
carried only four days' provisions, and no baggage of any sort; when
they drew near any of these _silos_, which were always, of course, in
the vicinity of the deserted villages, he spread out his troops in a
long crescent, and they advanced slowly, rooting up the ground with
their bayonets till some one struck on the stone or pebbles covering the
precious deposit. Thus, without wagons, trained to tireless activity,
they could follow the Arabs from _douar_ to _douar_ with little delay,
and with fatal effect.

Great reinforcements were sent to Africa, and the Zouaves were not
forgotten; for, in the royal ordinance of September 8th, 1841, the
regiment was raised to three battalions of nine companies; only one of
the nine, however, could receive natives, so that but three native
companies now existed, and few Algerines were found even in these. The
reasons seem to have been threefold: first, the danger from mutiny;
second, the evils arising from the mixture of the two races, which had
augmented their vices, without a corresponding improvement in their good
qualities; third, and perhaps most important of all, the discontent very
properly felt by the French Zouaves, who were compelled to work at the
trenches, to dig, to plant, etc., while the Mussulmans utterly refused
to take part in this, to their mind, degrading toil. The Gordian knot
was cut, and all difficulty done away, by making the regiment, in
effect, exclusively European. Thus reorganized and reinforced, the
regiment, on receiving the standard sent it by the king, immediately
separated,--one battalion marching for Oran, one for Constantine, while
the other remained at Blidah, in Algeria.

The year 1842 was full of great results; the new system worked well,
great numbers of tribes laid down their arms and swore fealty to France,
and the provinces were more than nominally in the hands of the French.
Still many of the more distant and powerful tribes held to their
allegiance to the Prophet Sultan. The war gradually took on itself the
form of a civil contest, and mutual animosities gave rise to many
occasions for sanguinary combats; one of these, in the valley of the
Cheliff, September, 1842, lasted unintermittingly for thirty-six hours!
In this battle, and that of Oued Foddah, and, in fact, in almost every
battle of those years, the Zouaves took an honorable part. In mountain
fights, long marches over burning sands, repulses of cavalry, at
Jurjura, Ouarsanis, among the Beni Menasser, at the Smalah, in the
struggles of Bedeau with the Moroccan cavalry, and in the memorable
battle of Isly, they did good service; their history was but a narrative
of brilliant exploits. In many of their hill fights, the deserters of
1839 gave much trouble. In a skirmish, 1844, on the south side of the
Aures, in which Captain Espinasse (died General of Division, Magenta,
June 6th, 1859) was concerned, and wounded four times, an old native
Zouave commanded the Kabyles, and defended their principal position with
much skill.

In fine, to recount the hundredth part of their deeds,--to make out a
list of their soldiers, sub-officers, or officers who have been since
promoted to high honors,--to trace minutely each step by which they
mounted to their present position, would be to write, not an article,
but a book. In 1842 the natives disappeared finally from their ranks;
the best and bravest soldiers of the African army eagerly sought their
places, attracted by the uniform, the manner of life, the constant
danger and no less constant excitement, the liberty allowed, the glory
ever open to all. As their numbers were decimated by the continual
warfare, the ranks were immediately filled by the descendants of those
brave Gauls who once said, "If the heavens fall, what care we? We will
support them on the points of our lances!" In 1848, the Zouaves received
a large accession from Paris; the _gamins_ of the Revolution were sent
to them in great numbers; out of this unpromising, rebellious material,
some of the finest of these admirable troops have been made. And now,
when the entry into this regiment was longed for by so many, as a
species of promotion, on the 13th of February, 1852, Louis Napoleon,
then President of the Republic, decreed that three regiments of Zouaves
be formed, each on one of the three battalions as a nucleus, taking the
number of the battalion as its own. Thus the first regiment was formed
at Blidah, in Algiers; the second at Oran, in Oran; the third at
Constantine, in the province of Constantine. Officers of the corps of
infantry were eligible to the new regiments, holding the same grade; the
men were to be drawn from any infantry corps in the army, on their own
application, if the Minister of War saw proper. None were accepted but
men physically and morally in excellent condition; the officers had, for
the most part, already served with credit; the under-officers and
soldiers had been many years in the service; and even many corporals,
and not a few ensigns and lieutenants, voluntarily relinquished their
positions to serve in the rank-and-file of the new corps. So, occupied
in pacificating and securing the three provinces, the regiments lost
nothing of their former renown; obedient to orders, and fearless of
danger, it was no idle compliment paid them by Louis Napoleon, when, in
the winter of 1853-4, be said, "If the war break out, we must show our
Zouaves to the Russians." They were a body trained in the school of a
terrible experience of twenty-four years; they had learned, like the
lion-hunter, Gerard, to take death by the mane, and look into his fiery
eyes without blenching; they were fit for this service, which demanded
the best nerve of the two most powerful nations of the world. What they
did there is known to all; at the battle of the Alma, Marshal St. Arnaud
was unable to repress his admiration, calling them "the bravest soldiers
in the world." All Europe, at first wondering at these strange troops,
with their wild dress, their half-savage manners, and strange method of
warfare, found speedy cause to admire their courage and success; France
was proud of their renown, and they became immensely popular in Paris,
sure proof of their remarkable qualities. Their oddities, their courage,
their imperfect knowledge of the distinctions of _meum_ and _tuum_,
their wondering, childlike simplicity, furnished themes for endless
songs and caricatures; the comedy of "Les Zouaves" met with great
success; and the cant name for them, "Zouzou," is to be heard at any
time in the streets. In 1855, the Fourth Zouaves was created, consisting
of but two battalions, and enrolled in the Imperial Guard; they are
distinguished from the others by wearing a white turban, while that of
the other regiments is green; since the formation of this regiment, no
new corps have been added. The peace with Russia, in 1856, was not peace
for the Zouaves, who returned, desiring nothing better, to Africa,
where, in the continued war, they found congenial employment till the
final submission of the last tribes, July 15, 1857, dissolved the army
of Kabylia, and made them, perforce, peaceful, till the 26th of April of
this year brought them to win fresh laurels on a new field.

Vague reports, assertions without proof, have been not infrequently
made, to the effect that the Zouaves are in character cruel, dissolute,
and excessively given to hard drinking. That they are absolutely free
from the first charge I shall not attempt to deny; that they are more so
than other men, in like circumstances, there is no proof; there is even
good reason to state the contrary, if we may judge by instances, of
which, for want of space, one shall suffice here. The Zouaves were in
the van of the army, on their march toward the Tell; in their charge was
a large body of prisoners, wounded, and helpless women, old men, and
children, whom they were conducting to the Tell, to restore them to
their homes. The weather was intensely hot, even for Africa; the nearest
well was eleven leagues distant; and the sufferings of the poor people
must have been dreadful indeed. Mothers flung down their infants on the
burning sand, and pressed madly on to save themselves from the most
horrible of deaths; old men and boys sunk exhausted, panting, declaring
they could go no farther. "Then it was," says an eyewitness, "that the
Zouaves behaved like very Sisters of Charity, rather than rough bearded
soldiers; they divided their last morsel with these unfortunates, gave
them drink from their own scanty stores, and, putting their canteens to
the mouths of the dying, revived them with the precious draught. They
raised the screaming infants, overturned and held ewes, that they might
suckle the poor creatures, abandoned in despair by their mothers, and,
in many instances, carried them the whole distance in their arms. At
night they ate nothing, giving their food to the helpless prisoners,
whose lives they thus saved at the risk of their own." If in war they
"imitate the action of the tiger," we have every reason to believe that
in peace they are, to say the least, not less humane than others.

The author of "Recollections of an Officer" [Footnote: _Souvenirs d'un
Officier du 2me de Zouaves_. Paris, 1859.] sums up the character of the
Zouaves in a few words which clear them from the other two charges,
those of dissoluteness and drunkenness. He says,--"Beside the condition
of success resulting from the first organization, it must be said, that,
somewhat later, the happy idea came to be adopted, of giving to the
Zouaves destined to fight in the light-armed troops the costume of
_Chasseurs-a-pied_. The recruitment added also not a little to the
reputation which the Zouaves so rapidly acquired; the soldiers are all
drawn, not from conscripts, but from applicants for the service. Many
are Parisians, or, at all events, inhabitants of the other great French


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