APPENDIX. COTTON MATHER.
CAPTAIN PHIPS AND THE SPANISH WRECK.
[From Magnalia Christi Americana.]
Captain Phips, arriving with a ship and a tender at Port de la Plata, made a stout canoe of a stately cotton-tree, so large as to carry eight or ten oars, for the making of which periaga (as they call it) he did, with the same industry that he did every thing else, employ his own hand and adze, and endure no little hardship, lying abroad in the woods many nights together. This periaga with the tender, being anchored at a place convenient, the periaga kept busking to and again, but could only discover a reef of rising shoals thereabouts, called “The Boilers,” which, rising to be within two or three feet of the surface of the sea, were yet so steep that a ship striking on them would immediately sink down, who could say how many fathom, into the ocean. Here they could get no other pay for their long peeping among the Boilers, but only such as caused them to think upon returning to their captain with the bad news of their total disappointment. Nevertheless, as they were upon their return, one of the men, looking over the side of the periaga into the calm water, he spied a sea-feather growing, as he judged, out of a rock; whereupon he bade one of their Indians to dive and fetch this feather, that they might, however, carry home something with them, and make at least as fair a triumph as Caligula's. The diver, bringing up the feather, brought therewithal a surprising story, that he perceived a number of great guns in the watery world where he had found his feather; the report of which great guns exceedingly astonished the whole company, and at once turned their despondencies for their ill success into assurances that they had now lit upon the true spot of ground which they had been looking for; and they were further confirmed in these assurances when, upon further diving, the Indian fetched up a sow, as they styled it, or a lump of silver worth perhaps two or three hundred pounds. Upon this they prudently buoyed the place that they might readily find it again; and they went back unto their captain, whom for some while they distressed with nothing but such bad news as they formerly thought they must have carried him. Nevertheless, they so slipped in the sow of silver on one side under the table, where they wore now sitting with the captain, and hearing him express his resolutions to wait still patiently upon the providence of God under these disappointments, that when he should look on one side he might see that odd thing before him. At last he saw it. Seeing it he cried out with some agony, “Why! what is this? Whence comes this?” And then, with changed countenances, they told him how and where they got it. “Then,” said he, “thanks be to God! We are made,” and so away they went all hands to work; wherein they had this one further piece of remarkable prosperity, that whereas if they had first fallen upon that part of the Spanish wreck where the pieces of eight had been stowed in bags among the ballast they had seen a more laborious and less enriching time of it; now, most happily, they first fell upon that room in the wreck where the bullion had been stored up; and they so prospered in this new fishery that in a little while they had, without the loss of any man's life, brought up thirty-two tuns of silver; for it was now come to measuring of silver by tuns. Besides which, one Adderly, of Providence, who had formerly been very helpful to Captain Phips in the search of this wreck, did, upon former agreement, meet him now with a little vessel here; and he with his few hands, took up about six tuns of silver; whereof, nevertheless, he made so little use that in a year or two he died at Bermudas, and, as I have heard, he ran distracted some while before he died.
Thus did there once again come into the light of the sun a treasure which had been half an hundred years groaning under the waters; and in this time there was grown upon the plate a crust-like limestone, to the thickness of several inches; which crust being broken open by iron contrived for that purpose, they knocked out whole bushels of rusty pieces of eight; which were grown thereinto. Besides that incredible treasure of plate in various forms thus fetched up from seven or eight fathom under water, there were vast riches of gold, and pearls, and jewels, which they also lit upon; and, indeed, for a more comprehensive invoice, I must but summarily say, “All that a Spanish frigate uses to be enriched withal.”
 Passing to and fro.
 The Roman emperor who invaded Britain unsuccessfully and made his legionaries gather sea-shells to bring back with them as evidences of victory.
 One of Mather's puns.
 Spanish piasters, formerly divided into eight reals. The piaster=an American dollar.
THE BEAUTY OF HOLINESS.
[From the author's Personal Narrative.]
Holiness, as I then wrote down some of my contemplations on it, appeared to me to be of a sweet, pleasant, charming, serene, calm nature; which brought an inexpressible purity, brightness, peacefulness, and ravishment to the soul. In other words, that it made the soul like a field or garden of God, with all manner of pleasant flowers; enjoying a sweet calm and the gently vivifying beams of the sun. The soul of a true Christian, as I then wrote my meditations, appeared like such a little white flower as we see in the spring of the year; low and humble on the ground, opening its bosom to receive the pleasant beams of the sun's glory; rejoicing, as it were, in a calm rapture; diffusing around a sweet fragrancy; standing peacefully and lovingly in the midst of other flowers round about; all in like manner opening their bosoms to drink in the light of the sun. There was no part of creature-holiness that I had so great a sense of its loveliness as humility, brokenness of heart, and poverty of spirit; and there was nothing that I so earnestly longed for. My heart panted after this—to lie low before God, as in the dust; that I might be nothing, and that God might be all; that I might become as a little child.
THE WRATH OF GOD.
[From Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.]
Unconverted men walk over the pit of hell on a rotten covering, and there are innumerable places in this covering so weak that they will not bear their weight, and these places are not seen. The arrows of death fly unseen at noonday; the sharpest sight cannot discern them. God has so many different, unsearchable ways of taking wicked men out of the world and sending them to hell that there is nothing to make it appear that God had need to be at the expense of a miracle, or go out of the ordinary course of his providence, to destroy any wicked man at any moment. . . . Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead and to tend downward with great weight and pressure toward hell; and, if God should let you go, you would immediately sink and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottomless gulf, and your healthy constitution, and your own care and prudence, and best contrivance, and all your righteousness, would have no more influence to uphold you and keep you out of hell than a spider's web would have to stop a falling rock. . . . There are the black clouds of God's wrath now hanging directly over your heads, full of the dreadful storm and big with thunder; and were it not for the restraining hand of God it would immediately burst forth upon you. The sovereign pleasure of God, for the present, stays his rough wind; otherwise it would come with fury, and your destruction would come like a whirlwind, and you would be like the chaff of the summer threshing-floor. The wrath of God is like great waters that are dammed for the present; they increase more and more, and rise higher and higher, till an outlet is given; and the longer the stream is stopped, the more rapid and mighty is its course when once it is let loose. . . .
Thus it will be with you that are in an unconverted state, if you continue in it; the infinite might and majesty and terribleness of the omnipotent God shall be magnified upon you in the ineffable strength of your torments; you shall be tormented in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb; and, when you shall be in this state of suffering, the glorious inhabitants of heaven shall go forth and look on the awful spectacle, that they may see what the wrath and fierceness of the Almighty is; and when they have seen it they will fall down and adore that great power and majesty. “And it shall come to pass, that from one moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. And they shall go forth and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me; for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched, and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.”
It is everlasting wrath. It would be dreadful to suffer this fierceness and wrath of Almighty God one moment: but you must suffer it to all eternity; there will be no end to this exquisite, horrible misery; when you look forward you shall see along forever, a boundless duration before you, which will swallow up your thoughts and amaze your soul; and you will absolutely despair of ever having any deliverance, any end, any mitigation, any rest at all; you will know certainly that you must wear out long ages, millions of millions of ages, in wrestling and conflicting with this Almighty merciless vengeance; and then, when you have so done, when so many ages have actually been spent by you in this manner, you will know that all is but a point to what remains. So that your punishment will indeed be infinite. . . . If we knew that there was one person, and but one, in the whole congregation, that was to be the subject of this misery, what an awful thing it would be to think of! If we knew who it was, what an awful sight would it be to see such a person! How might all the rest of the congregation lift up a lamentable and bitter cry over him! But alas! Instead of one, how many is it likely will remember this discourse in hell! And it would be a wonder if some that are now present should not be in hell in a very short time, before this year is out. And it would be no wonder if some persons, that now sit here in some seats of this meeting-house in health, and quiet, and secure, should be there before to-morrow morning.
FRANKLIN'S ARRIVAL AT PHILADELPHIA.
[From The Life of Benjamin Franklin, Written by Himself.]
I was in my working dress, my best clothes being to come round by sea. I was dirty from my journey; my pockets were stuffed out with shirts and stockings, and I knew no soul nor where to look for lodging. I was fatigued with traveling, rowing, and want of rest; I was very hungry; and my whole stock of cash consisted of a Dutch dollar and about a shilling in copper. The latter I gave the people of the boat for my passage, who at first refused it, on account of my rowing; but I insisted on their taking it, a man being sometimes more generous when he has but a little money than when he has plenty, perhaps through fear of being thought to have but little.
Then I walked up the street, gazing about, till near the market-house I met a boy with bread. I had made many a meal on bread, and, inquiring where he got it, I went immediately to the baker's he directed me to, in Second Street, and asked for biscuit, intending such as we had in Boston; but they, it seems, were not made in Philadelphia. Then I asked for a three-penny loaf, and was told they had none such. So, not considering or knowing the difference of money, and the greater cheapness, nor the names of his bread, I had him give me three-penny worth of any sort. He gave me, accordingly, three great puffy rolls. I was surprised at the quantity, but took it, and, having no room in my pockets, walked off with a roll under each arm, and eating the other. Thus I went up Market Street as far as Fourth Street, passing by the door of Mr. Read, my future wife's father, when she, standing at the door, saw me, and thought I made, as I certainly did, a most awkward, ridiculous appearance. Then I turned and went down Chestnut Street and part of Walnut Street, eating my roll all the way and, coming round, found myself again at Market Street wharf, near the boat I came in, to which I went for a draught of the river water; and, being filled with one of my rolls, gave the other two to a woman and her child that came down the river in the boat with us, and were waiting to go farther.
Thus refreshed, I walked again up the street, which by this time had many clean-dressed people in it, who were all walking the same way. I joined them, and thereby was led into the great meeting-house of the Quakers near the market. I sat down among them, and, after looking 'round a while and hearing nothing said, being very drowsy through labor and want of rest the preceding night, I fell fast asleep, and continued so till the meeting broke up, when one was kind enough to rouse me. This was, therefore, the first house I was in, or slept in, in Philadelphia.
Walking down again toward the river, and looking in the faces of the people, I met a young Quaker man whose countenance I liked, and, accosting him, requested he would tell me where a stranger could get lodging. We were near the sign of the Three Mariners. “Here,” says he, “is one place that entertains strangers, but it is not a reputable house; if thee wilt walk with me, I'll show thee a better.” He brought me to the Crooked Billet in Water Street. Here I got a dinner.
PAYING TOO DEAR FOR THE WHISTLE.
[From Correspondence with Madame Britton.]
I am charmed with your description of Paradise, and with your plan of living there; and I approve much of your conclusion, that, in the meantime, we should draw all the good we can from this world. In my opinion we might all draw more good from it than we do, and suffer less evil, if we would take care not to give too much for whistles, for to me it seems that most of the unhappy people we meet with are become so by neglect of that caution.
You ask what I mean? You love stories, and will excuse my telling one of myself.
When I was a child of seven years old my friends, on a holiday, filled my pocket with coppers. I went directly to a shop where they sold toys for children, and, being charmed with the sound of a whistle, that I met by the way in the hands of another boy, I voluntarily offered and gave all my money for one. I then came home, and went whistling all over the house, much pleased with my whistle, but disturbing all the family. My brothers and sisters and cousins, understanding the bargain I had made, told me I had given four times as much for it as it was worth; put me in mind what good things I might have bought with the rest of the money, and laughed at me so much for my folly that I cried with vexation; and the reflection gave me more chagrin than the whistle gave me pleasure.
This, however, was afterward of use to me, the impression continuing on my mind, so that often when I was tempted to buy some unnecessary thing, I said to myself, Don't give too much for the whistle; and I saved my money.
As I grew up, came into the world, and observed the actions of men, I thought I met with many, very many, who gave too much for the whistle.
When I saw one too ambitious of court favor, sacrificing his time in attendance on levees, his repose, his liberty, his virtue, and perhaps his friends to attain it, I have said to myself, This man gives too much for his whistle.
When I saw another fond of popularity, constantly employing himself in political bustles, neglecting his own affairs, and ruining them by that neglect, He pays, indeed, said I, too much for his whistle. . . .
If I see one fond of appearance or fine clothes, fine houses, fine furniture, fine equipages, all above his fortune, for which he contracts debts and ends his career in a prison, Alas! say I, he has paid dear, very dear for his whistle. . . .
In short, I conceive that a great part of the miseries of mankind are brought upon them by the false estimates they have made of the value of things and by their giving too much for their whistles.
Yet I ought to have charity for these unhappy people, when I consider that with all this wisdom of which I am boasting, there are certain things in the world so tempting, for example, the apples of King John, which happily are not to be bought; for if they were put to sale by auction I might very easily be led to ruin myself in the purchase, and find that I had once more given too much for the whistle.
THE INDIAN BURYING-GROUND.
In spite of all the learned have said,
I still my old opinion keep:
The posture that we give the dead
Points out the soul's eternal sleep.
Not so the ancients of these lands:
The Indian, when from life released,
Again is seated with his friends,
And shares again the joyous feast.
His imaged birds and painted bowl
And venison, for a journey dressed,
Bespeak the nature of the soul,
Activity that knows no rest.
His bow for action ready bent,
And arrows with a head of stone,
Can only mean that life is spent,
And not the finer essence gone.
Thou, stranger that shalt come this way.
No fraud upon the dead commit—
Observe the swelling turf and say,
They do not lie, but here they sit.
Here still a lofty rock remains,
On which the curious eye may trace
(Now wasted half by wearing rains)
The fancies of a ruder race.
Here still an aged elm aspires,
Beneath whose far-projecting shade
(And which the shepherd still admires)
The children of the forest played.
There oft a restless Indian queen
(Pale Sheba with her braided hair),
And many a barbarous form is seen
To chide the man that lingers there.
By midnight moons, o'er moistening dews,
In vestments for the chase arrayed,
The hunter still the deer pursues,
The hunter and the deer—a shade!
And long shall timorous Fancy see
The painted chief and pointed spear,
And Reason's self shall bow the knee
To shadows and delusions here.
[From the Reply to Hayne, January 25, 1830.]
I profess, sir, in my career hitherto, to have kept steadily in view the prosperity and honor of the whole country, and the preservation of our Federal Union. It is to that Union we owe our safety at home and our consideration and dignity abroad. It is to that Union that we are chiefly indebted for whatever makes us most proud of our country. That Union we readied only by the discipline of our virtues in the severe school of adversity. It had its origin in the necessities of disordered finance, prostrate commerce, and ruined credit. Under its benign influences these great interests immediately awoke as from the dead and sprang forth with newness of life. Every year of its duration has teemed with fresh proofs of its utility and its blessings; and although our territory has stretched out wider and wider and our population spread farther and farther, they have not outrun its protection or its benefits. It has been to us all a copious fountain of national, social, and personal happiness.
I have not allowed myself, sir, to look beyond the Union to see what might lie hidden in the dark recess behind. I have not coolly weighed the chances of preserving liberty when the bonds that unite us together shall be broken asunder. I have not accustomed myself to hang over the precipice of disunion to see whether with my short sight I can fathom the depth of the abyss below, nor could I regard him as a safe counselor in the affairs of this government whose thoughts should be mainly bent on considering not how the Union may be best preserved, but how tolerable might be the condition of the people when it should be broken up and destroyed. While the Union lasts we have high, exciting, gratifying prospects spread out before us, for us and our children. Beyond that I seek not to penetrate the veil. God grant that in my day at least that curtain may not rise! God grant that on my vision never may be opened what lies beyond! When my eyes shall be turned to behold for the last time the sun in heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious Union; on States dissevered, discordant, belligerent; on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood! Let their last feeble and lingering glance rather behold the gorgeous ensign of the Republic, now known and honored throughout the earth, still full high advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original luster, not a stripe erased or polluted, not a single star obscured, bearing for its motto no such miserable interrogatory as “What is all this worth?” nor those other words of delusion and folly, “Liberty first; and Union afterward;” but every-where, spread all over in characters of living light, blazing on all its ample folds as they float over the sea and over the land, and in every wind under the whole heavens, that other sentiment dear to every true American heart—Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!
SOUTH CAROLINA AND MASSACHUSETTS.
[From the same.]
When I shall be found, sir, in my place here in the Senate, or elsewhere, to sneer at public merit because it happens to spring up beyond the little limits of my own State or neighborhood; when I refuse, for any such cause, or for any cause, the homage due to American talent, to elevated patriotism, to sincere devotion to liberty and the country; or, if I see an uncommon endowment of Heaven, if I see extraordinary capacity and virtue, in any son of the South; and if, moved by local prejudices or gangrened by State jealousy, I get up here to abate the tithe of a hair from his just character and just fame, may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!
Sir, let me recur to pleasing recollections; let me indulge in refreshing remembrances of the past; let me remind you that, in early times, no States cherished greater harmony, both of principle and feeling, than Massachusetts and South Carolina. Would to God that harmony might again return! Shoulder to shoulder they went through the Revolution, hand in hand they stood round the administration of Washington, and felt his own great arm lean on them for support. Unkind feeling, if it exist, alienation and distrust are the growth, unnatural to such soils, of false principle; since sown. They are weeds, the seeds of which that same great arm never scattered.
Mr. President, I shall enter upon no encomium of Massachusetts; she needs none. There she is. Behold her and judge for yourselves. There is her history; the world knows it by heart. The past, at least, is secure. There is Boston, and Concord, and Lexington, and Bunker Hill; and there they will remain forever. The bones of her sons, falling in the great struggle for independence, now lie mingled with the soil of every State from New England to Georgia, and there they will lie forever. And, sir, where American liberty raised its first voice, and where its youth was nurtured and sustained, there it still lives, in the strength of its manhood, and full of its original spirit. If discord and disunion shall wound it, if party strife and blind ambition shall hawk at and tear it, if folly and madness, if uneasiness under salutary and necessary restraint shall succeed in separating it from that Union by which alone its existence is made sure, it will stand, in the end, by the side of that cradle in which its infancy was rocked; it will stretch forth its arm with whatever of vigor it may still retain, over the friends who gather round it; and it will fall at last, if fall it must, amidst the profoundest monuments of its own glory, and on the very spot of its origin.
THE STORM SHIP.
[From Bracebridge Hall.]
In the golden age of the province of the New Netherlands, when under the sway of Wouter Van Twiller, otherwise called the Doubter, the people of the Manhattoes were alarmed one sultry afternoon, just about the time of the summer solstice, by a tremendous storm of thunder and lightning. The rain fell in such torrents as absolutely to spatter up and smoke along the ground. It seemed as if the thunder rattled and rolled over the very roofs of the houses; the lightning was seen to play about the Church of St. Nicholas, and to strive three times in vain to strike its weather-cock. Garrett Van Horne's new chimney was split almost from top to bottom; and Boffne Mildeberger was struck speechless from his bald-faced mare just as he was riding into town. . . . At length the storm abated; the thunder sank into a growl, and the setting sun, breaking from under the fringed borders of the clouds, made the broad bosom of the bay to gleam like a sea of molten gold.
The word was given from the fort that a ship was standing up the bay. . . . She was a stout, round, Dutch-built vessel, with high bow and poop, and bearing Dutch colors. The evening sun gilded her bellying canvas as she came riding over the long waving billows. The sentinel who had given notice of her approach declared that he first got sight of her when she was in the center of the bay; and that she broke suddenly on his sight, just as if she had come out of the bosom of the black thunder-clouds. . . . The ship was now repeatedly hailed, but made no reply, and, passing by the fort, stood on up the Hudson. A gun was brought to bear on her, and, with some difficulty, loaded and fired by Hans Van Pelt, the garrison not being expert in artillery. The shot seemed absolutely to pass through the ship, and to skip along the water on the other side; but no notice was taken of it! What was strange, she had all her sails set, and sailed right against wind and tide, which were both down the river. . . . Thus she kept on, away up the river, lessening and lessening in the evening sunshine, until she faded from sight like a little white cloud melting away in the summer sky. . . .
Messengers were dispatched to various places on the river, but they returned without any tidings—the ship had made no port. Day after day, week after week elapsed, but she never returned down the Hudson. As, however, the council seemed solicitous for intelligence they had it in abundance. The captains of the sloops seldom arrived without bringing some report of having seen the strange ship at different parts of the river—sometimes near the Palisades, sometimes off Croton Point, and sometimes in the Highlands; but she never was reported as having been seen above the Highlands. The crews of the sloops, it is true, generally differed among themselves in their accounts of these apparitions; but that may have arisen from the uncertain situations in which they saw her. Sometimes it was by the flashes of the thunder-storm lighting up a pitchy night, and giving glimpses of her careering across Tappan Zee or the wide waste of Haverstraw Bay. At one moment she would appear close upon them, as if likely to run them down, and would throw them into great bustle and alarm, but the next flash would show her far off, always sailing against the wind. Sometimes, in quiet moonlight nights, she would be seen under some high bluff of the Highlands; all in deep shadow, excepting her top-sails glittering in the moonbeams; by the time, however, that the voyagers reached the place no ship was to be seen; and when they had passed on for some distance and looked back, behold! there she was again with her top-sails in the moonshine! Her appearance was always just after or just in the midst of unruly weather; and she was known among the skippers and voyagers of the Hudson by the name of “The Storm Ship.”
These reports perplexed the governor and his council more than ever; and it would be useless to repeat the conjectures and opinions uttered on the subject. Some quoted cases in point of ships seen off the coast of New England navigated by witches and goblins. Old Hans Van Pelt, who had been more than once to the Dutch Colony at the Cape of Good Hope, insisted that this must be the Flying Dutchmanwhich had so long haunted Table Bay, but being unable to make port had now sought another harbor. Others suggested that if it really was a supernatural apparition, as there was every natural reason to believe, it might be Hendrik Hudson and his crew of the Half-Moon, who, it was well known, had once run aground in the upper part of the river in seeking a north-west passage to China. This opinion had very little weight with the governor, but it passed current out of doors; for indeed it had always been reported that Hendrik Hudson and his crew haunted the Kaatskill Mountains; and it appeared very reasonable to suppose that his ship might infest the river where the enterprise was baffled, or that it might bear the shadowy crew to their periodical revels in the mountain. . . .
People who live along the river insist that they sometimes see her in summer moonlight, and that in a deep still midnight they have heard the chant of her crew, as if heaving the lead; but sights and sounds are so deceptive along the mountainous shores, and about the wide bays and long reaches of this great river, that I confess I have very strong doubts upon the subject. It is certain, nevertheless, that strange things have been seen in these Highlands in storms, which are considered as connected with the old story of the ship. The captains of the river craft talk of a little bulbous-bottomed Dutch goblin, in trunk hose and sugar-loafed hat, with a speaking-trumpet in his hand, which, they say, keeps about the Dunderberg. They declare that they have heard him, in stormy weather, in the midst of the turmoil, giving orders in Low Dutch for the piping up of a fresh gust of wind or the rattling off of another thunder-clap; that sometimes he has been seen surrounded by a crew of little imps in broad breeches and short doublets, tumbling head-over-heels in the rack and mist, and playing a thousand gambols in the air, or buzzing like a swarm of flies about Anthony's Nose; and that, at such times, the hurry-scurry of the storm was always greatest. One time a sloop, in passing by the Dunderberg, was overtaken by a thunder-gust that came scouring round the mountain, and seemed to burst just over the vessel. Though light and well ballasted she labored dreadfully, and the water came over the gunwale. All the crew were amazed when it was discovered that there was a little white sugar-loaf hat on the masthead, known at once to be the hat of the Herr of the Dunderberg. Nobody, however, dared to climb to the mast-head and get rid of this terrible hat. The sloop continued laboring and rocking, as if she would have rolled her mast overboard, and seemed in continual danger either of upsetting or of running on shore. In this way she drove quite through the Highlands, until she had passed Pollopol's Island, where, it is said, the jurisdiction of the Dunderberg potentate ceases. No sooner had she passed this bourn than the little hat spun up into the air like a top, whirled up all the clouds into a vortex, and hurried them back to the summit of the Dunderberg, while the sloop righted herself and sailed on as quietly as if in a mill-pond. Nothing saved her from utter wreck but the fortunate circumstance of having a horse-shoe nailed against the mast—a wise precaution against evil spirits, since adopted by all the Dutch captains that navigate this haunted river.
JAMES FENIMORE COOPER.
[From The Deerslayer.]
In the position in which the ark had now got, the castle was concealed from view by the projection of a point, as, indeed, was the northern extremity of the lake itself. A respectable mountain, forest-clad, and rounded like all the rest, limited the view in that direction, stretching immediately across the whole of the fair scene, with the exception of a deep bay that passed its western end, lengthening the basin for more than a mile. The manner in which the water flowed out of the lake, beneath the leafy arches of the trees that lined the sides of the stream, has already been mentioned, and it has also been said that the rock, which was a favorite place of rendezvous throughout all that region, and where Deerslayer now expected to meet his friend, stood near this outlet and no great distance from the shore. It was a large isolated stone that rested on the bottom of the lake, apparently left there when the waters tore away the earth from around it, in forcing for themselves a passage down the river, and which had obtained its shape from the action of the elements during the slow progress of centuries. The height of this rock could scarcely equal six feet, and, as has been said, its shape was not unlike that which is usually given to bee-hives or to a hay-cock. The latter, indeed, gives the best idea, not only of its form, but of its dimensions. It stood, and still stands, for we are writing of real scenes, within fifty feet of the bank, and in water that was only two feet in depth, though there were seasons in which its rounded apex, if such a term can properly be used, was covered by the lake. Many of the trees stretched so far forward as almost to blend the rock with the shore, when seen from a little distance; and one tall pine in particular overhung it in a way to form a noble and appropriate canopy to a seat that had held many a forest chieftain, during the long succession of ages in which America and all it contained existed apart in mysterious solitude, a world by itself, equally without a familiar history and without an origin that the annals of man can catch.
When distant some two or three hundred feet from the shore Deerslayer took in his sail, and he dropped his grapnel as soon as he found the ark had drifted in a line that was directly to windward of the rock. The motion of the scow was then checked, when it was brought head to wind by the action of the breeze. As soon as this was done Deerslayer “paid out line,” and suffered the vessel to “set down” upon the rock as fast as the light air would force it to leeward. Floating entirely on the surface, this was soon affected, and the young man checked the drift when he was told that the stern of the scow was within fifteen or eighteen feet of the desired spot.
In executing this maneuver, Deerslayer had proceeded promptly; for while he did not in the least doubt that he was both watched and followed by the foe, he believed he had distracted their movements by the apparent uncertainly of his own, and he knew they could have no means of ascertaining that the rock was his aim, unless, indeed, one of the prisoners had betrayed him—a chance so improbable in itself as to give him no concern. Notwithstanding the celerity and decision of his movements, he did not, however, venture so near the shore without taking due precautions to effect a retreat, in the event of its becoming necessary. He held the line in his hand, and Judith was stationed at a loop on the side of the cabin next the shore, where she could watch the beach and the rocks and give timely notice of the approach of either friend or foe. Hetty was also placed on watch, but it was to keep the trees overhead in view, lest some enemy might ascend one, and, by completely commanding the interior of the scow, render the defenses of the hut or cabin useless.
The sun had disappeared from the lake and valley when Deerslayer checked the ark in the manner mentioned. Still it wanted a few minutes to the true sunset, and he knew Indian punctuality too well to anticipate any unmanly haste in his friend. The great question was, whether, surrounded by enemies as he was known to be, he had escaped their toils. The occurrences of the last twenty-four hours must be a secret to him, and, like himself, Chingachgook was yet young on a war-path. It was true he came prepared to encounter the party that withheld his promised bride, but he had no means of ascertaining the extent of the danger he ran or the precise positions occupied by either friends or foes. In a word, the trained sagacity and untiring caution of an Indian were all he had to rely on amid the critical risks he unavoidably ran.
“Is the rock empty, Judith?” inquired Deerslayer, as soon as he had checked the drift of the ark, deeming it imprudent to venture unnecessarily near. “Is any thing to be seen of the Delaware chief?”
“Nothing, Deerslayer. Neither rock, shore, tree, nor lake seems to have ever held a human form.”
“Keep close, Judith—keep close, Hetty—a rifle has a prying eye, a nimble foot, and a desperate fatal tongue. Keep close, then, but keep up act_y_ve looks, and be on the alart. 'Twould grieve me to the heart did any harm befall either of you.”
“And you, Deerslayer!” exclaimed Judith, turning her handsome face from the loop, to bestow a gracious and grateful look on the young man; “do you 'keep close' and have a proper care that the savages do not catch a glimpse of you! A bullet might be as fatal to you as to one of us, and the blow that you felt would be felt by all.”
“No fear of me, Judith—no fear of me, my good gal. Do not look this-a-way, although you look so pleasant and comely, but keep your eyes on the rock and the shore and the—”
Deerslayer was interrupted by a slight exclamation from the girl, who, in obedience to his hurried gestures, as much as in obedience to his words, had immediately bent her looks again in the opposite direction.
“What is't?—what is't, Judith?” he hastily demanded. “Is any thing to be seen?”
“There is a man on the rock!—an Indian warrior in his paint, and armed!”
“Where does he wear his hawk's feather?” eagerly added Deerslayer, relaxing his hold of the line, in readiness to drift nearer to the place of rendezvous. “Is it fast to the warlock, or does he carry it above the left ear?”
“'Tis as you say, above the left ear; he smiles, too, and mutters the word 'Mohican.'”
“God be praised, 'tis the Sarpent at last!” exclaimed the young man, suffering the line to slip through his hands until, hearing a light bound in the other end of the craft, he instantly checked the rope and began to haul it in again under the assurance that his object was effected.
At that moment the door of the cabin was opened hastily, and a warrior darting through the little room stood at Deerslayer's side, simply uttering the exclamation “Hugh!” At the next instant Judith and Hetty shrieked, and the air was filled with the yell of twenty savages, who came leaping through the branches down the bank, some actually falling headlong into the water in their haste.
“Pull, Deerslayer,” cried Judith, hastily barring the door, in order to prevent an inroad by the passage through which the Delaware had just entered; “pull for life and death—the lake is full of savages wading after us!”
The young men—for Chingachgook immediately came to his friend's assistance—needed no second bidding, but they applied themselves to their task in a way that showed how urgent they deemed the occasion. The great difficulty was in suddenly overcoming the vis inertiae of so large a mass; for, once in motion, it was easy to cause the scow to skim the water with all the necessary speed.
“Pull, Deerslayer, for heaven's sake!” cried Judith, again at the loop. “These wretches rush into the water like hounds following their prey! Ah! The scow moves! and now the water deepens to the armpits of the foremost; still they rush forward and will seize the ark!”
A slight scream and then a joyous laugh followed from the girl; the first produced by a desperate effort of their pursuers, and the last by its failure, the scow, which had now got fairly in motion, gliding ahead into deep water with a velocity that set the designs of their enemies at naught. As the two men were prevented by the position of the cabin from seeing what passed astern, they were compelled to inquire of the girls into the state of the chase.
“What now, Judith?—what next? Do the Mingoes still follow, or are we quit of 'em for the present?” demanded Deerslayer when he felt the rope yielding, as if the scow was going fast ahead, and heard the scream and the laugh of the girl almost in the same breath.
“They have vanished!—one, the last, is just burying himself in the bushes of the bank—there! he has disappeared in the shadows of the trees! You have got your friend and we are all safe!”
 Otsego Lake.
WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.
TO A WATERFOWL.
Whither, 'midst falling dew,
While glow the heavens with the last steps of day,
Far through their rosy depths dost thou pursue
Thy solitary way?
Vainly the fowler's eye
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,
As, darkly seen against the crimson sky,
Thy figure floats along.
Seek'st thou the plashy brink
Of weedy lake or marge of river wide,
Or where the rocking billows rise and sink
On the chafed ocean side?
There is a power whose care
Teaches thy way along that pathless coast—
The desert and illimitable air—
Lone wandering but not lost.
All day thy wings have fanned,
At that far height, the cold, thin atmosphere
Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land,
Though the dark night is near.
And soon, that toil shall end;
Soon, shalt thou find a summer home and rest,
And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend
Soon o'er thy sheltered nest.
Thou'rt gone, the abyss of heaven
Hath swallowed up thy form; yet on my heart
Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given,
And shall not soon depart.
He who, from zone to zone,
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,
In the long way that I must tread alone,
Will lead my steps aright.
THE DEATH OF THE FLOWERS.
The melancholy days are come,
The saddest of the year,
Of wailing winds and naked woods,
And meadows brown and sere.
Heaped in the hollows of the grove,
The autumn leaves lie dead;
They rustle to the eddying gust,
And to the rabbit's tread.
The robin and the wren are flown,
And from the shrubs the jay,
And from the wood-top calls the crow
Through all the gloomy day.
Where are the flowers, the fair young flowers,
That lately sprang and stood
In brighter light and softer airs,
A beauteous sisterhood?
Alas! they all are in their graves;
The gentle race of flowers
Are lying in their lowly beds
With the fair and good of ours.
The rain is falling where they lie,
But the cold November rain
Calls not, from out the gloomy earth,
The lovely ones again.
The wind-flower and the violet,
They perished long ago,
And the brier-rose and the orchis died
Amid the summer glow;
But on the hill the golden-rod,
And the aster in the wood,
And the yellow sun-flower by the brook
In autumn beauty stood,
Till fell the frost from the clear cold heaven,
As falls the plague on men,
And the brightness of their smile was gone
From upland, glade, and glen.
And now when comes the calm, mild day,
As still such days will come,
To call the squirrel and the bee
From out their winter home;
When the sound of dropping nuts is heard,
Though all the trees are still,
And twinkle in the smoky light
The waters of the rill,
The south wind searches for the flowers
Whose fragrance late he bore,
And sighs to find them in the wood
And by the stream no more.
And then I think of one who in
Her youthful beauty died,
The fair meek blossom that grew up
And faded by my side;
In the cold, moist earth we laid her,
When the forest cast the leaf,
And we wept that one so lovely
Should have a life so brief.
Yet not unmeet it was that one,
Like that young friend of ours,
So gentle and so beautiful,
Should perish with the flowers.
THE UNIVERSAL TOMB.
Yet not to thine eternal resting-place
Shalt thou retire alone, nor could'st thou wish
Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down
With patriarchs of the infant world—with kings,
The powerful of the earth—the wise, the good,
Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past,
All in one mighty sepulcher. The hills,
Rock-ribb'd and ancient as the sun,—the vales
Stretching in pensive quietness between;
The venerable woods—rivers that move
In majesty, and the complaining brooks
That make the meadows green; and, poured round all,
Old Ocean's gray and melancholy waste,—
Are but the solemn decorations all
Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun,
The planets, all the infinite host of heaven,
Are shining on the sad abodes of death,
Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread
The globe are but a handful to the tribes
That slumber in its bosom. Take the wings
Of morning, traverse Barca's desert sands,
Or lose thyself in the continuous woods
Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound
Save his own dashings—yet the dead are there:
And millions in those solitudes, since first
The flight of years began, have laid them down
In their last sleep—the dead reign there alone.
* * * * * *
So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan, which moves
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON.
NATURE'S MINISTRY OF BEAUTY.
To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature. Most persons do not see the sun. At least they have a very superficial seeing. The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and the heart of the child. The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood. His intercourse with heaven and earth becomes part of his daily food. In the presence of nature a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows. Nature says, He is my creature, and mauger all his impertinent griefs, he shall be glad with me. Not the sun or the summer alone, but every hour and season yields its tribute of delight; for every hour and change corresponds to and authorizes a different state of the mind, from breathless noon to grimmest midnight. Nature is a setting that fits equally well a comic or a mourning piece. In good health, the air is a cordial of incredible virtue. Crossing a bare common, in snow puddles, at twilight, under a clouded sky, without having in my thoughts any occurrence of special good fortune, I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration. I am glad to the brink of fear. In the woods, too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life is always a child. In the woods is perpetual youth. Within these plantations of God a decorum and sanctity reigns, a perennial festival is dressed, and the guest sees not how he should tire of them in a thousand years. In the woods we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life—no disgrace, no calamity (leaving me my eyes), which nature cannot repair. Standing on the bare ground—my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space—all mean egotism vanishes, I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God. The name of the nearest friend sounds there foreign and accidental; to be brothers, to be acquaintances—master or servant, is then a trifle and a disturbance. I am the lover of uncontained and immortal beauty. In the wilderness I find something more dear and connate than in streets or villages. In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature.
The greatest delight which the fields and woods minister is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable. I am not alone and unacknowledged. They nod to me, and I to them. The waving of the boughs in the storm is new to me and old. It takes me by surprise, and yet is not unknown. . . .
I see the spectacle of morning from the hill-top over against my house, from daybreak to sunrise, with emotions which an angel might share. The long slender bars of cloud float like fishes in the sea of crimson light. From the earth, as a shore, I look out into that silent sea. I seem to partake its rapid transformations; the active enchantment reaches my dust, and I dilate and conspire with the morning wind. How does Nature deify us with a few and cheap elements! Give me health and a day, and I will make the pomp of emperors ridiculous. The dawn is my Assyria; the sunset and moonrise my Paphos, and unimaginable realms of faerie; broad noon shall be my England of the senses and the understanding; the night shall be my Germany of mystic philosophy and dreams.
Not less excellent, except for our less susceptibility in the afternoon, was the charm, last evening, of a January sunset. The western clouds divided and subdivided themselves into pink flakes modulated with tints of unspeakable softness; and the air had so much life and sweetness that it was a pain to come within doors. What was it that Nature would say? Was there no meaning in the live repose of the valley behind the mill, and which Homer or Shakespeare could not re-form for me in words? The leafless trees become spires of flame in the sunset, with the blue east for their background, and the stars of the dead calices of flowers, and every withered stem and stubble ruined with frost, contribute something to the mute music.
[From the same.]
To the senses and the unrenewed understanding belongs a sort of instinctive belief in the absolute existence of nature. In their view man and nature are indissolubly joined. Things are ultimates, and they never look beyond their sphere. The presence of Reason mars this faith. . . . Nature is made to conspire with spirit to emancipate us. Certain mechanical changes, a small alteration in our local position, apprises us of a dualism. We are strangely affected by seeing the shore from a moving ship, from a balloon, or through the tints of an unusual sky. The least change in our point of view gives the whole world a pictorial air. A man who seldom rides needs only to get into a coach and traverse his own town, to turn the street into a puppet-show. The men, the women—talking, running, bartering, fighting—the earnest mechanic, the lounger, the beggar, the boys, the dogs are unrealized at once, or at least wholly detached from all relation to the observer, and seen as apparent, not substantial, beings. What new thoughts are suggested by seeing a face of country quite familiar, in the rapid movement of the railway car! Nay, the most wonted objects (make a very slight change in the point of vision) please us most. In a camera obscura the butcher's cart and the figure of one of our own family amuse us. So a portrait of a well-known face gratifies us. Turn the eyes upside down, by looking at the landscape through your legs, and how agreeable is the picture, though you have seen it any time these twenty years!
In these cases, by mechanical means, is suggested the difference between the observer and the spectacle, between the man and nature. Hence arises a pleasure mixed with awe; I may say, a low degree of the sublime is felt from the fact, probably, that man is hereby apprised, that whilst the world is a spectacle, something in himself is stable.
In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.
The purple petals, fallen in the pool,
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Here might the red bird come his plumes to cool,
And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing,
Then Beauty is its own excuse for being:
Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose,
I never thought to ask, I never knew:
But, in my simple ignorance, suppose
The self-same power that brought me there brought you.
 On being asked, Whence is the flower?
[Sung at the completion of the Concord Monument, April 19, 1836.]
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.
The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.
On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.
Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid time and nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.
THE HAUNTED MIND.
What a singular moment is the first one, when you have hardly begun to recollect yourself, after starting from midnight slumber! By unclosing your eyes so suddenly you seem to have surprised the personages of your dream in full convocation round your bed and catch one broad glance at them before they can flit into obscurity. Or, to vary the metaphor, you find yourself, for a single instant, wide awake in that realm of illusions whither sleep has been the passport, and behold its ghostly inhabitants and wondrous scenery with a perception of their strangeness such as you never attain while the dream is undisturbed. The distant sound of a church clock is borne faintly on the wind. You question with yourself, half seriously, whether it has stolen to your waking ear from some gray tower that stood within the precincts of your dream. While yet in suspense, another clock flings its heavy clang over the slumbering town with so full and distinct a sound, and such a long murmur in the neighboring air, that you are certain it must proceed from the steeple at the nearest corner. You count the strokes—one—two, and there they cease, with a booming sound, like the gathering of a third stroke within the bell.
If you could choose an hour of wakefulness out of the whole night it would be this. Since your sober bed-time, at eleven, you have had rest enough to take off the pressure of yesterday's fatigue; while before you till the sun comes from “far Cathay” to brighten your window there is almost the space of a summer night; one hour to be spent in thought, with the mind's eye half shut, and two in pleasant dreams, and two in that strangest of enjoyments, the forgetfulness alike of joy and woe. The moment of rising belongs to another period of time, and appears so distant that the plunge out of a warm bed into the frosty air cannot yet be anticipated with dismay. Yesterday has already vanished among the shadows of the past; to-morrow has not yet emerged from the future. You have found an intermediate space, where the business of life does not intrude, where the passing moment lingers and becomes truly the present; a spot where Father Time, when he thinks nobody is watching him, sits down by the way-side to take breath, O that he would fall asleep and let mortals live on without growing older!
Hitherto you have lain perfectly still, because the slightest motion would dissipate the fragments of your slumber. Now, being irrevocably awake, you peep through the half-drawn window-curtain and observe that the glass is ornamented with fanciful devices in frost-work, and that each pane presents something like a frozen dream. There will be time enough to trace out the analogy while waiting the summons to breakfast. Seen through the clear portion of the glass, where the silvery mountain peaks of the frost scenery do not ascend, the most conspicuous object is the steeple, the white spire of which directs you to the wintry luster of the firmament. You may almost distinguish the figures on the clock that has just tolled the hour. Such a frosty sky, and the snow-covered roofs, and the long vista of the frozen street, all white, and the distant water hardened into rock, might make you shiver, even under four blankets and a woolen comforter. Yet look at that one glorious star! Its beams are distinguishable from all the rest, and actually cast the shadow of the casement on the bed with a radiance of deeper hue than moonlight, though not so accurate an outline.
You sink down and muffle your head in the clothes, shivering all the while, but less from bodily chill than the bare idea of a polar atmosphere. It is too cold even for the thoughts to venture abroad. You speculate on the luxury of wearing out a whole existence in bed, like an oyster in its shell, content with the sluggish ecstasy of inaction, and drowsily conscious of nothing but delicious warmth, such as you now feel again. Ah! that idea has brought a hideous one in its train. You think how the dead are lying in their cold shrouds and narrow coffins through the drear winter of the grave, and cannot persuade your fancy that they neither shrink nor shiver when the snow is drifting over their little hillocks and the bitter blast howls against the door of the tomb. That gloomy thought will collect a gloomy multitude and throw its complexion over your wakeful hour.
In the depths of every heart there is a tomb and a dungeon, though the lights, the music, and revelry above may cause us to forget their existence, and the buried ones or prisoners whom they hide. But sometimes, and oftenest at midnight, these dark receptacles are flung wide open. In an hour like this, when the mind has a passive sensibility, but no active strength; when the imagination is a mirror, imparting vividness to all ideas without the power of selecting or controlling them, then pray that your griefs may slumber and the brotherhood of remorse not break their chain. It is too late! A funeral train comes gliding by your bed, in which Passion and Feeling assume bodily shape and things of the mind become dim specters to the eye. There is your earliest Sorrow, a pale young mourner, wearing a sister's likeness to first love, sadly beautiful, with a hallowed sweetness in her melancholy features and grace in the flow of her sable robe. Next appears a shade of ruined loveliness, with dust among her golden hair and her bright garments all faded and defaced, stealing from your glance with drooping head, as fearful of reproach; she was your fondest Hope, but a delusive one; so call her Disappointment now. A sterner form succeeds, with a brow of wrinkles, a look and gesture of iron authority; there is no name for him unless it be Fatality, an emblem of the evil influence that rules your fortunes; a demon to whom you subjected yourself by some error at the outset of life, and were bound his slave forever, by once obeying him. See! those fiendish lineaments graven on the darkness, the writhed lip of scorn, the mockery of that living eye, the pointed finger, touching the sore place in your heart! Do you remember any act of enormous folly, at which you would blush, even in the remotest cavern of the earth? Then recognize your Shame.
Pass, wretched band! Well for the wakeful one if, riotously miserable, a fiercer tribe do not surround him, the devils of a guilty heart, that holds its hell within itself. What if Remorse should assume the features of an injured friend? What if the fiend should come in woman's garments, with a pale beauty amid sin and desolation, and lie down by your side? What if he should stand at your bed's foot, in the likeness of a corpse, with a bloody stain upon the shroud? Sufficient without such guilt is this nightmare of the soul; this heavy, heavy sinking of the spirits; this wintry gloom about the heart; this indistinct horror of the mind, blending itself with the darkness of the chamber. . . . Now comes the peal of the distant clock, with fainter and fainter strokes as you plunge farther into the wilderness of sleep. It is the knell of a temporary death. Your spirit has departed, and strays like a free citizen, among the people of a shadowy world, beholding strange sights, yet without wonder or dismay. So calm, perhaps, will be the final change, so undisturbed, as if among familiar things. The entrance of the soul to its eternal home!
HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW.
THE BELEAGUERED CITY.
I have read, in some old marvelous tale,
Some legend strange and vague,
That a midnight host of specters pale
Beleaguered the walls of Prague.
Beside the Moldau's rushing stream,
With the wan moon overhead,
There stood, as in an awful dream,
The army of the dead.
White as a sea-fog, landward-bound,
The spectral camp was seen,
And, with a sorrowful deep sound,
The river flowed between.
No other voice nor sound was there,
No drum, nor sentry's pace;
The mist-like banners clasped the air,
As clouds with clouds embrace.
But when the old cathedral bell
Proclaimed the morning prayer,
The white pavilions rose and fell
On the alarmed air.
Down the broad valley fast and far
The troubled army fled;
Up rose the glorious morning star,
The ghastly host was dead.
I have read in the marvelous heart of man,
That strange and mystic scroll,
That an army of phantoms vast and wan
Beleaguer the human soul.
Encamped beside Life's rushing stream,
In Fancy's misty light,
Gigantic shapes and shadows gleam
Portentous through the night.
Upon its midnight battle-ground
The spectral camp is seen,
And, with a sorrowful deep sound,
Flows the River of Life between.
No other voice nor sound is there,
In the army of the grave;
No other challenge breaks the air,
But the rushing of life's wave.
And when the solemn and deep church-bell
Entreats the soul to pray,
The midnight phantoms feel the spell,
The shadows sweep away.
Down the broad Vale of Tears afar
The spectral camp is fled;
Faith shineth as a morning star,
Our ghastly fears are dead.
THE OCCULTATION OF ORION.
I saw, as in a dream sublime,
The balance in the hand of Time.
O'er East and West its beam impended;
And day, with all its hours of light,
Was slowly sinking out of sight,
While, opposite, the scale of night
Silently with the stars ascended.
Like the astrologers of eld,
In that bright vision I beheld
Greater and deeper mysteries.
I saw, with its celestial keys,
Its chords of air, its frets of fire,
The Samian's great Aeolian lyre,
Rising through all its sevenfold bars,
From earth unto the fixed stars.
And through the dewy atmosphere,
Not only could I see, but hear,
Its wondrous and harmonious strings,
In sweet vibration, sphere by sphere,
From Dian's circle light and near,
Onward to vaster and wider rings,
Where, chanting through his beard of snows,
Majestic, mournful Saturn goes,
And down the sunless realms of space
Reverberates the thunder of his bass.
Beneath the sky's triumphal arch
This music sounded like a march,
And with its chorus seemed to be
Preluding some great tragedy.
Sirius was rising in the east;
And, slow ascending one by one,
The kindling constellations shone.
Begirt with many a blazing star,
Stood the great giant, Algebar,
Orion, hunter of the beast!
His sword hung gleaming by his side,
And, on his arm, the lion's hide
Scattered across the midnight air
The golden radiance of its hair.
The moon was pallid, but not faint;
And beautiful as some fair saint,
Serenely moving on her way
In hours of trial and dismay.
As if she heard the voice of God,
Unharmed with naked feet she trod
Upon the hot and burning stars,
As on the glowing coals and bars
That were to prove her strength, and try
Her holiness and her purity.
Thus moving on, with silent pace,
And triumph in her sweet, pale face,
She reached the station of Orion.
Aghast he stood in strange alarm!
And suddenly from his outstretched arm
Down fell the red skin of the lion
Into the river at his feet.
His mighty club no longer beat
The forehead of the bull; but he
Reeled as of yore beside the sea,
When, blinded by Oenopion,
He sought the blacksmith at his forge,
And, climbing up the mountain gorge,
Fixed his blank eyes upon the sun,
Then through the silence overhead,
An angel with a trumpet said,
“Forever more, forever more,
The reign of violence is o'er.”
And, like an instrument that flings
Its music on another's strings,
The trumpet of the angel cast
Upon the heavenly lyre its blast,
And on from sphere to sphere the words
Re-echoed down the burning chords,—
“For evermore, for evermore,
The reign of violence is o'er!”
Tuscan, that wanderest through the realms of gloom,
With thoughtful pace, and sad, majestic eyes,
Stern thoughts and awful from thy thoughts arise,
Like Farinata from his fiery tomb.
Thy sacred song is like the trump of doom;
Yet in thy heart what human sympathies.
What soft compassion glows, as in the skies
The tender stars their clouded lamps relume!
Methinks I see thee stand, with pallid cheeks,
By Fra Hilario in his diocese,
As up the convent wall, in golden streaks,
The ascending sunbeams mark the day's decrease.
And, as he asks what there the stranger seeks,
Thy voice along the cloister whispers, “Peace!”
JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER.
RANDOLPH OF ROANOKE.
O Mother Earth! upon thy lap
Thy weary ones receiving,
And o'er there, silent as a dream,
Thy grassy mantle weaving,
Fold softly in thy long embrace
That heart so worn and broken,
And cool its pulse of fire beneath
Thy shadows old and oaken.
Shut out from him the bitter word
And serpent hiss of scorning;
Nor let the storms of yesterday
Disturb his quiet morning.
Breathe over him forgetfulness
Of all save deeds of kindness,
And, save to smiles of grateful eyes,
Press down his lids in blindness.
There, where with living ear and eye,
He heard Potomac's flowing,
And, through his tall ancestral trees
Saw autumn's sunset glowing,
He sleeps—still looking to the West,
Beneath the dark wood shadow,
As if he still would see the sun
Sink down on wave and meadow.
Bard, Sage, and Tribune—in himself
All moods of mind contrasting—
The tenderest wail of human woe,
The scorn like lightning blasting;
The pathos which from rival eyes
Unwilling tears could summon,
The stinging taunt, the fiery burst
Of hatred scarcely human!
Mirth, sparkling like a diamond shower,
From lips of life-long sadness;
Clear picturings of majestic thought
Upon a ground of madness;
And over all Romance and Song
A classic beauty throwing,
And laureled Clio at his side
Her storied pages showing.
All parties feared him: each in turn
Beheld its schemes disjointed,
As right or left his fatal glance
And spectral finger pointed.
Sworn foe of cant, he smote it down
With trenchant wit unsparing,
And, mocking, rent with ruthless hand
The robe Pretense was wearing.
Too honest or too proud to feign
A love he never cherished,
Beyond Virginia's border line
His patriotism perished.
While others hailed in distant skies
Our eagle's dusky pinion,
He only saw the mountain bird
Stoop o'er his Old Dominion.
Still through each change of fortune strange,
Racked nerve, and brain all burning,
His loving faith in mother-land
Knew never shade of turning;
By Britain's lakes, by Neva's wave,
Whatever sky was o'er him,
He heard her rivers' rushing sound,
Her blue peaks rose before him.
He held his slaves, yet made withal
No false and vain pretenses,
Nor paid a lying priest to seek
For scriptural defenses.
His harshest words of proud rebuke,
His bitterest taunt and scorning,
Fell fire-like on the Northern brow
That bent to him in fawning.
He held his slaves, yet kept the while
His reverence for the Human,
In the dark vassals of his will
He saw but man and woman.
No hunter of God's outraged poor
His Roanoke valley entered;
No trader in the souls of men
Across his threshold ventured.
And when the old and wearied man
Lay down for his last sleeping,
And at his side, a slave no more,
His brother-man stood weeping,
His latest thought, his latest breath,
To freedom's duty giving,
With failing tongue and trembling hand
The dying blest the living.
O! never bore his ancient State
A truer son or braver;
None trampling with a calmer scorn
On foreign hate or favor.
He knew her faults, yet never stooped
His proud and manly feeling
To poor excuses of the wrong
Or meanness of concealing.
But none beheld with clearer eye,
The plague-spot o'er her spreading,
None heard more sure the steps of Doom
Along her future treading.
For her as for himself he spake,
When, his gaunt frame up-bracing,
He traced with dying hand “REMORSE!”
And perished in the tracing.
As from the grave where Henry sleeps,
From Vernon's weeping willow,
And from the grassy pall which hides
The Sage of Monticello,
So from the leaf-strewn burial-stone
Of Randolph's lowly dwelling,
Virginia! o'er thy land of slaves
A warning voice is swelling.
And hark! from thy deserted fields
Are sadder warnings spoken,
From quenched hearths, where thy exiled sons
Their household gods have broken.
The curse is on thee—wolves for men,
And briers for corn-sheaves giving!
O! more than all thy dead renown
Were now one hero living.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES.
Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky;
Beneath it rung the battle shout,
And burst the cannon's roar;
The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more.
Her deck, once red with heroes' blood,
Where knelt the vanquished foe,
When winds were hurrying o'er the flood,
And waves were white below,
No more shall feel the victor's tread,
Or know the conquered knee,—
The harpies of the shore shall pluck
The eagle of the sea.
O, better that her shattered hulk
Should sink beneath the wave;
Her thunders shook the mighty deep,
And there should be her grave;
Nail to the mast her holy flag,
Set every threadbare sail,
And give her to the god of storms,
The lightning and the gale!
THE LAST LEAF.
I saw him once before,
As he passed by the door,
The pavement stones resound,
As he totters o'er the ground
With his cane.
They say that in his prime,
Ere the pruning-knife of time
Cut him down,
Not a better man was found
By the Crier on his round
Through the town.
But now he walks the streets,
And he looks at all he meets
Sad and wan,
And he shakes his feeble head,
That it seems as if he said,
“They are gone.”
The mossy marbles rest
On the lips that he has pressed
In their bloom,
And the names he loved to hear
Have been carved for many a year
On the tomb.
My grandmamma has said—
Poor old lady, she is dead
That he had a Roman nose,
And his cheek was like a rose
In the snow.
But now his nose is thin,
And it rests upon his chin
Like a staff,
And a crook is in his back,
And a melancholy crack
In his laugh.
I know it is a sin
For me to sit and grin
At him here;
But the old three-cornered hat,
And the breeches, and all that,
Are so queer!
And if I should live to be
The last leaf upon the tree
In the spring,
Let them smile, as I do now,
At the old forsaken bough
Where I cling.
My aunt! my dear, unmarried aunt!
Long years have o'er her flown;
Yet still she strains the aching clasp
That binds her virgin zone;
I know it hurts her, though she looks
As cheerful as she can;
Her waist is ampler than her life,
For life is but a span.
My aunt! my poor deluded aunt!
Her hair is almost gray;
Why will she train that winter curl
In such a spring-like way?
How can she lay her glasses down,
And say she reads as well,
When, through a double convex lens,
She just makes out to spell?
Her father—grandpapa! forgive
This erring lip its smiles—
Vowed she should make the finest girl
Within a hundred miles;
He sent her to a stylish school;
'Twas in her thirteenth June;
And with her, as the rules required,
“Two towels and a spoon.”
They braced my aunt against a board,
To make her straight and tall;
They laced her up, they starved her down,
To make her light and small;
They pinched her feet, they singed her hair,
They screwed it up with pins;
O, never mortal suffered more
In penance for her sins.
So when my precious aunt was done,
My grandsire brought her back
(By daylight, lest some rabid youth
Might follow on the track);
“Ah!” said my grandsire, as he shook
Some powder in his pan,
“What could this lovely creature do
Against a desperate man?”
Alas! nor chariot, nor barouche,
Nor bandit cavalcade,
Tore from the trembling father's arms
His all-accomplished maid.
For her how happy had it been!
And Heaven had spared to me
To see one sad ungathered rose
On my ancestral tree.
EDGAR ALLAN POE.
Helen, thy beauty is to me
Like those Nicean barks of yore,
That gently, o'er a perfumed sea,
The weary, wayworn wanderer bore
To his own native shore.
On desperate seas long wont to roam,
Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
Thy Naiad airs have brought me home
To the glory that was Greece
And the grandeur that was Rome.
Lo! in yon brilliant window-niche
How statue-like I see thee stand,
The agate lamp within thy hand!
Ah! Psyche, from the regions which
Are Holy Land!
TO ONE IN PARADISE.
Thou wast that all to me, love,
For which my soul did pine:
A green isle in the sea, love,
A fountain and a shrine
All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers,
And all the flowers were mine.
Ah, dream too bright to last!
Ah, starry hope! that did'st arise
But to be overcast!
A voice from out the future cries
On! on! But o'er the past
(Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies,
Mute, motionless, aghast!
For, alas! alas! with me
The light of life is o'er.
“No more—no more—no more—“
(Such language holds the solemn sea
To the sands upon the shore)
Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree,
Or the stricken eagle soar!
And all my days are trances,
And all my nightly dreams
Are where thy dark eye glances,
And where thy footstep gleams,—
In what ethereal dances,
By what eternal streams!
FROM “THE FALL OP THE HOUSE OF USHER.”
At the termination of this sentence I started, and for a moment paused; for it appeared to me (although I at once concluded that my excited fancy had deceived me)—it appeared to me that, from some very remote portion of the mansion there came, indistinctly, to my ears what might have been, in its exact similarity of character, the echo (but a stifled and dull one certainly) of the very cracking and ripping sound which Sir Launcelot had so particularly described. It was, beyond doubt, the coincidence alone which had arrested my attention; for amid the rattling of the sashes of the casements, and, the ordinary commingled noises of the still-increasing storm, the sound, in itself, had nothing, surely, which should have interested or disturbed me. I continued the story.
* * * * * * * *
Here again I paused abruptly, and now with a feeling of wild amazement—for there could be no doubt whatever that, in this instance, I did actually hear (although from what direction it proceeded I found it impossible to say) a low and apparently distant, but harsh, protracted, and most unusual screaming or grating sound, the exact counterpart of what my fancy had already conjured up for the dragon's unnatural shriek, as described by the romancer. Oppressed, as I certainly was, upon the occurrence of this second and most extraordinary coincidence, by a thousand conflicting sensations, in which wonder and extreme terror were predominant, I still retained sufficient presence of mind to avoid exciting, by any observation, the sensitive nervousness of my companion. I was by no means certain that he had noticed the sounds in question; although, assuredly, a strange alteration had, during the last few minutes, taken place in his demeanor. From a position fronting my own he had gradually brought round his chair so as to sit with his face to the door of the chamber, and thus I could but partially perceive his features, although I saw that his lips trembled as if he were murmuring inaudibly. His head had dropped upon his breast; yet I knew that he was not asleep, from the wide and rigid opening of the eye as I caught a glance of it in profile. The motion of his body, too, was at variance with this idea; for he rocked from side to side with a gentle yet constant and uniform sway. Having rapidly taken notice of all this I resumed the narrative of Sir Launcelot.
* * * * * * * *
No sooner had these syllables passed my lips than—as if a shield of brass had indeed, at the moment, fallen heavily upon a floor of silver—I became aware of a distinct, hollow, metallic, and clangorous, yet apparently muffled, reverberation. Completely unnerved, I leaped to my feet; but the measured, rocking movement of Usher was undisturbed. I rushed to the chair in which he sat. His eyes were bent fixedly before him, and throughout his whole countenance there reigned a stony rigidity. But as I placed my hand upon his shoulder there came a strong shudder over his whole person; a sickly smile quivered about his lips; and I saw that he spoke in a low, hurried, and gibbering manner, as if unconscious of my presence. Bending closely over him, I at length drank in the hideous import of his words.
“Not hear it? Yes, I hear it, and have heard it. Long—long—long—many minutes, many hours, many days have I heard it—yet I dared not—O, pity me, miserable wretch that I am!—I dared not—I dared not speak! We have put her living in the tomb! Said I not that my senses were acute? I now tell you that I heard her first feeble movements in the hollow coffin. I heard them many, many days ago—yet I dared not—I dared not speak! And now—to-night—Ethelred—ha! ha!—the breaking of the hermit's door, and the death-cry of the dragon, and the clangor of the shield!—say, rather, the rending of her coffin, and the grating of the iron hinges of her prison, and her struggles within the coppered archway of the vault! O, whither shall I fly? Will she not be here anon? Is she not hurrying to upbraid me for my haste? Have I not heard her footstep on the stair? Do I not distinguish that heavy and horrible beating of her heart? Madman!”—here he sprang furiously to his feet and shrieked out his syllables, as if in the effort he were giving up his soul—“ Madman! I tell you that she now stands without the door!”
As if in the superhuman energy of his utterance there had been found the potency of a spell, the huge antique panels to which the speaker pointed threw slowly back, upon the instant, their ponderous and ebony jaws. It was the work of the rushing gust; but then without those doors there did stand the lofty and enshrouded figure of the Lady Madeline of Usher. There was blood upon her white robes, and the evidence of some bitter struggle upon every portion of her emaciated frame. For a moment she remained trembling and reeling to and fro upon the threshold—then, with a low, moaning cry, fell heavily inward upon the person of her brother, and, in her violent and now final death-agonies, bore him to the floor a corpse and a victim to the terrors he had anticipated.
From that chamber and from that mansion I fled aghast. The storm was still abroad in all its wrath as I found myself crossing the old causeway. Suddenly there shot along the path a wild light, and I turned to see whence a gleam so unusual could have issued, for the vast house and its shadows were alone behind me. The radiance was that; of the full, setting, and blood-red moon, which now shone vividly through that once barely discernible fissure of which I have before spoken as extending from the roof of the building, in a zigzag direction, to the base. While I gazed this fissure rapidly widened; there came a fierce breath of the whirlwind—the entire orb of the satellite burst at once upon my sight—my brain reeled as I saw the mighty walls rushing asunder—there was a long, tumultuous, shouting sound like the voice of a thousand waters—and the deep and dark tarn at my feet closed sullenly and silently over the fragments of the House of Usher.
NATHANIEL PARKER WILLIS.
The shadows lay along Broadway,
'Twas near the twilight tide—
And slowly there a lady fair
Was walking in her pride.
Alone walked she; but, viewlessly,
Walked spirits at her side.
Peace charmed the street beneath her feet,
And Honor charmed the air;
And all astir looked kind on her,
And called her good as fair—
For all God ever gave to her
She kept with chary care.
She kept with care her beauties rare
From lovers warm and true;
For her heart was cold to all but gold,
And the rich came not to woo,
But honored well are charms to sell,
If priests the selling do.
Now walking there was one more fair—
A slight girl, lily-pale;
And she had unseen company
To make the spirit quail—
'Twixt Want and Scorn she walked forlorn,
And nothing could avail.
No mercy now can clear her brow
For this world's peace to pray;
For, as love's wild prayer dissolved in air,
Her woman's heart gave way!
But the sin forgiven by Christ in heaven
By man is cursed alway.
Here we are, then, in the “Swallow's Cave.” The floor descends by a gentle declivity to the sea, and from the long dark cleft stretching outward you look forth upon the Atlantic—the shore of Ireland the firstterra firma in the path of your eye. Here is a dark pool, left by the retreating tide for a refrigerator; and with the champagne in the midst we will recline about it like the soft Asiatics of whom we learned pleasure in the East, and drink to the small-featured and purple-lipped “Mignons” of Syria—those fine-limbed and fiery slaves adorable as peris, and by turns languishing and stormy, whom you buy for a pinch of piastres (say 5L 5s.) in sunny Damascus. Your drowsy Circassian, faint and dreamy, or your crockery Georgian—fit dolls for the sensual Turk—is, to him who would buy soul, dear at a penny the hecatomb.
We recline, as it were, in an ebon pyramid with a hundred feet of floor and sixty of wall, and the fourth side open to the sky. The light comes in mellow and dim, and the sharp edges of the rocky portal seem let into the pearly heaven. The tide is at half-ebb, and the advancing and retreating waves, which at first just lifted the fringe of crimson dulse at the lip of the cavern, now dash their spray-pearls on the rock below, the “tenth” surge alone rallying as if in scorn of its retreating fellow, and, like the chieftain of Culloden Moor, rushing back singly to the contest. And now that the waters reach the entrance no more, come forward and look on the sea! The swell lifts! Would you not think the bases of the earth rising beneath it? It falls! Would you not think the foundation of the deep had given way? A plain, broad enough for the navies of the world to ride at large, heaves up evenly and steadily as if it would lie against the sky, rests a moment spell-bound in its place, and falls again as far—the respiration of a sleeping child not more regular and full of slumber. It is only on the shore that it chafes. Blessed emblem! it is at peace with itself! The rocks war with a nature so unlike their own, and the hoarse din of their border onsets resounds through the caverns they have rent open; but beyond, in the calm bosom of the ocean, what heavenly dignity! what godlike unconsciousness of alarm! I did not think we should stumble on such a moral in the cave!
By the deeper bass of its hoarse organ the sea is now playing upon its lowest stops, and the tide is down. Hear how it rushes in beneath the rocks, broken and stilled in its tortuous way, till it ends with a washing and dull hiss among the sea-weed, and, like a myriad of small tinkling bells, the dripping from the crags is audible. There is fine music in the sea!
And now the beach is bare. The cave begins to cool and darken, and the first gold tint of sunset is stealing into the sky, and the sea looks of a changing opal, green, purple, and white, as if its floor were paved with pearl, and the changing light struck up through the waters. And there heaves a ship into the horizon like a white-winged bird, lying with dark breast on the waves, abandoned of the sea-breeze within sight of port, and repelled even by the spicy breath that comes with a welcome off the shore. She comes from “Merry England.” She is freighted with more than merchandise. The home-sick exile will gaze on her snowy sail as she sets in with the morning breeze, and bless it, for the wind that first filled it on its way swept through the green valley of his home! What links of human affection brings she over the sea? How much comes in her that is not in her “bill of lading,” yet worth to the heart that is waiting for it a thousand times the purchase of her whole venture!
Mais montons nous! I hear the small hoofs of Thalaba; my stanhope waits; we will leave this half bottle of champagne, that “remainder biscuit,” and the echoes of our philosophy to the Naiads who have lent us their drawing-room. Undine, or Egeria! Lurly, or Arethusa! whatever thou art called, nymph of this shadowy cave! adieu!
Slowly, Thalaba! Tread gingerly down this rocky descent! So! Here we are on the floor of the vasty deep! What a glorious race-course! The polished and printless sand spreads away before you as far as the eye can see, the surf comes in below breast-high ere it breaks and the white fringe of the sliding wave shoots up the beach, but leaves room for the marching of a Persian phalanx on the sands it has deserted. O, how noiselessly runs the wheel, and how dreamily we glide along, feeling our motion but in the resistance of the wind and in the trout-like pull of the ribands by the excited animal before us. Mark the color of the sand! White at high-water mark, and thence deepening to a silvery gray as the water has evaporated less, a slab of Egyptian granite in the obelisk of St. Peter's not more polished and unimpressible. Shell or rock, weed or quicksand, there is none; and, mar or deface its bright surface as you will, it is ever beaten down anew, and washed even of the dust of the foot of man by the returning sea. You may write upon its fine-grained face with a crow-quill—you may course over its dazzling expanse with a troop of chariots.
Most wondrous and beautiful of all, within twenty yards of the surf, or for an hour after the tide has left the sand, it holds the water without losing its firmness, and is like a gay mirror, bright as the bosom of the sea. (By your leave, Thalaba!) And now lean over the dasher and see those small fetlocks striking up from beneath—the flying mane, the thoroughbred action, the small and expressive head, as perfect in the reflection as in the reality; like Wordsworth's swan, he
“Trots double, horse and shadow.”
You would swear you were skimming the surface of the sea; and the delusion is more complete as the white foam of the “tenth wave” skims in beneath wheel and hoof, and you urge on with the treacherous element gliding away visibly beneath you.
HENRY DAVID THOREAU.
THE WINTER WOODS.
There is a slumbering subterranean fire in nature which never goes out, and which no cold can chill. It finally melts the great snow, and in January or July is only buried under a thicker or thinner covering. In the coldest day it flows somewhere, and the snow melts around every tree. This field of winter rye which sprouted late in the fall and now speedily dissolves the snow is where the fire is very thinly covered. We feel warmed by it. In the winter warmth stands for all virtue, and we resort in thought to a trickling rill, with its bare stones shining in the sun, and to warm springs in the woods, with as much eagerness as rabbits and robins. The steam which rises from swamps and pools is as dear and domestic as that of our own kettle. What fire could ever equal the sunshine of a winter's day, when the meadow-mice come out by the wall-sides, and the chickadee lisps in the defiles of the wood? The warmth comes directly from the sun, and is not radiated from the earth as in summer; and when we feel his beams on our backs as we are treading some snowy dell we are grateful as for a special kindness, and bless the sun which has followed us into that by-place.
This subterranean fire has its altar in each man's breast, for in the coldest day, and on the bleakest hill, the traveler cherishes a warmer fire within the folds of his cloak than is kindled on any hearth. A healthy man, indeed, is the complement of the seasons, and in winter summer is in his heart. There is the South. Thither have all birds and insects migrated, and around the warm springs in his breast are gathered the robin and the lark.
At length, having reached the edge of the woods and shut out the gadding town, we enter within their covert as we go under the roof of a cottage, and cross its threshold, all ceiled and banked up with snow. They are glad and warm still, and as genial and cheery in winter as in summer. As we stand in the midst of the pines, in the flickering and checkered light which straggles but little way into their maze, we wonder if the towns have ever heard their simple story. It seems to us that no traveler has ever explored them, and notwithstanding the wonders which science is elsewhere revealing every day, who would not like to hear their annals? Our humble villages in the plain are their contribution. We borrow from the forest the boards which shelter and the sticks which warm us. How important is their evergreen to the winter, that portion of the summer which does not fade, the permanent year, the unwithered grass. Thus simply and with little expense of altitude is the surface of the earth diversified. What would human life be without forests, those natural cities? From the tops of mountains they appear like smooth-shaven lawns; yet whither shall we walk but in this taller grass?
In this glade covered with bushes of a year's growth see how the silvery dust lies on every seared leaf and twig, deposited in such infinite and luxurious forms as by their very variety atone for the absence of color. Observe the tiny tracks of mice around every stem, and the triangular tracks of the rabbit. A pure elastic heaven hangs over all, as if the impurities of the summer sky, refined and shrunk by the chaste winter's cold, had been winnowed by the heavens upon the earth.
Mature confounds her summer distinctions at this season. The heavens seem to be nearer the earth. The elements are less reserved and distinct. Water turns to ice; rain to snow. The day is but a Scandinavian night. The winter is an arctic summer.
How much more living is the life that is in nature, the furred life which still survives the stinging nights, and, from amidst fields and woods covered with frost and snow, sees the sun rise!
“The foodless wilds
Pour forth their brown inhabitants.”
The gray squirrel and rabbit are brisk and playful in the remote glens, even on the morning of the cold Friday. Here is our Lapland and Labrador; and for our Esquimaux and Knistenaux, Dog-ribbed Indians, Novazemblaites, and Spitzbergeners, are there not the ice-cutter and wood-chopper, the fox, musk-rat, and mink?
Still, in the midst of the arctic day we may trace the summer to its retreats and sympathize with some contemporary life. Stretched over the brooks, in the midst of the frost-bound meadows, we may observe the submarine cottages of the caddice-worms, the larvae of the Plicipennes. Their small cylindrical cases built around themselves, composed of flags, sticks, grass, and withered leaves, shells and pebbles, inform and color like the wrecks which strew the bottom, now drifting along over the pebbly bottom, now whirling in tiny eddies and dashing down steep falls, or sweeping rapidly along with the current, or else swaying to and fro at the end of some grass-blade or root. Anon they will leave their sunken habitations, and, crawling up the stems of plants or to the surface like gnats, as perfect insects henceforth, flutter over the surface of the water or sacrifice their short lives in the flame of our candle at evening. Down yonder little glen the shrubs are drooping under their burden, and the red alder-berries contrast with the white ground. Here are the marks of a myriad feet which have already been abroad. The sun rises as proudly over such a glen as over the valley of the Seine or Tiber, and it seems the residence of a pure and self-subsistent valor such as they never witnessed, which never knew defeat or fear. Here reign the simplicity and purity of a primitive age and a health and hope far remote from towns and cities. Standing quite alone, far in the forest, while the wind is shaking down snow from the trees, and leaving the only human tracks behind us, we find our reflections of a richer variety than the life of cities. The chickadee and nut-hatch are more inspiring society than statesmen and philosophers, and we shall return to these last as to more vulgar companions. In this lonely glen, with the brook draining the slopes, its creased ice and crystals of all hues, where the spruces and hemlocks stand up on either side, and the rush and sere wild oats in the rivulet itself, our lives are more serene and worthy to contemplate.
As the day advances, the heat of the sun is reflected by the hill-sides, and we hear a faint but sweet music where flows the rill released from its fetters, and the icicles are melting on the trees, and the nut-hatch and partridge are heard and seen. The south wind melts the snow at noon, and the bare ground appears with its withered grass and leaves, and we are invigorated by the perfume which exhales from it as by the scent of strong meats.
Let us go into this deserted woodman's hut, and see how he has passed the long winter nights and the short and stormy days. For here man has lived under this south hill-side, and it seems a civilized and public spot. We have such associations as when the traveler stands by the ruins of Palmyra or Hecatompolis. Singing birds and flowers perchance have begun to appear here, for flowers as well as weeds follow in the footsteps of man. These hemlocks whispered over his head, these hickory logs were his fuel, and these pitch-pine roots kindled his fire; yonder fuming rill in the hollow, whose thin and airy vapor still ascends as busily as ever, though he is far off now, was his well. These hemlock boughs, and the straw upon this raised platform, were his bed, and this broken dish held his drink. But he has not been here this season, for the phoebes built their nest upon this shelf last summer. I find some embers left, as if he had but just gone out, where he baked his pot of beans; and while at evening he smoked his pipe, whose stemless bowl lies in the ashes, chatted with his only companion, if perchance he had any, about the depth of the snow on the morrow, already falling fast and thick without, or disputed whether the last sound was the screech of an owl or the creak of a bough, or imagination only; and through this broad chimney-throat, in the late winter evening, ere he stretched himself upon the straw, he looked up to learn the progress of the storm, and, seeing the bright stars of Cassiopeia's chair shining brightly down upon him, fell contentedly asleep.
See how many traces from which we may learn the chopper's history. From this stump we may guess the sharpness of his ax, and from the slope of the stroke, on which side he stood, and whether he cut down the tree without going round it or changing hands; and from the flexure of the splinters, we may know which way it fell. This one chip contains inscribed on it the whole history of the wood-chopper and of the world. On this scrap of paper, which held his sugar or salt perchance, or was the wadding of his gun, sitting on a log in the forest, with what interest we read the tattle of cities, of those larger huts, empty and to let, like this, in High Streets and Broadways.
THE MIRACLES OF NATURE.
[From Leaves of Grass.]
To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth
is spread with the same,
Every cubic foot of the interior swarms with the same.
* * * * * * * *
To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion
of the waves—the ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?
* * * * * * * *
I was thinking the day most splendid,
till I saw what the not-day exhibited;
I was thinking this globe enough,
till there tumbled upon me myriads of other globes;
O, how plainly I see now that this life cannot exhibit
all to me—as the day cannot;
O, I see that I am to wait for what will be exhibited by death.
* * * * * * * *
O, the beautiful touch of Death, soothing and benumbing
a few moments, for reasons.
* * * * * * * *
The earth never tires,
The earth is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first—
Nature is rude and incomprehensible at first;
Be not discouraged—keep on—there are divine things,
I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful
than words can tell.
O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN!
O captain! my captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
Leave you not the little spot
Where on the deck my captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O captain! my captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribboned wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
O captain! dear father!
This arm I push beneath you;
It is some dream that on the deck
You've fallen cold and dead.
My captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
But the ship, the ship is anchored safe, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with silent tread,
Walk the spot my captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.
Zekle crep' up, quite unbeknown,
An' peeked in thru the winder,
An' there sot Huldy all alone,
'ith no one nigh to hender.
Agin the chimbly crooknecks hung,
An' in amongst 'em rusted
The ole queen's arm thet Gran'ther Young
Fetched back from Concord busted.
The wannut logs shot sparkles out
Toward the pootiest, bless her!
An' leetle fires danced all about
The chiny on the dresser.
The very room, coz she wuz in,
Looked warm from floor to ceilin',
An' she looked full ez rosy agin
Ez th' apples she wuz peelin'.
She heerd a foot an' knowed it, tu,
A-raspin' on the scraper;
All ways to once her feelin's new
Like sparks in burnt-up paper.
He kin' o' l'itered on the mat,
Some doubtfle o' the seekle;
His heart kep' goin' pitypat,
But hern went pity Zekle.
THE PIOUS EDITOR'S CREED.
[From Biglow Papers.]
I du believe in Freedom's cause,
Ez fur away as Paris is;
I love to see her stick her claws
In them infarnal Pharisees;
It's wal enough agin a king
To dror resolves an' triggers—
But libbaty's a kind o' thing
Thet don't agree with niggers.
I du believe the people want
A tax on teas an' coffees,
Thet nothin' aint extravygunt,
Pervidin' I'm in office;
Fer I hev loved my country sence
My eye-teeth filled their sockets,
An' Uncle Sam I reverence—
Partic'larly his pockets.
I du believe in any plan
O' levyin' the taxes,
Ez long ez, like a lumberman,
I git jest wut I axes;
I go free-trade thru thick an' thin,
Because it kind o' rouses
The folks to vote—an' keeps us in
Our quiet custom-houses.
* * * * * * * *
I du believe with all my soul
In the gret Press's freedom,
To pint the people to the goal
An' in the traces lead 'em;
Palsied the arm thet forges jokes
At my fat contracts squintin',
An' withered be the nose that pokes
Inter the gov'ment printin'!
I du believe thet I should give
Wut's his'n unto Caesar,
Fer it's by him I move an' live,
Frum him my bread and cheese air;
I du believe thet all o' me
Doth bear his souperscription,—
Will, conscience, honor, honesty,
An' things o' thet description.
I du believe in prayer an' praise
To him thet hez the grantin'
O' jobs,—in every thin' that pays,
But most of all in CANTIN';
This doth my cup with marcies fill,
This lays all thought o' sin to rest,—
I don't believe in princerple,
But, O, I du in interest.
I du believe in bein' this
Or thet, ez it may happen
One way or t'other hendiest is
To ketch the people nappin';
It aint by princerples nor men
My preudent course is steadied,—
I scent wich pays the best; an' then
Go into it baldheaded.
I du believe thet holdin' slaves
Comes nat'ral tu a Presidunt,
Let 'lone the rowdedow it saves
To hev a wal-broke precedunt;
Fer any office, small or gret,
I couldn't ax with no face,
Without I'd ben, thru dry an' wet,
Th' unrizzost kind o' doughface.
I du believe wutever trash
'll keep the people in blindness,—
Thet we the Mexicuns can thrash
Right inter brotherly kindness;
Thet bombshells, grape, an' powder 'n' ball
Air good-will's strongest magnets;
Thet peace, to make it stick at all,
Must be druv in with bagnets.
In short, I firmly du believe
In Humbug generally,
Fer it's a thing that I perceive
To hev a solid vally;
This heth my faithful shepherd ben,
In pasturs sweet heth led me,
An' this 'll keep the people green
To feed ez they hev fed me.
EDWARD EVERETT HALE.
[From The Man Without a Country.]
The rule adopted on board the ships on which I have met “the man without a country” was, I think, transmitted from the beginning. No mess liked to have him permanently, because his presence cut off all talk of home or of the prospect of return, of politics or letters, of peace or of war—cut off more than half the talk men liked to have at sea. But it was always thought too hard that he should never meet the rest of us except to touch hats, and we finally sank into one system. He was not permitted to talk with the men unless an officer was by. With officers he had unrestrained intercourse, as far as he and they chose. But he grew shy, though he had favorites; I was one. Then the captain always asked him to dinner on Monday. Every mess in succession took up the invitation in its turn. According to the size of the ship, you had him at your mess more or less often at dinner. His breakfast he ate in his own state-room—he always had a state-room—which was where a sentinel or somebody on the watch could see the door. And whatever else he ate or drank, he ate or drank alone. Sometimes, when the marines or sailors had any special jollification, they were permitted to invite “Plain-Buttons,” as they called him. Then Nolan was sent with some officer, and the men were forbidden to speak of home while he was there. I believe the theory was that the sight of his punishment did them good. They called him “Plain-Buttons” because, while he always chose to wear a regulation army uniform, he was not permitted to wear the army button, for the reason that it bore either the initials or the insignia of the country he had disowned.
I remember soon after I joined the navy I was on shore with some of the older officers from our ship and from the Brandywine, which we had met at Alexandria. We had leave to make a party and go up to Cairo and the Pyramids. As we jogged along (you went on donkeys then), some of the gentlemen (we boys called them “Dons,” but the phrase was long since changed) fell to talking about Nolan, and some one told the system which was adopted from the first about his books and other reading. As he was almost never permitted to go on shore, even though the vessel lay in port for months, his time at the best hung heavy; and every body was permitted to lend him books, if they were not published in America, and made no allusion to it. These were common enough in the old days, when people in the other hemisphere talked of the United States as little as we do of Paraguay. He had almost all the foreign papers that came into the ship, sooner or later; only somebody must go over them first, and cut out any advertisement or stray paragraph that alluded to America. This was a little cruel sometimes, when the back of what was cut might be as innocent as Hesiod. Right in the midst of one of Napoleon's battles, or one of Canning's speeches, poor Nolan would find a great hole, because on the back of the page of that paper there had been an advertisement of a packet for New York, or a scrap from the President's message. I say this was the first time I ever heard of this plan, which afterward I had enough and more than enough to do with. I remember it, because poor Phillips, who was of the party, as soon as the allusion to reading was made, told a story of something which happened at the Cape of Good Hope on Nolan's first voyage; and it is the only thing I ever knew of that voyage. They had touched at the Cape, and had done the civil thing with the English admiral and the fleet, and then, leaving for a long cruise up the Indian Ocean, Phillips had borrowed a lot of English books from an officer, which, in those days, as indeed in these, was quite a windfall. Among them, as the devil would order, was the Lay of the Last Minstrel, which they had all of them heard of, but which most of them had never seen. I think it could not have been published long. Well, nobody thought there could be any risk of any thing national in that, though Phillips swore old Shaw had cut out the “Tempest” from Shakespeare before he let Nolan have it, because he said “the Bermudas ought to be ours, and, by Jove, should be one day.” So Nolan was permitted to join the circle one afternoon when a lot of them sat on deck smoking and reading aloud. People do not do such things so often now; but when I was young we got rid of a great deal of time so. Well, so it happened that in his turn Nolan took the book and read to the others; and he read very well, as I know. Nobody in the circle knew a line of the poem, only it was all magic and border chivalry, and was ten thousand years ago. Poor Nolan read steadily through the fifth canto, stopped a minute and drank something, and then began without a thought of what was coming:
“Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said”—
It seemed impossible to us that any body ever heard this for the first time; but all these fellows did then, and poor Nolan himself went on, still unconsciously or mechanically:
“This is my own, my native land!”
Then they all saw something was to pay; but he expected to get through, I suppose, turned a little pale, but plunged on:
“Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned,
As home his footsteps he hath turned
From wandering on a foreign strand?—
If such there breathe, go, mark him well.”
By this time the men were all beside themselves, wishing there was any way to make him turn over two pages; but he had not quite presence of mind for that; he gagged a little, colored crimson, and staggered on:
“For him no minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim,
Despite these titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentered all in self;”—
and here the poor fellow choked, could not go on, but started up, swung the book into the sea, vanished into his state-room. “And by Jove,” said Phillips, “we did not see him for two months again. And I had to make up some beggarly story to that English surgeon why I did not return his Walter Scott to him.”
See page 195.
[From Marco Bozzaris.]
Come to the bridal-chamber, Death!
Come to the mother's when she feels
For the first time her first-born's breath;
Come when the blessed seals
That close the pestilence are broke,
And crowded cities wail its stroke;
Come in consumption's ghastly form,
The earthquake shock, the ocean-storm;
Come when the heart beats high and warm,
With banquet-song, and dance, and wine:
And thou art terrible—the tear,
The groan, the knell, the pall, the bier;
And all we know, or dream, or fear
Of agony, are thine.
But to the hero, when his sword
Has won the battle for the free,
Thy voice sounds like a prophet's word;
And in its hollow tones are heard
The thanks of millions yet to be.
Come, when his task of fame is wrought—
Come, with her laurel-leaf, blood-bought—
Come in her crowning hour—and then
Thy sunken eye's unearthly light
To him is welcome as the sight
Of sky and stars to prisoned men;
Thy grasp is welcome as the hand
Of brother in a foreign land;
Thy summons welcome as the cry
That told the Indian isles were nigh
To the world-seeking Genoese,
When the land-wind, from woods of palm,
And orange-groves, and fields of balm,
Blew o'er the Haytian seas.
Bozzaris! with the storied brave
Greece nurtured in her glory's time,
Rest thee—there is no prouder grave,
Even in her own proud clime.
She wore no funeral weeds for thee,
Nor bade the dark hearse wave its plume,
Like torn branch from death's leafless tree
In sorrow's pomp and pageantry,
The heartless luxury of the tomb;
But she remembers thee as one
Long loved, and for a season gone;
For thee her poet's lyre is wreathed,
Her marble wrought, her music breathed;
For thee she rings the birthday bells;
Of thee her babes' first lisping tells;
For thine her evening prayer is said,
At palace couch and cottage bed;
Her soldier, closing with the foe,
Gives for thy sake a deadlier blow;
His plighted maiden, when she fears
For him, the joy of her young years,
Thinks of thy fate and checks her tears.
And she, the mother of thy boys,
Though in her eye and faded cheek
Is read the grief she will not speak,
The memory of her buried joys,
And even she who gave thee birth,
Will by their pilgrim-circled hearth
Talk of thy doom without a sigh:
For thou art Freedom's now and Fame's,
One of the few, the immortal names,
That were not born to die.
ON THE DEATH OF JOSEPH RODMAN DRAKE.
Green be the turf above thee,
Friend of my better days!
None knew thee but to love thee,
Nor named thee but to praise.
Tears fell, when thou wert dying,
From eyes unused to weep,
And long where thou art lying
Will tears the cold turf steep.
When hearts, whose truth was proven
Like thine, are laid in earth,
There should a wreath be woven
To tell the world their worth;
And I, who woke each morrow
To clasp thy hand in mine,
Who shared thy joy and sorrow,
Whose weal and woe were thine—
It should be mine to braid it
Around thy faded brow;
But I've in vain essayed it,
And feel I cannot now.
While memory bids me weep thee,
Nor thoughts nor words are free,
The grief is fixed too deeply
That mourns a man like thee.
CHARLES FARRAR BROWNE.
[From Lecture on the Mormons.]
Brother Kimball is a gay and festive cuss, of some seventy summers, or some'er's there about. He has one thousand head of cattle and a hundred head of wives. He says they are awful eaters.
Mr. Kimball had a son, a lovely young man, who was married to ten interesting wives. But one day while he was absent from home these ten wives went out walking with a handsome young man, which so enraged Mr. Kimball's son—which made Mr. Kimball'a son so jealous—that he shot himself with a horse-pistol.
The doctor who attended him—a very scientific man—informed me that the bullet entered the parallelogram of his diaphragmatic thorax, superinducing hemorrhage in the outer cuticle of his basilicon thaumaturgist. It killed him. I should have thought it would.
I hope this sad end will be a warning to all young wives who go out walking with handsome young men. Mr. Kimball's son is now no more. He sleeps beneath the cypress, the myrtle, and the willow. The music is a dirge by the eminent pianist for Mr. Kimball's son. He died by request.
I regret to say that efforts were made to make a Mormon of me while I was in Utah.
It was leap-year when I was there, and seventeen young widows, the wives of a deceased Mormon, offered me their hearts and hands. I called on them one day, and, taking their soft white hands in mine, which made eighteen hands altogether, I found them in tears, and I said, “Why is this thus? What is the reason of this thusness?”
They hove a sigh—seventeen sighs of different size. They said:
“O, soon thou wilt be gonested away!”
I told them that when I got ready to leave a place I wentested.
They said, “Doth not like us?”
I said, “I doth—I doth.”
I also said, “I hope your intentions are honorable, as I am a lone child, my parents being far—far away.”
Then they said, “Wilt not marry us?”
I said, “O, no, it cannot was!”
Again they asked me to marry them, and again I declined, when they cried,
“O, cruel man! this is too much! O, too much!”
I told them that it was on account of the muchness that I declined. . . .
(Pointing to Panorama)
A more cheerful view of the desert.
The wild snow-storms have left us and we have thrown our wolf-skin overcoats aside. Certain tribes of far-western Indians bury their distinguished dead by placing them high in air and covering them with valuable furs. That is a very fair representation of those mid-air tombs. Those animals are horses. I know they are, because my artist says so. I had the picture two years before I discovered the fact. The artist came to me about six months ago and said, “It is useless to disguise it from you any longer, they are horses.”
It was while crossing this desert that I was surrounded by a band of Ute Indians. They were splendidly mounted. They were dressed in beaver-skins, and they were armed with rifles, knives, and pistols.
What could I do? What could a poor old orphan do? I'm a brave man. The day before the battle of Bull's Run I stood in the highway while the bullets—those dreadful messengers of death—were passing all around me thickly—in wagons—on their way to the battle-field. But there were too many of these Injuns. There were forty of them, and only one of me, and so I said:
“Great chief, I surrender.”
His name was Wocky-bocky. He dismounted and approached me. I saw his tomahawk glisten in the morning sunlight. Fire was in his eye. Wocky-bocky came very close
(Pointing to Panorama)
to me and seized me by the hair of my head. He mingled his swarthy fingers with my golden tresses, and he rubbed his dreadful tomahawk across my lily-white face. He said:
“Torsha arrah darrah mishky bookshean!”
I told him he was right.
Wocky-bocky again rubbed his tomahawk across my face, and said:
Says I, “Mr. Wocky-bocky,” says I, “Wocky, I have thought so for years, and so's all our family.”
He told me I must go to the tent of the Strong Heart and eat raw dog. It don't agree with mo. I prefer simple food. I prefer pork-pie, because then I know what I'm eating. But as raw dog was all they proposed to give to me I had to eat it or starve. So at the expiration of two days I seized a tin plate and went to the chief's daughter, and I said to her in a silvery voice—in a kind of German-silvery voice—I said:
“Sweet child of the forest, the pale-face wants his dog.”
There was nothing but his paws. I had paused too long—which reminds me that time passes—a way which time has. I was told in my youth to seize opportunity. I once tried to seize one. He was rich; he had diamonds on. As I seized him he knocked me down. Since then I have learned that he who seizes opportunity sees the penitentiary.
SAMUEL LANGHORNE CLEMENS.
THE JUMPING FROG OF CALAVERAS COUNTY.
“Well, there was a feller here once by the name of Jim Smiley in the winter of '49, or may be it was the spring of '50—I don't recollect exactly, somehow, though what makes me think it was one or the other is because I remember the big flume warn't finished when he first come to the camp. But any way, he was the curiousest man about, always betting on anything that turned up you ever see, if he could get any body to bet on the other side; and if he couldn't he'd change sides. Any way that suited the other side would suit him—any way just so's he got a bet he was satisfied. But still he was lucky, uncommon lucky; he most always came out winner. He was always ready and laying for a chance. There couldn't be no solit'ry thing mentioned but that feller'd offer to bet on it and take any side you please, as I was just telling you. If there was a horse-race you'd find him flush or you'd find him busted at the end of it. If there was a dog-fight, he'd bet on it; if there was a cat-fight, he'd bet on it; if there was a chicken-fight, he'd bet on it. Why, if there was two birds setting on a fence, he would bet you which one would fly first. Or if there was a camp-meeting, he would be there reg'lar to bet on Parson Walker, which he judged to be the best exhorter about here, and so he was, too, and a good man. If he even see a straddle-bug start to go anywheres he would bet you how long it would take him to get to—to wherever he was going to; and if you took him up he would follow that straddle-bug to Mexico but what he would find out where he was bound for and how long he was on the road. Lots of the boys here has seen that Smiley, and can tell you about him. Why, it never made no difference to him, he'd bet any thing—the dangdest feller. Parson Walker's wife laid very sick once for a good while, and it seemed as if they warn't going to save her; but one morning he come in and Smiley up and asked him how she was, and he said she was consid'able better—thank the Lord for his inf'nit mercy!—and coming on so smart that, with the blessing of Providence, she'd get well yet; and Smiley, before he thought, says, 'Well, I'll resk two-and-a-half she don't, any way.'”
* * * * * * * *
“Well, this yer Smiley had rat-terriers, and chicken-cocks, and tom-cats, and all them kind of things till you couldn't rest, and you couldn't fetch nothing for him to bet on but he'd match you. He ketched a frog one day and look him home, and said he cal'lated to educate him, and so he never done nothing for three months but set in his back-yard and learn that frog to jump. And you bet you he did learn him, too. He'd give him a little punch behind, and the next minute you'd see that frog whirling in the air like a doughnut—see him turn one summerset, or may be a couple, if he got a good start, and come down flat-footed and all right, like a cat. He got him up so in the matter of ketching flies, and kep' him in practice so constant, that he'd nail a fly every time as fur as he could see him. Smiley said all a frog wanted was education and he could do 'most any thing, and I believe him. Why, I've seen him set Dan'l Webster down here on this floor—Dan'l Webster was the name of the frog—and sing out, 'Flies, Dan'l, flies!' and quicker'n you could wink he'd spring straight up and snake a fly off'n the counter there and flop down on the floor ag'in as solid as a gob of mud, and fall to scratching the side of his head with his hind foot as indifferent as if he hadn't no idea he'd been doin' any more'n any frog might do. You never see a frog so modest and straightfor'ard as he was, for all he was so gifted. And when it come to fair and square jumping on a dead level he could get over more ground at one straddle than any animal of his breed you ever see. Jumping on a dead level was his strong suit, you understand, and when it come to that, Smiley would ante up money on him, as long as he had a red. Smiley was monstrous proud of his frog, and well he might be, for fellers that had traveled and been every-wheres all said he laid over any frog that everthey see.
“Well, Smiley kep' the beast in a little lattice-box, and he used to fetch him down-town sometimes and lay for a bet. One day a feller—a stranger in the camp he was—come acrost him with his box and says:
“'What might it be that you've got in the box?'
“And Smiley says, sorter indifferent like, 'It might be a parrot, or it might be a canary, may be, but it ain't—it's only just a frog.'
“And the feller took it, and looked at it careful, and turned it round this way and that, and says, 'H'm—so 'tis. Well, what's he good for?'
“'Well,' Smiley says, easy and careless, 'he's good enough for one thing, I should judge—he can outjump any frog in Calaveras County.'
“The feller took the box again and took another long, particular look and give it back to Smiley, and says, very deliberate; 'Well,' he says, 'I don't see no p'ints about that frog that's any better'n any other frog.'
“'May be you don't,' Smiley says. 'May be you understand frogs, and may be you don't understand 'em; may be you've had experience, and may be you aint only a amature, as it were. Anyways, I've got my opinion, and I'll resk forty dollars that he can outjump any frog in Calaveras County.'
“And the feller studied a minute, and then says, kinder sad like,
“'Well, I'm only a stranger-here, and I aint got no frog; but if I had a frog I'd bet you!'
“And then Smiley says, 'That's all right—that's all right; if you'll hold my box a minute I'll go and get you a frog.' And so the feller took the box, and put up his forty dollars along with Smiley's, and set down to wait.
“So he set there a good while, thinking and thinking to hisself; and then he got the frog out and pried his mouth open, and took a teaspoon and filled him full of quail-shot—filled him pretty near up to his chin—and set him on the floor. Smiley, he went to the swamp and slopped around in the mud for a long time, and finally he ketched a frog, and fetched him in, and give him to this feller, and says, 'Now, if you're ready, set him along-side of Dan'l, with his forepaws just even with Dan'l, and I'll give the word.' Then he says, 'One—two—three—git!' and him and the feller touched up the frogs from behind, and the new frog hopped off lively, but Dan'l give a heave, and hysted up his shoulders—so—like a Frenchman, but it warn't no use—he couldn't budge; he was planted as solid as a church, and wouldn't no more stir than if he was anchored out. Smiley was a good deal surprised, and he was disgusted too, but he didn't have no idea what the matter was, of course.
“The feller took the money and started away; but when he was going out at the door he sorter jerked his thumb over his shoulder—so—at Dan'l, and says again, very deliberate, 'Well,' he says, 'I don't see no p'ints about that frog that's any better'n any other frog.'
“Smiley, he stood scratching his head and looking down at Dan'l a long time; and at last he says, 'I do wonder what in the nation that frog throwed off for. I wonder if there aint something the matter with him—he 'pears to look mighty baggy, somehow.' And he ketched Dan'l by the nap of the neck, and hefted him, and says, 'Why, blame my cats if he don't weigh five pound!' and turned him upside down, and he belched out a double handful of shot. And then he see how it was, and he was the maddest man. He set the frog down and took out after the feller, but he never ketched him.”