Perhaps the bitterest feelings in our life are those which we experience, when boys and girls, at the failures of our friendships and our loves. We have heard of false friends; we have read of deceit in books; but we know nothing about it, and we hardly believe what we hear. Our friend is to be true as steel. He is always to like us, and we him. He is a second Damon, we a Pythias. We remember the fond old stories of celebrated friendships; how one shared his fortune, another gave his life. Our friend is just of that sort; he is noble, true, grand, heroic. Of course, he is wonderfully generous. We talk of him; he will praise us. The whole people around, who laugh at the sudden warmth, we regard as old fogies, who do not understand life half as well as we do. But by and by our friend vanishes; the image which we thought was gold we find made of mere clay. We grow melancholy; we are fond of reading Byron's poetry; the sun is not nearly so bright nor the sky so blue as it used to be. We sing, with the noble poet—
"My days are in the yellow leaf, The flowers and fruits of love are gone; The worm, the canker, and the grief Are mine alone.!"
We cease to believe in friendship; we quote old saws, and fancy ourselves cruelly used. We think ourselves philosophic martyrs, when the simple truth is, that we are disappointed.
The major part of the misery in marriage arises from the false estimate which we make of married happiness. A young man, who is a pure and good one, when he starts in life is very apt to fancy all women angels. He loves and venerates his mother; he believes her better, purer far, than his father, because his school-days have taught him practically what men are; but he does not yet know what women are. His sisters are angels too, and the wife he is about to marry, the best, the purest woman in the world, also an angel, of course. Marriage soon opens his eyes. It would be out of the course of nature for every body to secure an angel; and the young husband finds that he has married a woman of the ordinary pattern—not a whit better on the whole than man; perhaps worse, because weaker. The high-flown sentiment is all gone, the romantic ideas fade down to the light of common day. "The bloom of young desire, the purple light of love," as Milton writes in one of the most beautiful lines ever penned, too often pass away as well, and a future of misery is opened up on the basis of disappointment. After all, the difficulty to be got over is this—how is mankind to be taught to take a just estimate of things? Is it possible to put old heads upon young shoulders? Is not youth a perpetual state of intoxication? Is not every thing better and brighter far then than in middle life? These are the questions to be solved, and once solved we shall be happy; we shall have learnt the great lesson, that whatever is, is ordained by a great and wise power, and that we are therewith to be content.
A kindly consideration for others is the best method in the world to adopt, to ease off our own troubles; and this consideration is to be cultivated very easily. There is not one of those who will take up this book who is perfectly happy, and not one who does not fancy that he or she might be very much better off. Perhaps ten out of every dozen have been disappointed in life. They are not precisely what they should be. The wise poor man, in spite of his wisdom, envies the rich fool; and the fool—if he has any appreciation—envies the wisdom of the other. One is too tall, the other is too short; ill-health plagues a third, and a bad wife a fourth; and so on. Yet there is not one of the sorrows or troubles that we have but might be reasoned away. The short man can not add a cubit to his stature; but he may think, after all, that many great heroes have been short, and that it is the mind, not the form, that makes the man. Napoleon the Great, who had high-heeled boots, and was, to be sure, hardly a giant in stature, once looked at a picture of Alexander, by David. "Ah!" said he, taking snuff, with a pleased air, "Alexander was shorter than I." The hero last mentioned is he who cried because he had no more worlds to conquer, and who never thought of conquering himself. But if Alexander were disappointed about another world, his courtiers were much more so because they were not Alexanders. But the world would not have cared for a surplus of them; one was enough. Conquerers are very pleasant fellows, no doubt, and are disappointed and sulky because they can not gain more battles; but we poor frogs in the world are quite satisfied with one King Stork.
If we look at a disappointment as a lesson, we soon take the sting out of it. A spider will teach us that. He is watching for a fly, and away the nimble fellow flies. The spider upon this runs round his net to see whether there be any holes, and to mend them. When doing so, he comes upon an old body of one of his victims, and he commences again on it, with a pious ejaculation of "Better luck next time." So one of the greatest and wisest missionaries whom we have ever had, tried, when a boy, to climb a tree. He fell down, and broke his leg. Seriously lamed, he went on crutches for six months, and at the end of that time quietly set about climbing the tree again, and succeeded. He had, in truth, a reserve fund of good-humor and sound sense, saw where he failed, and conquered it. His disappointment was worth twenty dozen successes to him, and to the world too. It is a good rule, also, never to make too sure of any thing, and never to put too high a price on it. Every thing is worth doing well; every thing, presuming you like it, is worth having. The girl you fall in love with may be silly and ill-favored; but what of that? she is your love. "'Tis a poor fancy of mine own to like that which none other man will have," says the fool Touchstone; but he speaks like a wise man. He is wiser than the melancholy Jacques in the same play, who calls all people fools, and mopes about preaching wise saws. If our young men were as wise, there would not be half the ill-assorted marriages in the world, and there would be fewer single women. If they only chose by sense or fancy, or because they saw some good quality in a girl—if they were not all captivated by the face alone, every Jill would have her Jack, and pair off happily, like the lovers in a comedy. But it is not so. We can not live without illusions; we can not, therefore, subsist without disappointments. They, too, follow each other as the night the day, the shade the sunshine; they are as inseparable as life and death.
The difference of our conditions alone places a variety in these illusions; perhaps the lowest of us have the brightest, just as Cinderella, sitting amongst the coals, dreamed of the ball and beautiful prince as well as her sisters. "Bare and grim to tears," says Emerson, "is the lot of the children I saw yesterday; yet not the less they hung it round with frippery romance, like the children of the happiest fortune, and would talk of 'the dear cottage where so many joyful hours had flown.' Well, this thatching of hovels is the custom of the country. Women, more than all, are the element and kingdom of illusion." Happy is it that they are so. These fancies and illusions bring forth the inevitable disappointments, but they carry life on with a swing. If every hovel-born child had sat down at his doorstep, and taken true stock of himself, and had said, "I am a poor miserable child, weak in health, without knowledge, with little help, and can not do much," we should have wanted many a hero. We should have had no Stephenson, no Faraday, no Arkwright, and no Watt. Our railways would have been unbuilt, and the Atlantic Ocean would have been unbridged by steam. But hope, as phrenologists tells us, lies above caution, and has dangerous and active neighbors—wit, imagination, language, ideality—so the poor cottage is hung round with fancies, and the man exists to help his fellows. He may fail; but others take up his tangled thread, and unravel it, and carry on the great business of life.
The constantly cheerful man, who survives his blighted hopes and disappointments, who takes them just for what they are—lessons, and perhaps blessings in disguise—is the true hero. He is like a strong swimmer; the waves dash over him, but he is never submerged. We can not help applauding and admiring such a man; and the world, good-natured and wise in its verdict, cheers him when he gains the goal. There may be brutality in the sport, but there can be no question as to the merit, when the smaller prizefighter, who receives again and again his adversary's knockdown blow, again gets up and is ready for the fray. Old General Blucher was not a lucky general. He was beaten almost every time he ventured to battle; but in an incredible space of time he had gathered together his routed army, and was as formidable as before. The Germans liked the bold old fellow, and called, and still call him, Marshal Forwards. He had his disappointments, no doubt, but turned them, like the oyster does the speck of sand which annoys it, to a pearl. To our minds, the best of all these heroes is Robert Hall, the preacher, who, after falling on the ground in paroxysms of pain, would rise with a smile, and say, "I suffered much, but I did not cry out, did I? did I cry out?" Beautiful is this heroism. Nature, base enough under some aspects, rises into grandeur in such an example, and shoots upwards to an Alpine height of pure air and cloudless sunshine; the bold, noble, and kindly nature of the man, struggling against pain, and asking, in an apologetic tone, "Did I cry out?" whilst his lips were white with anguish, and his tongue, bitten through in the paroxysm, was red with blood!
There is a companion picture of ineffaceable grandeur to this in Plato's "Phoedo," where Socrates, who has been unchained simply that he may prepare for death, sits upon his bed, and, rubbing his leg gently where the iron had galled it, begins, not a complaint against fate, or his judges, or the misery of present death, but a grateful little reflection. "What an unaccountable thing, my friends, that seems to be which men call pleasure; and how wonderful it is related to that which appears to be its contrary—pain, in that they will not both be present to a man at the same time; yet if any one pursues and attains the one, he is almost always compelled to receive the other, as if they were both united together from one head." Surely true philosophy, if we may call so serene a state of mind by that hackneyed word, never reached, unaided, a purer height!
There is one thing certain, which contains a poor comfort, but a strong one—a poor one, because it reduces us all to the same level—it is this: we may be sure that not one of us is without disappointment. The footman is as badly off as his master, and the master as the footman. The courtier is disappointed of his place, and the minister of his ambition. Cardinal Wolsey lectures his secretary Cromwell, and tells him of his disappointed ambition; but Cromwell had his troubles as well. Henry the Eighth, the king who broke them both, might have put up the same prayer; and the pope, who was a thorn in Harry's side, no doubt had a peck of disappointments of his own. Nature not only abhors a vacuum, but she utterly repudiates an entirely successful man. There probably never lived one yet to whom the morning did not bring some disaster, the evening some repulse. John Hunter, the greatest, most successful surgeon, the genius, the wonder, the admired of all, upon whose words they whose lives had been spent in science hung, said, as he went to his last lecture, "If I quarrel with any one to-night, it will kill me." An obstinate surgeon of the old school denied one of his assertions, and called him a liar. It was enough. Hunter was carried into the next room, and died. He had for years suffered from a diseased heart, and was quite conscious of his fate. That was his disappointment. Happy are they who, in this world of trial, meet their disappointments in their youth, not in their old age; then let them come and welcome, not too thick to render us morose, but like Spring mornings, frosty but kindly, the cold of which will kill the vermin, but will let the plant live; and let us rely upon it, that the best men (and women, too) are those who have been early disappointed.
* * * * *
THE THREE KINGS.
AN OLD STORY IN A NEW LIGHT.
Gaspar, a king and shepherd, Alone at the door of his tent, Thus mused, his eyes uplifted And fixed on the firmament:
"Is it a dream, this vision That haunts me day and night, This beautiful manifestation Of some eternal delight?
God set me to watching and waiting Long years and years ago, Waiting and watching for something My heart could not forego.
I caught the hope of the nations, The desire of the common heart, Which grew to an expectation That would not from me depart.
My soul was filled with hunger Deeper than I can tell, The while I watched for the shining Of the Star in Israel.
O Star, to arise in Jacob! I cried as my heart grew bold; O Star, to arise in Jacob, By prophecy seen of old!
For the sight of Thee I am dying, For the joy of Thy Beautiful Face! Of Thy coming give me a token, Grant me this favor and grace!
At length there came an answer Flaming the desolate year, A revelation of beauty, A more than mortal cheer;
For afar in the kindly heavens The blessed token I saw! And now my life is transfigured, And lost in a nameless awe.
In a nameless awe I wander, As one with a joy untold, Too great for his own defining, Too great for him to withhold.
But deep in my heart is the secret, And in yonder beckoning Star, And I must wait for the telling Until I can hasten afar,—
Until I can find in travel A heart akin to mine, That day and night is adoring And imploring beauty divine.
And so I will share the gladness Which God intends for the world; And so will I lift the banner, To remain forever unfurled."
Hardly had Gaspar ended The musing he loved so well, When he heard the dreamy tinkle Of a distant camel-bell.
He set his tent in order; He brought forth of his best, After the Arab custom, To welcome the coming guest.
Who is this eager stranger Dismounted so soon at the door? A king from another kingdom, Who has traveled the desert o'er,
In search of the same communion That Gaspar was longing for. And before of food he tasted, Thus spake King Melchior:
"O Gaspar, God hath sent me In the light of a peaceful Star, To tell thee, my royal brother, What my sweet communings are.
My life has been hid with Nature For many a quiet year, And in the hearts of my people, Whose love hath cast out fear.
And I have been a dweller With God, who is everywhere, On earth, in the stars, the Spirit Sublimest, calmest, most fair.
Among his mediators And messengers of rest, Which fill the earth and the heavens, The stars I reckoned the best.
To the stars I gave my study, I watched them rise and set, And heard the music of silence My soul can not forget;—
The music that seemed prophetic Of the reign of peace to come, When men shall live as lovers In the quiet of one dear home.
But contemplation only My heart could not satisfy: I longed for the very presence The stars did prophesy,
And eagerly looked for a token Of heaven descended to earth, A manifestation to tell me The Prince had come to his birth—
The Prince to rule the nations, The blessed Prince of Peace, Through the scepter of whose kingdom Confusion and war shall cease.
And God to me has been gracious, Though one of his children the least, For I have seen his token All glorious in the east.
Yea, God to me has been gracious, And shown me the way of love, A revelation of goodness As fair as heaven above."
The kings sat down together, Communed in the breaking of bread, And each the heart of the other As an open volume read.
They felt the new force within them Through fellowship increase: The one he called it beauty, The other named it peace.
All through the silent night-tide Their thoughts one burden bore: There was a joy eternal Their longing souls before.
But still they waited, waited, They hardly knew what for. "What lack we yet, O Gaspar!" At length asked Melchior.
"Three lights in yonder heaven Wait on the polar star. Hast eyes to read the poem? Dost see how calm they are?
Three lights in yonder heaven Wait on the polar star; But we are two," said Gaspar. "Not two, but three we are,"
Belthazzar said, dismounting, Another king from far; "And we whom God hath chosen Follow a greater Star.
O, what are peace and beauty, Except they stir the soul And make the man a hero, To gain some happier goal?
O, what are peace and beauty That stop this side of God, Though infinite the distance Remaining to be trod?"
In haste, in haste they mounted, The kings in God's employ, And quickly peace and beauty Began to change to joy.
They left behind their kingdoms Whose lure was far too small, To keep them apart from the kingdom Of Him who is all in all.
They left behind their people, Of loving and loved a host, The first of the thronging Gentiles, To love the Redeemer most.
They left behind possessions, Their flocks in all their prime, In haste to greet the Shepherd Whose charge is the most sublime.
They passed through hostile regions; For fear they halted not; And weariness and hunger Were less than things forgot.
So on and on they hastened Where they never before had trod, And the flaming Guide that led them, Was ever the Glory of God.
By night in yonder heavens, Within their hearts by day, As of old the blessed Shekinah Along the Red Sea way.
And they have troubled Herod And left Jerusalem, The joy-giving Star before them, The Star of Bethlehem.
And they have seen and worshiped The Everlasting Child, In whom sweet Truth and Mercy Were never unreconciled.
They have kissed the Beauty of Heaven, Incarnate on the earth, The Babe in the lap of Mary, Of whom He came to his birth.
Their gifts of love they have rendered Unto the new-born King, Their gold and myrrh and frankincense, The best that they could bring.
And vanished the Star forever, When they turned from the Child away? Shone it not then in their bosoms, The light of Eternal Day?
They could not return to Herod— Too precious for any swine, The pearls which they had gathered Out of the Sea Divine!
O Vision of the Redeemer, In which faith has struggled to sight! They carried it back to their country, And published it day and night.
They carried it back to their country, The vision since Eden's fall, Which seen afar off has sweetened The wormwood and the gall.
And it has become the story Of every triumphant soul, That in seeking the Eternal Reaches a blessed goal.
* * * * *
THE HEROINE OF THE CRIMEA.
"The care of the poor," said Hannah More, herself one of the most illustrious women of her time, "is essentially the profession of women." In her own person, Florence Nightingale has proved this; and not in one or two cases, but by a whole life passed in devotion to the needs of the poor and humble, the sick and the distressed. Comparatively little was known of Miss Nightingale before the year 1854, when the needs of the English army in the Crimea called forth the heroism of thousands. Then it was that Florence Nightingale and other heroic women went out to the East, and personally succored the wounded, comforted the weak-hearted, and smoothed the pillows of the dying.
Miss Nightingale is every way a remarkable woman. The daughter of an Englishman, W. Shore Nightingale, of Embly Park, Hampshire, she was born in Florence, in the year 1823, and from this fair city she received her patronymic. From her earliest youth she was accustomed to visit the poor, and, as she advanced in years, she studied in the schools, hospitals, and reformatory institutions of London, Edinburgh, and other principal cities of England, besides making herself familiar with similar places on the Continent. In 1851, "when all Europe," says a recent writer, "seemed to be keeping holiday in honor of the Great Exhibition, she took up her abode in an institution at Kaiserwerth, on the Rhine, where Protestant sisters of mercy are trained for the business of nursing the sick, and other offices of charity. For three months she remained in daily and nightly attendance, accumulating the most valuable practical experience, and then returned home to patiently wait until an occasion should arise for its exercise. This occasion soon arose; for, after attending various hospitals in London, the cry of distress which, in 1854, arose from the distressed soldiery in Russia, enlisted her warmest sympathies. Lady Mary Forester, Mrs. Sidney Herbert, and other ladies, proposed to send nurses to the seat of war. The government acceded to their request, and Miss Florence Nightingale, Mrs. Bracebridge, and thirty-seven others, all experienced nurses, went out to their assistance, and arrived at Constantinople on the 5th of November. The whole party were soon established in the hospital at Scutari, and there pursued their labor of love and benevolence. The good they did, and the wonders they accomplished, are too well known to need particular detail. "Every day," says one, writing from the military hospital, "brought some new combination of misery to be somehow unraveled by the power ruling in the sisters' town. Each day had its peculiar trial to one who has taken such a load of responsibility in an untried field, and with a staff of her own sex, all new to it. She has frequently been known to stand twenty hours, on the arrival of fresh detachments of sick, apportioning quarters, distributing stores, directing the labors of her corps, assisting at the most painful operations, where her presence might soothe or support, and spending hours over men dying of cholera or fever. Indeed, the more awful to every sense any particular case might be, the more certainly might her slight form be seen bending over him, administering to his case by every means in her power, and seldom quitting his side until death had released him. And yet, probably, Miss Nightingale's personal devotion in the cause was, in her own estimation, the least onerous of her duties. The difficulties thrown in her way by the formalities of system and routine, and the prejudices of individuals, will scarcely be forgotten, or the daily contests by which she was compelled to wring from the authorities a scant allowance of the appliances needed in the daily offices of her hand, until the co-operation of Mr. Macdonald, the distributor of the Times fund, enabled her to lay in stores, to institute separate culinary and washing establishments, and, in short, to introduce comfort and order into the department over which she presided." And so, during the greater part of the momentous campaign, she did the work that she had set out to do, bravely and faithfully, and earnestly and well; and we may be sure that on her return to England she was welcomed gladly. The queen presented her with a costly diamond ornament, to be worn as a decoration, and accompanied it with an autograph letter, in which her great merits were fully, gracefully, and gratefully acknowledged. It was proposed to give Miss Nightingale a public reception; but, with true modesty, she shrunk from appearing in any other than her own character of nurse and soother, and at once passed into retirement. But that retirement was not allowed to be unproductive. So soon as her health, which was at all times delicate, and had suffered considerably in the Crimea, had been somewhat restored, she set to work to render the fruits of her experience useful to the world. In 1859 she produced her "Hints on Nursing," one of the most useful and practical little books ever published. In it she showed how much might be done, even with small means, and in the midst of manifold difficulties and discouragements; and it is no small triumph to the advocates of female labor, in proper spheres, that Florence Nightingale and her friends have shown that, as a nurse and comforter on the field of battle, woman may work out her mission quietly and unostentatiously, without, at the same time, interfering with the occupations of the other sex. In Florence Nightingale we have an example of a lady bred in the lap of luxury, and educated in the school of wealth and exclusiveness, breaking down the barriers of custom, and proving to the world that true usefulness belongs to no particular rank, age, or station, but is the privilege of all Eve's daughters, and that any employment sanctified by devotion and fervor and earnest desire to do good is essentially womanly and graceful, and fitting alike to the inheritors of wealth or poverty.
That the absence of feminine influence must tend to materialize, to sensualize, and to harden, must, we think, be admitted by all the thoughtful. Woman is instituted by God the guardian of the heart as man is of the mind. How many husbands, sons, and brothers, driven and driving, through life in the absorbing excitement of a professional or mercantile career, can testify to the arresting, reposeful, humanizing atmosphere of a home where the wife, mother, or sister exerts her kindly sway; and it is as necessary to the immaterial interests of a nation, to the prevention of the legislative mind and executive hands being completely swallowed up in the actual, the present, the mechanical, the sensible, that some counteracting influence should be allowed and encouraged similar to that of woman in her home.
To show the influence for good of associations of women for charitable ends, Mrs. Jameson, in "Sisters of Charity at Home and Abroad," has collected accounts from history and biography of many Romanist orders of sisters, besides vindicating and putting forward Miss Nightingale and her companions as examples. She would not for the world that the woman should aspire to be the man, and aim at a masculine independence for which she was never meant; and we thank the noble champion of Protestant sisterhoods for disclaiming connection with any who want her to take part in the public and prominent life of society, so to speak. It is co-operation that is insisted upon—the ministering influence of the woman with the business tact of the man. In prisons, hospitals, work-houses, and lunatic asylums the influence of well-trained women, to soften rigor, charm routine, beguile poverty, and tranquilize distraction is often wanted; not so much to talk as to think, feel, and do.
It may be said that there can not be the same need in a Protestant country as in Roman Catholic countries of communities of single women, where they are doubtless called for, if only in opposition to the immense bodies of the higher and lower clergy; but, besides the fact of there always being a greater number of women in a country in proportion to the number of men, our commerce requires many sailors, not to mention our army and navy, which in years past have swallowed up so many. Surely, ministering women would be a blessing to the widows and orphans of our gallant soldiers and sailors. There are numbers of daughters in large families kept in conventual bondage by a father or brother or their own timidity. Daughters, sisters, widows, we appeal to you! Are there not some few among you with courage to lead where multitudes would follow—some to whom a kind Providence has given liberty of action? It is far from our intention to excite rebellion in families, or tempt away from the manifest calls of duty; but can not some one begin what others will continue? And we must not be indefinite: begin what? continue what? A system which, in this Protestant land, would give to the poor outcast, the little criminal, the child of the State, a mother as well as a father; that would give to the wretched of all ages a sister as well as a brother.
Alluding to Florence Nightingale, Mrs. Jameson says: "No doubt but it will be through the patience, faith, and wisdom of men and women working together. In an undertaking so wholly new to our English customs, so much at variance with the usual education given to women in this country, we shall meet with perplexities, difficulties—even failures. All the ladies who have gone to Scutari may not turn out heroines. There may be vain babblings and scribblings and indiscretions, such as may put weapons into adverse hands. The inferior and paid nurses may, some of them, have carried to Scutari bad habits, arising from imperfect training. Still, let us trust that a principle will be recognized in the country which will not be again lost sight of. It will be the true, the lasting glory of Florence Nightingale and her band of devoted assistants that they have broken through what Goethe calls a Chinese wall of prejudices—prejudices religious, social, professional—and established a precedent which will, indeed, multiply the good to all time. No doubt there are hundreds of women who would now gladly seize the privileges held out to them by such an example, and crowd to offer their services; but would they pay the price of such dear and high privileges? Would they fit themselves duly for the performance of such services, and earn by distasteful, and even painful studies, the necessary certificates for skill and capacity? Would they, like Miss Nightingale, go through a seven years' probation, to try at once the steadiness of their motives and the steadiness of their nerves? Such a trial is absolutely necessary; for hundreds of women will fall into the common error of mistaking an impulse for a vocation. But I do believe that there are also hundreds who are fitted, or would gladly, at any self-sacrifice, fit themselves for the work, if the means of doing so were allowed to them. At present, an English lady has no facilities whatever for obtaining the information or experience required; no such institutions are open to her, and yet she is ridiculed for presenting herself without the competent knowledge! This seems hardly just."
Anticipating objection, Mrs. Jameson says:
"To make or require vows of obedience is objectionable; yet we know that the voluntary nurses who went to the East were called upon to do what comes to the same thing—to sign an engagement to obey implicitly a controlling and administrative power—or the whole undertaking must have fallen to the ground. Then again, questions about costume have been mooted, which appear to me wonderfully absurd. It has been suggested that there should be something of uniformity and fitness in the dress when on duty, and this seems but reasonable. I recollect once seeing a lady in a gay, light, muslin dress, with three or four flounces, and roses under bonnet, going forth to visit her sick poor. The incongruity struck the mind painfully—not merely as an incongruity, but as an impropriety—like a soldier going to the trenches in an opera hat and laced ruffles. Such follies, arising from individual obtuseness, must be met by regulation dictated by good sense, and submitted to as a matter of necessity and obligation."
Again, says our authoress, who passed from her sphere of usefulness in 1860:
"It is a subject of reproach, that in this Christendom of ours, the theory of good we preach should be so far in advance of our practice; but that which provokes the sneer of the skeptic, and almost kills faith in the sufferer, lifts up the contemplative mind with hope. Man's theory of good is God's reality; man's experience is the degree to which he has already worked out, in his human capacity, that divine reality. Therefore, whatever our practice may be, let us hold fast to our theories of possible good; let us, at least, however they may outrun our present powers, keep them in sight, and then our formal, lagging practice, may in time overtake them. In social morals, as well as in physical truth, 'the goal of yesterday will be the starting-point of to-morrow,' and the things before which all England now stands in admiring wonder will become the simple produce of the common day. This we hope and believe."
The example of Florence Nightingale, so full of hope and prophecy to Mrs. Jameson five-and-twenty years ago, has proved indeed an earnest of better things, which all these years have been passing into realities. Who shall say how much inspiration the noble band of ministering women in our civil war derived from the heroine of the Crimea? When the great occasion arrives, the heavenly impulse is seldom wanting. But God works through means; and that one example of Christian devotion, so fresh in the hearts of mothers, wives, and sisters, was an immense help in developing the self-sacrifice which is latent in every true life. To say nothing of the new impulse given to the organization of woman's work in England, it is a matter for thankfulness to be able to note that the signs of new life in this country are full of promise. In several of our large cities, notably New York and Philadelphia, institutions have recently been founded for the training of nurses, and sisterhoods organized for the better accomplishment of Christian work in hospitals, asylums, and among the poor and unfortunate—a work, indeed, which has been done, in one way or another, in all the Christian ages, by every true follower of the Master.
And here, in conclusion, the thought suggests itself that differences of organization, whether ecclesiastical or otherwise, should not conceal from our eyes the true notes of "the communion of the saints," or shut from our hearts the conditions of inheriting the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world: "I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me."
O English Nightingale, Who hadst the grace to hear The dying soldier's far-off wail, And pause not for a tear—
Who, as on angel wings, Didst seek the wintry sea, To put thy hand to menial things, Which were not such to thee;
And didst, with heaven-born art, Where pain implored release, To mangled form and broken heart Bring healing and sweet peace—
Thy work was music, song, As brave as ever stirred A nation's heart; as calm and strong As angels ever heard!
Gazing on the modest, unassuming countenance shown in the illustration which accompanies this sketch, one can imagine the surprised question to which the King answers in the last day: "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
* * * * *
HAWTHORNE-WASHINGTON, IRVING, AND OTHERS—MADAME RECAMIER.
Sympathy is the most delicate tendril of the mind, and the most fascinating gift which nature can give us. The most precious associations of the human heart cluster around the word, and we love to remember those who have sorrowed with us in sorrow, and rejoiced with us when we were glad. But for the awkward and the shy the sympathetic are the very worst company. They do not wish to be sympathized with—they wish to be with people who are cold and indifferent; they like shy people like themselves. Put two shy people in a room together, and they begin to talk with unaccustomed glibness. A shy woman always attracts a shy man. But women who are gifted with that rapid, gay impressionability which puts them en rapport with their surroundings, who have fancy and an excitable disposition, a quick susceptibility to the influences around them, are very charming in general society, but they are terrible to the awkward and the shy. They sympathize too much, they are too aware of that burning shame which the sufferer desires to conceal.
The moment a shy person sees before him a perfectly unsympathetic person, one who is neither thinking nor caring for him, his shyness begins to flee; the moment that he recognizes a fellow-sufferer he begins to feel a re-enforcement of energy. If he be a lover, especially, the almost certain embarrassment of the lady inspires him with hope and renewed courage. A woman who has a bashful lover, even if she is afflicted with shyness, has been known to find a way to help the poor fellow out of his dilemma more than once.
Who has left us the most complete and most tragic history of shyness which belongs to "that long rosary on which the blushes of a life are strung," found a woman (the most perfect character, apparently, who ever married and made happy a great genius) who, fortunately for him, was shy naturally, although without that morbid shyness which accompanied him through life. Those who knew Mrs. Hawthorne found her possessed of great fascination of manner, even in general society, where Hawthorne was quite impenetrable. The story of his running down to the Concord River and taking boat to escape his visitors has been long familiar to us all. Mrs. Hawthorne, no doubt, with a woman's tact and a woman's generosity, overcame her own shyness in order to receive those guests whom Hawthorne ran away from, and through his life remained his better angel. It was through this absence of expressed sympathy that English people became very agreeable to Hawthorne. He describes, in his "Note-Book," a speech made by him at a dinner in England: "When I was called upon," he says, "I rapped my head, and it returned a hollow sound." He had, however, been sitting next to a shy English lawyer, a man who won upon him by his quiet, unobtrusive simplicity, and who, in some well-chosen words, rather made light of dinner-speaking and its terrors. When Hawthorne finally got up and made his speech, his "voice, meantime, having a far-off and remote echo," and when, as we learn from others, a burst of applause greeted a few well-chosen words drawn from that full well of thought, that pellucid rill of "English undefiled," the unobtrusive gentleman by his side applauded and said to him, "It was handsomely done." The compliment pleased the shy man. It is the only compliment to himself which Hawthorne ever recorded.
Now, had Hawthorne been congratulated by a sympathetic, effusive American, who had clapped him on the back, and who had said, "O, never fear—you will speak well!" he would have said nothing. The shy sprite in his own eyes would have read in his neighbor's eyes the dreadful truth that his sympathetic neighbor would have indubitably betrayed—a fear that he would not do well. The phlegmatic and stony Englishman neither felt nor cared whether Hawthorne spoke well or ill; and, although pleased that he did speak well, invested no particular sympathy in the matter, either for or against, and so spared Hawthorne's shyness the last bitter drop in the cup, which would have been a recognition of his own moral dread. Hawthorne bitterly records his own sufferings. He says, in one of his books, "At this time I acquired this accursed habit of solitude." It has been said that the Hawthorne family were, in the earlier generation, afflicted with shyness almost as a disease—certainly a curious freak of nature in a family descended from robust sea-captains. It only goes to prove how far away are the influences which control our natures and our actions.
Whether, if Hawthorne had not been a shy man, afflicted with a sort of horror of his species at times, always averse to letting himself go, miserable and morbid, we should have been the inheritors of the great fortune which he has left us, is not for us to decide. Whether we should have owned "The Gentle Boy," the immortal "Scarlet Letter," "The House with Seven Gables," "The Marble Faun," and all the other wonderful things which grew out of that secluded and gifted nature, had he been born a cheerful, popular, and sympathetic boy, with a dancing-school manner, instead of an awkward and shy youth (although an exceedingly handsome one), we can not tell. That is the great secret behind the veil. The answer is not yet made, the oracle has not spoken, and we must not invade the penumbra of genius.
WASHINGTON AND IRVING.
It has always been a comfort to the awkward and the shy that Washington could not make an after-dinner speech; and the well-known anecdote—"Sit down, Mr. Washington, your modesty is even greater than your valor"—must have consoled many a voiceless hero. Washington Irving tried to welcome Dickens, but failed in the attempt, while Dickens was as voluble as he was gifted. Probably the very surroundings of sympathetic admirers unnerved both Washington and Irving, although there are some men who can never "speak on their legs," as the saying goes, in any society.
Other shy men—men who fear general society, and show embarrassment in the every-day surroundings—are eloquent when they get on their feet. Many a shy boy at college has astonished his friends by his ability in an after-dinner speech. Many a voluble, glib boy, who has been appointed the orator of the occasion, fails utterly, disappoints public expectation, and sits down with an uncomfortable mantle of failure upon his shoulders. Therefore, the ways of shyness are inscrutable. Many a woman who has never known what it is to be bashful or shy has, when called upon to read a copy of verses, even to a circle of intimate friends, lost her voice, and has utterly broken down, to her own and her friends' great astonishment.
The voice is a treacherous servant; it deserts us, trembles, makes a failure of it, is "not present or accounted for" often when we need its help. It is not alone in the shriek of the hysterical that we learn of its lawlessness; it is in its complete retirement. A bride often, even when she felt no other embarrassment, has found that she had no voice with which to make her responses. It simply was not there.
A lady who was presented at court, and who felt—as she described herself wonderfully at her ease, began talking, and, without wishing to speak loud, discovered that she was shouting like a trumpeter. The somewhat unusual strain which she had put upon herself during the ordeal of being presented at the English court revenged itself by an outpouring of voice which she could not control.
Many shy people have recognized in themselves this curious and unconscious elevation of voice. It is not so common as a loss of voice, but it is quite as uncontrollable.
The bronchial tubes play us another trick when we are frightened; the voice is the voice of somebody else; it has no resemblance to our own. Ventriloquism might well study the phenomena of shyness, for the voice becomes base that was treble, and soprano that which was contralto.
"I dislike to have Wilthorpe come to see me," said a very shy woman, "I know my voice will squeak so." With her Wilthorpe, who for some reason drove her into an agony of shyness, had the effect of making her talk in a high, unnatural strain, excessively fatiguing.
The presence of one's own family, who are naturally painfully sympathetic, has always had upon the bashful and the shy a most evil effect.
"I can never plead a case before my father," "Nor I before my son," said two distinguished lawyers. "If mamma is in the room, I shall never be able to get through my part," said a young amateur actor.
But here we must pause to note another exception in the laws of shyness.
In the false perspective of the stage, shyness often disappears. The shy man, speaking the words and assuming the character of another, often loses his shyness. It is himself of whom he is afraid, not of Tony Lumpkin or of Charles Surface, of Hamlet or of Claude Melnotte. Behind their masks he can speak well; but if he at his own dinner-table essays to speak, and mamma watches him with sympathetic eyes, and his brothers and sisters are all listening, he fails.
"Lord Percy sees me fall."
Yet it is with our own people that we must stand or fall, live or die; it is in our own circle that we must conquer our shyness.
Now, these reflections are not intended as an argument against sympathy properly expressed. A reasonable and judiciously expressed sympathy with our fellow-beings is the very highest attribute of our nature. "It unravels secrets more surely than the highest critical faculty. Analysis of motives that sway men and women is like the knife of the anatomist; it works on the dead. Unite sympathy to observation, and the dead spring to life." It is thus to the shy, in their moments of tremor, that we should endeavor to be calmly sympathetic; not cruel, but indifferent, unobservant.
Now, women of genius, who obtain a reflected comprehension of certain aspects of life through sympathy, often arrive at the admirable result of apprehending the sufferings of the shy without seeming to observe them. Such a woman, in talking to a shy man, will not seem to see him; she will prattle on about herself, or tell some funny anecdote of how she was tumbled out into the snow, or how she spilled her glass of claret at dinner, or how she got just too late to the lecture; and while she is thus absorbed in her little improvised autobiography, the shy man gets hold of himself, and ceases to be afraid of her. This is the secret of tact.
Madame Recamier, the famous beauty, was always somewhat shy. She was not a wit, but she possessed the gift of drawing out what was best in others. Her biographers have blamed her that she had not a more impressionable temper, that she was not more sympathetic. Perhaps (in spite of her courage when she took up contributions in the churches dressed as a Neo-Greek) she was always hampered by shyness. She certainly attracted all the best and most gifted of her time, and had a noble fearlessness in friendship, and a constancy which she showed by following Madame de Stael into exile, and in her devotion to Ballenche and Chateaubriand. She had the genius of friendship, a native sincerity, a certain reality of nature—those fine qualities which so often accompany the shy that we almost, as we read biography and history, begin to think that shyness is but a veil for all the virtues.
Perhaps to this shyness, or to this hidden sympathy, did Madame Recamier owe that power over all men which survived her wonderful beauty. The blind and poor old woman of the Abbaye had not lost her charm; the most eminent men and women of her day followed her there, and enjoyed her quiet (not very eloquent) conversation. She had a wholesome heart; it kept her from folly when she was young, from a too over-facile sensitiveness to which an impressionable, sympathetic temperament would have betrayed her. Her firm, sweet nature was not flurried by excitement; she had a steadfastness in her social relations which has left behind an everlasting renown to her name.
And what are, after all, these social relations which call for so much courage, and which can create so much suffering to most of us as we conquer for them our awkwardness and our shyness? Let us pause for a moment, and try to be just. Let us contemplate these social ethics, which call for so much that is, perhaps, artificial and troublesome and contradictory. Society, so long as it is the congregation of the good, the witty, the bright, the intelligent, and the gifted, is the thing most necessary to us all. We are apt to like it and its excitements almost too well, or to hate it, with its excesses and its mistakes, too bitterly. We are rarely just to society.
The rounded, and harmonious, and temperate understanding and use of society is, however, the very aim and end of education. We are born to live with each other and not for ourselves. If we are cheerful, our cheerfulness was given to us to make bright the lives of those about us; if we have genius, that is a sacred trust; if we have beauty, wit, joyousness, it was given us for the delectation of others, not for ourselves; if we are awkward and shy, we are bound to break the crust, and to show that within us is beauty, cheerfulness, and wit. "It is but the fool who loves excess." The best human being should moderately like society.—MRS. JOHN SHERWOOD.
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(BORN 1755—DIED 1835.)
IN THE REVOLUTIONARY ARMY—HIS MARRIAGE—LAW LECTURES—AT THE BAR—HIS INTELLECTUAL POWERS—ON THE BENCH.
The family stock of Marshall, like that of Jefferson, was Welsh, as is generally the case in names with a double letter, as a double f or a double l. This Welsh type was made steady by English infusions. The first Marshall came from Wales in 1730, and settled in the same county where Washington, Monroe, and the Lees were born. He was a poor man, and lived in a tract called "The Forest." His eldest son, Thomas, went out to Fauquier County, at the foot of the Blue Ridge, and settled on Goose Creek, under Manassas Gap. This Thomas Marshall had been a playmate of George Washington, and, like him, was a mountain surveyor, and they loved each other, and when the Revolutionary War broke out both went into the service, Thomas Marshall being colonel of one of the Virginia regiments. His son, John Marshall, who was not twenty years old when the conflict began, became a lieutenant under his father. The mother of John Marshall was named Mary Kieth, and his grandmother Elizabeth Markham, and the latter was born in England.
Marshall's father had a good mind, not much education; but he was a great reader, and especially loved poetry, and he taught his son to commit poetry to memory, and to model his mind on the clear diction and heroic strain of poets like Milton, Shakespeare, Dryden, and Pope. In these books of poetry the great chief-justice found the springs to freshen his own good character. To the last day of his life he loved literature, and was especially fond of novels, and of books written by females. He held the view that the United States must be a literary nation in the sense of having great and noble authors to leaven its people and teach them high thoughts. His schools were chiefly down in the Chesapeake Bay, in the county of his birth, and his teachers were poor Presbyterian clergymen from Scotland, who at that period were the teachers of nearly all the Middle States, from New York southward. He knew some Latin, but not very much. One of his teachers was his own father, who, with a large family, took delight in training this boy.
OUR JUDGE ON DRILL.
In 1775 the country hunters and boors on the Blue Ridge Mountain went to their mustering place, and, the senior officer being absent, this young Marshall, with a gun on his shoulder, began to show them how to use it. Like them, he wore a blue hunting shirt and trousers of some stuff fringed with white, and in his round hat was a buck-tail for a cockade. He was about six feet high, lean and straight, with a dark skin, black hair, a pretty low forehead, and rich, dark small eyes, the whole making a face dutiful, pleasing, and modest. After the drill was over he stood up and told those strange, wild mountaineers, who had no newspapers and knew little of the world, what the war was about. He described to them the battle of Lexington. They listened to him for an hour, as if he had been some young preacher.
Thus was our great chief-justice introduced to public life. He had come to serve, and found that he must instruct. When he marched with the regiment of these mountaineers, who carried tomahawks and scalping-knives, the people of Williamsburg trembled for their lives. At that time, the country near Harper's Ferry was the Far West. In a very little while, these mountaineers, by mingled stratagem and system, defeated Lord Dunmore, very much as Andrew Jackson defeated the British at New Orleans thirty-five years later. Marshall then went with the army to the vicinity of Philadelphia; was in the battles of Brandywine and Germantown, and in the long Winter of Valley Forge. Almost naked at that place, he showed an abounding good-nature, that kept the whole camp content. If he had to eat meat without bread, he did it with a jest. Among his men he had the influence of a father, though a boy. He was so much better read than others that he frequently became a judge advocate, and in this way he got to know Alexander Hamilton, who was on Washington's staff. Marshall was always willing to see the greatness of another person, and Judge Story says that he said of Hamilton that he was not only of consummate ability as both soldier and statesman, but that, in great, comprehensive mind, sound principle, and purity of patriotism, no nation ever had his superior.
It became Marshall's duty, in the course of twenty-five years, to try for high treason the man who killed his friend Hamilton, but he conducted that trial with such an absence of personal feeling that it was among the greatest marvels of our legal history. He could neither be influenced by his private grief for Hamilton, nor by Jefferson's attempts as President to injure Burr, nor by Burr himself, whom he charged the jury to acquit, but whom he held under bond on another charge, to Burr's rage. Marshall was in the battle of Monmouth, and at the storming of Stony Point, and at the surprise of Jersey City. In the army camps, he became acquainted with the Northern men, and so far from comparing invidiously with them, he recognized them all as fellow-countrymen and brave men, and never in his life was there a single trace of sectionalism.
Near the close of the Revolution, Marshall went to Yorktown, somewhat before Cornwallis occupied it, to pay a visit, and there he saw Mary Ambler at the age of fourteen. She became his wife in 1783. Her father was Jacqueline Ambler, the treasurer of the State of Virginia. She lived with him forty-eight years, and died in December, 1831. He often remarked in subsequent life that the race of lovers had changed. Said he: "When I married my wife, all I had left after paying the minister his fee was a guinea, and I thought I was rich." General Burgoyne, whom Marshall's fellow-soldiers so humiliated, wrote some verses, and among these were the following, which Marshall said over to himself often when thinking of his wife:
"Encompassed in an angel's frame, An angel's virtues lay; Too soon did heaven assert its claim And take its own away. My Mary's worth, my Mary's charms, Can never more return. What now shall fill these widowed arms? Ah, me! my Mary's urn."
The only law lectures Marshall ever attended were those of Chancellor Wythe, at William and Mary College, Williamsburg, while the Revolution was still going on. Before the close of the war he was admitted to the bar, but the courts were all suspended until after Cornwallis's surrender. Before the war closed Marshall walked from near Manassas Gap, or rather from Oak Hill, his father's residence, to Philadelphia on foot to be vaccinated. The distance was nearly two hundred miles; but he walked about thirty-five miles a day, and when he got to Philadelphia looked so shabby that they repelled him at the hotel; but this only made him laugh and find another hotel. He never paid much attention to his dress, and observed through life the simple habits he found agreeable as a boy. For two years he practiced in one rough, native county; but it soon being evident that he was a man of extraordinary grasp of a law case, he removed to Richmond, which had not long been the capital, and there he lived until his death, which happened in 1835 in the city of Philadelphia, whither he had repaired to submit to a second operation. The first of these operations was cutting to the bladder for the stone, and he survived it. Subsequently, his liver became enlarged and had abcesses on it, and his stomach would not retain much nutriment. Marshall was a social man, and at times convivial; and I should think it probable that, though he lived to a good old age, these complaints were, to some extent, engendered by the fried food they insist upon in Virginia, and addiction to Madeira wine instead of lighter French or German wines. He was one of the last of the old Madeira drinkers of this country, like Washington, and his only point of pride was that he had perhaps the best Madeira at Richmond. Above all other men who ever lived at Richmond, Virginia, Marshall gives sanctity and character to the place. His house still stands there, and ought to become the property of the bar of this country. It is now a pretty old house, made of brick and moderately roomy.
AT THE BAR.
The basis of Marshall's ability at the bar was his understanding. Not highly read, he had one of those clear understandings which was equal to a mill-pond of book-learning. His first practice was among his old companions in arms, who felt that he was a soldier by nature, and one of those who loved the fellowship of the camp better than military or political ambition. Ragged and dissipated, they used to come to him for protection, and at a time when imprisonment for debt and cruel executions were in vogue. He not only defended them, but loaned them money. He lost some good clients by not paying more attention to his clothing, but these outward circumstances could not long keep back recognition of the fact that he was the finest arguer of a case at the Richmond bar, which then contained such men as Edmund Randolph, Patrick Henry, and later, William Wirt. He was not an orator, did not cultivate his voice, did not labor hard; but he had the power to penetrate to the very center of the subject, discover the chief point, and rally all his forces there. If he was defending a case, he would turn his attention to some other than the main point, in order to let the prosecution assemble its powers at the wrong place. With a military eye he saw the strong and weak positions, and, like Rembrandt painting, he threw all his light on the right spot. The character of his argument was a perspicuous, easy, onward, accumulative, reasoning statement. He had but one gesture—to lift up his hand and bring it down on the place before him constantly. He discarded fancy or poetry in his arguments. William Wirt said of him, in a sentence worth committing to memory as a specimen of good style in the early quarter of this century: "All his eloquence consists in the apparent deep self-conviction and emphatic earnestness of his manner; the corresponding simplicity and energy of his style; the close and logical connection of his thoughts, and the easy graduations by which he opens his lights on the attentive minds of his hearers. The audience are never permitted to pause for a moment. There is no stopping to weave garlands of flowers to hang in festoons around a favorite argument. On the contrary, every sentence is progressive; every idea sheds new light on the subject; the listener is kept perpetually in that sweetly pleasurable vibration with which the mind of man always receives new truths; the dawn advances with easy but unremitting pace; the subject opens gradually on the view, until, rising in high relief in all its native colors and proportions, the argument is consummated by the conviction of the delighted hearer."
Immediately after the Revolutionary War the State courts were crowded with business, because of the numerous bankruptcies, arising from war habits, the changes in the condition of families, repudiation of debts, false currency, etc. Marshall was one of the first lawyers who rose to the magnanimity to admit the propriety of a federal judiciary, different from that of the States. The other lawyers thought it would not do to take the business away from these courts. They preferred to see the people hanging around Richmond, with their cases undecided and unheard on account of the pressure of business, rather than to concede a national judiciary. All sorts of novel questions were arising at that time, cases which had no precedents, which the English law-books did not reach, and where the man of native powers, pushing out like Columbus on the unknown, soon developed a sturdy strength and self-reliance the mere popinjay and student of the law could never get. Among the cases he argued was the British debt case, tried in 1793. The United States now had its Circuit Court, and Chief-justice Jay presided at Richmond. The treaty of peace of England provided that the creditors on either side should meet with no lawful impediment to the recovery of the full value of all bona fide debts theretofore contracted. The question was whether debts sequestrated by the Virginia Legislature during the war came under this treaty. It is said that the Countess of Huntingdon heard the speeches on this case, and said that every one of the lawyers, if in England, would have been given a peerage. Patrick Henry broke his voice down in this case, and never again could speak with his old force. Marshall surpassed them all in the cogency of his reasoning. At that time he was thought to be rather lazy. He went into the State Legislature in 1782, just before he married. His personal influence was such in Richmond that, although he was constantly in the minority, he was always elected. His principal amusement was pitching the quoit, which he did to the end of his days, and could ring the meg, it is said, at a distance of sixty feet frequently. He arose early in the morning and went to market without a servant, and brought back his chickens in one hand and his market basket on the other arm. He never took offense, and once when a dude stopped him on the street and asked him where there was a fellow to take home his marketing, Marshall inquired where he lived, and said, "I will take it for you." After he got home with the other man's marketing, the dude was much distressed to find that Mr. Marshall had been his supposed servant.
Nevertheless, the intellectual existence of the man was decided. From the beginning of his life he took the view that while Virginia was the State of his birth, his country was America; that all he and his neighbors could accomplish on this planet would be under the great government which comprehends all, and, true to this one idea, he never wavered in his life. Mr. Jefferson, who was much his senior, he distrusted profoundly, regarding him as a man of cunning, lacking in large faith, and constitutionally biased in mind. In the sketch Marshall made of General Washington, he said, and it is believed that he referred to Jefferson: "He made no pretension to that vivacity which fascinates or to that wit which dazzles, and frequently imposes on the understanding. More solid than brilliant; judgment, rather than genius, constituted the most prominent feature of his character. No man has ever appeared upon the theater of public action whose integrity was more incorruptible, or whose principles were more perfectly free from the contamination of those selfish and unworthy passions which find their nourishment in the conflicts of party. Having no views which required concealment, his real and avowed motives were the same, and his whole correspondence does not furnish a single case from which even an enemy would infer that he was capable, under any circumstances, of stooping to the employment of duplicity. No truth can be uttered with more confidence than that his ends were always upright and his means always pure. He exhibited the rare example of a politician to whom wiles were totally unknown, and whose professions to foreign governments, and to his own countrymen, were always sincere. In him was fully exemplified the real distinction which found existence between wisdom and cunning, and the importance, as well as the truth of the maxim, that honesty is the best policy." It is to be noticed that Marshall's "Life of Washington," though written by the chief-justice of the United States, was not a success, and passed through only one edition. It gave him more annoyance than any thing in his life. He wrote it with labor and sincerity, but he was incapable of writing mere smart, vivacious things, and, in the attempt to give Washington his due proportions, he insensibly failed of making a popular book.
Jefferson, who had been urging Tobias Lear, Washington's secretary, to get out of Washington's papers remarks injurious to himself, was greatly exercised at the publication of Marshall's book about as much as the better element dudes are at Blaine's book.
Mr. Marshall, in 1788, assisted to make the new constitution of Virginia. By the desire of Washington he ran for Congress as a Federalist. President Washington offered him the place of attorney-general, which he declined. He also declined the minister to France, but subsequently accepted the position from President Adams, and in France was insulted with his fellow-members by Talleyrand. John Adams, on his return, wished to make him a member of the Supreme Court, but this he declined, preferring the practice of the law.
It was at Mount Vernon that Washington prevailed upon him to run for Congress. The story being raised that Patrick Henry was opposed to him, old Henry came forward and said: "I should rather give my vote to John Marshall than to any citizen of this State at this juncture, one only excepted," meaning Washington.
The father of Robert E. Lee was one of the old Federal minority rallying under Marshall. Marshall had scarcely taken his seat in Congress, in 1799, when Washington died, and he officially announced the death at Philadelphia, and followed his remarks by introducing the resolutions drafted by General Lee, which contained the words, "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen."
ON THE BENCH.
John Marshall was next Secretary of State of John Adams, succeeding Timothy Pickering. Adams was defeated for re-election, but before he went out of office he appointed Marshall chief-justice, at the age of forty-five.
At the head of that great bench sat Marshall more than one-third of a century. Before him pleaded all the great lawyers of the country, like William Pinckney, Hugh Legare, Daniel Webster, Horace Binney, Luther Martin, and Walter Jones.
John Marshall left as his great legacy to the United States his interpretation of the Constitution. While chief-justice he became a member of the Constitutional Convention of Virginia in company with Madison and Monroe, both of whom had been President. He gave the Federal Constitution its liberal interpretation, that it was not merely a bone thrown to the general government, which must be watched with suspicion while it ate, but that it was a document with something of the elasticity of our population and climate, and that it was designed to convey to the general state powers noble enough to give us respect.
Without a spot on his reputation, without an upright enemy, the old man attended to his duty absolutely, loved argument, encouraged all young lawyers at the bar, and he lived down to the time of nullification, and when General Jackson issued his proclamation against the nullifiers John Marshall and Judge Story went up to the White House and took a glass of wine with him.
And thus those two old men silently appreciated each other near the end of their days when the suspicions of Jefferson had resulted in incipient rebellion that was to break out in less than thirty years, and which Marshall predicted unless there was a more general assent to the fact that we were one country, and not a parcel of political chicken-coops.—GEORGE ALFRED TOWNSEND.
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A NOBLE MOTHER.
HOW SHE TRAINED HERSELF, AND EDUCATED HER BOYS
Harrietta Rea, in The Christian Union, some time ago, drew a picture of home life in the West, which ought to be framed and hung up in every household of the land.
In one of the prairie towns of Northern Iowa, where the Illinois Central Railroad now passes from Dubuque to Sioux City, lived a woman whose experience repeats the truth that inherent forces, ready to be developed, are waiting for the emergencies that life may bring.
She was born and "brought up" in New England. With the advantages of a country school, and a few terms in a neighboring city, she became a fair scholar—not at all remarkable; she was married at twenty-one to a young farmer, poor, but intelligent and ambitious. In ten years, after the death of their parents they emigrated to Iowa, and invested their money in land that bade fair to increase in value, but far away from neighbors. Here they lived, a happy family, for five years, when he died, leaving her, at the age of thirty-five, with four boys, the eldest nearly fourteen, the youngest nine. The blow came suddenly, and at first was overwhelming. Alone, in what seemed almost a wilderness, she had no thought of giving up the farm. It was home. There they must stay and do the best they could. The prospect of a railroad passing near them, in time, was good; then some of the land might be sold. A little money bad been laid by—nothing that she ought to touch for the present. Daniel, the hired man, who had come out with them, and who was a devoted friend and servant, she determined to keep—his judgment was excellent in farm matters. Hitherto the boys had gone regularly to school, a mile or two away; for a settlement in Iowa was never without its school-house. They were bright and quick to learn. Their father had been eager to help and encourage them. Newspapers, magazines, and now and then a good book, had found their way into this household. Though very fond of reading herself, with the care of her house she had drifted along, as so many women do, until the discipline of study, or any special application, had been almost forgotten. It was the ambition of both parents that their sons should be well educated. Now Jerry and Thede, the two oldest, must be kept at home during the summer to work. Nate and Johnnie could help at night and in the morning. The boys had all been trained to habits of obedience. They were affectionate, and she knew that she could depend upon their love.
One evening, alone in her bedroom, she overheard some part of a conversation as the children were sitting together around the open fire-place:
"I don't mind the work," said Theodore, "if I could only be learning, too. Father used to say he wanted me to be a civil engineer."
"If father was here," said eleven-year-old Nate, "you could study evenings and recite to him. I wish mother could help; but, then I guess mother's—"
"Help how?" she heard Jerry ask sharply, before Nate could finish his sentence; and she knew the boy was jealous at once for her. "Isn't she the best mother in the world?"
"Yes, she is; and she likes stories, too; but I was just thinking, now that you can't go to school, if she only knew a lot about every thing, why, she could tell you."
"Well," replied Jerry, with all the gravity of a man, "we must just take hold and help all we can; it's going to be hard enough for mother. I just hate to give up school and pitch into work. Thede, you shall go next Winter, any way."
"Shan't we be lonesome next winter?" said little Johnnie, who had taken no part in the talk; until now; "won't mother be afraid? I want my father back," and, without a word of warning, he burst into tears.
Dead silence for a few minutes. The outburst was so sudden, she knew they were all weeping. It was Jerry again who spoke first: "Don't let mother see us crying. Come, Johnnie, let's take Bone, and all go down to the trap;" then she heard them pass out of the house.
Desolation fell upon that poor mother for the next hour. Like a knife, Nate's remark had passed through her heart, "Father could have helped!" Couldn't she help her boys, for whom she was ready to die? Was she only "mother," who prepared their meals and took care of their clothes? She wanted a part in the very best of their lives. She thought it all over, sitting up far into the night. If she could only create an interest in some study that should bind them all together, and in which she could lead! Was she too old to begin? Never had the desire to become the very center of interest to them taken such a hold upon her.
A few weeks after, she said one morning, at the breakfast table, "Boys, I've been thinking that we might begin geology this summer, and study it, all of us together. Your father and I meant to do it sometime. I've found a text-book; by and by, perhaps, Thede can draw us a chart. Jerry will take hold, I know, and Nate and Johnnie can hunt for specimens. We'll have an hour or two every night."
The children's interest awoke in a flash, and that very evening the question discussed was one brought in by Nate: "What is the difference between limestone and granite?" A simple one, but it opened the way for her, and their first meeting proved a success. She had to study each day to be ready and wide awake for her class. They lived in a limestone region. Different forms of coral abounded, and other fossils were plenty. An old cupboard in the shed was turned into a cabinet. One day Nate, who had wandered off two or three miles, brought home a piece of rock, where curious, long, finger-shaped creatures were imbedded. Great was the delight of all to find them described as orthoceratites, and an expedition to the spot was planned for some half-holiday. Question after question led back to the origin of the earth. She found the nebular hypothesis, and hardly slept one night trying to comprehend it clearly enough to put it before others in a simple fashion. Her book was always at hand. By and by they classified each specimen, and the best of their kind were taken to shelves in the sitting-room. Her own enthusiasm in study was aroused, and, far from a hardship, it now became a delight. Her spirit was contagious. The boys, always fond of "mother," wondered what new life possessed her; but they accepted the change all the same. She found that she could teach, and also could inspire her pupils. They heard of a gully, five or six miles away, where crystals had been found. Making a holiday, for which the boys worked like Trojans, they took their lunch in the farm wagon, and rode to the spot; and if their search was not altogether successful, it left them the memory of a happy time.
In the meantime the farm prospered. She did all the work in the house and all the sewing, going out, too, in the garden, where she raised a few flowers, and helping to gather vegetables. Daniel and the boys were bitterly opposed to her helping them. "Mother," said Jerry, "if you won't ever think you must go out, I'll do any thing to make up. I don't want you to look like those women we see sometimes in the fields." Generally she yielded; her work was enough for one pair of hands. Through it all now ran the thought that her children were growing up; they would become educated men; she would not let them get ahead, not so as to pass her entirely.
Winter came. Now Daniel could see to the work; but these habits of study were not to be broken. "Boys, let us form a history club," was the proposition; "it shan't interfere with your lessons at school." They took the history of the United States, which the two younger children were studying. Beginning with the New England settlements, and being six in number, they called each other, for the time, after the six States, persuading old Daniel to take his native Rhode Island. "That woman beats all creation," he was heard to exclaim, "the way she works all day and goes on at night over her books." The mother used to say she hardy knew if she were any older than her boys when they were trying to trip each other with questions. The teacher of the district school came over one Saturday afternoon. "I never had such pupils," said he, "as your sons, in history; and indeed they want to look into every thing." Afterward he heard with delight the story of their evening's work. The deep snows often shut them in, but the red light shone clearly and bright from that sitting-room window, and a merry group were gathered around the table. Every two weeks an evening was given to some journey. It was laid out in advance, and faithfully studied. Once, Theodore remembers, a shout of laughter was raised when nine o'clock came by Jerry's exclamation, "O, mother, don't go home now; we are all having such a good time!" Five years they lived in this way, and almost entirely by themselves. They studied botany. She knew the name of every tree and shrub for miles around. The little boys made a collection of birds' eggs, and then began to watch closely the habits of the birds. It was a pure, simple life. It would have been too wild and lonely but for the charm of this devoted mother. Her hours of loneliness were hidden from them; but she learned in an unusual degree to throw every energy into the day's work of study, and create, as it were, a fresh enthusiasm for the present hour. Her loving sacrifice was rewarded. Each child made her his peculiar confidante. She became the inspiration of his life.
English history opened a wide field to this family. One afternoon she brought in Shakespeare to prove some historical question. It was a rainy day, and the boys were all at home. Jerry began to read "Hamlet" aloud; it proved a treasure that brought them into a new world of delight. Sometimes they took different characters for representation, and the evening ended in a frolic; for good-natured mirth was never repressed.
First of all, a preparation had been made for the Sabbath. There was a church in this town, but at a distance of several miles, and during many days the roads were impassable. She had leaned upon infinite Strength, gathering wisdom through all these experiences. The secret of many a promise had been revealed to her understanding; and, above every thing, she desired that the Scriptures should become precious to her children. She took up Bible characters, bringing to bear the same vivid interest, the same power of making them realities.
These lessons were varied by little sketches or reports of one Sunday to be read aloud the next. Of this, Nate took hold with a special zest. None of this family could sing. She thought of a substitute. They learned the Psalms, much of Isaiah, and many hymns, repeating them in concert, learning to count upon this hour around the fire as others do upon their music. How many of these times came to her in after life—the vision of the bright faces of her boys as they clustered affectionately around her!
Time rolled by. The railroad passed through. A village sprang up, and the land was ready to sell. She could keep enough for her own use, and the boys could prepare for college. Thede and Nate went away to school. The old home was kept bright and pleasant; friends, new settlers, came in, and now there was visiting and social life.
Jerry stayed on the farm; Theodore became a civil engineer; Nate a minister; Johnnie went into business. Theodore used to say: "Mother, as I travel about, all the stones and the flowers make me think of you. I catch sight of some rock, and stop to laugh over those blessed times." Nate said: "Mother, when I am reading a psalm in the pulpit, there always comes to me a picture of those old evenings, with you in the rocking-chair by the firelight, and I hear all your voices again." Johnnie wrote: "Mother, I think that every thing I have has come to me through you." When Jerry, who remained faithful always, had listened to his brothers, he put his arm about her, saying tenderly: "There will never be any body like mother to me."
She died at sixty-five, very suddenly. Only a few hours before, she had exclaimed, as her children all came home together: "There never were such good boys as mine. You have repaid me a thousand-fold. God grant you all happy homes." They bore her coffin to the grave themselves. They would not let any other person touch it. In the evening they gathered around the old hearth-stone in the sitting-room, and drew their chairs together. No one spoke until Nate said, "Boys, let us pray;" and then, all kneeling around her vacant chair, he prayed that the mantle of their mother might fall upon them. They could ask nothing beyond that.
No Longer My Own.
In serving the Master I love, In doing his bidding each day, The sweetness of bondage I prove, And sing, as I go on my way— I never such freedom have known As now I'm no longer my own.
His burden is easy to bear, My own was a mountain of lead; His yoke it is gladness to wear, My own with my life-blood was red— I never such gladness have known As now I'm no longer my own.
Discharging the duties I owe To household and neighbor of mine, The beauty of bondage I know, And count it as beauty divine— I never such beauty have known As now I'm no longer my own.
And everywhere, Master so dear, A dutiful bondman of thine, All things my possession appear, Their glory so verily mine— I never such glory have known As now I'm no longer my own.
My heart overflows with brave cheer; For where is the bondage to dread, As long as the Master is dear, And love that is selfish is dead!— I never such safety have known As now I'm no longer my own.
* * * * *
THE CARE OF THE BODY.
WHAT DR. SARGENT, OF THE HARVARD GYMNASIUM, SAYS ABOUT IT—POINTS FOR PARENTS, TEACHERS, AND PUPILS.
The time is coming—indeed has come—when every writer will divide the subject of education into physical, moral, and intellectual. We recognize theoretically that physical education is the basis of all education. From the time of Plato down to the time of Horace Mann and Herbert Spencer that has been the theory. It has also been the theory of German educators. The idea that the mind is a distinct entity, apart from the body, was a theological idea that grew out of the reaction against pagan animalism. The development of the body among the Greeks and Romans was followed by those brutal exhibitions of physical prowess in the gladiatorial contests where the physical only was cultivated and honored. With the dawn of Christianity a reaction set in against this whole idea of developing the body. They thought no good could come from its supreme development, because they had seen so much evil. The priests represented the great danger which accompanied this physical training without moral culture, and there is no doubt that they were right to a certain degree. Give a man only supreme physical education, without any attention to the moral and intellectual, and he will go to pieces like our prize-fighters and athletes. But the Christians went to the other extreme. They practiced the most absurd system of asceticism, depriving themselves of natural food and rest, and, of course, the results which followed on a grand scale were just what would follow in the individual. Let a person follow the course they did, denying himself necessary raiment and food, taking no exercise, and living in retirement, and nervous prostration will follow, and hysterical disturbances and troubles. This result in the individual was found on a large scale throughout Christendom. The idea that the Christians brought down from the very earliest dawn of Christianity, that the body and soul are distinct, and that whatever is done to mortify the flesh increases the spiritual, life, has a grain of truth in it. There were men in our army who, half-starved, marched through the Southern swamps in a state of exaltation. They imagined they were walking through floral gardens, with birds flitting about and singing overhead. But it was an unnatural, morbid state. So priests deprived themselves of food, and reduced themselves to the lowest extent physically, and then saw visions; and were in an exalted mental state. But it was morbid. If a man sit up till twelve o'clock to write on a certain theme, he may not have a single idea until that hour; but then his mind begins to work, and perhaps he can work better than under any other circumstances. But his condition is abnormal. It does not represent the man's true state of health. He is gaining that momentary advancement of power at terrible cost.
This disregard of physical conditions is giving rise to national disturbance. It has thoroughly worked itself into our educational system. Though our schools profess to be purely secular, they still adhere to this old theological idea. You can not get teachers to enter with zest into exercises for physical development, because they think that a man who trains the body must be inferior to the man who trains the mind. They do not see that the two are closely allied. They will tell you that the time is all apportioned, so many hours for each study, and that if you take half an hour out for exercise the boy must lose so much Latin or Greek, or something else. The idea of the high-school is to get the boy into college. They care nothing about the condition of the individual. The individual must be sacrificed to the reputation of the school, or of the master; the standard must be kept up. If the master can not get just such a percentage of scholars into college, his own reputation and the reputation of the school are injured. If he can get this percentage into college, he does not care what becomes of the individual. Our schools treat a boy as professional trainers treat a man on the field; the only idea is to make the boy win a certain prize. They do not care any thing about his health; that is nothing to them. Their reputation is made upon the success of the boy in his entrance to college. Here I have to step in and say to the father: "This boy must not go any farther. His future prospects ought not to be sacrificed in this way. Your son's success in life does not depend upon his going through the Latin school. Let him step out and take another year. Do not attempt to crowd him." The result of this lack of attention to physical training, even looking at it from the intellectual stand-point, is fatal. The boy gets a disgust for study, as one does for any special kind of food when kept exclusively upon it. Many a fellow who stood high in school breaks away from books as soon as he enters college, and goes to the other extreme. That is nature's method of seeking relief. He has mental dyspepsia, and every opportunity that offers for physical play he accepts. He can not help it, and he ought not to be blamed for it, because it is the natural law.
The laws of assimilation govern the brain as well as the body. You can only store up just about so much matter—call it educational material if you will—in a given time. If you undertake to force the physical activity of the brain, you must supply it with more nourishment. If a boy takes no exercise to increase his appetite, if he does not invigorate and nourish his blood, which supplies brain substance, of course there is deterioration. If he has a good stock of reserve physical power he will get on very well for a while, but all at once he will come to a stop. How many hundreds of those who stood well when they entered college get to a certain point and can get no farther, because they have not the physical basis. They are like athletes who can run a certain speed, but can never get beyond that. On the other hand, men who have had a more liberal physical training will go right by them, though not such good scholars, because they have more of a basis back in the physical.
When these things are fully appreciated, the whole system of education will be revolutionized. To build the brain we must build the body. We must not sacrifice nerve tissue and nerve power in physical training, as there is danger of doing if gymnastics are not guided by professional men. But the proper training of the body should produce the highest intellectual results.
Certain parts of the body bear certain relations to one another. The office of the stomach is to supply the body with nourishment. The office of the heart is to pump this nourishment over the body. The office of the lungs is to feed the heart and stomach with pure blood. All support one another, and all are dependent on each other. If a boy sits in a cramped position in school, that interferes with the circulation of the blood, and that with the nourishment of the brain. You could in this way trace the cause of many a schoolboy's headache. Speaking roughly, we might say that one-half of the school children have a hollow at the bottom of the breast-bone from sitting in such positions, and this depression interferes with digestion. And the moment the stomach gives out, that affects the whole physical and mental condition. When nutrition is imperfect, the action of the heart and the distribution of the blood are interfered with.
The only way to remedy these evils is by popular education. It is of no use to attempt to bring about at once; any regular or prescribed system of exercise, requiring such exercises to be carried out in school, because our schools, like our theaters, are what the public make them. There is many a master who knows he is pursuing the wrong course, but he is kept to it by the anxious solicitations of parents who wish their children kept up to a certain rank. They are forced to follow the present system by the inordinate demands of parents. The parents must be educated. The father and mother must be converted to the necessity, the absolute necessity for success in life, of physical culture. There are plenty of men who stand as political and financial leaders who are not highly educated men. A man who has the rudiments of education—reading, writing, arithmetic—with a good physique, good health, a well-balanced and organized frame, brought into contact with the world, stands a better chance of success than the one who goes through school and takes a high rank at the expense of his physique.