Unless Davis has been captured, we would think it improbable that he had given up the Rebel cause. He was born to revolutionize, containing within himself all the elements of a Rebel leader, and too proud to yield, even when, like Macbeth, pursued to his castle-keep. I am assured by those who know him best that he has been, throughout, the absolute master of the Confederacy, overawing Lee, who, from the first, was a reluctant Rebel; and his design was, until abandoned by his army, to hold Richmond, even through starvation, making, behind its tremendous fortifications, a defence like that of Leyden or Genoa.
There is no more faith in the Rebellion; it will be a long time before the United States is greatly beloved, but it will be always obeyed. Our soldiers look well, most of them being newly uniformed, and behave like gentlemen. Courtesy will conquer all that bayonets have not won. The burnt district is still hideously yawning in the heart of the town, a monument to the sternness of those bold revolutionists who are being hunted to their last quarry. Despotism, under the plea of necessity, has met with its end here as it must everywhere. We shall have no more experiments for liberty out of the Union, if the new Union will grant all that it gave before. Yesterday, when our splendid levies were paraded in the street, with foot, cavalry, and cannon, in admirable order, and kindly-eyed men in command, I looked across their cleanly lines, tipped with bayonets, to the Capitol they had won, bearing at last the tri-color we all love and honor, as the symbol of our homes and the hope of the world, and thought how more grandly, even in her ruin, Richmond stood in the light of its crowding stars, rather than the den of a desperate cabal, whose banner was known in no city nor sea, but as the ensign of corsairs, and hailed only by fustian peers, now rent in the grip of our eagle, and without a fane or an abiding-place. Let us go on, not conquerors, but Republicans, battering down only to rebuild more gloriously,—not narrowing the path of any man, but opening to high and low a broader destiny and a purer patriotism.
To have looked upon seventeen beings of human organism, ambition, sense of pain and of disgrace, brought forward with all the solemnities of a living funeral, and launched from absolute cognition to direct death, should put one in the category of Calcraft, Ketch, and Isaacs.
Yet, I do not think it would be right to so classify me. I know an excellent clergyman, who has seen and assisted in fifty odd executions. He says, as I say, that each new one is an augmented terror. But he is upon the spot to smooth the felon's troubled spirit, and I am with him to teach the felon's boon companions the direness of the penalty. Without either the Chaplain or myself, capital punishment would lose half its effectiveness.
And this is why I write the present article,—to relieve myself from the pertinacious inquiries with which I have been assailed since my return from the melancholy episodes of the executions at Washington. I am button-holed at every corner, and put through a cross-examination, to which Holt's or Bingham's had no searchingness: "How did Mrs. Suratt die?" "Was the rope attached to her left ear?" "What sort of rope was it, for example?" "Do her pictures look like her?" "Pray describe how Payne twisted, and whether you think Atzeroth's neck was dislocated?"
And, after answering these questions, replete as they are with horrible curiosity, the questioner turns away, saying, "Dear me! I wouldn't see a man hung for a thousand dollars."
I am weary of such hypocrisy, and I shall, in this paper, speak of some executions I have witnessed.
I was quite a small boy, at school, when my chum and model, Bill Everett, dragged me off to Wayland's Mill, to see old Mrs. Kitty White suspended. She was a very infamous old woman, who had been in the habit of kidnapping black children, and running them by night from the Eastern shore across the bay to Virginia, where they were sold. If they became noisy and obstreperous before they left her house, and suspicion fell upon her, she clove their skulls with a hatchet, and buried them in her garden. When finally discovered, the remains of nearly a score marked how wholesale had been her wickedness.
This old woman was very drunk when she came to be hanged, and so was the sheriff who assisted her. She called him impolite names, and carried a pipe in her mouth, and went off smoking and cursing. I remember that I cried very loudly, so that Bill Everett had to choke me, and saw ghosts for so many nights succeeding, that Crouch, our maid of all work, had to sit at my bedside till I fell asleep.
The atrocity of a crime makes great difference in one's desire to see its after tragedy; and the next hanging I attended was almost world-famed. Four men were suspended for shooting down an entire family in cold blood. They had embarked on a raid of robbery, and emerging from the barren scrub of Delaware Forest, fell upon a snug and secluded Maryland farm-house, where the farmer's family were taking their supper. They fired through the ruddy windows, and brought the man down at his wife's feet; she, in turn, fell upon her threshold, rushing forth into the darkness, and the remnant of the family perished except two boys, who slipped away and gave the alarm.
The jailer's boys of Chestertown went to school with me, and I was invited by the least of them to visit the jail,—a tumble-down old structure with goggly windows, and so unsafe that the felons had to be ironed to almost their own weight. And into the cell where the four fiends were lying, the jailer's big boy, for a big joke, pushed me, and locked the door upon me.
I was alone with the same bloody-handed men who had so recently, and for a trifle of gold, made the fireside a shamble, and the night a howling terror.
They appreciated the joke, and drew me to them, while their chains clanked, and pressed to my face their wild and prickly beards. There was one of them, named Drummond, who swore he would cut my heart out, and they executed a sort of death-tune on the floor with their balls and links. I lost all knowledge and perception in my fright, and cannot, at this interval, remember anything succeeding, but the execution. They were put to death upon a single long scaffold, the counterpart of that erected for the Booth conspirators, and the rope attached to the neck of the least guilty, broke when the drop fell, and cast him upon the ground, lacerated, but conscious, to be picked up and again suspended, while he begged for life, like a child.
The sixth miscreant murdered from revenge, which is just a trifle better than avarice: his girl preferred another, and the disappointed man, Bowen, went to sea. Returning, he found the united lovers in the exultation of happiness; a child had just been born to them, and, touched by their content, Bowen gave the old rival his hand, and asked him out to accept a bumper. They drank again and again,—the spirits burning their blood to fire, and reviving again the bitter story of Bowen's love and shame. Within the hour, the husband lay at the jilted man's feet! He was condemned to death, and I undertook to describe his exit for a weekly newspaper.
Still I see him, broad and muscular, climbing the gallows stair with his peaked cap, deathly white, and looking up at the sun as if he dreaded its eye. There was the muttering of prayers, the spasm of one spectator taken sick at the crisis, and the dull thump of the scaffold falling in.
The preacher Harden, who fondled his wife on his knee, and fed her the while with poison, passed away so recently, that I need not revive the scene into which all his bad life should have been prolonged.
The death of Armstrong, expiating a hypocrite's life at Philadelphia, is not so well remembered: he killed an old man in the heart of the city, riding in a wagon, and dumped him out when he reached the suburbs. His life, to the end, was marked by all insolence and infamy, and on the day of the execution, he made a pretended confession, inculpating two innocent persons. One hour after this, he made the following speech:—
MY FRIENDS: I have a few words to say to you; I am going to die; and let me say, in passing, I die in peace with my Maker; and if, at this moment, a pardon was offered me on condition of giving up my Maker, I would not take it; and I die in peace with all the world, and forgive all my enemies. I desire you to take warning by my fate. Sabbath-breaking was the first cause. I bid you farewell, gentlemen, (here he mentioned various officers), and I bid you all farewell. I die in peace with everybody.
The Sheriff, very nervous, gave a signal to the drop-man too soon, and a serious accident very nearly occurred. The props were readjusted, all but the main support removed, and that unhinged; the Sheriff waved his handkerchief, and with the dead thump of the trap-lids against their cushions, and the heavy jerking of the noose knot against the victim's throat, the young murderer hung dangling in the air, not a limb quivering, and only a convulsive movement of the shoulders, to indicate the struggle which life maintained when giving up its place in the body.
There was a rush forward. The doctors grasped his wrist. Some spectators passed their hands across his knees to feel the tremulous sinews; one or two felt a faintness, and a dozen made coarse jokes; and one or more speculated as to the issue of his immortal part, or the degree of his pain, or the probability of his cognizance. In seven minutes he was beyond the reach of execution or executioner, and a hurdle being wheeled from the stable, they cut down his body, while a few scrambled for the rope, and it was wheeled on a run into the convict's corridor for his old father to claim. The neck was not broken, nor the flesh discolored. Some said that he died "game;" and all went away, leaving the old man and a brother to sit by the remains and weep, that so great calamity had darkened their home and blighted their lives. Few lamented him, for he had youth, but none of its elements of sympathy; and those who would make, even of his dying speech, a text and a lesson, are instancing a lie more grievous than the murder which he did.
In England, I saw two men and a woman suffer death on the common sidewalk; just as if we were to hang people in New York on the pavement before the Tombs.
No man, anxious to see an execution in London, need be disappointed. Once or twice a month the wolves are brought to the slaughter, and all the people are invited to enjoy the spectacle. A woman, one Catharine Wilson, was to be hanged for poisoning. She was middle aged, and had been reputable. Her manner of making way with folks was to act as sick-nurse, and mingling poison with their medicine, possess herself of the trifles upon their persons. She had sent six souls to their account in this way; but, discovered in the seventh attempt, all the other cases leaked out. She was condemned, of course, and on the Sunday evening previous to the execution, as I was returning from Spurgeon's Tabernacle, the omnibus upon which I sat passed through the Old Bailey. There were the carpenters joining the timbers of the scaffold, and building black barricades across the street. A murmuring crowd stood around in the solemn night, and the funereal walls of old Newgate glowered like a horrible vault upon the dimly-lit street. The public houses across the way were filled up with guests. All the front parlors and front bedrooms had been let at fat prices, and suppers were spread in them for the edification of their tenants. Do you remember the thrilling chapter of "The Jew's last night alive," in "Oliver Twist?" Well, this was the scene! These were the same beams and uprights. There, huge, massive, and blackened with smoky years, rose the cold, impervious stones; and yonder, casting its sharp pinnacles into the sky, is the tower of St. Sepulchre's Church, where the bell hangs muffled for the morrow's tolling away of a sinner's life. Old Fagin heard it, though it was no new sound to him; for Field Lane, where he kept his "fence," lies a very little way off,—little more than a stone's throw, and when, in the morning, I dressed at an early hour and hurried to the place of execution, I saw Charley Bates, and the Dodger, and Nancy, and Toby Crackit, and the rest, shying men's hats in the air, and looking out for the "wipes" and the "tickers." All the streets leading to Newgate were like great conduits, where human currents babbled along, emptying themselves into the Old Bailey. Mothers by the dozen were out with their infants, holding them aloft tenderly, to show them the noose and the cross-beam. Fathers came with their sons, and explained very carefully to them the method of strangulation. Little girls, on their way to workshops, had turned aside to see the playful affair, and traders in fancy soap and shoe-blacking, pea-nuts and shrimps, Banbury cakes, and Chelsea buns, and Yarmouth bloaters, were making the morning hilarious with their odd cries and speeches. Along the chimney-pots of Green Arbour Court, where Goldsmith penned the "Vicar of Wakefield," lads and maidens were climbing, that they might have commanding places. There was one young woman who had some difficulty in climbing over a battlement, and the mob hailed her failure with roars of mirth. But she persevered, though there was a high wind blowing, and then called loudly for her male attendant to follow her. He obeyed dutifully, and they both seated themselves upon a chimney-top,—a picture of love rewarded,—and waited for the show. The moments, as marked upon St. Sepulchre's clock, went grudgingly, as if the index-hands were unwilling to shoulder the responsibility of what was to come. Meantime, the police had their hands full; for some merry urchins were darting between their legs, and it was dangerous to keep one's hat on his head, for it hazarded plucking off and shying here and there. At the chamber-windows aforesaid, crowded the tipsy occupants, men and women, red-eyed with drinking, and leering stupidly upon the surging heads below. Some asked if Calcraft did the "job," and others volunteered sketches of Calcraft's life. One man boasted that he had taken a pot of beer with him, and another added that the hangman's children and his own went to school together. "He pockets," said the man, "two-pun ten for every one he drops, besides his travelling expenses, and he has put away three hundred and twenty folks. He is a clever fellow, is Calcraft, and he is going to retire soon."
So the hours passed; the great clock-hands journeyed onward; all eyes watched them attentively; suddenly the deep bells struck a terrible one—two—three—four—five—six—seven—eight, and the bells of the neighborhood answered, some hoarsely, others musically, others faintly, as if ashamed.
Before the tones had died away, three persons appeared upon the scaffold,—a woman, pinioned and wearing a long, sharp, snowy, shrowdy, death-cap; a man in loose black robes with a white neckhandkerchief, and a burly, surly fellow, in black cloth, bareheaded, and having a curling jetty beard around his heavy jaws. It is but a moment, that, standing on tiptoe, you catch this scene. The priest stretches his hand toward the people, and says some unintelligible words; those of the mob curse each other, and some scream out that they are dying in the press. Then the scaffold is clear; the woman stands alone,—God forgive her!—and when you look again, a bundle of old clothes, tipped with a sugar-loaf, is all that is visible, and the gallows-cord is very straight and tight. For the last chapter, consult the graveyard within the jail walls!
The guillotining which I witnessed in Paris, in the month of June, 1864, may be deemed worthy of an extended description:—
Couty de la Pommerais was a young physician of Paris, descended from a fine family, and educated beyond the requirements of a French Faculty. He was handsome and manly, and gave evidences of ambition at an early age. He was popularly called the Comte de la Pommerais, and at the time of his apprehension, was expecting a decoration from the Papal Government, with the rank he desired. Like all French students, he was incontinent, and had several mistresses. The last of these was a widow named Pauw, who appears to have loved him sincerely. She had some little fortune, which they consumed together; and then la Pommerais married a rich young lady, with whom he lived one year. Her mother died suddenly at the end of that time, and as la Pommerais was interested in getting certain moneys which the elder lady controlled, the manner of her death led to suspicions of poisoning. However, the woman was interred, but the son-in-law was not so fortunate as he supposed, and he ceased to live with his wife, but returned to Madame Pauw, who still adored him. Upon this fond, foolish woman he seems to have premeditated a deep and intricate crime; and it was for this that he suffered death. She must have been dishonest like himself, for she consented to a scheme of swindling the insurance companies; but, unlike himself, she lacked the wit to be silent, and was heard to hint mysteriously that she should soon be grand and happy. La Pommerais persuaded her to have her life insured, which was done for 515,000 francs, or upward of $100,000. When the matter had transpired some time, he persuaded her to feign sickness. The simple woman asked why she should do so.
"The insurance people," he replied, "will, when they consider that you are dangerously ill, prefer to give you 100,000f., rather than pay the 515,000f. in the certainty of your death. You can give them up your policy, accept the compromise, get well again, and be rich."
Yet this counterfeited sickness was meant by the villain to prepare the neighbors of Mme. Pauw for the death which he intended to ensue. He was to make it known to all, that she was dangerously ill; she was to uphold his testimony; and he was to kill her in due time, and take the whole of the insurance. At length, the farce was finished. La Pommerais gave to Mme. Pauw, a poison difficult to detect, called digitalline, the essential principle of our common foxglove; she died unconscious of his deception, loving him to the last, and he claimed the 515,000 francs at the insurance office. He was suspected, accused, and tried. The old suspicions relative to his mother-in-law were revived; the bodies were exhumed and examined; upon evidence entirely circumstantial and technical, he was convicted, and sentenced to be guillotined. His learning and standing made the trial a famous one; his bearing during the long proceedings was calm and collected; he was handsome, and had much sympathy: but the jury found him guilty, and the Emperor refused to extend his clemency to the case. He was put in a strait jacket and locked up in La Roquette, the prison for the condemned.
The prison of La Roquette (or the Rocket Prison) is situated in the eastern suburbs of Paris, a mile beyond the Bastile. It does not look unlike our American jails; a high exterior wall of rough stone, over the top of which one gets a glimpse of the prison gables, with a huge gate in the arched portal, guarded forever by sentinels. Before this gate is a small open plot of ground, planted with trees. Rue de la Roquette passes between it and a second prison, immediately facing the first, called the Prison des Jeunes Detenus, or, as we would say in America, the "House of Refuge." Standing between the two jails, and looking away from Paris, one will see the great metropolitan cemetery of Pere la Chaise, scarcely a stone's throw distant, and behind him will be the great abbatoir or public slaughter-house of Menilmontant, with the vast area of roofs and spires of Paris stretching beyond it to the horizon. It was to this region of vacant lots and lonesome, glowering houses, that thousands of Parisians bent their steps the night before the execution. The news had gone abroad that la Pommerais would not be pardoned. It was also generally credited that this would be the last execution ever held in Paris, since there is a general desire for the abolition of capital punishment in France, and a conviction that the Legislature, at its next session, will substitute life-imprisonment. This, with the rarity of the event, and that terrible allurement of blood which distinguishes all populaces, brought out all the excitable folk of the town; and at dusk, on the night before the expiation, the whole neighborhood of La Roquette was crowded with men and women. All classes of Parisians were there,—the blouses, or workingmen, standing first in number; the students from the Latin Quartier being well represented, and idlers, and well-dressed nondescripts without enumeration,—distributing themselves among women, dogs, and babies.
Venders of gateaux, muscles, and fruit were out in force. The "Savage of Paris," clothed in his war plumes, paint, greaves, armlets, and moccasins, was selling razors by gaslight; here and there ballad-mongers were singing the latest songs, and boys, with chairs to let, elbowed into the intricacies of the crowd, which amused itself all the night long by smoking, drinking, and hallooing. At last, the mass became formidable in numbers, covering every inch of ground within sight of the prison, and many soldiers and sergeants de ville, mounted and on foot, pushed through the dense mass to restore order.
At midnight, a body of cavalry forced back the people from the square of La Roquette. A number of workmen, issuing from the prison-gates, proceeded to set up the instrument of death by the light of blazing torches. The flame lit up the dark jail walls, and shone on the helmets and cuirasses of the sabre-men, and flared upon spots of the upturned faces, now bringing them into strong, ruddy relief, now plunging them into shadow. When the several pieces had been framed together, we had a real guillotine in view,—the same spectre at which thousands of good and bad men had shuddered; and the folks around it, peering up so eagerly, were descendants of those who stood on the Place de la Concorde to witness the head of a king roll into the common basket. Imagine two tall, straight timbers, a foot apart, rising fifteen feet from the ground. They are grooved, and spring from a wide platform, approached by a flight of steps. At the base, rests a spring-plank or bascule, to which leather thongs are attached to buckle down the victim, and a basket or pannier filled with sawdust to receive the severed head. Between these, at their summit, hangs the shining knife in its appointed grooves, and a cord, which may be disconnected by a jerk, holds it to its position. Two men will be required to work the instrument promptly,—the one to bind the condemned, the other to drop the axe. The bascule is so arranged that the whole weight and length of the trunk will rest upon it, leaving the head and neck free, and when prone it will reach to the grooves, leaving space for the knife to pass below it. The knife itself is short and wide, with a bright concave edge, and a rim of heavy steel ridges it at the top; it moves easily in the greased grooves, and may weigh forty pounds. It has a terrible fascination, hanging so high and so lightly in the blaze of the torches, which play and glitter upon it, and cast stains of red light along its keen blade, as if by their brilliance all its past blood-marks had become visible again. A child may send it shimmering and crashing to the scaffold, but only God can fasten together the warm and throbbing parts which it shall soon dissever. And now that the terrible creature has been recreated, the workmen slink away, as if afraid of it, and a body of soldiers stand guard upon it, as if they fear that it might grow thirsty and insatiate as in the days of its youth. The multitude press up again, reinforced every hour, and at last the pale day climbs over the jail-walls, and waiting people see each other by its glimmer. The bells of Notre Dame peal out; a hundred towers fall into the march of the music; the early journals are shrieked by French newsboys, and folks begin to count the minutes on their watches. There are men on the ground who saw the first guillotine at work. They describe the click of the cleaver, the steady march of victims upon the scaffold-stairs, the rattle of the death-cart turning out of the Rue Saint Honore, the painted executioners, with their dripping hands, wiping away the jets of blood from the hard, rough faces; nay! the step of the young queen, white-haired with care, but very beautiful, who bent her body as she had never bent her knee, and paid the penalty of her pride with the neck which a king had fondled.
At four minutes to six o'clock on Thursday morning, the wicket in the prison-gate swung open; the condemned appeared, with his hands tied behind his back, and his knees bound together. He walked with difficulty, so fettered; but other than the artificial restraints, there was no hesitation nor terror in his movements. His hair, which had been long, dark, and wavy, was severed close to his scalp; his beard had likewise been clipped, and the fine moustache and goatee, which had set off his most interesting face, no longer appeared to enhance his romantic, expressive physiognomy. Yet his black eyes and cleanly cut mouth, nostrils, and eyebrows, demonstrated that Couty de la Pommerais was not a beauty dependent upon small accessories. There was a dignity even in his painful gait; the coarse prison-shirt, scissored low in the neck, exhibited the straight columnar throat and swelling chest; for the rest, he wore only a pair of black pantaloons and his own shapely boots. As he emerged from the wicket, the chill morning air, laden with the dew of the truck gardens near at hand, blew across the open spaces of the suburbs, and smote him with a cold chill. He was plainly seen to tremble; but in an instant, as if by the mere force of his will, he stood motionless, and cast a first and only glance at the guillotine straight before him. It was the glance of a man who meets an enemy's eye, not shrinkingly, but half-defiant, as if even the bitter retribution could not abash his strong courage. The dramatic manner which is characteristic of the most real and earnest incidents of French life had its fascination for la Pommerais, even at his death-hour. Not Mr. Booth nor Mr. Forrest could have expressed the rallying, startling, almost thrilling recognition of an instrument of death, better than this actual criminal, whose last winkful of daylight was blackened by the guillotine. It reminded one of Damon, in the pitch of the tragedy:—
"I stand upon the scaffold—I am standing on my throne."
His dark eye was scintillant; his nostril grew full; his shoulders fell back as if to exhibit his broad, compact figure in manlier outline; he seemed to feel that forty thousand men and women, and young children were looking upon him to see how he dared to die, and that for a generation his bearing should go into fireside descriptions. Then he moved on between the files of soldiers at his shuffling pace, and before him went the aumonier or chaplain, swaying the crucifix, behind him the executioner of Versailles—a rough and bearded man—to assist in the final horror.
It was at this intense moment a most wonderful spectacle. As the prisoner had first appeared, a single great shout had shaken the multitude. It was the French word "Voila!" which means "Behold!" "See!" Then every spectator stood on tiptoe; the silence of death succeeded; all the close street was undulant with human motion; a few house roofs near by were dizzy with folks who gazed down from the tiles; all the way up the heights of Pere la Chaise, among the pale chapels and monuments of the dead, the thousands of stirred beings swung and shook like so many drowned corpses floating on the sea. Every eye and mind turned to the little structure raised among the trees, on the space before La Roquette, and there they saw a dark, shaven, disrobed young man, going quietly toward his grave.
He mounted the steps deliberately, looking toward his feet; the priest held up the crucifix, and he felt it was there, but did not see it; his lips one moment touched the image of Christ, but he did not look up nor speak; then, as he gained the last step, the bascule or swingboard sprang up before him; the executioner gave him a single push, and he fell prone upon the plank, with his face downward; it gave way before him, bearing him into the space between the upright beams, and he lay horizontally beneath the knife, presenting the back of his neck to it. Thus resting, he could look into the pannier or basket, into whose sawdust lining his head was to drop in a moment. And in that awful space, while all the people gazed with their fingers tingling, the legitimate Parisian executioner gave a jerk at the cord which held the fatal knife. With a quick, keen sound, the steel became detached; it fell hurtling through the grooves; it struck something with a dead, dumb thump; a jet of bright blood spurted into the light, and dyed the face of an attendant horribly red; and Couty de la Pommerais's head lay in the sawdust of the pannier, while every vein in the lopped trunk trickled upon the scaffold-floor! They threw a cloth upon the carcass and carried away the pannier; the guillotine disappeared beneath the surrounding heads; loud exclamations and acclaims burst from the multitude; the venders of trash and edibles resumed their cheerful cries, and a hearse dashed through the mass, carrying the warm body of the guillotined to the cemetery of Mt. Parnasse. In thirty minutes, newsboys were hawking the scene of the execution upon all the quays and bridges. In every cafe of Paris some witness was telling the incidents of the show to breathless listeners, and the crowds which stopped to see the funeral procession of the great Marshal Pelissier divided their attention between the warrior and the poisoner,—the latter obtaining the preponderance of fame.
I wonder sometimes, if the ultimate penalty, however enforced, greatly assists example, or dignifies justice. But this would involve a very long controversy, over which many sage heads have sadly ached.
In the open daylight, when my face is shining, and my life secure, I take the humanitarian side, and denounce the barbarities of the gibbet.
But when I come down the dark stairs of the daily paper office, after midnight, and see three or four stealthy fellows hiding in the shadows, and go up the black city unarmed with my pocket full of greenbacks, I think the gallows quite essential as a warning, and indorse it, even after seventeen executions.
So end my desultory chapters of desultory life. It has been, in the arranging of them, difficult to reject material,—not to select it. I am amazed to find what a world of dead leaves lies around my feet, as if I were a tree that blossomed and shed its covering every day. There are baskets-full of copy still remaining, from which the temptation is great to gather. It is sad to have written so much at twenty-five, and yet to have only drifting convictions. I may have succeeded in depicting the lives of certain young gentlemen who reported the war. All of us, who were young, loved the business, and were glad to quit it. For myself, I am weary of travel; rather than publish again from these fragments of my fugitive life, let me weave their material into a more poetic story, softened by some years of stay at home.