When the hero of King's Mountain, wearing the victor's wreath, returned to his friends, he found that his betrothed had departed with her father for Kentucky, leaving for him no request to follow. Sarah, the above-mentioned daughter of Colonel Bledsoe, often rallied the young officer, who spent considerable time at her father's, upon this cruel desertion. He would reply by expressing much indignation at the treatment he had received at the hands of the fair coquette, and protesting that he would not follow her to Kentucky, nor ask her of her father; he would wait for little Sarah Bledsoe, a far prettier bird, he would aver, than the one that had flown away. The maiden, then some twelve or thirteen years of age, would laughingly return his bantering by saying he "had better wait, indeed, and see if he could win Miss Bledsoe who could not win Miss Hart." The arch damsel was not wholly in jest, for a youthful kinsman of the colonel—David Shelby, a lad of seventeen or eighteen, who had fought by his side at King's Mountain—had already gained her youthful affections. She remained true to this early love, though her lover was only a private soldier. And it may be well to record that, the gallant colonel who thus threatened infidelity to his, did actually, notwithstanding his protestations, go to Kentucky the following year, and was married to Miss Susan Hart, who made him a faithful and excellent wife.
During the whole of the trying period that intervened between the first settlement of east Tennessee and the close of the Revolutionary struggle, Colonel Bledsoe, with his brother and kinsmen, was almost incessantly engaged in the strife with their Indian foes, as well as in the laborious enterprise of subduing the forest, and converting the tangled wilds into the husbandman's fields of plenty. In these varied scenes of trouble and trial, of toil and danger, the men were aided and encouraged by the women. Mary Bledsoe, the colonel's wife, was a woman of remarkable energy, and noted for her independence both of thought and action. She never hesitated to expose herself to danger whenever she thought it her duty to brave it; and when Indian hostilities were most fierce, when their homes were frequently invaded by the murderous savage, and females struck down by the tomahawk or carried into captivity, she was foremost in urging her husband and friends to go forth and meet the foe, instead of striving to detain them for the protection of her own household. During this time of peril and watchfulness little attention could have been given to books, even had the pioneers possessed them; but the Bible, the Confession of Faith, and a few such works as Baxter's Call, Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, etc., were generally to be found in the library of every resident on the frontier.
About the close of the year 1779, Colonel Bledsoe and his brothers, with a few friends, crossed the Cumberland Mountains, descended into the valley of Cumberland River, and explored the beautiful region on its banks. Delighted with its shady woods, its herds of buffaloes, its rich and genial soil, and its salubrious climate, their report on their return induced many of the inhabitants of East Tennessee to resolve on seeking a new home in the Cumberland Valley. The Bledsoes did not remove their families thither until three years afterwards; but the idea of settling the valley originated with them; they were the first to explore it, and it was in consequence of their report and advice that the expedition was fitted out, under the direction of Captain (afterwards General) Robertson and Colonel John Donaldson, to establish the earliest colony in that part of the country. The account of this expedition, and the planting of the settlement, is contained in the memoir of "Sarah Buchanan," vol. iii. of "Women of the American Revolution."
The daughter of Colonel Bledsoe, from whose recollection Mr. Haynes has obtained most of the incidents recorded in these sketches, has in her possession letters that passed between her father and General Robertson, in which repeated allusions are made to the fact that to his suggestions and counsel was owing the first thought of emigration to the Cumberland Valley. In 1784, Anthony Bledsoe removed with his family to the new settlement of which he had thus been one of the founders. His brother, Colonel Isaac Bledsoe, had gone the year before. They took up their residence in what is now Sumner County, and established a fort or station at "Bledsoe's Lick"—now known as the Castalian Springs. The families being thus united, and the eldest daughter of Anthony married to David Shelby, the station became a rallying-point for an extensive district surrounding it. The Bledsoes were used to fighting with the Indians; they were men of well-known energy and courage, and their fort was the place to which the settlers looked for protection—the colonels being the acknowledged leaders of the pioneers in their neighborhood, and the terror, far and near, of the savage marauders. Anthony was also a member of the North Carolina Legislature from Sumner County.
From 1780 to 1794, or 1795, a continual warfare was kept up by the Creeks and Cherokees against the inhabitants of the valley. The history of this time would be a fearful record of scenes of bloody strife and atrocious barbarity. Several hundred persons fell victims to the ruthless foe, who spared neither age nor sex, and many women and children were carried far from their friends into hopeless captivity. The settlers were frequently robbed and their negro slaves taken away; in the course of a few years two thousand horses were stolen; their cattle and hogs were destroyed, their houses and barns burned, and their plantations laid waste. In consequence of these incursions, many of the inhabitants gathered together at the stations on the frontier, and established themselves under military rule for the protection of the interior settlements. During this desperate period, the pursuits of the farmer could not be abandoned; lands were to be surveyed and marked, and fields cleared and cultivated, by men who could not venture beyond their own doors without arms in their hands. The labors of those active and vigilant leaders, the Bledsoes, in supporting and defending the colony, were indefatigable. Nor was the heroic matron—the subject of this notice—less active in her appropriate sphere of action. Her family consisted of seven daughters and five sons, the eldest of whom, Sarah Shelby, was not more than eighteen when she came to Sumner. Mrs. Bledsoe was almost the only instructor of these children, the family being left to her sole charge while her husband was engaged in his toilsome duties, or harassed with the cares incident to an uninterrupted border warfare.
Too soon was this devoted wife and mother called upon to suffer a far deeper calamity than any she had yet experienced. On the night of the 20th July, 1788, the family were alarmed by hearing the horses and cattle running tumultuously around the station, as if suddenly frightened. Colonel Anthony Bledsoe, who was then at home, rose and went to the gate of the fort. As he opened it, he was shot down; the same ball killing an Irish servant, named Campbell, who had been long devotedly attached to him. The colonel did not expire immediately, but was carried back into the station, while preparations were made for defence. Aware of the near approach of death, Bledsoe's anxiety was to provide for the comfort of his family. He had surveyed large tracts of land, and had secured grants for several thousand acres, which constituted nearly his whole property. The law of North Carolina at that time gave all the lands to the sons, to the exclusion of the daughters. In consequence, should the colonel die without a will, his seven young daughters would be left destitute. In this hour of bitter trial, Mrs. Bledsoe's thoughts were not alone of her own sufferings, and the deadly peril that hung over them, but of the provision necessary for the helpless ones dependent on her care. She suggested to her wounded husband that a will should be immediately drawn up. It was done; and a portion of land was assigned to each of the seven daughters, who thus in after life had reason to remember with gratitude the presence of mind and affectionate care of their mother.
Her sufferings from Indian hostility were not terminated by this overwhelming stroke. A brief list of those who fell victims, among her family and kinsmen, may afford some idea of the trials she endured, and of the strength of character which enabled her to bear up, and to support others, under such terrible experiences. In January, 1793, her son Anthony, then seventeen years of age, while passing near the present site of Nashville, was shot through the body, and severely wounded, by a party of Indians in ambush. He was pursued to the gates of a neighboring fort. Not a month afterwards, her eldest son, Thomas, was also desperately wounded by the savages, and escaped with difficulty from their hands. Early in the following April, he was shot dead near his mother's house, and scalped by the murderous Indians. On the same day, Colonel Isaac Bledsoe was killed and scalped by a party of about twenty Creek Indians, who beset him in the field, and cut off his retreat to his station, near at hand.
In April, 1794, Anthony, the son of Mrs. Bledsoe, and his cousin of the same name, were shot by a party of Indians, near the house of General Smith, on Drake Creek, ten miles from Gallatin. The lads were going to school, and were then on their way to visit Mrs. Sarah Shelby, the sister of Anthony, who lived on Station Camp Creek.
Some time afterwards, Mrs. Bledsoe herself was on the road from Bledsoe's Lick to the above-mentioned station, where the court of Sumner county was at that time held. Her object was to attend to some business connected with the estate of her late husband. She was escorted on her way by the celebrated Thomas S. Spencer, and Robert Jones. The party were waylaid and fired upon by a large body of Indians. Jones was severely wounded, and turning, rode rapidly back for about two miles; after which, he fell dead from his horse. The savages advanced boldly upon the others, intending to take them prisoners.
It was not consistent with Spencer's chivalrous character to attempt to save himself by leaving his companion to the mercy of the foe. Bidding her retreat as fast as possible, and encouraging her to keep her seat firmly, he protected her by following more slowly in her rear, with his trusty rifle in his hand. When the Indians in pursuit came too near, he would raise his weapon, as if to fire; and, as he was known to be an excellent marksman, the savages were not willing to encounter him, but hastened to the shelter of trees, while he continued his retreat. In this manner he kept them at bay for some miles, not firing a single shot—for he knew that his threatening had more effect—until Mrs. Bledsoe reached a station. Her life and his own were, on this occasion, saved by his prudence and presence of mind; for both would have been lost had he yielded to the temptation to fire.
This Spencer—for his gallantry and reckless daring, named "the Chevalier Bayard of Cumberland Valley"—was famed for his encounters with the Indians, by whom he had often been shot at, and wounded on more than one occasion. His proportions and strength were those of a giant, and the wonder-loving people were accustomed to tell marvelous stories concerning him. It was said that, at one time, being unarmed when attacked by the Indians, he reached into a tree, and, wrenching off a huge bough by main force, drove back his assailants with it. He lived for some years alone in Cumberland Valley—it is said, from 1776 to 1779—before a single white man had taken up his abode there; his dwelling being a large hollow tree, the roots of which still remain near Bledsoe's Lick. For one year—the tradition is—a man by the name of Holiday shared his retreat; but the hollow being not sufficiently spacious to accommodate two lodgers, they were under the necessity of separating, and Holiday departed to seek a home in the valley of the Kentucky River. But one difficulty arose; those dwellers in the primeval forest had but one knife between them! What, was to be done? for a knife was an article of indispensable necessity: it belonged to Spencer, and it would have been madness in the owner of such an article to part with it. He resolved to accompany Holiday part of the way on his journey, and went as far as Big Barren River. When about to turn back, Spencer's heart relented: he broke the blade of his knife in two, gave half to his friend, and with a light heart returned to his hollow tree. Not long after his gallant rescue of Mrs. Bledsoe, he was killed by a party of Indians, on the road from Nashville to Knoxville. For nearly twenty years he had been exposed to every variety of danger, and escaped them all; but his hour came at last; and the dust of the hermit and renowned warrior of Cumberland Valley now reposes on "Spencer's Hill," near the Crab Orchard, on the road between Nashville and Knoxville.
Bereaved of her husband, sons, and brother-in-law by the murderous savages, Mrs. Bledsoe was obliged alone to undertake, not only the charge of her husband's estate, but the care of the children, and their education and settlement in life. These duties were discharged with unwavering energy and Christian patience. Her religion had taught her fortitude under her unexampled distresses; and through all this trying period of her life, she exhibited a decision and firmness of character which bespoke no ordinary powers of intellect. Her mind, indeed, was of masculine strength, and she was remarkable for independence of thought and opinion. In person, she was attractive, being neither tall nor large, until advanced in life. Her hair was brown, her eyes gray and her complexion fair. Her useful life was closed in the autumn of 1808. The record of her worth, and of what she did and suffered, is an humble one, and may win little attention from the careless many, who regard not the memory of our "pilgrim mothers:" but the recollection of her gentle virtues has not yet faded from the hearts of her descendants; and those to whom they tell the story of her life will acknowledge her the worthy companion of those noble men to whom belongs the praise of having originated a new colony and built up a goodly state in the bosom of the forest. Their patriotic labors, their struggles with the surrounding savages, their efforts in the maintenance of the community they had founded—sealed, as they finally were, with their own blood, and the blood of their sons and relatives—will never be forgotten while the apprehension of what is noble, generous, and good survives in the hearts of their countrymen.
 Milton A. Haynes, Esq., of Tennessee, has furnished me with this and other accounts.
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MORE GOSSIP ABOUT CHILDREN,
IN A FAMILIAR EPISTLE TO THE EDITOR.
BY LOUIS GAYLORD CLARK.
MY DEAR GODEY:—
I have not finished my gossip about children. I have a good deal yet to say touching their sensibilities, their nice discriminating sense, and the treatment which they too frequently receive from those who, although older than themselves, are in very many things not half so wise.
If you will take up Southey's Autobiography, written by himself (and his son), and recently published by my friends, the brothers Harper, you will find in the portion of Southey's early history, as recorded by himself, many striking examples of the keen susceptibility of childhood to outward and inward impressions, and of the deep feeling which underlies the apparently unthoughtful career of a young boy. It is a delightful opening of his whole heart to his reader. One sees with him the smallest object of nature about the home of his childhood; and it is impossible not to enter into all his feelings of little joys and poignant sorrows. I am not without the hope, therefore, that, in the few records which I am about to give you; partly of personal experience and partly of personal observation, I shall be able to enlist the attention of your readers; for, after all, each one of us, friend Godey, in our own more mature joys and sorrows, is but an epitome, so to speak, the great mass, who alike rejoice and grieve us.
I do not wish to exhibit anything like a spirit of egotism, and I assure you that I write with a gratified feeling that is a very wide remove from that selfish sentiment, when I tell you that I have received from very many parents, in different parts of the country, letters containing their "warm and grateful thanks" for the endeavor which I made, in a recent number of your magazine, to create more confidence in childhood and youth; to awaken, along with a "sense of duty"—that too frequent excuse for domestic tyranny—a feeling of generous forbearance for the trivial, venial faults of those whose hearts are just and tender, and whom "kindness wins when cruelty would repel." You must let me go on in my own way, and I will try to illustrate the truth and justice of my position.
I must go back to my very earliest schooldays. I doubt if I was more than five years old, a little boy in the country, when I was sent, with my twin-brother, to a summer "district school." It was kept by a "school-ma'am," a pleasant young woman of some twenty years of age. She was positively my first love. I am afraid I was an awkward scholar at first; but the enticing manner in which Mary —— (I grieve that only the faint sound of her unsyllabled name comes to me now from "the dark backward and abysm of Time") coaxed me through the alphabet and the words of one syllable; encouraged me to encounter those of two (the first of which I remember to this day, whenever the baker's bill for my children's daily bread is presented for audit); stimulated me to attack those of three; until, at the last, I was enabled to surmount that tallest of orthoepical combinations, "Mi-chi-li-mack-i-nack", without a particle of fear; the enticing manner, I say, in which Mary —— accomplished all this, won my heart. She would stoop over and kiss me, on my low seat, when I was successful, and very pleasant were her "good words" to my ear. Bless your heart! I remember at this moment the feeling of her soft brown curls upon my cheek; and I would give almost anything now to see the first "certificate" of good conduct which I brought home, in her handwriting, to my mother, and which was kept for years among fans, bits of dried orange-peel, and sprigs of withered "caraway," in a corner of the bureau-"draw." All this came very vividly to me some time ago, when my own little boy brought home his first "school-ticket." He is not called, however—and I rejoice that he is not—to remember dear companions, who "bewept to the grave did go, with true-love showers."
"Oh, my mother! oh, my childhood! Oh, my brother, now no more! Oh, the years that push me onward, Farther from that distant shore!"
But I am led away. I wanted merely to say that this "school-ma'am," from the simple love of her children, her little scholars, knew how to teach and how to rule them. I hope that not a few "school-ma'ams" will peruse this hastily-prepared gossip; and if they do, I trust they will remember, in the treatment of their little charges, that "the heart must leap kindly back to kindness." Why, my dear sir, I used to wait, in the summer afternoons, until all the little pupils had gone on before, so that I could place in the soft white hand of my school-mistress as confiding a little hand as any in which she may afterwards have placed her own, "in the full trust of love." I hope she found a husband good and true, and that she was blessed with what she loved, "wisely" and not "too well," children.
Now that I am on the subject of children at school, I wish to pursue the theme at a little greater length, and give you an incident or two in my farther experience.
It was not long after finishing our summer course with "school-ma'am" Mary ——, that we were transferred to a "man-school," kept in the district. And here I must go back, for just one moment, to say that, among the pleasantest things that I remember of that period, was the calling upon us in the morning, by the neighbors' children—and especially two little girls, new-comers from the "Black River country," then a vague terra incognita to us, yet only some thirty miles away—to accompany us to the school through the winter snow. How well I remember their knitted red-and-white woolen hoods, and the red-and-white complexions beaming with youth and high health beneath them! I think of Motherwell's going to school with his "dear Jenny Morrison," so touchingly described in his beautiful poem of that name, every time these scenes arise before me.
Well, at this "man-school" I first learned the lesson which I am about to illustrate. It is a lesson for parents, a lesson for instructors, and, I think, a lesson for children also. I remember names here, for one was almost burned into my brain for years afterwards.
There was something very imposing about "opening the school" on the first day of the winter session. The trustees of the same were present; a hard-headed old farmer, who sent long piles of "cord wood," beach, maple, bass-wood, and birch, out of his "own pocket," he used to say—and he might, with equal propriety, have said, "out of his own head," for surely there was no lack of "timber;" Deacon C——, an educated Puritan, who could spell, read, write, "punctify," and—"knew grammar," as he himself expressed it; a thin-faced doctor, whose horse was snorting at the door, and who sat, on that occasion, with his saddle-bags crossed on his knee, being in something of a hurry, expecting, I believe, an "addition" in the neighborhood, to the subject of my present gossip—at all events, I well remember peeping under the wrinkled leather-flaps of the "bags" and seeing a wooden cartridge-box, with holes for the death-dealing vials; and last, but not least, the town blacksmith, who was, in fact, worth all the other trustees put together, being a man of sound common sense, with something more than a sprinkling of useful education. Under the auspices of these trustees, this "man-school" was thus opened for the winter. "Now look you what befell."
For the first four or five days, our schoolmaster was quite amiable—or so at least he seemed. His "rules," and they were arbitrary enough, were given out on the second day; five scholars were "admonished" on the third; on the fourth, about a dozen were "warned," as the pedagogue termed it; and on the fifth, there was set up in the corner of an open closet, in plain sight of all the school, a bundle containing about a dozen birch switches, each some six feet long, and rendered lithe and tough by being tempered in the hot embers of the fire. These were to be the "ministers of justice;" and the portents of this "dreadful note of preparation" were amply fulfilled.
I had just begun to learn to write. My copy-book had four pages of "straight marks," so called, I suppose, because they are always crooked. I had also gone through "the hooks," up and down; but my hand was cramped; and I fear that my first "word-copy" was not as good as it ought to have been; but I "run out my tongue and tried" hard; and it makes me laugh, even now, to remember how I used to look along the line of "writing-scholars" on my bench, and see the rows of lolling tongues and moving heads over the long desk, mastering the first difficulties of chirography; some licking off "blots" of ink from their copy-books, others drawing in or dropping slowly out of the mouth, at each upward or downward "stroke" of the pen.
One morning, "the master" came behind me and overlooked my writing—
"Louis," said he, "if I see any more such writing as that, you'll repent it! I've talked to you long enough."
I replied that he had never, to my recollection, blamed me for writing badly but once; nor had he.
"Don't dare to contradict me, sir, but remember!" was his only reply.
From this moment, I could scarcely hold my pen aright, much less "write right." The master had a cat-like, stealthy tread, and I seemed all the while to feel him behind me; and while I was fearing this, and had reached the end of a line, there fell across my right hand a diagonal blow, from the fierce whip which was the tyrant's constant companion, that in a moment rose to a red and blue welt as large as my little finger, entirely across my hand. The pain was excruciating. I can recall the feeling as vividly, while I am tracing these lines, as I did the moment after the cruel blow was inflicted.
From that time forward I could not write at all; nor should I have pursued that branch of school-education at all that winter but that "the master's" cruelty soon led to his dismissal in deep disgrace. His floggings were almost incessant. His system was the "reign of terror," instead of that which "works by love and purifies the heart." His crowning act was feruling a little boy, as ingenuous and innocent-hearted a child as ever breathed, on the tops of his finger-nails—a refinement of cruelty beyond all previous example. The little fellow's nails turned black and soon came off, and the "master" was turned away. I am not sorry to add that he was subsequently cowhided, while lying in a snow-bank, into which he had been "knocked" by an elder brother of the lad whom he had so cruelly treated, until he cried lustily for quarter, which was not too speedily granted.
But I come now to my illustration of the "law of kindness," in its effect upon myself. The successor to the pedagogue whom we have dismissed was a native of Connecticut. He was well educated, had a pleasant manner, and a smile of remarkable sweetness. I never saw him angry for a moment. On the first day he opened, he said to the assembled school that he wanted each scholar to consider him as a friend; that he desired nothing but their good; and that it was for the interest of each one of them that all should be careful to observe the few and simple rules which he should lay down for the government of the school. These he proclaimed; and, with one or two trivial exceptions, there was no infraction of them during the three winters in which he taught in our district.
Under his instruction, I was induced to resume my "experiences" in writing. I remember his coming to look over my shoulder to examine the first page of my copy-book: "Very well written," said he; "only keep on in that way, and you cannot fail to succeed." These encouraging words went straight to my heart. They were words of kindness, and their fruition was instantaneous. When the next two pages of my copy-book were accomplished, he came again to report upon my progress: "That is well done, Louis, quite well. You will soon require very little instruction from me. I am afraid you'll soon become to excel your teacher."
Gentle-hearted, sympathetic O—— M——! would that your "law of kindness" could be written upon the heart of every parent, and every guardian and instructor of the young throughout our great and happy country!
I have often wondered why it is that parents and guardians do not more frequently and more cordially reciprocate the confidence of children. How hard it is to convince a child that his father or mother can do wrong! Our little people are always our sturdiest defenders. They are loyal to the maxim that "the king can do no wrong;" and all the monarchs they know are their parents. I heard the other day, from the lips of a distinguished physician, formerly of New York, but now living in elegant retirement in a beautiful country town of Long Island, a touching illustration of the truth of this, with which I shall close this already too protracted article.
"I have had," said the doctor, "a good deal of experience, in the long practice of my profession in the city, that is more remarkable than anything recorded in the 'Diary of a London Physician.' It would be impossible for me to detail to you the hundredth part of the interesting and exciting things which I saw and heard. That which affected me most, of late years, was the case of a boy, not, I think, over twelve years of age. I first saw him in the hospital, whither, being poor and without parents, he had been brought to die.
"He was the most beautiful boy I ever beheld. He had that peculiar cast of countenance and complexion which we notice in those who are afflicted with frequent hemorrhage of the lungs. He was very beautiful! His brow was broad, fair, and intellectual; his eyes had the deep interior blue of the sky itself; his complexion was like the lily, tinted, just below the cheek-bone, with a hectic flush—
'As on consumption's waning cheek, Mid ruin blooms the rose;'
and his hair, which was soft as floss silk, hung in luxuriant curls about his face. But oh, what an expression of deep melancholy his countenance wore! so remarkable that I felt certain that the fear of death had nothing to do with it. And I was right. Young as he was, he did not wish to live. He repeatedly said that death was what he most desired; and it was truly dreadful to hear one so young and so beautiful talk like this. 'Oh!' he would say, 'let me die! let me die! Don't try to save me; I want to die!' Nevertheless, he was most affectionate, and was extremely grateful for everything that I could do for his relief. I soon won his heart; but perceived, with pain, that his disease of body was nothing to his 'sickness of the soul,' which I could not heal. He leaned upon my bosom and wept, while at the same time he prayed for death. I have never seen one of his years who courted it so sincerely. I tried in every way to elicit from him what it was that rendered him so unhappy; but his lips were sealed, and he was like one who tried to turn his face from something which oppressed his spirit.
"It subsequently appeared that the father of this child was hanged for murder in B—— County, about two years before. It was the most cold-blooded homicide that had ever been known in that section of the country. The excitement raged high; and I recollect that the stake and the gallows vied with each other for the victim. The mob labored hard to get the man out of the jail, that they might wreak summary vengeance upon him by hanging him to the nearest tree. Nevertheless, law triumphed, and he was hanged. Justice held up her equal scales with satisfaction, and there was much trumpeting forth of this consummation, in which even the women, merciful, tender-hearted women, seemed to take delight.
"Perceiving the boy's life to be waning, I endeavored one day to turn his mind to religious subjects, apprehending no difficulty in one so young; but he always evaded the topic. I asked him if he had said his prayers. He replied—
"'Once, always—now, never.'
"This answer surprised me very much; and I endeavored gently to impress him with the fact that a more devout frame of mind would be becoming in him, and with the great necessity of his being prepared to die; but he remained silent.
"A few days afterwards, I asked him whether he would not permit me to send for the Rev. Dr. B——, a most kind man in sickness, who would be of the utmost service to him in his present situation. He declined firmly and positively. Then I determined to solve this mystery, and to understand this strange phase of character in a mere child. 'My dear boy,' said I, 'I implore you not to act in this manner. What can so have disturbed your young mind? You certainly believe there is a God, to whom you owe a debt of gratitude?'
"His eye kindled, and to my surprise, I might almost say horror, I heard from his young lips—
"'No, I don't believe that there is a God!'
"Yes, that little boy, young as he was, was an atheist; and he even reasoned in a logical manner for a mere child like him.
"'I cannot believe there is a God,' said he; 'for if there were a God, he must be merciful and just; and he never, never, NEVER could have permitted my father, who was innocent, to be hanged! Oh, my father! my father!' he exclaimed, passionately, burying his face in the pillow, and sobbing as if his heart would break.
"I was overcome by my own emotion; but all that I could say would not change his determination; he would have no minister of God beside him—no prayers by his bedside. I was unable, with all my endeavors, to apply any balm to his wounded heart.
"A few days after this, I called, as usual, in the morning, and at once saw very clearly that the little boy must soon depart.
"'Willie,' said I, 'I have got good news for you to-day. Do you think that you can bear to hear it?' for I really was at a loss how to break to him what I had to communicate.
"He assented, and listened with the deepest attention. I then informed him, as I best could, that, from circumstances which had recently come to light, it had been rendered certain that his father was entirely innocent of the crime for which he had suffered an ignominious death.
"I never shall forget the frenzy of emotion which he exhibited at this announcement. He uttered one scream—the blood rushed from his mouth—he leaned forward upon my bosom—and died!"
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I leave this, friend Godey, with your readers. I had much more to say; and, perhaps, should it be desirable, I may hereafter give you one more chapter upon children.
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SONG OF THE STARS.
E PLURIBUS UNUM—"Many in One."
A NATIONAL SONG.
BY THOMAS S. DONOHO.
"E PLURIBUS UNUM!" The world, with delight, Looks up to the starry blue banner of night, In its many-blent glory rejoicing to see AMERICA'S motto—the pride of the Free!
"E PLURIBUS UNUM!" Our standard for ever! Woe, woe to the heart that would dare to dissever! Shine, Liberty's Stars! your dominion increase— A guide in the battle, a blessing in peace!
"E PLURIBUS UNUM!" And thus be, at last, From land unto land our broad banner cast, Till its Stars, like the stars of the sky, be unfurled, In beauty and glory, embracing the world!
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A SEQUEL TO "THE NIEBELUNGEN."
BY PROFESSOR CHARLES E. BLUMENTHAL.
The twenty-second of February, 1848, found Paris in a condition which only a Napoleon or a Washington could have controlled. The people felt and acted like a lion conscious that his fetters are corroded, yet still some what awed by the remembrance of the power which they once exercised over him.
Poverty and want, licentious habits and irreligious feeling, had contributed to bring about a ferocious discontent, which needed only the insidious and inflammatory articles spread broadcast over the land by designing men to fan into an insurrection.
Louis Philippe and his advisers exemplified the proverb Quem Deus vuls perdere, prius dementas, determined upon closing one of the best safety-valves of public discontent. The Reform Banquet had been prohibited, and apparently well-planned military preparations had been made to meet any possible hostile demonstrations, and to quench them at the outset. Troops paraded through the city in every direction, and every prominent place was occupied by squadrons of cavalry or squads of infantry. Nevertheless, soon after breakfast the people collected at various points, at first in small numbers; but gradually these swelled in size in proportion as they advanced to what appeared the centre to which all were attracted, the Place de la Concorde. Shouts, laughter, and merriment were heard from all quarters of the crowd, and the moving masses appeared more like a body of people going to some holiday amusement, than conspirators bent upon the overthrow of a government.
Just as a detached body of these was passing through the Rue de Burgoigne, a gentleman stepped out of one of the houses in that narrow street, and, partly led by curiosity and partly by his zeal for the popular cause, joined their ranks and advanced with them as far as the Palais du Corps Legislatif, where they were met by a troop of dragoons, who endeavored to disperse the crowd. Angry words were exchanged, and a few sabre blows fell among the crowd. One of the troopers, who seemed determined to check the advancing column, rode up to one who appeared to be a leader, and, raising his sword, exclaimed, "Back, or I'll cleave your skull!" But the youthful and athletic champion folded his arms, and, without the slightest discomposure, replied, "Coward! strike an unarmed man;—prove your courage!" The dragoon, without a reply, wheeled his horse, and rode to another part of the square. Just at that moment, another insolent trooper pressed his horse against the gentleman who had joined the crowd in the Rue de Burgoigne. The latter lifted his cane, and was about to chastise the soldier's insolence, when a man in a blouse and a slouched hat resembling the Mexican sombrero, arrested his arm, and whispered to him, "Do not strike! you are not in America: France is not as yet the place to resent the insolence of a soldier." Irritated at this unexpected interference, the gentleman endeavored to free his arm from the vice-like grasp of the new-comer, while he exclaimed, "Unhand me, sir! A free American is everywhere a freeman; and these soldiers shall not prevent me from proceeding and aiding the cause of an oppressed people." "Say rather a hungry people," replied the other; and then added with a smile, and in good English, "Has the quiet student of the Juniata been so soon transformed into a fierce revolutionary partisan? What would Captain Sanker say if he could see you thus turned into a hot-headed insurgent?"
"I have heard that voice before," replied the stranger. "Who are you, that you are so familiar with me and my friends?"
"One who will guide and advise you in the storm that is now brewing, which will soon overwhelm this goodly Nineveh, and in its course shake a throne to its foundation. But this is no place for explanations. Come—and on our way I will tell you who I am, and why I have mingled with this people, that know hardly, as yet, what they are about to do."
While saying this, he drew his companion into the Rue St. Dominique, and disentangled him thus from the crowd, which, now no longer opposed by the dragoons, moved onward towards the Pont de la Concorde. After they had crossed the Rue de Bac, they found the streets almost deserted, and then the man with the slouched hat turned to his companion and said—
"Has Mr. Filmot already forgotten the pic-nic on the banks of the Juniata, and the stranger guest whom he was good enough to invite to his house?"
Mr. Filmot, for it was he whom we found just now about to take an active part in the insurrection of the Parisian people, examined the features of his interlocutor closely and rather distrustfully, and finally exclaimed—"It cannot be that I see M. Develour in Paris and in this strange disguise? for only yesterday I received a letter from Mr. Karsh, in which he informs me that his friend is even now a sojourner at the court of the Emperor of Austria."
"That letter was dated more than a month ago," replied Mr. Develour. "I left the Prater city in the beginning of last month, and, it appears, have arrived just in time to prevent Mr. Filmot from committing a very imprudent act, which, by the way, you will recollect, was predicted to you in the magic mirror. Had you asked my advice before you left your native land to pursue your studies in the modern Nineveh, I would have counseled you to wait for a more propitious season. But, as soon as I heard of your presence in the city, I determined to watch over you and to warn you, if your enthusiasm should lead you to take too active a part in the deadly strife that awaits us here."
"You certainly do not think that a revolution is contemplated?" inquired Mr. Filmot.
"Come and see," replied Develour, while he continued his walk down the Rue St. Dominique. They then passed through the Rue St. Marguerite, and entered the Rue de Boucheries. About half way down the street they stopped before a mean-looking house. Develour rapped twice in quick succession at the door, and then, after a short interval, once more, and louder than before, immediately after the third rap, the door was partially and cautiously opened, and some one asked, in an under tone, "What do you want?"
"To see the man of the red mountain," replied Develour, in the same tone.
"What is your business?"
"To guide the boat."
"Where do you come from?"
"From the rough sea."
"And where do you wish to go to now?"
"To the still waters."
After this strange examination, the door was fully opened, and the doorkeeper said, "You may enter." But when he saw Filmot about to accompany Develour, he stopped him, and inquired by what right he expected to gain admission.
"By my invitation and introduction," said Develour, before Filmot had time to speak.
"That may not be," replied the doorkeeper. "No one has a right to introduce another, except those who have the word of the day."
"I have the word," said Develour; and then he whispered to him, "Not Martin, but Albert." After that he continued aloud, "Now go and announce me; we will wait here in the vestibule."
As soon as the doorkeeper, after carefully locking the door, had withdrawn into the interior of the house, Develour turned to his companion and asked him, "Have you ever come across an account of the Red Man, whom many believe to have exercised a great influence over the mind of Napoleon?"
"I have read some curious statements concerning an individual designated by that name; but have always considered them the inventions of an exuberant imagination," replied Filmot.
"You will soon have an opportunity to form a more correct opinion. I hope to have the pleasure, in a few minutes, to introduce you to him. As for his claims to—"
Before Develour had time to finish the sentence, a side door opened close by him, and a black boy, dressed in oriental costume, entered and bowed, with his hands crossed over his breast, and then said to Develour, in broken French, "The master told me to bid you welcome, and to conduct you into the parlor, where he will join you in a few minutes."
* * * *
Develour and Filmot followed their guide into a room fitted up in Eastern style. Divans made of cushions piled one upon another were placed all around the room, with small carpets spread before them. Light stands of beautiful arabesque work were tastefully distributed in various places, and in the centre played a small fountain fed by aromatic water. The lower part of the room contained a recess, the interior of which was concealed by a semi-transparent screen, which permitted the visitors to see that it was lit up by a flame proceeding from an urn. Heavy rich silk curtains, hung before the windows, excluded the glare of the sun, and were so arranged that the light in the room resembled that given by the moon when at its full. The atmosphere of the apartment was heavy with the perfumes of exotic plants and costly essences. The Moor requested them to be seated, and, again crossing his arms over his breast, he bowed and left the room.
As soon as the door had closed behind him, Develour said to Filmot: "It is reported that the Red Man appeared four times to Napoleon, and each time, in order to expostulate with him about the course he was pursuing; that, during each visit, he advised him what to do, and accompanied his advice with the promise of success, in case he would follow his counsel; and a threat of defeat if he persisted in disregarding it. The last visit which he paid to the Emperor was shortly before the battle of Waterloo. Montholon was in the antechamber, when the man with the red cloak entered his master's apartment. After renewed expostulations, he urged the Emperor to make an overture to the allied powers, and to promise that he would confine his claims to France, and pledge himself not to attempt conquest beyond the Rhine. When Napoleon, though half awed, rejected this advice with some irritation, his visitor rose, and solemnly predicted to him a signal defeat in the next great battle he would be compelled to fight; and, after that, an expulsion from his empire; and then left the room as abruptly as he had entered it.
"As soon as Napoleon had recovered from his surprise at the bold language and the sudden departure of his strange monitor, he hastened into the antechamber to call him back. But no one but Montholon was in the room, who, when questioned by the Emperor concerning the man who just left the cabinet, replied that, during the last half hour, no human being had passed through the antechamber, to seek ingress or egress. The sentinels on the staircases and at the gates were then examined, but they all declared that they had not seen any stranger pass their respective posts. Perplexed at this fruitless endeavor to recall the Red Man, Napoleon returned to his cabinet mystified and gloomy, disturbed by his self appointed monitor, and his predictions. Shortly afterwards, he fought the battle of Waterloo, and saw the prophecy fulfilled. He could never afterwards wholly divest himself of the belief that the Man in Red, as he was called by the officers, was an incarnation of his evil genius."
Before Develour had ceased speaking, a door opened in the the lower part of the room, and an old man advanced, with a slow but firm step, towards the two friends. The new-comer appeared to be a man of more than threescore years and ten, though not a falter in his step, not the slightest curvature of his lofty figure, evinced the approach of old age. He was a little above the middle height, lofty in his carriage, and dignified in all his movements. A high forehead gave an intellectual cast to a countenance habitually calm and commanding, and to which long flowing silver locks imparted the look of a patriarch ruler. He was dressed in a velvet morning-gown, which was confined around his waist by a broad belt of satin, upon which several formulas in Arabic were worked with silver thread; and on his feet he had slippers covered with letters similar to those on his belt. As soon as Develour became aware of his presence, he advanced to meet him, and said a few words in Arabic; then, introducing his friend, he continued, in English—"M. Delevert, permit me to make you acquainted with Mr. Filmot. Nothing but a desire to afford him the pleasure of knowing you, the friend and admirer of his countrymen and their institutions, could have induced me to absent myself from my post this morning."
"You are welcome, Mr. Filmot," said M. Delevour, "even at a time when our good city affords us little opportunity to make it a welcome place to a stranger."
"On the contrary," replied Filmot, "to an American and a true lover of liberty, it seems to hold out a very interesting spectacle, if what I have seen and heard to-day is a fair indication of what is to come."
"Ah," said M. Delevert, with a sad smile, "I fear that the philanthropic part of your expectations will be doomed to disappointment. But a fearful lesson will again be read to the oppressors of the people; a lesson which would have been more effectual if taught a year hence, but which circumstances prevent us to delay longer. In a few minutes, messengers will arrive from all parts of the city to report progress and the probable result. You will thus have an opportunity, if not otherwise engaged, to gain correct information of the insurrection in all quarters."
"Will you be displeased with me, my friend," said Develour, "if I tell you that not only of M. Delevert, but also of the Red Man have I spoken to Mr. Filmot; and I have even promised him that he shall hear from that mysterious being a detail of one of his visits to the emperors?"
"And can M. Develour think still of these things?" replied the old man, smiling good-humoredly. "How can they interest your friend Mr. Filmot—a citizen of a country where everything is worked for in a plain matter-of-fact way? What interest can he feel in the various means that were employed in an endeavor to make the military genius of the great warrior an instrument to bring about a permanent amelioration in the condition of the people?"
"The very mystery in which the whole seems enveloped," said Filmot, "would, in itself, be enough to interest me in it; particularly so now, when I have reason to believe myself in the presence of the chief actor—of him whom hitherto I have always regarded as the creation of an excited imagination."
"And why a creature of the imagination?" inquired M. Delevert. "Is it because I had it in my power to appear before the Emperor and to leave him unseen by other eyes? Or is it because of the truth of my predictions? Neither was impossible; neither required means beyond those which the scientific student of the book of nature, when properly instructed, can obtain. I resorted once even to a use of the utmost powers of nature, as far as they are known to me, in order to entice him, by a palpable proof of my ability to aid him, to promise that he would become an instrument in the hands of those who sought to usher in the dawn of a happier age, the age of true liberty, true equality; an age in which every man and woman would be able to feel, through the advantages of education and equal political and moral rights, unhampered by false prejudices, that all human beings were created free and equal. It was on the night before the battle of Austerlitz, when he, as was his frequent custom, visited the outpost, wrapped in his plain gray coat. At the hour of midnight, I presented myself before him, and offered to show him the plans of the enemy for the following day, on condition that he would not endeavor to meddle with anything he should see, except so far as necessary to obtain the promised information. He knew something of my ability to fulfil what I promised, and therefore did not doubt me, but gave his imperial word to fulfil his part of the compact. I then led him a few paces beyond the camp, and bade him be seated on a large stone, a fragment of an old heathen altar-stone. He had hardly taken his seat before a phantom-like being, in the garb of an officer in the Austrian army, was seen kneeling before him with a portfolio in his hand. Napoleon opened it, and found there all the information he desired. He complied strictly with his promise, and returned the portfolio as soon as he had taken his notes, and the officer disappeared like a vapor of the night. I then turned to the surprised monarch, and offered to repeat this specimen of my skill before every subsequent battle, if he would moderate his ambition and be content to be the first among his equals, the father of a wide-spread patriarchal family. But he angrily refused to listen to such a proposal, and, having somewhat recovered from his surprise, called for his guards to seize me. Fool! He stood upon a spot where I could have killed him without the danger of its ever becoming known to any one. While he turned to look for his myrmidons, the ground opened beneath my feet, and I disappeared before he had time to see by what means I escaped.
"Twice have I thus visited Alexander of Russia, but with like results. Fate has decreed it otherwise. Freedom cannot come to mankind from a throne. But, from what my friend Develour has told you already, you may be astonished that we should have engaged, and still engage, in fruitless efforts, when we have gained from nature powers by which the sage is able to glance at the decrees. Alas! this earthly frame loads us with physical clogs that weigh us down, and throw frequently a film before the eyes which make even the clearest dim and short-sighted."'
Here they were interrupted by a few raps at the inner door, which M. Delevert seemed to count with great attention; and then rising from his seat, he continued, without any change in the tone of his voice—
"The reporters are coming in. If you will accompany me to my reception-room, you will have an opportunity, shared by no other foreigner, to become acquainted with the mainsprings of this revolution; for such I am determined it shall become. Alas! would that it were of a nature to be the last one! But their haste prevents that altogether. Come, they are waiting for me."
(To be continued.)
* * * * *
THE MOURNER'S LAMENT.
BY PARK BENJAMIN.
The night-breeze fans my faded cheek, And lifts my damp and flowing hair— And lo! methinks sweet voices speak, Like harp-strings to the viewless air; While in the sky's unmeasured scroll, The burning stars forever roll, Changeless as heaven, and deeply bright— Fair emblems of a world of light!
Oh, bathe my temples with thy dew, Sweet Evening, dearest parent mild, And from thy curtained home of blue, Bend calmly o'er thy tearful child: For, when I feel, so soft and bland, The pressure of thy tender hand, I dream I rest in peace the while, Cradled beneath my mother's smile.
That mother sleeps! the snow-white shroud Enfolds her stainless bosom now, And, like bright hues on some pale cloud, Rose-leaves were woven round her brow. I wreathed them that to heaven's pure bowers, Surrounded with the breath of flowers, Her soul might soar through mists divine, Like incense from a holy shrine.
How changed my being! moments sweep Down, down the eternal gulf of Time; And we, like gilded bubbles, keep Our course amid their waves sublime, Till, mingled with the foam and spray, We flash our lives of joy away; Or, drifting on through Sorrow's shades, Sink as a gleam of starlight fades.
Alone! alone! I'm left alone— A creature born to grieve and die; But, while upon Night's sapphire throne, In yonder broad and glorious sky, I gaze in sadness—lo! I feel A vision of the future steal Across my sight, like some faint ray That glimmers from the fount of day.
* * * * *
OTHELLO TO IAGO.
BY R.T. CONRAD.
Accursed be thy life! Darkness thy day! Time, a slow agony; a poison, love; Wild fears about thee, wan despair above! Crush'd hopes, like withered leaves, bestrew thy way! Nothing that lives lov'st thou; nothing that lives Loves thee. The drops that fall from Hecla's snow 'Neath the slant sun, are warmer than the flow Of thy chill'd heart. Thine be the bolt that rives! Be there no heaven to thee; the sky a pall; The earth a rack; the air consuming fire; The sleep of death and dust thy sole desire— Life's throb a torture, and life's thought a thrall: And at the judgment may thy false soul be, And, 'neath the blasting blaze of light, meet me!
* * * * *
PERSONS AND PICTURES FROM THE HISTORY OF ENGLAND.
BY HENRY WILLIAM HERBERT.
NO. I.—SIR WALTER RALEIGH AND HIS WIFE.
It is commonly said, and appears generally to be believed by superficial students of history, that with the reigns of the Plantagenets, with the Edwards and the Henrys of the fifteenth century, the age of chivalry was ended, the spirit of romance became extinct. To those, however, who have looked carefully into the annals of the long and glorious reign of the great Elizabeth, it becomes evident that, so far from having passed away with the tilt and tournament, with the complete suits of knightly armor, and the perilous feats of knight-errantry, the fire of chivalrous courtesy and chivalrous adventure never blazed more brightly, than at the very moment when it was about to expire amid the pedantry and cowardice, the low gluttony and shameless drunkenness, which disgraced the accession of the first James to the throne of England. Nor will the brightest and most glorious names of fabulous or historic chivalry, the Tancreds and Godfreys of the crusades, the Oliviers and Rolands of the court of Charlemagne, the Old Campeador of old Castile, or the preux Bayard of France, that chevalier sans peur et sans reproche, exceed the lustre which encircles, to this day, the characters of Essex, Howard, Philip Sidney, Drake, Hawkins, Frobisher, and Walter Raleigh.
It was full time that, at this period, maritime adventure had superseded the career of the barded war-horse, and the brunt of the leveled spear; and that to foray on the Spanish colonies, beyond the line, where, it was said, truce or peace never came; to tempt the perils of the tropical seas in search of the Eldorado, or the Fountain of Health and Youth, in the fabled and magical realms of central Florida; and to colonize the forest shores of the virgin wildernesses of the west, was now paramount in the ardent minds of England's martial youth, to the desire of obtaining distinction in the bloody battle-fields of the Low Countries, or in the fierce religious wars of Hungary and Bohemia. And of these hot spirits, the most ardent, the most adventurous, the foremost in everything that savored of romance or gallantry, was the world-renowned Sir Walter Raleigh.
Born of an honorable and ancient family in Devonshire, he early came to London, in order to push his fortunes, as was the custom in those days with the cadets of illustrious families whose worldly wealth was unequal to their birth and station, by the chances of court favor, or the readier advancement of the sword. At this period, Elizabeth was desirous of lending assistance to the French Huguenots, who had been recently defeated in the bloody battle of Jarnac, and who seemed to be in considerable peril of being utterly overpowered by their cruel and relentless enemies the Guises; while she was at the same time wholly disinclined to involve England in actual strife, by regular and declared hostilities.
She gave permission, therefore, to Henry Champernon to raise a regiment of gentlemen volunteers, and to transport them into France. In the number of these, young Walter Raleigh enrolled, and thenceforth his career may be said to have commenced; for from that time scarce a desperate or glorious adventure was essayed, either by sea or land, in which he was not a participator. In this, his first great school of military valor and distinction, he served with so much spirit, and such display of gallantry and aptitude for arms, that he immediately attracted attention, and, on his return to England in 1570, after the pacification, and renewal of the edicts for liberty of conscience, found himself at once a marked man.
It seems that, about this time, in connection with Nicholas Blount and others, who afterward attained to both rank and eminence, Raleigh attached himself to the Earl of Essex, who at that time disputed with Leicester the favors, if not the affection, of Elizabeth; and, while in his suite, had the fortune to attract the notice of that princess by the handsomeness of his figure and the gallantry of his attire; she, like her father, Henry, being quick to observe and apt to admire those who were eminently gifted with the thews and sinews of a man.
A strangely romantic incident was connected with his first rise in the favor of the Virgin Queen, which is so vigorously and brilliantly described by another and even more renowned Sir Walter in his splendid romance of Kenilworth, that it shames us to attempt it with our far inferior pen; but it is so characteristic of the man and of the times that it may not be passed over in silence.
Being sent once on a mission—so runs the tale—by his lord to the queen, at Greenwich, he arrived just as she was issuing in state from the palace to take her barge, which lay manned and ready at the stairs. Repulsed by the gentlemen pensioners, and refused access to her majesty until after her return from the excursion, the young esquire stood aloof, to observe the passing of the pageant; and, seeing the queen pause and hesitate on the brink of a pool of rain-water which intersected her path, no convenience being at hand wherewith to bridge it, took off his crimson cloak, handsomely laid down with gold lace, his only courtlike garment, fell on one knee, and with doffed cap and downcast eyes threw it over the puddle, so that the queen passed across dry shod, and swore by God's life, her favorite oath, that there was chivalry and manhood still in England.
Immediately thereafter, he was summoned to be a member of the royal household, and was retained about the person of the queen, who condescended to acts of much familiarity, jesting, capping verses, and playing at the court games of the day with him, not a little, it is believed, to the chagrin of the haughty and unworthy favorite, Dudley, Earl of Leicester.
It does not appear, however, that, although she might coquet with Raleigh, to gratify her own love of admiration, and to enjoy the charms of his rich and fiery eloquence and versatile wit, though she might advance him in his career of arms, and even stimulate his vaulting ambition to deeds of yet wilder emprise, she ever esteemed Raleigh as he deserved to be esteemed, or penetrated the depths of his imaginative and creative genius, much less beloved him personally, as she did the vain and petty ambitious Leicester, or the high-spirited, the valorous, the hapless Essex.
Another anecdote is related of this period, which will serve in no small degree to illustrate this trait of Elizabeth's strangely-mingled nature. Watching with the ladies of her court, in the gardens of one of her royal residences, as was her jealous and suspicious usage, the movements of her young courtier, when he either believed, or affected to believe himself unobserved, she saw him write a line on a pane of glass in a garden pavilion with a diamond ring, which, on inspecting it subsequently to his departure, she found to read in this wise:—
"Fain would I climb, but that I fear to fall—"
the sentence, or the distich rather, being thus left unfinished, when, with her royal hand, she added the second line—no slight encouragement to so keen and fiery a temperament as that of him for whom she wrote, when given him from such a source—
"If thy heart fail thee, do not climb at all."
But his heart never failed him—not in the desperate strife with the Invincible Armada—not when he discovered and won for the English crown the wild shores of the tropical Guiana—not when he sailed the first far up the mighty Orinoco—not when, in after days, he stormed Cadiz, outdoing even the daring deeds of emulous and glorious—not when the favor of Elizabeth was forfeited—not in the long years of irksome, solitary, heart-breaking imprisonment, endured at the hands of that base, soulless despot, the first James of England—not at his parting from his beloved and lovely wife—not on the scaffold, where he died as he had lived, a dauntless, chivalrous, high-minded English gentleman.
The greatest error of his life was his pertinacious hostility to Essex, originating in the jealousy of that brave, but rash and headstrong leader, who disgraced and suspended him after the taking of Fayal, a circumstance which he never forgave or forgot—an error which ultimately cost him his own life, since it alienated from him the affections of the English people, and rendered them pitiless to him in his own extremity.
But his greatest crime, in the eyes of Elizabeth, the crime which lost him her good graces for ever, and neutralized all his services on the flood and in the field, rendering ineffective even the strange letter which he addressed to his friend, Sir Robert Cecil, and which was doubtless shown to the queen, although it failed to move her implacable and iron heart, was his marriage, early in life, to the beautiful and charming Elizabeth Throgmorton. The letter to which I have alluded is so curious that I cannot refrain from quoting it entire, as a most singular illustration of the habits of that age of chivalry, and of the character of that strange compound, Elizabeth, who, to the "heart of a man, and that man a king of England," to quote her own eloquent and noble diction, added the vanity and conceit of the weakest and most frivolous of womankind, and who, at the age of sixty years, chose to be addressed as a Diana and a Venus, a nymph, a goddess, and an angel.
"My heart," he wrote, "was never till this day, that I hear the queen goes away so far off, whom I have followed so many years, with so great love and desire, in so many journeys, and am now left behind here, in a dark prison all alone. While she was yet near at hand, that I might hear of her once in two or three days, my sorrows were the less; but even now my heart is cast into the depth of all misery. I, that was wont to behold her riding like Alexander, hunting like Diana, walking like Venus, the gentle wind blowing her fair hair about her pure cheeks like a nymph, sometimes sitting in the shade like a goddess, sometimes singing like an angel, sometimes playing like Orpheus. Behold the sorrow of this world! Once a miss has bereaved me of all. Oh! glory, that only shineth in misfortune, what is become of thy assurance? All wounds have scars but that of fantasy: all affections their relentings but that of womankind. Who is the judge of friendship but adversity? or when is grace witnessed but in offences? There was no divinity but by reason of compassion; for revenges are brutish and mortal. All those times past, the loves, the sighs, the sorrows, the desires, cannot they weigh down one frail misfortune? Cannot one drop of gall be his in so great heaps of sweetness? I may then conclude, 'spes et fortuna valete;' she is gone in whom I trusted, and of me hath not one thought of mercy, nor any respect of that which was. Do with me now, therefore, what you list. I am more weary of life than they are desirous that I should perish; which, if it had been for her, as it is by her, I had been too happily born."
It is singular enough that such a letter should have been written, under any circumstances, by a middle-aged courtier to an aged queen; but it becomes far more remarkable and extraordinary when we know that the life of Raleigh was not so much as threatened at the time when he wrote; and, so far had either of the parties ever been from entertaining any such affection the one for the other as could alone, according to modern ideas, justify such fervor of language, that Elizabeth was at that time pining with frustrated affection and vain remorse for the death of her beloved Essex; a remorse which, in the end, broke a heart which had defied all machinations of murdereous conspiracies, all menaces, all overtures of the most powerful and martial princes to sway it from its stately and impressive magnanimity; while Raleigh was possessed by the most perfect and enduring affection to the almost perfect woman whom he held it his proudest trophy to have wedded, and who justified his entire devotion by her love unmoved through good or ill report, and proved to the utmost in the dungeon and on the scaffold—the love of a pure, high-minded, trusting woman, confident, and fearless, and faithful to the end.
It does not appear that Raleigh suspected the true cause of Elizabeth's alienation from so good and great a servant: perhaps no one man of the many whom for the like cause she neglected, disgraced, persecuted, knew that the cause existed in the fact of their having taken to themselves partners of life and happiness—a solace which she sacrificed to the sterile honors of an undivided crown—of their enjoying the bliss and perfect contentment of a happy wedded life, while she, who would fain have enjoyed the like, could she have done so without the loan of some portion of her independent and undivided authority, was compelled, by her own jealousy of power and obstinacy of will, to pine in lonely and unloved virginity.
Yet such was doubtless the cause of his decline in the royal favor, which he never, in after days, regained; for, after Essex was dead by her award and deed, Elizabeth, in her furious and lion-like remorse, visited his death upon the heads of all those who had been his enemies in life, or counseled her against him, even when he was in arms against her crown; nor forgave them any more than she forgave herself, who died literally broken-hearted, the most lamentable and disastrous of women, if the proudest and most fortunate queens, in the heyday of her fortunes, when she had raised her England to that proud and pre-eminent station above rather than among the states of Europe, from which she never declined, save for a brief space under her successors, those weakest and wickedest of English kings, the ominous and ill-starred Stuarts, and which she still maintains in her hale and superb old age, savoring, after nearly nine centuries of increasing might and scarcely interrupted rule, in no respect of decrepitude or decay.
Her greatest crime was the death of Mary Stuart; her greatest misfortune, the death of Essex; her greatest shame, the disgrace of Walter Raleigh. But with all her crimes, all her misfortunes, all her shame, she was a great woman, and a glorious queen, and in both qualities peculiarly and distinctively English. The stay and bulwark of her country's freedom and religion, she lived and died possessed of that rarest and most divine gift to princes, her people's unmixed love and veneration.
She died in an ill day, and was succeeded by one in all respects her opposite: a coward, a pedant, a knave, a tyrant, a mean, base, beastly sensualist—a bad man, devoid even of a bad man's one redeeming virtue, physical courage—a bad weak man with the heart of a worse and weaker woman—a man with all the vices of the brute creation, without one of their virtues. His instincts and impulses were all vile and low, crafty and cruel; his principles, if his rules of action, which were all founded on cheatery and subtle craft, can be called principles, were yet baser than his instinctive impulses.
He is the only man I know, recorded in history, who is solely odious, contemptible, and bestial, without one redeeming trait, one feature of mind or body that can preserve him from utter and absolute detestation and damnation of all honorable and manly minds.
He is the only king of whom, from his cradle to his grave, no one good deed, no generous, or bold, or holy, or ambitious, much less patriotic or aspiring, thought or action is related.
His soul was akin to the mud, of which his body was framed—to the slime of loathsome and beastly debauchery, in which he wallowed habitually with his court and the ladies of his court, and his queen at their head, and could no more have soared heavenward than the garbage-battened vulture could have soared to the noble falcon's pitch and pride of place.
This beast, for I cannot bring myself to write him man or king, with the usual hatred and jealousy of low foul minds towards everything noble and superior, early conceived a hatred for the gallant and great Sir Walter Raleigh, whose enterprise and adventure he had just intellect enough to comprehend so far as to fear them, but of whose patriotism, chivalry, innate nobility of soul, romantic daring, splendid imagination, and vast literary conceptions—being utterly unconscious himself of such emotions—he was no more capable of forming a conception, than is the burrowing mole of appreciating the flight of the soaring eagle.
So early as the second year of his reign, he contrived to have this great discoverer and gallant soldier—to whom Virginia is indebted for the honor of being the first English colony, Jamestown having been settled in 1606, whereas the Puritans landed on the rock of Plymouth no earlier than 1620, and to whom North Carolina has done honor creditable to herself in naming her capital after him, the first English colonist—arraigned on a false charge of conspiracy in the case of Arabella Stuart, a young lady as virtuous and more unfortunate than sweet Jane Grey, whose treatment by James would alone have been enough to stamp him with eternal infamy, and for whose history we refer our readers to the fine novel by Mr. James on this subject.
At this time, Raleigh was unpopular in England, on account of his supposed complicity in the death of Essex; and, on the strength of this unpopularity, he was arraigned, on the single written testimony of one Cobham, a pardoned convict of the same conspiracy, which testimony he afterwards retracted, and then again retracted the retractation, and without one concurring circumstance, without being confronted with the prisoner, after shameless persecution from Sir Edward Coke, the great lawyer, then attorney-general, was found guilty by the jury, and sentenced, contrary to all equity and justice, to the capital penalties of high treason.
From this year, 1604, until 1618, a period of nearly fourteen years, not daring to put him at that time to death, he caused him to be confined strictly in the Tower, a cruel punishment for so quick and active a spirit, which he probably expected would speedily release him by a natural death from one whom he regarded as a dangerous and resolute foe, whom he dared neither openly to dispatch nor honorably to release from unmerited and arbitrary confinement.
But his cruel anticipations were signally frustrated by the noble constancy, and calm, self-sustained intrepidity of the noble prisoner, who, to borrow the words of his detractor, Hume, "being educated amid naval and military enterprises, had surpassed, in the pursuits of literature, even those of the most recluse and sedentary lives."
Supported and consoled by his exemplary and excellent wife, he was enabled to entertain the irksome days and nights of his solitary imprisonment by the composition of a work, which, if deficient in the points which are now, in the advanced state of human sciences, considered essential to a great literary creation, is, as regarded under the circumstances of its conception and execution, one of the greatest exploits of human ingenuity and human industry—"The History of the World, by Sir Walter Raleigh."
It was during his imprisonment also that he projected the colonization of Jamestown, which was carried out in 1606, at his instigation, by the Bristol Company, of which he was a member. This colony, though it was twice deserted, was in the end successful, and in it was born the first child, Virginia Dare by name, of that Anglo-Saxon race which has since conquered a continent, and surpassed, in the nonage of its republican sway, the maturity of mighty nations.
In 1618, induced by the promises of Raleigh to put the English crown in possession of a gold mine which he asserted, and probably believed he had discovered in Guiana, James, whose avidity always conquered his resentments, and who, like Faustus, would have sold his soul—had he had one to sell—for gold, released him, and, granting him, as he asserted, an unconditional pardon—but, as James and his counselors maintain, one conditional on fresh discoveries, sent him out at the head of twelve armed vessels.
What follows is obscure; but it appears that Raleigh, failing to discover the mines, attacked and plundered the little town of St. Thomas, which the Spaniards had built on the territories of Guiana, which Raleigh had acquired three-and-twenty years before for the English crown, and which James, with his wonted pusillanimity, had allowed the Spaniards to occupy, without so much as a remonstrance.
This conduct of Raleigh must be admitted unjustifiable, as Spain and England were then in a state of profound peace; and the plea that truce or peace with Spain never crossed the line, though popular in England in those days of Spanish aggression and Romish intolerance, cannot for a moment stand the test either of reason or of law.
Falling into suspicion with his comrades, Sir Walter was brought home in irons, and delivered into the hands of the pitiless and rancorous king, who resolved to destroy him—yet, dreading to awaken popular indignation by delivering him up to Spain, caused to revive the ancient sentence, which had never been set aside by a formal pardon, and cruelly and unjustly executed him on that spot, so consecrated by the blood of noble patriots and holy martyrs, the dark and gory scaffold of Tower Hill.
And here, in conclusion, I can do no better than to quote from an anonymous writer in a recent English magazine, the following brief tribute to his high qualities, and sad doom, accompanied by his last exquisite letter to his wife.
"His mind was indeed of no common order. With him, the wonders of earth and the dispensations of heaven were alike welcome; his discoveries at sea, his adventures abroad, his attacks on the colonies of Spain, were all arenas of glory to him—but he was infinitely happier by his own fireside, in recalling the spirits of the great in the history of his country—nay, was even more contented in the gloom of his ill-deserved prison, with the volume of genius or the book of life before him, than in the most animating successes of the battle-field.
"The event which clouded his prosperity and destroyed his influence with the queen—his marriage with Elizabeth Throgmorton—was the one upon which he most prided himself; and justly, too—for, if ever woman was created the companion, the solace of man—if ever wife was deemed the dearest thing of earth to which earth clings, that woman was his wife. Not merely in the smiles of the court did her smiles make a world of sunshine to her Raleigh; not merely when the destruction of the Armada made her husband's name glorious; not merely when his successes and his discoveries on the ocean made his presence longed for at the palace, did she interweave her best affections with the lord of her heart. It was in the hour of adversity she became his dearest companion, his 'ministering angel;' and when the gloomy walls of the accursed Tower held all her empire of love, how proudly she owned her sovereignty! Not even before the feet of her haughty mistress, in her prayerful entreaties for her dear Walter's life, did she so eminently shine forth in all the majesty of feminine excellence as when she guided his counsels in the dungeon, and nerved his mind to the trials of the scaffold, where, in his manly fortitude, his noble self-reliance, the people, who mingled their tears with his triumph, saw how much the patriot was indebted to the woman.
"Were there no other language but that of simple, honest affection, what a world of poetry would remain to us in the universe of love! You may be excited to sorrow for his fate by recalling the varied incidents of his attractive life: you may mourn over the ruins of his chapel at his native village: you may weep over the fatal result of his ill-starred patriotism: you may glow over his successes in the field or on the wave: your lip may curl with scorn at the miserable jealousy of Elizabeth: your eye may kindle with wrath at the pitiful tyranny of James—but how will your sympathies be so awakened as by reading his last, simple, touching letter to his wife.
"'You receive, my dear wife, my last words, in these my last lines. My love, I send you that you may keep it when I am dead; and my counsel, that you may remember it when I am no more. I would not with my will present you with sorrows, dear Bess—let them go to the grave with me and be buried in the dust—and, seeing that it is not the will of God that I should see you any more, bear my destruction patiently, and with a heart like yourself.
"'First—I send you all the thanks which my heart can conceive, or my words express, for your many travels and cares for me, which, though they have not taken effect as you wished, yet my debt to you is not the less; but pay it I never shall in this world.
"'Secondly—I beseech you, for the love you bear me living, that you do not hide yourself many days, but by your travels seek to help my miserable fortunes and the right of your poor child—your mourning cannot avail me that am dust—for I am no more yours, nor you mine—death hath cut us asunder, and God hath divided me from the world, and you from me.
"'I cannot write much. God knows how hardly I steal this time when all sleep. Beg my dead body, which, when living, was denied you, and lay it by our father and mother—I can say no more—time and death call me away;—the everlasting God—the powerful, infinite, and inscrutable God, who is goodness itself, the true light and life, keep you and yours, and have mercy upon me, and forgive my persecutors and false accusers, and send us to meet in his glorious kingdom.
"My dear wife—farewell! Bless my boy—pray for me, and let the true God hold you both in his arms.
"'Yours, that was; but now, not mine own,
"Thus a few fond words convey more poetry to the heart than a whole world of verse.
"We know not any man's history more romantic in its commencement, or more touching in its close, than that of Raleigh—from the first dawn of his fortunes, when he threw his cloak before the foot of royalty, throughout his brilliant rise and long imprisonment, to the hour when royalty rejoiced in his merciless martyrdom.
"Whether the recital of his eloquent speeches, the perusal of his vigorous and original poetry, or the narration of his quaint, yet profound 'History of the World,' engage our attention, all will equally impress us with admiration of his talent, with wonder at his achievements, with sympathy in his misfortunes, and with pity at his fall."
When he was brought upon the scaffold, he felt the edge of the axe with which he was to be beheaded, and observed, "'Tis a sharp remedy, but a sure one for all ills," harangued the people calmly, eloquently, and conclusively, in defence of his character, laid his head on the block with indifference, and died as he had lived, undaunted, one of the greatest benefactors of both England and America, judicially murdered by the pitiful spite of the basest and worst of England's monarchs. James could slay his body, but his fame shall live forever.
 I would here caution my readers from placing the slightest confidence in anything stated in Hume's History (fable?) of the Stuarts, and especially of this, the worst of a bad breed.
* * * * *
HOPE ON, HOPE EVER.
BY ROBERT G. ALLISON.
If sorrow's clouds around thee lower, E'en in affliction's gloomiest hour, Hope on firmly, hope thou ever; Let nothing thee from Hope dissever. What though storms life's sky o'ercast Time's sorrows will not always last, This vale of tears will soon be past. Hope darts a ray to light death's gloom, And smooths the passage to the tomb;
Hope is to weary mortals given, To lead them to the joys of heaven Then, when earth's scenes, however dear, From thy dim sight shall disappear— When sinks the pulse, and fails the eye, Then on Hope's pinions shall thy spirit fly To fairer worlds above the sky. Then hope thou on, and hope thou ever; Let nothing thee from Hope dissever.
* * * * *
THE DRESSING ROOM.
Full bodies not gathered in at the top, but left either quite loose, or so as to form an open fluting, are becoming very fashionable; but they require to be very carefully made, and to have a tight body under them, as otherwise they look untidy—particularly as the age of stiff stays has departed, we trust never to return, and the modern elegants wear stays with very little whalebone in them, if they wear any at all.