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The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 15, No. 92, June, 1865
Author: Various
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At this crisis, Squire Elderkin—who, to tell truth, has a little fear of the wayward propensities of the parson's son in misleading Phil—recommends trial of the discipline of a certain Parson Brummem, who fills the parish-pulpit upon Bolton Hill. This dignitary was a tall, lank, leathern-faced man, of incorruptible zeal and stately gravity, who held under his stern dominion a little flock of two hundred souls, and who, eking out a narrow parochial stipend by the week-day office of teaching, had gained large repute for his subjugation of refractory boys.

A feeble little invalid wife cringed beside him along the journey of life; and it would be pitiful to think that she had not long ago entered, in way of remuneration, upon paths of pleasantness beyond the grave.

Parson Brummem received Brother Johns, when he drove with Reuben to the parsonage-door, on that wild waste of Bolton Hill, with all the unction of manner that belonged to him; but it was so grave an unction as to chill poor Reuben to the marrow of his bones. A week's experience only dispersed the chill when the tingle of the parson's big rod wrought a glow in him that was almost madness. Yet Reuben chafed not so much at the whippings—to which he was well used—as at the dreariness of the new home, the melancholy waste of common over which March winds blew all the year, the pinched faces that met him without other recognition than, "One o' Parson Brummem's b'ys." Nor indoors was the aspect more inviting: a big red table, around which sat six fellow-martyrs with their slates and geographies; a tall desk, at which Brummem indited his sermons; and from time to time a little side-door opening timidly, through which came a weary woman's voice, "Ezekiel, dear, one minute!" at which the great man strides thither, and lends, his great ear to the family council.

Ah, the long, weary mornings, when the sun, pouring through the curtainless south windows a great blaze upon the oaken floor, lights up for Reuben only the cobwebbed corners, the faded roundabouts of fellow-martyrs, the dismal figures of Daboll, the shining tail-coat of Master Brummem, as he stalks up and down from hour to hour, collecting in this way his scattered thoughts for some new argumentative thrust of the quill into the sixthly or the seventhly of his next week's sermon! And the long and weary afternoons, when the sun with a mocking bounty pours through the dusty and curtainless windows to the west, lighting only again the gray and speckled roundabouts of the fagging boys, the maps of Malte-Brun, and the shining forehead of the Brummem!

There is a dismal, graceless, bald air about town and house and master, which is utterly revolting to the lad, whose childish feet had pattered beside the tender Rachel along the embowered paths of Ashfield. The lack of congeniality affronts his whole nature. In the keenness of his martyrdom, (none the less real because fancied,) the leathern-faced, gaunt Brummem takes the shape of some Giant Despair with bloody maw and mace,—and he, the child of some Christiana, for whose guiding hand he gropes vainly: she has gone before to the Celestial City!

The rod of the master does not cure the chronic state of moody rebellion into which Reuben lapses, with these fancies on him. It drives him at last to an act of desperation. The lesson in Daboll that day was a hard one; but it was not the lesson, or his short-comings in it,—it was not the hand of the master, which had been heavy on him,—but it was a vague, dismal sense of the dreariness of his surroundings, of the starched looks that met him, of the weary monotony, of the lack of sympathy, which goaded him to the final overt act of rebellion,—which made him dash his leathern-bound arithmetic full into the face of the master, and then sit down, burying his face in his hands.

The stern doctrines of Parson Brummem had taught him, at least, a rigid self-command. He did not strike the lad. But recovering from his amazement, he says, "Very well, very well, Master Reuben, we will sleep upon this"; and then, tapping at the inner door, "Keziah, make ready the little chamber over the hall for Master Johns: he must be by himself to-night: give him a glass of water and a slice of dry bread: nothing else, Sir," (turning to Reuben now,) "until you come to me to-morrow at nine, in this place, and ask my pardon"; and he motions him to the door.

Reuben staggers out,—staggers up the stairs into the dismal chamber. It looks out only upon a bald waste of common. Shortly after, a slatternly maid brings his prison fare, and, with a little kindly discretion, has added secretly a roll of gingerbread. Reuben thanks her, and says, "You're a good woman, Keziah; and I say, won't you fetch me my cap, there's a good un; it's cold here." The maid, with great show of caution, complies; a few minutes after, the parson comes, and, looking in warningly, closes and locks the door outside.

A weary evening follows, in which thoughts of Adele, of nights at the Elderkins', of Phil, of Rose, flash upon him, and spend their richness, leaving him more madly disconsolate. Then come thoughts of the morning humiliation, of the boys pointing their fingers at him after school.

"No, they sha'n't, by George!"

And with this decision he dropped asleep; with this decision ripened in him, he woke at three in the morning,—waited for the hall clock to strike, that he might be sure of his hour,—tied together the two sheets of Mistress Brummem's bed, opened the window gently, dropped out his improvised cable, slid upon it safely to the ground, and before day had broken or any of the townsfolk were astir, had crossed all the more open portion of the village, and by sunrise had plunged into the wooded swamp-land which lay three miles westward toward the river.



THE GREAT LAKES:

THEIR OUTLETS AND DEFENCES.

Four years ago there appeared in this magazine two articles upon the Great Lakes and their Harbors.[E] In these papers the commercial importance of the Lakes was set forth, and it was shown that their commerce was at that time nearly equal in amount to the whole foreign trade of the country. Within those four years the relative value of these two branches of commerce has greatly changed. The foreign trade, under the efforts of open foes and secret enemies, has fallen off very largely. A committee of the New York Board of Trade, in an appeal to the Secretary of the Navy for protection against British pirates, made the statement, that the imports into that port during the first quarter of 1860, in American vessels, were $62,598,326,—in foreign vessels, $30,918,051; and that in 1863, during the same period, the imports in American vessels were $23,403,830,—in foreign vessels, $65,889,853;—in other words, that in three years of war, our navigation on the ocean had declined more than one half, and that of foreign nations had increased in nearly the same proportion.

The two great branches of internal trade before the war consisted of the trade of the Lakes and the canals leading from them to the seaboard, and the trade of the Mississippi and its tributaries. The latter branch being interrupted or destroyed by the Rebellion, it follows that at the present time the principal commerce left to the Atlantic cities is that of the Great Lakes and the States about them, usually known as the Northwest.

This commerce amounts at present to at least twelve hundred millions of dollars annually, and increases so rapidly that all estimates of its prospective value have hitherto fallen far short of the truth. It employs about two thousand vessels and twenty thousand sailors, besides four great lines of railroad. It sends to the seaboard one hundred million bushels of grain, two million hogs, and half a million of cattle, composing the principal part of the food of the Atlantic States, (it being well known that the wheat crop of New York would hardly feed her people for one third of the year, and that that of New England is sufficient for only about three weeks' consumption,) and affording a large surplus for exportation.

In a memorial of the Hon. S. B. Ruggles of New York to President Lincoln, on the enlargement of the New York canals, he says,—"The cereal wealth yearly floated on these waters now exceeds one hundred million bushels. It is difficult to present a distinct idea of a quantity so enormous. Suffice it to say, that the portion of it (about two thirds) moving to market on the Erie and Oswego Canals requires a line of boats more than forty miles long to carry it." On the Lakes it requires a fleet of five thousand vessels carrying twenty thousand bushels each. If loaded in railroad-cars of the usual capacity, it would take two hundred and fifty thousand of them, or a train more than one thousand miles in length. The four great lines from the Lakes to the seaboard would each have to run four hundred cars a day for half the year to carry this grain to market. Speaking of the grain-trade, Mr. Ruggles says,—"Its existence is a new fact in the history of man. In quantity, it already much exceeds the whole export of cereals from the Russian Empire, the great compeer of the United States, whose total export of cereals was in 1857 but forty-nine million bushels, being less than half the amount carried in 1861 upon the American Lakes. It was the constant aim of ancient Rome, even in the zenith of its power, to provision the capital and the adjacent provinces from the outlying portions of the empire. The yearly crop contributed by Egypt was fifteen million bushels. Under the prudent administration of the Emperor Severus, a large store of corn was accumulated and kept on hand, sufficient to guard the empire from famine for seven years. The total amount thus provided was but one hundred and ninety million bushels. The product of 1860 in the five Lake States of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin, was three hundred and fifty-four million bushels."

Another branch of the Lake trade, which is yet in its infancy, but which promises to reach vast proportions in a few years, is the iron and copper trade of Lake Superior. In 1864 about two hundred and forty-eight thousand tons of iron ore and seventeen thousand tons of copper ore and metal were shipped from that lake,—enough to load thirteen hundred and twenty-five vessels of two hundred tons burden. This trade has wholly grown up within the last ten years.

Let the Erie and Oswego Canals be again enlarged, as advocated so ably by Mr. Ruggles, let the railroad lines be equipped with double tracks, and this trade of the Lake country will still follow them up and outstrip their efforts. The man is now living in Chicago, hardly past middle age, who, less than thirty years ago, shipped the first invoice of grain from that city which now ships fifty millions; and should he live to the common age of mankind, he will probably see the shipment of a hundred millions from that port alone.

The population of Illinois has doubled in each of the last two decades, and there is no reason why it should not continue to do so in the next. That would give it in 1870 about three and a half millions of people, most of them farmers and producers, and farmers who, by help of their fertile soil, the ease of its cultivation, and the general use of agricultural machinery, are able to produce a very large amount of grain or meat to the working hand.

These fleets of sail-vessels and steamers, and these railroad-trains which go Eastward thus loaded with grain and provisions, return West with freight more various, though as valuable. The teas, silks, and spices of India, the coffee of Brazil, the sugar and cigars of Cuba, the wines and rich fabrics of France, the varied manufactures of England, and the products of the New England workshops and factories, all find a market in the Northwest.

What, then, is the proper and sufficient outlet of this commerce? The Canadians, although their share of it is only one quarter as large as our own, have shown us the way. They have constructed canals connecting Lakes Erie and Ontario, and others around the rapids of the St. Lawrence. Let us do the same on the American side, so that vessels may load in Chicago or Milwaukee, and deliver their cargoes in New York, Boston, or Liverpool, without breaking bulk. To Europe this is the shorter route, as the figures will show:—

Distance from Chicago to New York by lakes, canal, and river 1,500 miles Distance from New York to Liverpool 2,980 " ——- 4,480 "

Distance from Chicago to Montreal by Welland Canal 1,348 miles Distance from Montreal to Liverpool 2,740 " ——- 4,088 "

The St. Lawrence River is the natural outlet of the Lakes, and, if rendered accessible to us by canals, must be the cheapest outlet. It is well known that a few years ago corn was worth on the prairies of Illinois only ten cents per bushel, when the same article was selling in New York at seventy cents, six sevenths of the price being consumed in transportation. The consequence was, that many farmers found it more for their interest to use their surplus corn for fuel than to sell it for ten cents. The great disturbance in values caused by the war, and the vast demand for grain and forage for the army, have reduced this disproportion in prices very much for the time, but it may be looked for again on the return of peace.

Now it would seem that one of the most important questions to be settled in this country is how to cheapen food. If, by the construction of these canals to give access to the St. Lawrence, grain can be laid down in New York ten cents a bushel cheaper than it now is done, the saving on the present shipments of breadstuffs from the Lakes would be ten millions of dollars annually. It is probable, however, that the saving in freight would be much greater than this, if the canals were built of sufficient capacity to admit the largest class of Lake vessels. This direct trade between the Upper Lakes and Europe was commenced a few years before the breaking out of the Rebellion, and was beginning to assume important proportions, when the war put a stop to it, as it has to so much of our foreign commerce.

While the present article was in preparation, the bill for the construction of these canals passed the House of Representatives, as also one for the deepening of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, concerning which the report of the Hon. Isaac N. Arnold of Illinois, chairman of the committee of the House on the defence of lakes and rivers, thus remarks:—"The realization of the grand idea of a ship-canal from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi, for military and commercial purposes, is the great work of the age. In effect, commercially, it turns the Mississippi into Lake Michigan, and makes an outlet for the Great Lakes at New Orleans, and of the Mississippi at New York. It brings together the two great systems of water communication of our country,—the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence, and the canals connecting the Lakes with the ocean on the east, and the Mississippi and Missouri, with all their tributaries, on the west and south. This communication, so vast, can be effected at small expense, and with no long delay. It is but carrying out the plan of Nature. A great river, rivalling the St. Lawrence in volume, at no distant day was discharged from Lake Michigan, by the Illinois, into the Mississippi. Its banks, its currents, its islands, and deposits can still be easily traced, and it only needs a deepening of the present channel for a few miles, to reopen a magnificent river from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi."

It is a very important point, in considering this question of the enlargement of existing canals and the construction of new ones, that they have, under the new conditions of naval warfare, come to be an important element in the harbor defences of the Lakes. We have the testimony of Captain Ericsson himself, whose Monitor vessels have already done so much for the country, as to this availability. He writes,—"An impregnable war-vessel, twenty-five feet wide and two hundred feet long, with a shot-proof turret, carrying a gun of fifteen inch calibre, with a ball of four hundred and fifty pounds, and capable of destroying any hostile vessel that can be put on the Lakes, will draw, without ammunition, coal, or stores, but six feet and six inches water, and consequently will need only a canal wide and deep enough to float a vessel of those dimensions, with locks of sufficient size to pass it."

Great Britain has already secured to herself the means of access to the Lakes by her system of Canadian canals, and the Military Committee of the House express the opinion, that, in case of a war with that power, "a small fleet of light-draught, heavily armed, iron-clad gunboats, could, in one short month, in despite of any opposition that could be made by extemporized batteries, pass up the St. Lawrence, and shell every city and village from Ogdensburg to Chicago. At one blow it could sweep our commerce from that entire chain of lakes. Such a fleet would have it in its power to inflict a loss to be reckoned only by hundreds of millions, so vast is the wealth thus exposed to the depredations of a maritime enemy." We were saved from such a blow, a few months ago, only by the failure of the Rebel agents in Canada to procure, either by purchase or piracy, a swift armed steamer.

Ever since the War of 1812, England has been preparing, in the event of another war, to strike at this, our vital point. In 1814 the Duke of Wellington declared "that a naval superiority on the Lakes is a sine qua non of success in war on the frontier of Canada." Years before, William Hall, Governor of the Northwestern Territory, made the same declaration to our Government, and the capture of Detroit by the British in 1812 was due to their failure to respond to his appeal for a naval force. In 1817 the Lakes were put on a peace establishment of one gun on each side, which was a good bargain for England, she having at that time larger interests on the Lakes than the United States. Now ours exceed hers in the ratio of four to one.

What said the London "Times" in January, 1862, in reference to the Trent excitement? "As soon as the St. Lawrence opens again there will be an end of our difficulty. We can then pour into the Lakes such a fleet of gunboats, and other craft, as will give us the complete and immediate command of those waters. Directly the navigation is clear, we can send up vessel after vessel without any restriction, except such as are imposed by the size of the canals. The Americans would have no such resource. They would have no access to the Lakes from the sea, and it is impossible that they could construct vessels of any considerable power in the interval that would elapse before the ice broke up. With the opening of spring the Lakes would be ours."

This is just what the English did in the War of 1812. They secured the command of the Lakes at the beginning of the war, and kept it and that of all the adjacent country, till Perry built a fleet on Lake Erie, with which he wrested their supremacy from them by hard fighting. Let us not be caught in that way a second time.

There is a party in the country opposed to the enlargement of these canals. It is represented in Congress by able men. Their principal arguments are the following: First, that there is no military necessity for the enlargement; that materials for building gunboats can be accumulated at various points on the Lakes, to be used in the event of war. Secondly, that by sending a strong force to destroy the Canadian canals, the enemy's gunboats can be prevented from entering the Lakes. A third argument is, that it is useless to attempt to contend with England, the greatest naval power in the world; that we shall never have vessels enough to afford a fleet on the coast and one on the Lakes; that England would never allow us to equal her in that respect, and that it would be changing the entire policy of the nation to attempt it. A fourth argument which we have seen gravely stated against the canal enlargements is, that the mouth of the St. Lawrence is the place to defend the Lakes, and that, if that hole were stopped, the rats could not enter.

In reply to the first of these arguments, the above quotation from the London "Times" shows that the British Government well know the importance of striking the first blow, and that long before our gunboats could be launched that blow would have been delivered.

As to the second, we may be sure that the Canadian canals would be defended with all the power and skill of England; and we know, by the experience of the last four years, the difference between offensive and defensive warfare, both sides being equally matched in fighting qualities.

The third argument is the same used by Jefferson and his party before the War of 1812. He thought that to build war vessels was only to build them for the British, as they would be sure to take them. As to changing the policy of the nation, by increasing our navy, let us hope that it is already changed, and forever. Its policy has heretofore been a Southern policy, a slaveholders' policy; it has discouraged the navy, and kept it down to the smallest possible dimensions, because a navy is essentially a Northern institution. You cannot man a navy with slaves or mean whites; it must have a commercial marine behind it, and that the South never had. Our navy ought never again to be inferior in fighting strength to that of England. In that way we shall always avoid war.

As to the plan of defending the Lakes at the mouth of the St. Lawrence, we would ask this question: If the blockade of Wilmington was a task beyond the power of our navy, how would it be able to blockade an estuary from fifty to a hundred miles in width?

With these enlarged canals, by which gunboats and monitors could be moved from the Atlantic and the Mississippi to the Lakes, and vice versa, and by the system of shore defences recommended some years ago by General Totten, namely, strong fortifications at Mackinaw, perfectly commanding those straits, and serving as a refuge to war steamers, works at the lower end of Lake Huron, at Detroit, and at the entrance of Niagara River, these waters will be protected from all foreign enemies. Lake Ontario will also need a system of works to protect our important canals and railroads, which in many places approach so near the shore as to be in danger from an enterprising enemy. It is recommended by the Military Committee, that a naval depot should be established at Erie, as the most safe and suitable harbor on the lake of that name.

If, as is probable, a naval station and depot should be thought necessary on the Upper Lakes, the city of Milwaukee has strong claims to be chosen for its site. There is the best and safest harbor on Lake Michigan, so situated as to be easily defended, in the midst of a heavily timbered country, accessible to the iron and copper of Lake Superior and the coal of Illinois. Milwaukee enjoys one of the cheapest markets for food, together with a very healthy climate. Finally, she is connected by rail with the great Western centres of population, so that all the necessary troops for her defence could be gathered about her at twenty-four hours' notice.

It may be well here to remark, that as yet the Northwest has had little assistance from the General Government. Large sums of money have annually been laid out in the defences of the seaboard, both North and South, while this immense Lake region has had the annual appropriation of one eighteen pounder! Every small river and petty inlet on the Southern coast, whence a bale of cotton or a barrel of turpentine could be shipped, has had its fort; while the important post of Mackinaw, the Gibraltar of the Lakes, is garrisoned by an invalid sergeant, who sits solitary on its ruinous walls.

The result at which we arrive is, that these canal enlargements would at once be valuable, both as commercial and military works. They have a national importance, in that they will assist in feeding and defending the nation. The States interested in them have a population of ten millions, they have seventy-one representatives in Congress, and they have furnished fully one half the fighting-men who have gone to defend our flag and protect our nationality in the field. How that work has been done, let the victorious campaigns of Grant and Sherman attest. Those great leaders are Western men, and their invincible columns, who, from Belmont to Savannah, have, like Cromwell's Ironsides, "never met an enemy whom they have not broken in pieces," are men of Western birth or training.

FOOTNOTES:

[E] See Nos. for February and March, 1861,—Vol. VII. pp. 226, 313.



TO CAROLINA CORONADO.

A lily anchored by the Spanish main, Swaying and shining in the surge of youth, Yet holding in thy breast the gold of truth,—

Such didst thou seem above the waves of pain, And through the stormy turbulence of war, Until we heard thy patriot voice afar!

Now, Sister, with the burning heart of Spain, We speak to thee from this New England strand, And grasp and hold thee with a firm right hand!

For thou hast touched our people with thy word,— Only a gentle woman's word, but one With the great work our Nation has begun.

By Liberty thy earnest soul was stirred, And waked and urged Estremadura's men To pour the heroic wine of life again.

As in the dawn of Summer flits a bird From his low nest and springs into the air, Hurrying a double concert and a prayer,—

So Liberty, with thy sweet voice allied, Walks in thy footsteps, with her laurel strows Thy footway, with thy trustful spirit glows.

Esteem her friendship with unwavering pride! Teach thou thy children what the years have brought, Wisdom and love superior to thy thought!

Once thou hast said, "All men may win her side, But women never!" Sister, do not fear, Recall thy words, since Love has made truth clear.

For Love is master, and we know no other, Save self-compelling service to the right, Which is but Love in the seraphic sight.

Teach this thy sons and to each man thy brother,— A secret learned in silent joys of home, A secret whence the lights of being come.

So guided by this lamp, O wife and mother, Turn thine eyes hither to the Western shore, Where red streams run and iron thunders roar!

We watch the star of Freedom slowly rise And glimmer through the changes of the time, While errors beat their low retreating chime.

We ask for nought, we need not to be wise, We find both men and women at their post, Equal and different in one mighty host.

Divided suffering, unity of cries,— Divided labor, unity of life,— Divided struggle, one reward for strife.

As autumn winds sweep over tossing seas And reach the happy shore, and fling the flowers And lower each gorgeous head by their rude powers,—

So sweep the winds of war through quiet leas And bend our budding treasures in the dust, Yet Freedom's cause shall neither mar nor rust.

The seed shall spring where none can thirst or freeze, Shall bear a floweret fairer than the old, As lilies shine before all blossoms told:

A liberty for woman in her home, Bound by the only chains which give her peace,— Immortal chains which death may not release:

A liberty where Justice wide may roam, And Reverence sit the chief at every feast, With Love as master, and Contempt as least:

A liberty where the oppressed may come, The black and white, the woman and the man, And recognize themselves in Heaven's wide plan

Then while the morning odors of the sea Blow from the westward and caress thy brow, Remember where thy loving sisters bow:

Perchance beneath the hand of Victory, Which leaves a tear and then a silentness, While crowds move by forgetful of one less;

Or where a burst of gracious ecstasy Rising shall fill the eastward flitting air, And with thy spirit mount the hills of prayer.



REGNARD.

Since, in modern literature, there are so few really good comedies that we may count them all upon our fingers, a man who has written two must be worth knowing. We ask permission to introduce Jean Francois Regnard to those who do not know him.

He comes recommended by the great critic Boileau, who liked him, quarrelled with him, and made up again. Forty years later, Voltaire wrote that the man who did not enjoy Regnard was not capable of appreciating Moliere. Then came M. de La Harpe, the authority in such matters for two generations: he devotes a chapter to Regnard, and calls him the worthy successor of Moliere. And Beranger, in his charming autobiography, an epilogue worthy of the noble part he had played upon the stage of the world, speaks of the unflagging gayety and abundant wit of Regnard's dialogue, and of his lively and graceful style. "In my opinion," he adds, "Regnard would be the first of modern comedians, if Moliere had not been given to us."

In spite of the idle complainings into which authors are betrayed by the pleasure human nature takes in talking about self to attentive listeners, all who are familiar with the history of the brethren of the quill know, that, as a class, they have had a large share of the good things of the earth,—cheerful occupation, respected position, comfortable subsistence, and long life. France, in particular, has been the Pays de Cocagne of book-makers for the last two hundred years. Neither praise, pay, nor rank has been wanting to those who deserved them. But in the long line of litterateurs who have flourished since Cardinal Richelieu founded the Academy, few were so fortunate as Regnard. He entered upon his career with wealth, health, and a jovial temperament: three supreme blessings he kept through life.

He was born in Paris in 1655, three years before Moliere brought his company from the provinces to the Hotel de Bourbon, and opened the new theatre with the "Precieuses Ridicules." Regnard's father, a citizen of Paris and a shopkeeper, died when his son was a lad, leaving him one hundred and twenty thousand livres,—a fortune for a man of the middle class at that period. Like most independent young fellows, Regnard made use of his money to travel. He went to Italy, and spent a year in the famous cities of the Peninsula,—but returned home with thirty thousand additional livres in his pocket, won at play. He soon went back to the land of pleasure and of luck. At Bologna he fell in love with a lady from the South of France, whom he calls Elvire. The lady was married, the husband was with her; they were travellers like himself. Regnard joined the party, and sailed with them from Civita Vecchia in an English ship bound for Toulon. The vessel was captured, off Nice, by a Barbary corsair, and brought into Algiers; the crew and passengers were sold to the highest bidder. One Achmet Talem paid fifteen hundred livres for Regnard, and one thousand for the lady. This low price might lead us to imagine that the Moorish taste in beauty differed from that of Regnard; but the Algerine market may have been overstocked with women on the day of sale. Achmet took his new chattels to Constantinople. Perceiving Regnard's talent for ragouts and sauces, he made a cook of him. What became of Elvire history has omitted, perhaps discreetly, to relate. After two years of toil and ill-treatment, Regnard received money from home to buy his freedom. He paid twelve thousand livres for himself and the fair Provencale. Achmet more than quadrupled his investment, and no doubt thought slavery a divine institution.

In Paris once more, Regnard hung his chains in his library and was preparing to lead a comfortable life with Elvire, when the superfluous husband, whose death had been reported, most unseasonably reappeared. He had been ransomed by the Mathurins, a religious order, who believed it to be the duty of Christians to deliver their fellow-men from bondage,—Abolitionists of the seventeenth century, who, strange as some of us may think it, were honored by their countrymen and the Christian world. Regnard yielded gracefully the right he had acquired by purchase to the prior claim of the husband, and made preparations for another journey. With two compatriots, De Fercourt and De Corberon, he traversed the Low Countries and Denmark and crossed over to Stockholm. The King of Sweden received the travellers graciously and proposed a visit to Lapland. Furnished with the royal letters of recommendation, they sailed up the Gulf of Bothnia to Torneo, and thence pushed north by land until they came to Lake Tornoetrask. Eighteen miles from the lower end of the lake they ascended a high mountain which they named Metavara, "from the Latin word meta and the Finlandic word vara, which means rock: that is to say, the rock of limits." "We were four hours in climbing to the top by paths which no mortal had as yet known. When we reached it, we perceived the whole extent of Lapland, and the Icy Ocean as far as the North Cape, on the side it turns to the west. This may, indeed, be called arriving at the end of the world and jostling the axle of the pole (se frotter a l'essieu du pole)." Here they set up a tablet of stone they had brought with their luggage,—monument eternel, Regnard says. "It shall make known to posterity that three Frenchmen did not cease to travel northward until the earth failed them; that, in spite of the difficulties they encountered, which would have turned back most others, they reached the end of the world and planted their column; the ground was wanting, but not the courage to press on." These sounding verses were cut upon the eternal monument:—

"Gallia nos genuit; vidit nos Africa; Gangem Hausimus, Europamque oculis lustravimus omnem; Casibus et variis acti terraque marique, Hic tandem stetimus, nobis ubi defuit orbis. De Fercourt, De Corberon, Regnard. Anno 1681, die 22 Augusti."

"The inscription will never be read, except by the bears," Regnard adds. A melancholy thought to the French mind! If nobody saw it or talked about it, half the pleasure of the exploit was gone. The Frenchmen had foreseen this difficulty, and had taken their precautions. Four days' journey to the southward stood an ancient church, near which the Lapps held their annual fair. In this church, in a conspicuous position, they had already deposited the same verses, carved upon a board. In 1718, thirty-six years after, another French traveller, La Motraye, read the lines upon the stone tablet,—too late to gratify Regnard.

"Travellers' stories,"—"A beau mentir qui vient de loin,"—these proverbs date from the seventeenth century. It was not expected of such adventurous gentlemen that they should tell the simple truth, any more than we expect veracity from sportsmen. We listen without surprise and disbelieve without a smile. Some exaggeration, too, was pardonable to help out the verse; but "nobis ubi defuit orbis" goes beyond a reasonable license. The mountain Metavara is in Lat. 68 deg. 30'; the North Cape in 71 deg. 10'. There were still one hundred and fifty miles of solid orbis before Regnard and his friends; and they had need of optics sharp to see the Cape from the spot they stood upon.

The 27th of September found the three Arctic explorers back again in Stockholm. Thence they took boat for Dantzic, travelled in Poland, Hungary, and Austria, and left Vienna for Paris a few months before the famous siege, when Sobieski, the "man sent from God whose name was John," routed the Turks and delivered Christendom forever from the fear of the Ottoman arms.

Before this time Regnard must have heard that Duquesne had avenged his African sufferings. In the autumn of 1681 the Huguenot Admiral shelled Algiers from bomb-ketches, then used for the first time. The Dey was forced to surrender. His lively conquerors treated him with the honors of wit as well as of war. They made a mot for him, of the kind they get up so cleverly in Paris. When the Turk is told how much it had cost the great monarch of France to fit out the fleet which had just reduced a part of his city to ashes, he exclaims, amazed at the useless extravagance,—"For half the money I would have burned the whole town."

Cervantes was a slave in Algiers a hundred years before Regnard, and no doubt used his experience in the story of the Captive in "Don Quixote." Regnard also worked his African materials up into a tale,—"La Provencale,"—and varnished them with the sentimentality fashionable in his day. Zelmis (himself) is a conquering hero; women adore him. He is full of courage, resources, and devotion to one only,—Elvire,—who is beautiful as a dream, and dignified as the wife of a Roman Senator. The King of Algiers is on the quay when the captives are brought ashore. He falls in love with Elvire on the spot, and adds her to his collection. But his passion is respectful and pure. Aided by Zelmis, she escapes from the harem. They are retaken and brought back; but instead of the whipping usually bestowed upon returned runaways, the generous king, despairing of winning Elvire's affections, gives her her liberty. In the mean time Zelmis has had his troubles. His master has four wives, beautiful as houris. All four cast eyes of flame upon the well-favored infidel. Faithful to Elvire, Zelmis of course defends himself as heroically as Joseph. The ladies revenge the slight in the same way as the wife of Potiphar. The attractive Frenchman is condemned to impalement, when his consul interferes with a ransom, and he is released just in time to embark for France with Elvire.

Although Regnard often alludes with pride to his travels, the sketch he has left of them is meagre and uninteresting, and written in a harsh and awkward style. Lapland was a terra incognita,—Poland, Hungary, and Bohemia not much better known; yet this clever young Parisian has little to relate beyond a few names, which he generally misspells or misplaces. No descriptions of town or country or scenery; no traits of manners, character, or customs, except a dull page on the sorcery and the funeral ceremonies of the Lapps. The only eminent man he notices is Evelius, the astronomer of Dantzic,—one of the foreign savans of distinction on whom Louis XIV. bestowed pensions in his grand manner, omitting to pay them after the second year. Regnard seems to have written to let his countrymen know where he had been,—not to tell them what he had seen. Had he made ever so good a book out of his really remarkable journey, little notice would have been taken of it. Voyages and travels were looked upon as a dull branch of fiction,—not nearly so amusing or improving as cockney excursions from one town of France to another in the neighborhood, described after the manner of Bachaumont and Chapelle: not sentimental journeys, by any means; eating, drinking, and sleeping are the points of interest:—

"Bon vin, bon gite, bon lit, Belle hotesse, bon appetit."

Even Regnard, who had seen so much of the world, tried his hand at this kind of travel-writing and failed lamentably.

At thirty, Regnard closed a chapter in his life, and turned over a new leaf. He gave up wandering and gambling, the ruling passions of his youth, and settled himself comfortably for the rest of his days. For occupation and official position, he bought an assistant-treasurership in the Bureau des Finances. His house in the Rue Richelieu became famous for good company and good things, intellectual as well as material. In the country his Terre de Grillon was planted with so much taste that the lively persons who liked to visit there called it a Sejour enchante. In laying out his grounds, his intimate, Dufresny, was doubtless of use to him. This spendthrift poet, reputed great-grandson of Henri Quatre and the belle jardiniere, had great skill in landscape gardening, admitted even by those who found his verses tedious. He it was, probably, who introduced Regnard to the stage. For several years they supplied the Theatre Italien with amusing trifles,—working together in one of those literary partnerships so common among French playwrights. The "Joueur" broke up this business connection. Dufresny accused Regnard of having stolen the plot from him, and brought out a "Joueur" of his own. Regnard insisted that Dufresny was the pirate. The public decided in favor of Regnard. Dufresny's play was hopelessly damned, and no appeal ever taken from the first sentence. The verdict of the bel-esprits was recorded in an epigram, which ended thus:—

"Mais quiconque aujourd'hui voit l'un et l'autre ouvrage Dit que Regnard a l'avantage D'avoir ete le 'bon larron.'"[F]

Dufresny had more wit than dramatic talent. He will live in the memories of married men for his famous speech,—

"Comment, Monsieur! Vous n'y etiez pas oblige."

It was in 1696, twelve years after his return to Paris, that Regnard sent the "Joueur," a comedy in five acts, and in verse, to the Theatre Francais. It was received with enthusiastic applause. Nothing equal to it had appeared in twenty-four years since the death of the great master; nor did the eighteenth century produce any comedy which can be compared with it for action, wit, and literary finish,—not excepting the "Turcaret" of Le Sage, and Beaumarchais's "Barber of Seville," which are both better known to-day.

Regnard sat to himself for the portrait of Valere. The wild and fascinating excitement of play, the gambler's exultation when he is successful, his furious curses on his bad luck when he loses, his superstitious veneration for his winnings, are drawn from the life. When Fortune smiles, Valere neglects Angelique, his rich fiancee; when he is penniless, his love revives, and he is at her feet until his valet devises some new plan of raising money. He swears, if she will forgive him, never again to touch dice or cards, and five minutes afterward pledges for a thousand crowns a miniature set in diamonds she has just given him to bind their reconciliation, and hurries back to the gaming-table. He wins, but thinks his gains too sacred to pay away, even to redeem the portrait of Angelique.

"Rien ne porte malheur comme de payer ses dettes,"

is his answer to the prudent Hector,—a maxim current among many who never play. At last comes a reverse of fortune so sweeping that he cannot conceal it. Angelique might have forgiven him his broken promises, but the pawnbroker enters with her picture and demands the thousand crowns. This is too much. She rejects him and gives her hand to his rival. His indignant father casts him off forever. But no feeling of regret or of repentance arises in the mind of the gambler. He turns coolly upon his heel, and calls to his valet,—

"Va! va! consolons-nous, Hector,—et quelque jour Le Jeu m'acquittera des pertes de l'amour."

Richard is the name of this prince of rascally and quick-witted valets; but he calls himself Hector, after the knave of spades, because he serves a gambler. He has good sense as well as ingenuity; for he gives his master the best advice, while he strains his invention and his impudence to help him on to destruction. Nerine, maid to Angelique, declares open war against Valere, and vows that her mistress shall not throw herself away upon a silly dandy, an insipid puppet, with nothing to recommend him but his fine clothes and his swagger.

"True enough," laughs Hector, "but

"C'est le gout d'a present; tes cris sont superflus, Mon enfant."

"And Valere is a spendthrift, an inveterate gambler, who will bring her to misery and want."

"What of that?

"Tant que tu voudras, parle, preche, tempete, Ta maitresse est coiffee,... Elle est dans nos filets."

"And such an outrageous roue that he cannot live in his father's house."

"We do not deny it," Hector answers. "It is no fault of ours.

"Valere a deserte la maison paternelle, Mais ce n'est point a lui qu'il faut faire querelle; Et si Monsieur son pere avait voulu sortir, Nous y serions encore;... Ces peres, bien souvent, sont obstines en diable."

Nevertheless, the obdurate parent, in the hope of reforming his son, and of providing for him by the excellent match with Angelique, hunts up the prodigal and lectures him after the manner of fathers. Hector joins in, and expresses strongly his disapprobation of games of chance; "les jeux innocents, ou l'esprit se deploie," are the only safe pastime.

"But will our father pay our debts this time?"

"Not a crown."

"Will he lend us the money at one per cent a month? Once out of this pecuniary strait, we can marry Angelique, and be rich and virtuous. Besides, we have assets as well as debts: here is our schedule."

The elder softens a little and takes the paper. At the head of the list of debts he finds Hector's bill for wages and services rendered, leading off a long file of Aarons and Levys; and the assets consist of a debt of honor owing by an officer killed at the Battle of Fleurus, and the good-will of a match at tric-trac with a poor player who had already lost games enough to make his defeat certain.

The action of the comedy does not lag or limp from the opening scene to Valere's last words. The versification is easy and natural; the dialogue abounds in wit and comic humor; it is short and quick, with none of those tedious declamations which weary and unsettle the attention of an audience. Take it all in all, we may say, that, if Moliere had chosen the same subject, he could hardly have handled it better.

Not that Regnard can pretend to rank with Moliere in genius, or even near him. The "Gambler" is admirably done; but it is the only comedy in which Regnard attempted character. He drew from his experience. Moliere was so skilful a moral anatomist that he required only a whim or a weakness to construct a consistent character. This wonderful man found the French comic stage occupied by a few stock personages, imported from Spain and Italy. The elders were fathers or uncles, rich, miserly, and perverse, instinctively disposed to keep a tight rein on the young people, of whose personal expenses and matrimonial projects they invariably disapproved. The persecuted juniors were all alike, colorless shadows, mere lay figures to hang a plot on: Leandre, amant de Celimene; Celimene amante de Leandre: helpless creatures, who would have been quite at the mercy of the old dragons of the story, were it not for the powerful assistance of the rascally soubrettes. These clever sinners abounded in cunning contrivances, disguises, and tricks, which resulted in the signal discomfiture of the parents and guardians. In the last act, they are forced to consent to all the marriages, and are cheated out of most of their property; they are even lucky to escape with their lives. There was no mercy for Age in those plays.

"Pluck the lined crutch from the old limping sire; With it beat out his brains."

The theatre was the temple of youth, of love, and of feasting. Away with the dull old people! Providence created them only to pay the bills.

"Fuyez d'ici, sombre vieillesse,— Car en amour les vieillards ne sont bons Qu'a payer les violons."

Did gentlemen of a certain age go to the theatre in the seventeenth century? expend their money to see themselves abused and ridiculed? Did they laugh at these indignities and enjoy them? We might wonder, if we did not know that Frenchmen never grow old, so long as they have an eye left for ogling or a leg to caper with.

Moliere took these old inhabitants of the stage into his service, and injected new life into their veins. He gave them the foibles, the follies, and the vices he saw about him, and made them speak in a new language of unrivalled wit, humor, and mirth. But his genius was shackled by the artificial conventions of the theatre, which did not allow him time or space to fully develop a character. A grand comic creation like Falstaff was impossible. He introduces a single propensity of mankind, exhibits it in all its relations to society, shows it to us on every side; but it remains only a trait of character, although we see it in half a dozen different lights. Tartuffe is the one exception; in him, hypocrisy hides covetousness and lust; and Tartuffe is Moliere's masterpiece. But in most of his comedies he displays rather a knowledge of the world than a knowledge of human nature. In his walk he has no equal at home or abroad; but his walk is not the highest. We feel that something is wanting, and yet we can hardly extol him too highly. He brought comedy into close relation with every-day life; he is the father of the modern French stage, which has gradually cast off the old conventional personages. The French dramatists of to-day are not men of genius like Moliere, but, in their airy, sparkling plays, they represent the freaks, follies, and fancies of society so exquisitely that nothing remains to be desired. They furnish the model and the materials for the theatre of all other nations.

When Regnard came before the public, the stage remained as Moliere had left it The only new personage was the Marquis, first introduced in the "Mere Coquette," by Quinault, the sweet and smooth writer of operas,—of whom it was said, that he had boned (desosse) the French language. The Marquis is the ancestor of our Fop,—

"Loose in morals and in manners vain, In conversation frivolous, in dress extreme,"—

who in turn has become antiquated and tiresome. Regnard's only original character is the Gambler; in his other comedies he made use of the old, familiar masks, and won success by his keen sense of the ridiculous, his wit, and his unceasing jollity and fun. His Crispins and Scapins are perfect. What impudent, worthless, amusing rogues! To keep inside of the law is their only rule of right. "Honesty is a fool, and Trust, his sworn brother, a very simple gentleman." They came of an ancient race, these Crispins and Scapins, that had flourished in Italy and in Spain since Plautus and Terence brought them over from Greece. They found their way to France, and even reached England in their migration, following in the train of Charles II. when he returned from exile, and during a short life on that side of the Channel added drunkenness and brutality to their gayer vices. The character was true to Nature in Athens or in Rome, where men of talent might often be bound to devote their brains to the service of those who owned their bodies, and by their condition as slaves were released from all obligations of honor or of honesty. In the seventeenth century it might pass in France; for the line between gentle and simple was so sharply drawn that ladies of rank saw no greater impropriety in disrobing before their footmen than before their dogs. But the progress of liberty or of egalite blotted out the valets of comedy. Even in Regnard's time the inconsistencies of the character were noticed. Jasmin, in the "Serenade," utters revolutionary doctrine:—"How can an honorable valet devote himself to the interests of a penniless master? We grow tricky in waiting upon such fellows. They scold us; sometimes they beat us. We have more wit than they. We support them; we are obliged to invent, for their benefit, all sorts of knavery, in which they are always ready to take a share; and, withal, they are the masters, and we the servants. It is not just. Hereafter I mean to scheme for myself, and become a master in my turn."

Scapin has joined his brother pagans beyond the Styx; but Lisette blooms in evergreen youth. This young French person's theory of woman's rights is different from the one which obtains in New England; nor does she trouble herself at all to seek for woman's mission. She found it years ago. It is to deceive a man. She is satisfied with her condition, and with the old mental and moral attributes of her sex. When Crispin disguises himself in her clothes, he exclaims,—

"L'addresse et l'artifice ont passe dans mon coeur; Qu'on a sous cet habit et d'esprit et de ruse— Rien n'est si trompeur qu'animal porte-jupe."

This animal is as clever and as cunning in Paris to-day as when Crispin felt the inspiration of the petticoats.

In 1708, after another period of twelve years, "Le Legataire Universel" was played at the same theatre. In this piece the author relied entirely upon the vis comica of his plot and dialogue. Geronte, a rich, miserly old bachelor, with as many ailments as years,—

"Vieux et casse, fievreux, epileptique, Paralytique, etique, asthmatique, hydropique,"—

has for a nephew Ergaste, with well-grounded hopes of inheriting, and that shortly. These are suddenly dashed by the announcement that his uncle has resolved to marry Isabelle, a girl to whom Ergaste himself is attached. The nephew keeps his own secret, and judiciously commends the choice of his uncle. Geronte is delighted with him; even asks his advice about a present for the damsel,—something pretty, but cheap.

"Je voudrais inventer quelque petit cadeau Qui coutat peu, mais qui parut nouveau."

Meeting with no opposition, the old gentleman gradually loses his relish for matrimony; and Madame Argante, the mother, promises Ergaste to give Isabelle to him, instead of to his uncle, provided Geronte will declare his nephew heir to his estate. Unluckily, there are two other collaterals, country cousins, whom Geronte has never seen, but whom he wishes to remember. Crispin, valet to Ergaste, assisted by Lisette, the old man's housekeeper and nurse, personifies first the male and then the female relative from the rural districts so well that Geronte orders them out of his house in disgust, swears that he will not leave them a sous, and sends for a notary to draw his will in favor of Ergaste. But the excitement of the last interview with Crispin, as a widow, is too much for his strength. He becomes unconscious, and apparently breathes his last just as the notary knocks at the door. In this moment of agonizing disappointment, the indomitable Crispin comes to the rescue. He puts on the dressing-gown and cap of Geronte, reclines in his easy-chair, counterfeits his voice, and dictates a will to the notary. Firstly, he bequeaths to Lisette two thousand crowns, on condition that she marry Crispin; secondly, he leaves to Crispin an annuity of fifteen hundred crowns, to reward his devotion to his master; the rest of the estate, real and personal, to go to Ergaste. The residuary legatee remonstrates warmly with the testator against his foolish generosity to Crispin and Lisette; but the sham Geronte insists, and Ergaste is obliged to submit. The notary withdraws to make the necessary copies of the will, and the plotters are chuckling over the success of their plans, when, to their dismay, Geronte enters, alive. He tells them that he feels his strength departing, and bids them send at once for the notary to settle his worldly affairs. The notary, who is ignorant of any deceit, assures him that he has made his will already, and shows him the document. The conspirators seize the chance of escape, confirm the notary's story, and relate all the circumstances of the conference, Geronte protests that he recollects nothing of it; he feels certain he could not have given more than twenty crowns to Lisette; as to Crispin, he had never heard of him. The answer is always, "C'est votre lethargie." While perplexed and hesitating, the old man discovers that a large sum in notes has been abstracted from his hoard. Ergaste had secured them as an alleviation in case of the worst, and had placed them in the hands of Isabelle. She promises to return them, if Geronte will make Ergaste his heir and her husband. In his anxiety for his money, Geronte consents to everything, and allows the will to stand.

Nothing, La Harpe tells us, ever made a French audience laugh so heartily as the scene of the will. Falbaire, one of the poetes negliges of the eighteenth century, says, in a note to his drama, "The Monks of Japan," that the Jesuits furnished Regnard with the idea of this scene. In 1626, the reverend fathers, by precisely the same stratagem employed by Crispin, obtained possession of the estate of a M. d'Ancier of Besancon, who died suddenly and intestate. It is proper to add that M. Falbaire's drama was written against the Jesuits.

There are two other plays, out of some twenty that Regnard published, which will repay a reader: "Les Menechmes," imitated from Plautus, like Shakspeare's Dromios, and "Democrite,"[G] which reminds one a little of Moliere's "Amphitryon." Both are distinguished for that perpetual gayety, the most pleasing of all qualities, which is the characteristic of their author. It seems impossible for him to be dull; he never nods; his bow, such as it is, is always strung. It is remarkable that his comic scenes, although crammed with fun, never run down into farce; nor does he find it necessary to eke out his wit with buffoonery. He had an instinctive taste which preserved him from coarseness; although he wrote a century and a half ago, there is less of the low and indelicate than in the plays we see posted at the doors of our theatres. The French of the time of Louis XIV. must have been a much more refined people than the contemporary English. At least, Thalia in Paris was a vestal, compared with her tawdry, indecent, and drunken London sister. One is ashamed to be seen reading the unblushing profligacy of Wycherley, Cibber, Vanbrugh, and Congreve.

We must admit that Regnard's mantle of decorum is not without a rent. In the "Legataire," as in the "Malade Imaginaire," may be found a good deal of pleasantry on the first of the three principal remedies of the physicians of the period, as mentioned by Moliere in his burlesque Latin:—

"Clysterium donare, Postea purgare, Ensuita seignare."

It seems to have been a good joke in France then; it is so now,—wonderfully fresh and new,—defying time and endless repetition. American eyes do not see much fun in it; they rather turn away in disgust. But on the risible organs of the French purgative medicines operate violently; and the favorite weapon of their medical service, primitive in shape and exaggerated in dimensions, is a property indispensable to every theatre. Regnard used it as a part of the stage machinery,—worked it in as a stock pleasantry, the effect of which was certain. Were he writing now, he would do the same thing. But in the "Joueur" nobody is ill; it may be read by that typical creature, the "most virtuous female," publicly and without a blush.

Gentlemen and ladies whose morals are not fully fledged are generally advised to beware of attempting to skim over the fiction of modern France. They may take up Regnard without risking a fall; for there is little danger of being led astray by the picaresque knaveries of Scapin and Lisette. In 1700 love for another man's wife had not come to be considered one of the fine arts. Nowadays the victims of this kind of misplaced affection are the heroes of French novels and plays. The husband, odious and tiresome ex officio, has succeeded to the miserly father or tyrannical guardian. He is the giant of French romance, who keeps the lovely and uneasy lady locked up in Castle Matrimony. He cannot help himself, poor fellow!—he is compelled to fill that unenviable position, whenever Madame chooses. Sentimental young Arthurs and Ernests stand in the place of Ergaste and Cleante, and are always ready to make war upon the unlucky giant. They overcome him as of old, scale the walls, and carry off the capricious fair one. We have hardly changed for the better. Ergaste and Cleante were not sentimental, but they were marrying men and broke no commandments.

Regnard's life of fifty years covers the whole of the literary age of Louis XIV. Before 1660 the French had no literature worth preserving, except Rabelais, Montaigne, a few odes of Malherbe, a page or two of Marot, and the tragedies of Corneille. Pascal published the "Provincial Letters" in the year of Regnard's birth. La Fontaine had written a few indifferent verses; Moliere was almost unknown. In 1686, when Regnard became an author, the Voitures, Balzacs, and Benserades, the men of fantastic conceits, the vanguard of the grand army of French wits, had marched away to Pluto and to Lethe. One or two stragglers, like Menage and Chapelle, lingered to wonder at the complete change of taste. The age had ripened fast. Not many years before, Barbin the bookseller ordered his hacks to faire du St. Evremond. St. Evremond was still living in England, dirty and witty; and Barbin still kept his shop, but gave no more orders for wares of that description. Many of the greatest names of the era were already carved on tombs: La Rochefoucauld, Pascal, Corneille, Moliere. Bossuet was a man of sixty; La Fontaine a few years older; Boileau and Racine close upon fifty. When Regnard died, in 1710, the eighteenth century had begun. Fontenelle, Le Sage, Bayle, men of nearly the same age as himself, belong to it.

In 1686 King Louis had reached the full meridian of his Gloire, Grandeur, Eclat. No monarch in Europe was so powerful. He had conquered Flanders, driven the Dutch under water, seized Franche-Comte, annexed Lorraine, ravaged the Palatinate, bombarded Algiers and Genoa, and by a skilful disregard of treaties and of his royal word kept his neighbors at swords' points until he was ready to destroy them. The Emperor was afraid of him, Philip of Spain his most humble servant, Charles II. in his pay. He had bullied the Pope, and brought the Doge of Genoa to Paris to ask pardon for selling powder to the Algerines and ships to Spain. He was Louis le Grand, le roi vraiment roi, le demi-dieu qui nous gouverne, Deodatus, Sol nec pluribus impar. Regnard witnessed the cloudy setting of this splendid luminary. After the secret marriage with Mme. de Maintenon, in 1686, Fortune deserted the King. He was everywhere defeated, or his victories were Cadmean, as disastrous as defeats. The fleet that was to replace James II. on his throne was destroyed at La Hogue by Russell. The Camisards defied for years the army sent against them. Rooke took Gibraltar. Peterborough defeated the Bourbon forces in Spain. Blenheim, Oudenarde, Ramillies, Malplaquet, brought ruin upon France before Regnard was withdrawn from the scene.

Meanwhile the Eighteenth Century, with its godlessness and its debauchery, was born. Hypocrisy watched over its infancy. When Louis reformed, and took a pious elderly second wife, it was the fashion to be religious; and whoever wished to stand well at court followed the fashion. "You who live in France have wonderful advantages for saving your souls," wrote St. Evremond from London. "Vice is quite out of date with you. It is in bad taste to sin,—as offensive to good manners as to morality. And those of you who might be forgetful of their hereafter are led to salvation by a becoming deference to the habits and observances of well-bred people." The monarch himself was utterly ignorant in matters of religion; the Duchess of Orleans wrote to her German friends, that he had never even read the Bible. He was shocked to hear that Christ had demeaned himself to speak the language of the poor and the humble. "Il avait la foi du charbonnier," Cardinal Fleury said,—the blind, unreasoning faith of the African in his fetich. He considered it due to gloire to assist Divine Providence in its government of the souls of men. Was he not the greatest prince of the earth, the eldest son of the Church, standing nearer to the throne of grace than any insignificant pope? Of course he was responsible for the orthodoxy of his subjects, a demi-dieu qui nous gouverne. He came to think religion a part of his royal prerogative, and misbelief treason against his royal person. He was quite capable of going a step beyond Cardinal Wolsey, and of writing, "Ego et Deus meus." He said to a prelate whose management of some ecclesiastical business particularly gratified him,—"J'ignore si Dieu vous tiendra compte de la conduite que vous avez tenue; mais quant a moi, je vous assure que je ne l'oublierai jamais." The spiritual powers are never backward in taking advantage of favorable circumstances: Huguenots, Jansenists, and Quietists were sternly put down, and the girdle of superstition tightened until it began to crack. The skeptics were quiet,—asked but few questions,—pretended to be satisfied with the time-honored answers Mother Church keeps for her uneasy children,—and seemed to be busy with the "Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes," and the "Dispute sur les Ceremonies Chinoises." It was not yet the time for them to announce pompously their radical theories as new and true. A thin varnish of decorum and orthodoxy overspread everything; but one may see the shadow of the coming Regence in Regnard's works. He and gentlemen like him went to mass in the morning, and to pleasure for the rest of the day and night.

"Ils sont chretiens a la messe, Ils sont paiens a l'opera."

Regnard was almost as much of a pagan as his favorite Horace,—called for wines, roses, and perfumes, and sang his Lydia and his Lalage almost in the same words. His creed and his philosophy were pagan. He adored three goddesses,—la Comedie, la Musique, la bonne Chere; his solution of the problem of life was enjoyment.

"Fair tout ce qu'on veut, vivre exempt de chagrin, Ne se rien refuser,—Voila tout mon systeme, Et de mes jours ainsi j'attraperai la fin."

Wisdom was given to man to temper pleasure,—to avoid excess, which destroys pleasure. Regnard had agreeable recollections of the past; the present satisfied him; he was as careless of the unknown future as De Retz, whose epouvantable tranquillite, appalling ease of mind on that point, so shocked poor Mme. de Sevigne. All other speculations he put quietly aside with a doubt or a cui bono. It was a witty and refined selfishness, and nothing beyond. Spiritual light, faith, none; hope that to-morrow might pass as smoothly as to-day; love, only that particular affection which man feels for his female fellow-creature. Such a heathenish frame of mind will find little favor in this era of yearnings, seekings, teachings. It was, indeed, a lamentable condition of moral darkness; but the error, though grievous, has its attractive side.

"On court apres la verite; Ah! croyez moi, l'erreur a son merite."

It is a relief in these dyspeptic times to turn back to Regnard, the big, rosy, and jolly pagan, enjoying to the utmost the four blessings invoked upon the head of Argan by the chorus of Doctors:—

"Salus, honor et argentum. Arque bonum appetitum."

Comfortable, contented with himself and with the world, he was free from the sadness, the misgivings, and the enervating doubts which overrun so many morbid minds,—symptoms of moral weakness, and of the want of healthy occupation. Hence lady poets, more than all others, love to indulge in these feeble repinings, and take the privilege of their sex to shed tears on paper. In his bachelor establishment, Rue de Richelieu, there was, he tells us,—

"Grande chere, vin delicieux, Belle maison, liberte toute entiere, Bals, concerts, enfin tout ce qui peut satisfaire Le gout, les oreilles, les yeux."

The Societe choisie was numerous; for a good cook never fails to make friends for his master, and Regnard's cook dealt with fat capons, plover, and ortolans. His lettuce, mushrooms, and artichokes were grown under his own eyes. The choice vintages of France, in casks, lay in his cellar. He gave wine to nourish wit, not to furnish an opportunity for ostentatious gabble about age and price. How he revels in the description of good cheer! There rises from his pages fumet of game and the bouquet d'un vin exquis.

"Et des perdrix! Morbleu! d'un fumet admirable Sentez plutot, Quel baume! Mon Dieu!"

Why are American authors so commonly wan and gaunt, with none of the external marks of healthy gayety? Is it the climate, or the lack of out-door exercise, or hot-air furnaces, or rascally cooks? They look as if, like Burns's man, they "were made to mourn." If they conceive a joke, their sad, sharp voices and angular gesticulations make it miscarry. Now and then they rebel against their constitutions, poor fellows, and try to imitate the jovial ancestors they have read of; babble shrilly of noctes coenaeque Deum, petits soupers, and what not. It is mostly idle talk. They know too well that digestion does not wait upon appetite in the evening,—and that they will feel better for the next week, if they restrict their debauch to dandelion coffee and Graham bread. Moreover, the age of conviviality is gone, as much as the age of chivalry. Petits soupers are impossible in this part of the world. Let us manfully confess one reason: they cost too much. And we have not the wit, nor the wicked women, nor the same jolly paganism. Juno Lucina reigns here in the stead of Venus; and Bacchus is two dollars a bottle.

But these and other good things Regnard had in abundance, and so lived smoothly and happily on, defying time,—for he held, with Mme. de Thianges, "On ne viellit point a table" until one day he overheated himself in shooting, drank abundantly of cold water, and fell dead,—Euthanasia. He died a bachelor, and, if we may judge from many of his verses, seems, like Thackeray, to have wondered why Frenchmen ever married. But he had a keen eye for "the fair defect of Nature." Strabon's description of young Criseis before her glass could have been written only by an amateur:—

"Je la voyais tantot devant une toilette D'une mouche assasine irriter ses attraits."

Neither Moliere, Regnard, nor Le Sage was a member of the Academy.

Beranger thinks it remarkable that the improvisations folles et charmantes of Regnard should now be neglected in France. We do not recollect to have met with him even in the "Causeries" of Ste. Beuve, who has ransacked the French Temple of Fame from garret to cellar for feuilleton materials; yet the "Legataire" kept a foothold on the stage for a hundred and twenty years. But the Temple of Fame is overcrowded. Every day some worthy fellow is turned out to make room for a new-comer. Our libraries are not large enough to hold the mob of authors who press in. What with newspapers, magazines, and the last new novel, few persons have time to read more than the titles on the backs of their books. They are familiar with the great names, take their excellence on trust, and allow them to stand neglected and dusty on their shelves. But with another generation the great names will become mere shadows of a name; and so on to oblivion. Father Time has a good taste in literature, it is true. He mows down with his critical scythe the tares which spring up in such daily abundance; but, unfortunately, he cannot stop there: after a lapse of years, he sweeps away also the fruit of the good seed to make room for the productions of his younger children.

"For he's their parent and he is their grave."

The doom is universal; it cannot be avoided. There must be an end to all temporal things, and why not to books? The same endless night awaits a Plato and a penny-a-liner. Our Eternities of Fame, like all else appertaining to humanity, will some day pass away. Even Milton and Shakspeare, our great staple international poets, who have been brought out whenever the American ambassador to England dined in public, are travelling the same downward path. How many of us, man or woman, on the sunny side of thirty, have gone through the "Paradise Lost"? And Shakspeare, in spite of new editions and of new commentators, is not half as much read as fifty years since. Perhaps the time will come when English speaking people will not know to whom they owe so many of the proverbs, metaphors, and eloquent words which enrich their daily talk.

Will none escape this inexorable fate? Homer and Robinson Crusoe seem to us to have the most tenacity of life.

FOOTNOTES:

[F] The proverbial French expression for the thief who rebuked his reviling comrade at the crucifixion.

[G] Democrite, in an attack upon a heavy diner-out, says,—

"Il creuse son tombeau sans cesse avec ses dents,"—

and thus anticipates Sir Astley Cooper by many years. It is lucky that these fellows, who took a mean advantage of seniority to get off our good things before us, have perished, or they might give us trouble. At least two Frenchmen could claim "the glorious Epicurean paradox" of one of the seven wise men of Boston, "Give us the luxuries of life, and we will dispense with its necessaries,"—M. de Voltaire, and M. de Coulanges, a generation earlier. These "flashing moments" of the wise in Boston, as in other great places, are often, like heat-lightning, reflections of a previous flash.



JOHN BROWN'S RAID:

HOW I GOT INTO IT, AND HOW I GOT OUT OF IT.

It was a wet Monday in October, on my return from a journey, with a large party of friends and acquaintances, as far north as Chicago and as far south as St. Louis and the Iron Mountain. We were gradually nearing home, and the fun and jollity grew apace as we got closer to the end of our holiday and to the beginning of our every-day work. Our day's ride was intended to be from Cumberland (on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad) to Baltimore. The murky drizzle made our comfortable car all the more cozy, and the picturesque glories of that part of Western Virginia, through which we had come very leisurely and enjoyably, were heightened by the contrast of the dull cloud that hung over the valley of the Potomac. At Martinsburg the train was stopped for an unusually long time; and in spite of close questioning, we were obliged to satisfy our curiosity with a confused story of an outbreak and a strike among the workmen at the armory, with a consequent detention of trains, at Harper's Ferry. The train pushed on slowly, and at last came to a dead halt at a station called The Old Furnace. There a squad of half a dozen lazy Virginia farmers—we should call them a picket just now, in our day of military experiences—told us half a dozen stories about the troubles ahead, and finally the people in charge of our train determined to send it back to wait for further news from below. A young engineer who was employed on the railroad was directed to go along the track to examine it, and see what, if any, damage had been done. As I had brushed up an acquaintance with him, I volunteered to accompany him, and then was joined by a young Englishman, a Guardsman on his travels, one of the Welsh Wynns, just returning from a shooting-tour over the Prairies. We started off in the rain and mud, and kept together till we came to a bridle-path crossing the railroad and climbing up the hills. Here we met a country doctor, who offered to guide us to Bolivar, whence we could come down to the Ferry, and as the trains would be detained there for several hours, there would be time enough to see all the armory workshops and wonders. So off we started up the muddy hillside, leaving our engineer to his task on the railroad; for what pedestrian would not prefer the worst dirt road to the best railroad for an hour's walking? Our Englishman was ailing and really unwell, and half-way up the rough hill left us to return to the easy comfort of the train.

My guide—Dr. Marmion was the name he gave in exchange for mine—said that the row at the Ferry was nothing but a riotous demonstration by the workmen. He came from quite a distance, and, hearing these vague reports, had turned off to visit his patients in this quarter, so that he might learn the real facts; and as it was then only a little past nine, he had time to do his morning's work in Bolivar. So there we parted, he agreeing to join me again at the Ferry; and he did so later in the day.

Turning to the left on the main pike, I found little knots of lounging villagers gathered in the rain and mud, spitting, swearing, and discussing the news from the Ferry. Few of them had been there, and none of them agreed in their account of the troubles; so I plodded on over the hill and down the sharp slope that led to the Ferry. Just as I began the descent, a person rode up on horseback, gun in hand, and as we came in sight of the armory, he told me the true story,—that a band of men were gathered together to set the slaves free, and that, after starting the outbreak on the night before, they had taken refuge down below. He pointed with his gun, and we were standing side by side, when a sudden flash and a sharp report and a bullet stopped his story and his life.

The few people above us looked down from behind the shelter of houses and fences;—from below not a soul was visible in the streets and alleys of Harper's Ferry, and only a few persons could be seen moving about the buildings in the armory inclosure. In a minute, some of the townspeople, holding out a white handkerchief, came down to the fallen man, and, quite undisturbed, carried him up the hill and to the nearest house,—all with hardly a question or a word of explanation. Shocked by what was then rare enough to be appalling,—sudden and violent death by fire-arms in the hands of concealed men,—I started off again, meaning to go down to the Ferry, with some vague notion of being a peace-maker, and at least of satisfying my curiosity as to the meaning of all these mysteries: for while I saw that that fatal rifle-shot meant destruction, I had no conception of a plot.

Just as I reached the point where I had joined the poor man who had fallen,—it was a Mr. Turner, formerly a captain in the army, and a person deservedly held in high esteem by all his friends and neighbors,—a knot of two or three armed men stopped me, and after a short parley directed me to some one in authority, who would hear my story. The guard who escorted me to the great man was garrulous and kind enough to tell me more in detail the story, now familiar to all of us, of the capture of Mr. Lewis Washington and other persons of note in the Sunday night raid of a body of unknown men. The dread of something yet to come, with which the people were manifestly possessed, was such as only those can know who have lived in a Slave State; and while there was plenty of talk of the steadiness of the slaves near the Ferry, it was plain that that was the magazine that was momentarily in danger of going off and carrying them all along with it.

The officers of the neighboring militia had gathered together in the main tavern of the place, without waiting for their men, but not unmindful of the impressive effect of full uniform, and half a dozen kinds of military toggery were displayed on the half-dozen persons convened in a sort of drum-head court-martial. I was not the only prisoner, and had an opportunity to hear the recitals of my fellows in luck. First and foremost of all was a huge, swaggering, black-bearded, gold-chain and scarlet-velvet-waistcoated, piratical-looking fellow, who announced himself as a Border Ruffian, of Virginia stock, and now visiting his relations near the Ferry; but he said that he had fought with the Southern Rights party in the Kansas war, and that when he heard of the "raid," as he familiarly called the then unfamiliar feat of the Sunday night just past, he knew who was at the top and bottom of it, and he described in a truthful sort of way the man whose name and features were alike unknown to all his listeners,—"Ossawatomie Brown," "Old John Brown." Garnishing the story of their earlier contests with plentiful oaths, he gave us a lively picture of their personal hand-to-hand rights in the West, and said that he had come to help fight his old friend and enemy, and to fight him fair, just as they did in "M'souri." He wanted ten or a dozen men to arm themselves to the teeth, and he'd lead 'em straight on. His indignation at his arrest and at the evident incredulity of his hearers and judges was not a whit less hearty and genuine than his curses on their cowardice in postponing any attack or risk of fighting until the arrival of militia, or soldiers, or help of some kind, in strength to overpower the little band in the armory, to make resistance useless, and an attack, if that was necessary, safe enough to secure some valiant man to lead it on.

My story was soon told, I was a traveller; my train had been stopped; I had started off on foot, meaning to walk over the hill to the Ferry, and expecting there to meet the train to go on to Baltimore. The interruptions were plentiful, and the talk blatant. I showed a ticket, a memorandum-book giving the dates and distances of my recent journey, and a novel (I think it was one of Balzac's) in French, and on it was written in pencil my name and address. That was the key-note of plenty of suspicion. How could they believe any man from a Northern city innocent of a knowledge of the plot now bursting about their ears? Would not my travelling-companions from the same latitude be ready to help free the slaves? and if I was set at liberty, would it not be only too easy to communicate between the little host already beleaguered in the armory engine-house and the mythical great host that was gathered in the North and ready to pour itself over the South? Of course all this, the staple of their every-day discussions, was strange enough to my ears; and I listened in a sort of silent wonderment that men could talk such balderdash. Any serious project of a great Northern movement on behalf of Southern slaves was then as far from credible and as strange to my ears as it was possible to be. It seemed hardly worth while to answer their suggestions; I therefore spoke of neighbors of theirs who were friends of mine, and of other prominent persons in this and other parts of Virginia who were acquaintances, and for a little time I hoped to be allowed to go free; but after more loud talk and a squabble that marked by its growing violence the growing drunkenness of the whole party, court and guard and spectators all, I was ordered along with the other prisoners to be held in custody for the present. We were marched off, first to one house and then to another, looking for a convenient prison, and finally found one in a shop. Here—it was a country store—we sat and smoked and drank and chatted with our guard and with their friends inside and out. Now and then a volley was fired in the streets of the village below us, and we would all go to a line fence where we could see its effects: generally it was only riotous noise, but occasionally it was directed against the engine-house or on some one moving through the armory-yard.

As the militia in and out of uniform, and the men from far and near, armed in all sorts of ways, began to come into the village in squads, their strength seemed to give them increased confidence, and especially in the perfectly safe place where I sat with half a dozen others under a heavy guard. Now and then an ugly-looking fowling-piece or an awkwardly handled pistol was threateningly pointed at us, with a half-laughing and half-drunken threat of keeping us safe. Toward afternoon we were ordered for the night to Charlestown, and to the jail there that has grown so famous by its hospitality to our successors. The journey across was particularly enlivening. My special guard was a gentlemanly young lawyer, one of the Kennedys of that ilk; and to his cleverness I think I owed my safe arrival at the end of our journey. Every turn in the road brought us face to face with an angry crowd, gathering from far and near, armed and ready to do instant justice on a helpless victim. Kennedy, however, gracefully waived them back to the wagons behind us, where other prisoners, in less skilful hands, were pretty badly used. The houses on the road were utterly deserted; on the first news of an outbreak by the slaves, the women and children were hurried off to the larger towns,—the men coming slowly back in squads and arming as best they could, and the negroes keeping themselves hid out of sight on all sides.

The eight miles' distance to Charlestown was lengthened out by the rain and mud, and the various hindrances of the way, so that the day was closing as we came into the main street of the straggling little town. The first odd sight was a procession of black and white children playing soldiers, led by a chubby black boy, full of a sense of authority, and evidently readily accepted by his white and black comrades in childlike faith. The next was a fine, handsome house, where a large number of ladies from the country round had been gathered together, and as we were greeted in going by, my guide stopped, and introducing me, I explained my position. They were all ready with their sympathy, and all overpowering with their gratitude, when I pooh-poohed their fear of a great Northern invasion, and said that the people of the North were just as innocent of any participation in this business as they themselves were. Our line of march resumed brought us to the prison, and I was not sorry to have the shock of an enforced visit somewhat lessened by a general invitation from mine host of an adjoining tavern to liquor up. Of course I was noways chary of invitations to the crowd, and the bar-room being full, I made the bar my rostrum, and indulged in a piece of autobiography that was intended to gain the general consent to return to my fellow-travellers, who were reported still at Martinsburg. If I cannot boast of great success at the bar, I am as little proud of my eloquence on the bar. One of the Kennedys, brother to my guard, did suggest taking me to his house, half a mile off; but to that Colonel Davenport, a bustling great man of the village, answered, that, as there was sure to be some hanging at night, it would be safer to be in the prison, as well from the mob as from any escape on my own part, and it was better to stay contentedly where I was. Doctor Marmion, my acquaintance of the morning, rode over to find me and to explain his part in my visit to the Ferry, hoping that such a confirmation of my story would secure my immediate release. But by that time I was in the custody of the sheriff, by some military legal process; and while that officer was kind and civil, he refused to do anything, except promise me an early hearing before the court-martial, which was to reassemble the next day. Finally, I was hustled through a gaping, pot-valiant crowd, into the prison, where the mob had violently taken possession; and it was a good while before I could be got up stairs and safely locked into my cell. The bolts were shot pretty sharply, but the sense of relief from the threats and impertinence of the bullying fellows outside quite outweighed my sensation of novelty on finding myself in such strange quarters. My supper was sent up, my friendly guard gave me cigars, and a buxom daughter of the jailer lent me a candle. I lay down on a rough cot and was soon asleep; my last recollection was of my sturdy guard, armed and wakeful, in front of my cell; and I woke after several hours of sound, refreshing slumber, startled by the noise of his angry answers to some still more angry and very drunken men. They had, so I learned partly then and partly afterwards, broken into the jail, and hurried from the cell next to mine a poor black prisoner, who was forthwith hanged; and, whetted by their sport, they had returned to find a fresh victim. Fortunately, in the turmoil of their first attack, the only other prisoner easily got hold of was a white boy, who escaped, while I owed my safety to Kennedy's earnest protestations, and to his ready use of a still more convincing argument, a loaded pistol and a quick hand.

Early morning was very welcome, for it brought the court-martial up to Charlestown, and I was soon ready for a hearing. Fortunately, after a good deal of angry discussion and some threats of a short shrift, a message came up from the Ferry from Governor Wise; and as I boldly claimed acquaintance with him, they granted me leave to send down a note to him, asking for his confirmation of my statements. While this was doing, I was paroled and served my Kansas colleague by advice to hold his tongue; he did so, and was soon released; and my messenger returned with such advices, in the shape of a pretty sharp reprimand to the busy court-martial for their interference with the liberty of the citizen, as speedily got me my freedom. I used it to buy such articles of clothing as could be had in Charlestown, and my prison clothes were gladly thrown aside. Some of my fellow-travellers reached the place in time to find me snugly ensconced in the tavern, waiting for an ancient carriage; with them we drove back to the Ferry in solemn state. The same deserted houses and the same skulking out of sight by the inhabitants showed the fear that outlasted even the arrival of heavy militia reinforcements. We stopped at Mr. Lewis Washington's, and, without let or hindrance, walked through the pretty grounds and the bright rooms and the neat negro huts, all alike lifeless, and yet showing at every turn the suddenness and the recentness of the fright that had carried everybody off. Our ride through Bolivar was cheered by a vigorous greeting from my captor of the day before,—the village shoemaker, a brawny fellow,—who declared that he knew I was all right, that he had taken care of me, that he would not have me hanged or shot, and "wouldn't I give him sum't to have a drink all round, and if I ever came again, please to stop and see him"; and so I did, when I came back with my regiment in war-times; but then no shoemaker was to be found.

I paid my respects to Governor Wise, and thanked him for my release; was introduced to Colonel Lee, (now the Rebel general,) and to the officers of the little squad of marines who had carried the stronghold of the "invaders," as the Governor persistently called them. In company with "Porte Crayon," Mr. Strothers, a native of that part of Virginia, and well known by his sketches of Southern life in "Harper's Magazine," I went to the engine-house, and there saw the marks of the desperate defence and of the desperate bravery of John Brown and his men. I saw, too, John Brown himself. Wounded, bleeding, haggard, and defeated, and expecting death with more or less of agony as it was more or less near, John Brown was the finest specimen of a man that I ever saw. His great, gaunt form, his noble head and face, his iron-gray hair and patriarchal beard, with the patient endurance of his own suffering, and his painful anxiety for the fate of his sons and the welfare of his men, his reticence when jeered at, his readiness to turn away wrath with a kind answer, his whole appearance and manner, what he looked, what he said,—all impressed me with the deepest sense of reverence. If his being likened to anything in history could have made the scene more solemn, I should say that he was likest to the pictured or the ideal representation of a Roundhead Puritan dying for his faith, and silently glorying in the sacrifice not only of life, but of all that made life dearest to him. His wounded men showed in their patient endurance the influence of his example; while the vulgar herd of lookers-on, fair representatives of the cowardly militia-men who had waited for the little force of regulars to achieve the capture of the engine-house and its garrison, were ready to prove their further cowardice by maltreating the prisoners. The marines, who alone had sacrificed life in the attack, were sturdily bent on guarding them from any harsh handling. I turned away sadly from the old man's side, sought and got the information he wanted concerning "his people," as he called them, and was rewarded with his thanks in a few simple words, and in a voice that was as gentle as a woman's. The Governor, as soon as he was told of the condition of the prisoners, had them cared for, and, in all his bitterness at their doings, never spoke of them in terms other than honorable to himself and to them. He persistently praised John Brown for his bravery and his endurance; and he was just as firm in declaring him the victim of shrewd and designing men, whose schemes he would yet fathom.

The day was a busy one; for little squads of regulars were sent out on the Maryland Heights to search for the stores accumulated there; and each foraging party was followed by a tail of stragglers from all the volunteers on the ground, who valiantly kept on to the Maryland side of the bridge that crossed the Potomac, and then, their courage oozing out of their fingers and toes both, stopped there and waited for the return of the regulars. On the instant of their arrival, each time fetching a great hay-wagon full of captured goods, tents, picks, spades, pikes, the tag-rag and bobtail party at once set to work to help themselves to the nearest articles, and were soon seen making off homeward with their contraband of war on their backs. The plunder, however, was not confined to the captured property. A strong force of militia soon invaded the armory, and every man helped himself to a rifle and a brace of pistols, and then, tiring of the load, began to chaffer and bargain for their sale. Governor Wise was called on to interfere and preserve the Government property; he came into the little inclosure of the works, and began an eloquent address, but seeing its uselessness, broke off and put his Richmond Grays on guard; and then the distribution of public property was made through the regular channels,—that is, the men inside brought guns and pistols to the men on guard, and they passed them out to their friends beyond, so that the trade went on almost as free as ever.

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