Night soon came, and it was made hideous by the drunken noise and turmoil of the crowd in the village; matters were made worse, too, by the Governor's order to impress all the horses; and the decent, sober men trudged home rather out of humor with their patriotic sacrifice; while the tipsy and pot-valiant militia fought and squabbled with each other, and only ceased that sport to pursue and hunt down some fugitive negroes, and one or two half-maddened drunken fellows who in their frenzy proclaimed themselves John Brown's men. Tired out at last, the Governor took refuge in the Wager House;—for an hour or two, he had stood on the porch haranguing an impatient crowd as "Sons of Virginia!" Within doors the scene was stranger still. Huddled together in the worst inn's worst room, the Governor and his staff at a table with tallow candles guttering in the darkness, the Richmond Grays lying around the floor in picturesque and (then) novel pursuit of soft planks, a motley audience was gathered together to hear the papers captured at John Brown's house—the Kennedy farm on Maryland Heights—read out with the Governor's running comments. The purpose of all this was plain enough. It was meant to serve as proof of a knowledge and instigation of the raid by prominent persons and party-leaders in the North. The most innocent notes and letters, commonplace newspaper-paragraphs and printed cuttings, were distorted and twisted by the reading and by the talking into clear instructions and positive plots. However, the main impression was of the picturesqueness of the soldiers resting on their knapsacks, and their arms stacked in the dark corners,—of the Governor and his satellites, some of them in brilliant militia array, seated around the lighted table,—and of the grotesque eloquence with which either the Governor or some of his prominent people would now and then burst out into an oratorical tirade, all thrown away on his sleepy auditors, and lost to the world for want of some clever shorthand writer.
In the morning I was glad to hear that my belated train had spent the last forty-eight hours at Martinsburg, and I did not a bit regret that my two days had been so full of adventure and incident. Waiting for its coming, I walked once more through the village, with one of the watchmen of the armory, who had been captured by John Brown and spent the night with him in the engine-house, and heard in all its freshness the story now so well known. Then I bade Governor Wise good-bye, and was duly thanked for my valiant services to the noble Mother of States, and rewarded by being offered the honorary and honorable title of A.D.C. to the commander-in-chief of Virginia, both for past services and for the future tasks to be met, of beating off invading hosts from the North,—all in the Governor's eye. Luckily for both sides, I declined the handsome offer; for my next visit to Virginia was as an A.D.C. to a general commanding troops, not of the North, but of the United States, invading, not the Virginia of John Brown's time, but the Virginia of a wicked Southern Confederacy.
Not long after, I received a letter of thanks from Governor Wise, written at Richmond and with a good deal of official flattery. His son Jennings, an old acquaintance of mine in pleasant days in Germany, came to see me, too, with civil messages from his father. Poor fellow! he paid the forfeit of his rebellious treason with his life at Roanoke Island. His father pays the heavier penalty of living to see the civil war fomented by him making its dreadful progress, and in its course crushing out all his ancient popularity and power.
In spite of many scenes of noble heroism and devoted bravery in legitimate warfare, and in the glorious campaigns of our own successful armies, I have never seen any life in death so grand as that of John Brown, and to me there is more than an idle refrain in the solemn chorus of our advancing hosts,—
"John Brown's body lies mouldering in the ground, As we go marching on!"
In the summer of 1862, I was brought again to Harper's Ferry, with my regiment, and the old familiar scenes were carefully revisited. The terrible destruction of fine public buildings, the wanton waste of private property, the deserted village instead of the thriving town, the utter ruin and wretchedness of the country all about, and the bleak waste of land from Harper's Ferry to Charlestown, are all set features in every picture of the war in Virginia. At my old head-quarters in Charlestown jail there was less change than I had expected; its sturdy walls had withstood attack and defence better than the newer and more showy structures; the few inhabitants left behind after the ebb and flow of so many army waves, Rebel and Union succeeding each other at pretty regular intervals, were the well-to-do of former days, looking after their household gods, sadly battered and the worse for wear, but still cherished very dearly. Of my old acquaintances, it was a melancholy pleasure to learn that Colonel Baylor, who was mainly anxious to have me hanged, had in this war been reduced to the ranks for cowardice, and then was shot in the act of desertion. Kennedy was still living at home, but his brother was in the Rebel service. The lesser people were all scattered; the better class of workmen had gone to Springfield or to private gun-shops in the North,—the poorer sort, either into the Rebel army or to some other dim distance, and all trace of them was lost.
The thousands who have come and gone through Harper's Ferry and past Bolivar Heights will recall the waste and desolation of what was once a blooming garden-spot, full of thrift and industry and comfort almost unknown elsewhere south of the fatal slave-line; thousands who are yet to pass that way will see in the ruins of the place traces of the avenging spirit that has marked forever the scene of John Brown's Raid.
SCHUMANN'S QUINTETTE IN E FLAT MAJOR.
It was near sundown when we reached the sea-side hotel. By the time we were settled in our apartment, and I had my invalid undressed and in bed, the soft, long summer twilight was nearly over. The maid, having cleared away the litter of unpacking, was sitting in the anteroom, near enough to be within call. The poor suffering body that held so lightly the half-escaped spirit lay on the bed, exhausted with the journey, but feeling already soothed by the pleasant sea-breeze which sighed gently in at the open window.
Our rooms were on the ground-floor of a one-story cottage. A little distance off was the large hotel, to which the cottage was attached by a long arcade or covered gallery. We could hear fragments of the music which the band was playing to the gay idlers who were wandering about the balconies or through the hotel grounds; while laughs and little shrieks, uttered by the children as their pursuing nurses caught them up for bed, mingled not unpleasantly with the silvery hum arising from the fashionable crowd and the festal clang of the instruments.
Sleep half hovered over, half winged off from the pillow. I fanned the peacock plumes slowly to and fro in the delicious air, gazed with a suppressed sigh on the darkening West, and repeated with a rhythmical beat the beautiful Hebrew poem in Ecclesiasticus, which I had so often recited through many long years by the side of that sick-bed, to soothe the ear of the sufferer. I had just reached these lines,—
"A present remedy of all Is the speeding coming of a cloud, And a dew that meeteth it, By the heat that cometh, Shall overpower it.
"At His word the wind is still; And with His thought He appeaseth the deep; And the Lord hath plumed islands therein,"—
when I noticed that sleep had settled firmly on the dark eyelids, and the panting breath came through the poor clay in little soughs and sighs, as if body and soul, tired with combat, had each sunk down for a momentary rest on the weary battle-field of life.
The music of the band had ceased; the gay crowd had withdrawn into the hotel to prepare for the entertainments of the evening, and there was a lull of human sounds. Then arose the grand roar of the ocean, which with the regular break of the billows on the beach beneath the cliff made the theme where before it had played the bass.
I crept stealthily out of the bed-room, and, after exchanging my travelling-gown for a cool white robe, stretched my tired body on the lounge in the anteroom.
There I lay with cold finger-tips pressed against burning eyelids, and icy palms holding with a firm grasp throbbing temples, under which flowed the hot, seething tide of mortal anguish, anxiety, and aching love. Some one touched me on the shoulder. I looked up. It was Max who was standing beside me.
"There is a great musical treat for you," he said in a low voice. "The A—— Society is here, and also part of B——'s Opera Troupe, with Madame C——, and D——, the great tenor. The troupe and society united are to give such a concert as rarely falls to the lot of mortals to hear. I never saw a better programme. Look!"
I read over the concert-bill. First there was an overture; then several scenes from "Lucia di Lammermoor,"—that great Shakspearian drama, whose dread catastrophe of Death and Doom leaves in the memory of the hearer a heavenly sorrow unmixed with earthly taint. It was the master-work of two poets, Scott and Donizetti, who had conceived it at the best period of their lives, when they were in all the vigor of manhood, and when mind and fancy had become ripened by experience. It was formed in one of those supreme instants, which come like "angels' visits" to artists, when they were enabled, through a power more like inspiration than art, to throw aside all outward influences, and fashion as deftly as Nature could the sad life of the Master of Ravenswood and his "sweet spirit's mate."
The Lucia scenes were grouped together and occupied the main part of the programme. They were those that told the story of the brief passion, from the sweet birth of love up to the solemn hour when both lovers passed away to that resting-place "where nothing could touch them further."
My eyes lingered over the titles of the scenes, while my memory swiftly recalled their characteristics:—the First Duet between Lucia and Edgardo, a passionate burst of youthful love, as delicious as the tender dialogues between Romeo and his Juliet;—the Sextette, that masterly pyramidal piece of vocal harmony, in which the voices group around those of the two lovers, and all mount up glowingly like a flame on a sacrificial altar;—the heart-rending passage where Lucia's spirit, frantic through woe, rises supreme over native timidity and irresolution, and, with one fierce burst of love and grief, which startles alike tyrant and friend, soars aloft in the terrible, but grand realm of madness;—and the Finale, where the dying Edgardo sighs out that delicious air which has been well styled, "a melody of Plato sung by a Christian soul."
The programme closed fitly with Schumann's Quintette in E flat Major.
This Quintette is one of remarkable power and beauty. It is for 'rano, viola, first and second violin, and 'cello. It is divided into four movements: Allegro brillante; In moda d'una Marcia; Scherzo; and Allegro ma non troppo.
As I handed the bill back to Max, he whispered to my maid, who left the room an instant, and returned with a mantle on her arm.
"Come," he said, in a decided tone, "you must go, and quickly, too, for they are already playing the overture. You can surely trust Ernestine with the watching, as you will be such a short distance off; my serving-man shall wait in the arcade, and come for you, if you are needed."
Then, raising me with kind force from the lounge, he wrapped the mantle around me. As we passed out, we stood for an instant at the bed-room-door, looking at the invalid. The breath still came in short pants, but the truce was being kept: sleep had come in between as a transient mediator.
I noticed in the dim light the attenuated frame, the shrunken features, the pinched nostrils, the very shadowy outlining of death. With choking throat and swelling breast I looked at Max, my eyes saying what my voice could not,—
"I cannot go."
Without a word of reply, he lifted me out of the apartment, and in a few moments we were sitting in a dim corner of the concert-room, listening to the charming First Duet.
The scenes followed one another rapidly, and displayed even more powerfully than I had ever noticed before the one pervading theme. Sense and imagination became possessed with it; at each succeeding passage the interest increased continuously, until at the end the passion mounted up as on mighty wings and carried my sad heart aloft and beyond "the ordinary conditions of humanity."
The prima donna, Madame C——, and Signor D——, the tenor, had a sad story of scandal floating about them; it was on every one's lips. Madame C—— was no longer in her first youth, but she was still very beautiful, more attractive than she had been in her younger days,—so those said who had seen and heard her years before.
Her young womanhood had been devoted to patient, honest study, which was rewarded with success, and calm, passionless prosperity. She had married brilliantly, and left the stage, but after an absence of many years had returned to it to aid her husband in some reverse of fortune. Her married life had been tranquilly happy, for she had loved with all the sweet serenity of a cold, unexacting nature.
But now it was whispered that this beautiful, pure woman, who had resisted—indeed, like another Una, had never felt—the temptations which had environed her on the stage, and in the courtly circle to which she had been raised by her husband's rank, was being strangely influenced by a gifted, handsome tenor singer, with whom she had been associated since her return to her professional life.
This person was about her husband's age, a year or two her senior, and unmarried. The infatuation, it was said, existed on both sides, and the two lovers were so blinded by their strange passion as to seem unconscious of any other sight or presence. The husband, report added, behaved with remarkable prudence and good breeding; indeed, some doubted if he noticed the affair,—for he treated not only his wife, but the reputed lover, with familiar and kind friendliness.
The recollection of this scandal flitted over my memory as I listened to the First Duet. Madame C—— was a blonde; she had rich, deep violet eyes, and a lovely skin: her hair, too, was a waving mass of the poet's and painter's golden hue. She was about middle height, and had a full, well-developed person.
"When I saw her in Paris and Vienna, twenty years ago," whispered Max, "she was too pale and slender, and the expression of those brilliant eyes was as cold and still as glacier depths."
Not so now, I thought,—for they fairly blazed with a passionate fire, as the music welled up on her beautiful quivering lips; indeed, the melody appeared to come from them, as much as from her mouth, and I seemed to be listening with my looks as well as my hearing. She was not well, evidently,—for there was a bright red, feverish spot on either cheek, and her movements were feeble and trembling; but her voice was full of the deepest pathos.
"In her best days she never sang so well," said Max, as the room rang with applause at the termination of the duo, "Time may have taken away a little fulness from her lower notes; but the touching tenderness which envelops them, as a purple mist hanging over a forest in autumn, fully compensates for the loss of youthful vigor."
Her voice was, indeed, wonderful,—not simply clear and flexible, but dazzling and glancing, like the lightning that plays around the horizon on a hot midsummer's night; and her execution was as if the Cherub All-Knowledge and the Seraph All-Love had united their divine powers in one human form.
In the Sextette, which followed, the tenor showed to great advantage. His voice, though no longer young, was beautifully managed; it had an exquisite timbre, and on this night there was added to it a rare expression and character.
When he asked the poor trembling Lucia if the signature to the marriage contract was hers, there was a concentrated rage in his singing that was fearful; and Madame C—— almost cowered to the floor, as he held her firmly by the wrist,—for the scenes were sung in costume and with action,—and demanded,—
"A me rispondi. Son tue cifre? Rispondi!"
Her affirmative was like the silvery wail of a fallen angel. Then followed the terrible imprecation passage. He darted out the
"Maledetto sia l'istante!"
with such startling fury that the notes and words seemed to be forked, stinging, serpent tongues.
The Stretta ensued, and the music-tide flowed so high and full that the fashionable audience forgot all artificial conventionalities, and yielded themselves freely to the ennobling emotions of human sympathy. Above the whole sublime assemblage of sounds wailed out that fearful note of the fallen cherub; and the fainting of Lucia, at the close of the Sextette, I felt sure was not a feigned one.
As the curtain fell over the temporary stage, several gentlemen hurried out to make inquiries about Madame C——, for there seemed to be an opinion similar to mine pervading the room. The curtain rose, and it was announced that she was too ill to sing again; but the murmur of regret was silenced almost immediately by the appearance of the chorus with Signor D——, the tenor.
They began the Finale. Signor D——looked haggard and wan, but very stern, and there was more of wrath than repentance in his singing. Was it fancy or reality? The heart-rending
"O bell' alma innamorata!"
seemed to be accompanied by distant, half-veiled sobs. No one else appeared to notice them, and I half doubted their reality.
The Finale ended; and for a few moments the gay crowd buzzed, and some stood up and looked about at their neighbors. The interval was short, however,—for the Quintette performers came upon the stage, and took their places.
I leaned back and covered my face with my hand. My memory was still ringing with echoes of the forlorn cry of wrecked love, mingled with the imaginary sobs I had just heard; therefore I hardly listened to the majestic opening of full, harmonious chords, which lead grandly into a sort of cantabile movement.
The curious modulations which followed aroused me, and I soon busied myself in tracing the changes from major to minor, and from one minor key to another, as sorrows chase each other in life. Just at this part of the composition occurs the passage which sounds like a weird, ghostly call or summons: when I heard it, my fancy began working, and, like Heine, I saw spectres in the music sounds.
The air seemed to have grown suddenly "nipping and eager." I unconsciously drew my mantle around my shoulders, as a shiver ran over me, such as nurses tell us in childhood is caused by some one walking over our graves. I fancied I saw before me the ghost scene in "Hamlet." There was the castle platform,—the gloomy battlements,—the sound of distant wassail; and dimly defined by the vague light of my fancy, stood the sad young Danish prince, shivering in the "shrewd, biting" night-air, tortured with those apprehensions and sickening doubts
"That cloud the mind and fire the brain,"
but talking with a feigned and courtly indifference to his dear friend, "the profound scholar and perfect gentleman," Horatio; and in the gloom around them seemed to be arising the questionable shape which was
"So horridly to shake his disposition."
Strangely the music displayed its fine forms, mingling most curiously with, while it created, my fancied pictures,—and though my senses followed the changing visions, which flitted like a phantasmagoria before my eyes, my mind traced clearly the music train; but when the diminished seventh resolved gracefully into the melody which is taken alternately by 'cello and viola,—the close of the first movement,—my vision faded gradually away.
There was a short pause, but the fine artists who were executing the Quintette did not by any undignified movement break the illusion which the music had created; although a violin-string needed raising, it was done with quiet and skilful dexterity, and they proceeded to the second movement.
Smoothly and mournfully the Funeral March opened. The solemn melody which glides softly through it is totally unlike the restless trampings of Fate heard in other great compositions of the kind; yet Fate is unmistakably there, quiet, but relentless, like
"the Pontic sea, Whose icy current and compulsive course Ne'er feels retiring ebb, but keeps due on."
The Scherzo, with its beautiful octave run for the piano and delicious change of harmony in the next measure,—the weird melody sketched out by the first violin, and then yielded up to the piano,—and the strange, but truly inspired, modulations which follow,—lapped my spirit in a sweet bewilderment. I forgot all the before and after of that "sad and incapable story" of human life and love which my fancy had been weaving from the coarse, vulgar threads of common rumor; and even the pictures vanished which had been evoked of the young prince,
"In his blown youth blasted with ecstasy."
I ceased following the modulations, interesting as they were; for often music fills the thoughts so full that the ear forgets to listen to the sweet harmonies.
But I was again aroused by the fine suspension and sequence which open the last movement of the Quintette,—the Allegro ma non troppo. The fugued passage, the reiteration of the opening theme, and the sad close were all as tragic as the last scene in "Hamlet," the
"quarry that cries on, Havoc!"—
but it was also as graceful and touching as the words of the dying prince to his friend,—
"Horatio, I am dead: Thou liv'st. Report me and my cause aright To the unsatisfied."
A thousand rumors flitted about the room as the concert broke up. Madame C—— was so ill, they feared she was dying; and, strange to say, the tenor, on leaving the platform after the Lucia finale, had been seized with violent cramps and vomitings, which could not be checked, and he also was lying in a very critical state. There were dark hints and many improbable imaginings.
"All was not well, they deemed; Some knew perchance, And some besides were too discreetly wise To more than hint their knowledge in surmise."
About an hour after midnight I was lying on the lounge in the anteroom of the cottage. The faithful maid had taken my place by the sick-bed,—for my invalid was still sleeping. It was a long, quiet sleep; and so low and peaceful had grown those suffering, panting breaths, that they almost startled me into a hope of happier days. Could health, long absent, be returning? A state of continuous illness, if free from acute pain, would be a relief.
These half-formed hopes made me restless, and, instead of taking the physical repose I needed, I rose from the lounge, and walked out on the deserted lawn in front of the cottage. The moon was at the full, and shone brighter than day's twilight. The night was warm, but not oppressive,—for there was a gentle air blowing, filled with the invigorating briny odor of the ocean; yet I felt choked and stifled.
"Just for a breath from the beach," I said to myself, as I descended the steps leading down from the cliff.
On reaching the sands, instead of being alone, as I had hoped, I found two persons already there. I drew back quickly, intending to return; but they were passing too swiftly to notice me. As they went by, the bright full moon gleamed over their pale, wan faces, and I recognized in them Madame C——and the tenor!
They were talking earnestly, in low, rapid Italian. She leaned on his arm,—indeed, they seemed to be sustaining each other, for both appeared feeble and faint; but, tottering as they were, they sped rapidly by, and so near to me that the corner of Madame C——'s mantle flapped in my face, and left a strange subtile perfume behind it.
But what struck me most was the expression of their faces,—such wild, sad, longing, entreating love! As they disappeared around a corner of the cliff which jutted out, a dreadful suspicion seized me. Could they be seeking self-destruction? Were they going to bury their unhallowed love, with its shame and sorrow, in one wildering embrace beneath those surging ocean-waves?
As one in a dream, I moved along the beach, hardly knowing whither I went. Mechanically I ascended the flight of steps which led to the part of the cliff directly opposite the hotel entrance. As I walked up the lawn, I noticed a great commotion in the house. There were lights flitting about, people running up and down stairs, and many persons talking confusedly on the gallery and in the hall.
"What is the matter?" I asked of a waiter who was passing near me, looking frightened and bewildered.
He stopped, and answered with all the keen eagerness of an untrained person, to whom the communicating of a startling story to an uninformed superior is a perfect godsend.
"Very strange doings, Ma'am,—very strange!"
"Aha!" I thought; "they have discovered the absence or flight of those unhappy creatures."
"Very strange doings!" he repeated. "The foreign lady who sang to-night, and the gentleman too, is both dead."
"Dead!" I exclaimed. "Why, you are mistaken. I saw them just this instant on the sands below the cliff."
The man looked at me as if he thought me crazy.
"I mean the singers, Ma'am,—them as sang at the concert to-night. They was both taken nigh about the same time, was handled just alike, and died here a little while ago, a'most at once, as you might say. Folks is talking hard about the husband of the Madame."
Then he added, in a lower tone, confidentially, "They do say he poisoned 'em; for, you see, he it was that dressed the lobster salad at dinner, and made 'em both eat hearty of it, though they were unwilling; and now they have him over in the office there, in custody."
"But, my good man," I said, as soon as I could get my breath, "I assure you they are not dead."
"Well, Ma'am, if you don't believe my words, you can see 'em with your own eyes, if you choose"; and he led the way into the hall of the hotel.
I followed him. We entered a side room,—a sort of reception salon,—where the two poor creatures were, indeed lying extended on sofas. Several startled persons were gazing at them, but the larger portion of the crowd were drawn off to the other side of the hotel, where the unhappy, stunned husband was listening to the fearful charges of murder,—murder of his wife and his friend!
I stepped up to the dead bodies,—one after the other. Their dresses had not even been changed. The stage finery looked very pitiful. A muslin mantle had been thrown over Madame C——'s bare shoulders and beautiful bosom; from it arose the same curious perfume I had noticed on the beach. It was as if that delicate, rare smell had been kept in a box of some kind of odoriferous resinous wood.
I touched their cold brows, their icy fingers,—noticed the poor features, drawn by acute suffering,—and strange as it was, I could see on both faces, as if behind a gauzy film, the same sad, wild, longing look of love I had observed on the countenances of those two shadowy beings I had met on the sands.
I left the hotel, and walked to the cottage, with my mind in a sad, bewildered state. I entered the open door, and went to the sick-room. There stood Max and Ernestine, and she was weeping.
"It is all over!" he said; "and I am glad she was not here."
I advanced hurriedly forward, pushed them aside, and stood by the bed. Yes, that long, quiet sleep had, indeed, been a forerunner of life,—the true life! All was truly over,—the long years of suffering, the blessed years of loving care, the combat and the struggle; and on the battle-field rested the dread shadows of Night and Death!
And I? I sank on the poor body-shell with one low, long wail, and Nature kindly extended over me her blessed veil of forgetfulness.
On the third day of April last a most impressive and unusual scene was witnessed in the English House of Commons. For some time before the hour for sitting, the members had gathered about the halls and lobbies in whispering groups. One of its leading members had passed away, and there was a consultation as to whether the House should move an adjournment. It is not the custom of the House of Commons to adjourn in case of the death of one of its members, unless that member is an officer of the Government or of extraordinary prominence. The last person for whom it had adjourned was Sir G. Cornwall Lewis. It was considered in the present case that there were some members whose hostility to the departed would not stop at the grave, and that the harmony which alone would make an adjournment graceful as a tribute would be unattainable; so it was decided that the motion should not be made. When the great, deep-toned Westminster clock struck four, the members took their seats. Then slowly entered the ministers, with Lord Palmerston at their head; and for some moments sitting there with their hats on, one might have supposed it a silent meeting of Friends. At this moment all eyes were turned to the door as one entered who is a Friend indeed: heavily, with head bowed under his terrible sorrow, John Bright walked to his place, by the side of which was a vacancy never to be filled. Lord Palmerston, on rising, was received with a cheer which rang through the hall like a wailing cry, and was followed by a deep hush. As the white-haired old man, who had seen the leading men of more than two generations fall at his side, began to speak of the "great loss" which the House and the nation had suffered, his voice quivered, and recovered itself only when it sank to a low tone that was deeply pathetic. And when, having recounted the instances in which Richard Cobden, with his "great ambition to be useful to his country," had been signally useful, each instance followed by the refusal of proffered honors and emoluments, he said, "Mr. Cobden's name will be forever engraved on the most interesting pages of the history of this country," there was a spontaneous burst of applause throughout the House. When Mr. Disraeli arose to speak concerning the man whom for so many years he had met only in uncompromising political combat, it was at once felt how irresistible was the force of a right and true man. No yielding, equivocating, South-by-North politician could ever have brought a lifelong antagonist to stand by his grave and say,—"I believe, that, when the verdict of posterity is recorded on his life and conduct, it will be said of him, that, looking to all he said and did, he was without doubt the greatest political character the pure middle class of this country has yet produced,—an ornament to the House of Commons, and an honor to England." Then arose, as if trying to lift a great burden, noble John Bright. Twice he tried to speak and his voice failed; at length, with broken utterance, but with that eloquent simplicity which characterizes him beyond all speakers whom I have heard,—"I feel that I cannot address the House on this occasion. Every expression of sympathy which I have heard has been most grateful to my heart; but the time which has elapsed, since I was present when the manliest and gentlest spirit that ever actuated or tenanted the human form took its flight, is so short, that I dare not even attempt to give utterance to the feelings by which I am oppressed. I shall leave it to some calmer moment, when I may have an opportunity of speaking to some portion of my countrymen the lesson which I think will be learned from the life and character of my friend. I have only to say, that, after twenty years of most intimate and most brotherly friendship with him, I little knew how much I loved him, until I found that I had lost him." As he spoke the concluding words, which plaintively told his sense of loneliness, the tears that can become a manly man came thick and fast, and all who were in the House wept with him. There have been cases in which the House of Commons has adjourned in honor of deceased members; but perhaps never before has it showed its emotions in generous tears. Did I say that all wept? I must recall it. There actually were two or three who, during the entire scene, had nothing but sneers to give, and sat, as I heard a member remark, "a group fit for the pencil of Retzsch, fresh from its delineations of Mephistopheles." I need not write upon the page which mentions Richard Cobden their names, which, to reverse Palmerston's praise, are engraved only upon the least creditable pages of the history of their own or of others' countries.
When John Bright sat down, some minds were borne back over eight years when Cobden was addressing a large public meeting without the presence of his usual companion. Mr. Bright was then in the far South, in consequence of ill-health of a character to excite grave apprehension among his friends. During his address, Mr. Cobden, having occasion to allude to his absent friend, was so overpowered by his feelings that he could not proceed for several minutes; and rarely has a great audience been so deeply moved as was that by this emotion in one to whose heart, true and ruddy, any sentimentality was unattributable.
To write the history of this friendship between Bright and Cobden, to tell how the sturdy hearts of these strong men became riveted to each other, would be to record the best pages of recent English history. For these men joined hands at the altar of a noble cause; and their souls have been welded in the fires of a fierce and unceasing struggle for humanity.
Richard Cobden was born near Midhurst, Sussex, at his father's farm-house, Dunford, June 3, 1804. His father was one of the class who regarded the repeal of the Corn Laws as identical with their ruin. Young Richard was at an early age placed in a London warehouse, where he so pressed every leisure moment of his time into the acquisition of information that his employer reproved him with a warning that lads so fond of reading were apt to spoil their prospects. (This old gentleman afterwards became unfortunate, and the young man he had thus warned contributed fifty pounds for his comfort every year until his death.) There has been some attempt on the part of certain persons, who have never forgiven Mr. Cobden for their being in the wrong in the matter of the Corn Laws, to sneer at him as an uncultivated man. This was, of course, to be expected by one who made all the old bones in the scholastic coffins at Oxford rattle again and again, by declaring that he regarded "a single copy of the 'Times' newspaper as of more importance than all the works of Thucydides,"—a thing which he has for some years been willing to pledge himself not to repeat,—or illustrating the nature of English education by representing Englishmen's complete knowledge of the Ilissus, which he had once seen dammed up by washerwomen, and their utter ignorance of the Mississippi, flowing its two thousand miles through a magnificent country peopled by their own race. But these partisan sneers could not affect the judgment of any who knew Mr. Cobden, or those who read his works on Russia and the United States and his pamphlets on subjects of current interest, that his classical and historical culture was equal to that of the majority of his critics, whilst his acquaintance with general philosophy and political economy was remarkable.
Mr. Cobden left the ordinary business of the warehouse in which he was employed to become a commercial traveller, in which capacity he gained much knowledge of Continental peoples and their languages. At length he was able to establish himself in the calico business at Manchester, in the firm "Richard Cobden & Co." The "Cobden prints" became celebrated, the business flourished, and Mr. Cobden, at the time when he began his political career, was receiving, as his share of the income, about forty-five thousand dollars per annum. It was probably about the year 1830, when England was feeling the first ground-swells of the great Reform agitation, that Mr. Cobden felt called to give himself entirely to his country's service. He resolved, however, to study for some years with reference to public questions. In 1834-5 he made a tour through many countries, including Egypt, Greece, and Turkey, Canada and the United States. On his return he wrote several pamphlets, in the name of "A Manchester Manufacturer," which excited attention, and one ("England, Ireland, and America") a lively controversy. About this time appeared his first contribution to the Eastern question in a little work entitled "Russia." In all these his fundamental ideas—Retrenchment, Non-Intervention, Free Trade—were set forth in a very spirited and eloquent way. It is now very evident that Mr. Cobden was the product and utterance of his country at that time; and though he was held to be an economical visionary, never was visionary in conservative England blessed with seeing his visions so soon harden into facts. But he was not so absorbed in national politics, and in his proposed "Smithian Society," in which the "Wealth of Nations" was to be discussed, as to forget the more circumscribed duties of a citizen of Manchester. Manchester was not yet a city with municipal representation, when he wrote a pamphlet entitled "Incorporate your Borough," which did as much as anything else to raise it to that dignity; and Manchester showed its gratitude by electing him to be alderman in the first town-council.
It is hard for us at this date to realize the condition of England when that horrible Sirocco, as Robert Browning called it, the tax on corn, was blighting the land. The suicidal policy which had prevailed since the Peace of 1815 had brought the country to the verge of ruin; and when, in 1838, those reformers of Manchester repaired to that first meeting of the Anti-Corn-Law League, it was through crowds of pale, haggard, starving men, each with his starving family at home, muttering treason, and prepared for violence at any touch. The banner of Chartism was already lifted. It was then that these resolute men, with Cobden at their head, met and vowed sacredly that their League should never be disbanded until those laws had been repealed. The devotion with which Richard Cobden fought that good fight may be illustrated by the story that once his little daughter said to her mother concerning her father,—"Mother, who is that gentleman that comes here sometimes?" With a similar devotion to humanity did this tenderest of parents inspire his companions; and it is not in the nature of things that such labors so put forth shall fail. One by one the haughty aristocrats yielded; and when at last Cobden had conquered the conqueror of Napoleon, the battle was won. The "Times" pooh-poohed the movement, until one day the news came that a few gentlemen of Manchester had subscribed between forty and fifty thousand pounds for repeal, when it suddenly discovered that "the Anti-Corn-Law movement was a great fact." When, in 1841, the new Whig Ministry, with Sir Robert Peel at their head, came in, elected as Protectionists, gaunt Famine took its stand by the Royal Mace, like a Banquo. Sir Robert driving along Fleet Street might see those whom this new unwelcome commoner represented grimly gazing of "Punch,"—that of the Premier turning his back on a starving man with half-naked wife and child, and buttoning up his coat with the words, "I'm very sorry, my good man, but I can do nothing for you,—nothing!" But though Peel was the Premier apparent, Cobden was the Premier actual. And means were found of softening Sir Robert's heart,—these, namely: it was intimated to him one morning, that, if a division of the House should go against the Ministry, the Queen would feel compelled to call upon Richard Cobden, manufacturer, to make a cabinet for her. So the Ministry yielded, and the League reached its triumph in 1846. It is due to the memory of Peel to say that he joined with the triumphant nation to yield every laurel to the brow to which it belonged, and uttered the memorable prediction that Cobden's name would be forever venerated and loved, whenever "the poor man ate his daily bread, sweeter because no longer leavened with a bitter sense of unwise and unjust taxation."
In the year 1839 Mr. Cobden had heard John Bright speak with great power at a meeting in Rochdale. A little later, when Bright had just lost his wife at Leamington, Cobden visited him there. He found him in great grief. "Think," said Cobden, "think in your sorrow, of the thousands of men, women, and children, who are this moment starving under the infamous laws which it is your task and mine to help remove. Come with me, and we will never rest until we have abolished the Corn Laws." Then and there were those hands clasped in a sacred cause which were never to be unclasped but by death.
Mr. Cobden took his seat in Parliament in 1841, representing Stockport. He had not only before the triumph of 1846 sacrificed his time and impaired his health, but also given up his fortune to the cause, and was a poor man. By a great spontaneous subscription, the nation reimbursed his actual losses, and amongst other things built the house at Midhurst, where he resided on the spot that his father had occupied. Immediately after the repeal Mr. Cobden started on a Continental tour; and in every city he was met with a triumphal reception, so deeply had his great work in England affected the interests of all Europe. During his absence he was elected to represent the great constituency of the West Riding in Yorkshire, which he accepted.
It was perhaps in those furious days which preceded the Crimean War that the noble personal qualities with which Mr. Cobden was endowed shone out most clearly. When all England, from the thunder of the "Times" to the quiet Muse of Tennyson, was enlisted for war, Cobden took his stand, and refused to bow to the tempest. In a moment the nation seemed to forget the services of years, and Cobden, denounced as a "Peace-at-any-price man," lost the ear of the country, as did Bright and others in those days of political anarchy. To the ability and independence with which Cobden and Bright withstood the popular current then, Mr. Kinglake, the opponent of both, has done justice. It was, in fact, not true that Cobden was a "Peace-at-any-price man." Though he maintained earnestly the principle of non-intervention, it was because he thought that England in its present hands could not be trusted to intervene always in the right interest; and never was there a more pointed confirmation of his suspicion than the event of a war which gave the victory won by the blood of the people over to the French Emperor, that he might with it bind back every nation that in Southern Europe was near to its redemption. The strongest chains binding Circassia, Poland, Hungary, and Venetia, were forged in the fires of the Crimean War. This popular wave reached its height and broke, as such waves will, and the people much ashamed returned to their true leaders. So when, immediately after the end of the Crimean War, the disgraceful bombardment of Canton occurred, Cobden was still there in Parliament ready to risk all again. His resolution condemning the action of Sir John Bowring (who, by the way, was Cobden's personal friend) was passed in the House by a vote of 263 to 247. Palmerston appealed to the selfishness of the country on the subject of Chinese trade, and was sustained. These were the days when Gladstone and Disraeli lay down together. Cobden, Bright, Gibson, Cardwell, Layard, Fox, Miall, and others, all lost their seats. To this interval we are indebted that John Bright recovered strength in a foreign land, and that we received in the United States the second visit of Cobden. Whilst they were absent, the reaction set in: Bright was elected by Birmingham, Cobden by Rochdale. Nay, so strong was the feeling in Cobden's case, that Palmerston found it to his purpose to invite him into the Cabinet; and when, returning from America, Cobden sailed up the Mersey, he was met by a deputation from Liverpool who informed him of his appointment among the new Ministry. He at once declined the appointment, for reasons which have not hitherto been given to the public. Since his death a personal friend of his has written, that, on this occasion, "he told Lord Palmerston, in answer to remonstrances against his decision to decline the honor, that he had always regarded his Lordship as one of the most dangerous ministers England could possibly have, and that his views had not undergone the slightest change. He felt that it would be doing violence to his own sense of duty, and injuring his own character for consistency in the eyes of his countrymen, to profess to act with a minister to whom he had all along been opposed on public grounds."
Mr. Cobden's next great service was in bringing about the treaty of free commerce with France, a service which has endeared him to the French beyond all English statesmen, and which brought him from the Queen the offer of a Baronetcy, which he declined, as he also did in January last Mr. Gladstone's offer of the chairmanship of the Board of Audit, at a salary of two thousand pounds. Well might Gladstone say of him, as he did,—"Rare is the privilege of any man who, having fourteen years ago rendered to his country one signal and splendid service, now again, within the same brief span of life, decorated neither by rank nor title, bearing no mark to distinguish him from the people whom he loves, has been permitted to perform a great and memorable service to his sovereign and to his country."
By the death of Mr. Cobden America has lost one of her truest friends, one who in all this conflict, which has been reflected in England in a fierce warfare of parties, has been in the thick or the fight, "the white plume of Navarre." Nothing told more for the American cause in Europe than the celebrated speech of Cobden, made at the time when the busy Southerners were trying to show that the war was not for Slavery, but Free Trade, in which he declared that he had found the Southerners, and Jefferson Davis himself, whom he had visited, utterly indifferent to the Free Trade movement. He was accustomed to speak of American affairs as an American. I well remember his vehement expressions of feeling concerning the McClellan campaign in Virginia,—in connection with which he told me that he was at one time travelling with Jefferson Davis and McClellan together, and that Davis whispered to him, that, in case of war, "That man [McClellan] is one of the first we should put into service." I thought Mr. Cobden inclined to attribute McClellan's failures to something worse than incapacity. But this is only one instance of the way in which he followed our war-steps, and was interested in the subordinate questions which are usually interesting only to Americans. It is with a melancholy pleasure that we now know that his last public utterance was the letter on American affairs to our minister at Copenhagen, which reached England in the American papers the day before his death,—and that one of his last acts was to send from his death-bed a contribution to a poor and paralyzed American sailor who with his family was suffering in London, without any personal appeal having been made to him. These were the last pulses of a heart that beat only for humanity.
Mr. Cobden was one of the finest speakers I have ever heard. There was a play as of summer lightning about his eloquence, which, whilst it did not strike and crash opponents, was purifying the atmosphere of the debate, and lightning up every detail of fact, so that error could not flourish in his presence, nor even well hide itself. There was a terseness and massiveness in his speech, curiously blended with subtilty and fervor. A question of finance would grow pathetic under his touch, and he could create a soul under the ribs of statistics. He might vie with Lowell's ideal Jonathan for "calculating fanaticism" and "cast-iron enthusiasm." But, after all, what more need be said than the epitaph proposed for his grave: "He gave the people bread"?
MODERN IMPROVEMENTS AND OUR NATIONAL DEBT.
At the commencement of the Rebellion it was the general opinion of statesmen and financiers in other countries, and the opinion of many among ourselves, that our resources were inadequate to a long continuance of the war, and that it must soon terminate under pecuniary exhaustion, if from no other cause. Our experience has shown that this view was fallacious. After having sustained for several years the largest army known to modern times, our available resources seem to be unimpaired. The country is, indeed, largely in debt; but its powers of production are so great that it can undoubtedly meet all future demands as easily as it has met those of the past.
The ability or inability of a nation engaged in war to sustain heavy public expenses is to be measured not so much by its nominal debt as by the relation which the sum of its production bears to that of its necessary consumption. A nation heavily in debt may continue to make large public expenditures and still prosper and increase in wealth, if its powers of production are correspondingly large also. It is a fact of the most encouraging kind, that the power of production exhibited by the United States far exceeds, in proportion to their population, that of any other nation heretofore involved in a long and costly war. The case which most nearly approaches ours, in this regard, is that of England, during her war with Napoleon, from 1803 to 1815. But since the termination of that long contest, the progress of discovery, improvements in the machinery and in the processes of manufacture, more effective implements of agriculture, the general introduction of railways,[H] and other time- and labor-saving agencies, together with the constantly increasing influence of the applied sciences, have so augmented the productive power of humanity, that the experience of the most advanced nations fifty years ago furnishes no adequate criterion of what the United States can do now.
It is not easy to determine the precise ratio in which production has been increased by these instrumentalities. It is unquestionably very large,—not less, probably, than threefold. That is to say, a given population, including all ages and conditions, can produce the articles necessary for its subsistence, such as food, clothing, and shelter, to an extent three times as great, with these agencies, as it could produce without them. Hence it appears, that, if the people of the loyal States could return to the standard of living that prevailed fifty years ago, the amount of their production would be sufficient to subsist not only themselves, but twice as many more in addition. To accomplish this, they would have, indeed, to devote themselves more to the production of articles of prime necessity and less to those of mere ornament and luxury. That they have the productive energy necessary to such a result there can be no doubt.
This encouraging view of our condition is fully sustained by official statements, which show that the industrial products of the country increase in a greater ratio than the population. In 1850 the aggregate value of the products of agriculture, mining, manufactures, and the mechanic arts, in the United States, was $2,345,000.000. In 1860 the aggregate was $3,756,000,000. This is an increase in ten years of sixty per cent, whereas the increase of population during that decade was only thirty-five and a half per cent. Thus we see that during the ten years ending with 1860—the date of the last census—the products of the industry of the country increased almost twice as fast as the population increased. If to this we add the remarkable fact that the value of taxable property increased during the same period a hundred and twenty-six per cent, we have striking proof of the existence of a vast and rapidly increasing productive power,—a power largely due to the influence of those improvements which have been alluded to.
One obvious effect of war is to transfer a portion of labor from the sphere of effective production to that of extraordinary consumption. To what extent the relations of production and consumption among us have been changed during the present contest it is impossible to state. That consumption has been largely increased by our military operations is apparent to all. It is equally apparent that production also has been augmented, though not, perhaps, to the same extent. The extraordinary demand for various commodities for war purposes has brought all the producing agencies of the country into a high state of activity and efficiency, giving to the loyal States a larger aggregate production than they had before the war. Of mining and manufactures this is unquestionably true. As regards the products of the soil, the Commissioner of Agriculture, in his Report for 1863, says,—"Although the year just closed has been a year of war on the part of the Republic, over a wider field and on a grander scale than any recorded in history, yet, strange as it may appear, the great interests of agriculture have not materially suffered in the loyal States.... Notwithstanding there have been over a million of men employed in the army and navy, withdrawn chiefly from the producing classes, and liberally fed, clothed, and paid by the Government, yet the yield of most of the great staples of agriculture for 1863 exceeds that of 1862.... This wonderful fact of history—a young republic carrying on a gigantic war on its own territory and coasts, and at the same time not only feeding itself and foreign nations, but furnishing vast quantities of raw materials for commerce and manufactures—proves that we are essentially an agricultural people; that three years of war have not as yet seriously disturbed, but rather increased, industrial pursuits; and that the withdrawal of agricultural labor, and the loss of life by disease and battle, have been more than compensated by machinery and maturing growth at home, and by the increased influx of immigration from abroad."
In illustration of the character of those agencies to which we owe the remarkable and gratifying results thus portrayed by the Commissioner, I give the following official statement in regard to two of the more prominent modern implements of agriculture. Mr. Kennedy, in his Census Report for 1860, informs us "that a threshing-machine in Ohio, worked by three men, with some assistance from the farm hands, did the work of seventy flails, and that thirty steam-threshers only were required to prepare for market the wheat crop of two counties in Ohio, which would have required the labor of forty thousand men." As it took probably less than two hundred men to work the machines, the immense saving in human labor becomes instantly apparent.
Again, in his last Patent-Office Report, Mr. Holloway states "that from reliable returns in his possession it is shown that forty thousand reapers were manufactured and sold in 1863, and that it is estimated by the manufacturers that over ninety thousand will be required to meet the demand for 1864"; and these machines, he says, will save the labor of four hundred and fifty thousand men.
If the aggregate produce of the loyal States, notwithstanding the large amount of labor that has been withdrawn from production by the demands of the war, is actually greater than ever before, and if, as we have already shown, the sum of that produce is three times as great as the people of those States, using proper economy, would necessarily consume, surely no one should feel any anxiety in regard to the ability of the United States to meet all their pecuniary obligations.
I have already said that England, in her war with Napoleon, furnishes the best criterion in history for judging of our own financial situation; and though the two cases are far from running parallel to each other, it may be interesting to compare them in some of their aspects.
At the restoration of peace in 1815, the national debt of England amounted in Federal currency to $4,305,000,000. It is impossible as yet to say what will be the ultimate amount of our national debt. It amounts now to rather more than one half of the debt of Great Britain, and, at its present ratio of increase, it will take nearly four years more to make our debt equal to hers.
Now, for the purposes of this statement, let us assume that it will take four years more to finish the war and to adjust and settle all its contingent claims, and that at the close of that period, say in 1869, we shall be at peace, with a restored Union, and with a national debt as large as that of England when peace returned to her in 1815,—how will the ability of this country to sustain and pay its debt compare with the ability of England to do the same at the time above referred to?
The simple fact that England was able to assume so vast a debt, and to sustain the burden through half a century, during which her prosperity has scarcely known abatement, and her wealth has been constantly and largely increasing, ought to satisfy every American citizen that his own country can at least do as well. But we can do more and better; for a comparison of the two countries in the matter of ability shows that the preponderance is greatly in our favor.
At the respective periods of comparison just named, to wit, 1815 and 1869, the population of the United Kingdom of Great Britain was less than one half of what the population of the United States will be, and its amount of foreign trade was less than one third. In 1815 the "factory system" was in its infancy and imperfectly organized, the steam-engine was unperfected and in comparatively limited use. The railway, the steamboat, the telegraph, the reaper, the thresher, and many other important improvements and discoveries which tend to augment the productive power of nations, have all come since that day. So far as relates to the question of ability to sustain heavy financial burdens, England, in 1815, can hardly be compared for a moment with a country like our own, possessing as it does, in abundance and perfection, the potent agencies of productive and distributing power just referred to.
It is true that England is now enjoying, to a large extent, the benefit of these important agencies; but she had to supply the capital to create them, after she had assumed the maximum of her enormous debt,—whereas those agencies were all in active operation among us before any part of our national debt was incurred. I hardly need suggest that it makes a vast difference whether a nation has or has not these material advantages at the time when it is contracting a heavy debt, and that our position in this respect, so far as the question of ability is concerned, is a position of immeasurable superiority.
In regard to the paying of our debt after the return of peace, we possess some decided advantages, to which I will very briefly allude. Of these the most obvious are, a greater ratio in the increase of population, and more extensive natural resources. During the decade which ended in 1861, the population of the United Kingdom of Great Britain increased from 27,495,297 to 29,049,540, or less than six per cent. In the ten years which ended in 1860, our increase of population was from 23,191,876 to 31,445,089, or thirty-five and a half per cent. Thus it appears that during the last ten years for which we have official returns, the population of the United States increased in a ratio sixfold greater than that of the United Kingdom. This disparity in our favor will undoubtedly increase from year to year.
The home territory of Great Britain is quite inadequate to support even her present population. This circumstance places that country in a position of comparative dependence. While she must draw from other countries a very considerable proportion of her breadstuffs and other provisions, we supply not only ourselves, but others largely also. The money which England pays to other nations for bread alone would equal in thirty years the entire amount of her national debt.
We need but a resolute and united purpose to sustain with comparative ease our national burdens, whatever may be their extent. Those who doubt this under-estimate not only the magnitude of our national resources, but the powerful aid which modern improvements lend to their development.
[H] Some estimate of the influence of railways alone may be formed by reference to the following statement, which occurs in an address of Robert Stephenson before the Institution of Civil Engineers, in 1856:—
"The result, then, is, that, upon the existing traffic of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, railways are affecting a direct saving to the people of not less than forty million pounds per annum; and that sum exceeds by about fifty per cent the entire interest of our national debt. It may be said, therefore, that the railway system neutralizes to the people the bad effects of the debt with which the state is incumbered. It places us in as good position as if the debt did not exist."
LITTLE FOXES.—PART V.
"And what are you going to preach about this month, Mr. Crowfield?"
"I am going to give a sermon on Intolerance, Mrs. Crowfield."
"No,—domestic and family and educational intolerance,—one of the seven deadly sins on which I am preaching,—one of 'the foxes.'"
* * * * *
People are apt to talk as if all the intolerance in life were got up and expended in the religious world; whereas religious intolerance is only a small branch of the radical, strong, all-pervading intolerance of human nature.
Physicians are quite as intolerant as theologians. They never have had the power of burning at the stake for medical opinions, but they certainly have shown the will. Politicians are intolerant. Philosophers are intolerant, especially those who pique themselves on liberal opinions. Painters and sculptors are intolerant. And housekeepers are intolerant, virulently denunciatory concerning any departures from their particular domestic creed.
Mrs. Alexander Exact, seated at her domestic altar, gives homilies on the degeneracy of modern housekeeping equal to the lamentations of Dr. Holdfast as to the falling off from the good old faith.
"Don't tell me about pillow-cases made without felling," says Mrs. Alexander; "it's slovenly and shiftless. I wouldn't have such a pillow-case in my house any more than I'd have vermin."
"But," says a trembling young housekeeper, conscious of unfelled pillow-cases at home, "don't you think, Mrs. Alexander, that some of these old traditions might be dispensed with? It really is not necessary to do all the work that has been done so thoroughly and exactly,—to double-stitch every wristband, fell every seam, count all the threads of gathers, and take a stitch to every gather. It makes beautiful sewing, to be sure; but when a woman has a family of little children and a small income, if all her sewing is to be kept up in this perfect style, she wears her life out in stitching. Had she not better slight a little, and get air and exercise?"
"Don't tell me about air and exercise! What did my grandmother do? Why, she did all her own work, and made grandfather's ruffled shirts besides, with the finest stitching and gathers; and she found exercise enough, I warrant you. Women of this day are miserable, sickly, degenerate creatures."
"But, my dear Madam, look at poor Mrs. Evans, over the way, with her pale face and her eight little ones."
"Miserable manager," said Mrs. Alexander. "If she'd get up at five o'clock the year round, as I do, she'd find time enough to do things properly, and be the better for it."
"But, my dear Madam, Mrs. Evans is a very delicately organized, nervous woman."
"Nervous! Don't tell me! Every woman nowadays is nervous. She can't get up in the morning, because she's nervous. She can't do her sewing decently, because she's nervous. Why, I might have been as nervous as she is, if I'd have petted and coddled myself as she does. But I get up early, take a walk in the fresh air of a mile or so before breakfast, and come home feeling the better for it. I do all my own sewing,—never put out a stitch; and I flatter myself my things are made as they ought to be. I always make my boys' shirts and Mr. Exact's, and they are made as shirts ought to be,—and yet I find plenty of time for calling, shopping, business, and company. It only requires management and resolution."
"It is perfectly wonderful, to be sure, Mrs. Exact, to see all that you do; but don't you get very tired sometimes?"
"No, not often. I remember, though, the week before last Christmas, I made and baked eighteen pies and ten loaves of cake in one day, and I was really quite worn out; but I didn't give way to it. I told Mr. Exact I thought it would rest me to take a drive into New York and attend the Sanitary Fair, and so we did. I suppose Mrs. Evans would have thought she must go to bed and coddle herself for a month."
"But, dear Mrs. Exact, when a woman is kept awake nights by crying babies"—
"There's no need of having crying babies; my babies never cried; it's just as you begin with children. I might have had to be up and down every hour of the night with mine, just as Mrs. Evans does; but I knew better. I used to take 'em up about ten o'clock, and feed and make 'em all comfortable; and that was the last of 'em, till I was ready to get up in the morning. I never lost a night's sleep with any of mine."
"Not when they were teething?"
"No. I knew how to manage that. I used to lance their gums myself, and I never had any trouble: it's all in management. I weaned 'em all myself, too: there's no use in having any fuss in weaning children."
"Mrs. Exact, you are a wonderful manager; but it would be impossible to bring up all babies so."
"You'll never make me believe that: people only need to begin right. I'm sure I've had a trial of eight."
"But there's that one baby of Mrs. Evans's makes more trouble than all your eight. It cries every night so that somebody has to be up walking with it; it wears out all the nurses, and keeps poor Mrs. Evans sick all the time."
"Not the least need of it; nothing but shiftless management. Suppose I had allowed my children to be walked with; I might have had terrible times, too; but I began right. I set down my foot that they should lie still, and they did; and if they cried, I never lighted a candle, or took 'em up, or took any kind of notice of it; and so, after a little, they went off to sleep. Babies very soon find out where they can take advantage, and where they can't. It's nothing but temper makes babies cry; and if I couldn't hush 'em any other way, I should give 'em a few good smart slaps, and they would soon learn to behave themselves."
"But, dear Mrs. Exact, you were a strong, healthy woman, and had strong, healthy children."
"Well, isn't that baby of Mrs. Evans's healthy, I want to know? I'm sure it is a great creature, and thrives and grows fat as fast as ever I saw a child. You needn't tell me anything is the matter with that child but temper, and its mother's coddling management."
Now, in the neighborhood where she lives, Mrs. Alexander Exact is the wonderful woman, the Lady Bountiful, the pattern female. Her cake never rises on one side, or has a heavy streak in it. Her furs never get a moth in them; her carpets never fade; her sweetmeats never ferment; her servants never neglect their work; her children never get things out of order; her babies never cry, never keep one awake o' nights; and her husband never in his life said, "My dear, there's a button off my shirt." Flies never infest her kitchen, cockroaches and red ants never invade her premises, a spider never had time to spin a web on one of her walls. Everything in her establishment is shining with neatness, crisp and bristling with absolute perfection,—and it is she, the ever-up-and-dressed, unsleeping, wide-awake, omnipresent, never-tiring Mrs. Exact, that does it all.
Besides keeping her household ways thus immaculate, Mrs. Exact is on all sorts of charitable committees, does all sorts of fancy-work for fairs; and whatever she does is done perfectly. She is a most available, most helpful, most benevolent woman, and general society has reason to rejoice in her existence.
But, for all this, Mrs. Exact is as intolerant as Torquemada or a locomotive-engine. She has her own track, straight and inevitable; her judgments and opinions cut through society in right lines, with all the force of her example and all the steam of her energy, turning out neither for the old nor the young, the weak nor the weary. She cannot, and she will not, conceive the possibility that there may be other sorts of natures than her own, and that other kinds of natures must have other ways of living and doing.
Good and useful as she is, she is terrible as an army with banners to her poor, harassed, delicate, struggling neighbor across the way, who, in addition to an aching, confused head, an aching back, sleepless, harassed nights, and weary, sinking days, is burdened everywhere and every hour with the thought that Mrs. Exact thinks all her troubles are nothing but poor management, and that she might do just like her, if she would. With very little self-confidence or self-assertion, she is withered and paralyzed by this discouraging thought. Is it, then, her fault that this never-sleeping baby cries all night, and that all her children never could and never would be brought up by those exact rules which she hears of as so efficacious in the household over the way? The thought of Mrs. Alexander Exact stands over her like a constable; the remembrance of her is grievous; the burden of her opinion is heavier than all her other burdens.
Now the fact is, that Mrs. Exact comes of a long-lived, strong-backed, strong-stomached race, with "limbs of British oak and nerves of wire." The shadow of a sensation of nervous pain or uneasiness never has been known in her family for generations, and her judgments of poor little Mrs. Evans are about as intelligent as those of a good stout Shanghai hen on a humming-bird. Most useful and comfortable, these Shanghai hens,—and very ornamental, and in a small way useful, these humming-birds; but let them not regulate each other's diet, or lay down schemes for each other's housekeeping. Has not one as much right to its nature as the other?
This intolerance of other people's natures is one of the greatest causes of domestic unhappiness. The perfect householders are they who make their household rule so flexible that all sorts of differing natures may find room to grow and expand and express themselves without infringing upon others.
Some women are endowed with a tact for understanding human nature and guiding it. They give a sense of largeness and freedom; they find a place for every one, see at once what every one is good for, and are inspired by Nature with the happy wisdom of not wishing or asking of any human being more than that human being was made to give. They have the portion in due season for all: a bone for the dog; catnip for the cat; cuttle-fish and hemp-seed for the bird; a book or review for their bashful literary visitor; lively gossip for thoughtless Miss Seventeen; knitting for Grandmamma; fishing-rods, boats, and gunpowder for Young Restless, whose beard is just beginning to grow;—and they never fall into pets, because the canary-bird won't relish the dog's bone, or the dog eat canary-seed, or young Miss Seventeen read old Mr. Sixty's review, or young Master Restless take delight in knitting-work, or old Grandmamma feel complacency in guns and gunpowder.
Again, there are others who lay the foundations of family life so narrow, straight, and strict, that there is room in them only for themselves and people exactly like themselves; and hence comes much misery.
A man and woman come together out of different families and races, often united by only one or two sympathies, with many differences. Their first wisdom would be to find out each other's nature, and accommodate to it as a fixed fact; instead of which, how many spend their lives in a blind fight with an opposite nature, as good as their own in its way, but not capable of meeting their requirements!
A woman trained in an exact, thriving, business family, where her father and brothers bore everything along with true worldly skill and energy, falls in love with a literary man, who knows nothing of affairs, whose life is in his library and his pen. Shall she vex and torment herself and him because he is not a business man? Shall she constantly hold up to him the example of her father and brothers, and how they would manage in this and that case? or shall she say cheerily and once for all to herself,—"My husband has no talent for business; that is not his forte; but then he has talents far more interesting: I cannot have everything; let him go on undisturbed, and do what he can do well, and let me try to make up for what he cannot do; and if there be disabilities come on us in consequence of what we neither of us can do, let us both take them cheerfully"?
In the same manner a man takes out of the bosom of an adoring family one of those delicate, petted singing-birds that seem to be created simply to adorn life and make it charming. Is it fair, after he has got her, to compare her housekeeping, and her efficiency and capability in the material part of life, with those of his mother and sisters, who are strong-limbed, practical women, that have never thought about anything but housekeeping from their cradle? Shall he all the while vex himself and her with the remembrance of how his mother used to get up at five o'clock and arrange all the business of the day,—how she kept all the accounts,—how she saw to everything and settled everything,—how there never were break-downs or irregularities in her system?
This would be unfair. If a man wanted such a housekeeper, why did he not get one? There were plenty of single women, who understood washing, ironing, clear-starching, cooking, and general housekeeping, better than the little canary-bird which he fell in love with, and wanted for her plumage and her song, for her merry tricks, for her bright eyes and pretty ways. Now he has got his bird, let him keep it as something fine and precious, to be cared for and watched over, and treated according to the laws of its frail and delicate nature; and so treating it, he may many years keep the charms which first won his heart. He may find, too, if he watches and is careful, that a humming-bird can, in its own small, dainty way, build a nest as efficiently as a turkey-gobbler, and hatch her eggs and bring up her young in humming-bird fashion; but to do it, she must be left unfrightened and undisturbed.
But the evils of domestic intolerance increase with the birth of children. As parents come together out of different families with ill-assorted peculiarities, so children are born to them with natures differing from their own and from each other.
The parents seize on their first new child as a piece of special property which they are forthwith to turn to their own account. The poor little waif, just drifted on the shores of Time, has perhaps folded up in it a character as positive as that of either parent; but, for all that, its future course is marked out for it, all arranged and predetermined.
John has a perfect mania for literary distinction. His own education was somewhat imperfect, but he is determined his children shall be prodigies. His first-born turns out a girl, who is to write like Madame de Stael,—to be an able, accomplished woman. He bores her with literature from her earliest years, reads extracts from Milton to her when she is only eight years old and is secretly longing to be playing with her doll's wardrobe. He multiplies governesses, spares no expense, and when, after all, his daughter turns out to be only a very pretty, sensible, domestic girl, fond of cross-stitching embroidery, and with a more decided vocation for sponge-cake and pickles than for poetry and composition, he is disappointed and treats her coldly; and she is unhappy and feels that she has vexed her parents, because she cannot be what Nature never meant her to be. If John had taken meekly the present that Mother Nature gave him, and humbly set himself to inquire what it was and what it was good for, he might have had years of happiness with a modest, amiable, and domestic daughter, to whom had been given the instinct to study household good.
But, again, a bustling, pickling, preserving, stocking-knitting, universal-housekeeping woman has a daughter who dreams over her knitting-work and hides a book under her sampler,—whose thoughts are straying in Greece, Rome, Germany,—who is reading, studying, thinking, writing, without knowing why; and the mother sets herself to fight this nature, and to make the dreamy scholar into a driving, thorough-going, exact woman-of-business. How many tears are shed, how much temper wasted, how much time lost, in such encounters!
Each of these natures, under judicious training, might be made to complete itself by cultivation of that which it lacked. The born housekeeper can never be made a genius, but she may add to her household virtues some reasonable share of literary culture and appreciation,—and the born scholar may learn to come down out of her clouds, and see enough of this earth to walk its practical ways without stumbling; but this must be done by tolerance of their nature,—by giving it play and room,—first recognizing its existence and its rights, and then seeking to add to it the properties it wants.
A driving Yankee housekeeper, fruitful of resources, can work with any tools or with no tools at all. If she absolutely cannot get a tack-hammer with a claw on one end, she can take up carpet-nails with an iron spoon, and drive them down with a flat-iron; and she has sense enough not to scold, though she does her work with them at considerable disadvantage. She knows that she is working with tools made to do something else, and never thinks of being angry at their unhandiness. She might have equal patience with a daughter unhandy in physical things, but acute and skilful in mental ones, if she once had the idea suggested to her.
An ambitious man has a son whom he destines to a learned profession. He is to be the Daniel Webster of the family. The boy has a robust, muscular frame, great physical vigor and enterprise, a brain bright and active in all that may be acquired through the bodily senses, but which is dull and confused and wandering when put to abstract book-knowledge. He knows every ship at the wharf, her build, tonnage, and sailing qualities; he knows every railroad-engine, its power, speed, and hours of coming and going; he is always busy, sawing, hammering, planing, digging, driving, making bargains, with his head full of plans, all relating to something outward and physical. In all these matters his mind works strongly, his ideas are clear, his observation acute, his conversation sensible and worth listening to. But as to the distinction between common nouns and proper nouns, between the subject and the predicate of a sentence, between the relative pronoun and the demonstrative adjective pronoun, between the perfect and the preter-perfect tense, he is extremely dull and hazy. The region of abstract ideas is to him a region of ghosts and shadows. Yet his youth is mainly a dreary wilderness of uncomprehended, incomprehensible studies, of privations, tasks, punishments, with a sense of continual failure, disappointment, and disgrace, because his father is trying to make a scholar and a literary man out of a boy whom Nature made to till the soil or manage the material forces of the world. He might be a farmer, an engineer, a pioneer of a new settlement, a sailor, a soldier, a thriving man of business; but he grows up feeling that his nature is a crime, and that he is good for nothing, because he is not good for what he had been blindly predestined to before he was born.
Another boy is a born mechanic; he understands machinery at a glance; he is all the while pondering and studying and experimenting. But his wheels and his axles and his pulleys are all swept away, as so much irrelevant lumber; he is doomed to go into the Latin School, and spend three or four years in trying to learn what he never can learn well,—disheartened by always being at the tail of his class, and seeing many a boy inferior to himself in general culture who is rising to brilliant distinction simply because he can remember those hopeless, bewildering Greek quantities and accents which he is constantly forgetting,—as, for example, how properispomena become paroxytones when the ultimate becomes long, and proparoxytones become paroxytones when the ultimate becomes long, while paroxytones with a short penult remain paroxytones. Each of this class of rules, however, having about sixteen exceptions, which hold good except in three or four other exceptional cases under them, the labyrinth becomes delightfully wilder and wilder; and the crowning beauty of the whole is, that, when the bewildered boy has swallowed the whole,—tail, scales, fins, and bones,—he then is allowed to read the classics in peace, without the slightest occasion to refer to them again during his college course.
The great trouble with the so-called classical course of education is, that it is made strictly for but one class of minds, which it drills in respects for which they have by nature an aptitude, and to which it presents scarcely enough of difficulty to make it a mental discipline, while to another and equally valuable class of minds it presents difficulties so great as actually to crush and discourage. There are, we will venture to say, in every ten boys in Boston four, and those not the dullest or poorest in quality, who could never go through the discipline of the Boston Latin School without such a strain on the brain and nervous system as would leave them no power for anything else.
A bright, intelligent boy, whose talents lay in the line of natural philosophy and mechanics, passed with brilliant success through the Boston English High School. He won the first medals, and felt all that pride and enthusiasm which belong to a successful student. He entered the Latin Classical School. With a large philosophic and reasoning brain, he had a very poor verbal and textual memory; and here he began to see himself distanced by boys who had hitherto looked up to him. They could rattle off catalogues of names; they could do so all the better from the habit of not thinking of what they studied. They could commit the Latin Grammar, coarse print and fine, and run through the interminable mazes of Greek accents and Greek inflections. This boy of large mind and brain, always behindhand, always incapable, utterly discouraged, no amount of study could place on an equality with his former inferiors. His health failed, and he dropped from school. Many a fine fellow has been lost to himself, and lost to an educated life, by just such a failure. The collegiate system is like a great coal-screen: every piece not of a certain size must fall through. This may do well enough for screening coal; but what if it were used indiscriminately for a mixture of coal and diamonds?
"Poor boy!" said Ole Bull, compassionately, when one sought to push a schoolboy from the steps of an omnibus, where he was getting a surreptitious ride. "Poor boy! let him stay. Who knows his trials? Perhaps he studies Latin."
The witty Heinrich Heine says, in bitter remembrance of his early sufferings,—"The Romans would never have conquered the world, if they had had to learn their own language. They had leisure, because they were born with the knowledge of what nouns form their accusatives in im."
Now we are not among those who decry the Greek and Latin classics. We think it a glorious privilege to read both those grand old tongues, and that an intelligent, cultivated man who is shut out from the converse of the splendid minds of those olden times loses a part of his birthright; and therefore it is that we mourn that but one dry, hard, technical path, one sharp, straight, narrow way, is allowed into so goodly a land of knowledge. We think there is no need that the study of Greek and Latin should be made such a horror. There is many a man without a verbal memory, who could neither recite in order the paradigms of the Greek verbs, nor repeat the lists of nouns that form their accusative in one termination or another, who, nevertheless, by the exercise of his faculties of comparison and reasoning, could learn to read the Greek and Latin classics so as to take their sense and enjoy their spirit; and that is all that they are worth caring for. We have known one young scholar, who could not by any possibility repeat the lists of exceptions to the rules in the Latin Grammar, who yet delightedly filled his private note-book with quotations from the "AEneid," and was making extracts of literary gems from his Greek Reader, at the same time that he was every day "screwed" by his tutor upon some technical point of the language.
Is there not many a master of English, many a writer and orator, who could not repeat from memory the list of nouns ending in y that form their plural in ies, with the exceptions under it? How many of us could do this? Would it help a good writer and fluent speaker to know the whole of Murray's Grammar by heart, or does real knowledge of a language ever come in this way?
At present the rich stores of ancient literature are kept like the savory stew which poor Dominie Sampson heard simmering in the witch's kettle. One may have much appetite, but there is but one way of getting it. The Meg Merrilies of our educational system, with her harsh voice, and her "Gape, sinner, and swallow," is the only introduction,—and so, many a one turns and runs frightened from the feast.
This intolerant mode of teaching the classical languages is peculiar to them alone. Multitudes of girls and boys are learning to read and to speak German, French, and Italian, and to feel all the delights of expatiating in the literature of a new language, purely because of a simpler, more natural, less pedantic mode of teaching these languages.
Intolerance in the established system of education works misery in families, because family pride decrees that every boy of good status in society, will he, nill he, shall go through college, or he almost forfeits his position as a gentleman.
"Not go to Cambridge!" says Scholasticus to his first-born. "Why, I went there,—and my father, and his father, and his father before him. Look at the Cambridge Catalogue and you will see the names of our family ever since the College was founded!"
"But I can't learn Latin and Greek," says young Scholasticus. "I can't remember all those rules and exceptions. I've tried, and I can't. If you could only know how my head feels when I try! And I won't be at the foot of the class all the time, if I have to get my living by digging."
Suppose, now, the boy is pushed on at the point of the bayonet to a kind of knowledge in which he has no interest, communicated in a way that requires faculties which Nature has not given him,—what occurs?
He goes through his course, either shamming, shirking, parrying, all the while consciously discredited and dishonored,—or else putting forth an effort that is a draft on all his nervous energy, he makes merely a decent scholar, and loses his health for life.
Now, if the principle of toleration were once admitted into classical education,—if it were admitted that the great object is to read and enjoy a language, and the stress of the teaching were placed on the few things absolutely essential to this result,—if the tortoise were allowed time to creep, and the bird permitted to fly, and the fish to swim, towards the enchanted and divine sources of Helicon,—all might in their own way arrive there, and rejoice in its flowers, its beauty, and its coolness.
"But," say the advocates of the present system, "it is good mental discipline."
I doubt it. It is mere waste of time.
When a boy has learned that in the genitive plural of the first declension of Greek nouns the final syllable is circumflexed, but to this there are the following exceptions: 1. That feminine adjectives and participles in [Greek: -os, -e, -on] are accented like the genitive masculine, but other feminine adjectives and participles are perispomena in the genitive plural; 2. That the substantives chrestes, aphue, etesiai, and chlounes in the genitive plural remain paroxytones, (Kuehner's Elementary Greek Grammar, page 22,)—I say, when a boy has learned this and twenty other things just like it, his mind has not been one whit more disciplined than if he had learned the list of the old thirteen States, the number and names of the newly adopted ones, the times of their adoption, and the population, commerce, mineral and agricultural wealth of each. These, too, are merely exercises of memory, but they are exercises in what is of some interest and some use.
The particulars above cited are of so little use in understanding the Greek classics that I will venture to say that there are intelligent English scholars, who have never read anything but Bohn's translations, who have more genuine knowledge of the spirit of the Greek mind, and the peculiar idioms of the language, and more enthusiasm for it, than many a poor fellow who has stumbled blindly through the originals with the bayonet of the tutor at his heels, and his eyes and ears full of the Scotch snuff of the Greek Grammar.
What then? Shall we not learn these ancient tongues? By all means. "So many times as I learn a language, so many times I become a man," said Charles V.; and he said rightly. Latin and Greek are foully belied by the prejudices created by this technical, pedantic mode of teaching them, which makes one ragged, prickly bundle of all the dry facts of the language, and insists upon it that the boy shall not see one glimpse of its beauty, glory, or interest, till he has swallowed and digested the whole mass. Many die in this wilderness with their shoes worn out before reaching the Promised Land of Plato and the Tragedians.
"But," say our college authorities, "look at England. An English schoolboy learns three times the Latin and Greek that our boys learn, and has them well drubbed in."
And English boys have three times more beef and pudding in their constitution than American boys have, and three times less of nerves. The difference of nature must be considered here; and the constant influence flowing from English schools and universities must be tempered by considering who we are, what sort of boys we have to deal with, what treatment they can bear, and what are the needs of our growing American society.
The demands of actual life, the living, visible facts of practical science, in so large and new a country as ours, require that the ideas of the ancients should be given us in the shortest and most economical way possible, and that scholastic technicalities should be reserved to those whom Nature made with especial reference to their preservation.
On no subject is there more intolerant judgment, and more suffering from such intolerance, than on the much mooted one of the education of children.
Treatises on education require altogether too much of parents, and impose burdens of responsibility on tender spirits which crush the life and strength out of them. Parents have been talked to as if each child came to them a soft, pulpy mass, which they were to pinch and pull and pat and stroke into shape quite at their leisure,—and a good pattern being placed before them, they were to proceed immediately to set up and construct a good human being in conformity therewith.
It is strange that believers in the divine inspiration of the Bible should have entertained this idea, overlooking the constant and affecting declaration of the great Heavenly Father that He has nourished and brought up children and they have rebelled against Him, together with His constant appeals,—"What could have been done more to my vineyard that I have not done in it? Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?" If even God, wiser, better, purer, more loving, admits Himself baffled in this great work, is it expedient to say to human beings that the forming power, the deciding force, of a child's character is in their hands?
Many a poor feeble woman's health has been strained to breaking, and her life darkened, by the laying on her shoulders of a burden of responsibility that never ought to have been placed there; and many a mother has been hindered from using such powers as God has given her, because some preconceived mode of operation has been set up before her which she could no more make effectual than David could wear the armor of Saul.
A gentle, loving, fragile creature marries a strong-willed, energetic man, and by the laws of natural descent has a boy given to her of twice her amount of will and energy. She is just as helpless, in the mere struggle of will and authority with such a child, as she would be in a physical wrestle with a six-foot man.
What then? Has Nature left her helpless for her duties? Not if she understands her nature, and acts in the line of it. She has no power of command, but she has power of persuasion. She can neither bend nor break the boy's iron will, but she can melt it. She has tact to avoid the conflict in which she would be worsted. She can charm, amuse, please, and make willing; and her fine and subtile influences, weaving themselves about him day after day, become more and more powerful. Let her alone, and she will have her boy yet.
But now some bustling mother-in-law or other privileged expounder says to her,—
"My dear, it's your solemn duty to break that boy's will. I broke my boy's will short off. Keep your whip in sight, meet him at every turn, fight him whenever he crosses you, never let him get one victory, and finally his will will be wholly subdued."
Such advice is mischievous, because what it proposes is as utter an impossibility to the woman's nature as for a cow to scratch up worms for her calf, or a hen to suckle her chickens.
There are men and women of strong, resolute will who are gifted with the power of governing the wills of others. Such persons can govern in this way,—and their government, being in the line of their nature, acting strongly, consistently, naturally, makes everything move harmoniously. Let them be content with their own success, but let them not set up as general education-doctors, or apply their experience to all possible cases.
Again, there are others, and among some of the loveliest and purest natures, who have no power of command. They have sufficient tenacity of will as respects their own course, but have no compulsory power over the wills of others. Many such women have been most successful mothers, when they followed the line of their own natures, and did not undertake what they never could do.
Influence is a slower acting force than authority. It seems weaker, but in the long run it often effects more. It always does better than mere force and authority without its gentle modifying power.
If a mother is high-principled, religious, affectionate, if she never uses craft or deception, if she governs her temper and sets a good example, let her hold on in good hope, though she cannot produce the discipline of a man-of-war in her noisy little flock, or make all move as smoothly as some other women to whom God has given another and different talent; and let her not be discouraged, if she seem often to accomplish but little in that great work of forming human character wherein the great Creator of the world has declared Himself at times baffled.
Family tolerance must take great account of the stages and periods of development and growth in children.
The passage of a human being from one stage of development to another, like the sun's passage across the equator, frequently has its storms and tempests. The change to manhood and womanhood often involves brain, nerves, body, and soul in confusion; the child sometimes seems lost to himself and his parents,—his very nature changing. In this sensitive state come restless desires, unreasonable longings, unsettled purposes; and the fatal habit of indulgence in deadly stimulants, ruining all the life, often springs form the cravings of this transition period.
Here must come in the patience of the saints. The restlessness must be soothed, the family hearth must be tolerant enough to keep there the boy, whom Satan will receive and cherish, them if his mother does not. The male element sometimes pours into a boy, like the tides in the Bay of Fundy, with tumult and tossing. He is noisy, vociferous, uproarious, and seems bent only on disturbance; he despises conventionalities, he hates parlors, he longs for the woods, the sea, the converse of rough men, and kicks at constraint of all kinds. Have patience now, let love have its perfect work, and in a year or two, if no deadly physical habits set in, a quiet, well-mannered gentleman will be evolved. Meanwhile, if he does not wipe his shoes, and if he will fling his hat upon the floor, and tear his clothes, and bang and hammer and shout, and cause general confusion in his belongings, do not despair; if you only get your son, the hat and clothes and shoes and noise and confusion do not matter. Any amount of toleration that keeps a boy contented at home is treasure well expended at this time of life.