The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 104, June, 1866
Author: Various
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The mode of living of Lady Ursula's brother in Kittery. A drawbridge to the house, which was raised every evening, and lowered in the morning, for the laborers and the family to pass out. They kept thirty cows, a hundred sheep, and several horses. The house spacious,—one room large enough to contain forty or fifty guests. Two silver branches for candles,—the walls ornamented with paintings and needlework. The floors were daily rubbed with wax, and shone like a mahogany-table. A domestic chaplain, who said prayers every morning and evening in a small apartment called the chapel. Also a steward and butler. The family attended the Episcopal Church at Christmas, Easter, and Good Friday, and gave a grand entertainment once a year.

Madam Cutts, at the last of these entertainments, wore a black damask gown, and cuffs with double lace ruffles, velvet shoes, blue silk stockings, white and silver stomacher. The daughter and granddaughters in rich brocades and yellow satin. Old Major Cutts in brown velvet, laced with gold, and a large wig. The parson in his silk cassock, and his helpmate in brown damask. Old General Atkinson in scarlet velvet, and his wife and daughters in white damask. The Governor in black velvet, and his lady in crimson tabby trimmed with silver. The ladies wore bell-hoops, high-heeled shoes, paste buckles, silk stockings, and enormously high head-dresses, with lappets of Brussels lace hanging thence to the waist.

Among the eatables, a silver tub of the capacity of four gallons, holding a pyramid of pancakes powdered with white sugar.

The date assigned to all this about 1690.

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What is the price of a day's labor in Lapland, where the sun never sets for six months?

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Miss Asphyxia Davis!

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A life, generally of a grave hue, may be said to be embroidered with occasional sports and fantasies.

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A father confessor,—his reflections on character, and the contrast of the inward man with the outward, as he looks around on his congregation, all whose secret sins are known to him.

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A person with an ice-cold hand,—his right hand, which people ever afterwards remember when once they have grasped it.

* * * * *

A stove possessed by a Devil.

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June 1, 1842.—One of my chief amusements is to see the boys sail their miniature vessels on the Frog Pond. There is a great variety of shipping owned among the young people, and they appear to have a considerable knowledge of the art of managing vessels. There is a full-rigged man-of-war, with, I believe, every spar, rope, and sail, that sometimes makes its appearance; and, when on a voyage across the pond, it so identically resembles a great ship, except in size, that it has the effect of a picture. All its motions,—its tossing up and down on the small waves, and its sinking and rising in a calm swell, its heeling to the breeze,—the whole effect, in short, is that of a real ship at sea; while, moreover, there is something that kindles the imagination more than the reality would do. If we see a real, great ship, the mind grasps and possesses, within its real clutch, all that there is of it; while here the mimic ship is the representation of an ideal one, and so gives us a more imaginative pleasure. There are many schooners that ply to and fro on the pond, and pilot-boats, all perfectly rigged. I saw a race, the other day, between the ship above mentioned and a pilot-boat, in which the latter came off conqueror. The boys appear to be well acquainted with all the ropes and sails, and can call them by their nautical names. One of the owners of the vessels remains on one side of the pond, and the other on the opposite side, and so they send the little bark to and fro, like merchants of different countries, consigning their vessels to one another.

Generally, when any vessel is on the pond, there are full-grown spectators, who look on with as much interest as the boys themselves. Towards sunset, this is especially the case: for then are seen young girls and their lovers; mothers, with their little boys in hand; school-girls, beating hoops round about, and occasionally running to the side of the pond; rough tars, or perhaps masters or young mates of vessels, who make remarks about the miniature shipping, and occasionally give professional advice to the navigators; visitors from the country; gloved and caned young gentlemen;—in short, everybody stops to take a look. In the mean time, dogs are continually plunging into the pond, and swimming about, with noses pointed upward, and snatching at floating ships; then, emerging, they shake themselves, scattering a horizontal shower on the clean gowns of ladies and trousers of gentlemen; then scamper to and fro on the grass, with joyous barks.

Some boys cast off lines of twine with pin-hooks, and perhaps pull out a horned-pout, that being, I think, the only kind of fish that inhabits the Frog Pond.

The ship-of-war above mentioned is about three feet from stem to stern, or possibly a few inches more. This, if I mistake not, was the size of a ship of the line in the navy of Liliput.

* * * * *

Fancy pictures of familiar places which one has never been in, as the green-room of a theatre, &c.

* * * * *

The famous characters of history,—to imagine their spirits now extant on earth, in the guise of various public or private personages.

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The case quoted in Combe's Physiology of a young man of great talents and profound knowledge of chemistry, who had in view some new discovery of importance. In order to put his mind into the highest possible activity, he shut himself up for several successive days, and used various methods of excitement. He had a singing-girl, he drank spirits, smelled penetrating odors, sprinkled Cologne-water round the room, &c., &c. Eight days thus passed, when he was seized with a fit of frenzy which terminated in mania.

* * * * *

Flesh and Blood,—a firm of butchers.

* * * * *

Miss Polly Syllable, a schoolmistress.

* * * * *

Mankind are earthen jugs with spirits in them.

* * * * *

A spendthrift,—in one sense he has his money's worth by the purchase of large lots of repentance and other dolorous commodities.


Two thousand feet in air it stands Betwixt the bright and shaded lands, Above the regions it divides And borders with its furrowed sides. The seaward valley laughs with light Till the round sun o'erhangs this height; But then the shadow of the crest No more the plains that lengthen west Enshrouds, yet slowly, surely creeps Eastward, until the coolness steeps A darkling league of tilth and wold, And chills the flocks that seek their fold.

Not like those ancient summits lone, Mont Blanc, on his eternal throne,— The city-gemmed Peruvian peak,— The sunset portals landsmen seek, Whose train, to reach the Golden Land, Crawls slow and pathless through the sand,— Or that, whose ice-lit beacon guides The mariner on tropic tides, And flames across the Gulf afar, A torch by day, by night a star,— Not thus, to cleave the outer skies, Does my serener mountain rise, Nor aye forget its gentle birth Upon the dewy, pastoral earth.

But ever, in the noonday light, Are scenes whereof I love the sight,— Broad pictures of the lower world Beneath my gladdened eyes unfurled. Irradiate distances reveal Fair nature wed to human weal; The rolling valley made a plain; Its checkered squares of grass and grain; The silvery rye, the golden wheat, The flowery elders where they meet,— Ay, even the springing corn I see, And garden haunts of bird and bee; And where, in daisied meadows, shines The wandering river through its vines, Move specks at random, which I know Are herds a-grazing to and fro.

Yet still a goodly height it seems From which the mountain pours his streams, Or hinders, with caressing hands, The sunlight seeking other lands. Like some great giant, strong and proud, He fronts the lowering thunder-cloud, And wrests its treasures, to bestow A guerdon on the realm below; Or, by the deluge roused from sleep Within his bristling forest-keep, Shakes all his pines, and far and wide Sends down a rich, imperious tide. At night the whistling tempests meet In tryst upon his topmost seat, And all the phantoms of the sky Frolic and gibber, storming by. By day I see the ocean-mists Float with the current where it lists, And from my summit I can hail Cloud-vessels passing on the gale,— The stately argosies of air,— And parley with the helmsmen there; Can probe their dim, mysterious source, Ask of their cargo and their course,— Whence come? where bound?—and wait reply, As, all sails spread, they hasten by.

If foiled in what I fain would know, Again I turn my eyes below And eastward, past the hither mead Where all day long the cattle feed, A crescent gleam my sight allures And clings about the hazy moors,— The great, encircling, radiant sea, Alone in its immensity.

Even there, a queen upon its shore, I know the city evermore Her palaces and temples rears, And wooes the nations to her piers; Yet the proud city seems a mole To this horizon-bounded whole; And, from my station on the mount, The whole is little worth account Beneath the overhanging sky, That seems so far and yet so nigh. Here breathe I inspiration rare, Unburdened by the grosser air That hugs the lower land, and feel Through all my finer senses steal The life of what that life may be, Freed from this dull earth's density, When we, with many a soul-felt thrill, Shall thrid the ether at our will, Through widening corridors of morn And starry archways swiftly borne.

Here, in the process of the night, The stars themselves a purer light Give out, than reaches those who gaze Enshrouded with the valley's haze. October, entering Heaven's fane, Assumes her lucent, annual reign: Then what a dark and dismal clod, Forsaken by the Sons of God, Seems this sad world, to those which march Across the high, illumined arch, And with their brightness draw me forth To scan the splendors of the North! I see the Dragon, as he toils With Ursa in his shining coils, And mark the Huntsman lift his shield, Confronting on the ancient field The Bull, while in a mystic row The jewels of his girdle glow Or, haply, I may ponder long On that remoter, sparkling throng, The orient sisterhood, around Whose chief our Galaxy is wound; Thus, half enwrapt in classic dreams, And brooding over Learning's gleams, I leave to gloom the under-land, And from my watch-tower, close at hand, Like him who led the favored race, I look on glory face to face!

So, on the mountain-top, alone, I dwell, as one who holds a throne; Or prince, or peasant, him I count My peer, who stands upon a mount, Sees farther than the tribes below, And knows the joys they cannot know; And, though beyond the sound of speech They reign, my soul goes out to reach, Far on their noble heights elsewhere, My brother-monarchs of the air.




"I am going to build a cathedral one of these days," said I to my wife, as I sat looking at the slant line of light made by the afternoon sun on our picture of the Cathedral of Milan.

"That picture is one of the most poetic things you have among your house ornaments," said Rudolph. "Its original is the world's chief beauty,—a tribute to religion such as Art never gave before and never can again,—as much before the Pantheon, as the Alps, with their virgin snows and glittering pinnacles, are above all temples made with hands. Say what you will, those Middle Ages that you call Dark had a glory of faith that never will be seen in our days of cotton-mills and Manchester prints. Where will you marshal such an army of saints as stands in yonder white-marble forest, visibly transfigured and glorified in that celestial Italian air? Saintship belonged to the mediaeval Church; the heroism of religion has died with it."

"That's just like one of your assertions, Rudolph," said I. "You might as well say that Nature has never made any flowers since Linnaeus shut up his herbarium. We have no statues and pictures of modern saints, but saints themselves, thank God, have never been wanting. 'As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be—'"

"But what about your cathedral?" said my wife.

"O yes!—my cathedral, yes. When my stocks in cloud-land rise, I'll build a cathedral larger than Milan's; and the men, but more particularly the women, thereon shall be those who have done even more than St. Paul tells of in the saints of old, who 'subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.' I am not now thinking of Florence Nightingale, nor of the host of women who have been walking worthily in her footsteps, but of nameless saints of more retired and private state,—domestic saints, who have tended children not their own through whooping-cough and measles, and borne the unruly whims of fretful invalids,—stocking-darning, shirt-making saints,—saints who wore no visible garment of hair-cloth, bound themselves with no belts of spikes and nails, yet in their inmost souls were marked and seared with the red cross of a life-long self-sacrifice,—saints for whom the mystical terms self-annihilation and self-crucifixion had a real and tangible meaning, all the stronger because their daily death was marked by no outward sign. No mystical rites consecrated them; no organ-music burst forth in solemn rapture to welcome them; no habit of their order proclaimed to themselves and the world that they were the elect of Christ, the brides of another life: but small eating cares, daily prosaic duties, the petty friction of all the littleness and all the inglorious annoyances of every day, were as dust that hid the beauty and grandeur of their calling even from themselves; they walked unknown even to their households, unknown even to their own souls; but when the Lord comes to build his New Jerusalem, we shall find many a white stone with a new name thereon, and the record of deeds and words which only He that seeth in secret knows. Many a humble soul will be amazed to find that the seed it sowed in such weakness, in the dust of daily life, has blossomed into immortal flowers under the eye of the Lord.

"When I build my cathedral, that woman," I said, pointing to a small painting by the fire, "shall be among the first of my saints. You see her there, in an every-day dress-cap with a mortal thread-lace border, and with a very ordinary worked collar, fastened by a visible and terrestrial breastpin. There is no nimbus around her head, no sign of the cross upon her breast; her hands are clasped on no crucifix or rosary. Her clear, keen, hazel eye looks as if it could sparkle with mirthfulness, as in fact it could; there are in it both the subtile flash of wit and the subdued light of humor; and though the whole face smiles, it has yet a certain decisive firmness that speaks the soul immutable in good. That woman shall be the first saint in my cathedral, and her name shall be recorded as Saint Esther. What makes saintliness in my view, as distinguished from ordinary goodness, is a certain quality of magnanimity and greatness of soul that brings life within the circle of the heroic. To be really great in little things, to be truly noble and heroic in the insipid details of every-day life, is a virtue so rare as to be worthy of canonization,—and this virtue was hers. New England Puritanism must be credited with the making of many such women. Severe as was her discipline, and harsh as seems now her rule, we have yet to see whether women will be born of modern systems of tolerance and indulgence equal to those grand ones of the olden times whose places now know them no more. The inconceivable austerity and solemnity with which Puritanism invested this mortal life, the awful grandeur of the themes which it made household words, the sublimity of the issues which it hung upon the commonest acts of our earthly existence, created characters of more than Roman strength and greatness; and the good men and women of Puritan training excelled the saints of the Middle Ages, as a soul fully developed intellectually, educated to closest thought, and exercised in reasoning, is superior to a soul great merely through impulse and sentiment.

"My earliest recollections of Aunt Esther, for so our saint was known, were of a bright-faced, cheerful, witty, quick-moving little middle-aged person, who came into our house like a good fairy whenever there was a call of sickness or trouble. If an accident happened in the great roistering family of eight or ten children, (and when was not something happening to some of us?) and we were shut up in a sick-room, then duly as daylight came the quick step and cheerful face of Aunt Esther,—not solemn and lugubrious like so many sick-room nurses, but with a never-failing flow of wit and story that could beguile even the most doleful into laughing at their own afflictions. I remember how a fit of the quinsy—most tedious of all sicknesses to an active child—was gilded and glorified into quite a fete by my having Aunt Esther all to myself for two whole days, with nothing to do but amuse me. She charmed me into smiling at the very pangs which had made me weep before, and of which she described her own experiences in a manner to make me think that, after all, the quinsy was something with an amusing side to it. Her knowledge of all sorts of medicines, gargles, and alleviatives, her perfect familiarity with every canon and law of good nursing and tending, was something that could only have come from long experience in those good old New England days when there were no nurses recognized as a class in the land, but when watching and the care of the sick were among those offices of Christian life which the families of a neighborhood reciprocally rendered each other. Even from early youth she had obeyed a special vocation as sister of charity in many a sick-room, and, with the usual keen intelligence of New England, had widened her powers of doing good by the reading of medical and physiological works. Her legends of nursing in those days of long typhus-fever and other formidable and protracted forms of disease were to our ears quite wonderful, and we regarded her as a sort of patron saint of the sick-room. She seemed always so cheerful, so bright, and so devoted, that it never occurred to us youngsters to doubt that she enjoyed, above all things, being with us, waiting on us all day, watching over us by night, telling us stories, and answering, in her lively and always amusing and instructive way, that incessant fire of questions with which a child persecutes a grown person.

"Sometimes, as a reward of goodness, we were allowed to visit her in her own room, a neat little parlor in the neighborhood, whose windows looked down a hillside on one hand, under the boughs of an apple orchard, where daisies and clover and bobolinks always abounded in summer time, and, on the other, faced the street, with a green yard flanked by one or two shady elms between them and the street. No nun's cell was ever neater, no bee's cell ever more compactly and carefully arranged; and to us, familiar with the confusion of a great family of little ones, there was something always inviting about its stillness, its perfect order, and the air of thoughtful repose that breathed over it. She lived there in perfect independence, doing, as it was her delight to do, every office of life for herself. She was her own cook, her own parlor and chamber maid, her own laundress; and very faultless the cooking, washing, ironing, and care of her premises were. A slice of Aunt Esther's gingerbread, one of Aunt Esther's cookies, had, we all believed, certain magical properties such as belonged to no other mortal mixture. Even a handful of walnuts that were brought from the depths of her mysterious closet had virtues in our eyes such as no other walnuts could approach. The little shelf of books that hung suspended by cords against her wall was sacred in our regard; the volumes were like no other books; and we supposed that she derived from them those stores of knowledge on all subjects which she unconsciously dispensed among us,—for she was always telling us something of metals, or minerals, or gems, or plants, or animals, which awakened our curiosity, stimulated our inquiries, and, above all, led us to wonder where she had learned it all. Even the slight restrictions which her neat habits imposed on our breezy and turbulent natures seemed all quite graceful and becoming. It was right, in our eyes, to cleanse our shoes on scraper and mat with extra diligence, and then to place a couple of chips under the heels of our boots when we essayed to dry our feet at her spotless hearth. We marvelled to see our own faces reflected in a thousand smiles and winks from her bright brass andirons,—such andirons we thought were seen on earth in no other place,—and a pair of radiant brass candlesticks, that illustrated the mantle-piece, were viewed with no less respect.

"Aunt Esther's cat was a model for all cats,—so sleek, so intelligent, so decorous and well-trained, always occupying exactly her own cushion by the fire, and never transgressing in one iota the proprieties belonging to a cat of good breeding. She shared our affections with her mistress, and we were allowed as a great favor and privilege, now and then, to hold the favorite on our knees, and stroke her satin coat to a smoother gloss.

"But it was not for cats alone that she had attractions. She was in sympathy and fellowship with everything that moved and lived; knew every bird and beast with a friendly acquaintanceship. The squirrels that inhabited the trees in the front-yard were won in time by her blandishments to come and perch on her window-sills, and thence, by trains of nuts adroitly laid, to disport themselves on the shining cherry tea-table that stood between the windows; and we youngsters used to sit entranced with delight as they gambolled and waved their feathery tails in frolicsome security, eating rations of gingerbread and bits of seed-cake with as good a relish as any child among us.

"The habits, the rights, the wrongs, the wants, and the sufferings of the animal creation formed the subject of many an interesting conversation with her; and we boys, with the natural male instinct of hunting, trapping, and pursuing, were often made to pause in our career, remembering her pleas for the dumb things which could not speak for themselves.

"Her little hermitage was the favorite resort of numerous friends. Many of the young girls who attended the village academy made her acquaintance, and nothing delighted her more than that they should come there and read to her the books they were studying, when her superior and wide information enabled her to light up and explain much that was not clear to the immature students.

"In her shady retirement, too, she was a sort of Egeria to certain men of genius, who came to read to her their writings, to consult her in their arguments, and to discuss with her the literature and politics of the day,—through all which her mind moved with an equal step, yet with a sprightliness and vivacity peculiarly feminine.

"Her memory was remarkably retentive, not only of the contents of books, but of all that great outlying fund of anecdote and story which the quaint and earnest New England life always supplied. There were pictures of peculiar characters, legends of true events stranger than romance, all stored in the cabinets of her mind; and these came from her lips with the greater force because the precision of her memory enabled her to authenticate them with name, date, and circumstances of vivid reality. From that shadowy line of incidents which marks the twilight boundary between the spiritual world and the present life she drew legends of peculiar clearness, but invested with the mysterious charm which always dwells in that uncertain region; and the shrewd flash of her eye, and the keen, bright smile with which she answered the wondering question, 'What do you suppose it was?' or, 'What could it have been?' showed how evenly rationalism in her mind kept pace with romance.

"The retired room in which she thus read, studied, thought, and surveyed from afar the whole world of science and literature, and in which she received friends and entertained children, was perhaps the dearest and freshest spot to her in the world. There came a time, however, when the neat little independent establishment was given up, and she went to associate herself with two of her nieces in keeping house for a boarding-school of young girls. Here her lively manners and her gracious interest in the young made her a universal favorite, though the cares she assumed broke in upon those habits of solitude and study which formed her delight. From the day that she surrendered this independency of hers, she had never, for more than a score of years, a home of her own, but filled the trying position of an accessory in the home of others. Leaving the boarding-school, she became the helper of an invalid wife and mother in the early nursing and rearing of a family of young children,—an office which leaves no privacy and no leisure. Her bed was always shared with some little one; her territories were exposed to the constant inroads of little pattering feet; and all the various sicknesses and ailments of delicate childhood made absorbing drafts upon her time.

"After a while she left New England with the brother to whose family she devoted herself. The failing health of the wife and mother left more and more the charge of all things in her hands; servants were poor, and all the appliances of living had the rawness and inconvenience which in those days attended Western life. It became her fate to supply all other people's defects and deficiencies. Wherever a hand failed, there must her hand be. Whenever a foot faltered, she must step into the ranks. She was the one who thought for and cared for and toiled for all, yet made never a claim that any one should care for her.

"It was not till late in my life that I became acquainted with the deep interior sacrifice, the constant self-abnegation, which all her life involved. She was born with a strong, vehement, impulsive nature,—a nature both proud and sensitive,—a nature whose tastes were passions, whose likings and whose aversions were of the most intense and positive character. Devoted as she always seemed to the mere practical and material, she had naturally a deep romance and enthusiasm of temperament which exceeded all that can be written in novels. It was chiefly owing to this that a home and a central affection of her own were never hers. In her early days of attractiveness, none who would have sought her could meet the high requirements of her ideality; she never saw her hero,—and so never married. Family cares, the tending of young children, she often confessed, were peculiarly irksome to her. She had the head of a student, a passionate love for the world of books. A Protestant convent, where she might devote herself without interruption to study, was her ideal of happiness. She had, too, the keenest appreciation of poetry, of music, of painting, and of natural scenery. Her enjoyment in any of these things was intensely vivid whenever, by chance, a stray sunbeam of the kind darted across the dusty path of her life; yet in all these her life was a constant repression. The eagerness with which she would listen to any account from those more fortunate ones who had known these things, showed how ardent a passion was constantly held in check. A short time before her death, talking with a friend who had visited Switzerland, she said, with great feeling: 'All my life my desire to visit the beautiful places of this earth has been so intense, that I cannot but hope that after my death I shall be permitted to go and look at them.'

"The completeness of her self-discipline may be gathered from the fact, that no child could ever be brought to believe she had not a natural fondness for children, or that she found the care of them burdensome. It was easy to see that she had naturally all those particular habits, those minute pertinacities in respect to her daily movements and the arrangement of all her belongings, which would make the meddling, intrusive demands of infancy and childhood peculiarly hard for her to meet. Yet never was there a pair of toddling feet that did not make free with Aunt Esther's room, never a curly head that did not look up, in confiding assurance of a welcome smile, to her bright eyes. The inconsiderate and never-ceasing requirements of children and invalids never drew from her other than a cheerful response; and to my mind there is more saintship in this than in the private wearing of any number of hair-cloth shirts or belts lined with spikes.

"In a large family of careless, noisy children there will be constant losing of thimbles and needles and scissors; but Aunt Esther was always ready, without reproach, to help the careless and the luckless. Her things, so well kept and so treasured, she was willing to lend, with many a caution and injunction it is true, but also with a relish of right good-will. And, to do us justice, we generally felt the sacredness of the trust, and were more careful of her things than of our own. If a shade of sewing-silk were wanting, or a choice button, or a bit of braid or tape, Aunt Esther cheerfully volunteered something from her well-kept stores, not regarding the trouble she made herself in seeking the key, unlocking the drawer, and searching out in bag or parcel just the treasure demanded. Never was more perfect precision, or more perfect readiness to accommodate others.

"Her little income, scarcely reaching a hundred dollars yearly, was disposed of with a generosity worthy a fortune. One tenth was sacredly devoted to charity, and a still further sum laid by every year for presents to friends. No Christmas or New Year ever came round that Aunt Esther, out of this very tiny fund, did not find something for children and servants. Her gifts were trifling in value, but well timed,—a ball of thread-wax, a paper of pins, a pincushion,—something generally so well chosen as to show that she had been running over our needs, and noting what to give. She was no less gracious as receiver than as giver. The little articles that we made for her, or the small presents that we could buy out of our childish resources, she always declared were exactly what she needed; and she delighted us by the care she took of them and the value she set upon them.

"Her income was a source of the greatest pleasure to her, as maintaining an independence without which she could not have been happy. Though she constantly gave, to every family in which she lived, services which no money could repay, it would have been the greatest trial to her not to be able to provide for herself. Her dress, always that of a true gentlewoman,—refined, quiet, and neat,—was bought from this restricted sum, and her small travelling expenses were paid out of it. She abhorred anything false or flashy: her caps were trimmed with real thread-lace, and her silk dresses were of the best quality, perfectly well made and kept; and, after all, a little sum always remained over in her hands for unforeseen exigencies.

"This love of independence was one of the strongest features of her life, and we often playfully told her that her only form of selfishness was the monopoly of saintship,—that she who gave so much was not willing to allow others to give to her,—that she who made herself servant of all was not willing to allow others to serve her.

"Among the trials of her life must be reckoned much ill-health; borne, however, with such heroic patience that it was not easy to say when the hand of pain was laid upon her. She inherited, too, a tendency to depression of spirits, which at times increased to a morbid and distressing gloom. Few knew or suspected these sufferings, so completely had she learned to suppress every outward manifestation that might interfere with the happiness of others. In her hours of depression she resolutely forbore to sadden the lives of those around her with her own melancholy, and often her darkest moods were so lighted up and adorned with an outside show of wit and humor, that those who had known her intimately were astonished to hear that she had ever been subject to depression.

"Her truthfulness of nature amounted almost to superstition. From her promise once given she felt no change of purpose could absolve her; and therefore rarely would she give it absolutely, for she could not alter the thing that had gone forth from her lips. Our belief in the certainty of her fulfilling her word was like our belief in the immutability of the laws of nature. Whoever asked her got of her the absolute truth on every subject, and, when she had no good thing to say, her silence was often truly awful. When anything mean or ungenerous was brought to her knowledge, she would close her lips resolutely; but the flash in her eyes showed what she would speak were speech permitted. In her last days she spoke to a friend of what she had suffered from the strength of her personal antipathies. 'I thank God,' she said, 'that I believe at last I have overcome all that too, and that there has not been, for some years, any human being toward whom I have felt a movement of dislike.'

"The last year of her life was a constant discipline of unceasing pain, borne with that fortitude which could make her an entertaining and interesting companion even while the sweat of mortal agony was starting from her brow. Her own room she kept as a last asylum, to which she would silently retreat when the torture became too intense for the repression of society, and there alone, with closed doors, she wrestled with her agony. The stubborn independence of her nature took refuge in this final fastness; and she prayed only that she might go down to death with the full ability to steady herself all the way, needing the help of no other hand.

"The ultimate struggle of earthly feeling came when this proud self-reliance was forced to give way, and she was obliged to leave herself helpless in the hands of others. 'God requires that I should give up my last form of self-will,' she said; 'now I have resigned this, perhaps he will let me go home.'

"In a good old age, Death, the friend, came and opened the door of this mortal state, and a great soul, that had served a long apprenticeship to little things, went forth into the joy of its Lord; a life of self-sacrifice and self-abnegation passed into a life of endless rest."

"But," said Rudolph, "I rebel at this life of self-abnegation and self-sacrifice. I do not think it the duty of noble women, who have beautiful natures and enlarged and cultivated tastes, to make themselves the slaves of the sick-room and nursery."

"Such was not the teaching of our New England faith," said I. "Absolute unselfishness,—the death of self,—such were its teachings, and such as Esther's the characters it made. 'Do the duty nearest thee,' was the only message it gave to 'women with a mission'; and from duty to duty, from one self-denial to another, they rose to a majesty of moral strength impossible to any form of mere self-indulgence. It is of souls thus sculptured and chiselled by self-denial and self-discipline that the living temple of the perfect hereafter is to be built. The pain of the discipline is short, but the glory of the fruition is eternal."


The historian who, without qualification of his statement, should date the commencement of our late civil war from the attack on Fort Sumter, instead of the first attempt by the slaveholders to render a single property interest paramount in the relations of the country, would prove himself unfit for his task. The battles fought in the press, pulpit, and forum, in ante-war days, were as much agencies in the great conflict as the deadlier ones fought since, on land and sea. Men strove in the former, as in the latter case, for the extension of the slave system on one side, and for its total suppression on the other; and it is the proud distinction of the early partisans of freedom to be recognized now as the pioneers—the advance-guard—of the armed hosts who at last won the victory for humanity.

This view of the actual beginning of the war makes the facts in the lives of those antislavery men who took the lead in the good fight, and especially of such as died with their armor on, of the utmost value to the historian. We therefore propose to offer a contribution to the record, by tracing the career of one who acted a distinguished part in the struggle, as an antislavery journalist.

Gamaliel Bailey was born in New Jersey,—a State where antislavery men, or, indeed, men of progress in any direction, are so far from being a staple growth, that they can barely be said to be indigenous to her soil. His birthday was December 3, 1807. He was the son of a Methodist preacher noted for his earnestness and devotion to the duties of his calling. His mother was a woman of active brain and sympathetic heart. It was from her, as is not unusual with men of marked traits, that the son derived his distinguishing mental characteristics. His education was such as was obtainable in the private schools of Philadelphia, which, whatever their advantages to others, were not particularly well calculated to prepare young Bailey for the study of the learned profession he subsequently chose; and he had to seek, without their aid, the classical knowledge necessary to a mastery of the technicalities of medical science. Nevertheless he graduated with credit in the Jefferson Medical College, and at so early an age—for he was then only twenty—that the restriction in its charter deprived him of the usual diploma for a year. The statutes of New Jersey, however, while forbidding him to prescribe for the physical ailments of her citizens, did not pronounce him too young to undertake the mental training of her children, and he eagerly availed himself of the pedagogue's privilege of bending the twigs of mind amid the pine forests of his native State. By the time he was entitled to his diploma, he was satisfied that the overdraught upon his vitality had been so great, during his college years, as utterly to unfit him for the field of action on which, but a twelvemonth before, he had been so desirous to enter. A sea voyage was chosen as the best means of resting his brain while strengthening his body and preparing it for the heavy demands which his profession would naturally make.

Having, with the scanty income from his year's teaching, equipped himself for his voyage, he obeyed at once the dictates of necessity and of judgment, and shipped on a vessel bound for China. Instead of a successful physician winning golden opinions from all, Dr. Bailey was now a common sailor before the mast, receiving from his superiors oaths or orders as the case might be. The ship's destination was Canton, and its arrival in port was attended by such an unusual amount of sickness among the crew, that it became necessary to assign young Bailey the office of surgeon. This he filled with promptness and skill, and when the vessel set sail for Philadelphia, the sailor was again found at his post, performing his duties as acceptably as could have been expected from a greenhorn on his first cruise. Once more on his native shore, and in some degree reinvigorated by travel, he opened his office for the practice of medicine. At the end of three months he found himself out of patients, and in a situation far from enjoyable to one of his active temperament.

But, luckily for Dr. Bailey, whatever it may have been for the church of his fathers, just at this time the so-called "Radicals" had begun their reform movement against Methodist Episcopacy, which resulted in the secession of a number of the clergy and laity, principally in the Middle States, and the organization of the Methodist Protestants. These "Radicals" had their head-quarters at Baltimore. There they started an organ under the title of "The Methodist Protestant," and to the editorship of this journal Dr. Bailey was called. His youthful inexperience as a writer was not the only remarkable feature of this engagement; for he had not even the qualification of being at that time a professor of religion. His connection with "The Methodist Protestant" was a brief one; but it was terminated by lack of sufficient funds to sustain a regular editor, and not by lack of ability in the editor.

Dr. Bailey was again adrift, and we next find him concerned in "Kelley's Expedition to Oregon." This had been projected at St. Louis, which was to be its starting-point; and thither hastened our adventurous young physician—to learn that the expedition, having had little more to rest upon than that baseless fabric so often supplied by printers' ink, was an utter failure. Finding himself without funds to pay for the costly means of conveyance then used in the West, he made his way back as far as Cincinnati on foot. Soon after his arrival there the cholera broke out. This presented an aspect of affairs rather inviting to a courageous spirit. He gladly embraced the opening for practice; and, happening to be known to some of the faculty of the place, he was recommended for the appointment of Physician to the Cholera Hospital. Thus he was soon introduced to the general confidence of the profession and the public, and seemed to be on the highway to fame. Dr. Eberlie, a standard medical authority at that day, as he still is among many practitioners of the old school in the West, was then preparing his work on the Diseases of Children, and he availed himself of Dr. Bailey's aid. This opened an unexpected field to the latter for the exercise of his ability as a writer; and the work in question contains abundant evidence that he would have succeeded in the line of medical authorship. But circumstances proved unfavorable to his connection with Dr. Eberlie, and he again devoted himself to the practice of his profession, in which he continued for a time with great success.

At this date, however, an event of great interest occurred in connection with the agitation of the slavery question,—an event exercising a most decided influence on the career of Dr. Bailey,—in fact, changing entirely the current of his eventful life. We allude to the discussions of slavery at Lane Seminary, and the memorable expulsion of a number of the students for their persistence in promulging antislavery doctrines. Dr. Bailey was then engaged at the Seminary in the delivery of a course of lectures on Physiology. He became interested in the pending discussion, and espoused the proslavery side. For this his mind had probably been unconsciously prepared by the current of thought in Cincinnati, then under the mercantile control of her proslavery customers from Kentucky and other Southern States. But erelong he appeared as a convert to the antislavery side of the discussion. This he himself was wont to attribute, in great part, to the light which an honest comparison of views threw upon the subject; but it is evident that his conversion was somewhat accelerated by the expulsion of his antislavery antagonists in debate. Following the lead of these new sympathies, he became (in 1835) editorially associated with that great pioneer advocate of freedom, James G. Birney, whose venerated name has been so honorably connected with the recent triumph of the Union arms, through the courage of three of his sons. The paper was "The Cincinnati Philanthropist," so well remembered by the earlier espousers of antislavery truth. The association continued about a year. Dr. Bailey then became sole editor of the Philanthropist, and soon after sole proprietor. It was from the pages of this journal that a series of antislavery tracts were reprinted, which had not a little to do in giving fresh impulse to the discussions of that day. They were entitled "Facts for the People."

The relation of Dr. Bailey to a journal which was regarded by the slave-owners as the organ of their worst enemies made him a marked man, and called him to endure severe and unexpected ordeals. In 1836, his opponents incited against him the memorable mob, whose first act was the secret destruction of his press at midnight. Soon after the riot raged openly, and not only destroyed the remaining contents of his printing-office, but the building itself. Mr. Birney, being the older and more conspicuous of the offenders, was of course more emphatically the object of the mob's wrath than the junior associate. But the latter shared with him the personal perils of the day, while bearing the brunt of the pecuniary losses. As is usual in such outbreaks, after three days of fury, the lawless spirit of the people subsided. There was a repetition of violence in 1840, however, and during another three days' reign of terror two more presses were destroyed. But such was the indomitable energy of the man in whose person and property the constitutional liberty of the press was thus assailed, that in three weeks the Philanthropist was again before the public, sturdily defending the truth it was established to proclaim; and this, be it remembered, when the press-work of even weekly journals was not let out, in Cincinnati, as jobs for "lightning presses," but was done in the proprietors' own offices, on presses to be obtained only from distant manufactories.

It was in this year that the Liberty party, of which Dr. Bailey was a prominent leader, entered for the first time into the Presidential contest, with James G. Birney as its candidate.

Not yet satiated, the spirit of mob violence manifested itself a third time in 1843; but it was suppressed by the interference of the military power, and its demonstration was followed by a growth of liberal sentiment altogether unlooked for. Availing himself of this favorable change, Dr. Bailey started a daily paper to which the name of "The Herald" was given.

The unprecedented ordeal through which Dr. Bailey had passed, involving not only his family, but Mr. Birney, Mr. Clawson, and other friends of his enterprise, was, after all, but needful training for the subsequent work allotted to the reformer. He continued the publication of the Daily Herald, and the Philanthropist also, but under the name of "The Weekly Herald and Philanthropist," until 1847. With a growing family and a meagre income, the intervening years marked a season of self-denial to himself and his excellent wife such as few, even among reformers, have been called to pass through. And yet through all his poverty his cheerfulness was unfaltering, and inspired all who came in contact with him. There was a better day before him,—better in a pecuniary as well as a political sense. He had now fairly won a reputation throughout the country for courage and ability as an antislavery journalist. A project for establishing an antislavery organ at the seat of the national government had been successfully carried out by the Executive Committee of the American and Foreign Antislavery Society, under the lead of that now venerable and esteemed pioneer of freedom, Lewis Tappan. The editorial charge of it was tendered, with great propriety, to Dr. Bailey, and was accepted. He entered upon his duties as editor in chief of "The National Era" in January, 1847, with the Reverend Amos A. Phelps, now deceased, and John G. Whittier, as corresponding editors, and L. P. Noble as publishing agent. "The Daily Herald" and "The Weekly Herald and Philanthropist" were transferred to Messrs. Sperry and Matthews, with Stanley Matthews as editor; but the political ambition of the latter prevented his continuing the paper in the steadfast antislavery tone of his predecessor, and it soon ceased to appear.[B]

The establishment of the National Era, while it furnished a most appropriate field for Dr. Bailey's talents, also marked an era in the antislavery history of the country. At the centres of all governments there is found a fulcrum whose value politicians have long since demonstrated by its use,—too frequently for the most unworthy purposes. There had always been organs for conservatism at Washington, but none for progress. There were numbers of bold thinkers throughout the country, who had found, here and there, a representative of their ideas in the government. But they had no newspaper to keep watch and ward over him, or to correctly report his acts to his constituents,—no vehicle through which they could bring their thoughts to bear upon him or others. This was furnished by the National Era. But this was not the only direction in which it proved useful. It enabled the friends of emancipation everywhere to communicate freely with those against whose gigantic system of wrong they felt it their duty to wage war, where such were found willing to read their antagonists' arguments, instead of taking them as perverted by proslavery journals.

The first effect of the Era upon the local antislavery journals which it found in existence was, unquestionably, to excite not a little apprehension and jealousy among their conductors. Naturally they felt that the national reputation of Dr. Bailey and his assistants, aided by a central position, was calculated to detract from their own importance in the estimation of their patrons. But, besides this, there was the actual fact of the Era's large supply of original and high-toned literary matter, added to the direct and reliable Congressional news it was expected to furnish, which stared them threateningly in the face. And we well remember now what pain these petty jealousies gave to the sensitive nature of our departed friend. But these gradually subsided, until there was hardly an antislavery editor of average discernment who did not come to see that a national organ like the Era, by legitimating discussion and keeping up the heat and blaze of a vigorous agitation, at the nation's very centre, against that nation's own giant crime, would prove a benefit, in the end, to all colaborers worthy of the name. And the increase of antislavery journals, as well as of vigor in conducting them, in the period subsequent to 1847, proved that this was the correct view.

Although now so favorably placed for contest with his great foe, Dr. Bailey was here subjected to a renewal of the assaults which had become painfully familiar in the West. His paper had not been in existence more than fifteen months when an event occurred which, although he had in it no agency whatever, brought down upon his devoted head a fourth discharge of the vials of popular wrath. Some seventy or eighty slaves attempted to escape from Washington in the steamer Pearl, and instantly the charge of complicity was laid at his door. His office and dwelling were surrounded by a furious crowd, including a large proportion of office-holding F.F.V.'s, and some "gentlemen of property and standing." These gentlemen threatened the entire destruction of the press and type of the Era, while the editor's personal safety, with that of his family, was again put in peril for the space of three terrific days. The Federal metropolis had never known such days since the torch applied by a foreign foe had wrapped the first Capitol in flames. The calm self-possession of Dr. Bailey, when he made his appearance unarmed before the swaying mob, and addressed them from the steps of his dwelling,—as described by the late Dr. Houston in a letter to the New York Tribune, from notes taken while he was concealed in the house,—was such that, while disarming the leaders with the simple majesty of the truth, it did not fail to produce a reaction even in the most exasperated members of the mob.

It would indeed be an interesting task to trace the public influence of this last demonstration, for it offered phases of interest to both parties. It is sufficient to say, that the Era's unmolested existence ever after was simply due to the instincts of self-preservation in the community. The issue was practically presented to the owners of real estate in the District, whether freedom of debate on all topics of public concern should be tolerated there, or the capital be removed to some Western centre. The bare possibility of this event was more than the slaveholding land-owners could face, and produced the desired effect. The continuance of the paper once acquiesced in, the tact of its editor, aided by that remarkable suavity of manners which made him a favorite in the private circles of Washington, was sufficient to forever forbid the probability of a second mob. And thenceforward the Era increased in influence as well as circulation. The latter, indeed, soon reached a figure which entitled it to a share of government patronage, while the former commanded the respect even of the enemies of the cause it defended.

But this is not all that is to be said of the Era. To that paper belongs the honor of introducing to the world the story of "Uncle Tom's Cabin." Although reference has frequently been made to the origin of this wonderful fiction, the facts of its inception and growth have never been given to the public. These are so curious, that we are happy to be able to present what politicians would call the "secret history" of this book. The account was furnished to a friend by Dr. Bailey himself, when about to embark for Europe, on his first voyage for health, in 1853; the manuscript, now used for the first time, was hurriedly penned, without expectation of its appearance in print, and therefore has all the dashing freedom which might be looked for in a communication from one friend to another. We give it verbatim, that it may serve for a souvenir, as well as a contribution to the literary history of the time.

"NEW YORK, May 27, 1853.

"In the beginning of the year 1851, as my custom has been, I sent remittances to various writers whom I wished to furnish contributions to the Era, during that volume. Among these was Mrs. Stowe. I sent her one hundred dollars, saying to her that for that sum she might write as much as she pleased, what she pleased, and when she pleased. I did not dream that she would attempt a novel, for she had never written one. Some time in the summer she wrote me that she was going to write me a story about 'How a Man became a Thing.' It would occupy a few numbers of the Era, in chapters. She did not suppose or dream that it would expand to a novel, nor did I. She changed the title to 'Uncle Tom's Cabin,' and commenced it in August. I read two or three of the first chapters, to see that everything was going on right, and read no more then. She proceeded,—the story grew,—it seemed to have no end,—everybody talked of it. I thought the mails were never so irregular, for none of my subscribers was willing to lose a single number of the Era while the story was going on. Mrs. Bailey attracted my attention by her special devotion to it, and Mr. Chase always read it before anything else. Of the hundreds of letters received weekly, renewing subscriptions or sending new ones, there was scarcely one that did not contain some cordial reference to Uncle Tom. I wrote to Mrs. Stowe, and told her that, although such a story had not been contracted for, and I had, in my programme, limited my remittance to her to one hundred dollars, yet, as the thing had grown beyond all our calculations, I felt bound to make her another remittance. So I sent her two hundred dollars more. The story was closed early in the spring of 1852. I had not yet read it; but I wrote to Mrs. Stowe that, as I had not contemplated so large an outlay in my plans for the volume, as the paper had not received so much pecuniary benefit from its publication as it would have done could my readers have foreseen what it was to be, and as my large circulation had served as a tremendous advertisement for the work, which was now about to be published separately, and of which she held the copyright alone, I supposed that I ought not to pay for it so much as if these circumstances had not existed. But I simply stated the case to her,—submitted everything to her judgment,—and would pay her additional just exactly what she should determine was right. She named one hundred dollars more; this I immediately remitted. And thus terminated my relations with 'Uncle Tom's Cabin,' but not with its author, who is still engaged as a regular contributor to the Era. Dr. Snodgrass is hereby commended to Mr. Clephane [Dr. Bailey's clerk], who is authorized to hand him any letters between Mrs. Stowe and myself that may aid him in his undertaking."

It may be proper to say that the "undertaking" referred to contemplated a biographical sketch, not of Dr. Bailey, but of his distinguished contributor,—a project the execution of which circumstances did not favor, and which was therefore abandoned.

"Uncle Tom's Cabin," and the remarkable introduction of its author to fame and pecuniary fortune, were not the only results of a similar character referable to the Era. Mrs. Southworth also made her literary debut in the same journal. Previous to her connection with the Era, she had only published some short sketches in the Baltimore Saturday Visiter, over her initial "E," or "Emma" at most; and even these signatures gave her much trouble, as her letters to the editor plainly indicated, so fearful was she of the recognition and unfavorable criticism of her friends. She had a painful lack of confidence in her own ability. Just before the transfer of the subscription list of the Visiter to the Era, she had sent in a story. To this, against her earnest protest, the editor had affixed her entire name, and the story, prepared for the Visiter, was transferred with its list to the Era, and was there published, in spite of the deprecations of Mrs. Southworth. It served the purpose intended. The attention of Dr. Bailey was called to one until then unknown to him, although residing in the same city, and he at once gave her a paying engagement in his journal. This brought her under new influences, which resulted in her conversion to the principles of the antislavery reform,—a conversion whose fruits have since been shown in her deeds as well as her writings. And thus commenced the literary career of another successful author, who, but for the existence of the Era, would probably have been left to struggle on in the adversity from which her pen has so creditably set her free.

Unduly encouraged by the success of his weekly journal, Dr. Bailey started a daily edition of the Era. Having committed himself to continue it for a year without regard to pecuniary results, he did so, and here the publication ceased. The experiment cost him heavily. This, however, he anticipated, though he of course also anticipated ultimate profit, notwithstanding the warning which he had received from the equally unlucky experiment of the Cincinnati Daily Herald. In a letter to the writer of this, dated December 18, 1853, he said: "I start the Daily with the full expectation of sinking five thousand dollars on it. Of course I can afford no extra expenses, but must do nearly all the work on it myself,"—a statement which shows at once the hopefulness and the energy of our friend's disposition.

Dr. Bailey died at sea, while on his way to Europe, on the fifth day of June, 1859. It was the second voyage thither which he had undertaken within a few years, for the benefit of his broken health. His body was brought home and interred at Washington. With its editor died the National Era; for it was discontinued soon after his decease.

Mr. Raymond of the New York Daily Times, who was a fellow-passenger with Dr. Bailey, wrote an account of his last hours for his paper, which has by no means lost its melancholy interest. "I gathered from his conversation," says Mr. Raymond, "that he did not consider himself to be very ill, at least, that his lungs were not affected, but that a long-continued dyspepsia, and the nervous excitement which his labors had induced, had combined to bring about the weakness under which he suffered. For the first two or three days he was upon deck for the greater part of the time. The weather was fresh, though not unpleasantly cold, and the sea not rough enough to occasion any considerable discomfort. The motion, however, affected him disagreeably. He slept badly, had no appetite, and could relish nothing but a little fruit now and then. His eldest son was with him, and attended upon him with all a fond son's solicitude. Except myself, I do not think he had another acquaintance on board. He was cheerful and social, and talked with interest of everything connected with public affairs at home and abroad. He suffered some inconvenience from the fact that his room was below, and that he could only reach it by descending two flights of stairs. We occasionally made a couch of cushions for him upon deck, when he became fatigued; but this made him too conspicuous for his taste, and he seemed uneasily fearful of attracting attention to himself as an invalid. After Tuesday the sea became remarkably smooth, and so continued to the end of the voyage. But it brought him no relief; his strength failed with failing appetite; and on Thursday, from staying too long on deck, he took cold, which confined him to his room next day. Otherwise he seemed about as usual through that day and Saturday, and on Sunday morning seemed even better, saying that he had slept unusually well, and felt strengthened and refreshed. He took some slight nourishment, and attempted to get up from his berth without assistance; the effort was too much for him, however, and his son, who had left his room at his request, but stood at the door, saw him fall as he attempted to stand. He at once went in, raised him, and laid him upon the couch. Seeing that he was greatly distressed in breathing, he went immediately for Dr. Smith, the surgeon of the ship. I met him on deck, and, hearing of his father's condition, went at once to his room. I found him wholly unconscious, breathing with difficulty, but perfectly quiet, and seemingly asleep. Drs. Beale and Dubois were present, and endeavored to give him a stimulant, but he was unable to swallow, and it was evident that he was dying. He continued in this state for about half an hour; his breathing became slower and slower, until finally it ceased altogether, and that was all! Not a movement of a muscle, not a spasm or a tremor of any kind, betrayed the moment when his spirit took its departure. An infant, wearied with play on a summer's eve, could not have fallen asleep more gently."

As mourners over him who thus passed away in the very prime of manhood, there were left a wife, whose maiden name was Maria L. Shands, and who was the daughter of a Methodist preacher and planter of Sussex County, Virginia, and six children, three sons and three daughters. In Mrs. Bailey her husband had found a woman of rare intelligence as well as courage, whose companionship proved most sustaining and consoling amid the trials of his eventful life. She and five of their children still live to revere his memory. Two of the survivors are sons; and it is pleasant to add that one of these has done honor to his parentage, as well as to himself, by continuing what is virtually the same good fight, as a commander of colored troops, under General William Birney, the son of the very James G. Birney who was Dr. Bailey's editorial associate in Cincinnati.

Subjected as Dr. Bailey was so frequently to the fury of mobs, and the pressure of social opposition and pecuniary want, he led the hosts of Antislavery Reform into the very stronghold of the enemy's country; and to say that he maintained his position with integrity and success is but to pronounce the common praise of his contemporaries and colaborers. As a writer he was clear and logical to an uncommon degree, carrying certain conviction to the mind, wherever it was at all open to the truth; and with the rare habit of stating fairly the position of his opponent, he never failed of winning his respect and his confidence. The death of such a man was well calculated to fill the friends of progress throughout the world with unfeigned regret. Especially must they lament that he departed too soon to witness the triumph of liberty, for which it had so long been his pleasure "to labor and to wait."

We learn with much satisfaction, that a "Life of Dr. Bailey" is in course of preparation, with the sanction of Mrs. Bailey, which, while affording much valuable information concerning the antislavery events of the past, will also offer space, wanting here, to do full justice to the memory of this estimable man.


[B] These facts are given because of an erroneous statement which crept into the brief though kind biographical notice of Dr. Bailey in "The New American Cyclopaedia," to the effect that the subscription list of the Philanthropist was transferred with its editor to the National Era. It was the list of "The Saturday Visiter," published for many years, as an antislavery journal, at Baltimore, which was transferred to the Era, together with the services of its editor and proprietor (J. E. Snodgrass) as special correspondent and publishing agent at that important point. This arrangement admirably served to secure to the Era a circulation in Southern communities where the Visiter had already found its way, and where it would otherwise have been difficult to introduce a paper which was notoriously the central organ of Abolitionism.



He was gone for good, this time.

At the fair the wrestling was ended, and the tongues going over it all again, and throwing the victors; the greasy pole, with leg of mutton attached by ribbons, was being hoisted, and the swings flying, and the lads and lasses footing it to the fife and tabor, and the people chattering in groups; when the clatter of a horse's feet was heard, and a horseman burst in and rode recklessly through the market-place; indeed, if his noble horse had been as rash as he was, some would have been trampled under foot. The rider's face was ghastly: such as were not exactly in his path had time to see it, and wonder how this terrible countenance came into that merry place. Thus, as he passed, shouts of dismay arose, and a space opened before him, and then closed behind him with a great murmur that followed at his heels.

Tom Leicester was listening, spell-bound, on the outskirts of the throng, to the songs and humorous tirades of a pedler selling his wares; and was saying to himself, "I too will be a pedler." Hearing the row, he turned round, and saw his master just coming down with that stricken face.

Tom could not read his own name in print or manuscript; and these are the fellows that beat us all at reading countenances: he saw in a moment that some great calamity had fallen on Griffith's head; and nature stirred in him. He darted to his master's side, and seized the bridle. "What is up?" he cried.

But Griffith did not answer nor notice. His ears were almost deaf, and his eyes, great and staring, were fixed right ahead; and, to all appearance, he did not see the people. He seemed to be making for the horizon.

"Master! for the love of God, speak to me," cried Leicester. "What have they done to you? Whither be you going, with the face of a ghost?"

"Away, from the hangman," shrieked Griffith, still staring at the horizon. "Stay me not; my hands itch for their throats; my heart thirsts for their blood; but I'll not hang for a priest and a wanton." Then he suddenly turned on Leicester, "Let thou go, or—" and he lifted his heavy riding-whip.

Then Leicester let go the rein, and the whip descended on the horse's flank. He went clattering furiously over the stones, and drove the thinner groups apart like chaff, and his galloping feet were soon heard fainter and fainter till they died away in the distance. Leicester stood gaping.

* * * * *

Griffith's horse, a black hunter of singular power and beauty, carried his wretched master well that day. He went on till sunset, trotting, cantering, and walking, without intermission; the whip ceased to touch him, the rein never checked him. He found he was the master, and he went his own way. He took his broken rider back into the county where he had been foaled. But a few miles from his native place they came to the "Packhorse," a pretty little roadside inn, with farm-yard and buildings at the back. He had often baited here in his infancy; and now, stiff and stumbling with fatigue, the good horse could not pass the familiar place; he walked gravely into the stable-yard, and there fairly came to an end; craned out his drooping head, crooked his limbs, and seemed of wood. And no wonder. He was ninety-three miles from his last corn.

Paul Carrick, a young farrier, who frequented the "Packhorse," happened just then to be lounging at the kitchen door, and saw him come in. He turned directly, and shouted into the house, "Ho! Master Vint, come hither. Here's Black Dick come home, and brought you a worshipful customer."

The landlord bustled out of the kitchen, crying, "They are welcome both." Then he came lowly louting to Griffith, cap in hand, and held the horse, poor immovable brute; and his wife courtesied perseveringly at the door.

Griffith dismounted, and stood there looking like one in a dream.

"Please you come in, sir," said the landlady, smiling professionally.

He followed her mechanically.

"Would your worship be private? We keep a parlor for gentles."

"Ay, let me be alone," he groaned.

Mercy Vint, the daughter, happened to be on the stairs and heard him: the voice startled her, and she turned round directly to look at the speaker; but she only saw his back going into the room, and then he flung himself like a sack into the arm-chair.

The landlady invited him to order supper: he declined. She pressed him. He flung a piece of money on the table, and told her savagely to score his supper, and leave him in peace.

She flounced out with a red face, and complained to her husband in the kitchen.

Harry Vint rung the crown-piece on the table before he committed himself to a reply. It rang like a bell. "Churl or not, his coin is good," said Harry Vint, philosophically. "I'll eat his supper, dame, for that matter."

"Father," whispered Mercy, "I do think the gentleman is in trouble."

"And that is no business of mine, neither," said Harry Vint.

Presently the guest they were discussing called loudly for a quart of burnt wine.

When it was ready, Mercy offered to take it in to him. She was curious. The landlord looked up rather surprised; for his daughter attended to the farm, but fought shy of the inn and its business.

"Take it, lass, and welcome for me," said Mrs. Vint, pettishly.

Mercy took the wine in, and found Griffith with his head buried in his hands.

She stood awhile with the tray, not knowing what to do.

Then, as he did not move, she said softly, "The wine, sir, an if it please you."

Griffith lifted his head, and turned two eyes clouded with suffering upon her. He saw a buxom, blooming young woman, with remarkably dove-like eyes that dwelt with timid, kindly curiosity upon him. He looked at her in a half-distracted way, and then put his hand to the mug. "Here's perdition to all false women!" said he, and tossed half the wine down at a single draught.

"'T is not to me you drink, sir," said Mercy, with gentle dignity. Then she courtesied modestly and retired, discouraged, not offended.

The wretched Griffith took no notice,—did not even see he had repulsed a friendly visitor. The wine, taken on an empty stomach, soon stupefied him, and he staggered to bed.

He awoke at daybreak: and O the agony of that waking!

He lay sighing awhile, with his hot skin quivering on his bones, and his heart like lead; then got up and flung his clothes on hastily, and asked how far to the nearest seaport.

Twenty miles.

He called for his horse. The poor brute was dead lame.

He cursed that good servant for going lame. He walked round and round like a wild beast, chafing and fuming awhile; then sank into a torpor of dejection, and sat with his head bowed on the table all day.

He ate scarcely any food; but drank wine freely, remarking, however, that it was false-hearted stuff, did him no good, and had no taste as wine used to have. "But nothing is what it was," said he. "Even I was happy once. But that seems years ago."

"Alas! poor gentleman; God comfort you," said Mercy Vint, and came, with the tears in her dove-like eyes, and said to her father, "To be sure his worship hath been crossed in love; and what could she be thinking of? Such a handsome, well-made gentleman!"

"Now that is a wench's first thought," said Harry Vint; "more likely lost his money, gambling, or racing. But, indeed, I think 't is his head is disordered, not his heart. I wish the 'Packhorse' was quit of him, maugre his laced coat. We want no kill-joys here."

That night he was heard groaning, and talking, and did not come down at all.

So at noon Mrs. Vint knocked at his door. A weak voice bade her enter. She found him shivering, and he asked her for a fire.

She grumbled, out of hearing, but lighted a fire.

Presently his voice was heard hallooing. He wanted all the windows open, he was so burning hot.

The landlady looked at him, and saw his face was flushed and swollen; and he complained of pain in all his bones. She opened the windows, and asked him would he have a doctor sent for. He shook his head contemptuously.

However, towards evening, he became delirious, and raved and tossed, and rolled his head as if it was an intolerable weight he wanted to get rid of.

The females of the family were for sending at once for a doctor; but the prudent Harry demurred.

"Tell me, first, who is to pay the fee," said he. "I've seen a fine coat with the pockets empty, before to-day."

The women set up their throats at him with one accord, each after her kind.

"Out, fie!" said Mercy; "are we to do naught for charity?"

"Why, there's his horse, ye foolish man," said Mrs. Vint.

"Ay, ye are both wiser than me," said Harry Vint, ironically. And soon after that he went out softly.

The next minute he was in the sick man's room, examining his pockets. To his infinite surprise he found twenty gold pieces, a quantity of silver, and some trinkets.

He spread them all out on the table, and gloated on them with greedy eyes. They looked so inviting, that he said to himself they would be safer in his custody than in that of a delirious person, who was even now raving incoherently before him, and could not see what he was doing. He therefore proceeded to transfer them to his own care.

On the way to his pocket, his shaking hand was arrested by another hand, soft, but firm as iron.

He shuddered, and looked round in abject terror; and there was his daughter's face, pale as his own, but full of resolution. "Nay, father," said she; "I must take charge of these: and well do you know why."

These simple words cowed Harry Vint, so that he instantly resigned the money and jewels, and retired, muttering that "things were come to a pretty pass,"—"a man was no longer master in his own house," etc., etc., etc.

While he inveighed against the degeneracy of the age, the women paid him no more attention than the age did, but just sent for the doctor. He came, and bled the patient. This gave him a momentary relief; but when, in the natural progress of the disease, sweating and weakness came on, the loss of the precious vital fluid was fatal, and the patient's pulse became scarce perceptible. There he lay, with wet hair, and gleaming eyes, and haggard face, at death's door.

An experienced old crone was got to nurse him, and she told Mrs. Vint he would live may be three days.

* * * * *

Paul Carrick used to come to the "Packhorse" after Mercy Vint, and, finding her sad, asked her what was the matter.

"What should it be," said she, "but the poor gentleman a-dying overhead; away from all his friends."

"Let me see him," said Paul.

Mercy took him softly into the room.

"Ay, he is booked," said the farrier, "Doctor has taken too much blood out of the man's body. They kill a many that way."

"Alack, Paul! must he die? Can naught be done?" said Mercy, clasping her hands.

"I don't say that, neither," said the farrier. "He is a well-made man: he is young, I might save him, perhaps, if I had not so many beasts to look to. I'll tell you what you do. Make him soup as strong as strong; have him watched night and day, and let 'em put a spoonful of warm wine into him every hour, and then of soup; egg flip is a good thing, too; change his bed-linen, and keep the doctors from him: that is his only chance; he is fairly dying of weakness. But I must be off. Farmer Blake's cow is down for calving; I must give her an ounce of salts before 't is too late."

Mercy Vint scanned the patient closely, and saw that Paul Carrick was right. She followed his instructions to the letter, with one exception. Instead of trusting to the old woman, of whom she had no very good opinion, she had the great arm-chair brought into the sick-room, and watched the patient herself by night and day; a gentle hand cooled his temples; a gentle hand brought concentrated nourishment to his lips; and a mellow voice coaxed him to be good and swallow it. There are voices it is not natural to resist; and Griffith learned by degrees to obey this one, even when he was half unconscious.

At the end of three days this zealous young nurse thought she discerned a slight improvement, and told her mother so. Then the old lady came and examined the patient, and shook her head gravely. Her judgment, like her daughter's, was influenced by her wishes.

The fact is, both landlord and landlady were now calculating upon Griffith's decease. Harry had told her about the money and jewels, and the pair had put their heads together, and settled that Griffith was a gentleman highwayman, and his spoil would never be reclaimed after his decease, but fall to those good Samaritans, who were now nursing him, and intended to bury him respectably. The future being thus settled, this worthy couple became a little impatient; for Griffith, like Charles the Second, was "an unconscionable time dying."

We order dinner to hasten a lingering guest; and, with equal force of logic, mine host of the "Packhorse" spoke to White, the village carpenter, about a full-sized coffin; and his wife set the old crone to make a linen shroud, unobtrusively, in the bake-house.

On the third afternoon of her nursing, Mercy left her patient, and called up the crone to tend him. She herself, worn out with fatigue, threw herself on a bed in her mother's room, hard by, and soon fell asleep.

She had slept about two hours when she was wakened by a strange noise in the sick-chamber. A man and a woman quarrelling.

She bounded off the bed, and was in the room directly.

Lo and behold, there were the nurse and the dying man abusing one another like pickpockets.

The cause of this little misunderstanding was not far to seek. The old crone had brought up her work: videlicet, a winding-sheet all but finished, and certain strips of glazed muslin about three inches deep. She soon completed the winding-sheet, and hung it over two chairs in the patient's sight; she then proceeded to double the slips in six, and nick them; then she unrolled them, and they were frills, and well adapted to make the coming corpse absurd, and divest it of any little dignity the King of Terrors might bestow on it.

She was so intent upon her congenial task that she did not observe the sick man had awakened, and was viewing her and her work with an intelligent but sinister eye.

"What is that you are making?" said he, grimly.

The voice was rather clear, and strong, and seemed so loud and strange in that still chamber, that it startled the woman mightily. She uttered a little shriek, and then was wroth. "Plague take the man!" said she; "how you scared me. Keep quiet, do; and mind your own business." [The business of going off the hooks.]

"I ask you what is that you are making," said Griffith, louder, and raising himself on his arm.

"Baby's frills," replied the woman, coolly, recovering that contempt for the understandings of the dying which marks the veritable crone.

"Ye lie," said Griffith. "And there is a shroud. Who is that for?"

"Who should it be for, thou simple body? Keep quiet, do, till the change comes. 'T won't be long now; art too well to last till sundown."

"So 't is for me, is it?" screamed Griffith. "I'll disappoint ye yet. Give me my clothes. I'll not lie here to be measured for my grave, ye old witch."

"Here's manners!" cackled the indignant crone. "Ye foul-mouthed knave! is this how you thank a decent woman for making a comfortable corpse of ye, you that has no right to die in your shoes, let a be such dainties as muslin neck-ruff, and shroud of good Dutch flax."

At this Griffith discharged a volley in which "vulture," "hag," "blood-sucker," etc., blended with as many oaths: during which Mercy came in.

She glided to him, with her dove's eyes full of concern, and laid her hand gently on his shoulder. "You'll work yourself a mischief," said she; "leave me to scold her. Why, my good Nelly, how could ye be so hare-brained? Prithee take all that trumpery away this minute: none here needeth it, nor shall not this many a year, please God."

"They want me dead," said Griffith to her, piteously, finding he had got one friend, and sunk back on his pillow exhausted.

"So it seems," said Mercy, cunningly. "But I'd balk them finely. I'd up and order a beef-steak this minute."

"And shall," said Griffith, with feeble spite. "Leastways, do you order it, and I'll eat it: —— d—n her!"

Sick men are like children; and women soon find that out, and manage them accordingly. In ten minutes Mercy brought a good rump-steak to the bedside, and said, "Now for 't. Marry come up, with her winding-sheets!"

Thus played upon, and encouraged, the great baby ate more than half the steak; and soon after perspired gently, and fell asleep.

Paul Carrick found him breathing gently, with a slight tint of red in his cheek, and told Mercy there was a change for the better. "We have brought him to a true intermission," said he; "so throw in the bark at once."

"What, drench his honor's worship!" said Mercy, innocently. "Nay, send thou the medicine, and I'll find womanly ways to get it down him."

Next day came the doctor, and whispered softly to Mrs. Vint, "How are we all up stairs?"

"Why couldn't you come afore?" replied Mrs. Vint, crossly. "Here's Farrier Carrick stepped in, and curing him out of hand,—the meddlesome body."

"A farrier rob me of my patient!" cried the doctor, in high dudgeon.

"Nay, good sir, 't is no fault of mine. This Paul is a sort of a kind of a follower of our Mercy's: and she is mistress here, I trow."

"And what hath his farriership prescribed? Friar's balsam, belike."

"Nay, I know not; but you may soon learn, for he is above, physicking the gentleman (a pretty gentleman!) and suiting to our Mercy—after a manner."

The doctor declined to make one in so mixed a consultation.

"Give me my fee, dame," said he; "and as for this impertinent farrier, the patient's blood be on his head; and I'd have him beware the law."

Mrs. Vint went to the stair-foot, and screamed, "Mercy, the good doctor wants his fee. Who is to pay it, I wonder?"

"I'll bring it him anon," said a gentle voice; and Mercy soon came down and paid it with a willing air that half disarmed professional fury.

"'T is a good lass, dame," said the doctor, when she was gone; "and, by the same token, I wish her better mated than to a scrub of a farrier."

* * * * *

Griffith, still weak, but freed of fever, woke one glorious afternoon, and heard a bird-like voice humming a quaint old ditty, and saw a field of golden wheat through an open window, and seated at that window the mellow songstress, Mercy Vint, plying her needle, with lowered lashes but beaming face, a picture of health and quiet womanly happiness. Things were going to her mind in that sick-room.

He looked at her, and at the golden corn and summer haze beyond, and the tide of life seemed to rush back upon him.

"My good lass," said he, "tell me, where am I? for I know not."

Mercy started, and left off singing, then rose and came slowly towards him, with her work in her hand.

Innocent joy at this new symptom of convalescence flushed her comely features, but she spoke low.

"Good sir, at the 'Packhorse,'" said she, smiling.

"The 'Packhorse'? and where is that?"

"Hard by Allerton village."

"And where is that? not in Cumberland?"

"Nay, in Lancashire, your worship. Why, whence come you that know not the 'Packhorse,' nor yet Allerton township? Come you from Cumberland?"

"No matter whence I come. I'm going on board ship,—like my father before me."

"Alas, sir, you are not fit; you have been very ill, and partly distraught."

She stopped; for Griffith turned his face to the wall, with a deep groan. It had all rushed over him in a moment.

Mercy stood still, and worked on, but the water gathered in her eyes at that eloquent groan.

By and by Griffith turned round again, with a face of anguish, and filmy eyes, and saw her in the same place, standing, working, and pitying.

"What, are you there still?" said he, roughly.

"Ay, sir; but I'll go, sooner than be troublesome. Can I fetch you anything?"

"No. Ay, wine; bring me wine to drown it all."

She brought him a pint of wine.

"Pledge me," said he, with a miserable attempt at a smile.

She put the cup to her lips, and sipped a drop or two; but her dove's eyes were looking up at him over the liquor all the time. Griffith soon disposed of the rest, and asked for more.

"Nay," said she, "but I dare not: the doctor hath forbidden excess in drinking."

"The doctor! What doctor?"

"Doctor Paul," said she, demurely. "He hath saved your life, sir, I do think."

"Plague take him for that!"

"So say not I."

Here, she left him with an excuse. "'T is milking time, sir; and you shall know that I am our dairymaid. I seldom trouble the inn."

Next day she was on the window-seat, working and beaming. The patient called to her in peevish accents to put his head higher. She laid down her work with a smile, and came and raised his head.

"There, now, that is too high," said he; "how awkward you are."

"I lack experience, sir, but not good will. There, now, is that a little better?"

"Ay, a little. I'm sick of lying here. I want to get up. Dost hear what I say? I—want—to get up."

"And so you shall. As soon as ever you are fit. To-morrow, perhaps. To-day you must e'en be patient. Patience is a rare medicine."

* * * * *

Tic, tic, tic! "What a noise they are making down stairs. Go, lass, and bid them hold their peace."

Mercy shook her head. "Good lack-a-day! we might as well bid the river give over running; but, to be sure, this comes of keeping a hostelry, sir. When we had only the farm, we were quiet, and did no ill to no one."

"Well, sing me, to drown their eternal buzzing: it worries me dead."

"Me sing! alack, sir, I'm no songster."

"That is false. You sing like a throstle. I dote on music; and, when I was delirious, I heard one singing about my bed; I thought it was an angel at that time, but 't was only you, my young mistress: and now I ask you, you say me nay. That is the way with you all. Plague take the girl, and all her d——d, unreasonable, hypocritical sex. I warrant me you'd sing, if I wanted to sleep, and dance the Devil to a standstill."

Mercy, instead of flouncing out of the room, stood looking on him with maternal eyes, and chuckling like a bird. "That is right, sir: tax us all to your heart's content. O, but I'm a joyful woman to hear you; for 't is a sure sign of mending when the sick take to rating of their nurses."

"In sooth, I am too cross-grained," said Griffith, relenting.

"Not a whit, sir, for my taste. I've been in care for you: and now you are a little cross, that maketh me easy."

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