"I think he was a wise and good and enterprising man."
"But are rather skeptical about that San Salvador story. A wise course. Never decide till both sides have been fairly presented. 'He that judgeth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him,' said the wise man. Occasionally his after-judgment is equally discreditable. That is a thousand times worse. Exit Clio. Enter—well!—Geographia. My young friend, what celebrated city has the honor of concentrating the laws, learning, and literature of Massachusetts, to wit, namely, is its capital?"
"My dear, your Geography has evidently been attended to. You have learned the basis fact. You have discovered the pivot on which the world turns. You have dug down to the ante-diluvian, ante-pyrean granite,—the primitive, unfused stratum of society. The force of learning can no farther go. Armed with that fact, you may march fearlessly forth to do battle with the world, the flesh, and—the—ahem—the King of Beasts! Do you think you should like me for a teacher?"
"I can't tell, Sir. I did not like you as anything awhile ago."
"But you like me better now? You think I improve on acquaintance? You detect signs of a moral reformation?"
"No, Sir, I don't like you now. I only don't dislike you so much as I did."
"Spoken like a major-general, or, better still, like a brave little Yankee girl, as you are. I am an enthusiastic admirer of truth. I foresee we shall get on famously. I was rather premature in sounding the state of your affections, it must be confessed,—but we shall be rare friends by-and-by. On the whole, you are not particularly fond of books?"
"I like some books well enough, but not studying-books," said Ivy, with a sigh, "and I don't see any good in them. If it wasn't for mamma, I never would open one,—never! I would just as soon be a dunce as not; I don't see anything very horrid in it."
"An opinion which obtains with a wonderfully large proportion of our population, and is applied in practice with surprising success. There is a distinction, however, my dear young lady, which you must immediately learn to make. The dunce subjective is a very inoffensive animal, contented, happy, and harmless; and, as you justly remark, inspires no horror, but rather an amiable and genial self-complacency. The dunce objective, on the contrary, is of an entirely different species. He is a bore of the first magnitude,—a poisoned arrow, that not only pierces, but inflames,—a dull knife, that not only cuts, but tears,—a cowardly little cur, that snaps occasionally, but snarls unceasingly; whom, which, and that, it becomes the duty of all good citizens to sweep from the face of the earth."
"What is the difference between them? How shall one know which is which?"
"The dunce subjective is the dunce from his own point of view,—the dunce with his eyes turned inward,—confining his duncehood to the bosom of his family. The dunce objective is the dunce butting against his neighbor's study-door,—intruding, obtruding, protruding his insipid folly and still more insipid wisdom at all times and seasons. He is a creature utterly devoid of shame. He is like Milton's angels, in one respect at least: you may thrust him through and through with the two-edged sword of your satire, and at the end he shall be as intact and integral as at the beginning. Am I sufficiently obvious?"
"It is very obvious that I am both, according to your definition."
"It is very obvious that you are neither, I beg to submit, but a sensible young girl,—with no great quantity of the manufactured article, perhaps, but plenty of raw material, capable of being wrought into fabric of the finest quality."
"Do you really think I can learn?" asked Ivy, with a bright blush of pleasure.
"As much as if I went to school?"
"My dear miss, as the forest oak, 'cabined, cribbed, confined' with multitudes of its fellows, grows stunted, scrubby, and dwarfed, but, brought into the open fields alone, stretches out its arms to the blue heavens and its roots to the kindly earth, so that the birds of the air lodge in the branches thereof, and men sit under its shadow with great delight,—so, in a word, shall you, under my fostering care, flourish like a green bay-tree; that is, if I am to have the honor."
"Yes, Sir, I mean—I meant—I was thinking as if you were teaching me—I mean were going to teach me."
"Which I also mean, if time and the favoring gods allow, and your parents continue to wish it."
"Oh, they won't care!"
"No, Sir, they will be glad, I think. Papa, at least, will be glad to have me stay at home."
"Did not they direct you to come to me to-day?"
Ivy blushed deeply, and replied, in a low voice, "No, Sir; I knew mamma would not let me come, if I asked her."
"And to prevent any sudden temptation to disobedience, and a consequent forfeiture of your peace of mind, you took time by the forelock and came on your own responsibility?"
"Very ingenious, upon my word! An accomplished casuist! A born Jesuit! But, my dear Miss Geer, I must confess I have not this happy feminine knack of keeping out of the way of temptation. I should prefer to consult your friends, even at the risk of losing the pleasure of your society."
"Oh, yes, Sir! I don't care, now it is all settled."
And so, over hill-side, along wood-path, and through meadow-land, with light heart and smiling eyes, tripped Ivy back again. To Mrs. Geer shelling peas in the shady porch, and to Mr. Geer fanning himself with his straw hat on the steps beside her, Ivy recounted the story of her adventures. Mrs. Geer was thunderstruck at Ivy's temerity; Mr. Geer was lost in admiration of her pluck. Mrs. Geer termed it a wild-goose chase; Mr. Geer declared Ivy to be as smart as a steel trap. Mrs. Geer vetoed the whole plan; Mr. Geer didn't know. But when at sunset Mr. Clerron rode over, and admired Mr. Geer's orchard, and praised the points of his Durhams, and begged a root of Mrs. Geer's scarlet verbena, and assured them he should be very glad to refresh his own early studies, and also to form an acquaintance with the family,—he knew very few in the village,—and if Mrs. Geer would drive over when Ivy came to recite,—or perhaps they would rather he should come to their house. Oh, no! Mrs. Geer could not think of that. Just as they pleased. Mrs. Simm, the housekeeper, would be very glad of Mrs. Geer's company while Miss Ivy was reciting, in case Mrs. Geer should not wish to listen; and the house and grounds would be shown by Mrs. Simm with great pleasure. By the way, Mrs. Simm was a thrifty and sensible woman, and he was sure they would be mutually pleased.—When, in short, all this and much more had been said, it was decided that Ivy should be regularly installed pupil of Mr. Felix Clerron.
"Eureka!" cries the professional novel-reader, that far-sighted and keen-scented hound that snuffs a dnouement afar off; and anon there rises before his eyes the vision of poor little Stella drinking in love and learning, especially love, from the divine eyes of the anything but divine Swift,—of Shirley, the lioness, the pantheress, the leopardess, the beautiful, fierce creature, sitting, tamed, quiet, meek, by the side of Louis Moore, her tutor and master,—and of all the legends of all the ages wherein Beauty has sat at the feet of Wisdom, and Love has crept in unawares, and spoiled the lesson while as yet half-unlearnt;—so he cries, "She is going the way of all heroines. The man and the girl,—they will fall in love, marry, and live happily all the rest of their days."
Of course they will. Is there any reason why they should not? If any man can show just cause why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter forever hold his peace.
I repeat it, of course they will. You surely cannot suppose I should, in cold blood, sit down to write a story in which nobody was to fall in love or be in love! Sir, scoff as you may, love is the one vital principle in all romance. Not only does your cheek flush and your eye sparkle, till "heart, brain, and soul are all on fire," over the burning words of some Brontean Pythoness, but when you open the last thrilling work of Maggie Marigold, and are immediately submerged "in a weak, washy, everlasting flood" of insipidity, twaddle, bosh, and heart-rending sorrow, you do not shut the book with a jerk. Why not? Because in the dismal distance you dimly descry two figures swimming, floating, struggling towards each other, and a languid soupon of curiosity detains you till you have ascertained, that, after infinite distress, Adolphus and Miranda have made
"One of the very best matches, Both well mated for life: She's got a fool for her husband, He's got a fool for his wife."
Sir, scoff as you may, love is the one sunbeam of poetry that gilds with a softened splendor the hard, bare outline of many a prosaic life. "Work, work, work, from weary chime to chime"; tramp behind the plough, hammer on the lapstone, beat the anvil, drive the plane, "from morn till dewy eve"; but when the dewy eve comes, ah! Hesperus gleams soft and golden over the far-off pinetrees, but
"The star that lightens your bosom most, And gives to your weary feet their speed, Abides in a cottage beyond the mead."
It is useless to assert that the subject is worn threadbare. Threadbare it may be to you, enervated and blas man of pleasure, worn and hardened man of the world; but it is not for you I write. The fountain which leaps up fresh and living in every new life can never be exhausted till the springs of all life are dry. Tell me, O lover, gazing into those tender eyes uplifted to yours, twining the silken rings around your bronzed finger, pressing reverently the warm lips consecrated to you,—does it abate one jot or tittle of your happiness to know that eyes just as tender, curls just as silken, lips just as red, have stirred the hearts of men for a thousand years?
Love, then, is a sine qua non in stories; and if love, why not marriage? What pleasure can a humane and benevolent man find in separating two individuals whose chief, perhaps whose sole happiness, consists in being together? For certain inscrutable reasons, Divine Benevolence permits evil to exist in the world. All who have a taste for misery can find it there in exhaustless quantities. Johns are every day falling in love with Katys, but marrying Isabels, and Isabels the same, mutatis mutandis. We submit to it because there is no alternative; and we believe that good shall finally be wrought and wrested from evil. Don't, for heaven's sake, let us in mere wantonness introduce into our novel-world the work of our own hand, an abridged edition, a daguerreotype copy of the world without, of which we know so little and so much. I always do and always shall read the last page of a novel first; and if I perceive there any indications that matters are not coming out "shipshape," my reading invariably terminates with the last page.
For the rest, please to remember that I am not writing about a princess of the blood, nor of the days of the bold barons, but only the life of a quiet little girl in a quiet little town in the eastern part of Massachusetts; and so far as my experience and observation go, men and women in the eastern part of Massachusetts are not given to thrilling adventures, hairbreadth escapes, wonderful concatenations of circumstances, and blood and thunder generally,—but pursue the even tenor of their way, and of their love, with a sober and delightful equanimity. If you want a plot, go to the "Children of the Abbey," "Consuelo," and myriads of that kin, and help yourself. As for me, I must confess I hate plots. I see no pleasure in stumbling blindfolded through a story, unable to see a yard ahead, fancying every turn to be the last, and the road to go straight on to a glorious goal,—and, lo! we are in a more hopeless labyrinth than ever. I have a sense of restraint. I want to breathe freely, and can't. I want to have leisure to observe the style, the development of character, the author's tone of thought, and not be galloped through on the back of a breathless desire to know "how they are coming out."
But, my dear plot-loving friend, be easy. I will not leave you in the lurch. I am not going to marry my man and woman out of hand. An obstacle, of which I suppose you have never heard,—an obstacle entirely new, fresh, and unhackneyed, will arise; so, I pray you, let patience have her perfect work.
Wonderful was the new world opened to Ivy Geer. It was as if a corpse, cold, inert, lifeless, had suddenly sprung up, warm, invigorated, informed with a spirit which led her own spell-bound. Grammar,—Grammar, which had been a synonyme for all that was dry, irksome, useless,—a beating of the wind, the crackling of thorns under a pot,—Grammar even assumed for her a charm, a wonder, a glory. She saw how the great and wise had shrined in fitting words their purity, and wisdom, and sorrow, and suffering, and penitence; and how, as this generation passed away, and another came forth which knew not God, the golden casket became dim, and the memory of its priceless gem faded away; but how, at the touch of a mighty wand, the obedient lid flew back, and the long-hidden thought "sprang full-statured in an hour." She saw how love and beauty and freedom lay floating vaguely and aimlessly in a million minds till the poet came and crystallized them into clear-cut, prismatic words, tinged for each with the color of his own fancy, and wrought into a perfect mosaic, not for an age, but for all time. Led by a strong hand, she trod with reverent awe down the dim aisles of the Past, and saw how the soul of man, bound in its prison-house, had ever struggled to voice itself in words. Roaming in the dense forest with the stern and bloody Druid,—bounding over the waves with the fierce pirates who supplanted them, and in whose blue eyes and beneath whose fair locks gleamed indeed the ferocity of the savage, but lurked also, though unseen and unknown, the tender chivalry of the English gentleman,—gazing admiringly on the barbaric splendor of the cloth-of-gold, whereon trod regally, to the sound of harp and viol, the beauty and bravery of the old Norman nobility, she delighted to see how the mother-tongue, our dear mother-tongue, had laid all the nations under contribution to enrich her treasury,—gathering from one its strength, from another its stateliness, from a third its harmony, till the harsh, crude, rugged dialect of a barbarous horde became worthy to embody, as it does, the love, the wisdom, and the faith of half a world.
So Grammar taught Ivy to reverence language.
History, in the light of a guiding mind, ceased to be a bare record of slaughter and crime. Before her eyes filed, in a statelier pageant than they knew, the long procession of "simple great ones gone for ever and ever by," and the countless lesser ones whose names are quenched in the darkness of a night that shall know no dawn. She saw the "great world spin forever down the ringing grooves of change"; but amid all the change, the confusion, the chaos, she saw the finger of God ever pointing, and heard the sublime monotone of the Divine voice ever saying to the children of men, "This is the way, walk ye in it." And Ivy thought she saw, and rejoiced in the thought, that, even when this warning was unheeded,—when on the brow of the mournful Earth "Ichabod, Ichabod," was forever engraven,—when the First Man with his own hand put from him the cup of innocence, and went forth from the happy garden, sin-stained and fallen, the whole head sick, and the whole heart faint,—even then she saw within him the divine spark, the leaven of life, which had power to vitalize and vivify what Crime had smitten with death. Though sea and land teemed with strange perils, though night and day pursued him with mysterious terrors, though the now unfriendly elements combined to check his career, still, with unswerving purpose, undaunted courage, she saw him march constantly forward. Spirits of evil could not drive from his heart the prescience of greatness; and his soul dwelt calmly under the foreshadow of a mighty future.
And as Ivy looked, she saw how the children of men became a great nation, and possessed the land far and wide. They delved into the bosom of the pleased earth, and brought forth the piled-up treasures of uncounted cycles. They unfolded the book of the skies, and sought to read the records thereon. They plunged into the unknown and terrible ocean, and decked their own brows with the gems they plucked from hers. And when conquered Nature had laid her hoards at their feet, their restless longings would not be satisfied. Brave young spirits, with the dew of their youth fresh upon them, set out in quest of a land beyond their ken. Over the mountains, across the seas, through the forests, there came to the ear of the dreaming girl the measured tramp of marching men, the softer footfalls of loving women, the pattering of the feet of little children. Many a day and many a night she saw them wander on towards the setting sun, till the Unseen Hand led them to a fair and fruitful country that opened its bounteous arms in welcome. Broad rivers, green fields, laughing valleys wooed them to plant their household gods,—and the foundations of Europe were laid. Here were sown the seeds of those heroic virtues which have since leaped into luxuriant life,—seeds of that irresistible power which fastened its grasp on Nature and forced her to unfold the secret of her creation,—seeds of that far-reaching wisdom which in the light of the unveiled past has read the story of the unseen future.
And still under Ivy's eye they grouped themselves. Some gathered on the pleasant hills of the sunny South, and the beauty of earth and sea and sky passed into their souls forever. They caught the evanescent gleam, the passing shadow, and on unseemly canvas limned it for all time in forms of unuttered and unutterable loveliness. They shaped into glowing life the phantoms of grace that were always flitting before their enchanted eyes, and poured into inanimate marble their rapt and passionate souls. They struck the lyre to wild and stirring songs whose tremulous echoes still linger along the corridors of Time. Some sought the icebound North, and grappled with dangers by field and flood. They hunted the wild dragon to his mountain-fastnesses, and fought him at bay, and never quailed. Death, in its most fearful forms, they met with grim delight, and chanted the glories of the Valhalla waiting for heroes who should forever quaff the "foaming, pure, and shining mead" from skulls of foes in battle slain. Some crossed the sea, and on
"that pale, that white-faced shore, Whose foot spurns back tho ocean's swelling tide,"
they reared a sinewy and stalwart race, whose "morning drum-beat encircles the world."
And History taught Ivy to reverence man.
But there was one respect in which Ivy was both pupil and teacher. Never a word of Botany had fallen upon her ears; but through all the unconscious bliss of infancy, childhood, and girlhood, for sixteen happy years, she had lived among the flowers, and she knew their dear faces and their wild-wood names. She loved them with an almost human love. They were to her companions and friends. She knew their likings and dislikings, their joys and sorrows,—who among them chose the darkest nooks of the old woods, and who bloomed only to the brightest sunlight,—who sent their roots deep down among the mosses by the brook, and who smiled only on the southern hill-side. Around each she wove a web of beautiful individuality, and more than one had received from her a new christening. It is true, that, when she came to study from a book, she made wry faces over the long, barbarous, Latin names which completely disguised her favorites, and in her heart deemed a great many of the definitions quite superfluous; but she had strong faith in her teacher, and when the technical was laid aside for the real, then, indeed, "her foot was on her native heath, and her name was MacGregor." A wild and merry chase she led her grave instructor. Morning, noon, or night, she was always ready. Under the blue sky, breathing the pure air, treading the green turf familiar from her infancy, she could not be otherwise than happy; but when was superadded to this the companionship of a mind vigorous, cultivated, and refined, she enjoyed it with a keen and intense delight. Nowhere else did her soul so entirely unfold to the genial light of this new sun which had suddenly mounted above her horizon. Nowhere else did the freshness and fulness and splendor of life dilate her whole being with a fine ecstasy.
And what was the end of all this? Just what you would have supposed. She had led a life of simple, unbounded love and trust,—a buoyant, elastic gladness,—a dream of sunshine. No gray cloud had ever lowered in her sky, no thunderbolt smitten her joys, no winter rain chilled her warmth. Only the white fleeciness of morning mist had flitted sometimes over her summer-sky, deepening the blue. Little cooling drops had fluttered down through the leafiness, only to span her with a rainbow in the glory of the setting sun. But the time had come. From the deep fountains of her heart the stone was to be rolled away. The secret chord was to be smitten by a master-hand,—a chord which, once stirred, may never cease to quiver.
At first Ivy worshipped very far off. Her friend was to her the embodiment of all knowledge and goodness and greatness. She marvelled to see him so at home in what was to her so strange. Every word that fell from his lips was an oracle. She secretly contrasted him with all the men she had ever met, to the utter discomfiture of the latter. Washington, the Apostle Paul, and Peter Parley were the only men of the past or present whom she considered at all worthy to be compared with him; and in fact, if these three men and Felix Clerron had all stood before her, and offered each a different opinion on any given subject, I have scarcely a doubt as to whose would have commended itself to her as combining the soundest practical wisdom and the highest Christian benevolence.
So the summer passed on, and her shyness wore off,—and their intimacy became less and less that of teacher and pupil, and more and more that of friend and friend. With the sudden awakening of her intellectual nature, there woke also another power, of whose existence she had never dreamed. It was natural, that, in ranging the fields of thought so lately opened to her, she should often revert to him whose hand had unbarred the gates; she was therefore not startled that the image of Felix Clerron was with her when she sat down and when she rose up, when she went out and when she came in. She ceased, indeed, to think of him. She thought him. She lived him. Her soul fed on his life. And so—and so—by a pleasant and flowery path, there came into Ivy's heart the old, old pain.
Now the thing was on this wise:—
One morning, when she went to recite, she did not find Mr. Clerron in the library, where he usually awaited her. After spending a few moments in looking over her lessons, she rose and was about to pass to the door to ring, when Mrs. Simm looked in, and, seeing Ivy, informed her that Mr. Clerron was in the garden, and desired her to come out. Ivy immediately followed Mrs. Simm into the garden. On the south side of the house was a piazza two stories high. Along the pillars which supported it a trellis-work had been constructed, reaching several feet above the roof of the piazza. About this climbed a vigorous grape-vine, which not only completely screened nearly the whole front of the piazza, but, reaching the top of the trellis, shot across, by the aid of a few pieces of fine wire, and overran a part of the roof of the house. Thus the roof of the piazza was the floor of a beautiful apartment, whose walls and ceiling were broad, rustling, green leaves, among which drooped now innumerable heavy clusters of rich purple grapes.
From behind this leafy wall a well-known voice cried, "Hail to thee, my twining vine!" Ivy turned and looked up, with the uncertain, inquiring smile we often wear when conscious that, though unseeing, we are not unseen; and presently two hands parted the leaves far enough for a very sunshiny smile to gleam down on the upturned face.
"Oh, I wish I could come up there!" cried Ivy, clasping her hands with childish eagerness.
"The wish is father to the deed."
"Be sure you may."
"But how shall I get in?"
"Are you afraid to come up the ladder?"
"No, I don't mean that; but how shall I get in where you are, after I am up?"
"Oh, never fear! I'll draw you in safely enough."
"Lorful heart! Miss Ivy, what are you going to do?" cried Mrs. Simm, in terror.
Ivy was already on the third round of the ladder, but she stopped and answered, hesitatingly,—"He said I might."
"He said you might, yes," continued Mrs. Simm,—talking to Ivy, but at Mr. Clerron, with whom she hardly dared to remonstrate in a more direct way. "And if he said you might throw yourself down Vineyard Cliff, it don't follow that you are bound to do it. He goes into all sorts of hap-hazard scrapes himself, but you can't follow him."
"But it looks so nice up there," pleaded Ivy, "and I have been twice as high at home. I don't mind it at all."
"If your father chooses to let you run the risk of your life, it's none of my look-out, but I a'n't going to have you breaking your neck right under my nose. If you want to get up there, I'll show you the way in the house, and you can step right out of the window. Just wait till I've told Ellen about the dinner."
As Mrs. Simm disappeared, Mr. Clerron said softly to Ivy, "Come!"—and in a moment Ivy bounded up the ladder and through an opening in the vine, and stood by his side.
"I'm ready now, Miss Ivy," said Mrs. Simm, reappearing. "Miss Ivy! Where is the child?"
A merry laugh greeted her.
"Oh, you good-for-nothing!" cried the good-natured old housekeeper, "you'll never die in your bed."
"Not for a good while, I hope," answered Mr. Clerron.
Then he made Ivy sit down by him, and took from the great basket the finest cluster of grapes.
"Is that reward enough for coming?"
"Coming into so beautiful a place as this is like what you read yesterday about poetry to Coleridge, 'its own exceeding great reward.'"
"And you don't want the grapes?"
"I don't know that I have any intrinsic objection to them as a free gift. It was only the principle that I opposed."
"Very well, we will go shares, then. You may have half for the free gift, and I will have half for the principle. Little tendril, you look as fresh as the morning."
"Don't I always?"
"I should say there was a little more dew than usual. Stand up and let me survey you, if perchance I may discover the cause."
Ivy rose, made a profound curtsy, and then turned slowly around, after the manner of the revolving fashion-figures in a milliner's window.
"I don't know," continued Mr. Clerron, when Ivy, after a couple of revolutions, resumed her seat. "You seem to be the same. I think it must be the frock."
"I don't wear a frock. I don't think it would improve my style of beauty, if I did. Papa wears one sometimes."
"And what kind of a frock, pray, does 'papa' wear?"
"Oh, a horrid blue thing. Comes about down to his knees. Made of some kind of woollen stuff. Horrid!"
"And what name do you give to that white thing with blue sprigs in it?"
"This is a dress."
"No. This, and your collar, and hat, and shoes, and sash are your dress. This is a frock."
Ivy shook her head doubtfully.
"You know a great deal, I know."
"So you informed me once before."
"Oh, don't mention that!" said Ivy, blushing, and quickly added, "Do you know I have discovered the reason why you like me this morning?"
"And every morning."
"Go on. What is the reason?"
"It is because I clear-starched and ironed it myself with my owny-dony hands; and that, you know, is the reason it looks nicer than usual."
"Ah, me! I wish I wore dresses."
"You can, if you choose, I suppose. There is no one to hinder you."
"Simpleton! that is not what you were intended to say. You should have asked the cause of so singular a wish, and then I had a pretty little speech all ready for you,—a veritable compliment"
"It is well I did not ask, then. Mamma does not approve of compliments, and perhaps it would have made me vain."
"Incorrigible! Why did you not ask me what the speech was, and thus give me an opportunity to relieve myself. Why, a body might die of a plethora of flattery, if he had nobody but you to discharge it against."
"He must take care, then, that the supply does not exceed the demand."
"Political economy, upon my word! What shall we have next?"
"Domestic, I suppose you would like. Men generally, indeed, prefer it to the other, I am told."
"Ah, Ivy, Ivy! little you know about men, my child!"
He leaned back in his seat and was silent for some minutes. Ivy did not care to interrupt his thinking. Presently he said,—
"Ivy, how old are you?"
"I shall be seventeen the last day of this month."
A short pause.
"And then eighteen."
"And then nineteen."
"And then twenty. In three years you will be twenty."
"Horrid old, isn't it?"
He turned his head, and looked down upon her with what Ivy thought a curious kind of smile, but only said,—
"You must not say 'horrid' so much."
By-and-by Ivy grew rather tired of sitting silent and watching the rustle of the leaves, which hid every other prospect; she turned her face a little so that she could look at him. He sat with folded arms, looking straight ahead; and she thought his face wore a troubled expression. She felt as if she would like very much to smooth out the wrinkles in his forehead and run her fingers through his hair, as she sometimes did for her father. She had a great mind to ask him if she should; then she reflected that it might make him nervous. Then she wondered if he had forgotten her lessons, and how long they were to sit there. Determined, at length, to have a change of some kind, she said, softly,—
He roused himself suddenly, and stood up.
"I thought, perhaps, you had a headache."
"No, Ivy. But this is not climbing the hill of science, is it?"
"Not so much as it is climbing the piazza."
"Suppose we take a vacation to-day, and investigate the state of the atmosphere?"
"Yes, Sir, I am ready."
Ivy did not fully understand the nature of his proposition; but if he had proposed to "put a girdle round the earth in forty minutes," she would have said and acted, "Yes, Sir, I am ready," just the same.
He took up the basket of grapes which he had gathered, and led the way through the window, down-stairs. Ivy waited for him at the hall-door, while he carried the grapes to Mrs. Simm; then he joined her again and proposed to walk through the woods a little while, before Ivy went home.
"You must know, my docile pupil, that I am going to the city to-morrow, on business, to be gone a week or two. So, as you must perforce take a vacation then, why, we may as well begin to vacate today, and enjoy it."
"I am sorry you are going away."
"You are? That is almost enough to pay me for going. Why are you sorry?"
"Because I shall not see you for a week; and I have become so used to you, that somehow I don't seem to know what to do with a day without you; and then the cars may run off the track and kill you or hurt you, or you may get the smallpox, or a great many things may happen."
"And suppose some of these terrible things should happen,—the last, for instance,—what would you do?"
"I? I should advise you to send for the doctor at once."
Mr. Clerron laughed.
"So you would not come and nurse me, and take care of me, and get me well again?"
"No, because I should then be in danger of taking it myself and giving it to papa and mamma; besides, they would not let me, I am quite sure."
"So you love your papa and mamma better than"——
He stopped abruptly. Ivy finished for him.
"Better than words can tell. Papa particularly. Mamma, somehow, seems strong of herself, and don't depend upon me; but papa,—oh, you don't know how he is to me! I think, if I should die, he would die of grief. I have, I cannot help having, a kind of pity for him, he loves me so."
"Do you always pity people, when they love you very much?"
"Oh, no! of course not. Besides, nobody loves me enough to be pitied, except papa.—Isn't it pleasant here? How very green it is! It looks just like summer. Oh, Mr. Clerron, did you see the clouds this morning?"
"There were none when I arose."
"Why, yes, Sir, there was a great heap of them at sunrise."
"I am not prepared to contradict you."
"Perhaps you were not up at sunrise."
"I have an impression to that effect."
He smiled so comically, that Ivy could not help saying, though she was half afraid he might not be pleased,—
"I wonder whether you are an early riser."
"Yes, my dear, I consider myself tolerably early. I believe I have been up every morning but one, this week, by nine o'clock."
Ivy was horror-struck. Her country ideas of "early to bed and early to rise" received a great shock, as her looks plainly showed. He laughed gayly at her amazed face.
"You don't seem to appreciate me, Miss Geer."
"'Nine o'clock!'" repeated Ivy, slowly,—"'every morning but one!' and it is Tuesday to-day."
"Yes, but you know yesterday was a dark, cloudy day, and excellent for sleeping."
"But, Mr. Clerron, then you are not more than fairly up when I come. And when do you write?"
"Always in the evening."
"But the evenings are so short,—or have been."
"Mine are not particularly so. From six to three is about long enough for one sitting."
"I should think so. And you must be so tired!"
"Not so tired as you think. You, now, rising at five or six, and running round all day, become so tired that you have to go to bed by nine; of course you have no time for reflection and meditation. I, on the contrary, take life easily,—write in the night, when everything is still and quiet,—take my sleep when all the noise of the world's waking-up is going on,—and after creation is fairly settled for the day, I rise leisurely, breakfast leisurely, take a smoke leisurely, and leisurely wait the coming of my little pupil."
"May I tell you another thing I don't like in you? a bad habit?"
"As many as you please, provided you won't require me to reform."
"What is the use of telling it, then?"
"But it may be a relief to you. You will have the satisfaction arising from doing your duty. We shall ventilate our opinions, and perhaps come to a better understanding. Go on."
"Well, Sir, I wish you did not smoke so much."
"I don't smoke very much, little Ivy."
"I wish you would not at all. Mamma thinks it is very injurious, and wrong, even. And papa says cigars are bad things."
"Some of them are outrageous. But, my dear, granting your father and mother and yourself to be right, don't you see I am doing more to extirpate the evil than you, with all your principle? I exterminate, destroy, and ruin them at the rate of three a day; while you, I venture to say, never lifted a finger or lighted a spark against them."
"Now, Sir, that is only a way of slipping round the question. And I really wish you did not. Before I knew you, I thought it was almost as bad to smoke as it was to steal. I know, however, now, that it cannot be; still"—
"I have not studied Logic yet; still, as I was going to say, Sir, I don't like to think of you as being in a kind of subjection to anything."
"Ivy, seriously, I am not in subjection to a cigar. I often don't smoke for months together. To prove it, I promise you I won't smoke for the next two months."
"Oh, I am so glad! Oh, I am so much obliged to you! And you are not in the least vexed that I spoke to you about it?"
"Not in the least."
"I was afraid you would be. And one thing more, Sir, I have been afraid of, the last few days. You know when I first knew you, or before I knew you, I supposed you did nothing but walk round and enjoy yourself all day. But now I know you do work very hard; and I have feared that you could not well spare two hours every day for me,—particularly in the morning, which are almost always considered the best. But if you like to write in the evening, you would just as soon I would come in the morning?"
"But if two hours are too much, I hope you won't, at any time, hesitate to tell me. I have no claim on a moment,—only"—
"My dear Ivy Geer, pupil and friend, be so good as to understand, henceforth, that you cannot possibly come into my house at any time when you are not wanted; nor stay any longer than I want you; nor say anything that will not please me;—well, I am not quite sure about that;—but, at least, remember that I am always glad to see you, and teach you, and have you with me; and that I can never hope to do you as much good as you do me every day of your blessed life."
"Oh, Mr. Clerron!" exclaimed Ivy, with a great gush of gratitude and happiness; "do I, can I, do you any good?"
"You do and can, my tendril! You supply an element that was wanting in my life. You make every day beautiful to me. The flutter of your robes among these trees brings sunshine into my heart. Every morning I walk in my garden as soon as I am, as you say, fairly up, till I see you turn into the lane; and every day I watch you till you disappear. You are fresh and truthful and natural, and you give me new life. And now, my dear little trembling benefactor, because we are nearly through the woods, I can go no farther with you; and because I am going away to-morrow, not to see you again for a week, and because I hope you will be a little lonesome while I am gone, why, I think I must let you—kiss me!"
Ivy had been looking intently into his face, with an expression, at first, of the most beaming, tearful delight, then gradually changing into waiting wonder; but when his sentence finally closed, she stood still, scarcely able to comprehend. He placed his hands on her temples, and, smiling involuntarily at her blushes and embarrassment, half in sport and half in tenderness, bent her head a little back, kissed brow, cheeks, and lips, whispered softly, "Go now! God bless you for ever and ever, my darling!" and, turning, walked hastily down the winding path. As for Ivy, she went home in a dream, blind and stunned with a great joy.
[To be continued.]
No more Joy-roses! their perfume To this dull pain brings short surcease: But tell me, if ye know, where bloom The golden lily-bells of Peace.
Leap, winnowing all the air of light, Ye wild wraiths of the waterfall! But for that fabled fountain's sight, That giveth sleep, I'd give you all.
Bound, gay barks, o'er the bounding main! Shake all your white wings to the breeze! My joy was erst the hurricane, The plunging of the purple seas;
My hope to find the mystic marge Of all strange lands, the strange world o'er: But bear me now to yon still barge, Calm cradled by a tideless shore!
Wild birds, that cleave the crystal deeps With May-time matins loud and long, Oh, not for you my sick heart weeps! Its pulses time not to your song!
But know ye where she hides her nest, Beneath what balmy dropping eaves, The Dove that bears on her white breast The sacred green of olive-leaves?
Not when the Spring doth rosy rise From white foam of the Northern snows; Not when 'neath passion-throbbing skies The fire-pulsed June in beauty glows:
But when amid the templed hills, Deep drained from every purple vine, Soft for her dying lips distils The Summer's sacramental wine;
While all her woodland priests put on Their vestures dipped in sacrifice, And, as 'twere golden bells far swung, A rhythmic silence holds the skies;
What time the Day-spring softly wells From Night's dark caverns, till it sets In long, melodious, tidal swells, Toward the wide flood-gates of the West;—
Oh, open then my dungeon door! Let Nature lead me, blind of eyes, If haply I may feel once more The pillars of the steadfast skies;
If haply there may fall for me Some strange assurance in my fears,— As he who heard on Galilee, That stormy night in wondrous years,
The "It is I," and o'er the foam Of what seemed phantom-haunted seas, Saw glory of the kingdom come, The footsteps of the Prince of Peace!
THE PROGRESS OF THE ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH.
"Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world." PSALMS, xix. 4.
Among the impossibilities enumerated to convince Job of his ignorance and weakness, the Almighty asks,—
"Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we are?"
At the present day, every people in Christendom can respond in the affirmative.
The lines of electric telegraph are increasing so rapidly, that the length in actual use cannot be estimated at any moment with accuracy. At the commencement of 1848, it was stated that the length in operation in this country was about 3000 miles. At the end of 1850, the lines in operation, or in progress, in the United States, amounted to 22,000. In 1853, the total number of miles of wire in America amounted to 26,375.
It is but fifteen years since the first line of electric telegraph was constructed in this country; and at the present time there are not less than 50,000 miles in successful operation on this continent, having over 1400 stations, and employing upwards of 10,000 operators and clerks.
The number of messages passing over all the lines in this country annually is estimated at upwards of 5,000,000, producing a revenue of $2,000,000; in addition to which, the press pays $200,000 for public despatches.
In Europe there are lines rivalling those in America. The electric wire extends under the English Channel, the German Ocean, the Black and Red Seas, and the Mediterranean; it passes from crag to crag on the Alps, and runs through Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany, and Russia.
India, Australia, Cuba, Mexico, and several of the South American States have also their lines; and the wires uniting the Pacific and Atlantic States will shortly meet at the passes of the Rocky Mountains.
The electric telegraph, which has made such rapid strides, is yet in its infancy. The effect of its future extension, and of new applications, cannot be estimated, when, as a means of intercourse at least, its network shall spread through every village, bringing all parts of our republic into the closest and most intimate relations of friendship and interest. In connection with the railroad and steamboat, it has already achieved one important national result. It has made possible, on this continent, a wide-spread, yet closely linked, empire of States, such as our fathers never imagined. The highest office of the electric telegraph, in the future, is thus to be the promotion of unity, peace, and good-will among men.
In Europe, Great Britain and Ireland have the greatest number of miles of electric telegraph,—namely, 40,000. France has 26,000; Belgium, 1600; Germany, 35,000; Switzerland, 2000; Spain and Portugal, 1200; Italy, 6600; Turkey and Greece, 500; Russia, 12,000; Denmark and Sweden, 2000.
In Italy, Sardinia has the largest share of lines, having about 1200 miles; and in Germany, after Austria and Prussia, the largest share belongs to Bavaria, which has 1050. Saxony has 400 miles; Wrtemberg, 195.
The distance between stations on lines of Continental telegraph is from ten to twelve miles on the average, and the number of them is about 3800.
In France the use of the electric telegraph has rapidly increased within the last few years. In 1851, the number of despatches transmitted was 9014, which produced 76,723 francs. In 1858, there were 463,973 despatches transmitted, producing 3,516,634 francs. During the last four years, that is to say, since all the chief towns in France have been in electric communication with Paris, and consequently with each other, there have been sent by private individuals 1,492,420 despatches, which have produced 12,528,591 francs. Out of the 97,728 despatches exchanged during the last three months of 1858, 23,728 were with Paris, and 15,409 with the thirty most important towns of France. These 15,409 despatches are divided, as to their object or nature, as follows:—Private and family affairs, 3102; journals, 523; commerce and manufactures, 6132; Bourse affairs, 5253; sundry affairs, 399.
In Australia, the electric telegraph is in constant use, affording a remunerating revenue, and the amount of business has forced on the government the necessity of additional wires.
Cuba has six hundred miles of wire in operation. Messages can be transmitted only in Spanish, and the closest surveillance is maintained by the government officials over all despatches offered for transmission. From the fact that no less than a dozen errors occurred in a dispatch transmitted by a Boston gentleman from Cardenas to Havana, we judge that the telegraphic apparatus, invented by our liberty-loving American, Professor House, rebels at such petty tyranny.
Several hundred miles of electric telegraph have been constructed in Mexico; but the unfortunate condition of the country for the last few years has precluded the possibility of maintaining it in working order, and it has, like everything else in the land of Monteznma, gone to decay.
The English and Dutch governments have come to an understanding upon a system of cables which will unite India and Australia, and eventually be extended to China. The arrangements between the governments are:—That the Indian and Imperial governments shall connect India with Singapore; that the Dutch government shall connect Singapore with the southeast point of Java; that the Australian governments shall connect their continent with Java. The cable for the Singapore-Java section was to have been laid during the last month; the Indian-Singapore section is to be laid this spring; and the connection with Australia will, it is believed, be completed in the course of next year.
The Red Sea and India Telegraph Company have announced the arrangements under which they are prepared to transmit messages for the public between Alexandria and Aden. Messages for Australia and China will be forwarded by post from Aden. It is considered probable that a direct communication with Alexandria will be established through Constantinople in the course of a few weeks, and then the news from India will reach London in ten or eleven days.
A late European steamer brings a report that two Russian engineers have proceeded to Pekin, China, to make preparations for a telegraphic connection between that place and the Russian territory.
There is reason to believe that arrangements will soon be made at St. Petersburg, through private companies and government subsidies, for completing the line of telegraph from Novgorod to the mouth of the Amoor, and thence across the straits to Russian America. In the mean time, a company has already been formed and incorporated in Canada, under the name of the Transmundane Telegraphic Company, which will afford important aid in continuing the proposed line through British America. The plan is, to carry the wires from the mouth of the Amoor across Behring's Strait, to and through Russian and British America. From Victoria a branch will be extended to San Francisco, and another to Canada. The line from San Francisco to Missouri is under way, and Mr. Collins, who is engaged in the Russian and Canadian enterprise, thinks that by the time it is in operation he shall have extended his line to San Francisco.
This is unquestionably the most feasible route for telegraphic communication between America and Europe; and, though the longest by several thousand miles, it would afford the most rapid means of communication, owing to the great superiority of arial over subaqueous lines.
No limit has yet been found to arial telegraphing; for, by inserting transferrers into the more extended circuits, renewed energy can be attained, and lines of several thousands of miles in length can be worked, if properly insulated, as surely as those of a hundred. The lines between New York and New Orleans are frequently connected together by means of transferrers, and direct communication is had over a distance of more than, two thousand miles. No perceptible retardation of the current takes place; on the contrary, the lines so connected work as successfully as when divided into shorter circuits.
This is not the case with subaqueous lines. The employment of submarine, as well as of subterranean conductors, occasions a small retardation in the velocity of the transmitted electricity. This retardation is not due to the length of the path which the electric current has to traverse, since it does not take place with a conductor equally long, insulated in the air. It arises, as Faraday has demonstrated, from a static reaction, which is determined by the introduction of a current into a conductor well insulated, but surrounded outside its insulating coating by a conducting body, such as sea-water or moist ground, or even simply by the metallic envelope of iron wires placed in communication with the ground. When this conductor is presented to one of the poles of a battery, the other pole of which communicates with the ground, it becomes charged with static electricity, like the coating of a Leyden jar,—electricity which is capable of giving rise to a discharge current, even after the voltaic current has ceased to be transmitted.
Professor Wheatstone experimented upon the cable intended to unite La Spezia, upon the coast of Piedmont, with the Island of Corsica. It was one hundred and ten miles in length, and contained six copper wires one-sixteenth of an inch in diameter, individually insulated, and each covered with a coating of gutta-percha one-twelfth of an inch in thickness. The cable was coiled in a dry pit in the yard, with its two ends accessible. The ends of the different wires could be united, so as to make of all these wires merely one wire six hundred and sixty miles in length, through which the electric current could circulate in the same direction. This current was itself furnished by an insulated battery formed of one hundred and forty-four Wheatstone's pairs, equal to fifty of Grove's. In the first series of experiments, it was proved, that, if one of the ends of the long wire, whose other end remained insulated, were made to communicate with one of the poles of the battery, the wire became charged with the electricity of that pole, which, so long as it existed, gave rise to a current which was made evident by a galvanometer: but, in order to obtain this result, the second pole of the battery must communicate with the ground, or with another long wire similar to the first.
In a second series of experiments, Professor Wheatstone interposed three galvanometers in the middle and at the ends of the circuit, determining in this manner the progress of the current by the order which they followed in their deviation. If the two poles of the battery were connected by the long conductor of six hundred and sixty miles, the precaution having been taken to divide it into two portions of equal length, it was observed, on connecting the two free extremities of these two portions in order to close the circuit, that the galvanometer placed in the middle was the first to be deflected, whilst the galvanometers placed in the vicinity of the poles were not deflected until later.
By a third series of experiments, Wheatstone, with the galvanometer, has shown that a continuous current may be maintained in the circuit of the long wire of an electric cable, of which one of the ends is insulated, whilst the other communicates with one of the poles of a battery whose other pole is connected with the ground. This current is due to the uniform and continual dispersion of the statical electricity with which the wire is charged along its whole length, as would happen to any other conducting body placed in an insulating medium.
It was owing to the retardation from this cause that communication through the Atlantic Cable was so exceedingly slow and difficult, and not, as many suppose, because the cable was defective. It is true that there was a fault in the cable, discovered by Varley, before it left Queenstown; but it was not of so serious a character as to offer any substantial obstacle to the passage of the electric current.
As everything pertaining to the actual operation of the Atlantic Cable has been studiously withheld from the public, until it has come to be seriously doubted whether any despatches were ever transmitted through it, we presume it will not be out of place here to give the actual modus operandi of this great wonder and mystery.
The only instrument which could be used successfully in signalling through the Atlantic Cable was one of peculiar construction, by Professor Thompson, called the marine galvanometer. In this instrument momentum and inertia are almost wholly avoided by the use of a needle weighing only one and a half grains, combined with a mirror reflecting a ray of light, which indicates deflections with great accuracy. By these means a gradually increasing or decreasing current is at each instant indicated at its due strength. Thus, when this galvanometer is placed as the receiving instrument at the end of a long submarine cable, the movement of the spot of light, consequent on the completion of a circuit through the battery, cable, and earth, can be so observed as to furnish a curve representing very accurately the arrival of an electric current. Lines representing successive signals at various speeds can also be obtained, and, by means of a metronome, dots, dashes, successive A-s, etc., can be sent with nearly perfect regularity by an ordinary Morse key, and the corresponding changes in the current at the receiving end of the cable accurately observed. The strength of the battery employed was found to have no influence on the results; curves given by batteries of different strengths could be made to coincide by simply drawing them to scales proportionate to the strengths of the two currents. It was also found that the same curve represented the gradual increase of intensity due to the arrival of a current and the gradual decrease due to the ceasing of that current. The possible speed of signalling was found to be very nearly proportional to the squares of the lengths spoken through. Thus, a speed which gave fifteen dots per minute in a length of 2191 nautical miles reproduced all the effects given by a speed of thirty dots in a length of 1500. At these speeds, with ordinary Morse signals, speaking would be barely possible. In the Red Sea, a speed of from seven to eight words per minute was attained in a length of 750 nautical miles. Mechanical senders, and attention to the proportion of the various contacts, would materially increase the speed at which signals of any kind could be transmitted. The best trained hand cannot equal the accuracy of mechanism, and the slightest irregularity causes the current to rise or fall quite beyond the limits required for distinct signals. No important difference was observed between signals sent by alternate reverse currents and those sent by the more usual method. The amount of oscillation, and the consequent distinctness of signalling, were nearly the same in the two cases. An advantage in the first signals sent is, however, obtained by the use of Messrs. Sieman's and Halske's submarine key, by which the cable is put to earth immediately on signalling being interrupted, and the wire thus kept at a potential half-way between the potentials of the poles of two counter-acting batteries employed, and the first signals become legible, which, with the ordinary key, would be employed in charging the wire.
A system of arbitrary characters, similar to those used upon the Morse telegraph, was employed, and the letter to be indicated was determined by the number of oscillations of the needle, as well as by the length of time during which the needle remained in one place. The operator, who watched the reflection of the deflected needle in the mirror, had a key, communicating with a local instrument in the office, in his hand, which he pressed down or raised, as the needle was deflected; and another operator occupied himself in deciphering the characters thus produced upon the paper. As the operator at Trinity Bay had no means of arresting the operations at Valentia, and vice vers, and as the fastest rate of speed over the cable could not exceed three words per minute, it will not surprise the reader that the operators were nearly two days in transmitting the Queen's despatch.
However, notwithstanding all the difficulties in the way, there were transmitted from Ireland to Newfoundland, through the Atlantic Cable, between the 10th of August and the 1st of September, 97 messages, containing 1102 words; and from Newfoundland to Ireland, 269 messages and 2840 words, making a total of 366 messages, containing 3942 words. Among these were the message from the Queen to the President of the United States, and his reply; the one announcing the safety of the steamer Europa, her mails and passengers, after her collision with the Arabia; and two messages for Her Majesty's War-Office, which last effected a very large saving to the revenue of the English government.
In Liverpool, 150,000 have already been subscribed to the project of completing or relaying the Atlantic Cable.
A contract has been recently made by the English government for a cable to be laid from Falmouth to Gibraltar, 1200 miles, which is to be ready in June next. This will be succeeded by one from Gibraltar to Malta and Alexandria, thus giving England an independent line, free from Continental difficulties.
Steamers were to have left Liverpool at the end of the last month, with the remainder of the cable to connect Kurrachee with Aden. The cable to connect Alexandria with England is now to be laid through the islands of Rhodes and Scio to Constantinople, and not by way of Candia, as previously intended; it is expected to be laid this season. Hellaniyah, one of the Kuria-Muria Islands, has been decided on as a station for the Red Sea Telegraph.
The new electric cable between Malta and the opposite coast of Sicily at Alga Grande is safely laid. Two previous attempts had been made; but, in consequence of the late strong winds, nothing could be done. The shore end on the Malta side had been laid down and connected with the company's offices before the expedition started; the outer end, about one mile off the Marsamuscetto harbor, into which the cable has been taken, being buoyed ready to complete the communication from shore to shore the moment the cable was submerged. The operation of paying out the cable was completed without the least accident. The mid-portion of the cable is of great strength, being able to sustain a strain of ten or twelve tons without parting, and the shore ends are of nearly double that strength. The depth of water throughout is within eighty fathoms; so that, if any accident should ever occur, it may be remedied without much difficulty.
A great change in the rates to Sicily and the Italian States will result from the completion of this new line, a reduction in some cases of seventy-five per cent. being made,—a great boon to the English merchants. Messages in French, English, or Italian will be transmitted, and we must congratulate the company upon their success in inducing the Neapolitan government to make this concession, and upon the exceedingly low tariff proposed.
Mr. De Sauty is the electrician of this company. He will be remembered by the reader as the mysterious operator at Trinity Bay, from whom an occasional vague and exceedingly brief despatch was received in relation to the working of the cable. Nothing really satisfactory could ever be obtained, and, when visited by some officers connected with the United States Coast Survey, he would not permit them to enter the office or examine the apparatus. His name was published in the daily journals with several different varieties of spelling, and for this reason, and in consequence of his extreme reticence, one of them perpetrated the following:—
"Thou operator, silent, glum, Why wilt them act so naughty? Do tell us what your name is,—come: De Santy, or De Sauty?
"Don't think to humbug any more, Shut up there in your shanty,— But solve the problem, once for all,— De Sauty, or De Santy?"
Electric telegraphy in the Ottoman Empire has within a few months had a remarkable development. Several lines are already in course of construction. A direct line from Varna to Toultcha, passing by Baltschik. A line from Toultcha to Odessa, passing by Reni and joining the Russian telegraph at Ismail. The subaqueous cable from Toultcha to Reni, on the Danube, is the sixth in the Ottoman Empire. This line, which will place Constantinople in direct communication with Odessa, will not only have the advantage of increasing and accelerating the communications, but will very considerably reduce their cost.
There is also to be a line from Rodosto to Enos and Salonica; and from Salonica to Monastir, Valona, and Scutari in Albania. The line from Salonica to Monastir and Valona will be joined by a submarine cable crossing the Adriatic to Otranto, and carried on to Naples. It will have the effect of placing Southern Italy in communication with Constantinople, and also of reducing the cost of messages. A convention to this effect has been signed by a delegate of the Neapolitan government and the director-general of the telegraphic lines of the Ottoman Empire, touching this line to Naples. The ratification of the two governments will shortly be given to this convention.
A line from Scutari in Albania to Bar-Bournon, and thence to Castellastua, passing round the Montenegrin territory by a submarine cable. This line is already laid, and will begin working immediately on, the completion of the Austrian lines to the point where it ends.
A line from Constantinople to Bagdad. Three sections of this are being simultaneously laid down. The first from Constantinople to Ismid, Angora, Yuzgat, and Sivas: the works on this have been already carried to Sabanja, between Ismid and Angora. The second section, from Sivas to Moussoul: the works on this line are in a state of favorable preparation, and the line will be actively gone on with. The third section, from Bagdad to Moussoul: for this also the preparations have been made, and the works will begin when the season opens, the materials being all ready along the line. From Bagdad this line will extend to Bassora, to join a submarine cable to be carried thence to British India.
A projected line from Constantinople to Smyrna. For this, two routes are thought of: one, the shortest, but most difficult, would run from Constantinople to the Dardanelles, Adramyti, and Smyrna; the other, the longest, but offering fewest difficulties, would pass from Constantinople by Muhalitch, Berliek-Hissar, and Maneesa, to Smyrna.
A line from Mostar to Bosna-Serai. Mostar is already connected with the Austrian telegraphs at Metcovich.
Other lines have been in the mean time completed and extended, and will soon be opened to the public. Thus, a third and fourth wire are being laid on the line from Constantinople to Rodosto; from the latter point three wires have been carried to Gallipoli and the Dardanelles, two of which are for messages from Gallipoli to the Dardanelles, and the third is to join the submarine cable connecting Constantinople, Candia, Syra, and the Piraeus. The communications between Constantinople and Candia would already have begun but for an accident to the engineer. Those with Syra and the Piraeus will begin as soon as the ratification of the convention entered into between the Ottoman and Greek governments on this subject shall have taken place. The laying of the cable between Candia and Alexandria, which has not yet succeeded, will be resumed this spring.
Thus, after the completion of these lines, Constantinople will be in communication with nearly all the chief provinces and towns of the empire, with Africa, and with Europe, by five different channels,—by the Principalities, by Odessa, by Servia, by Dalmatia, and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. With such a development of the system, it will be imperatively necessary to increase the telegraphic working-staff. Already the number of despatches arriving every day renders the service very difficult, and occasions much confusion and many grievous mistakes. Nothing is easier than to remedy all this by increasing the number of the employs.
The great distinguishing feature of the telegraphs used in Great Britain is, that they are of the class known as oscillating telegraphs,—that is, telgraphs in which the letters are denoted by the number of motions to the right or left of a needle or indicator. Those of France are of the class called dial telegraphs, in which an index, or needle, is carried around the face of a dial, around the circumference of which are placed the letters of the alphabet; any particular letter being designated by the brief stopping of the needle. A similar system has been used in Prussia; but, recently, the American, or recording instrument of Professor Morse, has been introduced into this, as well as every other European country; and even in England, the national prejudice is gradually giving way, and our American system is being introduced.
In America none but recording instruments have ever been used. Of these we have many kinds, but only five are in operation at present, namely:—The electro-magnetic timing instrument of Professor Morse; the electro-magnetic step-by-step printing of Mr. House; the electro-magnetic synchronous printing of Mr. Hughes; the electro-chemical rhythmic of Mr. Bain; and the combination-printing, combining the essential parts of the Hughes instrument with portions of the House. The Morse apparatus is, however, most generally used in this country and every other. Out of the two hundred and fifty thousand miles of electric telegraph now in operation or in the course of construction in the world, at least two hundred thousand give the preference to it.
Although the Morse apparatus is a recording one, yet, for the last six years, the operators in this country have discontinued the use of the paper, and confined themselves to reading by the ear, which they do with the greatest facility. By this means a great saving is made in the expense of working the telegraph, and far greater correctness insured; as the ear is found much more reliable in comprehending the clicks of the instrument, than the eye in deciphering the arbitrary alphabet of dots and lines.
The rapidity of the several instruments in use may be given as follows:—Cooke and Wheatstone's needle telegraph of Great Britain, 900 words per hour; Froment's dial telegraph, of France, 1200; Bregnet's dial telegraph, also French, 1000; Sieman's dial telegraph, formerly used upon the Prussian lines, 900; Bain's chemical, in use between Liverpool and Manchester, and formerly to a considerable extent in the United States, 1500; the Morse telegraph, in use all over the world, 1500; the House printing, used in the United States to a limited extent, and in Cuba, 2800; Hughes's and the combination instruments, 2000. The three last systems are American inventions; thus it will be seen, that to our country is due the credit of inventing the most rapid and the most universally used telegraphic systems.
But though we surpass all other nations in the value of our electric apparatus, we are far behind many, and indeed most countries, in the construction of our lines. This does not arise from want of knowledge or of means, but from the custom which obtains to a great extent among all classes and professions in this country, of providing something which will answer for a time, instead of securing a permanent success.
"But to my mind,—though I am native here, And to the manner born,—it is a custom More honored it in the breach than the observance,"— especially in building lines of electric telegraph, where the best are always the cheapest.
When Shakspeare made Puck promise to "put a girdle round about the earth in forty minutes," he undoubtedly supposed he would thereby accomplish a remarkable feat; but when the great Russo-American line via Behring's Strait and the Amoor is completed, and the Atlantic Cable is again in operation, we can put an electric girdle round about the earth before Puck could have time to spread his wings!
In view of what must actually take place at no distant day,—the girdling of the earth by the electric wires,—a singular question arises:—If we send a current of electricity east, it will lose twenty-four hours in going round the globe; if we send one west, it will gain twenty-four, or, in other words, will get back to the starting-place twenty-four hours before it sets out. Now, if we send a current half-way round the world, it will get there twelve hours in advance of, or twelve hours behind our time, according as we send it east or west; the question which naturally suggests itself, therefore, is, What is the time at the antipodes? is it yesterday or to-morrow? LOVE AND SELF-LOVE.
"Friendless, when you are gone? But, Jean, you surely do not mean that Effie has no claim on any human creature, beyond the universal one of common charity?" I said, as she ceased, and lay panting on her pillows, with her sunken eyes fixed eagerly upon my own.
"Ay, Sir, I do; for her grandfather has never by word or deed acknowledged her, or paid the least heed to the letter her poor mother sent him from her dying bed seven years ago. He is a lone old man, and this child is the last of his name; yet he will not see her, and cares little whether she be dead or living. It's a bitter shame, Sir, and the memory of it will rise up before him when he comes to lie where I am lying now."
"And you have kept the girl safe in the shelter of your honest home all these years? Heaven will remember that, and in the great record of good deeds will set the name of Adam Lyndsay far below that of poor Jean Burns," I said, pressing the thin hand that had succored the orphan in her need.
But Jean took no honor to herself for that charity, and answered simply to my words of commendation.
"Sir, her mother was my foster-child; and when she left that stern old man for love of Walter Home, I went, too, for love of her. Ah, dear heart! she had sore need of me in the weary wanderings which ended only when she lay down by her dead husband's side and left her bairn to me. Then I came here to cherish her among kind souls where I was born; and here she has grown up, an innocent young thing, safe from the wicked world, the comfort of my life, and the one thing I grieve at leaving when the time that is drawing very near shall come."
"Would not an appeal to Mr. Lyndsay reach him now, think you? Might not Effie go to him herself? Surely, the sight of such a winsome creature would touch his heart, however hard."
But Jean rose up in her bed, crying, almost fiercely,—
"No, Sir! no! My child shall never go to beg a shelter in that hard man's house. I know too well the cold looks, the cruel words, that would sting her high spirit and try her heart, as they did her mother's. No, Sir,—rather than that, she shall go with Lady Gower."
"Lady Gower? What has she to do with Effie, Jean?" I asked, with increasing interest.
"She will take Effie as her maid, Sir. A hard life for my child! but what can I do?" And Jean's keen glance seemed trying to read mine.
"A waiting-maid? Heaven forbid!" I ejaculated, as a vision of that haughty lady and her three wild sons swept through my mind.
I rose, paced the room in silence for a little time, then took a sudden resolution, and, turning to the bed, exclaimed,—
"Jean, I will adopt Effie. I am old enough to be her father; and she shall never feel the want of one, if you will give her to my care."
To my surprise, Jean's eager face wore a look of disappointment as she listened, and with a sigh replied,—
"That's a kind thought, Sir, and a generous one; but it cannot be as you wish. You may be twice her age, but still too young for that. How could Effie look into that face of yours, so bonnie, Sir, for all it is so grave, and, seeing never a wrinkle on the forehead, nor a white hair among the black, how could she call you father? No, it will not do, though so kindly meant. Your friends would laugh at you, Sir, and idle tongues might speak ill of my bairn."
"Then what can I do, Jean?" I asked, regretfully.
"Make her your wife, Sir."
I turned sharply and stared at the woman, as her abrupt reply reached my ear. Though trembling for the consequences of her boldly spoken wish, Jean did not shrink from my astonished gaze; and when I saw the wistfulness of that wan face, the smile died on my lips, checked by the tender courage which had prompted the utterance of her dying hope.
"My good Jean, you forget that Effie is a child, and I a moody, solitary man, with no gifts to win a wife or make home happy."
"Effie is sixteen, Sir,—a fair, good lassie for her years; and you—ah, Sir, you may call yourself unfit for wife and home, but the poorest, saddest creature in this place knows that the man whose hand is always open, whose heart is always pitiful, is not the one to live alone, but to win and to deserve a happy home and a true wife. Oh, Sir, forgive me, if I have been too bold; but my time is short, and I love my child so well, I cannot leave the desire of my heart unspoken, for it is my last."
As the words fell brokenly from her lips, and tears streamed down her pallid cheek, a great pity took possession of me, the old longing to find some solace for my solitary life returned again, and peace seemed to smile on me from little Effie's eyes.
"Jean," I said, "give me till to-morrow to consider this new thought. I fear it cannot be; but I have learned to love the child too well to see her thrust out from the shelter of your home to walk through this evil world alone. I will consider your proposal, and endeavor to devise some future for the child which shall set your heart at rest. But before you urge this further, let, me tell you that I am not what you think me. I am a cold, selfish man, often, gloomy, often stern,—a most unfit guardian for a tender creature like this little girl. The deeds of mine which you call kind are not true charities; it frets me to see pain, and I desire my ease above all earthly things. You are grateful for the little I have done for you, and deceive yourself regarding my true worth; but of one thing you may rest assured,—I am an honest man, who holds his name too high to stain it with a false word or a dishonorable deed."
"I do believe you, Sir," Jean answered, eagerly. "And if I left the child to you, I could die this night in peace. Indeed, Sir, I never should have dared to speak of this, but for the belief that you loved the girl. What else could I think, when you came so often and were so kind to us?"
"I cannot blame you, Jean; it was my usual forgetfulness of others which so misled you. I was tired of the world, and came hither to find peace in solitude. Effie cheered me with her winsome ways, and I learned to look on her as the blithe spirit whose artless wiles won me to forget a bitter past and a regretful present." I paused; and then added, with a smile, "But, in our wise schemes, we have overlooked one point: Effie does not love me, and may decline the future you desire me to offer her."
A vivid hope lit those dim eyes, as Jean met my smile with one far brighter, and joyfully replied,—
"She does love you, Sir; for you have given her the greatest happiness she has ever known. Last night she sat looking silently into the fire there with a strange gloom on her bonnie face, and, when I asked what she was dreaming of, she turned to me with a look of pain and fear, as if dismayed at some great loss, but she only said, 'He is going, Jean! What shall I do?'"
"Poor child! she will miss her friend and teacher, when I'm gone; and I shall miss the only human creature that has seemed to care for me for years," I sighed,—adding, as I paused upon the threshold of the door, "Say nothing of this to Effie till I come to-morrow, Jean."
I went away, and far out on the lonely moor sat down to think. Like a weird magician, Memory led me back into the past, calling up the hopes and passions buried there. My childhood,—fatherless and motherless, but not unhappy; for no wish was ungratified, no idle whim denied. My boyhood,—with no shadows over it but those my own wayward will called up. My manhood,—when the great joy of my life arose, my love for Agnes, a midsummer dream of bloom and bliss, so short-lived and so sweet! I felt again the pang that wrung my heart when she coldly gave me back the pledge I thought so sacred and so sure, and the music of her marriage-bells tolled the knell of my lost love. I seemed to hear them still wafted across the purple moor through the silence of those fifteen years.
My life looked gray and joyless as the wide waste lying hushed around me, unblessed with the verdure of a single hope, a single love; and as I looked down the coming years, my way seemed very solitary, very dark.
Suddenly a lark soared upward from the heath, cleaving the silence with its jubilant song. The sleeping echoes woke, the dun moor seemed to smile, and the blithe music fell like dew upon my gloomy spirit, wakening a new desire.
"What this bird is to the moor might little Effie be to me," I thought within myself, longing to possess the cheerful spirit which had power to gladden me.
"Yes," I mused, "the old home will seem more solitary now than ever; and if I cannot win the lark's song without a golden fetter, I will give it one, and while it sings for love of me it shall not know a want or fear."
Heaven help me! I forgot the poor return I made my lark for the sweet liberty it lost.
All that night I pondered the altered future Jean had laid before me, and the longer I looked the fairer it seemed to grow. Wealth I cared nothing for; the world's opinion I defied; ambition had departed, and passion I believed lay dead;—then why should I deny myself the consolation which seemed offered to me? I would accept it; and as I resolved, the dawn looked in at me, fresh and fair as little Effie's face.
I met Jean with a smile, and, as she read its significance aright, there shone a sudden peace upon her countenance, more touching than her grateful words.
Effie came singing from the burn-side, as unconscious of the change which awaited her as the flowers gathered in her plaid and crowning her bright hair.
I drew her to my side, and in the simplest words asked her if she would go with me when Jean's long guardianship was ended. Joy, sorrow, and surprise stirred the sweet composure of her face, and quickened the tranquil beating of her heart. But as I ceased, joy conquered grief and wonder; for she clapped her hands like a glad child, exclaiming,—
"Go with you, Sir? Oh, if you knew how I long to see the home you have so often pictured to me, you would never doubt my willingness to go."
"But, Effie, you do not understand. Are you willing to go with me as my wife?" I said,—with a secret sense of something like remorse, as I uttered that word, which once meant so much to me, and now seemed such an empty title to bestow on her.
The flowers dropped from the loosened plaid, as Effie looked with a startled glance into my face; the color left her cheeks, and the smile died on her lips, but a timid joy lit her eye, as she softly echoed my last words,—
"Your wife? It sounds very solemn, though so sweet. Ah, Sir, I am not wise or good enough for that!"
A child's humility breathed in her speech, but something of a woman's fervor shone in her uplifted countenance, and sounded in the sudden tremor of her voice.
"Effie, I want you as you are," I said,—"no wiser, dear,—no better. I want your innocent affection to appease the hunger of an empty heart, your blithe companionship to cheer my solitary home. Be still a child to me, and let me give you the protection of my name."
Effie turned to her old friend, and, laying her young face on the pillow close beside the worn one grown so dear to her, asked, in a tone half pleading, half regretful,—
"Dear Jean, shall I go so far away from you and the home you gave me when I had no other?"
"My bairn, I shall not be here, and it will never seem like home with old Jean gone. It is the last wish I shall ever know, to see you safe with this good gentleman who loves my child. Go, dear heart, and be happy; and Heaven bless and keep you both!"
Jean held her fast a moment, and then, with a whispered prayer, put her gently away. Effie came to me, saying, with a look more eloquent than her meek words,—
"Sir, I will be your wife, and love you very truly all my life."
I drew the little creature to my breast, and felt a tender pride in knowing she was mine. Something in the shy caress those soft arms gave touched my cold nature with a generous warmth, and the innocence of that confiding heart was an appeal to all that made my manhood worth possessing.
Swiftly those few weeks passed, and when old Jean was laid to her last sleep, little Effie wept her grief away upon her husband's bosom, and soon learned to smile in her new English home. Its gloom departed when she came, and for a while it was a very happy place. My bitter moods seemed banished by the magic of the gentle presence that made sunshine there, and I was conscious of a fresh grace added to the life so wearisome before.
I should have been a father to the child, watchful, wise, and tender; but old Jean was right,—I was too young to feel a father's calm affection or to know a father's patient care. I should have been her teacher, striving to cultivate the nature given to my care, and fit it for the trials Heaven sends to all. I should have been a friend, if nothing more, and given her those innocent delights that make youth beautiful and its memory sweet.
I was a master, content to give little, while receiving all she could bestow.
Forgetting her loneliness, I fell back into my old way of life. I shunned the world, because its gayeties had lost their zest. I did not care to travel, for home now possessed a charm it never had before. I knew there was an eager face that always brightened when I came, light feet that flew to welcome me, and hands that loved to minister to every want of mine. Even when I sat engrossed among my books, there was a pleasant consciousness that I was the possessor of a household sprite whom a look could summon and a gesture banish. I loved her as I loved a picture or a flower,—a little better than my horse and hound,—but far less than I loved my most unworthy self.
And she,—always so blithe when I was by, so diligent in studying my desires, so full of simple arts to win my love and prove her gratitude,—she never asked for any boon, and seemed content to live alone with me in that still place, so utterly unlike the home she had left. I had not learned to read that true heart then. I saw those happy eyes grow wistful when I went, leaving her alone; I missed the roses from her cheek, faded for want of gentler care; and when the buoyant spirit which had been her chiefest charm departed, I fancied, in my blindness, that she pined for the free air of the Highlands, and tried to win it back by transient tenderness and costly gifts. But I had robbed my lark of heaven's sunshine, and it could not sing.