Gala-Days: Ii

THE descent from Patmore and poetry to New York is somewhat abrupt, not to say precipitous, but we made it in safety; and so shall you, if you will be agile.

New York is a pleasant little Dutch city, on a dot of island a few miles southwest of Massachusetts. For a city entirely unobtrusive and unpretending, it has really great attractions and solid merit; but the superior importance of other places will not. permit me to tarry long within its hospitable walls. In fact, we only arrived late at night, and departed early the next morning ; but even a six-hours’ sojourn gave me a solemn and “ realizing sense” of its marked worth, — for, when, tired and listless, I asked for a servant to assist me, the waiter said he would send the housekeeper. Accordingly, when, a few moments after, it knocked at the door with light, light finger, (See De la Motte Fouque.) I drawled, “ Come in,” and the Queen of Sheba stood before me, clad in purple and fine linen, with rings on her fingers and bells on her toes. I stared in dismay, and perceived myself rapidly transmigrating into a ridiculus mus. My gray and dingy travelling-dress grew abject, and burned into my soul like the tunic of Nessus. I should as soon have thought of asking Queen Victoria to brush out my hair as that fine lady in brocade silk and Mechlin lace. But she was good and gracious, and did not annihilate me on the spot, as she might easily have done, for which I shall thank her as long as I live.

“ You sent for me? ” she inquired, with the blandest accents imaginable. I can’t tell a lie, pa, — you know I can’t tell a lie ; besides, I had not time to make up one, and I said, “ Yes,” and then, of all stupid devices that could filter into my soggy brain, I must needs stammer out that I should like a few matches! A pretty thing to bring a dowager duchess up nine pairs of stairs for !

“ I will ring the bell,” she said, with a tender, reproachful sweetness and dignity, which conveyed without unkindness the severest rebuke tempered by womanly pity, and proceeded to instruct me in the nature and uses of the bell-rope, as she would any little dairy-maid who had heard only the chime of cow-bells all the days of her life. Then she sailed out of the room, serene and majestic, like a seventy-four man-of-war, while I, a squalid, salt-hay gundalow, (Venetian blind-ed into gondola,) first sank down in confusion, and then rose up in fury and brushed all the hair out of my head.

“ I declare,” I said to Halicarnassus, when we were fairly beyond ear-shot of the city next morning, “I don’t approve of sumptuary laws, and I like America to be the El Dorado of the poor man, and I go for the largest liberty of the individual ; but I do think there ought to be a clause in the Constitution providing that servants shall not be dressed and educated and accomplished up to the point of making people uncomfortable.”

“ No,” said Halicarnassus, sleepily ; “ perhaps it was n’t a servant.”

“ Well,” I said, having looked at it in that light silently for half an hour, and coming to the surface in another place, “ if I could dress and carry myself like that, I would not keep tavern.”

“ Oh ! eh ? ” yawning ; “ who does ? ”

“ Mrs. Astor. Of course nobody less rich than Mrs. Astor could go up-stairs and down-stairs and in my lady’s chamber in Shiraz silk and gold of Ophir. Why, Cleopatra was nothing to her. I make no doubt she uses gold-dust for sugar in her coffee every morning; and as for the three miserable little wherries that Isabella furnished Columbus, and historians have towed through their tomes ever since, why, bless your soul, if you know of anybody that has a continent he wants to discover, send him to this housekeeper, and she can fit out a fleet of transports and Monitors for convoy with one of her bracelets.”

“ I don’t,” said Halicarnassus, rubbing his eyes.

“I only wish,” I added, “that she would turn Rebel, so that Government might confiscate her. Paper currency would go up at once from the sudden influx of gold, and the credit of the country receive a new lease of life. She must be a lineal descendant of Sir Roger de Coverley, for I am sure her finger sparkles with a hundred of his richest acres.”

Before bidding a final farewell to New York, I shall venture to make a single remark. I regret to be forced to confess that I greatly fear even this virtuous little city has not escaped quite free, in the general deterioration of morals and manners. The New York hackmen, for instance, are very obliging and attentive; but if it would not seem ungrateful, I would hazard the statement that their attentions are unremitting to the degree of being, almost embarrassing, and proffered to the verge of obtrusiveness. I think, in short, that they are hardly quite delicate in their politeness. They press their hospitality on you till you sigh for a little marked neglect. They are not content with simple statement. They offer yon their hack, for instance. You decline, with thanks. They say that they will carry you to any part of the city. Where is the pertinence of that, if you do not wish to go ? But they not only say it, they repeat it, they dwell upon it as if it were a cardinal virtue. Now you have never expressed or entertained the remotest suspicion that they would not carry you to any part of the city. You have not the slightest intention or desire to discredit their assertion. The only trouble is, as I said before, you do not wish to go to any part of the city. Very few people have the time to drive about in that general way; and I think, that, when you have once distinctly informed them that you do not design to inspect New York, they ought to see plainly that you cannot change your whole plan of operations out of gratitude to them, and that the part of true politeness is to withdraw. But they even go beyond a censurable urgency ; for an old gentleman and lady, evidently unaccustomed to travelling, had given themselves in charge of a driver, who placed them in his coach, leaving the door open while he went back seeking whom he might devour. Presently a rival coachman came up and said to the aged and respectable couple,—

“ Here’s a carriage all ready to start.”

“ But,” replied the lady, “ we have already told the gentleman who drives this coach that we would go with him.”

“ Catch me to go in that coach, if I was you! ” responded the wicked coachman. “ Why, that coach has had the Small-pox in it.”

The lady started up in horror. At that moment the first driver appeared again, and Satan entered into me, and I felt in my heart that I should like to see a fight; and then conscience stepped up and drove him away, but consoled me by the assurance that I should see the fight all the same, for such duplicity deserved the severest punishment, and it was my duty to make an expose and vindicate helpless innocence imposed upon in the persons of that worthy pair. Accordingly I said to the driver, as he passed me, —.

“ Driver, that man in the gray coat is trying to frighten the old lady and gentleman away from your coach, by telling them it has had the small-pox.”

Oh ! hut did not the fire flash into his honest eyes, and leap into his swarthy cheek, and nerve his brawny arm, and clinch his horny fist, as he marched straightway up to the doomed offender, fiercely denounced his dishonesty, and violently demanded redress ? Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro, and eagerness and delight on every countenance, and a ring formed, and the prospect, of a lovely “row,”—and I did it; but a police-officer sprang up, full-armed, from somewhere underground, and undid it all, and enforced a reluctant peace.

And so we are at Saratoga. Now, of all places to stay at in the summer-time, Saratoga is the very last one to choose. It may have attractions in winter; but, if one wishes to rest, and change and root down and shoot up and branch out, ho might as well take lodgiugs in the waterwheel of a saw-mill. The uniformity and variety will be much the same. It is all a noiseless kind of din, narrow and intense. There is nothing in Saratoga nor of Saratoga to see or to hear or to feel. They tell you of a lake. You jam into an omnibus and ride four miles. Then you step into a cockle-shell and circumnavigate a pond, so small that it almost makes you dizzy to sail around it. This is the lake, — a very nice thing as far as it goes; but when it has to be constantly on duty as the natural scenery of the whole surrounding country, it is putting altogether too fine a point on it. The picturesque people will inform you of an Indian encampment. You go to see it, thinking of the forest primeval, and expecting to be transported back to tomahawks, scalps, and forefathers; but you return without them, and that is all. I never heard of anybody’s going anywhere. In fact, there did not seem to be anywhere to go. Any suggestion of miue to strike out info the champaign was frowned down in the severest manner. As far as I could see, nobody ever did anything. There never was any plan on foot. Nothing was ever stirring. People sat on the piazza and sewed. They went to the springs, and the springs are dreadful. They bubble up salts and senna. I never knew anything that pretended to be water that was half as bad. It has no one redeeming quality. It is bitter. It is greasy. Every spring is worse than the last, whichever end you begin at,. They told apocryphal stories of people's drinking sixteen glasses before breakfast; and yet it may have been true ; for, if one could bring himself to the point of drinking one glass of it, I should suppose it would have taken such a force to enable him to do it that he might go on drinking indefinitely, from the mere action of the original impulse. I should think one dose of it would render a person permanently indifferent to savors, and make him, like Mithridates, poison-proof. Nevertheless, people go to the springs and drink. Then they go to the bowlingalleys and bowl. In the evening, if you are hilariously inclined, you can make the tour of the hotels. In each one you see a large and brilliantly lighted parlor, along the four sides of which are women sitting solemn and stately, in rows three deep, with a man dropped in here and there, about as thick as periods on a page, very voting or very old or in white cravats. A piano or a band or something that can make a noise makes it at intervals at one end of the room. They all look as if they were waiting for something, but nothing in particular happens. Sometimes, after the mountain has labored awhile, some little mouse of a boy and girl will get up, execute an antic or two and sit down again, when everything relapses into its original solemnity. At very long intervals somebody walks across the floor. There is a moderate fluttering of fans and an occasional whisper. Expectation interspersed with gimcracks seems to be the programme. The greater part of the dancing that I. saw was done by boys and girls. It was pretty and painful. Nobody dances so well as children; no grace is equal to their grace : but to go into a hotel at ten o’clock at night, and see little things, eight, ten, twelve years old, who ought to be in bed and asleep, tricked out in flounces and ribbons and all the paraphernalia of balletgirls, and dancing in the centre of a hollow square of strangers,—I call it murder in the first degree. What can mothers be thinking of to abuse their children so? Children are naturally healthy and simple ; why should they be spoiled ? They will have to plunge into the world full soon enough ; why should the world be plunged into them ? Physically, mentally, and morally, the innocents are massacred. Night after night I saw the same children led out to the slaughter, and as I looked I saw their round, red cheeks grow thin and white, their delicate nerves lose tone and tension, their brains become feeble and flabby, their miuds flutter out weakly in muslin and ribbons, their vanity kindled by injudicious admiration, the sweet child - unconsciousness withering away in the glare of indiscriminate gazing, the innocence and simplicity and naturalness and child-likeness swallowed up in a seething whirlpool of artificialness, all the fine, golden butterfly - dust of modesty and delicacy and retiring girlhood ruthlessly rubbed off forever before girlhood had even reddened from the dim dawn of infancy. Oh! it is cruel to sacrifice children so. What can atone for a lost childhood? What can be given in recompense for the ethereal, spontaneous, sharply defined, new, delicious sensations of a sheltered, untainted, opening life ?

Thoroughly worked into a white heat of indignation, we leave the babes in the wood to be despatched by their ruffian relatives, and go to another hotel. A larger parlor, larger rows, but still three deep and solemn. A tall man, with a face in which melancholy seems to be giving way to despair, a man most proper for an undertaker, but palpably out of place in a drawing-room, walks up and down incessantly, but noiselessly, in a persistent endeavor to bring out a dance. Now he fastens upon a newly arrived man. Now he plants himself before a bench of misses. You can bear the low rumble of his exhortation and the tittering replies. After a persevering course of entreaty and persuasion, a set is drafted, the music galvanizes, and the dance begins.

I like to see people do with their might whatsoever their hands or their tongues or their feet find to do. A half-and-half performance of the right is just about as mischievous as the perpetration of the wrong. It is vacillation, hesitation, lack of will, feebleness of purpose, imperfect execution, that works ill in all life. Be monarch of all you survey. If a woman decides to do her own housework, let her go in royally among her pots and kettles and set everything a-stewing and baking and broiling and boiling, as a queen might. If she decides not to do housework, but to superintend its doing, let her say to her servant, “ Go,” and he goeth, to another, “ Come,” and he cometh, to a third, “ Do this,” and he doeth it, and not potter about. So, when girls get themselves up and go to Saratoga for a regular campaign, I want their bearing to be soldierly'. Let them be gay with abandonment. Let them take hold of it as if they liked it. I do not affect the word flirtation, but the thing itself is not half so criminal as one would think from the animadversions visited upon it. Of course, a deliberate setting yourself to work to make some one fall in love with you, for the mere purpose of showing your power, is abominable,—or would be, if anybody ever did it; but I do not suppose it ever was done, except in fifth-rate novels. What I mean is, that it is entertaining, harmless, and beneficial for young people to amuse themselves with each other to the top of their bent, if' their bent is a natural and right one. A few hearts may' suffer accidental, transient injury ; but hearts are like limbs, all the stronger for being broken. Besides, where one man or woman is injured by loving too much, nine hundred and ninety-nine die the death from not loving enough.

But these Saratoga girls did neither one thing nor another. They dressed themselves in their best, making a point of it, and failed. They' assembled themselves together of set purpose to be lively, and they were infectiously' dismal. They did not dress well: one looked rustic; another was dowdyish ; a third was over-fine ; a fourth was insignificant. Their bearing was not good, in the main. They danced, and whispered, and laughed, and looked like milkmaids. They had no style, no figure. Their shoulders were high, and their chests were fiat, and they' were one-sided, and they stooped,—all of which would have been of no account, if they had only been unconsciously enjoying themselves; but they consciously were not. It is possible that they' thought they' were happy', but I knew better. You are never happy', unless you are master of the situation ; and they were not. They endeavored to appear at case, — a thing which people who are at ease never do. They looked as if they had all their lives been meaning to go to Saratoga, and now they had got there and were determined not to betray any' unwontedness. It was not the timid, eager, delighted, fascinating, graceful awkwardness of a new young girl; it. was not the careless, hearty, wholesouled enjoyment of an experienced girl; it was not the natural, indifferent, imperial queening it of an acknowledged monarch : but something that caught hold of the hem of the garment of them all. It was they with the sheen damped off. So it was not imposing. I could pick you up a dozen girls straight along, right out of the pantries and the butteries, right up from the washing-tubs and the sewingmachines, who should be abundantly able to “hoe their row” with them anywhere. In short, I was extremely disappointed. I expected to see the high fashion, the very birth and breeding, the cream cheese of the country, and it was skim-milk. If that is birth, one can do quite as well without being born at all. Occasionally you would see a girl with gentle blood in her veins, whether it were butcher-blood or banker-blood, but she only made the prevailing plebsiness more striking. Now I maintain that a woman ought to be very handsome or very clever, or else she ought to go to work and do something. Beauty is of itself a divine gift and adequate. “ Beauty is its own excuse for being” anywhere. It ought not to be fenced in or monopolized, any more than a statue or a mountain. It ought to be free and common, a benediction to all weary wayfarers. It can never be profaned ; for it veils itself from the unappreciative eye, and shines only upon its worshippers. So a clever woman, whether she be a painter or a teacher or a dress-maker, — if she really has an object in life, a career, slip is safe. She is a power. She commands a realm. She owns a world. She is bringing things to bear. Let her alone. But it is a very dangerous and a very melancholy thing for common women to be “lying on their oars” long at a time. Some of these were, I suppose, what Winthrop calls “ business-women, fighting their way out of vulgarity into style.” The process is rather uninteresting, but the result may be glorious. Yet a good many of them were good, honest, kind, common girls, only demoralized by long lying around in a waiting posture. It had taken the fire and sparkle out of them. They were not in a healthy state. They were degraded, contracted, flaccid. They did not hold themselves high. They knew that in a marketable point of view there was a frightful glut of women. The usually small ratio of men was unusually diminished by the absence of those who had gone to the war, and of those who, as was currently reported, were ashamed that they had not gone. The few available men had it all their own way ; the women were on the look-out for them, instead of being themselves looked out for. They talked about “ gentlemen,” and being “ companionable to gen-tlemcn,” and “who was fascinating to gen-tlemen,” till the “grand old name” became a nuisance. There was an under-current of unsated coquetry. I don’t suppose they were any sillier than the rest of us: but when our silliness is mixed in with housekeeping and sewing and teaching and returning visits, it passes off harmless. When it is stripped of all these modifiers, however, and goes off exposed to Saratoga, and melts in with a hundred other sillinesses, it makes a great show.

No, I don’t like Saratoga. I don’t think it is wholesome. No place can be healthy that keeps up such an unmitigated dressing.

“ Where do you walk ? ” I asked an artless Utile lady.

“ Oh, almost always on the long piazza. It is so clean there, and we don’t like to soil our dresses.5’

Now I ask if girls could ever get into that state in the natural course of things ! It is the result of vile habits. They cease to care for things which they ought to like to do, and they devote themselves to what ought to be only an incident. People dress in their best without break. They go to the springs before breakfast in shining raiment, and they go into the parlor after supper in shining raiment, and it is shine, shine, shine, all the way between, and a different shine each time. You may well suppose that I was like an owl among birds of Paradise, for what little finery I had was in my (eminently) travelling-trunk : yet, though it was but a dory, compared with the Noah’s arks that drove up every day, I felt, that, if I could only once get inside of it, I could make things fly to some purpose Like poor Rabette, I would show the city that the country too could wear clothes ! I never walked down Broadway without seeing a dozen white trunks, and every white trunk that I saw I was fully convinced was mine, if I could only get at it. By-and-by mine came, and I blossomed. I arrayed myself for morning, noon, and night, and everything else that came up, and was, as the poet says,—

“ Prodigious in change,
And endless in range,” —

for I would have scorned not to be as good as the best. The result was, that in three days I touched bottom. But then we went away, and my reputation was saved. I don’t believe anybody ever did a larger business on a smaller capital; but I put a bold face on it. I cherish the hope that nobody suspected I could not go on in that ruinous way all summer,—I, who in three days had mustered into service every dress and sash and ribbon and rag that I had had in three years or expected to have in three more. But I never will, if I can help it, hold my head down where other people are holding their heads up.

I would not be understood as decrying or depreciating dress. It is a duty as well as a delight. Mrs. Madison is reported to have said that she would never forgive a young lady who did not dress to please, or one who seemed pleased with her dress. And not only young ladies, but old ladies, and old gentlemen, and everybody, ought to make their dress a concord and not a discord. But Saratoga is pitched on a perpetual falsetto, and stuns you. One becomes sated with an interminable piece de resistance of full dress. At the sea-side you bathe; at the mountains you put on stout boots and coarse frocks and go a-fishing; but Saratoga never “ lets up,”—if I may be pardoned the phrase. Consequently you see much of crinoline and little of character. You have to get at the human nature just as Thoreau used to get at bird-uature and fish-nature and turtle-nature, by sitting perfectly still in one place and waiting patiently till it comes out. You see more of the reality of people in a single day’s tramp than in twenty days of guarded monotone. Now I cannot conceive of any reason why people should go to Saratoga, except to see people. True, as a general thing, they are the last objects you desire to see, when you are summering. But if one has been cooped up in the house or blocked up in the country during the nine months of our Northern winter, he may have a mighty hunger and thirst, when he is thawed out, to see human faces and hear human voices; but even then Saratoga is not the place to go to, on account of this very artificial ness. By artificial I do not mean deceitful. I saw nobody but nice people there, smooth, kind, and polite. By artificial I mean wrought up. You don’t get at the heart of things. Artificialness spreads and spans all with a crystal barrier, — invisible, but palpable. Nothing was left to grow and go at its own sweet will. The very springs were paved and pavilioned. For green fields and welling fountains and a possibility of brooks, which one expects from the name, you found a Greek temple, and a pleasure-ground, graded and grassed and pathed like a cemetery, wherein nymphs trod daintily in elaborate morning-costume. Everything took pattern and was elaborate. Nothing was left to the imagination, the taste, the curiosity. A bland, smooth, smiling surface baffled and blinded you, and threatened profanity. Now profanity is wicked and vulgar ; but if you listen to the reeds next summer, I am not sure that yon will not hear them whispering, “ Thunder! ”

For the restorative qualities of Saratoga I have nothing to say. I was well when I went there ; nor did my experience ever furnish me with any disease that I should consider worse than an intermittent attack of her spring waters. But whatever it may do for the body, I do not believe it is good for the soul. I do not believe that such places, such scenes, such a fashion of life ever nourishes a vigorous womanhood or manhood. Taken homœopathically, it may be harmless ; but if it become a habit, a necessity, it must vitiate, enervate, destroy. Men can stand it, tor the sea-breezes and the mountain-breezes may have full sweep through their life; but women cannot, for they just go home and live air-tight.

If the railroad-men at Saratoga tell you you can go straight from there to the foot of Lake George, don’t you believe a word of it. Perhaps you can, and perhaps you cannot; but you are not any more likely to can for their saying so. We left Saratoga for Fort-WilliamHenry Hotel in full faith of an afternoon ride and a sunset arrival, based on repeated and unhesitating assurances to that effect. Instead of which, we went a few miles, and wore then dumped into a blackberry-patch, where we were Informed that we must wait seven hours. So much for the afternoon ride through summer fields and “ Sunset on Lake George ” from the top of a coach. But I made no unmanly laments, for we were out of Saratoga, and that was happiness. We were among cows and barns and homely rail-fences, and that was comfort; so we strolled contentedly through the pastures, found a river, — I believe it was the Hudson ; at any rate, Halicarnassus said so, though I don’t imagine he knew ; but he would take oath it was Acheron rather than own up to ignorance on any point whatever, — watched the canal-boats and boatmen go down, marvelled at the arbor-vitæ trees growing wild along the river-hanks, green, hale, stately, and symmetrical, against the dismal mental background of two little consumptive shoots bolstered up in our front yard at home, and dying daily, notwithstanding persistent and affectionate nursing with “ flannels and rum.” And then we went back to the blackberry-station and inquired whether there was nothing celebrated in the vicinity to which visitors of received Orthodox creed should dutifully pay their respects, and were gratified to learn that we were but a few miles from Jane MeCrea and her Indian murderers. Was a carriage procurable ? Well, yes, if the ladies would be willing to go in that. It was n’t very smart, but it would take ’em safe, — as if “ the ladies” would have raised any objections to going in a wheelbarrow, had it been necessary, and so we bundled in. The hills were steep, and our horse, the property of an adventitious bystander, was of the Bosniante breed; but we were in no hurry, seeing that the only thing awaiting us this side the sunset was a blackberry-patch without: any blackberries, and we walked up bill and scraped down, till we got into a lane which somebody told us led to the Fort, from which the village, Fort Edward, takes its name. But, instead of a fort, the lane ran full tilt against a pair of bars.

“ Now we are lost,” I said, sententiously.

“ A gem of countless price,” pursued Halicarnassus, who never quotes poetry except to inflame me.

“ How long will it be profitable to remain here ? ” asked Grande, when we had sat immovable and speechless for the space of five minutes.

“ There seems to be nowhere else to go. We have got to the end,” said Halicarnassus, roaming as to his eyes over into the wheat-field beyond.

“ We might turn,” suggested the Anakim, looking bright.

“ How can you turn a horse in this knitting-needle of a lane ? ” I demanded.

“ I don’t know,” replied Halicarnassus, dubiously, “unless I take him up in my arms, and set him down with his head the other way,” — and immediately turned him deftly in a corner about half as large as the wagon.

The next lane we came to was the right one, and being narrow, rocky, and rough, we left our carriage and walked.

A whole volume of the peaceful and prosperous history of our beloved country could be read in the fact that the once belligerent, life-saving, dcatli-dealing fort was represented by a hen-coop ; yet I was disappointed. I was hungry for a ruin, — some visible hint of the past. Such is human nature, — ever prone to be more impressed by a disappointment of its own momentary gratification than by the most obvious well-being of a nation ; but, glad or sorry, of Fort Edward was not left one stone upon another. Several single stones lay about promiscuous rather than belligerent. Flag-stall and palisades lived only in a few straggling bean-poles. For the heavy booming of cannon rose the “ quauk ! ” of ducks and the cackling of hens. We went to the spot which tradition points out as the place where Jane McCrea met her death. River flowed, and raftsmen sang below ; women stood at their washing-tubs, and white-headed children stared at us from above; nor from the unheeding river or the forgetful woods came shriek or cry or faintest wail of pain.

When we were little, and geography and history were but printed words on white paper, not places and events, Jane McCrea was to us no suffering woman, but a picture of a low-necked, long-skirted, scanty dress, long hair grasped by a half-naked Indian, and two unnaturallooking hands raised in entreaty. It was interesting as a picture, but it excited no pity, no horror, because it was only a picture. We never saw women dressed in that style. We knew that women did not take journeys through woods without bonnet or shawl, and we spread a veil of ignorant, indifferent incredulity over the whole. But as we grow up, printed words take on new life. The latent fire in them lights up and glows. The mystic words throb with vital heat, and burn down into our souls to an answering fire. As we stand, on this soft summer day, by flic, old tree which tradition declares to have witnessed that fateful scene, we go back into a summer long ago, but fair and just like this. Jane McCrea is no longer a myth, but a young girl blooming and beautiful with the roses of her seventeen years. Farther back still, we see an old man’s darling, little Jenny of the Manse, a lighthearted child, with sturdy Scotch blood leaping in her young veins,—then a tender orphan, sheltered by a brother’s care, — then a gentle maiden, light-hearted no longer, heavy-freighted, rather, hut with a priceless burden, — a happy girl, to whom love calls with stronger voice than brother’s blood, stronger even than life. Yonder in the woods lurk wily and wary foes. Death with unspeakable horrors lies in ambush there ; but yonder also stands the soldier lover, and possible greeting, after long, weary abserffce, is there. What fear can master that overpowering hope ? Estrangement of families, political disagreement, a separated loyalty, all melt away, are fused together in the warmth of girlish love. Taxes, representation, what things are these to come between two hearts? No Tory, no traitor is her lover, but her own brave hero and true knight. Woe ! woe! the eager dream is broken by mad warwhoops ! Alas ! to those fierce wild men, what is love, or loveliness ? Pride, and passion, and the old accursed hunger for gold flame up in their savage breasts. Wrathful, loathsome fingers clutch the long, fair hair that even the fingers of love have caressed but with reverent halttouch, — and love, and hope, and life go out in one dread moment of horror and despair. Now, through the reverberations of more than fourscore years, through all the tempest - rage of a war more awful than that, and fraught, we hope, with a grander joy, a clear, young voice, made sharp with agony, rings through the shuddering woods, cleaves up through the summer sky, and wakens in every heart a thrill of speechless pain. Along these peaceful banks I see a bowed form walking, youth in his years, but deeper furrows in his face than age can plough, stricken down from the heights of his ambition and desire, all the vigor and fire of' manhood crushed and quenched beneath the horror of one fearful memory.

Sweet summer sky, bending above us soft and saintly, beyond your blue depths is there not Heaven ?

“ We may as well give Dobbin his oats here,” said Halicarnassus.

We had brought a few in a bag for luncheon, thinking it might help him over the hills. So the wagon was rummaged, the bag brought to light, and I sent to one of the nearest houses to get something for him to eat out of. I did not think to ask what particular vessel to inquire for ; but after I had knocked, I decided upon a meat-platter or a pudding-dish, and with the good woman's permission finally took both, that Halicarnassus might have his choice.

“ Which is the best ? ” I asked, holding them up.

He surveyed them carefully, and then said, —

“Now run right back and get a tumbler for him to drink out of, aud a teaspoon to feed him with.”

I started in good faith, from a mere habit of unquestioning obedience, but with the fourth step my reason returned to me, and I returned to Halicarnassus and — kicked him. That sounds 'very dreadful and horrible, and it is, if you are thinking of a great, brutal, brogan kick, such as a stupid farmer gives to his patient oxen ; but not, if you mean only a delicate, compact, penetrative punch with the toe of a tight-fitting gaiter, — addressed rather to the conscience than the shins, to the sensibilities rather than the senses. The kick masculine is coarse, boorish, unmitigated, predicable only of Calibans. The kick feminine is expressive, suggestive, terse, electric, — an indispensable instrument in domestic discipline, as women will bear me witness, and not at all incompatible with beauty, grace, and amiability. But, right or wrong, after all this interval of rest and reflection, in full view of all the circumstances, my only regret is that I did not kick him harder.

Now go and fetch your own tools ! ” I cried, shaking off the yoke of servitude. “ I won’t be your stable-boy any longer ! ”

Then, perforce, he gathered up the crockery, marched off in disgrace, and came back with a molasses-hogshead, or a wash-tub, or some such overgrown mastodon, to turn his sixpenny-worth of oats into.

Having fed our mettlesome steed, the next thing was to water him. The Anakim remembered to have seen a pump with a trough somewhere, and they proposed to reconnoitre while we should “ wait by the wagon ” their return. No, I said we would drive on to the pump, while they walked.

“You drive!” ejaculated Halicarnassus, contemptuously.

Now I do not, as a general thing, have an overweening respect for female teamsters. There is but one woman in the world to whose hands I confide the reins and my hones with entire equanimity; and she says, that, when she is driving, she dreads of all things to meet a driving woman. If a man said this, it might be set down to prejudice. I don’t make any account of Halicarnassus's assertion, that, if two women walking in the road on a muddy day meet a carriage, they never keep together, but invariably one runs to the right and one to the left, so that the driver cannot favor them at all, but has to crowd between them, and drive both into the mud. That is palpably interested false witness. He thinks it is fine fun to push women into the mud, and frames such flimsy excuses. But as a woman’s thoughts about women, this woman's utterances are deserving of attention ; and she says that women are not to be depended upon. She is never sure that they will not turn out on the wrong side. They are nervous ; they are timid ; they are unreasoning; they are reckless. They will give a horse a disconnected, an utterly inconsequent “ cut,” making him spring, to the jeopardy of their own and others’ safety. They are not concentrative, and they are not infallibly courteous, as men are. I remember I was driving with her once between Newburyport and Boston. It was getting late, and we were very desirous to reach our destination before nightfall. Ahead of us a woman and a girl were jogging along in a country-wagon. As we wished to go much faster than they, we turned aside to pass them; but just as we were well abreast, the woman started up her horse, and he skimmed over the ground like a bird. We laughed, and followed well content. But after he had gone perhaps an eighth of a mile, his speed slackened down to the former jogtrot. Three times we attempted to pass before we really comprehended the fact that that infamous woman was deliberately detaining and annoying us. The third time, when we had so nearly passed them that our horse was turning into the road again, she struck hers up so suddenly and unexpectedly that her wheels almost grazed ours. Of course, understanding her game, we ceased the attempt, having no taste for horse-racing ; and nearly all the way from Newburyport to Rowley, she kept up that brigandry, jogging on and forcing us to jog on, neither going ahead herself nor suffering us to do so,—a perfect and most provoking dog in a manger. Her girl-associate would look behind every now and then to take observations, and I mentally hoped that the frisky Bucephalus would frisk his mistress out of the cart and break her ne— arm, or at least put her shoulder out of joint. If he did, I had fully determined in my own mind to hasten to her assistance and shame her to death with delicate and assiduous kindness. But fate lingered like all the rest of us. She reached Rowley in safety, and there our roads separated. Whether she stopped there, or drove into Ethiopian wastes beyond, I cannot say; but I have no doubt that the milk which she carried into Newburyport to market was blue, the butter frowy, and the potatoes exceedingly small.

Now do you mean to tell me that any man would have been guilty of such a thing? I don’t mean, would have committed such discourtesy to a woman ? Of course not; but would a man ever do it to a man ? Never. He might try it once or twice, just for fun, just to show off his horse, but he never would have persisted in it till a joke became an insult, not to say a possible injury.

Still, as I was about to say, when that Rowley’ jade interrupted me, though I have small faith in Di-Vernonism generally, and no large faith in my own personal prowess, I did feel myself equal to the task of holding the reins while our Roslnante walked along an open road to a pump. I therefore resented Halicarnassus’s contemptuous tones, mounted the wagon with as much dignity as wagons allow, sat straight as an arrow on the driver’s seat, took the reins in both hands, —as they used to tell me I must not, when I was a little girl, because that was women’s way, but I find now that men have adopted it, so I suppose it is all right,— and proceeded to show, like Sam Patch, that some things can be done as well as others. Halicarnassus and the Anakim took up their position in line on the other side of the road, hat in hand, watching.

“ Go fast, and shame them,” whispered Grande, from the back-seat, and the suggestion jumped with my own mood. It was a moment of intense excitement. To be or not to be. I jerked the lines. Pegasus did not start.

“ C-l-k-l-k ! ” No forward movement.

“ Huddup ! ” Still waiting for reinforcements.

“ H-w-e.” (Attempt at a whistle. Dead failure.)

(Sotto voce.) “ O you beast! ” (Pianissimo.) “ Gee ! Haw ! haw ! haw ! ” with a terrible jerking of the reins.

A voice over the way, distinctly audible, utters the cabalistic words, “ Two forty.” Another voice, as audible, asks, “ Which ’ll you bet on ? ” It was not soothing. It did seem as if the imp of the perverse had taken possession of that terrible nag to go and make such a display at such a moment. But as his will rose, so did mine, and as my will went up, my whip went with it; but before it came down, Halicarnassus made shift to drone out, “ Would n’t Flora go faster, if she was untied ? ”

To be sure, I had forgotten to unfasten him, and there those two men had stood and known it all the time ! I was in the wagon, so they were secure from personal violence, but I have a vague impression of some “pet names” flying wildly about in the air in that vicinity. Then we trundled safety down the lane. We were to go in the direction leading away from home, — the horse’s. I don’t think he perceived it at first, but as soon as he did snuff the fact, which happened when he had gone perhaps three rods, he quietly turned around and headed the other way, paying no more attention to ray reins or my terrific “ whoas ” than if I were a sleeping babe. A horse is none of your woman’s-rights men. He is Pauline. He suffers not the woman to usurp authority over him. He never says anything nor votes anything, but declares himself unequivocally by taking things into his own hands, whenever he knows there is nobody but a woman behind him, — and somehow he always does know. After Halicarnassus had turned him back and set him going the right way, I took on a gruff, manny voice, to deceive. Nonsense ! I could almost see him snap his fingers at me. He minded my whip no more than he did a fly,— not so much as he did some flies. Grande said she supposed his back was all callous. I acted upon the suggestion, knelt down in the bottom of the wagon, and leaned over the dasher to whip him on his belly, then climbed out on the shafts and snapped about his ears; but he stood it much better than I. Finally I found that by taking the small end of the wooden whip-handle, and sticking it into him, I could elicit a faint flash of light; so I did it with assiduity, but the moderate trot which even that produced was not enough to accomplish my design, which was to outstrip the two men and make them run or beg. The opposing forces arrived at the pump about the same time.

Halicarnassus took the handle, and gave about five jerks. Then the Anakiln took it and gave five more. Then they both stopped and wiped their faces.

“ What do you suppose this pump was put here for ? ” asked Halicarnassus.

“ A mile-stone, probably,” replied the Anakim.

Then they resumed their Herculean efforts till the water came, and then they got into the wagon, and we drove into the blackberries once more, where we arrived just in season to escape a thunder - shower, and pile merrily into one of several coaches waiting to convey passengers in various directions as soon as the train should come.

It is very selfish, but fine fun, to have secured your own chosen seat and bestowed your own luggage, and have nothing to do but witness the anxieties and efforts of other people. This exquisite pleasure we enjoyed for fifteen minutes, edified at the last by hearing one of our coachmen call out, “ Here, Rosey, this way ! ”—whereupon a manly voice, in the darkness, near us, soliloquized, “ Respectful way of addressing a judge of the Supreme Court!” and, being interrogated, the voice informed us that “ Rosey” was the vulgate for Judge Rosecranz ; whereupon Halicarnassus glossed over the rampant democracy by remarking that the diminutive was probably a term of endearment rather than familiarity; whereupon the manly voice — if I might say it — snickered audibly in the darkness, and we all relapsed into silence. But could anything be more characteristic of a certain phase of the manners of our great and glorious country ? Where are the Trollopes? Where is Dickens? Where is Basil Hall ?

It is but a dreary ride to Lake George on a dark and rainy evening, unless people like riding for its own sake, as I do. If there are suns and stars and skies, very well. If there are not, very well too : I like to ride all the same. I like everything in this world but Saratoga. Once or twice our monotony was broken up by short halts before countryinns. At one an excitement was going on. “ Had a casualty here this afternoon,” remarked a fresh passenger, as soon as he was fairly seated. A casualty is a windfall to a country-village. It is really worth while to have a head broken occasionally, for the wholesome stirring-up it gives to the heads that are not broken. On the whole, I question whether collisions and collusions do not cause as much good as harm. Certainly, people seem to take the most lively satisfaction in receiving and imparting all the details concerning them. Our passengerfriend opened his budget with as much complacence as ever did Mr. Gladstone or Disraeli, and with a confident air of knowing that he was going not. only to enjov a piece of good-fortune himself, but to administer a great gratification to us. Our “ casualty ” turned out to be the affair of a Catholic priest, of which our informer spoke only in dark hints and with significant shoulder-shrugs and eyebrowelevations, because it was “ not exactly the thing to get out, you know ” ; but if it was n’t to get out, why did he let it out ? and so from my dark corner I watched him as a cat does a mouse, and the lamp-light shone full upon him, and I understood every word and shrug, and I am going to tell it all to the world. I translated that the holy father had been “ skylarking ” in a boat, and in gay society had forgotten his vows of frugality and abstinence and general mortification of the flesh, and had become, not very drunk, but drunk enough to be dangerous, when he came ashore and took a horse in his hands, and so upset his carriage, and gashed his temporal artery, and came to grief, which is such a casualty as does not happen every day, and I don’t blame people for making the most of it. Then the moral was pointed, and the tale adorned, and the impression deepened, solemnized, and struck home by the fact that the very horse concerned in the “ casualty ” was to be fastened behind our coach, and the whole population came out with lanterns and umbrellas to tie him on,— all but one man, who was deaf, and stood on the piazza, anxious and eager to know everything that had been and was still occurring, and yet sorry to give trouble, and so compromising the matter and making it worse, as compromises generally do, by questioning everybody with a deprecating, fawning air.

Item. We shall all, if we live long enough, he deaf, but we need not be meek about it. I for one am determined to walk up to people and demand what they are saying at the point of the bayonet. Deafness, if it must be so, but independence at any rate.

And when the fulness of time is come, we alight at Fort-William-Henry Hotel, and all night long through the sentient woods I hear the booming of Johnson’s cannon, the rattle of Dieskau’s guns, and that wild war-whoop, more terrible than all. Again old Monro watches from his fortress - walls the steadily approaching foe, and looks in vain for help, save to his own brave heart. I see the light of conquest shining in his foeman’s eye, darkened by no shadow of the fate that waits his coming on a bleak Northern hill; but, generous in the hour of victory, he shall not be less noble in defeat,—for to generous hearts all generous hearts are friendly, whether they stand face to face or side by side.

Over the woods and the waves, when the morning breaks, like a bridegroom coming forth from his chamber, rejoicing as a strong man to run a race, comes up the sun in his might and crowns himself king. All the summer day, from morn to dewy eve, we sail over the lakes of Paradise. Blue waters and blue sky, soft clouds, and green islands, and fair, fruitful shores, sharp-pointed hills, long, gentle slopes and swells, and the lights and shadows of far - stretching woods; and over all the potence of the unseen past, the grand, historic past, — soft over all the invisible mantle which our fathers flung at their departing, — the mystic effluence of the spirits that trod these wilds and sailed these waters, —the courage and the fortitude, the hope that battled against hope, the comprehensive outlook, the sagacious purpose, the resolute will, the unhesitating self-sacrifice, the undaunted devotion which has made this heroic ground : cast these into your own glowing crucible, O gracious friend, and crystallize for yourself such a gem of days as shall worthily be set forever in your crown of the beatitudes.