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and it curled and writhed, snake-like, to a cinder.
"What do I care?" cried Ordronnaux, imperiously. "You love me. At last I know you love me!" And he bent toward her with his open arms.
"Never!" cried Emilia, drawing doggedly away. "Never! If what you say is true, you have killed the man I loved! never loved a man who was capable of practicing a fraud! "
Ordronnaux rose, and stood as if a blow had been dealt him. "You are right," he said, hoarsely, after a while. "Before God, Emilia, I never looked at it so till now. should have told you that fraud and an Ordronnaux
"Yes," she cried, suddenly, "a fraud! Oh, all you dead and gone Ordronnaux that from these walls have been accusing me of crime this long, long week, now you see where all your boasted honor ends! Ends in the man who beguiles his own wife from virtue, and betrays her!"
There was a moment's silence, in which you heard the drop drip from the eaves.
"Emilia," said Ordronnaux then, still gently. "If I have done wrong, are you the one to have no mercy on me?"
Another silence, and then for answer there came a tempest of tears.
"Is it true," said he, when the tears had passed, and there had been no sound in the room save the keening of the wind and the falling and shattering of one icicle and another for many minutes, "is it true that I have killed your ideal? Is there nothing left from which you can revive it? No love of beauty and of heaven? No aspiration? No sympathy in books, in music, in color? No personal interest whatever? After this winter's companionship in those letters, can you live alone and live at all? I loved your soul, Emilia -I thought that you loved mine!"
He turned away. And then he came back passionately. He stooped and took her, impassive, in his arms, he kissed her unreturning lips in one long throbbing kiss-a kiss that was half a sob. Then he released her and went back to the window, where he had lingered when he first came in. The room suffocated him, it seemed as if his brain were on fire, he threw open the valves and stepped out upon the little balcony-an instant too soon; for there came the swift rush and muffled thunder of an avalanche of snow and ponderous icicle from the gable-end
above, and Emilia saw Ordronnaux fall beneath the shock, saw him as if that, like all the rest, were a part of some bad dream.
But with the next heart-beat,-whether it were an instinct of common humanity that stirred in her, or whether that long melting kiss had warmed her back to newer, richer life, she started from her chair, and had seized Ordronnaux' shoulders and had dragged him in, the snow with him, had flung together the valves of the window behind him, and was kneeling over him while the flashing of the firelight disclosed to her the white sharp face as fixed as death, whiter for the thread of blood that trickled from a wound beneath the hair. And in that instant a withering sense may have overwhelmed her of what she lost in losing Ordronnaux-the companionship, the sympathy, the love of which he spoke. "I loved your soul, too!" she cried out. 'Speak to me, look at me! You kissed me a moment since," she said, her face on his, "kiss me again, Oh Ordronnaux, my love, my husband!"
A quiver crept through the frame she half upheld. Even in that trance, the twin of death, he must have felt that cry. His pulse fluttered, his heart was beating in great plunges-yet he dared not open his eyes at once, lest it should all be naught, till again he felt the touch of that soft cheek, of those warm, trembling lips, and his own lips answered and detained them.
The moon came round, with all her purple shadows, and looked at them sitting there before the dying embers, in that rapturous hour of recital, of forgiveness, of passion-an hour borrowing something of its bliss from the sorrow it had so nearly touched, from the sorrow yet to come! On what a bright world the sun would rise, they thought! What messages of cheer, though the household were about them, would flash between the eyes of husband and of wife conscious of the glad new secret of their happiness! What a future splendid with hope, rich with possession stretched before them!
"I must forgive you," said Emilia, pushing back the bright fallen hair. "Yet, oh! how can you forgive me! It was such a fatal flaw in me-I see it all now-I was so ignorant! But your love must be to me like God's love-"
"And it was no fatal flaw in me?" he cried. "Oh, my darling, the forgiving is all done before we reach heaven! Do you know, Emilia, when you recalled me to
life there, a little while ago, with that kiss, that kiss, my wife, that led me out of darkness into light, I said to myself that I was dead, that I was in heaven."
"You thought you deserved heaven then?" she said archly.
At any rate, I have it!" cried Ordronnaux. And let us hope he had. For the icy spear had done its work, its slow and hidden work. And, as his head fell forward with those words, the man who held her in his arms was dead.
TOPICS OF THE TIME.
Mr. Beecher's Case.
If any of our readers care to refer to the number of this magazine dated January, 1873, they will find under the title, "The Popular Capacity for Scandal," all that we have ever cared to say concerning the scandal in Plymouth Church, recently and forever exploded. There never was any probability in it. The idea that Mr. Beecher, who had carried a pure name through life, should, after having lived to be nearly sixty years old, reared a family, and been subjected to the most tremendous draughts upon his vitality, gone out of his way to seduce an innocent member of his own flock,-the wife of a personal friend, to whom he had married her, was simply preposterous. The absurdity of it is greater when it is remembered that his life had not been a brutal one, but one in which the nobler sentiments had always been those receiving special culture. The crime charged against him is probably the last toward which he would have been tempted. We say there never was any probability in it, regarded purely from a physiological point of view; and when we remember that the person who originated it continued to cling to the nest which he professed to believe was dishonored by repeated crimes against its purity, the improbability grew, in all practical results, to impossibility.
It is strange that these two circumstances,-Mr. Beecher's age, his relations and the spiritual character of his culture, and his accuser's condonation of the offense which he professed to believe his wife had committed,—had not opened the eyes of the public to the facts, and rendered the scandal impossible. There are other circumstances that ought to have been taken into consideration. If the public had fully looked in the face the organized and self-justified nastiness in which this scandal was bred, they would have seen that it was an attack on eminent purity before which it writhed in condemnation. But it is all over now. We sup
pose that none but a fool now believes that Mr. Beecher ever had criminal conversation with the weak woman whose name has been coupled with his in this business, and that none but a worse than fool either wishes or pretends to believe it. Saying this, the case ought be covered, but, unhappily, even Mr.
Beecher is still blamed. Why did he not come out and say all he has said, before? Why did he submit to the manipulation which proved him to be so little worldly wise? Why did he hold any communication with people whom he ought to have known were unsafe associates? Why did he, and why did he not, do a thousand things besides?
We are not Mr. Beecher's champion, but we would like to ask a few questions. What business have you, oh inquisitive public, with a man's mistakes? Why did you give the slightest credence to this wretchedly improbable story, and put him to such long and inexcusable torture? He denied this story over his own signature explicitly; why did you not believe his denial? Had he been in the habit of deceiving you? Did this tidal wave of filth that has swept over the land originate with him? Has he not been sinned against, privately and publicly, from the first? That he was unwise in the management of this affair is a matter for your commiseration, and not for your blame. The fact calls for your sympathy, and not for your condemnation. The people and the press have done that for which they ought to go down on their knees. before Mr. Beecher. The sly knavery of the advice that has been meted out to him, to confess and be forgiven; the apologies that have been made for him on the ground of his usefulness as a Christian | preacher; the distinctions that have been drawn between the man and his work; the readiness to give credence to anything that made against him, from the most untrustworthy sources; the bandying of his name as a jest-these are offenses so gross that all who have been guilty of them should hide their heads in shame. If Mr. Beecher can forgive, or withhold his indignation, it becomes the offending public to be silent.
There is a special portion of the great public who ought to have a few honest words said to them, and those we propose to say. It cannot be denied that there was a considerable number of the large aggregate of clergymen in this country who not only did not stand by Mr. Beecher on his trial, but who had such a degree of satisfaction in his humiliation that they could not contain it. There are clergymen who have aided in the circulation of this
scandal, and helped to confirm its impression upon the public mind-men who envied him, distrusted his influence, and did not believe in the soundness of his doctrines. How much Christianity is it supposed there can be in any minister who can take the least satisfaction in the downfall of a professional brother? How much in him who does not refuse to believe anything against such a brother until his guilt is undeniably proved? Bah! It is enough to make a man sick to contemplate such dastards. There is not one of them who does not live in a glass-house. There is not one of them who is not closeted, more or less, with women in distress; and he only needs to have an observing enemy to make him the subject of a scandal just as cruel and causeless as that which has befallen Mr. Beecher. If clergymen cannot stand by one another in emergencies like this, can they blame the public for believing anything that may be said against them? It is a dirty bird, &c.
We congratulate Mr. Beecher on his relief from the horrible incubus that has so long rested upon him. We congratulate all who have stood by him, with faith in his purity and integrity unshaken. We congratulate the Christian church at large, and the Plymouth Church in particular, on the restoration to public confidence of the strongest man of the Christian pulpit. We congratulate the country that one of its greatest men stands redeemed to its respect, and that one of its proudest names has emerged from a cloud of slander that can never hide it again. We congratulate the atmosphere that it is pure again. We congratulate the wind that its nasty burdens of the past few months are dropped in the cess-pool from which they sprang. We congratulate all newspapers, news-dealers, news-boys, the United States mail, post-masters and post-mistresses, that their work is to be cleaner in future. And, finally, we congratulate the fathers, mothers and nurses of this most damnable scandal, that their hands are now left free to labor, without diversion or hinderance, for "the elevation and enfranchisement of woman."
A Time to Speak: A Time to Keep Silence. THE introductory words of the preface to Matthew Arnold's "Literature and Dogma" are these: "An inevitable revolution, of which we all recognize the beginnings and signs, but which has already spread further than the most of us think, is befalling the religion in which we have been brought up." We wonder how far the American clergy have recognized these beginnings and signs. We wonder how far they are recognized in the theological schools, where the young men of the present day are trained for the Christian ministry. We wonder if, when they are recognized, they are published, or in any way prepared for. We wonder if the pulpit anywhere openly recognizes them, undertakes to lead the people safely through them, tries to occupy the new standpoint, and, while tossing
aside the lumber of the old theologies, grasps firmly the vital truths of religion and proclaims them.
If we were to judge by the hue-and-cry raised about certain articles that have appeared in this magazine, these beginnings and signs have not been recognized at all; yet it is just as true in this country as in England, and just as true in England as for twenty-five years it has been in Germany, that this revolution is in progress. The old orthodox view of the Bible, as a plenarily inspired book, from the first word of Genesis to the last of St. John's Revelation, is already forsaken by more minds than can be counted; and, by necessity, with the relinquishment of this view, goes by the board a great mass of theology entirely dependent upon it for existence. The current popular theology cannot possibly be saved without saving the current and popular view of the Bible. They stand and fall together; and it would be interesting to know how many of our theologians are shaping their systems and teachings by their new views of inspiration, and of the relative importance and authority of the different books that make up our sacred volume. Are we to go on, as a Christian people, until criticism has undermined our elaborate systems, and those systems fall, carrying with them those simple, vital truths which the Bible most indubitably holds, and upon which depend the moral health and the salvation of the race?
Mr. Arnold says, "there is no surer proof of a narrow and ill-instructed mind than to think and uphold that what a man takes to be truth upon religious matters is always to be proclaimed." Mr. Greg, in one of his "Judgments," finds serious fault with this proposition, but in one respect, at least, it is sound. For instance, we find that the Christian religion, as it is taught to-day, and has for many years been taught, is a purifying, elevating, saving influence among all men who in faith receive, and, in life, practice it. So much we know-that, however false our theologies may be, and however incorrect our views of all that relates to God and man in their nature and relations, we hold enough of pure and vital truth to bring the hearts of men into sympathy with Jesus Christ, and their lives into consonance with his. Now, until a man has something as good to say,-something more sound, simple saving,―better based, more easily comprehended, working larger and better results, let him keep silence with his doubts, and withhold his hand from destruction. Nothing is more basely cruel than the destruction of any system of religious life that has good in it, without having in hand something better to put in its place. The time for keeping silence is when one has nothing to put in place of that which his words are intended to destroy. We may not hold the truth in its purity, but we hold enough of it to make it invaluable, and until we can present it in a purer and a more fruitful form, so that those who may cut loose from their old belief shall have something to grasp that is better, it is well to hold the tongue and restrain the pen.
The facts are, however, that the revolution is going on independent of the theologians and the religious teachers, and if they are doing anything about it they are fighting it. The result will probably, and most naturally, be a reign of infidelity, out of which, after weary, wretched years, we shall slowly emerge, with our Christianity purged of its extraneous doctrines, and with a new class of religious teachers, who will look back upon the present position as one of gross blindness and fatal fatuity on the part of their predecessors.
What we want to-day is teachers who are capable of comprehending the situation, who have learned what irreparable havoc has been made in some of their old beliefs, who, casting out all those superstitious notions of the Bible that have made it half-talisman, half-fetich to millions of men, women and children, can grasp the history, meanings and uses of the book, get at its central, saving truths, and proclaim them. There is no question that Christianity is as independent of our old ideas of the Bible as it is independent of our ideas of the Koran, or our ideas of any book or anything whatsoever. We have in the Bible, when we find it, the true religion; but, when we make the existence of that religion dependent upon our ideas of the Bible, we do it the cruelest wrong that we can inflict upon it.
And that, precisely, is the danger to-day. The people, having been taught to associate the religion of the Bible with a certain view of inspiration, imagine that religion stands or falls with that view. There could not be a more natural or logical result of the teachings of the last three hundred years than this; and if religious teachers are not ready with their answer when the time comes to speak,and that time in a great many communities is now, -a crop of infidels will be the result. The growing inattention to religion among the more intelligent masses, the lack of religious faith in the literary class, the enmity,-sometimes coarse and always aggressive,-of the scientists, show that the time to speak, and to speak in earnest, has come. But the speaking must be done from the new stand-suality are strewn in every direction. Again and point, and with a thorough recognition of the modifications that science and criticism have wrought in the materials and combinations that have entered into the structure of our old systems of faith and opinion. The old machinery and the old doctrine will not avail in this fight. It is precisely those that are the subjects of dissent. A teacher who has nothing but these with which to meet the foes of religion may as well retire from the field of conflict.
again, with endless repetition, young men yield to the song of the siren that beguiles them to their death. They learn nothing, they see nothing, they know nothing but their wild desire, and on they go to destruction and the devil.
Moths in the Candle.
EVERY moth learns for itself that the candle
burns. Every night, while the candle lasts, the slaughter goes on, and leaves its wingless and dead around it. The light is beautiful, and warm, and attractive; and, unscared by the dead, the foolish
creatures rush into the flames, and drop, hopelessly singed, their little lives despoiled.
It has been supposed that men have reason, and a moral sense. It has been supposed that they observe, draw conclusions, and learn by experience. Indeed, they have been in the habit of looking down upon the animal world as a group of inferior beings, and as subjects of commiseration on account of their defencelessness, yet there is a large class of men, | reproduced by every passing generation, that do exactly what the moths do, and die exactly as the moths die. They learn nothing by observation or experience. They draw no conclusions, save those which are fatal to themselves. Around a certain class of brilliant temptations they gather, night after night, and with singed wings or lifeless bodies, they strew the ground around them. No instructions, no expostulations, no observation of ruin, no sense of duty, no remonstrances of conscience, have any effect upon them. If they were moths in fact they could not be sillier or more obtuse. They are, indeed, so far under the domination of their animal natures that they act like animals, and sacrifice themselves in flames that the world's experience has shown to be fatal.
A single passion, which need not be named, --further than to say that, when hallowed by love and a legitimate gift of life to life, it is as pure as apy passion of the soul,-is one of the candles around which the human moths lie in myriads of disgusting deaths. If anything has been proved by the observation and experience of the world it is that licentiousness, and all illicit gratification of the passion involved in it, are killing sins against a man's own nature, that by it the wings are singed not only, but body and soul are degraded and spoiled. Out of all illicit indulgence come weakness, a perverted moral nature, degradation of character, gross beastliness, benumbed sensibilities, a disgusting life, and a disgraceful death. Before its baleful fire the sanctity of womanhood fades away, the romance of life dies, and the beautiful world loses all its charm. The lives wrecked upon the rock of sen
Every young man who reads this article has two lives before him. He may choose either. He may throw himself away on a few illegitimate delights, which cover his brow with shame in the presence of his mother, and become an old man before his time, with all the wine drained out of his life; or he may grow up into a pure, strong manhood, held in healthy relation to all the joys that pertain to that high estate. He may be a beast in his heart, or he may have a wife whom he worships, children whom he delights in, a self-respect which enables him to meet unabashed the noblest woman, and an
undisputed place in good society. He may have a dirty imagination, or one that hates and spurns all impurity as both disgusting and poisonous. brief, he may be a man, with a man's powers and immunities, or a sham of a man,-a whited sepulchre, -conscious that he carries with him his own dead bones, and all uncleanness. It is a matter entirely of choice. He knows what one life is, and where it ends. He knows the essential quality and certain destiny of the other. The man who says he cannot control himself not only lies, but places his Maker in blame. He can control himself, and, if he does not, he is both a fool and a beast. The sense of security and purity and self-respect that come of continence, entertained for a single day, is worth more than the illicit pleasures of a world for all time. The pure in heart see God in everything, and see Him everywhere, and they are supremely blest.
Wine and strong drink form another candle in which millions of men have singed themselves, and destroyed both body and soul. Here the signs of danger are more apparent than in the other form of sensuality, because there is less secrecy. The candle burns in open space, where all men can see it. Law sits behind, and sanctions its burning. It pays a princely revenue to the government. Women flaunt their gauzes in it. Clergymen sweep their robes through it. Respectability uses it to light its banquets. In many regions of this country it is a highly respectable candle. Yet, every year, sixty thousand persons in this country die of intemperance; and when we think of the blasted lives that live in want and misery, of wives in despair, of loves bruised and blotted out, of children disgraced, of alms-houses filled, of crimes committed through its influence, of industry extinguished, and of disease engendered, and remember that this has been going on for thousands of years, wherever wine has been known; what are we to think of the men who still
press into the fire? Have they any more sense than the moths? It is almost enough to shake a man's faith in immortality to learn that he belongs to a race that manifests so little sense, and such hopeless recklessness.
There is just one way of safety, and only one, and a young man who stands at the beginning of his career can choose whether he will walk in it, or in the way of danger. There is a notion abroad among men that wine is good,-that when properly used it has help in it,-that in a certain way it is food, or a help in the digestion of food. We believe that no greater or more fatal hallucination ever possessed the world, and that none so great ever possessed it for so long a time.
Wine is a medicine, and men would take no more of it than of any other medicine if it were not pleasant in its taste, and agreeable in its first effects. The men who drink it, drink it because they like it. The theories as to its healthfulness come afterwards. The world cheats itself, and tries to cheat
itself in this thing; and the priests who prate of
'using this world as not abusing it," and the chemists who claim a sort of nutritious property in alcohol which never adds to tissue (!) and the men who make a jest of water-drinking, all know perfectly well that wine and strong drink always have done more harm than good in the world, and always will until that millennium comes, whose feet are constantly tripped from under it by the drunkards that lie prone in its path. The millennium with a grog-shop at every corner is just as impossible as security with a burglar at every window, or in every room of the house. All men know that drink is a curse, yet young men sport around it as if there were something very desirable in it, and sport until they are hopelessly singed, and then join the great, sad army that, with undiminished numbers, presses on to its certain death.
We do not like to become an exhorter in these columns, but, if it were necessary, we would plead with young men upon weary knees to touch not the accursed thing. Total abstinence, now and for ever, is the only guaranty in existence against a drunkard's life and death, and there is no good that can possibly come to a man by drinking. Keep out of the candle. It will always singe your wings, or destroy you.
The Rewards of Literary Labor.
MR. THACKERAY, in his notable letter to the editor of the "London Evening Chronicle," written in 1850, concerning the dignity of literature, says that every European state but his own, the English, rewards its men of letters; and he even cites America as more considerate in this regard than Great Britain. "If Pitt Crawley," he says, "is disappointed at not getting a ribbon on retiring from his diplomatic post at Pumpernickel, if General O'Dowd is pleased to be called Sir Hector O'Dowd, K. C. B., and his wife at being denominated My Lady O'Dowd, are literary men to be the only persons exempt from vanity, and is it to be sin in them to court honor ?"
Probably no Englishman who has lived in the last century cared less for titles, and the sort of honor that belongs to them, than Thackeray. His plea was a general one for the literary craft. He simply intended to protest that if any literary man wanted the kind of reward or recognition of his work, which a ribbon or a title would bestow, he had as good a right to it as anybody-a better right to it, indeed, than the average or usual recipient of it. And he was right, though he chose something better, as literary men usually do.
In looking over the recent volume compiled and partly furnished by Mr. Stoddard, in the "Bric-aBrac Series," we find much of suggestion on this great subject of rewards for literary labor. Thackcray and Dickens, or Dickens and Thackeray,—as men may choose to order their coupling of the two great names, were what may be called well-re