Puslapio vaizdai

this brief summary of recent events in the history of the college, President Ewell has appeared three times before Congressional Committees the last time in April, 1874urging the justice of an appropriation for the college, in consideration of "Revolutionary losses, and because of the destruction of its building, and other property, by United States troops, during the late Civil War," a petition eloquently supported by the Hon. Mr. Hoar, of Massachusetts. Of the result, if any, of this application, we are not advised. In 1869, the main building was substantially restored, the Faculty fully re-organized; and the venerable institution has begun a new career of usefulness, under able and experienced officers, in whose hands


General Meade thus writes in relation to this destruction:

"I am satisfied, on examination of the facts of the case, that the destruction of the buildings of William and Mary College by our troops was not only unnecessary and unauthorized, but was one of those deplorable acts of useless destruction which occur in all wars.

it promises to resume its ancient celebrity. If excelled in wealth and the number of students by other universities, it is unsurpassed for the excellence of its moral and intellectual training, and the refined influences surrounding it in the old city of Williamsburg, now, as formerly, remarkable for the high tone of its society. Let it be added that, surely, the historical glories of the old Virginia capital should count for something. It is scarcely a mere fancy that something of the spirit of patriotism and virtue which inspired Washington, Jefferson, Pendleton, and other eminent men of the last century, lingers in the ancient metropolis-and to resemble these is the worthiest aim that the young men of to-day could present to themselves.

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BEAUTY for ashes thou hast brought me, dear!
A time there was when all my soul lay waste,
As the earth dark before the dawning lies

Whereto the golden feet of morn make haste.

Like morn thou comest, gladness in thine eyes,
And gracious pity round thine ardent mouth-
Like rain of summer upon wasted lands,

Thy tender tears refreshed my spirit's drouth.

To-day is calm. Far off the tempest raves
That long ago swept dead men to the shore-
I can forget how those wild billows broke-
Against my hopes and me they break no more.

White butterflies flit shining in the sun

Red roses burst to bloom upon the treeBirds call to birds till the glad day is done, The day of beauty thou hast brought to me.

Shall I forget, O gentle heart and true,

How thy fair dawn has risen on my nightTurned dark to day all golden through and through— From soil of grief won bloom of new delight?





SNOW. Everywhere. As far as the eye could reach-fifty miles, looking southward from the highest white peak. Filling ravines and gulches, and dropping from the walls of canons in white shroud-like drifts, fashioning the dividing ridge into the likeness of a monstrous grave, hiding the bases of giant pines, and completely covering young trees and larches, rimming with porcelain the bowl-like edges of still, cold lakes, and undulating in motionless white billows to the edge of the distant horizon. Snow lying everywhere over the California Sierras on the 15th day of March, 1848, and still falling.

It had been snowing for ten days; snowing in finely granulated powder, in damp, spongy flakes, in thin, feathery plumes; snowing from a leaden sky steadily, snowing fiercely, shaken out of purple-black clouds in white flocculent masses, or dropping in long level lines like white lances from the tumbled and broken heavens. But always silently! The woods were so choked with it, the branches were so laden with it, it had so permeated, filled and possessed earth and sky; it had so cushioned and muffled the ringing rocks and echoing hills that all sound was deadened. The strongest gust, the fiercest blast awoke no sigh or complaint from the snow-packed, rigid files of forest. There was no cracking of bough nor crackle of underbrush; the overladen branches of pine and fir yielded and gave way without a sound. The silence was vast, measureless, complete!

Nor could it be said that any outward sign of life or motion changed the fixed outlines of this stricken landscape. Above, there was no play of light and shadow, only the occasional deepening of storm or night. Below, no bird winged its flight across the white expanse, no beast haunted the confines of the black woods; whatever of brute nature might have once inhabited these solitudes had long since flown to the low lands.

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1875, by Bret Harte, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington, D. C.

There was no track or imprint; whatever foot might have left its mark upon this waste, each succeeding snow-fall obliterated all trace or record. Every morning the solitude was virgin and unbroken; a million tiny feet had stepped into the track and filled it up. And yet, in the center of this desolation, in the very stronghold of this grim fortress, there was the mark of human toil.

A few trees has been felled at the entrance of the cañon, and the freshly cut chips were but lightly covered with snow. They served perhaps to indicate another tree, “blazed" with an axe, and bearing a rudely shaped wooden effigy of a human hand, pointing to the cañon. Below the hand was a square strip of canvas, securely nailed against the bark, and bearing the following inscription:

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(Then in smaller letters, in pencil):
MAMIE died, November 8th, Sweetwater.
MINNIE died December 1st, Echo Cañon.
JANE died January 2d, Salt Lake.
JAMES BRACKETT, lost February 3d.

The language of suffering is not apt to be artistic or studied, but I think that rhetoric could not improve this actual record. So I let it stand, even as it stood this 15th day of March, 1848, half-hidden by a thin film of damp snow, the snow-whitened hand stiffened and pointing rigidly to the fateful cañon like the finger of Death.

At noon there was a lull in the storm and

a slight brightening of the sky toward the east. The grim outlines of the distant hills returned, and the starved white flank of the mountain began to glisten. Across its gaunt hollow some black object was moving. Moving slowly and laboriously-moving with such an uncertain mode of progression that at first it was difficult to detect whether it was brute or human-sometimes on all fours, sometimes erect, again hurrying forward like a drunken man, but always with a certain definiteness of purpose, toward the cañon.

As it approached nearer you saw that it was a man. A haggard man, ragged and enveloped in a tattered buffalo robe, but still a man, and a determined one. A young man, despite his bent figure and wasted limbs a young man despite the premature furrows that care and anxiety had set upon his brow and in the corners of his rigid mouth-a young man notwithstanding the expression of savage misanthropy with which suffering and famine had overlaid the frank impulsiveness of youth.

When he reached the tree at the entrance of the cañon, he brushed the film of snow from the canvas placard, and then leaned for a few moments exhaustedly against its trunk. There was something in the abandonment of his attitude that indicated even more pathetically than his face and figure his utter prostration-a prostration quite inconsistent with any visible cause. When he had rested himself, he again started forward with a nervous intensity, shambling, shuffling. falling, stopping to replace the rudely extemporized snow-shoes of fir bark that frequently slipped from his feet, but always starting on again with the feverishness of one who doubted even the sustaining power of his will.

A mile beyond the tree the cañon narrowed and turned gradually to the south, and at this point a thin curling cloud of smoke was visible that seemed to rise from some crevice in the snow. As he came nearer, the impression of recent foot-prints began to show; there was some displacement of the snow around a low mound from which the smoke now plainly issued. Here he stopped, or rather lay down, before an opening or cavern in the snow, and uttered a feeble shout. It was responded to still more feebly. Presently a face appeared above the opening, and a ragged figure like his own, then another, and then another, until eight human creatures, men and women, surrounded him in the snow, squatting like VOL. XI.-2.


animals, and like animals lost to all sense of decency and shame.

They were so haggard, so faded, so forlorn, so wan,-so piteous in their human aspect, or rather all that was left of a human aspect, that they might have been wept over as they sat there; they were so brutal, so imbecile, unreasoning and grotesque in these newer animal attributes, that they might have provoked a smile. They were originally country people, mainly of that social class whose self-respect is apt to be dependent rather on their circumstances, position and surroundings, than upon any individual moral power or intellectual force. They had lost the sense of shame in the sense of equality of suffering; there was nothing within them to take the place of the material enjoyments they were losing. They were childish without the ambition or emulation of childhood; they were men and women without the dignity or simplicity of man and womanhood. All that had raised them above the level of the brute was lost in the snow. Even the characteristics of sex were gone; an old woman of sixty quarreled, fought, and swore with the harsh utterance and ungainly gestures of a man; a young man of scorbutic temperament wept, sighed, and fainted with the hysteria of a woman. So profound was their degradation that the stranger who had thus evoked them from the earth, even in his very rags and sadness, seemed of another race.

They were all intellectually weak and helpless, but one, a woman, appeared to have completely lost her mind. She carried. a small blanket wrapped up to represent a child-the tangible memory of one that had starved to death in her arms a few days before-and rocked it from side to side as she sat, with a faith that was piteous. But even more piteous was the fact that none of her companions took the least notice, either by sympathy or complaint, of her aberration. When a few moments later she called upon them to be quiet, for that "baby" was asleep, they glared at her indifferently and went on. A red-haired man, who was chewing a piece of buffalo hide, cast a single murderous glance at her, but the next moment seemed to have forgotten her presence in his more absorbing occupation.

The stranger paused a moment rather to regain his breath than to wait for their more orderly and undivided attention. Then he uttered the single word:

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simultaneously, but with different inflection and significance-one fiercely, another gloomily, another stupidly, another mechanically. The woman with the blanket baby explained to it, "he says nothing,' and laughed.

"No-nothing," repeated the speaker. "Yesterday's snow blocked up the old trail again. The beacon on the summit's burnt out. I left a notice at the Divide. Do that again, Dumphy, and I'll knock the top of your dd head off."

Dumphy, the red-haired man, had rudely shoved and stricken the woman with the baby -she was his wife, and this conjugal act may have been partly habit-as she was crawling nearer the speaker. She did not seem to notice the blow or its giver-the apathy with which these people received blows or slights was more terrible than wrangling-but said, assuringly, when she had reached the side of the young man:

"To-morrow, then?"

The face of the young man softened as he made the same reply he had made for the last eight days to the same question: "To-morrow, surely!"

She crawled away, still holding the effigy of her dead baby very carefully, and retreated down the opening.

"'Pears to me you don't do much ennyway, out scouting! 'Pears to me you ain't worth shucks!" said the harsh-voiced woman, glancing at the speaker. "Why don't some on ye take his place? Why do you trust your lives and the lives of women to that thar Ashley?" she continued, with her voice raised to a strident bark.

The hysterical young man, Henry Conroy, who sat next to her, turned a wild, scared face upon her, and then, as if fearful of being dragged into the conversation, disappeared hastily after Mrs. Dumphy.

Ashley shrugged his shoulders and, replying to the group, rather than any individual speaker, said curtly:

"There's but one chance-equal for allopen to all. You know what it is. To stay here is death; to go, cannnot be worse than that."

He rose and walked slowly away up the cañon a few rods to where another mound was visible, and disappeared from their view. When he had gone, a querulous chatter went around the squatting circle.

"Gone to see the old Doctor and the gal. We're no account."

"Thar's two too many in this yer party." "Yes-the crazy Doctor and Ashley."

"They're both interlopers, any way."

"Said no good could come of it, ever since we picked him up."

"But the Cap'n invited the ol' Doctor, and took all his stock at Sweetwater, and Ashley put in his provisions with the rest." The speaker was McCormick. Somewhere in the feeble depths of his consciousness there was still a lingering sense of justice. He was hungry, but not unreasonable. Besides, he remembered with a tender regret the excellent quality of provision that Ashley had furnished.

"What's that got to do with it?" screamed Mrs. Brackett. "He brought the bad luck with him. Ain't my husband dead, and isn't that skunk-an entire stranger—still livin' ?"

The voice was masculine, but the logic was feminine. In cases of great prostration with mental debility, in the hopeless vacuity that precedes death by inanition or starvation, it is sometimes very effective. They all assented to it, and by a singular intellectual harmony the expression of each was the same. It was simply "Gd d- -n him!”

"What are you goin' to do?"
"If I was a man, I'd know!"
"Knife him!"

"Kill him, and

The remainder of this sentence was lost to the others in a confidential whisper between Mrs. Brackett and Dumphy. After this confidence they sat and wagged their heads together like two unmatched but hideous Chinese idols.

"Look at his strenth! and he not a workin' man like us," said Dumphy. "Don't tell me he don't get suthin reg'lar." "Suthin what?"

"Suthin TO EAT !"

But it is impossible to convey even by capitals the intense emphasis put upon thisverb. It was followed by a horrible pause. "Let's go and see."

"And kill him," suggested the gentle Mrs. Brackett.

They all rose with a common interest almost like enthusiasm. But after they had tottered a few steps, they fell. Yet even then there was not enough self-respect left among them to feel any sense of shame or mortification in their baffled design. They stopped, all except Dumphy.

"Wot's that dream you was talkin' 'bout jess now?" said Mr. McCormick, sitting down and abandoning the enterprise with the most shameless indifference.

"'Bout the dinner at St. Jo?" asked the person addressed-a gentleman whose faculty of alimentary imagination had been at once the bliss and torment of his present social circle. "Yes."

They all gathered eagerly around Mr. McCormick; even Mr. Dumphy, who was still moving away, stopped.

"Well," said Mr. March, "it began with beefsteak and injins-beefsteak, you know, juicy and cut very thick, and jess squashy with gravy and injins." There was a very perceptible watering of the mouth in the party, and Mr. March, with the genius of a true narrator, under the plausible disguise of having forgotten his story, repeated the last sentence-"jess squashy with gravy and injins. And taters-baked."

You said fried before!-and dripping with fat!"-interposed Mrs. Brackett, hastily.

"For them as likes fried-but baked goes furder-skins and all-and sassage and coffee and-flapjacks!"

At this magical word they laughed, not mirthfully perhaps, but eagerly and expectantly, and said, "Go on!"

"And flapjacks!"

"You said that afore"-said Mrs. Brackett with a burst of passion. "Go on, d-n you!" The giver of this Barmacide feast, saw his dangerous position, and looked around for Dumphy. But he had disappeared.



THE hut into which Ashley descended was, like a Greenlander's "iglook," below the surface of the snow. Accident rather than design had given it this Arctic resemblance. As snow upon snow had blocked up its entrance, and reared its white ladders against its walls, and as the strength of its exhausted inmates slowly declined, communication with the outward world was kept up only by a single narrow passage. Excluded from the air, it was close and stifling, but it had a warmth that perhaps the thin blood of its occupants craved more than light or ventilation.

A smoldering fire in a wooden chimney threw a faint flicker on the walls. By its light, lying upon the floor, were discernible four figures a young woman and a child of three or four years wrapped in a single blanket, near the fire; nearer the door two men separately enwrapped lay apart. They


might have been dead, so deep and motionless were their slumbers.

Perhaps some fear of this filled the mind of Ashley as he entered, for after a moment's hesitation, without saying a word, he passed quickly to the side of the young woman, and, kneeling beside her, placed his hand upon her face. Slight as was the touch, it awakened her. I know not what subtile magnetism was in that contact, but she caught the hand in her own, sat up, and before her eyes were scarcely opened, uttered the single word: "Philip!"


He took her hand, kissed it, and pointed warningly toward the other sleepers. "Speak low. I have much to say to you." The young girl seemed to be content to devour the speaker with her eyes.

"You have come back," she whispered, with a faint smile, and a look that showed too plainly the predominance of that fact above all others in her mind. "I dreamed of you-Philip."

"Dear Grace," he kissed her hand again. "Listen to me, darling! I have come back, but only with the old story-no signs of succor, no indications of help from without! My belief is, Grace," he added, in a voice so low as to be audible only to the quick ear to which it was addressed, "that we have blundered far south of the usual traveled trail. Nothing but a miracle or a misfortune like our own would bring another train this way. We are alone and helpless -in an unknown region that even the savage and brute have abandoned. The only aid we can calculate upon is from withinfrom ourselves. What that aid amounts to," he continued, turning a cynical eye toward the sleepers, "you know as well as I."

She pressed his hand, apologetically, as if accepting the reproach herself, but did not speak.

"As a party we have no strength-no discipline," he went on. "Since your father died we have had no leader-I know what you would say, Grace, dear," he continued, answering the mute protest of the girl's hand, "but even if it were true-if I were capable of leading them, they would not take my counsels. Perhaps it is as well. If we kept together, the greatest peril of our situation would be ever present-the peril from ourselves!"

He looked intently at her as he spoke, but she evidently did not take his meaning. "Grace," he said, desperately, "when

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