Puslapio vaizdai

of his new life over their full-blown summer glories.

No human being can rest for any time in a state of equilibrium, where the desire to live and that to depart just balance each other. If one has a house, which he has lived and always means to live in, he pleases himself with the thought of all the conveniences it offers him, and thinks little of its wants and imperfections. But once having made up his mind to move to a better, every' incommodity starts out upon him until the very ground-plan of it seems to have changed in his mind, and his thoughts and affections, each one of them packing

up its little bundle of circumstances, have quitted their several chambers and nooks and migrated to the new home, long before its apartments are ready to receive their bodily tenant. It is so with the body. Most persons have died before they expire,-died to all earthly longings, so that the last breath is only, as it were, the locking of the door of the already deserted mansion. The fact of the tranquillity with which the great majority of dying persons await this locking of those gates of life through which its airy angels have been going and coming, from the moment of the first cry, is familiar to those who have been often called upon to witness the last period of life. Almost always there is a preparation made by Nature for unearthing a soul, just as on the smaller scale there is for the removal of a milktooth. The roots which hold human life to earth are absorbed before it is lifted from its place. Some of the dying are weary and want rest, the idea of which is almost inseparable in the universal mind from death. Some are in pain, and want to be rid of it, even though the anodyne be dropped, as in the legend, from the sword of the Death-Angel. Some are stupid, mercifully narcotized that they may go to sleep without long tossing about. And some are strong in faith and hope, so that, as they draw near the next world, they would fain hurry toward it, as the caravan moves faster over the sands when the foremost travellers send

word along the file that water is in sight. Though each little party that follows in a foot-track of its own will have it that the water to which others think they are hastening is a mirage, not the less has it been true in all ages and for human beings of every creed which recognized a future, that those who have fallen worn out by their march through the Desert have dreamed at least of a River of Life, and thought they heard its murmurs as they lay dying.

The change from the clinging to the present to the welcoming of the future comes very soon, for the most part, after all hope of life is extinguished, provided this be left in good degree to Nature, and not insolently and cruelly forced upon those who are attacked by illness, on the strength of that odious foreknowledge often imparted by science, before the white fruit whose core is ashes, and which we call death, has set beneath the pallid and drooping flower of sickThere is a singular sagacity very often shown in a patient's estimate of his own vital force. His physician knows the state of his material frame well enough, perhaps, that this or that organ is more or less impaired or disintegrated; but the patient has a sense that he can hold out so much longer,—sometimes that he must and will live for a while, though by the logic of disease he ought to die without any delay.


The Little Gentleman continued to fail, until it became plain that his remaining days were few. I told the household what to expect. There was a good deal of kind feeling expressed among the boarders, in various modes, according to their characters and style of sympathy. The landlady was urgent that he should try a certain nostrum which had saved somebody's life in jest sech a case. The Poor Relation wanted me to carry, as from her, a copy of " Allein's Alarm," etc. I objected to the title, reminding her that it offended people of old, so that more than twice as many of the book were sold when they changed the name to "A Sure Guide to Heaven." The

good old gentleman whom I have mentioned before has come to the time of life when many old men cry easily, and forget their tears as children do. He was a worthy gentleman, - he said, -a very worthy gentleman, but unfortunate, - very unfortunate. Sadly deformed about the spine and the feet. Had an impression that the late Lord Byron had some malformation of this kind. Had heerd there was something the matter with the ankle-j'ints of that nobleman, but he was a man of talents. This gentleman seemed to be a man of talents. Could not always agree with his statements,— thought he was a little over-partial to this city, and had some free opinions; but was sorry to lose him, and if there was anything-he-could

In the midst of these kind expressions, the gentleman with the diamond, the Koh-inoor, as we called him, asked, in a very unpleasant sort of way, how the old boy was likely to cut up,- meaning what money our friend was going to leave behind.

The young fellow John spoke up, to the effect that this was a diabolish snobby question, when a man was dying and not dead. To this the Koh-i-noor replied, by asking if the other meant to insult him.- Whereto the young man John rejoined that he had no particul'r intentions one way or t'other.—The Kohi-noor then suggested the young man's stepping out into the yard, that he, the speaker, might "slap his chops."— Let 'em alone, said young Maryland, it'll soon be over, and they won't hurt each other much.-So they went out.

The Koh-i-noor entertained the very common idea, that, when one quarrels with another, the simple thing to do is to knock the man down, and there is the end of it. Now those who have watched such encounters are aware of two things: first, that it is not so easy to knock a man down as it is to talk about it; secondly, that, if you do happen to knock a man down, there is a very good chance that he will be angry, and get up and give you a thrashing.

So the Koh-i-noor thought he would begin, as soon as they got into the yard, by knocking his man down, and with this intention swung his arm round after the fashion of rustics and those unskilled in the noble art, expecting the young fellow John to drop when his fist, having completed a quarter of a circle, should come in contact with the side of that young man's head. Unfortunately for this theory, it happens that a blow struck out straight is as much shorter, and therefore as much quicker than the rustic's swinging blow, as the radius is shorter than the quarter of a circle. The mathematical and mechanical corollary was, that the Koh-i-noor felt something hard bring up suddenly against his right eye, which something he could have sworn was a paving-stone, judging by his sensations; and as this threw his person somewhat back wards, and the young man John jerked his own head back a little, the swinging blow had nothing to stop it; and as the Jewel staggered between the hit he got and the blow he missed, he tripped and "went to grass," so far as the back-yard of our boarding-house was provided with that vegetable. It was a signal illustration of that fatal mistake, so frequent in young and ardent natures with inconspicuous calves and negative pectorals, that they can settle most little quarrels on the spot by 'knocking the man down."


We are in the habit of handling our faces so carefully, that a heavy blow, taking effect on that portion of the surface, produces a most unpleasant surprise, which is accompanied with odd sensations, as of seeing sparks, and a kind of electrical or ozone-like odor, half-sulphurous in character, and which has given rise to a very vulgar and profane threat sometimes heard from the lips of bullies. A person not used to pugilistic gestures does not instantly recover from this surprise. The Koh-i-noor, exasperated by his failure, and still a little confused by the smart hit he had received, but furious, and confident of victory over a young fellow a good deal lighter than himself, made a

desperate rush to bear down all before him and finish the contest at once. That is the way all angry greenhorns and incompetent persons attempt to settle matters.

It doesn't do, if the other fellow is only cool, moderately quick, and has a very little science. It didn't do this time; for, as the assailant rushed in with his arms flying everywhere, like the vans of a windmill, he ran a prominent feature of his face against a fist which was travelling in the other direction, and immediately after struck the knuckles of the young man's other fist a severe blow with the part of his person known as the epigastrium to one branch of science and the bread-basket to another. This second round closed the battle. The Koh-i-noor had got enough, which in such cases is more than as good as a feast. The young fellow asked him if he was satisfied, and held out his hand. But the other sulked, and muttered something about revenge.

-Jest as y' like, said the young man John.-Clap a slice o' raw beefsteak on to that mouse o' yours 'n' 't'll take down the swellin'. (Mouse is a technical term for a bluish, oblong, rounded elevation occasioned by running one's forehead or eyebrow against another's knuckles.) The young fellow was particularly pleased that he had had an opportunity of trying his proficiency in the art of selfdefence without the gloves. The Koh-inoor did not favor us with his company for a day or two, being confined to his chamber, it was said, by a slight feverish attack. He was chop-fallen always after this, and got negligent in his person. The impression must have been a deep one; for it was observed, that, when he came down again, his moustache and whiskers had turned visibly white-about the roots. In short, it disgraced him, and rendered still more conspicuous a tendency to drinking, of which he had been for some time suspected. This, and the disgust which a young lady naturally feels at hearing that her lover has been licked by a fellah not half his size," induced the landlady's daughter to take that decided step which produced a change in


the programme of her career I may hereafter allude to.

I never thought he would come to good, when I heard him attempting to sneer at an unoffending city so respectable as Boston. After a man begins to attack the State-House, when he gets bitter about the Frog-Pond, you may be sure there is not much left of him. Poor Edgar Poe died in the hospital soon after he got into this way of talking; and so sure as you find an unfortunate fellow reduced to this pass, you had better begin praying for him, and stop lending him money, for he is on his last legs. Remember poor Edgar! He is dead and gone; but the State-House has its cupola fresh-gilded, and the Frog-Pond has got a fountain that squirts up a hundred feet into the air and glorifies that humble sheet with a fine display of provincial rainbows.

- I cannot fulfil my promise in this number. I expected to gratify your curiosity, if you have become at all interested in these puzzles, doubts, fancies, whims, or whatever you choose to call them, of mine. Next month you shall hear all about it.

It was evening, and I was going to the sick-chamber. As I paused at the door before entering, I heard a sweet voice singing. It was not the wild melody I had sometimes heard at midnight: - no, this was the voice of Iris, and I could distinguish every word. I had seen the verses in her book; the melody was new to me. Let me finish my page with them.


O LOVE Divine, that stooped to share Our sharpest pang, our bitterest tear, On Thee we cast each earthborn care, We smile at pain while Thou art near!

Though long the weary way we tread,

And sorrow crown each lingering year, No path we shun, no darkness dread, Our hearts still whispering, Thou art near!

When drooping pleasure turns to grief, And trembling faith is changed to fear, The murmuring wind, the quivering leaf Shall softly tell us, Thou art near!

On Thee we fling our burdening woe, O Love Divine, forever dear, Content to suffer, while we know, Living and dying, Thou art near!



Seville, January, 1859.

I Do not know whether I ought not to take you to the Museo on so bright a morning, although I should like better to stroll with you on the Paseo by the pretty river across which I look to the faintly seen hills of Ronda, with the rich palmtrees in the foreground, and a great stone pine in the middle distance, which would recall to us the Campagna and Italy. Many people have said to me, "You cannot judge of Murillo till you see him at Seville," -they, of course, having been at Seville. This is so far true, that his best picture is undoubtedly in the Cathedral here; but in all other ways, Murillo is perfectly to be seen in other cities. You know, therefore, just what the pictures and the Museo have to say to you. They speak of a most clever artist, who evidently consulted Nature conscientiously, and who perceived and understood very often many phases of her grace and beauty. The most masterly of his fifteen or twenty pictures in the gallery is the one of Saint Thomas of Villanueva giving Alms to the Poor; and it is, certainly, charmingly arranged, with great breadth of effect and clever drawing, on a cool scale of color throughout. The Saint is in a black robe, relieved against a light background of gray wall. The beggar who is receiving alms is capitally understood, and carries the light broadly through the picture. A charming little boy leans against his mother in the lefthand corner, in half shadow, and shows her the coin in his hand. A few other heads fill up the right-hand of the picture behind the Saint. A red drapery, of a dull color, and a touch of brown-red here and there, warm the agreeable grayness of the rest of the canvas. I like much, also, a

"Conception," in many respects like the usual picture which Murillo repeated so often; but the Virgin in this one is represented as very young, - about twelve or fourteen years old, and the whole ef fect is most silvery and delicate.

But the Saint Antonio in the Cathedral is, I should say, his great picture. It is very simple, and full of feeling. The Saint, half kneeling, stretches forward to the vision of the Christ-Child, which descends in a glory of cherubim toward him. The great mass of light falls directly upon the kneel ing figure and the upturned face, and throws strong shadows on the ground. One is reminded, in some of the angelfigures, of the brilliant light and shadow on the little flying cherubs in the "Assumption," at Venice. Here all is silvery, where in Titian all burns with the glory of a Venetian sunset. But this picture of Murillo seems to me what one must call an eminently "happy" picture. It gives one the idea that the painter enjoyed painting it, for the expressive movement of the Saint is most admirably given, and the extreme simplicity of every part of the picture is most agreeable; so that we are ready to give great praise to Murillo for what he did, and to say that he was earnest and tried to represent what he really felt. And when we say that, we say a great deal; do we not? But we cannot, for a moment, compare him to the great Venetians. He did not attempt what they did, because he did not feel it at all; and, as a painter, he is not comparable to them. One sees that he executed with rapidity and a sort of dash, as it were. The Venetian concealed his execution, as Nature does, and attempted to render the most subtile things which he knew his art alone

could give, in their full force and beauty. As a painter, therefore, he cannot be compared with men who wrought from so different a principle. And when we think of the lovely elevation and noble thought in the great Venetians, we must quietly rest grateful for those great blessings,grateful and happy that they exist, and that we, in some measure at least, understand and appreciate their meaning. Is it not delightful to think of them and know them in their precious old corners and over their dear old altars?

Madrid, March, 1859.

You see that we have at last left Andalusia, and are here in what is like a bit of Paris, shops, dress, carriages, and now and then the smell of asphalt pavement being renewed. Still, mantillas are the coverings for the female head, and peasants in costumes drive mules and donkeys through the crowds in the busy streets, and one is still in Spain. We came, you know, for the gallery, and the first glimpse of it showed us that we have enough to do to see that, during our proposed stay of a month. I must tell you just a few things about the pictures, and give you a peep at Madrid through my eyes, since you are not here to use your


Murillo is here the same as everywhere else. I very much prefer his pictures in Seville. Velasquez, however, is to be really seen nowhere so well as here. I do not know how many pictures there are here by him, but a great quantity, it seems to me: Philips without number, in childhood, youth, and age; Dons with curled moustaches; Queens with large hoops and disfigured heads; an actor, full of life and character, one of his very best. But his greatest picture, and really a wonder, is his portrait of himself painting the little Infanta, who is in the foreground of the picture with two young girls, her court ladies, her dwarf, and a diminutive page. It is quite like a photograph, in clear, broad effect of light and dark. From the other side of the room, full of truth and vigor,— as you approach it, you find it is dashed in with a surety of touch and a breadth truly extraordinary, no details, no substance even; painted with one huge brush, it would almost seem, all is vigorous, dash

ing, clever, the triumph of chic, as shown by a master hand. The dog in the immediate foreground is capital, the page pushing him playfully with his foot. The dwarf stands next, full of a sort of quaint truth, with her big head and heavy chin. The mass of light falls on the Infanta, who takes a cup of something, chocolate, I suppose, from one of the kneeling girls, while the other makes a reverence on the other side. Beyond are a nun and a guardadamas, and in the mirror at the other end of the room are most cleverly indicated the portraits of Philip and his wife. Velasquez stands on the left of the picture, behind the Infanta, painting, with his canvas turned back toward us as we look into the room. The black figure of an attendant has passed out of the apartment and is going up a stair against a clear white wall. The skilful way in which you are led into the picture is astonishing, and the whole thing is quite by itself as a piece of painting. There is no attempt at anything subtile or even delicate in the treatment, speaking from the point of view of a result achieved by paint on canvas, no texture, no difference of handling, no imitation; all is paint, admirably put on, for the effect across the room. I think we must set Velasquez quite by himself as a truthful and surely most gifted portrait-master. With a peculiar gift, genius, I think we might say,- certainly he is like no one else, and nobody else is like him. Then there is his equestrian portrait of Philip IV., of which you may remember the sketch in the Pitti Gallery, also one of the Duke of Olivarez, fresh, dashing, and spirited. But I prefer the portrait of some actor, I am sure,-full of character, against a gray wall background,· one of those faces one is sure one has seen somewhere in Spain, and he is declaiming evidently with the most capital action. So much for Velasquez.

But I hardly dare attempt to tell you of the glory of the great Titian, who seems almost newly revealed, in many perfect works. Nothing can equal the superb style of a portrait of Alfonso of Ferrara ; It is like nothing but Nature,-a splendid, dark, manly face and figure, standing and looking thoughtfully at you, or rather, beyond you, caressing in an absent way a lit tle silky dog who puts his paw up to attract his master's notice. The glowing flesh,

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