Sivut kuvina

husband, a young gentleman destined for the Church, by whose sudden death, at a time when his life was more than ever essential to her happiness, she is left an outcast, a creature to be spurned from the door of those upon whose tender care Nature and themselves had given her unextinguishable claims. She finds shelter and kind treatment with two girls who belong, though not ostensibly, to the class into which she is about to fall, and soon she appears as the mistress of a foolish young nobleman, for whom she has not the least affection. At last he wearies of and parts with her, and she finds a second companion and protector in an eminent barrister, who takes pleasure in cultivating her literary tastes. Her unfaithfulness to him results in a separation, and she passes into the hands of a third keeper, who abandons her on occasion of his approaching marriage. Infuriated at his desertion, she intrudes upon him at a social party at his private chambers, and behaves so outrageously that she is handed over to the police, and her name appears in public as that of an infamous and disorderly woman. From this point she rapidly descends to the lowest rank of her unfortunate class. On her way, a strong hand is put out to save her. It is that of a gigantic young clergyman, who allows her to think that she has decoyed him to her room, but who really goes there to endeavor to turn her from her course of life. She scorns his exhortations, and attempts to browbeat him; but she finds him ready for a row upon the spot. He offers to fight her crowd of bullies singlehanded, and when she locks the door upon him, twists the lock off, hasp and all, with a turn of his wrist. Although they part,—he none the worse, she none the better, for the interview,— it is not without fruits; for he leaves her his address, and when, after being reduced to the lowest depths of degradation and brought to the last endurable pinch of suffering, she determines, at the death-bed of a repentant companion, to reform at any cost, and does set her face upward, and is beaten back and trodden under foot by the righteously uncharitable of her own sex, she thinks of her big clergyman, seeks him out, and by his instrumentality is taken into the country, and made the mistress of a school in his parish. Here the friends of her youth find her, forgive her, and cherish her; and she receives a proposal of marriage from an estimable and wealthy farmer, who persists in his suit, even after she has told him of her former life, and after the small-pox, caught on a ministration of mercy, has harrowed all the beauty from her face. But rapid consumption supervenes, and relieves the author from the embarrassing position into which he had brought himself. This is all the story that Mary Smith has to tell; and it will be seen, that, so far as the incidents are concerned, it is commonplace enough. It is not distinguished by one novel incident, or one fresh character, except, perhaps, the muscular divine. Even in the grouping and narration of its old incidents it exhibits no dramatic power, and little skill of characterization in the portraiture of its personages. And not only does a matter-of-fact air pervade the narrative, but the tale is told with such reticence of fact as well as of feeling, that it reveals but little of the real life of a London courtesan, and leaves the reader almost as ignorant as he was when he took up the book of what it is that makes the horror of such existence; all of which might have been imparted without any violation of the decorum proper to such a book, and which, therefore, should not have been withheld. The book, too, is much too goody-goody. There is too much preaching throughout it, and in certain parts a suddenness in the kneeling down to pray that is quite startling. This stupid sort of goodness helps much to defeat the purpose of the work. Even the strong minister, although his is not the old-fashioned way, seems to have more beef on his bones than brains in his head, or he would not answer to a desperate exclamation of Mary Smith,— "Don't say that. God only knows what is best for us all; even you, and all like you, may begin to live for the good of society, without being its bane" This is very true,—as true as Justice Shallow's original observation, that " we must all die." But the idea of attempting to impress a degraded woman of the town by telling her that she, and all like her, might be brought to live for tht good of society 1

But in spite of these faults, the book has one great merit, which is not too common; it seems to be the truthful story of a real life. This impression is partly the result of a peculiarity of style which is very difficult to express otherwise than by saying that the use of language seems to indicate that the writer is of the condition of life in which Mary Smith professes to have been born, and has acquired a knowledge of language and literature in the manner in which she relates that she acquired hers. There is no vulgarity, but a certain air of constrained propriety, and an absence of any elegance, or grace, or indications of a slow and unconsciously acquired acquaintance with the phraseology of cultivated society. If this be really assumed, the author has exhibited a delicate refinement in the art of writing not surpassed in any work of imagination known to us. Another ground for the seeming actuality of the story, to those who have any knowledge of the class to which its heroine belongs, is the cause to which she attributes her fall. This was not seduction; for she confesses, what hardly one in a thousand of her sisters in shame will fail to confess, if they speak the truth, that she was not seduced ;—and neither was it poverty; for her father was well-todo, and she the petted attendant, almost the friend, of a young lady of wealth and station ; —but it was her vanity and her unrestrained passion. She is represented, in the first place, as regarding a good match, a rich husband, as the great object of life; and to such a woman chastity is not a sentiment, but a dictate of prudence; just as to a man whose great purpose is the getting of money, honesty is but the best policy. After she has met the man who brings her fate with him, (it might as well have been any other of his class,) she writes,—" The one great pleasing and wretched hope of my mind was that I should see him again; for it is so pleasant to believe that any man in a higher station should take an interest in me." And again she speaks of " exultation at the prospect which opened before me of being raised out of the station in life from which I sprang by birth "; and again, of her "desire of being a lady." This vanity it is, this desire to dress and live like the women above them, and have intercourse with the men above them, which leads the greater number of our fallen women to their ruin, or, rather, sends them to it with their eyes open; and for the rest, when Mary Smith, living in her own fine house, the petted mistress of the wealthy Mr. Plowden, was unfaithful to him, it was not for love of fine clodies or tine society. It is not long since our whole country was shocked by the dire results of a similar abandonment to vanity and wantonness, about which the usual amount of commonplace and cant was uttered. It is time that the very truth was told about this matter, in sad earnestness and singleness of purpose. We hoped to find the whole truth in "Out of the Depths "; but, finding only a part of it, we can greet it only with a partial welcome. Reply to the "Statement of the Trustees" of the Dudley Observatory. By Benjamin Apihorp Gould, Jr. Albany: Printed by Charles Van Benthuysen. lSo'J. 8vo. pp. 866.

The question between Dr. Gould and the Trustees of the Albany Observatory was not one of merely private or passing interest. It concerned not only all men of science, but all men of honor. It concerned all who like pluck, and who, in a quarrel, instinctively take sides with one against many. It was of interest to men of science, because the question was between show and reality, between newspaper notoriety and the quiet advancement of real and enduring knowledge. It concerned men of honor, because it was of some consequence to know whether public sentiment in America would justify, nay, tolerate even, the printing of confidential letters, and not only the printing, but the garbling of them to suit the ends of personal spite. It concerned lovers of fairplay, because it was to be settled whether it is right to accuse a man of peculation whom you wish to convict of disagreeable manners. Dr. Gould's pamphlet is a thorough vindication of himself. It is so not only as to graver charges, but incidentally, by its perfect quietness of tone, it answers the accusation of bad temper. The hitting is none the less severe that it is done with scientific precision, and the astronomer shows his ability to make his antagonists "see stars " in a less comfortable way than through a telescope. There is a grim humor, too, as well as dignity, in the cool way in which Dr. Gould recapitulates all the charges made against him,—especially where he condenses them in the Index. Better pamphlet-fighting has not been seen since Bentley. The hardship of the matter is, that people commonly are more ready to believe slander than to trouble themselves with reading a refutation of it. It gave us particular satisfaction to see that the American Association for the Advancement of Science had shown its sense of the merits of the quarrel by electing Dr. Gould vice-president of their body.


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ATLANTIC MONTHLY. A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS. VOL. IV.—DECEMBER, 1859.—NO. XXVI. THE EXPERIENCE OF SAMUEL ABSALOM, FILIBUSTER. In the winter of 1856, the outlook of the present writer, known somewhere as Samuel Absalom, became exceedingly troubled, and indeed scarcely respectable. As gold-digger in California, Fortune had looked upon him unkindly, and he was grown to be one of the indifferent, ragged children of the earth. Those who came behind him might read as they ran, stamped on canvas once white, "Stockton Mills. Self-Rising Flour I "— the well-known label in California, at that day, of greatest embarrassment .

One morning, after sleeping out the night in the streets of Oroville, he got up, and read these words, or some like them, in the village newspaper: —" The heavy frost which fell last night brings with it at least one source of congratulation for our citizens. Soon the crowd of vagrant street-sleepers, which infests our town, will be forced to go forth and work for warmer quarters. It has throughout this summer been the ever-present nuisance and eyesore of our otherwise beautiful and romantic moonlit nights." "Listen to this scoundrel!" said he; "how he can insult an unfortunate man! Makes his own living braying, lying, and flinging dirt, and spits upon us sad devils who fail to do it in an honest manner! Ah, the

VOl. Iv. 41

times are changing in California! Once, no one knew but this battered hat I sit under might partially cover the head of a nobleman or man of honor; but men begin to show their quality by the outside, as they do elsewhere in the world, and are judged and spoken to accordingly. I will shake California dust from my feet, and be gone!" In this mood, I thought of General Walker, down there in Nicaragua, striving to regenerate the God-forsaken Spanish Americans. "I will go down and assist General Walker," said I. So next morning found me on my way to San Francisco, with a roll of blankets on my shoulder and some small pieces of money in my pocket. Arrived in the city, I sought out General Walker's agent, one Crittenden by name, a respectable, honest-looking man, and obtained from him the promise of two hundred and fifty acres of Nicaraguan land and twentyfive dollars per month for service in the army of General Walker, and also a steerage-ticket of free passage to the port of San Juan del Norte by one of the steamers of the Nicaragua Transit Line. Of my voyage down I do not intend to speak; several unpublished sensations might have been picked up in that steerage crowd of

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