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of the quaintness of the whole affair at to some hospitable fence at the entrance Brook Farm that an enterprise so physi- to some wood, and sat down there, oblivcally insignificant should have for its ious whether frogs or wood-thrushes filled organ a journal then rapidly on its way the air, so long as they did not withdraw to becoming the most widely circulated attention from his own discourses. As in the nation. Yet Greeley's own exter- Alcott carried his indoor meditations out nals, when he first stood at the door at of doors, so Thoreau brought his outward Brook Farm, might have suggested a observations indoors, and I remember visitor from any part of the land rather well the delightful mornings when his than New York city, and a delegate from favorite correspondent, Harry Blake, my any other sphere rather than that of neighbor in Worcester, Mass., used to metropolitan journalism. Miss Amelia send round to a few of us to come in Russell, a member of Brook Farm, thus and hear extracts from Thoreau's last letdescribes his appearance at first glance: ter at the breakfast table; these extracts “ His hair was so light that it was almost being the very materials that were afwhite; he wore a white hat, his face was terwards to make up his choicest volentirely colorless, even the eyes not add- ume, Walden ; letters that combined with ing much to save it from its ghostly hue. breakfast and with sunrise to fill the day His coat was a very light drab, almost for us auditors with inexhaustible dewhite, and his nether garments the same.” light. No better samples could, perhaps, be That period is long passed, and these given of the mirth-making aspects of few stray memories can at best give but that period than might be done by a se- a few glimpses of its sunnier side. The ries of extracts from Greeley's letters as fact that it did pass and that it can never published in the volume called Passages be reproduced is the very thing that from the Correspondence of Rufus W. makes its memories worth recalling. Griswold, in which you find Greeley al- The great flood - tide of the civil war ternately moving heaven and earth to bore this all away, followed by the stuget for the then unknown Thoreau the pendous growth of a changed nation. publication of his maiden essay on Car Every age has its own point of interest; lyle in Graham's Magazine and himself and the longest personal life, if lived giving $75 to pay for it in advance; and wholesomely, can offer but a succession about the same time writing to Griswold, of these. But one question still remains, “Gris. make up for me a brief collection and will perhaps always remain, unanof the best Epigrams in the Language - swered. Considering the part originally say three folio sheets of MSS. ;” then done by the English Lake Poets in bringcheerfully adding, “ A page may be given ing about this period of sunshine in to epitaphs, if you please, though I don't America, why is it that the leaders of care !”
English literature on its native soil for This suggests how much of the sun- the last half century have had a mournshine at that period came also to many ful and clouded tone ? From Carlyle from Thoreau himself, whose talk and and Ruskin through Froude and Arnold letters, like his books, were full of deli- to Meredith, Hardy, Stevenson, and cate humor; and who gave to outdoor Henley, all have had a prevailing air of hours such an atmosphere of serene de sadness, and sometimes even of frightful light as made one feel that a wood-thrush gloom. Even Tennyson, during at least was always soliloquizing somewhere in a portion of his reactionary later life, the background. Walks with him were and Browning, toward the end of his, singularly unlike those taken with Alcott, showed the same tendency. In Amerfor instance, who only strolled serenely ica, on the other hand, during the same
general period, the leading literary fig. member how he laid aside those traits ures, with the solitary exception of Poe, within his own household. “Never was
who was wont to be an exception to there such a playmate," said to me once all rules, — were sunshiny and hopeful, his noble and stately daughter Una, denot gloomy. This is certainly true of scribing her happy childhood. These Emerson, Alcott, Thoreau, Longfellow, and all the rest, save Poe, found joy, Lowell, Holmes, Whittier, Whitman. predominant joy, in life. Why this difEven if Hawthorne may have seemed to ference? It is not yet time, perhaps, to the world an exception from his reti- fathom the mystery and give a clear ancence and sombre bearing, we must re swer to the question.
Thomas Wentworth Higginson.
THE COMMON LOT.1
hands of the undertaker, and this time it
remained open for several seconds. A FROM time to time the door opened to woman entered, dressed in fashionable admit some tardy person. Then the May widow's mourning. She moved delibersunlight without flooded the dim, long ately, as if she realized exactly the full hall with a sudden radiance, even to the effect of her entrance at that hour
among arched recess in the rear, where the coffin all these heated, tired people. The men was placed. The late-comers sank into crowded in the hall made way for her the crowd of black-coated men, who filled instinctively, so that she might enter the the hall to the broad stairs. Most of these dining-room, to the right of the coffin, were plainly dressed, with thick, grizzled where the family and the nearest friends beards and lined faces : they were old of the dead man were seated. Here, a hands from the Bridge Works on the young man, one of Powers Jackson's West Side, where they had worked many nephews, rose and surrendered his chair years for Powers Jackson. In the par to the pretty widow, whispering :lors at the left of the hall there were more “ Take this, Mrs. Phillips ! I am afraid women than men, and more fashionable there is nothing better.” clothes than in the hall. But the faces She took his place by the door with a were scarcely less rugged and lined. little deprecatory smile, which said many These friends of the old man who lay in things at the same time: “I am very late, the coffin were mostly life - worn and I know; but I really could n't help it! gnarled, like himself. Their luxuries had You will understand, won't you?” not sufficed to hide the scars of the bat And also: “You have come to be a tles they had waged with fortune. handsome
man! When I saw you When the minister ceased praying, the last you were only a raw boy, just out of men and the women in the warm, flower- college. Now we must reckon with you, scented rooms moved gratefully, trying as the old man's heir, — the heir of so to get easier positions for their cramped much money!” bodies. Some members of the church Then again : “ I have had my sorrows, choir, stationed at the landing on the too, since we met over there across the stairs, began to sing. Once more the door opened silently in the stealthy All this her face seemed to speak
1 Copyright, 1903, by ROBERT HERRICK.
swiftly, especially to the young man, so that it became all at once more than whose attention she had quite distracted, it had ever promised. The tears trembled as indeed she had disturbed every one in at the eyelids, then dropped unnoticed to the other rooms by her progress through the face. The young man looked away the hall. By the time she had settled hastily, with an uncomfortable feeling at herself, and made a first survey of the beholding all this emotion. He could not scene, the hymn had come to an end, and see why Helen Spellman should take his the minister's deep voice broke forth in uncle's death so much to heart. The old the words of ancient promise, “I am the man had always been kind to her and to Resurrection and the Life
her mother. She had been at the house At these words of triumph the pret a great deal, for her mother and his uncle ty widow's interruption was forgotten. were old friends, and the old man loved Something new stirred in the weary to have the girl about the house. Yet he faces of those standing in the hall, touch- did not feel his uncle's death that way ; ing each one according to his soul, vibrat- he wondered whether he ought to be afing in his heart with a meaning personal fected by it as Helen was.
He was certo him, to her, quite apart from any feel- tainly much nearer to the dead man than ing that they might have for their old she, his nephew, the son of his sister friend, in the hope for whose immortality Amelia, who had kept his house all the it had been spoken. ·
many years of her widowhood. And, “I am the Resurrection and the Life" he was aware that people were in the
“yet in my flesh shall I see God”... habit of saying it, he was his favorite The words fell fatefully into the close nephew, the one who would inherit the rooms. The young man who had given better part of the property. This last his chair to Mrs. Phillips unconsciously reflection set his mind to speculating on threw back his head and raised his eyes the impending change in his own world. from the floor, as though he were follow The new future, which he pleasantly ing some point of light which had burst dreamed, would bring him nearer to her. into sight above his head. His gaze swept for the last few days, ever since the docover his mother's large, inexpressive coun tors had given up all hope of the old tenance, his cousin Everett's sharp fea- man's recovery, he had not been able to tures, the solemn, blank faces of the other keep his imagination from wandering in mourners in the room. It rested on the the fields of this strange, delightful future face of a young woman, who was seated which was so near at hand. ... on the other side of the little room, al “There is a natural body," so the minmost hidden by the roses and the lilies ister was saying solemnly, “and there is that were banked on the table between a spiritual body. ... For this corruptible them. She, too, had raised her face at the must put on incorruption, and this mortriumphant note, and was seeing some tal must put on immortality.” thing beyond the man's eyes, beyond the The young man tried to curb his imwalls of the room. Her lips had parted agination, to feel the significance of the in a little sigh of wonder ; her blue eyes fact before him in some other
way were filled with unwept tears. The man's it might affect his own material fate. . attention was arrested by those eyes and When the clergyman began his retrembling lips, and he forgot the feeling marks about the dead man's personality, that the minister's words had roused, in he roused the tired people and brought sudden apprehension of the girl's beauty them back to their common earth. What and tenderness. He had discovered the could he say? The subject was full of face in a moment of its finest illumina- thorns. Powers Jackson had not been a tion, excited by a vague yet pure emotion, bad man, take his life all in all, but he
had been accused, justly, of some ruth. What was he going to do with the old
ing on her cheeks where they had fallen. Yet there was scarcely a person present In that glorious promise of Life Everto whom Powers Jackson had not done lasting, which was still reverberating in some kind and generous act. Each one her soul, she felt that the only real Life in his heart knew the dead man to have which poor human beings might know been good and human, and forgave him was that life of the “spiritual body," the his sins, public and private. What did life of the good, which is all one and alike! it matter to old Jim Ryan, the office por- To her, Powers Jackson was simply a ter, who was standing in the corner with good man, the best of men. For she had his son and grandson, whether Powers known him all her life, and had seen noJackson had or had not conspired with thing but good in him. She loved him, certain other men to capture illegally a and she knew that he could not be dead ! great grant of Texas land! He and his Finally, the minister rounded out his family had lived in the sun of the dead thought and came to the end of his reman's kindness.
marks. The singers on the stairs began While the minister was saying what to chant softly, “Now, O Lord, let every one agreed to in his heart, — that thy servant depart in peace!” And the their dead friend was a man of large tired faces relaxed from their tense sestature, big in heart as in deed, strong for riousness. Somehow, the crisis of their good, as for evil, — his nephew's thoughts emotion had been reached and passed. kept returning to that glowing, personal Comforted and reassured, the men and matter, what did it all mean to him? women were leaving this house of mournOf course, his uncle had been good to him, ing. An old man, childless, a widower had given him the best kind of an edu- of many years, who had done his work cation and training in his profession ; but successfully in this world, and reaped the now he was about to give him the largest rewards of it, — what can one feel for gift of all, - freedom for his whole life- his death but a solemn sense of mystery time, freedom to do with himself what he and peace! Perhaps to one only, the pleased, freedom first of all to leave this girl hidden behind the lilies and the roses dull, dirty city, to flee to those other parts in the dining-room, was it a matter of of the earth which he knew so well how keen, personal grief. He had left her to enjoy!... The pretty widow beside world, who had stroked her head and him fidgeted. She was exceedingly un kissed her, who had loved her as a father comfortable in the close, stuffy room, and might love her, who had always smiled the minister's skillful words only roused when she had touched him. a wicked sense of irony in her. She On the sidewalk outside the people could have told the reverend doctor a gathered in little knots, speaking in subthing or two about old Powers! She dued tones to one another, luxuriating in threw back her jacket, revealing an at the riotous spring air. Then they moved tractive neck and bust. She had scanned away. After the house was pretty well the faces of most of those in the rooms, emptied, those mourners who had been and, with great rapidity, had cast up in the dining-room appeared, to take carmentally their score with the dead. This riages for the cemetery. Mrs. Phillips handsome young nephew was the only came first, talking to young Jackson Hart. one that counted in her own estimation. She was saying:
“ It was all quite what the dear old
“I should like to drive out there with tleman would have liked and such good you!” the young man exclaimed impultaste, that was your part, I know!” sively. “May I?”
As he handed her into her carriage, “Oh no! You must n't,” she replied she leaned toward him, with a very per- quickly. “There's your mother, who sonal air:
is expecting you to be with her, and " It is so different from the last time then," - she blushed and stepped away we met! Do you remember? You must from him a little space,
“I had rather come and see me, now that I am back in be alone, please!" this place for good.”
As the young man turned away from When the heavy gates of the vault in her, he met Helen Spellman descending Rose Hill had closed upon Powers Jackthe long flight of steps. She was carry- son forever, the little group of intimate ing in her arms a great mass of loose friends, who had come with him to his flowers, and his cousin Everett was simi- grave, descended silently the granite larly burdened.
steps to their carriages. Insensibly a “Are you going on ahead of us?” wave of relief stole over the spirit of the Jackson asked anxiously.
young nephew, as he turned his back “ Yes. I want to put these flowers upon the ugly tomb, in the Americanthere first ; so that it won't seem so bare Greek style, with heavy capitals and false and lonely when he comes. See! I have pillars. It was not a selfish or heartless taken those he liked to have in his library, desire to get away from the dead man, and yours and your mother's, too!” to forget him now that he no longer
She smiled, but her eyes were still counted in this world; it was merely the dall with tears. Again she brought his reaction from a day of gloom and sober thoughts back from self, from his futile, thought. He felt stifled in his tall silk worldly preoccupations, back to her love hat, long frock coat, patent-leather shoes, for the dead man, which seemed so much and black gloves. His spirit shrank greater, so much purer than his.
from the chill of the tomb, to which the “That will be very nice,” he said, tak- day had brought him near. ing the flowers from her hands and plac- “Let's send all the women back toing them in a carriage that had driven gether, Everett,” he suggested to his couup to the curb. “I am sure he would sin, “and have a smoke. I am pretty have liked your thought for him. He nearly dead !” was always so fond of what you did, of As the three men in the party got into you."
their carriage, Jackson took out his “Dear uncle," she murmured to her- cigarette-case and offered it to his cousin; self. Although the dead man was not but Everett shook his head rather conconnected with her by any ties of blood, temptuously and drew a cigar from his she had grown into the habit of calling breast pocket. him uncle, first as a joke, then in affec- “I never got in the habit of smoktion.
ing those things,” he remarked slowly. “ He always had me get the flowers There was an implication in his cool tone when he wanted to give a really truly that no grown man indulged himself in dinner!” she added, a smile coming to that boyish habit. her face. “I know he will like to have “ He never liked cigarettes either, me take these out to him there now.” would n't have one in the house," Jackson
She spoke of the dead in the present commented lightly. tense, with a strong feeling for the still The other man, Hollister, had taken living part of the one gone.
a cigar, and the three men smoked in VOL. XCIII.