Henry Cabot Lodge.

The Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to Prose, Vol. X (of X) - America - II, Index online

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_of the_






_Associate Editor_

With an Introduction, Biographical and
Explanatory Notes, etc.


Vol. X







* * * * *

The Best of the World's Classics




* * * * *



HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW - (Born in 1807, died in 1882.)
Musings in Père Lachaise.
(From "Outre-Mer") 3

EDGAR ALLAN POE - (Born in 1809, died in 1849.)
I The Cask of Amontillado.
(Published originally in _Godey's Magazine_ in 1846) 11
II Of Hawthorne and the Short Story.
(From a review of Hawthorne's "Twice Told Tales"
and "Mosses from an Old Manse" published
in _Godey's Magazine_ in 1846) 19
III Of Willis, Bryant, Halleck and Macaulay.
(Passages selected from articles printed in
Volume II of the "Works of Poe") 25

OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES - (Born in 1809, died in 1894.)
I Of Doctors, Lawyers and Ministers.
(From Chapter V of "The Poet at the Breakfast Table") 31
II Of the Genius of Emerson.
(From an address before the Massachusetts Historical
Society in 1882) 36
III The House in Which the Professor Lived.
(From Part X of "The Autocrat of the Breakfast
Table") 42
IV Of Women Who Put on Airs.
(From Part XI of "The Autocrat of the Breakfast
Table") 49

MARGARET FULLER - (Born in 1810, lost in a shipwreck off
Fire Island in 1850.)
I Her Visit to George Sand.
(From a letter to Elizabeth Hoar) 52
II Two Glimpses of Carlyle.
(From a letter to Emerson) 54

HORACE GREELEY - (Born in 1811, died in 1872.)
The Fatality of Self-Seeking in Editors and Authors.
(Printed with the "Miscellanies" in the "Recollections
of a Busy Life") 58

JOHN LOTHROP MOTLEY - (Born in 1814, died in 1877.)
I Charles V and Philip II in Brussels.
(From Chapter I of "The Rise of the Dutch Republic") 63
II The Arrival of the Spanish Armada.
(From Chapter XIX of the "History of the United
Netherlands") 74
III "The Spanish Fury."
(From Part IV, Chapter V, of
"The Rise of the Dutch Republic") 84

RICHARD HENRY DANA, THE YOUNGER - (Born in 1815, died in 1882.)
A Fierce Gale under a Clear Sky.
(From "Two Years Before the Mast") 93

HENRY DAVID THOREAU - (Born in 1817, died in 1862.)
I The Building of His House at Walden Pond.
(From Chapter I of "Walden, or, Life in the Woods") 99
II How to Make Two Small Ends Meet.
(From Chapters I and II of "Walden") 103
III On Reading the Ancient Classics.
(From Chapter III of "Walden") 115
IV Of Society and Solitude.
(From Chapter IV of "Walden") 120

JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL - (Born in 1819, died in 1891.)
I The Poet as Prophet.
(From an essay contributed to _The Pioneer_ in 1843) 125
II The First of the Moderns.
(From the first essay in the first series, entitled
"Among My Books") 129
III Of Faults Found in Shakespeare.
(From the essay entitled "Shakespeare Once More,"
printed in the first series entitled "Among My Books") 133
IV Americans as Successors of the Dutch.
(From the essay entitled "On a Certain Condescension
in Foreigners," printed in "From My Study Window") 138

CHARLES A. DANA - (Born in 1819, died in 1897.)
Greeley as a Man of Genius.
(From an article printed in the New York _Sun_,
December 5, 1872) 146

JAMES PARTON - (Born in 1822, died in 1891.)
Aaron Burr and Madame Jumel.
(From his "Life of Burr") 150

FRANCIS PARKMAN - (Born in 1823, died in 1893.)
I Champlain's Battle with the Iroquois.
(From Chapter X of "The Pioneers of France
in the New World") 157
II The Death of La Salle.
(From Chapter XXV of "La Salle and the Discovery
of the Great West") 161
III The Coming of Frontenac to Canada.
(From Chapters I and II of "Count Frontenac and
New France") 167
IV The Death of Isaac Jogues.
(From Chapters XVI and XX of "The Jesuits in
North America") 171
V Why New France Failed.
(From the Introduction to "The Pioneers of France
in the New World") 176
VI The Return of the Coureurs-de-Bois.
(From Chapter XVIII of "The Old Régime in Canada") 179

GEORGE WILLIAM CURTIS - (Born in 1824, died in 1892.)
Our Cousin the Curate.
(From Chapter VII of "Prue and I") 183

ARTEMUS WARD - (Born in 1824, died in 1867.)
Forrest as Othello.
(From "Artemus Ward, His Book") 191

THOMAS BAILEY ALDRICH - (Born in 1836, died in 1908.)
I A Sunrise in Stillwater.
(From Chapter I of "The Stillwater Tragedy") 195
II The Fight at Slatter's Hill.
(From Chapter XIII of "The Story of a Bad Boy") 198
III On Returning from Europe.
(From Chapter IX of "From Ponkapog to Pesth") 204

WILLIAM DEAN HOWELLS - (Born in 1837.)
To Albany by the Night Boat.
(From Chapter III of "The Wedding Journey") 207

JOHN HAY - (Born in 1838, died in 1905.)
Lincoln's Early Fame.
(From Volume X, Chapter XVIII of "Abraham Lincoln,
A History") 211

HENRY ADAMS - (Born in 1838.)
Jefferson's Retirement.
(From the "History of the United States") 219

BRET HARTE - (Born in 1839, died in 1902.)
I Peggy Moffat's Inheritance.
(From "The Twins of Table Mountain") 224
II John Chinaman.
(From "The Luck of Roaring Camp") 236
III M'liss Goes to School.
(From "M'liss," one of the stories in "The Luck
of Roaring Camp") 240

HENRY JAMES - (Born in 1843.)
I Among the Malvern Hills.
(From "A Passionate Pilgrim and Other Tales") 246
II Turgeneff's World.
(From "French Poets and Novelists") 252


* * * * *




* * * * *


Born in 1807, died in 1882; graduated from Bowdoin in 1825;
traveled in Europe in 1826-29; professor at Bowdoin in
1829-35; again visited Europe in 1835-86; professor at
Harvard in 1836-54; published "Voices of the Night" in 1839,
"Evangeline" in 1847, "Hiawatha" in 1855, "Miles Standish"
in 1858; "Tales of a Wayside Inn" in 1863, a translation of
Dante in 1867-70, "The Divine Tragedy" in 1871, and many
other volumes of verse; his prose writings include
"Outre-Mer," published in 1835, and two novels, "Hyperion,"
published in 1839, and "Kavanagh," in 1849.


The cemetery of Père Lachaise is the Westminster Abbey of Paris. Both
are the dwellings of the dead; but in one they repose in green alleys
and beneath the open sky - in the other their resting place is in the
shadowy aisle and beneath the dim arches of an ancient abbey. One is a
temple of nature; the other a temple of art. In one the soft
melancholy of the scene is rendered still more touching by the warble
of birds and the shade of trees, and the grave receives the gentle
visit of the sunshine and the shower: in the other no sound but the
passing footfall breaks the silence of the place; the twilight steals
in through high and dusky windows; and the damps of the gloomy vault
lie heavy on the heart, and leave their stain upon the moldering
tracery of the tomb.

[Footnote 1: From "Outre-Mer."]

Père Lachaise stands just beyond the Barrière d'Aulney, on a hillside
looking toward the city. Numerous gravel walks, winding through shady
avenues and between marble monuments, lead up from the principal
entrance to a chapel on the summit. There is hardly a grave that has
not its little enclosure planted with shrubbery, and a thick mass of
foliage half conceals each funeral stone. The sighing of the wind, as
the branches rise and fall upon it - the occasional note of a bird
among the trees, and the shifting of light and shade upon the tombs
beneath have a soothing effect upon the mind; and I doubt whether any
one can enter that enclosure, where repose the dust and ashes of so
many great and good men, without feeling the religion of the place
steal over him, and seeing something of the dark and gloomy expression
pass off from the stern countenance of Death.

It was near the close of a bright summer afternoon that I visited this
celebrated spot for the first time. The first object that arrested my
attention on entering was a monument in the form of a small Gothic
chapel which stands near the entrance, in the avenue leading to the
right hand. On the marble couch within are stretched two figures,
carved in stone and drest in the antique garb of the Middle Ages. It
is the tomb of Abélard and Héloïse. The history of these two
unfortunate lovers is too well known to need recapitulation; but
perhaps it is not so well known how often their ashes were disturbed
in the slumber of the grave. Abélard died in the monastery of St.
Marcel, and was buried in the vaults of the church. His body was
afterward removed to the convent of the Paraclete, at the request of
Héloïse, and at her death her body was deposited in the same tomb.
Three centuries they reposed together; after which they were separated
to different sides of the church, to calm the delicate scruples of the
lady abbess of the convent. More than a century afterward they were
again united in the same tomb; and when at length the Paraclete was
destroyed, their moldering remains were transported to the church of
Nogent-sur-Seine. They were next deposited in an ancient cloister at
Paris, and now repose near the gateway of the cemetery of Père
Lachaise. What a singular destiny was theirs! that, after a life of
such passionate and disastrous love - such sorrows, and tears, and
penitence - their very dust should not be suffered to rest quietly in
the grave! - that their death should so much resemble their life in its
changes and vicissitudes, its partings and its meetings, its
inquietudes and its persecutions! - that mistaken zeal should follow
them down to the very tomb - as if earthly passion could glimmer, like
a funeral lamp, amid the damps of the charnel house, and "even in
their ashes burn their wonted fires"!

As I gazed on the sculptured forms before me, and the little chapel
whose Gothic roof seemed to protect their marble sleep, my busy memory
swung back the dark portals of the past, and the picture of their sad
and eventful lives came up before me in the gloomy distance. What a
lesson for those who are endowed with the fatal gift of genius! It
would seem, indeed, that He who "tempers the wind to the shorn lamb"
tempers also His chastisements to the errors and infirmities of a
weak and simple mind - while the transgressions of him upon whose
nature are more strongly marked the intellectual attributes of the
Deity are followed, even upon earth, by severer tokens of the Divine
displeasure. He who sins in the darkness of a benighted intellect sees
not so clearly, through the shadows that surround him, the countenance
of an offended God; but he who sins in the broad noonday of a clear
and radiant mind, when at length the delirium of sensual passion has
subsided and the cloud flits away from before the sun, trembles
beneath the searching eye of that accusing Power which is strong in
the strength of a godlike intellect. Thus the mind and the heart are
closely linked together, and the errors of genius bear with them their
own chastisement, even upon earth. The history of Abélard and Héloïse
is an illustration of this truth. But at length they sleep well. Their
lives are like a tale that is told; their errors are "folded up like a
book"; and what mortal hand shall break the seal that death has set
upon them?

Leaving this interesting tomb behind me, I took a pathway to the left,
which conducted me up the hillside. I soon found myself in the deep
shade of heavy foliage, where the branches of the yew and willow
mingled, interwoven with the tendrils and blossoms of the honeysuckle.
I now stood in the most populous part of this city of tombs. Every
step awakened a new train of thrilling recollections, for at every
step my eye caught the name of some one whose glory had exalted the
character of his native land and resounded across the waters of the
Atlantic. Philosophers, historians, musicians, warriors, and poets
slept side by side around me; some beneath the gorgeous monument, and
some beneath the simple headstone. But the political intrigue, the
dream of science, the historical research, the ravishing harmony of
sound, the tried courage, the inspiration of the lyre - where are they?
With the living, and not with the dead! The right hand has lost its
cunning in the grave; but the soul, whose high volitions it obeyed,
still lives to reproduce itself in ages yet to come.

Amid these graves of genius I observed here and there a splendid
monument, which had been raised by the pride of family over the dust
of men who could lay no claim either to the gratitude or remembrance
of posterity. Their presence seemed like an intrusion into the
sanctuary of genius. What had wealth to do there? Why should it crowd
the dust of the great? That was no thoroughfare of business - no mart
of gain! There were no costly banquets there; no silken garments, nor
gaudy liveries, nor obsequious attendants! "What servants," says
Jeremy Taylor, "shall we have to wait upon us in the grave? what
friends to visit us? what officious people to cleanse away the moist
and unwholesome cloud reflected upon our faces from the sides of the
weeping vaults, which are the longest weepers for our funerals?"
Material wealth gives a factitious superiority to the living, but the
treasures of intellect give a real superiority to the dead; and the
rich man, who would not deign to walk the street with the starving and
penniless man of genius, deems it an honor, when death has redeemed
the fame of the neglected, to have his ashes laid beside him, and to
claim with him the silent companionship of the grave.

I continued my walk through the numerous winding paths, as chance or
curiosity directed me. Now I was lost in a little green hollow
overhung with thick-leaved shrubbery, and then came out upon an
elevation, from which, through an opening in the trees, the eye caught
glimpses of the city, and the little esplanade at the foot of the hill
where the poor lie buried. There poverty hires its grave and takes but
a short lease of the narrow house. At the end of a few months, or at
most of a few years, the tenant is dislodged to give place to another,
and he in turn to a third. "Who," says Sir Thomas Browne, "knows the
fate of his bones, or how often he is to be buried? Who hath the
oracle of his ashes, or whither they are to be scattered?"

Yet even in that neglected corner the hand of affection had been busy
in decorating the hired house. Most of the graves were surrounded with
a slight wooden paling, to secure them from the passing footstep;
there was hardly one so deserted as not to be marked with its little
wooden cross and decorated with a garland of flowers; and here and
there I could perceive a solitary mourner, clothed in black, stooping
to plant a shrub on the grave, or sitting in motionless sorrow beside

As I passed on amid the shadowy avenues of the cemetery, I could not
help comparing my own impressions with those which others have felt
when walking alone among the dwellings of the dead. Are, then, the
sculptured urn and storied monument nothing more than symbols of
family pride? Is all I see around me a memorial of the living more
than of the dead, an empty show of sorrow, which thus vaunts itself in
mournful pageant and funeral parade? Is it indeed true, as some have
said, that the simple wild flower which springs spontaneously upon the
grave, and the rose which the hand of affection plants there, are
fitter objects wherewith to adorn the narrow house? No! I feel that it
is not so! Let the good and the great be honored even in the grave.
Let the sculptured marble direct our footsteps to the scene of their
long sleep; let the chiseled epitaph repeat their names, and tell us
where repose the nobly good and wise! It is not true that all are
equal in the grave. There is no equality even there. The mere handful
of dust and ashes, the mere distinction of prince and beggar, of a
rich winding sheet and a shroudless burial, of a solitary grave and a
family vault - were this all, then, indeed it would be true that death
is a common leveler. Such paltry distinctions as those of wealth and
poverty are soon leveled by the spade and mattock; the damp breath of
the grave blots them out forever. But there are other distinctions
which even the mace of death can not level or obliterate. Can it break
down the distinction of virtue and vice? Can it confound the good with
the bad? the noble with the base? all that is truly great, and pure,
and godlike, with all that is scorned, and sinful, and degraded? No!
Then death is not a common leveler!...

Before I left the graveyard the shades of evening had fallen, and the
objects around me grown dim and indistinct. As I passed the gateway, I
turned to take a parting look. I could distinguish only the chapel on
the summit of the hill, and here and there a lofty obelisk of
snow-white marble, rising from the black and heavy mass of foliage
around, and pointing upward to the gleam of the departed sun, that
still lingered in the sky, and mingled with the soft starlight of a
summer evening.


Born in 1809, died in 1849; his father and mother actors;
adopted by John Allan of Richmond after his mother's death;
educated in Richmond, in England, at the University of
Virginia, and at West Point; published "Tamerlane" in 1827;
settled in Baltimore and devoted himself to literature;
editor of several magazines 1835-44; published "The Raven"
in 1845, "Al Aaraaf" in 1829, "Tales of the Grotesque and
Arabesque" in 1840.



It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the
carnival season, that I encountered my friend. He accosted me with
excessive warmth, for he had been drinking much. The man wore motley.
He had on a tight-fitting parti-striped dress, and his head was
surmounted by the conical cap and bells. I was so pleased to see him
that I thought I should never have done wringing his hand.

[Footnote 2: Published in _Godey's Magazine_ in 1846.]

I said to him: "My dear Fortunato, you are luckily met. How remarkable
well you are looking to-day! But I have received a pipe of what passes
for Amontillado, and I have my doubts."

"How?" said he. "Amontillado? A pipe? Impossible! And in the middle of
the carnival!"

"I have my doubts," I replied; "and I was silly enough to pay the full
Amontillado price without consulting you in the matter. You were not
to be found, and I was fearful of losing a bargain."


"I have my doubts - "


"And I must satisfy them."


"As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchesi. If any one has a
critical turn, it is he. He will tell me - "

"Luchesi can not tell Amontillado from Sherry."

"And yet some fools will have it that his taste is a match for your

"Come, let us go."


"To your vaults."

"My friend, no; I will not impose upon your good nature. I perceive
you have an engagement. Luchesi - "

"I have no engagement; come."

"My friend, no. It is not the engagement, but the severe cold with
which I perceive you are afflicted. The vaults are insufferably damp.
They are encrusted with niter."

"Let us go, nevertheless. The cold is merely nothing. Amontillado! You
have been imposed upon. And as for Luchesi, he can not distinguish
Sherry from Amontillado."

Thus speaking, Fortunato possest himself of my arm. Putting on a mask
of black silk, and drawing a _roquelaure_ closely about my person, I
suffered him to hurry me to my palazzo.

There were no attendants at home; they had absconded to make merry in
honor of the time. I had told them that I should not return until the
morning, and had given them explicit orders not to stir from the
house. These orders were sufficient, I well knew, to insure their
immediate disappearance, one and all, as soon as my back was turned.

I took from their sconces two flambeaux, and giving one to Fortunato,
bowed him through several suites of rooms to the archway that led into
the vaults. I passed down a long and winding staircase, requesting him
to be cautious as he followed. We came at length to the foot of the
descent, and stood together on the damp ground of the catacombs of the

The gait of my friend was unsteady, and the bells upon his cap jingled
as he strode.

"The pipe," said he.

"It is farther on," said I; "but observe the white web-work which
gleams from these cavern walls."

He turned toward me, and looked into my eyes with two filmy orbs that
distilled the rheum of intoxication.

"Niter?" he asked, at length.

"Niter," I replied. "How long have you had that cough?"

"Ugh! ugh! ugh - ugh! ugh! ugh! - ugh! ugh! ugh! - ugh! ugh! ugh! - ugh!
ugh! ugh!"

My poor friend found it impossible to reply for many minutes.

"It is nothing," he said, at last.

"Come," I said, with decision, "we will go back; your health is
precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy,
as once I was. You are a man to be missed. For me it is no matter. We
will go back; you will be ill, and I can not be responsible. Besides,
there is Luchesi - "

"Enough," he said; "the cough is a mere nothing; it will not kill me.
I shall not die."

"True - true," I replied; "and, indeed, I had no intention of alarming
you unnecessarily - but you should use all proper caution. A draft of
this Medoc will defend us from the damps."

Here I knocked off the neck of a bottle which I drew from a long row
of its fellows that lay upon the mold.

"Drink," I said, presenting him the wine.

He raised it to his lips with a leer. He paused and nodded to me
familiarly, while his bells jingled.

"I drink," he said, "to the buried that repose around us."

"And I to your long life."

He again took my arm, and we proceeded.

"These vaults," he said, "are extensive."

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Online LibraryHenry Cabot LodgeThe Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to Prose, Vol. X (of X) - America - II, Index → online text (page 1 of 17)