Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science Volume 12, No. 28, July, 1873 online

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Vol XII, No. 28.

JULY, 1873

I. - Preambulary.
Chapter XI.
Chapter XII.
Chapter XIII.
Chapter XIV.
Chapter XV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter X. - Fairy-land.
Chapter XI. - The First Plunge.
A Sleeping-car Serenade By W.G.B.
Fables For The Youth By SARSFIELD YOUNG.
A Picture With A History.
Hints For Novel-Writers.
Books Received.




[The author's vignettes neatly copied by Gusatave Doré.]



The behavior of a great Hope is like the setting of the
sun. It splashes out from under a horizontal cloud, so diabolically
incandescent that you see a dozen false suns blotting the heavens with
purple in every direction. You bury your eyes in a handkerchief, with
your back carefully turned upon the west, and meantime the spectacle
you were waiting for takes place and disappears. You promise yourself
to nick it better to-morrow. The soul withdraws into its depths. The
stars arise (offering two or three thousand more impracticable suns),
and the night is ironical.


Having already conquered, without boasting, a certain success before
the reading public, and having persuaded an author of renown to sign
his name to my bantling, my Expectation and Hope have long been to
surpass that trifling production. You may think it a slight thing to
prepare a lucky volume, and, tapping Fame familiarly on the shoulder,
engage her to undertake its colportage throughout the different
countries of the globe. My first little work of travel and geography
had exceeded my dreams of a good reception. It had earned me several
proposals from publishers; it had been annotated with "How true!" and
"Most profound!" by the readers in public libraries; its title had
given an imaginative air to the ledgers of book-sellers; and it had
added a new shade of moodiness to the collection of Mudie. The man
who hits one success by accident is always trying to hit another by
preparation. Since that achievement I have thought of nothing but the
creation of another impromptu, and I have really prepared a quantity
of increments toward it in the various places to which my traveling
existence has led me. That I have settled down, since these many years
past, at the centre and capital of ideas would prove me, even without
the indiscretions of that first little book, an American by birth. I
need not add that my card is printed in German text, Paul Fleming,
and that time has brought to me a not ungraceful, though a
sometimes practically retardating, circumference. Beneath a mask of
cheerfulness, and even of obesity, however, I continue to guard
the sensitive feelings of my earlier days. Yes: under this abnormal
convexity are fostered, as behind a lens, the glowing tendencies of my
youth. Though no longer, like the Harold described in Icelandic verse
by Regner Hairy-Breeches, "a young chief proud of my flowing locks,"
yet I still "spend my mornings among the young maidens," or such of
them as frequent the American Colony, as we call it, in Paris. I still
"love to converse with the handsome widows." Miss Ashburton, who
in one little passage of our youth treated me with considerable
disrespect, and who afterward married a person of great lingual
accomplishments, her father's late courier, at Naples, has been
handsomely forgiven, but not forgotten. A few intelligent ladies,
of marked listening powers and conspicuous accomplishments, are
habitually met by me at their residences in the neighborhood of the
Arc de Triomphe or at the receptions of the United States minister.
These fair attractions, although occupying, in practice, a
preponderating share of my time, are as nothing to me, however, in
comparison with that enticing illusion, my Book.


The scientific use of the imagination in treating the places and
distances of Geography is the dream of my days and the insomnia of my

Every morning I take down and dust the loose sheets of my coming book
or polish the gilding of my former one. It is in my fidelity to these
baffling hopes - hopes fed with so many withered (or at least torn and
blotted) leaves - rather than in any resemblance authenticable by a
looking-glass, that I show my identity with the old long-haired and
nasal Flemming.


Yet, though so long a Parisian, and so comfortable in my theoretic
pursuit of Progressive Geography, my leisure hours are unconsciously
given to knitting myself again to past associations, and some of my
deepest pleasures come from tearing open the ancient wounds. Shall
memory ever lose that sacred, that provoking day in the Vale of
Lauterbrunnen when the young mechanic in green serenaded us with his
guitar? It had for me that quite peculiar and personal application
that it immediately preceded my rejection by Miss Mary. The Staubbach
poured before our eyes, as from a hopper in the clouds, its Stream
of Dust. The Ashburtons, clad in the sensible and becoming fashion
of English lady-tourists, with long ringlets and Leghorn hats, sat
on either side of me upon the grass. And then that implacable youth,
looking full in my eye, sang his verses of insulting sagacity:

She gives thee a garland woven fair;
Take care!
It is a fool's-cap for thee to wear;
Beware! beware!
Trust her not,
She is fooling thee!

Meeting him two or three times afterward as he pursued his
apprentice-tour, I felt as though I had encountered a green-worm.
And I confess that it was partly on his account that I made a vow,
fervently uttered and solemnly kept, never again to visit Switzerland
or the Rhine. Miss Ashburton I easily forgave. The disadvantage, I
distinctly felt, was hers, solely and restrictedly hers; and I should
have treated with profound respect, if I had come across him, the
professional traveler who was good enough to marry her afterward.

But these bitter-sweet recollections are only the relief to my
studies. It is true they are importunate, but they are strictly kept
below stairs.

Nor would any one, regarding the stout and comfortable Flemming,
suspect what regrets and what philosophies were disputing possession
of his interior. For my external arrangements, I flatter myself that I
have shaped _them_ in tolerable taste.

My choice of the French capital I need not defend to any of my
American readers. To all of you this consummation is simply a matter
of ability. I heartily despise, as I always did, all mere pamperings
of physical convenience. Still, for some who retain some sympathy with
the Paul Flemming of aforetime, it may be worth while to mention the
particular physical conveniencies my soul contemns. I inhabit, and
have done so for eight years at least, a neat little residence of
the kind styled "between court and garden," and lying on the utmost
permissible circumference of the American quarter in Paris - say on the
hither side of Passy. For nearly the same period I have had in lease a
comical box at Marly, whither I repair every summer. My town-quarters,
having been furnished by an artist, gave me small pains. The whole
interior is like a suite of rooms in the Hôtel Cluny. The only
trouble was in bringing up the cellar to the quality I desired and
in selecting domestics - points on which, though careless of worldly
comfort in general, I own I am somewhat particular.


No gentleman valets for me - rude creatures presuming to outdress their
masters. What I wanted was the Corporal Trim style of thing - bald,
faithful, ancient retainer. After a world of vexation I succeeded in
finding an artless couple, who agreed for a stipulation to sigh when I
spoke of my grandfather before my guests, and to have been brought up
in the family.

But I am wandering, and neglecting the true vein of sentiment which
so abounds in my heart. All my pleasure is still in mournful
contemplation, but I have learned that the feelings are most refined
when freed from low cares and personal discomforts. I was going to
cite a letter I wrote to my oldest friend, the baron of Hohenfels. It
was sketched out first in verse, but in that form was a failure:

* * * * *

"15th MARCH.

"The snow-white clouds beyond my window are piled up like Alps. The
shades of B. Franklin and W. Tell seem to walk together on those
Elysian Fields; for it was here (or sufficiently nigh for the purpose)
that in days gone by our pure patriot dwelt and flirted with Madame
Helvetius; and yonder clouds so much resemble the snowy Alps that they
remind me irresistibly of the Swiss. Noble examples of a high purpose
and a fixed will! Do B. and W. not move, Hyperion-like, on high? Were
_they_ not, likewise, sons of Heaven and Earth?


"I wish I knew the man who called flowers 'the fugitive poetry of
Nature.' That was a sweet carol, which I think I have quoted to you,
sung by the Rhodian children of old in spring, bearing in their hands
a swallow, and chanting 'The swallow is come,' with some other
lines, which I have forgotten. A pretty carol is that, too, which the
Hungarian boys, on the islands of the Danube, sing to the returning
stork in spring, what time it builds its nests in the chimneys and
gracefully diverts the draft of smoke into the interior. What a
thrill of delight in spring-time! What a joy in being and moving!
Some housekeepers might object to that, and say that there was but
imperfect joy in moving; but I am about to propose to you, as soon as
I have taken a little more string, a plan of removal that will suit
both us and the season. My friend, the time of storms is flying
before the pretty child called April, who pursues it with his blooming
thyrsus. Breathing scent upon the air, he has already awakened some
of the trees on the boulevards, and the white locust-blossoms in the
garden of Rossini are beginning to hang out their bunches to attract
the nightingales. He calls to the swallows, and they arrive in clouds.

"He knocks at the hard envelope of the chrysalis, which accordingly
prepares to take its chance for a precarious metamorphosis - into the
wings of the butterfly or into the bosom of the bird. How very sweet!

"Strange is the lesson, my friend, which humanity teaches itself from
the larva. Even so do I, methinks, feed in life's autumn upon the
fading foliage of Hope, and, still feeding and weaving, turn it at
last into a little grave. A neat image that, which, by the by, I stole
from Drummond of Hawthornden. Do you recollect his verse? - but
of course I should be provoked if I thought you did -

For, with strange thoughts possessed,
I feed on fading leaves
Of hope - which me deceives,
And thousand webs doth warp within my breast.
And thus, in end, unto myself I weave
A fast-shut prison. No! but even a Grave!

"To pursue my subject: April, having thus balanced the affairs of the
bird and the worm, proceeds to lay over the meadows a tablecloth for
the bees. He opens all the windows of Paris, and on the streets shows
us the sap mounting in carnation in the faces of the girls.

"My dear Hohenfels, I invite you to the festival which Spring is
spreading just now in the village of Marly. My cabin will be gratified
to open in your honor. May it keep you until autumn! Come, and come at

* * * * *


Having signed my missive, I tucked it into an envelope, which I
blazoned with my favorite seal, the lyre of Hyperion broken, and rang
for Charles. In his stead, in lieu of my faithful Charles, it was
Hohenfels himself who entered, fresh from the Hôtel Mirabeau.

"Look alive, man! Can you lend me an umbrella?" said he briskly.

I looked out at the window: it was snowing.

The moment seemed inopportune for the delivery of my epistle:
I endeavored to conceal it - without hypocrisy and by a natural
movement - under the usual pile of manuscript on my table devoted
to Progressive Geography. But the baron had spied his name on the
address: "How is that? You were writing to me? There, I will spare you
the trouble of posting."

He read my sentences, turning at the end of each period to look out
at the snow, which was heavily settling in large damp flakes. He
said nothing at first about the discrepancy, but only looked forth
alternately with his reading, which was pointed enough. I said long
ago that the beauty of Hohenfels' character, like that of the precious
opal, was owing to a defect in his organization. The baron retains his
girlish expression, his blue eye, and his light hair of the kind that
never turns gray: he is still slender, but much bent. He went over to
the fireplace and crouched before the coals that were flickering there
still. Then he said, with that gentle, half-laughing voice, "Take
care, Paul, old boy! Children who show sense too early never grow,
they say: by parity of argument, men who are poetical too late in life
never get their senses."

"I have given up poetry," said I, "and you cannot scan that
communication in your hand."

"But it is something worse than poetry! It is prose inflated and
puffed and bubbled. You are falling into your old moony ways again,
and sonneteering in plain English. Are you not ashamed, at your age?"

"What age do you mean? I feel no infirmities of age. If my hair is
gray, 'tis not with years, as By - "

"If your hair is gray, it is because you are forty-eight, my old

"Forty-five!" I said, with some little natural heat.

"Forty-five let it be, though you have said so these three years. And
what age is that to go running after the foot of the rainbow? Here you
are, my dear Flemming, breathing forth hymns to Spring, and inviting
your friends to picnics! Don't you know that April is the traitor
among the twelve months of the year? You are ready to strike for Marly
in a linen coat and slippers! Have you forgotten, my poor fellow, that
Marly is windy and raw, and that Louis XIV. caught that chill at Marly
of which he died? Ah, Paul, you are right enough. You are young, still
young. You are not forty-eight: you are sixteen - sixteen for the third

Hohenfels, whose once fine temper is going a little, stirred the fire
and suddenly rose.

"Lend me an umbrella!" he repeated imperatively.


"Are you in such a hurry to go? That is not very complimentary to me,"
I observed. "Have you done scolding me?"

What is called by some my growing worldliness teaches me to value
dryness in an old friend as I value dryness in a fine, cobwebbed,
crusty wine. It is from the merest Sybaritism that I surround myself
with comrades who, like Hohenfels, can fit their knobs into my
pattern, and receive my knobs in their own vacancy. My hint brought
him over at once into the leathern chair opposite the one I occupy.

"Paul, Paul," he said, "I only criticise you for your good. What have
you done with your three adolescences? You are getting stout, yet you
still write poetically. You have some wit, imagination, learning and
aptitude. You might make a name in science or art, but everything
you do lacks substance, because you live only in your old eternal
catchwords of the Past and the Future. You can sketch and paint,
yet have never exhibited your pictures except in ladies' albums.
You profess to love botany, yet your sole herbarium has been the
mignonette in sewing-girls' windows. You are inoffensive, you are
possessed of a competency, but in everything, in every vocation, you
rest in the state of amateur - amateur housekeeper, amateur artist,
amateur traveler, amateur geographer. And such a geographer as
you might be, with your taste for travel and the Hakluyt Society's
publications you have pored over for years!"

This chance allusion to my grand secret took me from my guard.
Hohenfels, blundering up and down in search of something to
anathematize, had stumbled upon the very fortress of my strength.
I deemed it time to let him into a part of my reserved intellectual
treasure - to whirl away a part at least of the sand in which my
patient sphinx had been buried.

"I have indeed been a reader," I said modestly. "When a youth at
Heidelberg, I perused, with more profit than would be immediately
guessed from the titles, such works as the Helden-Buchs and
the Nibelungen-Lieds, the Saxon Rhyme-Chronicles, the poems of
Minnesingers and Mastersingers, and Ships of Fools, and Reynard Foxes,
and Death-Dances, and Lamentations of Damned Souls. My study since
then has been in German chemistry from its renaissance in Paracelsus,
and physical science, including both medicine and the evolution of
life. Shall I give you a few dozen of my favorite writers?"

"Quite unnecessary," said the baron with some haste. "But I fancied
you were going to speak of geographical authors."


"Are you fond of such writings yourself?" I asked.

"Immensely - that is, not too scientific, you know," said the baron,
who was out of his element here. "Bayard Taylor, now, or some such
fellows as the Alpine Club."

"My dear baron, the republications by the Hakluyt Society are but
a small part of the references I have taken down for my Progressive
Geography. You admire Switzerland?"

"Vastly. Steep jump, the Staubbach."

"But the Alps are only hillocks compared with the Andes of Peru, with
the Cordilleras, with Chimborazo! Ah, baron, Chimborazo! Well, my dear
boy, the system I elaborate makes it a matter of simple progression
and calculation to arrive at mountains much more considerable still."

"Such as - ?"

"The Mountains of the Moon!"

I then, in a few dexterously involved sentences, allowed the plan of
my newly-invented theory to appear - so much of it, that is, as would
leave Hohenfels completely in the dark, and detract in no wise from
the splendor of my Opus when it should be published. As science,
however, truly considered, is the art of dilapidating and merging into
confused ruin the theories of your predecessors, I was somewhat
more precise with the destructive than the constructive part of my plan.

"Geographical Science, I am prepared to show, is that which modern
learning alone has neglected, to the point of leaving its discoveries
stationary. It is not so with the more assiduously cultivated
branches. What change, what advance, in every other department of
culture! In geology, the ammonite of to-day was for Chalmers a parody
facetiously made by Nature in imitation of her living conchology, and
for Voltaire a pilgrim's cockle dropped in the passes of the Alps. In
medicine, what progress has been made since ague was compared to the
flutter of insects among the nerves, and good Mistress Dorothy Burton,
who died but in 1629, cured it by hanging a spider round the patient's
neck "in a nutshell lapped in silk"! In chemistry, what strides! In
astronomy, what perturbations and changes! In history, what do we not
owe to the amiable authors who, dipping their pens in whitewash, have
reversed the judgments of ages on Nero and Henry VIII.! In genealogy,
what thanks must we pay to Darwin! Geographical Science alone, stolid
in its insolent fixity, has not moved: the location of Thebes and
Memphis is what it was in the days of Cheops and Rameses. And so poor
in intellect are our professors of geodesic lore that London continues
to be, just as it always was, in latitude 51° 30' 48" N., longitude 0°
5' 38" W., while the observatory of Paris contentedly sits in latitude
48° 50' 12" N. and longitude 2° 20' 22-1/2" E. from the observatory
of Greenwich! This disgracefully stationary condition of the science
cannot much longer be permitted."

"And how," said the baron, "will it be changed?" and he poked the
fire to conceal a yawn. Excellent man! his time latterly had been more
given to the investigation of opera than of the exact sciences.

"Through my theory of Progression and Proportion in geographical
statistics, by which the sources of the Nile can be easily determined
from the volume and speed of that current, while the height of the
mountains on the far side of the moon will be but a pleasing sum in
Ratio for a scholar's vacations. Nor will anything content me, my
dear Hohenfels, till this somewhat theoretical method of traveling
is displaced by bodily progression; till these easy excursions of the
mind are supplemented by material extensions; till the foot is pressed
where the brain has leaped; and till I, then for the first time a
traveler, stand behind the lunar rim, among the 'silent silver lights
and darks undreamed of!'"

"I am unable to appreciate your divagations," humbly observed
Hohenfels, "though I always thought your language beautiful. Meantime,
my hat is spoiled in coming hither, and you have the effrontery to
write bucolics to me during the most frightful weather of the year.
Once for all, do you refuse me an um - "

He did not finish his sentence. A world of sunshine burst like a
bomb into the chamber, and our eyes were dazzled with the splendor:
a sturdy beam shot directly into the fireplace, and the embers turned
haggard and gray, and quickly retired from the unequal contest. I
opened the window. A warm air, faint with the scent of earth and turf,
invaded the apartment, and the map-like patches of dampness on the
asphaltum pavement were rapidly and visibly drying away.

"I'm off!" said Hohenfels, with a rapid movement of retreat.

"But you are forgetting your - "

"What, my gloves?"


"No, the umbrella." And I presented him the heaviest and longest and
oldest of my collection. He laughed: it was a hoary canopy which we
had used beside the Neckar and in Heidelberg - "a pleasant town," as
the old song says, "when it has done raining." We sealed a compact
over the indestructible German umbrella. I agreed to defer for a
fortnight my departure for Marly: on his side he made a solemn vow to
come there on the first of May, and there receive in full and without
wincing the particulars of my Progressive Geography. As he passed by
the window I took care that he should catch a glimpse of me seated
by accident in a strong light, my smoking-cap crowded down to my
spectacles, and my nose buried in my old geographers.

* * * * *


For the next few days the weather supported the side of Hohenfels. It
scattered rain, sunshine and spits of snow. At last the sun got the
upper hand and remained master. The wisterias tumbled their cataracts
of blue blossoms down the spouts; rare flowers, of minute proportions,
burst from the button-holes of the young horsemen going to the Bois;
the gloves of the American colony became lilac; hyacinths, daffodils
and pansies moved by wagon-loads over the streets and soared to
the windows of the sewing-girls. Overhead, in the steaming and
cloud-marbled blue, stood the April sun. "Apelles of the flowers," as
an old English writer has styled him, he was coloring the garden-beds
with his rarest enamels, and spreading a sheet of varied tints over
the steps of the Madeleine, where they hold the horticultural market.


This sort of country ecstasy, this season at once stimulating and

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