Harper's Round Table, December 24, 1895 online

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Years before, in 1609, he had written to Shakespeare, whom he called,
"My dearest Will":

"Great were our hopes, both of glory and of gold, in the kingdom of
Powhatan. But it grieves me much to say that all hath resulted in
infelicity, misfortune, and an unhappy end.... As I was blameworthy
for thy risk, I send by the messenger your £50, which you shall not
lose by my overhopeful vision. For its usance I send a package of a
new herb from the Chesapeake, called by the natives tobacco. Make
it not into tea, as did one of my kinsmen, but kindle and smoke it
in the little tube the messenger will bestow ... it is a balm for
all sorrows and griefs, and as a dream of Paradise.... Thou knowest
that from my youth up I have adventured for the welfare and glory
of our Queen, Elizabeth. On sea and on land and in many climes have
I fought the accursed Spaniard, and am honored by our sovereign and
among men ... but all this would I give, and more, for a tithe of
the honor which in the coming time shall assuredly be thine. Thy
kingdom is of the imagination, and hath no limit or end."

The dreams of the Admiral far outran any possibility, and the mines of
Guiana proved a cheat equal to the yellow clay of the Roanoke. Peril of
life, fortune, and the varied resources of genius and valor were not
enough to insure success, and a failure in the paradise of the world
probably hastened the sentence for which Philip III. of Spain clamored.

The charges of treason against Raleigh were pure invention; but on his
return from South America he was arrested, committed to the Tower, and
the warrant for execution was signed without a new trial, while men from
the streets and ships came crowding to the wharf, whence they could see
him walking on the wall. He was advised to kill himself to escape the
shameful sentence of James I., but he solemnly spoke of self-murder, and
declared he would die in the light of day and before the face of his
countrymen. In the field of battle, on land and on sea, he had looked at
death too often to tremble now.

His farewell letter to his wife is one of the sweetest. I wish I had
space for it all. It concludes:

"The everlasting God, Infinite, Powerful, Inscrutable; the Almighty
God, which is Goodness itself, Mercy itself; the true light and
life - keep thee and thine, have mercy on me, and teach me to
forgive my persecutors and false witnesses, and send us to meet
again in His Glorious Kingdom. My own true wife, farewell. Bless my
poor boy. Pray for me, and let the good God fold you both in His
arms. Written with the dying hand of sometime thy husband, but now,
alas! overthrown.

"Yours that was, but not now my own,


In his final imprisonment Lady Raleigh was not allowed a share. When she
caught his youthful fancy it was as Elizabeth Throckmorton, maid of
honor to Queen Elizabeth.

"Sweet Bess" was a favorite there among ladies of gentle blood. The
flatterers of the dazzling court fluttered round the lovely young girl,
conspicuous for beauty and grace; slender, fair, golden-haired. Her
sighs were only for the sea-captain who expected to crown her with glory
won by his sword, and riches, the spoil to be fought for in many lands.
She was his loyal wife to the end, always pleading for pardon, defiant
before King and court, where she appeared daily in her husband's cause,
"holding little Wat by the hand." When her petition was refused, she was
not afraid to call down curses on the head of the tyrant, who heeded not
her wrath or her grief.

The water-way from the Thames is a dark passage under whose arch a pale
procession of ghosts of the murdered may easily be fancied as coming up
out of the past. Beneath it went Raleigh from prison to hear his
sentence in Westminster Hall; from the King's Bench he was sent to
Westminster Abbey. Crowds thronged to watch him pass, and from the
carriage window he noticed his old friend Burton, and invited him to
Palace Yard next day to see him die.

[Illustration: THE TRAITORS' GATE.]

The warrant came on a dark October morning, 1618. Raleigh was in bed,
but on hearing the Lieutenant's voice he sprang lightly to his feet,
threw on hose and doublet, and left his room. At the door he met Peter,
his barber, coming in. "Sir," said Peter, "we have not curled your head
this morning." His master answered with a smile, "Let them comb it that
shall have it." The faithful servant followed him to the gate insisting
on the service. "Peter," he asked, "canst thou give me any plaster to
set on a man's head when it is off?"

John Eliot wrote: "There is no parallel to the fortitude of Raleigh.
Nothing petty disturbed his calm soul in ending a career of constant
toil for the greatness and honor of his country. The hero who created a
New England for Old England was fearless of death, the most resolute and
confident of men, yet with reverence and conscience."

The executioner was deeply moved by the matchless spirit of the martyr.
He knelt and prayed forgiveness - the usual formula at the block or
scaffold. Raleigh placed both hands on the man's shoulders and said, "I
forgive you with all my heart. Now show me the axe." He carefully
touched the edge of the blade to feel its keenness, and kissed it. "This
gives me no fear. It is a sharp and fair medicine to cure all my ills."
Being asked which way he would lie on the block, he answered, "It is no
matter which way the head lies, so that the heart be right." Presently
he added, "When I stretch forth my hands, despatch me." There were
omissions in his last speech, but we may be sure they were noble
utterances. He prayed in an unbroken voice, and begged his friends to
stand near him on the scaffold so they might better hear his dying
words. Which being done, he concluded, "And now I entreat you all to
join with me in prayer that the great God of Heaven, whom I have
grievously offended - being a man full of vanity, and having lived a
sinful life in all sinful callings, having been a soldier, a captain,
and a sea-captain, and a courtier, which are all places of wickedness
and vice - that God, I say, would forgive me and cast away my sins from
me, and that He would receive me into everlasting life. So I take my
leave of you making my peace with God.

"Give me heartily of your prayers," he repeated, turning right and left.
The headsman cast down his own cloak that the victim might kneel on it
after laying off his velvet robe. An act which reminds us of the happy
chance for like courtesy that made Raleigh's fortune when he was a
boyish adventurer in the train of Sussex; a beautiful youth watching the
state barge of Queen Elizabeth.

The supreme moment came; the great captain, never greater than in death,
stretched out his palsied hands. The deathman hesitated. "What dost thou
fear, man? Strike, strike." One blow - a true one - and the murder was
done. There were those standing near who saw his face as it had been the
face of an angel. Courtier, historian, poet, seaman, soldier, his was
"the noblest head that ever rolled into English dust."

[Illustration: SIR WALTER RALEIGH.]

The wasted body was laid under the altar of St. Margaret's, the church
of the House of Commons, across the way from Westminster, with only a
small tablet to mark his resting-place.

Sweet Bess, who shared his glory and his prison-house, and with little
Wat had walked the terrace with him, does not lie beside him. I do not
know where that fond and faithful heart went to dust, but I do believe
that in the final day, for which all other days are made, true love will
find its own, and they will be reunited for evermore.

I saw no monument to Raleigh in Westminster Abbey. The fame of the
colonizer of Virginia belongs to us of the New World, and in 1880 a
memorial window was placed there at the expense of Americans in London.
Canon Farrar's address at the unveiling was a brilliant review of
Raleigh's life and varied fortunes in the most glorious portion of the
Elizabethan era. It concluded with an earnest appeal to the England of
Queen Victoria and the America of Lincoln and of Garfield to stand
shoulder to shoulder under the banner of the cross.



(_In Two Papers._)



The usual method for a boy to obtain a commission in the army is to pass
through the four years' course of study, and graduate at the United
States Military Academy at West Point, New York.

Receiving a diploma upon completing this course, he is by law appointed
by the President a Second Lieutenant in some branch of the four military
divisions of service - Engineers, Artillery, Cavalry, or Infantry. Cadets
are annually admitted to the Military Academy by appointment. Each
Congressman has the right to request one for a resident of his district,
the Secretary of War giving the appointment. Ten are also appointed by
the President, selecting at large from anywhere in the United States.
Besides these, each Territory and the District of Columbia are entitled
to one. This would allow about 400 cadets, but the course is so severe
that the number becomes very much reduced. Last June the corps numbered
285; but including the entering class of 103 the present number is only
336 cadets. Application to Washington can be made at any time. It will
be placed on file in the office of the Secretary of War, and notice sent
to the representative of that district whenever a vacancy occurs. The
application must give the full name of the young man, date of birth, and
permanent residence. Appointments are required to be made one year in
advance of date of admission, except that, in case of death or other
cause, vacancies may occur; then they may be filled in time for the next
annual examination. At present candidates appear for mental and physical
examination before a board of officers convened at the military post
nearest their respective places of residence on the first day of March
annually. The successful candidates will be admitted to the Academy
without further examination upon reporting in person to the
superintendent at West Point before 12 M. on the 15th day of June.
Candidates selected to fill the vacancies unprovided for by the March
boards, and those which may occur afterwards, will be instructed to
report at West Point for examination early in June. After admission at
West Point, cadets must sign an engagement to serve the United States
eight years, and take and subscribe the Oath of Allegiance. They agree
to obey all legal orders of their superior officers.

Cadets admitted must be between seventeen and twenty-two years of age,
and five feet or more in height, and unmarried. They must be well versed
in reading, writing, and spelling, so as to spell correctly from
dictation a considerable number of test words; in arithmetic enough to
be able to take up at once the higher branches without further study of
arithmetic; and have a thorough knowledge of the elements of English
grammar; of descriptive geography, particularly that of the United
States, and of the history of the United States.

We thus see that it is in the common branches that the boy desiring to
go to West Point must especially perfect himself to be able to enter;
but a student of higher mathematics and other collegiate studies has a
better chance for class standing, when the different subjects are taken
up, after entering, and rapidly pushed to completion. The first year
algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and surveying are completed; analytical
geometry, use of logarithms, rhetoric, and English language studied,
with French commenced; besides, the practical instruction in military
drill and discipline is demanded. There are marchings to every exercise,
to mess-hall, chapel, and recitations. Fencing, bayonet, and gymnastic
drills come the first year.

The second year analytical and descriptive geometry and calculus, with
method of "least squares," are completed. French is finished, and also
several weeks of Spanish, drawing, and practical military training and

The third year philosophy is substituted for mathematics, analytical
mechanics, astronomy, and wave-motion being finished. The cadets take
chemistry, electricity, mineralogy, and geology; also military drawing,
drill regulations, and practical engineering, with signalling.

The fourth year has military engineering, fortifications, and art of
war; also constitutional, international, and military law, history,
practical instruction in astronomy, and the study of ordnance and
gunnery. All this time the cadet is constantly subject to the life and
duties of a soldier, just as far as his studies will permit. Infantry
drill in squad, company, and battalion, cavalry and artillery drill,
guard duty, parades, reviews, and other ceremonies are incessant. The
cadet's life is more than a busy one. So hard is it, that out of one
hundred candidates who enter seldom more than fifty graduate.

But a boy of sound body and good constitution, with suitable preparation
and good natural capacity, and aptitude for study, industrious,
persevering, and of an obedient and orderly disposition, with a correct
moral deportment, will not fail to receive the reward of his four years'
labor in a commission in the United States army.


The third way a commission is sometimes obtained is by direct
appointment to a Second Lieutenancy by the President, who has the power,
and exercises it when vacancies occur over and above those filled by
cadet graduates of West Point, and by candidate non-commissioned
officers from the ranks. In the case of the President having appointed a
civilian to fill a vacancy, the appointee is called upon to pass an
examination, mentally and physically. The subjects of examination are
the common English branches, also history, geometry, surveying,
international and constitutional law. If accepted, after a critical and
extensive trial he is passed by the examining board, he will receive a
commission from the President, either in the cavalry or infantry; and
after serving some little time with his regiment he will usually be sent
to the Infantry and Cavalry School at Fort Leavenworth for a
post-graduate course. Surgeons, undergoing a most thorough examination,
are appointed First Lieutenants directly into the service, as are often
Paymasters and Judge-Advocates with the rank of Major.


We have brought our young man through the three different doorways to
the position of a commissioned officer of the lowest grade, _viz._, a
Second Lieutenant. His subsequent success as an officer will depend upon
himself. The usual promotion is, as a rule, according to seniority, _i.
e_., the ranking man of one grade goes to the next higher, except in
case of war, when the best man is selected to fill a position of higher
rank according as he is believed to be fit therefor. Though regular
promotion may be slow, an officer has many other channels of success.

The highest cadets in class rank, perhaps four or five, go into the
Engineer Corps, where their work is mainly among civilians, and their
promotion rapid. The Ordnance Corps is filled by special competitive
examination of Second Lieutenants of the army; the successful receive
the rank of First Lieutenant on entering the corps. The departments of
the Quartermaster, Commissary, Paymaster, Judge-Advocate, and
Adjutant-General are filled from the lines of officers, giving to the
appointed increased rank and pay. There are many special details open to
industrious officers; between thirty and forty being selected for
colleges; some for military attaches at foreign courts; also others for
aides-de-camp to generals; and for places of importance in Washington.

Officers are required to study extensively, and pass examinations for
every promotion. The diploma from the Infantry and Cavalry School will
entitle the holder to promotion for five years without further
examination. The profession of an army officer may not be so
remunerative pecuniarily as one of like study and preparation in civil
life; but perhaps, with the one exception of the ever-impending danger
or prospect of active service, his is as comfortable and satisfying as
that of the average professional or business man.

The pay of a Second Lieutenant, whose age varies from twenty-one to
twenty-eight, is, in infantry, $116.67 per month, and in cavalry $125
per month, together with advantages of groceries at cost price, coal at
about one-half the usual cost, and quarters free.

Thus we cannot help feeling that the young man who strives for success
in the army, from the ranks of a private soldier up, will feel amply
repaid, particularly if he receives a commission, and then continues to
make a good soldierly reputation.

Usually where a son is desirous of entering the army through any open
door, his parents immediately inquire concerning his surroundings. Are
they favorable to good morals? Are they conducive to a religious life?
The answer is that good morals are required at the outset; but of course
in barrack life as it is a young man would be likely to be influenced by
the example of his comrades. In some companies there could be no fault
to find. In others he would encounter much roughness of speech - perhaps
as much as in the forecastle of a ship. As to religion there is nothing
necessarily hindering, no more than in railroading, in working in large
out-door gangs, in manufactories, or elsewhere in the world.

The young man as a Christian is always called upon to resist temptation,
and I do not think it harder in the army than elsewhere; for everywhere
temptations must be met and overcome. There are many decided Christian
officers and soldiers - perhaps as large a proportion as are to be found
in other business careers.



Here is a new idea for a fair in costume for the Fresh Air Fund or some
other charity, and one not too hard to get up. Did you ever hear of an
evening with Mother Goose and her friends? Well, the idea is to have the
attendants of the booths and tables appear in characters taken from
Mother Goose's immortal jingles, with the dear kindly old face of Mother
Goose welcoming all. To give such a fair the air of a social gathering,
it is a good plan to have Mother Goose, the old woman with rings on her
fingers and bells on her toes, the old man clad all in leather, and poor
old Robinson Crusoe receive the guests, being introduced by little Tommy
Trot, after Solomon Grundy has taken the tickets as each one enters.

This reception committee should be impersonated by some of your mothers
and fathers, who would be willing to lend themselves for the interest
they naturally take in the object of your efforts. Or else the older
young people might enjoy the ceremony. The costumes would not be hard to
make. Mother Goose should wear a short dark red, blue, or brown plain
gown, a black apron, a white or gay-colored kerchief, and a white cap
with a wide frill. The costume of the musical old woman should be
similar, except her cap should be a high conical colored one trimmed
with tiny bells. Bells should border her dress and be sewed to her
shoe-tops, and her hair should be powdered. A cape, also bell-trimmed,
might be substituted for the kerchief. The leather man should wear a
coat and hat covered with the heavy paper which imitates alligator-skin,
wear high-topped boots, and carry an umbrella in one hand and a cane in
the other.

The next question to settle is about the booths. These should be rather
small, so that there can be quite a number of them, and so that the
articles for sale could in a measure be also in character. The slight
wooden frame of the booths and their counters or tables should be hidden
under drapings of cheese-cloth, cotton crépon, silkolene, or
tissue-paper, each one being of single or harmonizing colors, pale lemon
color and heliotrope, pink and blue, orange and black, being especially
showy by electric or gas light. For the special decoration there should
be placed high on the front of each booth a placard, being a
characteristic quotation descriptive of the booth and its contents. This
is an excellent chance for a handy boy or girl to do some fancy
lettering. Supposing the central booth should have this rhyme:

"There was an old woman tossed up in a basket
Ninety times as high as the moon;
And where she was going I couldn't but ask her,
For in her hand she carried a broom.

"'Old woman, old woman, old woman,' quoth I,
'Whither, O whither, O whither so high?'
'To sweep the cobwebs off the sky!'
'Shall I go with you?' 'Aye, buy-and-buy.'"

I am sure your friends will excuse the pun in the last line, and, what's
more to the purpose, will take the hint. Trimming the booth and
displayed on its counter you must have brooms of all sizes.

You see there is a multitude of simple things you can make yourselves
that will be appropriate for this booth, and much that will be
contributed easily and willingly, and, best of all, they will be
articles that every one will be glad to buy. I think the secret of
success in such a fair is not to have too costly articles for sale. It
is astonishing how quickly dollars grow from dimes, quarters, and
halves, and how easily these small coins slip out of friendly purses.
The chief young lady in charge of this broom booth should be dressed to
represent the famous old woman, and each of her helpers should wear
miniature brooms made of a few broom-splints and a toothpick for badges.

Another booth should be decorated with pictures of our tabby friends,
corresponding to the jingle, "I love little pussy, her coat is so warm,"
while its contents should entice buyers with a display of animal toys of
every kind - cotton flannel elephants dear to childish hearts, dogs,
pussies, a whole flock of Mary's lambs, horses, and mechanical bears, if
you should be so fortunate as to have the latter donated.

A third booth should be devoted to dolls dressed in every style and
paper dolls, both of which are always saleable. Who ever found a little
girl's heart so full that it would not admit one more doll-child to the
play-house family? This booth could be draped with butterflies and
festoons of the stars and stripes, and have for its motto,

"Hush, baby, my doll, I pray you don't cry."

The merry jingle of "Humpty Dumpty" is fitting for a table devoted to
Easter eggs and cards, Easter bonbons, and other timely trifles, and
could be easily allowed to include stationery, _menu_ cards, pen-wipers,
and all the pretty conceits agreeable to use when writing one's thanks
for an Easter gift.

"Needles and pins, needles and pins," is the motto for a table where
should be shown dainty doilies, tea-cloths, bits of drawn-work, and all
the pretty pieces of needle-work it is possible for your skilful fingers
to make, or kind friends to give you. Do not fail to try and get enough
toy watches, tiny pins, beads, and ornamental trifles - things that make
a _good_ time, you can say, because "Hickory, dickory, dock," etc., is
such a pretty legend for a booth, especially with an old-fashioned tall
clock to add to the decorations.

"Daffo-down-dilly has come to town
In a fine petticoat and a green gown,"

is a charming verse for a flower, which the smiling faces of girls in
costumes representing flowers will yet further decorate.

"Handy Spandy Jack-a-Dandy
Loves plum-cake and sugar-candy,"

should be the jingle for the candy table, and the boys and girls can
exercise their ingenuity in appearing in character - one a chocolate
cream, another a striped stick, another a pink peppermint, and so on.
But whatever you do, do not forget the little kindergarteners in your
households. They are so proud of their bits of work, and would be so
glad to give something for the poor sick babies. Take the mats and
sewing-cards, and make them into sachet-bags, pin-trays, blotters,
cornucopias, needle-books, "scratch-my-backs," with ribbons and fringed
papers. Let the verse over these childish offerings be,

"I saw a ship a-sailing,
A-sailing on the sea;
And, O, it was all laden
With pretty things for thee,"

and trim the booth with the paper chains, stars, and the like; also the
work of the little ones.


In order that such a fair as this shall be a success and not wear every

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