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NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE'S WORKS.
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JAMES R. OSGOOD AND COMPANY,
Late Ticknor & Fields, and Fields, Osgood, & Co.
- I % .1 'e a
BY NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE.
UNIVERSITY PRESS: WELCH, BIGELOW, & CO.,
TTE Author of TWICE-TOLD TALES has a claim to
...1 e distinction, which, as none of his literary
I ethren will care about disputing it with him,
he nned not be afraid to mention. He was, for a good
many years, the obscurest man of letters in America.
These stories were published in Magazines and Annuals,
extending over a period of ten or twelve years, and com-
prising the whole of the writer's young manhood, without
making (so far as he has ever been aware) the slightest
impression on the Public. One or two among them -
the RILL ROM TIE TOWN PumR, in perhaps a greater
degree than any other-had a pretty wide newspaper
circulation; as for the rest, he has no grounds for sup-
posing, that, on their first appearance, they met with the
good or evil fortune to be read by anybody. Through-
out the time above specified, he had no incitement to
literary effort in a reasonable prospect of reputation or
profit; nothing but the pleasure itself of composition,
an enjoyment not at all amiss in its way, and perhaps
essential to the merit of the work in hand, but which, in
the long run, will hardly keep the chill out of a writer's
heart, or the numbness out of his fingers. To this to-
tal lack of sympathy, at the age when his mind would
naturally have been most effervescent, the Public owe
it (and it is certainly an effect not to be regretted, on
either part), that the Author can show i.... li., for the
thought and industry of that portion of his life, save the
forty sketches, or thereabouts, included in these volumes.
Much more, indeed, he wrote; and some very small part
of it might yet be rummaged out (but it would not be
worth the trouble) among the dingy pages of fifteen-or-
twenty-year-old periodicals, or within the shabby mo-
rocco covers of faded Souvenirs. The remainder of the
works, alluded to, had a very brief existence, but, on the
score of '.ill; .. .-. enjoyed a fate vastly superior to that
of their brotherhood, which succeeded in getting through
the press. In a word, the Author burned them without
mercy or remorse, and, moreover, without any subsequent
regret, and had more than one occasion to marvel that
such very dull stuff, as lie knew his condemned manu-
scripts to be, should yet have possessed inflammability
enough to set the chimney on fire !
After a long while, the first collected volume of the
Tales was published. By this time, if the Author had
ever been greatly tormented by literary ambition (which
lie does not remember or believe to have been the case),
it must have perished, beyond resuscitation, in the dearth
of nutriment. This was fortunate; for the success of
the volume was not such as would have i ,1i, .1 a crav-
ing desire for notoriety. A moderate edition was got
rid of" (to use the Publisher's very significant phrase)
within a reasonable time, but apparently without render-
ing the writer or his productions much more .- .11,i
known than before. The great bulk of the reading Pub-
lic probably ignored the book altogether. A few per-
sons read it, and liked it better than it deserved. At
an interval of three or four years, the second volume was
published, and encountered much the same sort of kindly,
but calm, and very limited reception. The circulation
of the two volumes was chiefly confined to New England;
nor was it until long after this period, if it even yet be
the case, that the Author could regard himself as address-
ing the American Public, or, indeed, any Public at all.
He was merely writing to his known or unknown friends.
As lie glances over these long-forgotten pages, and con-
siders his way of life, while composing them, the Author
can very clearly discern why all this was so. After so
many sober years, he would have reasons to be ashamed
if lie could not criticise his own work as fairly as another
man's; and, -i .... i it is little his business and perhaps
still less his interest, he can hardly resist a temptation to
achieve something of the sort. If writers were allowed
to do so, and would perform the task with perfect sin-
cerity and unreserve, their opinions of their own produc-
tions would often be more valuable and instructive than
the works themselves.
At all events, there can be no harm in the Author's
remarking, that he rather wonders how the TWICE-TOLD
TALES should have gained what vogue they did, than
that it was so little and so gradual. I i. have the pale
tint of flowers that blossomed in too retired a shade,
-- te coolness of a meditative habit, which diffuses
itself through the feeling and observation of every
sketch. Instead of passion, there is sentiment; and,
even in what purport to be pictures of actual life, we
have allegory, not always so warmly dressed in its habili-
ments of flesh and blood, as to be taken into the reader's
mind without a shiver. Whether from lack of power,
or an unconquerable reserve, the Author's touches have
often an effect of tameness; the merriest man can hardly
contrive to laugh at his broadest humor; the tenderest
woman, one would suppose, will hardly shed warm tears
at his deepest pathos. The book, if you would see any-
thing in it, requires to be read in tlhe clear, brown, twi-
light atmosphere in which it was written; if opened in
the sunshine, it is apt to look exceedingly like a volume
of blank pages.
With the foregoing characteristics, proper to the pro-
ductions of a person in retirement (which happened to
be the Author's category at the time), the book is devoid
of others that we should quite as naturally look for. The
sketches are not, it is hardly necessary to say, profound;
but it is rather more remarkable that they so seldom, if
ever, show any design on the writer's part to make them
so. They have none of the abstruseness of idea, or ob-
scurity of expression, which mark the written communi-
cations of a solitary mind with itself. They never need
translation. It is, in fact, tile style of a man of society.
Every sentence, so far as it embodies -i....1.1 or sensi-
bility, may be understood and felt by anybody who will
give himself the trouble to read it, and will take up the
book in a proper mood.
This statement of 1i -......., opposite peculiarities leads
us to a perception of what the sketches truly are. They
are not the talk of a secluded man with his own mind and
heart (had it been so, they could hardly have failed to be
more deeply and permanently valuable), but his attempts,
and very imperfectly successful ones, to open an inter-
course with the world.
The Author would regret to be understood as speaking
sourly or querulously of the slight mark made by his earlier
literary efforts on the Public at large. It is so far the
contrary, that he has been moved to write this Preface,
chiefly as affording him an opportunity to express how
much enjoyment he has owed to these volumes, both
before and since their publication. They are the me-
morials of very tranquil and not unhappy years. They
failed, it is true, nor could it have been otherwise, in
winning an extensive popularity. Occasionally, however,
when he deemed them entirely forgotten, a paragraph or
an article, from a native or foreign critic, would gratify
his instincts of authorship with unexpected praise, too
generous praise, indeed, and too little alloyed with cen-
sure, which, therefore, he learned the better to inflict
upon himself. And, by the by, it is a very suspicious
symptom of a deficiency of the popular element in a book,
when it calls forth no harsh criticism. This has been
particularly the fortune of the TWICE-TOLD TALES. They
made no enemies, and were so little known and talked
about, that those who read, and chanced to like them,
were apt to conceive the sort of kindness for the book
which a person naturally feels for a discovery of his own.
This kindly feeling (in some cases at least) extended
to the Author, who, on the internal evidence of his
sketches, came to be regarded as a mild, shy, gentle,
melancholic, exceedingly sensitive, and not very forcible
man, hiding his blushes under an assumed name, the
quaintness of which was supposed, somehow or other, to
symbolize his personal and literary traits. He is by no
means certain that some of his subsequent productions
have not been influenced and modified by a natural desire
to fill up so amiable an outline, and to act in consonance
with the character assigned to him ; nor, even now, could
he forfeit it without a few tears of tender sensibility.
To conclude, however, these volumes have opened the
way to most agreeable associations, and to the formation
of imperishable friendships; and there are many golden
threads, interwoven with his present happiness, which lie
can follow up more or less directly, until lie finds their
commencement here ; so that his pleasant ii m u among
realities seems to proceed out of the Dreamland of his
youth, and to be bordered with just enough of its shad-
owy foliage to shelter him from the heat of the day. Hle
is therefore satisfied with what the TWICE-TOLD TALES
have done for him, and feels it to be far better than fame.
LEXox, January 11, 1851.
CONTENTS OF VOL. I.
THE GRAY CHAMPION
SUNDAY AT HOME
THE WEDDING KNELL
THE MINISTER'S BLACK VEIL
THE MAYPOLE OF MERRY MOUNT
THE GENTLE BOY.
MIR. IIIGGINBOTHAM'S CATASTROPHE
LITTLE ANNIE'S RAMBLE
A RILL FROM THE TOWN PUeMPI
THE GREAT CARBUNCLE
THE PROPHETIC PICTURES
SIGHTS FROM A STEEPLE 207
THE HOLLOW OF THE THREE HILLS 215
THE TOLL-GATHERER'S DAY. 221
THE VISION OF THE FOUNTAIN. 229
FANCY'S SHow-Box 237
iDR. HEIDEGGER'S EXPERIMENT 245
TWICE TOLD TALES.
THE GRAY CHAMPION.
i | il I; E was once a time when New England
....ed under the actual pressure of heavier
...gs than those threatened ones which
brought on the Revolution. James II., the bigoted
successor of Charles the Voluptuous, bad annulled the
charters of all the colonies, and sent a harsh and unprin-
cipled soldier to take away our liberties and endanger
our religion. The administration of Sir lI, I....iI Andros
lacked scarcely a single characteristic of tyranny: a
Governor and Council, holding office from the King,
and wholly independent of the country; laws made and
taxes levied without concurrence of the people, imme-
diate or by their representatives; the rights of private
citizens violated, and the titles of all landed property
declared void; the voice of complaint stifled by restric-
tions on the press; and, finally, disaffection overawed by
the first band of mercenary troops that ever marched on
our free soil. For two years our ancestors were kept in
sullen submission by that filial love which had invariably
4l TWICE-TOLD TALES.
secured their allegiance to the mother country, whether
its head chanced to be a Parliament, Protector, or Popish
Monarch. Till these evil times, however, such :iil. I..
had been merely nominal, and the colonists had ruled
themselves, enjoying far more freedom than is even yet
the privilege of the native subjects of Great Britain.
At length a rumor reached our shores that the Prince
of Orange had ventured on an enterprise the success of
which would be the triumph of civil and religious rights
and the salvation of New England. It was but a doubt-
ful whisper; it might be false, or the attempt might fail;
and, in either case, the man that stirred against King
James would lose his head. Still, the in1tlli-lloiee pro-
duced a marked effect. The people smiled mysteriously
in the streets, and threw bold glances at their oppressors;
while, far and wide, there was a subdued and silent agita-
tion, as if the slightest signal would rouse the whole land
from its sluggish despondency. Aware of their danger,
the rulers resolved to avert it by an imposing display of
strength, and perhaps to confirm their despotism by yet
harsher measures. One afternoon in April, 1689, Sir
Edmund Andros and his favorite councillors, being warm
with wine, assembled the redcoats of the Governor's
Guard, and made their appearance in the streets of
Boston. The sun was near setting when the march
The roll of the drum, at that unquiet crisis, seemed
to go through the streets, less as the martial music of
the soldiers, than as a muster-call to the inhabitants
themselves. A multitude, by various avenues, assem-
bled in King Street, which was destined to be the scene,
nearly a century afterwards, of another encounter be-
tween the troops of Britain and a people struggling
against her tyranny. Though more than sixty years had
THE GRAY CHAMPION.
elapsed siiic the Pilgrims came, this crowd of their
descendants still showed the strong and sombre features
of their character, perhaps more strikingly in such a
stern emergency than on happier occasions. There were
the sober garb, the general severity of mien, the gloomy
but undismayed expression, the Scriptural forms of speech,
and the confidence in Heaven's blessing on a righteous
cause, which would have marked a band of the original
Puritans, when threatened by some peril of the wilder-
noss. Indeed, it was not yet time for the old spirit to
be extinct; since there were men in the street, that day,
who had worshipped there beneath the trees, before a
house was reared to the God for whom they had become
exiles. Old soldiers of the Parliament were here, too,
smiling grimly at the thought, that their aged arms might
strike another blow against the house of Stuart. Here,
also, were the veterans of King Philip's war, who had
burned villages and slaughtered young and old, with
pious fierceness, while the godly souls throughout the
land were helping them with prayer. Several ministers
were scattered among the crowd, which, unlike all other
mobs, regarded them with such reverence, as if there
were sanctity in their very garments. These holy men
exerted their influence to quiet the people, but not to
disperse them. Meantime, the purpose of the Governor,
in disturbing the peace of the town, at a period when
the slightest commotion might throw the country into a
ferment, was almost the universal subject of inquiry, and
Satan will strike his master-stroke presently," cried
some, "because he knoweth that his time is short. All
our ...,11 pastors are to be dragged to prison! We
shall see them at a Smithfield fire in King Street!"
Hereupon the people of each parish gathered closer
round their minister, who looked calmly upwards and
assumed a more apostolic dignity, as well befitted a
candidate for the highest honor of his profession, the
crown of martyrdom. It was actually fancied, at that
period, that New England might have a John Rogers
of her own, to take the place of that worthy in the
"The Pope of Rome has given orders for a new St.
Bartholomew! cried others. "We arc to be massacred,
man and male child!"
Neither was this rumor wholly discredited, although
the wiser class believed the Governor's object somewhat
less atrocious. His predecessor under the old charter,
Bradstrect, a venerable companion of the first settlers,
was known to be in town. There were grounds for con-
jecturing that Sir Edmund Andros intended, at once, to
strike terror, by a parade of military force, and to con-
found the opposite faction by possessing himself of their
"Stand firm for the old charter, Governor! shouted
the crowd, seizing upon the idea. "The good old Gov-
ernor Bradstreet! "
While this cry was at the loudest, the people were
surprised by the well-known figure of Governor Brad-
street himself, a patriarch of nearly ninety, who appeared
on the elevated steps of a door, and, with characteristic
mildness, besought them to submit to the constituted
My children," concluded this venerable person, "do
nothing rashly. Cry not aloud, but pray for the welfare
of New England, and expect patiently what the Lord
will do in this matter! "
Tlie event was soon to be decided. All this time, the
roll of the drum had been approaching through Coruhill,
THE GRAY CHAMPION. 17
louder and deeper, till with reverberations from house
to house, and the regular tramp of martial footsteps, it
burst into the street. A double rank of soldiers made
their appearance, occupying the whole breadth of the
passage, with shouldered matchlocks, and matches burn-
ing, so as to present a row of fires in the dusk. Their
steady march was like the progress of a machine, that
would roll irresistibly over everything in its way. Next,
moving slowly, with a confused clatter of hoofs on the
pavement, rode a party of mounted 1.. H,,. ... the cen-
tral figure being Sir Edmund Andros, elderly, but erect
and soldier-like. Those -around him were his favorite
councillors, and the bitterest foes of New England. At
his right hand rode Edward Randolph, our arch-enemy,
that "blasted wretch," as Cotton Mather calls him, who
achieved the downfall of our ancient government, and
was followed with a sensible curse, through life and to
his grave. On the other side was Bullivant, scattering
jests and mockery as lie rode along. Dudley came be-
hind, with a downcast look, dreading, as well he might,
to meet the indignant gaze of the people, who beheld
him, their only countryman by birth, among the oppress-
ors of his native land. The captain of a frigate in the
harbor, and two or three civil officers under the Crown,
were also there. But the figure which most attracted
the public eye, and stirred up the deepest feeling, was
the Episcopal clergyman of King's Chapel, riding haugh-
tily among the magistrates in his priestly vestments,
the fitting representative of prelacy and persecution, the
union of Church and State, and all those abominations
which had driven the Puritans to the wilderness. An-
other guard of soldiers, in double rank, brought up the
The whole scene was a picture of the condition of New
England, and its moral, the deformity of any government
that does not grow out of the nature of things and the
character of the people. On one side the religious mul-
titude, with their sad visages and dark attire, and on the
other, the group of despotic rulers, with the High-Church-
man in the midst, and here and there a crucifix at their
bosoms, all magnificently clad, flushed with wine, proud
of unjust authority, and scoffing at the universal groan.
And the mercenary soldiers, waiting but the word to
deluge the street with blood, showed the only means by
which obedience could be secured.
"0 Lord of Hosts," cried a voice among the crowd,
" provide a Champion for thy people! "
This ejaculation was loudly uttered, and served as a
herald's cry, to introduce a remarkable personage. The
crowd had rolled back, and were now huddled together
nearly at the extremity of the street, while the soldiers
had advanced no more than a third of its length. The
intervening space was empty, a paved solitude, between
lofty edifices, which threw almost a twilight shadow over
it. Suddenly, there was seen the figure of an ancient
man, who seemed to have emerged from among the peo-
ple, and was walking by himself along the centre of tile
street, to confront the armed band. He wore the old
Puritan dress, a dark cloak and a steeple-crowned hat,
in the fashion of at least fifty years before, with a heavy
sword upon his thigh, but a staff in his hand to assist the
tremulous gait of age.
When at some distance from the multitude, the old
man turned slowly round, displaying a face of antique
majesty, rendered doubly venerable by the hoary beard
that descended on his breast. He made a gesture at
once of encouragement and warning, then turned again,
and resumed his way.
THE GRAY CHAMPION.
"Who is this gray patriarch ?" asked the young men
of their sires.
Who is this venerable brother ? asked the old men
But none could make reply. The fathers of the peo-
ple, those of fourscore years and upwards, were dis-
turbed, deeming it strange that they should forget one
of such evident authority, whom they must have known
in their early days, the associate of Winthrop, and all
the old councillors, giving laws, and making prayers, and
leading them against the savage. The elderly men ought
to have remembered him, too, with locks as gray in their
youth as their own were now. And the young! How
could lie have passed so utterly from their memories, -
that hoary sire, the relic of long-departed times, whose
awful benediction had surely been bestowed on their
uncovered heads, in childhood?
"Whence did he come? What is his purpose?
Who can this old man be ?" whispered the wondering
Meanwhile, the venerable stranger, staff in hand, was
pursuing his solitary walk along the centre of the street.
As he drew near the advancing soldiers, and as the roll
of their drum came full upon his car, the old man raised
himself to a loftier mien, while the decrepitude of age
seemed to fall from his shoulders, leaving him in gray
but unbroken dignity. Now, lie marched onward with
a warrior's step, keeping time to the military music.
Thus the aged form advanced on one side, and the whole
parade of soldiers and magistrates on the other, till, when
scarcely twenty yards remained between, the old man
grasped his staff by the middle, and held it before him
like a leader's truncheon.
"Stand cried lie.
The eye, the face, and attitude of command; the sol-
emn, yet warlike peal of that voice, fit either to rule a
host in the battle-field or be raised to God in prayer,
were irresistible. At the old man's word and out-
stretched arm, the roll of the drum was hushed at once,
and the advancing line stood still. A tremulous enthu-
siasm seized upon the multitude. That stately form,
combining tile leader and tile said, so gray, so dimly
seen, in such an ancient garb, could only belong to some
old champion of the righteous cause, whom the oppress-
or's drum had summoned from his grave. They raised
a shout of awe and exultation, and looked for the deliv-
erance of New England.
The Governor, and the gentlemen of his party, per-
ceiving themselves brought to an unexpected stand,
rode hastily forward, as if they would have pressed
their snorting and affrighted horses right against the
Ioary apparition. He, however, blenched not a step,
but glancing his severe eye round tile group, which
half encompassed him, at last bent it sternly on Sir
Edmund Andros. One would have thought that the
dark old man was chief ruler there, and that the Gov-
ernor and Council, with soldiers at their back, repre-
senting the whole power and authority of the Crown,
had no alternative but obedience.
"What does this old fellow here ?" cried Edward
Randolph, fiercely. "On, Sir Edmund 1 Bid the sol-
diers forward, and give the dotard tile same choice that
you give all his countrymen, to stand aside or be
trampled on "
"Nay, nay, let us show respect to the good grand-
sire," said Bullivant, laughing. See you not, lie is
some old round-headed d:guitary, who hath lain asleep
these thirty years, and knows nothing of the change of
THE GRAY CIIAMPION. 1I
times ? Doubtless, he thinks to put us down with a
proclamation in Old Noll's name "
"Are you mad, old man ?" demanded Sir Edmund
Andros, in loud and harsh tones. "How dare you stay
the march of King James's Governor ? "
I have stayed the march of a king himself, ere now,"
replied the gray figure, witl stern composure. "I am
here, Sir Governor, because the cry of an oppressed
people hath disturbed me in my secret place; and be-
seeching this favor earnestly of the Lord, it was vouch-
safed me to appear once again on earth, in the good
old cause of his saints. And what speak ye of James ?
There is no longer a Popish tyrant on the throne of
England, and by to-morrow noon his name shall be a
byword in this very street, where ye would make it a
word of terror. Back, thou that wast a Governor, back !
With this night thy power is ended, to-morrow, the
prison! back, lest I foretell the scaffold "
The people had been drawing nearer and nearer, and
drinking in the words of their champion, who spoke in
accents long disused, like one unaccustomed to converse,
except with the dead of many years ago. But his voice
stirred their souls. They confronted the soldiers, not
wholly without arms, and ready to convert the very
stones of the street into deadly weapons. Sir Edmund
Andros looked at the old man ; then lie cast his hard and
cruel eye tver the multitude, oand beheld them burning
with that lurid wrath, so difficult to kindle or to quench ;
and again lie fixed his gaze on the aged form, which
stood obscurely in an open space, where neither friend
nor foe had thrust himself. What were his thoughts, he
uttered no word which might discover. But whether
the oppressor were overawed by the Gray Champion's
look, or perceived his peril in the threatening attitude of
Y, TWICE-TOLD TALES.
the people, it is certain that he gave back, and ordered
his soldiers to commence a slow and guarded retreat.
Before another sunset, the Governor, and all that rode so
proudly with him, were prisoners, and long ere it was
known that James had abdicated, King William was pro-
claimed .1.. l.. New England.
But where was the Gray Champion ? Some reported,
that when the troops had gone from King Street, and
the people were 'i ...... tumultuously in their rear,
Bradstreet, the aged Governor, was seen to embrace a
form more aged than his own. Others soberly affirmed,
that while they marvelled at the venerable grandeur of
his aspect, the old man had faded from their eyes, melting
slowly into the hues of twilight, till, where he stood,
there was an empty space. But all agreed that the
hoary shape was gone. The men of that generation
watched for his reappearance, in sunshine and in twi-
light, but never saw him more, nor knew when his fune-
ral passed, nor where his gravestone was.
And who was the Gray Champion ? Perhaps his name
might be found in the records of that stern Court of Jus-
tice, which passed a sentence, too mighty for the age,
but glorious in all after times, for its humbling lesson to
the monarch and its high example to the subject. I have
heard, that whenever the descendants of the Puritans are
to show the spirit of their sires, the old man appears
again. When eighty years had passed, he walked once
more in King Street. Five years later, in the twilight
of an April morning, lie stood on the green, beside the
meeting-house, at Lexington, where now the obelisk of
granite, with a slab of slate inlaid, commemorates the
first fallen of the Revolution. And when our fathers
were toiling at the breastwork on Bunker's Iill, all
through that night the old warrior walked his rounds.
THE GRAY CHAMPION. 23
Long, long may it be, ere lie comes again His hour is
one of darkness, and adversity, and peril. But should
domestic tyranny oppress us, or the invader's step pol-
lute our soil, still may the Gray Champion come, for lie
is the type of New England's hereditary spirit, and his
shadowy march, on the eve of danger, must ever be the
pledge that New England's sons will vindicate their
SUNDAY AT HOME.
VERY Sabbath morning in the summer time I
thrust back the curtain, to watch the sunrise
stealing down a steeple, which stands opposite
my chamber-window. First, the weathercock begins to
flash ; then, a fainter lustre gives the spire an airy aspect;
next it encroaches on the tower, and causes the index of
the dial to glisten like gold, as it points to the gilded fig-
ure of the hour. Now, the loftiest window gleams, and
now the -lower. The carved framework of the portal
is marked strongly out. At length, the morning glory,
in its descent from heaven, comes down the stone steps,
one by one; and there stands the steeple, glowing with
fresh radiance, while the shades of twilight still hide
themselves among the nooks of the adjacent buildings.
Methinks, though the same sun brightens it every fair
morning, yet the steeple has a peculiar robe of brightness
for the Sabbath.
By dwelling near a church, a person soon contracts an
attachment for the edifice. We naturally personify it,
and conceive its massive walls and its dim emptiness to
be instinct with a calm, and meditative, and somewhat
melancholy spirit. But the steeple stands foremost, in
our thoughts, as well as locally. It impresses us as a
giant, with a mind comprehensive and discriminating
SUNDAY AT HOME.
enough to care for the great and small concerns of all the
town. Hourly, while it speaks a moral to the few that
think, it reminds thousands of busy individuals of their
separate and most secret affairs. It is the steeple, too,
that flings abroad the hurried and irregular accents of
general alarm; neither have gladness and festivity found
a better utterance, than by its tongue; and when the
dead are slowly passing to their home, the steeple has
a melancholy voice to bid them welcome. Yet, in spite
of this connection with human interests, what a moral
loneliness, on week-days, broods round about its stately
height! It has no kindred with the houses above which
it towers ; it looks down into the narrow thoroughfare,
the lonelier, because the crowd are .11 ;. -, their passage
at its base. A glance at the body of the church deepens
this impression. Within, by the light of distant win-
dows, amid refracted shadows, we discern the vacant pews
and empty galleries, the silent organ, the voiceless pulpit,
and the clock, which tells to solitude how time is pass-
ing. Time, where man lives not, what is it but eter-
nity ? And in the church, we might suppose, are garnered
up, throughout the week, all thoughts and feelings that
have reference to eternity, until the holy day comes round
again, to let them forth. Might not, then, its more ap-
propriate site be in the outskirts of the town, with space
for old trees to wave around it, and throw their solemn
shadows over a quiet green? We will say more of this,
But, on the Sabbath, I watch the earliest sunshine, and
fancy that a holier brightness marks the day, when there
shall be no buzz of voices on tile exchange, nor traffic in
the shops, nor crowd, nor business, anywhere but at
church. Many have fancied so. For my own part,
whether I see it scattered down among tangled woods,
VOL. I. 2
or beaming broad across the fields, or hemmed in between
brick buildings, or tracing out the figure of the casement
on my chamber-floor, still I recognize the Sabbath sun-
shine. And ever let me recognize it! Some illusions,
and this among them, are tie shadows of great truths.
Doubts may flit around me, or seem to close their evil
wings, and settle down ; but so long as I imagine that the
earth is hallowed, and the light of heaven retains its
sanctity, on the Sabbath, -while that blessed sunshine
lives within me, never can my soul have lost the in-
stinct of its faith. If it have gone astray, it will return
I love to spend such pleasant Sabbaths, from morning
till night, behind the curtain of my open window. Are
they spent amiss ? Every spot, so near the church as to
be visited by the circling shadow of the steeple, should
be deemed consecrated ground, to-day. With stronger
truth be it said, that a devout heart may consecrate a
den of thieves, as an evil one may convert a temple to
the same. My heart, perhaps, has not such holy, nor, I
would fain trust, such impious potency. It must suffice,
that, though my form be absent, my inner man goes con-
i ..nii, to church, while many, whose bodily presence
fills the accustomed seats, have left their souls at home.
But I am there, even before my friend, the sexton. At
length, he comes, a man of kindly, but sombre aspect,
in dark gray clothes, and hair of the same mixture, lie
comes and applies his key to the wide portal. Now my
thoughts may go in among the dusty pews, or ascend
the pulpit without sacrilege, but soon come forth again
to enjoy the music of the bell. How glad, yet solemn
too All the steeples in town are talking together, aloft
in the sunny air, and rejoicing among themselves, while
their spires point heavenward. Meantime, here are the
SUNDAY AT HOME.
children assembling to the Sabbath school, which is kept
somewhere within the church. Often, while looking at
the arched portal, I have been gladdened by the sight of
a score of these little girls and boys, in pink, blue, yel-
low, and crimson frocks, bursting suddenly forth into the
sunshine, like a swarm of gay butterflies that had been
shut up in the solemn gloom. Or I might compare them
to cherubs, haunting that holy place.
About a quarter of an hour before the second ringing
of the bell, individuals of the congregation begin to ap-
pear. The earliest is invariably an old woman in black,
whose bent frame and rounded shoulders are evidently
laden with some heavy ill Ir .., which she is eager to
rest upon the altar. Would that the Sabbath came
twice as often, for the sake of that sorrowful old soul!
There is an elderly man, also, who arrives in good sea-
son, and leans against the corner of the tower, just
within the line of its shadow, looking downward with a
darksome brow. I sometimes fancy that the old woman
is the happier of the two. After these, others drop in
singly, and by twos and threes, either disappearing
through the doorway or taking their stand in its vicinity.
At last, and always with an unexpected sensation, the
bell turns in the steeple overhead, and throws out an
irregular clangor, jarring the tower to its foundation.
As if there were magic in the sound, thle sidewalks of
the street, both up and down along, are immediately
thronged with two long lines of people, all converging
hitherward, and streaming into the church. Perhaps the
far-off roar of a coach draws nearer, -a deeper thunder
by its contrast with the surrounding stillness, until it
sets down the wealthy worshippers at the portal, among
their humblest brethren. Beyond that entrance, in theory
at least, there are no distinctions of earthly rank; nor,
indeed, by the goodly apparel which is flaunting in the
sun, would there seem to be such, on the hither side.
Those pretty girls! Why will they disturb my pious
meditations! Of all days in the week, they should strive
to look least fascinating on the Sabbath, instead of height-
ening their mortal loveliness, as if to rival the blessed
angels, and keep our thoughts from heaven. Were I
the minister himself, I must needs look. One girl is
white muslin from the waist upwards, and black silk
downwards to her slippers; a second blushes from top-
knot to shoetie, one universal scarlet; another shines of
a pervading yellow, as if she had made a garment of the
sunshine. The greater part, however, have adopted a
milder cheerfulness of hue. Their veils, especially when
the wind raises them, give a lightness to the general cf-
fect, and make them appear like airy phantoms, as they
flit up the steps, and vanish into the sombre doorway.
Nearly all--though it is very .strange that I should
know it wear white stockings, white as snow, and neat
slippers, laced crosswise with black ribbon, pretty high
above the ankles. A white stocking is infinitely more
effective than a black one.
Here comes the clergymian, slow and solemn, in severe
simplicity, needing no black silk gown to denote his
office. His aspect. claims my reverence, but cannot win
my love. Were I to picture Saint Peter, keeping fast
the gate of heaven, and frowning, more stern than piti-
ful, on the wretched applicants, that face should be my
sli udy. By middle age, or sooner, the creed has gener-
ally wrought upon the heart, or been attempered by it.
As the minister passes into the church, the bell holds its
iron tongue, and all the low murmur of the congregation
dies away. The gray sexton looks up and down the
Street, and then at my window-curtain, where, through
SUNDAY AT HOME.
the small peephole, I half fancy that lie has caught my
eye. Now, every loiterer has gone in, and the street lies
asleep in the quiet sun, while a feeling of loneliness
comes over me, and brings also an uneasy sense of neg-
lected privileges and duties. 0, I ought to have gone
to church The bustle of the rising congregation reaches
my ears. They are standing up to pray. Could I bring
my heart into unison with those who are praying in yon-
der church, and lift it heavenward, with a fervor of sup-
plication, but no distinct request, would not that be the
safest kind of prayer ? Lord, look down upon me in
mercy! With that sentiment gushing from my soul,
might I not leave all the rest to Him ?
Hark! the hymn. This, at least, is a portion of the
service which I can enjoy better than if I sat within the
walls, where the full choir and the massive melody of
the organ, would fall with a weight upon me. At this
distance, it thrills through my frame, and plays upon my
heartstrings, with a pleasure both of the sense and spirit.
Heaven be praised, I know nothing of music, as a science;
and the most elaborate harmonies, if they please me,
please as simply as a nurse's lullaby. The strain has
ceased, but prolongs itself in my mind, with fanciful
echoes, till I start from my revery, and find that the
sermon has commenced. It is my misfortune seldom to
fructify, in a regular way, by any but printed sermons.
The first strong idea, which the preacher utters, gives
birth to a train of thought, and leads me onward, step by
step, quite out of hearing of the good man's voice, unless
lie be indeed a son of thunder. At my open window,
catching now and then a sentence of the parson's saw,"
I am as well situated as at the foot of the pulpit stairs.
The broken and scattered fragments of this one discourse
will be the texts of many sermons, preached by those
colleague pastors, colleagues, but often disputants, -
my Mind and Heart. The former pretends to be a
scholar, and perplexes me with doctrinal points; the
latter takes me on the score of feeling; and both, like
several other preachers, spend their I .. '.i, to very
little purpose. 1, their sole auditor, cannot always un-
Suppose that a few hours have passed, and behold me
still behind my curtain, just before the close of the after-
noon service. The hour-hand on the dial has passed
beyond four o'clock. The declining sun is hidden behind
the steeple, and throws its shadow straight across the
street, so that my chamber is darkened, as with a cloud.
Around the church-door all is solitude, and an impene-
trable obscurity beyond the threshold. A commotion is
heard. The seats are slammed down, and the pew-doors
thrown back, a multitudeof feet aretrampling along the
unseen aisles,-and the congregation bursts suddenly
through the portal. Foremost, scampers a rabble of boys,
behind whom moves a dense and dark phalanx of grown
men, and :. i a crowd of females, with young children,
and a few scattered husbands. This instantaneous out-
break of life into loneliness is one of the pleasantest scenes
of tle day. Some of the good people are rubbing their
eyes, thereby intimating that they have been wrapped, as
it were, in a sort of holy trance, by the fervor of their
devotion. There is a young man, a third-rate coxcomb,
whose first care is always to flourish a white handker-
chief, and brush the seat of a tight pair of black silk pan-
taloons, which shine as if varnished. They must have
been made of the stuff called everlasting," or perhaps of
the same piece as Christian's garments in the Pilgrim's
Progress, for he put them on two summers ago, and has
not yet worn the gloss off. I have taken a great liking
SUNDAY AT HOME. 3i
to those black silk pantaloons. But, now, with nods and
greetings among friends, each matron takes her husband's
arm, and paces gravely homeward, while the girls also
flutter away, after arranging sunset walks with their
favored bachelors. The Sabbath eve is the eve of love.
At length, the whole congregation is dispersed. No;
here, with faces as glossy as black satin, come two sable
ladies and a sable gentleman, and close in their rear the
minister, who softens his severe visage, and bestows a
kind word on each. Poor souls To them the most
captivating picture of bliss in heaven is There we
shall be white! "
All is solitude again. But, hark! -a broken warbling
of voices, and now, attuning its grandeur to their sweet-
ness, a stately peal of the organ. Who are the choris-
ters ? Let me dream that the angels, who came down
from heaven, this blessed morn, to blend themselves with
the worship of the truly good, are playing and singing
their farewell to the earth. On the wings of that rich
melody they were borne upward.
This, gentle reader, is merely a flight of poetry. A few
of the singing men and singing women had lingered behind
their fellows, and raised their voices fitfully, and blew
a careless note upon the organ. Yet, it lifted my soul
higher than all their former strains. They are gone, -
the sons and daughters of music, and the gray sexton is
just closing the portal. For six days more, there will be
no face of man in the pews, and aisles, and galleries, nor
a voice in the pulpit, nor music in the choir. Was it
worth while to rear this massive edifice, to be a desert in
the heart of the town, and populous only for a few hours
of each seventh day ? 0, but the church is a symbol of
religion! May its site, which was consecrated on the
day when the first tree was felled, be kept holy forever,
3Z TWICE-TOLD TALES.
a spot of solitude and peace, amid the trouble and vanity
of our week-day world There is a moral, and a religion
too, even in the silent walls. And may the steeple still
point heavenward, and be decked with the hallowed sun-
shine of the Sabbath morn!
THE WEDDING KNELL.
T ITTIE is a certain church in the city of New
I Y..k. which I have always regarded with pe-
i .I ,.I interest, on account of a marriage there
solemnized, under very singular circumstances, in my
grandmother's girlhood. That venerable lady chanced
to be a spectator of the scene, and ever after made it her
favorite narrative. Whether the edifice now standing on
the same site be the identical one to which she referred,
I am not antiquarian enough to know; nor would it be
worth while to correct myself, perhaps, of an agreeable
error, by reading the date of its erection on the tablet
over the door. It is a stately church, surrounded by an
enclosure of the loveliest green, within which appear
urns, pillars, obelisks, and other forms of monumental
marble, the tributes of private affection, or more splendid
memorials of historic dust. With such a place, though
the tumult of the city rolls beneath its tower, one would
be willing to connect some legendary interest.
The marriage might be considered as the result of an
early engagement, though there had been two interme-
diate weddings on the lady's part, and forty years of
celibacy on that of the gentleman. At sixty-five, Mr.
Ellenwood was a shy, but not quite a secluded man;
selfish, like all men who brood over their own hears,
34 TWICE-TOLD TALES.
yet manifesting, on rare occasions, a vein of generous
sentiment; a scholar, throughout life, fi..,i, .. always an
indolent one, because his studies had no definite object,
either of public advantage or personal ambition; a gen-
tleman, high bred and fastidiously delicate, yet sometimes
requiring a considerable relaxation, in his behalf, of the
common rules of society. In truth, there were so many
anomalies in his character, and, though shrinking with
diseased sensibility from public notice, it had been his
fatality so often to become the topic of the day, by some
wild eccentricity of conduct, that people searched his
lineage for an hereditary taint of insanity. But there
was no need of this. His caprices had their origin in
a mind that lacked the support of an engrossing purpose,
and in feelings that preyed upon themselves, for want
of other food. If he were mad, it was the conse-
quence, and not the cause, of an aimless and abortive
The widow was as complete a contrast to her third
bridegroom, in everything but age, as can well be con-
ceived. Compelled to relinquish her first engagement,
she had been united to a man of twice her own years,
to whom she became an exemplary wife, and by whose
death she was left in possession of a splendid fortune.
A Southern gentleman, considerably younger than her-
self, succeeded to her hand, and carried her to Charleston,
where, after many uncomfortable years, she found herself
again a widow. It would have been singular, if any
uncommon delicacy of feeling had survived through such
a life as Mrs. Dabney's ; it could not but be crushed and
killed by her early disappointment, the cold duty of her
first marriage, the dislocation of the heart's principles,
consequent on a second union, and the unkindness of her
Southern husband, which had inevitably driven her to
THE WEDDING KNELL. 31
connect the idea of his death with that of her comfort.
To be brief, she was that wisest, but unloveliest variety
of woman, a philosopher, bearing troubles of the heart
with equanimity, dispensing with all that should have
bsen her happiness, and making the best of what re-
mained. Sage in most matters, the widow was perhaps
the more amiable, for the one:' ,;i iH made her ridicu-
lous. Being childless, she could not remain beautiful by
proxy, in the person of a daughter; she therefore refused
to grow old and ugly, on any consideration; she strug-
gled with Time, and held fast her roses in spite of him,
till the venerable thief appeared to have relinquished the
spoil, as not worth the trouble of acquiring it.
The approaching marriage of this woman of the world,
with such an unworldly man as Mr. Ellenwood, was an-
nounced soon after Mrs. Dabuey's return to her native
city. Superficial observers, and deeper ones, seemed to
concur in supposing that the lady must have borne no
inactive part in arranging the affair; there were con-
siderations of expediency, which she would be far more
likely to appreciate than Mr. Ellcnwood; and there was
just the specious phantom of sentiment and romance, iu
this late union of two early lovers, which sometimes
makes a fool of a woman, who has lost her true feelings
among the accidents of life. All the wonder was, how
the gentleman, with his lack of worldly wisdom, and
agonizing consciousness of ridicule, could have been in-
duced to take a measure at once so prudent and so
laughable. But while people talked, the wedding-day
arrived. The ceremony was to be solemnized according
to the Episcopalian forms, and in open church, witl a
degree of publicity that attracted many spectators, who
occupied the front seats of the galleries, and the pows
near the altar and along tli broad aisle. It had been
arranged, or possibly it was the custom of the day, that
the parties should proceed separately to church. By
some accident, the bridegroom was a little less punctual
than the widow and her bridal attendants; with whose
arrival, after this tedious, but necessary preface, the
action of our tale may be said to commence.
The clumsy wheels of several old-fashioned coaches
were heard, and the gentlemen and ladies, composing
the bridal party, came through the church-door, with
the sudden and gladsome effect of a burst of sunshine.
The whole group, except the principal figure, was made
up of youth and gayety. As they streamed up the broad
aisle, while the pews and pillars seemed to brighten on
either side, their steps were as buoyant as if they mistook
the church for a ballroom, and were ready to dance hand
in hand to the altar. So brilliant was the spectacle, that
few took notice of a singular phenomenon that had
marked its entrance. At the moment when the bride's
foot touched the threshold, the bell swung heavily in the
tower above her, and sent forth its deepest knell. The
vibrations died away and returned, with prolonged solem-
nity, as she entered the body of the church.
Good heavens! what an omen! whispered a young
lady to her lover.
"On my honor," replied the gentleman, "I believe
the bell has the good taste to toll of its own accord.
What has she to do with weddings? If you, dearest
Julia, were :!.I..... i.;1 ii.- altar, the bell would ring
out its merriest peal. It has only a funeral knell for
The bride, and most of her company, had been
too much occupied with the bustle of entrance, to
hear the first boding stroke of the bell, or at least to
reflect on the singularity of such a welcome to the
THE WEDDING KNELL.
altar. They therefore continued to advance, with un-
diminished gayety. The gorgeous dresses of the time,
the crimson velvet coats, the gold-laced hats, the hoop
petticoats, the silk, satin, brocade, and embroidery, the
buckles, canes, and swords, all displayed to the best
advantage on persons suited to such finery, made the
group appear more like a bright-colored picture than
-. i.- real. But by what perversity of taste had the
artist represented his principal figure as so wrinkled
and decayed, while yet he had decked her out in the
brightest splendor of attire, as if the loveliest maiden
had suddenly withered into age, and become a moral
to the beautiful around her! On they went, however,
and had glittered along about a third of the aisle, when
another stroke of the bell seemed to fill tie church
with a visible gloom, dimming and obscuring the bright
pageant, till it shone forth again as from a mist.
This time the party wavered, stopped, and huddled
closer together, while a slight scream was heard from
some of the ladies, and a confused whispering among
the gentlemen. Thus tossing to and fro, they might
have been : ,,i'' compared to a splendid bunch
of flowers, suddenly shaken by a puff of wind, which
threatened to scatter the leaves of an old, brown,
withered rose, on the same stalk with two dewy buds;
such being the emblem of the widow between her fair
young bridemaids. But her heroism was admirable.
She had started with an irrepressible shudder, as if
the stroke of the bell had fallen directly on her heart;
then, recovering herself, while her attendants were
yet in dismay, she took the lead, and paced calmly
up the aisle. The bell continued to swing, strike, and
vibrate, with the same doleful regularity, as when a
corpse is on its way to the tomb."
dO TWICE-TOLD TALES.
"My young friends here have their nerves a little
shaken," said the widow, with a smile, to the clergy-
man at the altar. "But so many weddings have been
ushered in with the merriest peal of the bells, and yet
turned out unhappily, that I shall hope for better for-
tune under such different auspices."
Madam," answered the rector, in great perplexity,
"this strange occurrence brings to my mind a marriage
sermon of the famous Bishop Taylor, wherein he min-
gles so many thoughts of mortality and future woe, that,
to speak somewhat after his own rich style, he seems to
hang tile bridal chamber in black, and cut the wedding
garment out of a coffin pall. And it has been the cus-
tom of divers nations to infuse something of sadness
into their marriage ceremonies; so to keep death in
mind, while contracting that engagement which is life's
chiefest business. Thus we may draw a sad but profita-
ble moral from this funeral knell."
But, though the clergyman might have given his
moral even a keener point, lie did not fail to despatch
an attendant to inquire into the mystery, and stop those
sounds, so 1; ... i11 appropriate to such a marriage. A
brief space elapsed, during which the silence was bro-
ken only by whispers, and a few suppressed titterings,
among the wedding party and the spectators, who, after
the first shock, were disposed to draw an II ... ii....
merriment from the affair. The young have less charity
for aged follies than the old for those of youth. The
widow's glance was observed to wander, for an instant,
towards a window of the church, as if searching for the
time-worn marble that she had dedicated to her first
husband; then her eyelids dropped over their faded
orbs, and her thoughts were drawn irresistibly to an-
other grave. Two buried men, with a voice at her ear,
THE WEDDING ]PNELL.
and a cry afar off, were calling her to lie down beside
them. Perhaps, with momentary truth of feeling, she
thought how much happier had been her fate, if, after
years of bliss, the bell were now tolling for her funeral,
and she were followed to the grave by the old affection
of her earliest lover, long her husband. But why had
she returned to him, when their cold hearts shrank front
each other's embrace ?
Still the death-bell tolled so :.......... fl that the
sunshine seemed to fade in the air. A whisper, com-
municated from those who stood nearest the windows,
now spread -i ..... 1. the church; a hearse, with a train
of several coaches, was creeping along the street, con-
veying some dead man to the churchyard, while the
bride awaited a living one at the altar. Immediately
after, the footsteps of the bridegroom and his friends
were heard at the door. The widow looked down the
aisle, and clinched the arm of one of her bridesmaids in
her bony hand, with such unconscious violence, that the
fair girl trembled.
"You frighten me, my dear madam!" cried she.
"For Heaven's sake, what is the matter?"
..1,,i ... tmy dear, :..li,; ,.." said the widow; then,
whispering close to her ear, "There is a foolish fancy,
that I cannot get rid of. I am expecting my bride-
groom to come into the church, with my first two hus-
bands for groomsmen "
"Look, look!" screamed the bridemaid. "What is
here ? The funeral! "
As she spoke, a dark procession paced into the church.
First came an old man and woman, like chief mourners
at a funeral, attired from head to foot in the deepest
black, all but their pale features and hoary hair; he
leaning on a staff, and supporting her decrepit form
40 TWI1-TOLD TALES.
with his nerveless arm. Behind, appeared another, and
another pair, as aged, as black, and mournful as the
first. As they drew near, the widow recognized in
every face some trait of former friends, long forgotten,
but now returning, as if from their old graves, to warn
her to prepare a shroud; or, with purpose almost
as unwelcome, to exhibit their wrinkles and infirmity,
and claim her as their companion by the tokens of her
own decay. Many a merry night had she danced with
them, in youth. And now, in joyless age, she felt that
some withered partner should request her hand, and all
unite, in a dance of death, to the music of the funeral
While these aged mourners were passing up the aisle,
it was observed, that, from pew to pew, the spectators
shuddered with irrepressible awe, as some object hitherto
concealed by the intervening figures came full in sight.
Many turned away their faces; others kept a fixed and
rigid stare; and a young girl giggled .I.. i and
fainted with the laughter on her lips. When the spectral
procession approached the altar, each couple separated,
and slowly diverged, till, in the centre, appeared a form,
that had been worthily ushered in with all this gloomy
pomp, the death knell, and the funeral. It was the
bridegroom in his shroud!
No garb but that of the grave could have befitted such
a death-like aspect; the eyes, indeed, had the wild gleam
of a sepulchral lamp; all else was fixed in the stern calm-
ness which old men wear in the coffin. The corpse stood
motionless, but addressed the widow in accents that
seemed to melt into the clang of the bell, which fell heav-
ily on the air while lie spoke.
Come, my bride said those pale lips, "the hearse
is ready. The sexton stands waiting for us at the door
THE WEDDING VTNELL. 41
of the tomb. Let us be married; and then to our
How shall the widow's horror be represented ? It
gave her the ghastliness of a dead man's bride. Her
youthful friends stood apart, shuddering at the mourners,
the shrouded bridegroom, and herself; the whole scene
expressed, by the strongest imagery, the vain struggle of
the gilded vanities of this world, when opposed to age,
infirmity, sorrow, and death. The awe-struck silence was
first broken by the clergyman.
"Mr. IIII. .....I," said he, soothingly, yet with some-
what of authority, you are not well. Your mind has
been agitated by the unusual circumstances in which you
are placed. The ceremony must be deferred. As an old
friend, let me entreat you to return home."
"Home yes; but not without my bride," answered
he, in the same hollow accents. You deem this mock-
ery, perhaps madness. Had I bedizened my aged and
broken frame with scarlet and embroidery, had I forced
my withered lips to smile at my dead heart, -that might
have been mockery, or madness. But now, let young
and old declare, which of us has come hither without a
wedding garment, the bridegroom or the bride!"
He stepped forward at a ghostly pace, and stood
beside the widow, contrasting the awful simplicity of his
shroud wit h the glare and glitter in which she had ar-
rayed herself for this unhappy scene. None, that beheld
them, could deny the terrible strength of the moral which
his disordered intellect had contrived to draw.
Cruel! cruel groaned the heart-stricken bride.
"Cruel!" repeated he; then losing his death-like
composure in a wild bitterness, Heaven judge which
of us has been cruel to the other! In youth, you de-
prived me of my happiness, my hopes, my aims; you took
4-2 TWICE-TOLD TALES.
away all the substance of my life, and made it a dream,
without reality enough even to grieve at, with only
a pervading gloom, through which 1 walked wearily,
and cared not whither. But after forty years, when I
have built my tomb, and would not give up the thought
of resting there, no, not for such a life as we once pic-
tured, -you call me to the altar. At your summons I
am here. But other husbands have enjoyed your youth,
your beauty, your warmth of heart, and all that could be
termed your life. What is there for me but your decay
and death? And therefore I have bidden these funeral
friends, and bespoken the sexton's deepest knell, and am
come, in my shroud, to wed you, as with a burial service,
that we may join our hands at the door of the sepulchre,
and enter it together."
It was not frenzy; it was not merely the drunken-
ness of strong emotion, in a heart unused to it, that now
wrought upon the bride. The stern lesson of the day
had done its work; her worldliness was gone. She
seized the bridegroom's hand.
Yes cried she. Let us wed, even at the door
of the sepulchre My life has gone in vanity and empti-
ness. But, at its close, there is one true feeling. It has
made me what I was in youth; it makes me .., I, o
you. Time is no more for both of us. Let us wed for
With a long and deep regard, the bridegroom looked
into her eyes, while a tear was all. ;. in his own.
How strange that gush of human feeling from the frozen
bosom of a corpse! He wiped away the tear even with
Beloved of my youth," said he, "I have been wild.
The despair of my whole lifetime had returned at once,
and maddened me. Forgive; and be forgiven. Yes; it
THE WEDDING KNELL.
is evening with us now; and we have realized none of
our morning dreams of happiness. But let us join our
hands before the altar, as lovers whom adverse circum-
stances have separated through life, yet who meet again
as they are leaving it, and find their earthly affection
changed into something holy as religion. And what is
Time, to the married of Eternity ?"
Amid the tears of many, and a swell of exalted senti-
ment, in those who felt aright, was solemnized the union
of two immortal souls. The train of withered mourners,
the hoary bridegroom in his shroud, the pale features of
the aged bride, and the death-bell tolling through tihe
whole, till its deep voice overpowered the marriage words,
all marked the funeral of earthly hopes. But as the
ceremony proceeded, the organ, as if stirred by the sym-
pathies of this impressive scene, poured forth an anthem,
first mingling with the dismal knell, then rising to a lof-
tier strain, till the soul looked down upon its woe. And
when the awful rite was finished, and, with cold hand in
cold hand, the Married of Eternity withdrew, the organ's
peal of solemn triumph drowned the Wedding Knell.
THE MINISTER'S BLACK VEIL.
U TIE sexton stood in the porch of Milfordtmeeting-
i' 'hIuse, pulling busily at the bell-rope. The old
-A I 1.. ople of the village came stooping along the
street. Children with bright faces tripped merrily beside
their parents, or mimicked a graver gait, in the conscious
dignity of their Sunday clothes. Spruce bachelors looked
sidelong at the pretty maidens, and fancied that the Sabbath
sunshine made them prettier than on week-days. When
the throng had mostly streamed into the porch, the sexton
began to toll the bell, keeping his eye on the Reverend
Mr. Hooper's door. The first glimpse of the clergyman's
figure was the signal for the bell to cease its summons.
But what has good Parson Hooper-got upon his
face ? cried the sexton, in astonishment.
All within hearing immediately turned about, and be-
Another clergyman in New F.- I,.1 AMr. Joseph Moody,
of York, Maine, who died about eighty years since, made him-
self remarkable by the same eccentricity that is here related of
the Reverend Mr. Hooper. In his case, however, the symbol
had a different import. In early life he had accidentally killed
a beloved friend; and from that day till the hour of his own
death, he hid his face from men.
THE MINISTER'S BLACK VEIL.
held the semblance of Mr. Hooper, pacing slowly his
meditative way towards the meeting-house. With one
accord they started, expressing more wonder than if some
strange minister were coming to dust the cushions of Mr.
Are you sure it is our parson ?" inquired Goodman
Gray of the sexton.
"Of a certainty it is good Mr. Hooper," replied the
sexton. He was to have exchanged pulpits with Parson
Shute, of Westbury; but Parson Shute sent to excuse
himself yesterday, being to preach a funeral sermon."
The cause of so much amazement may appear sufficient-
ly slight. Mr. Hooper, a r ...... 1 person, of about
thirty, though still a bachelor, was dressed with due
clerical neatness, as if a careful wife had starched his
band and brushed the weekly dust from his Sunday's
garb. There was but one thing remarkable in his ap-
pearance. Swathed about his forehead, and hanging
down over his face, so low as to be shaken by his breath,
Mr. Hooper had on a black veil. On a nearer view, it
seemed to consist of two folds of crape, which entirely
concealed his features, except the mouth and chin, but
probably did not intercept his sight, further than to give
a darkened aspect to all living and inanimate things.
With this gloomy shade before him, good Mr. Hooper
walked onward, at a slow and quiet pace, stooping some-
what, and looking on the ground, as is customary with
abstracted men, yet nodding kindly to those of his parish-
ioners who still waited on the meeting-house steps. But
so wonder-struck were they, that his greeting hardly met
with a return.
I can't really feel as if good Mr. Hooper's face was
behind that piece of crape," said the sexton.
I don't like it," muttered an old woman, as she
hobbled into the meeting-house. He has changed
himself into something awful, only by hiding his face."
"Our parson has gone mad! cried Goodman Gray,
following him across the threshold.
A rumor of some unaccountable phenomenon had pre-
ceded Mr. Hooper into the meeting-house, and set all the
congregation astir. Few could refrain from twisting their
heads towards the door; many stood upright, and turned
directly about; while several little boys clambered upon
the seats, and came down again with a terrible racket.
There was a general bustle, a rustling of the women's
gowns and shuffling of the men's feet, greatly at variance
with that hushed repose which should attend the entrance
of the minister. But Mr. Hooper appeared not to notice
the perturbation of his people. IHe entered with an almost
noiseless step, bent his head mildly to the pews on each
side, and bowed as he passed his oldest parishioner, a white-
haired great-grandsire, who occupied an arm-chair in the
centre of the aisle. It was strange to observe how slowly
this venerable man became conscious of .... i,-,,, ...i ,
in the appearance of his pastor. He seemed not fully to
partake of the prevailing wonder, till Mr. Hooper had
ascended the stairs, and showed himself in the pulpit,
face to face with his congregation, except for the black
veil. That mysterious emblen was never once withdrawn.
It shook with his measured breath as he gave out the
psalm ; it threw its obscurity between him and the holy
page, as he read the Scriptures; and while lie prayed, the
veil lay heavily on his uplifted countenance. Did he
seek to hide it from the dread Being whom he was ad-
Such was the effect of this simple piece of crape, that
more than one woman of delicate nerves was forced to
leave the meeting-house. Yet perhaps the pale-faced
THE MINISTER'S BLACK VEIL. 47
congregation was almost as fearful a sight to the minister,
as his black veil to them.
Mr. Hooper had the reputation of a good preacher, but
not-an energetic one: lie strove to win his people heaven-
ward by mild, persuasive influences, rather than to drive
them thither by the thunders of the Word. The sermon
which lie now delivered was marked by the same charac-
teristics of style and manner as the general series of his
pulpit oratory. But there was something, either in the
sentiment of the discourse itself, or in the imagination of
the auditors, which made it greatly the most powerful
effort that they had ever heard from their pastor's lips.
It was tinged, rather more darkly than usual, with the
gentle gloom of Mr. Hooper's temperament. The subject
had reference to secret sin, and those sad mysteries which
we hide from our nearest and dearest, and would fain
conceal from our own consciousness, even forgetting that
the Omniscient can detect them. A subtile power was
breathed into his words. Each member of the congre-
gation, the most innoccut girl and the man of hardened
breast, felt as if the preacher had crept upon them, behind
his awful veil, and discovered their hoarded iniquity of
deed or thought. Many spread their clasped hands on
their bosoms. There was nothing t.'rrible in what Mr.
Hooper said; at least, no violence ; and vet, with every
tremor of his melancholy voice, the hearers quaked. An
unsought pathos came hand in hand with awe. So sensi-
ble were the audience of some unwonted attribute in their
minister, that they longed for a breath of wind to blow
aside the veil, almost believing that a stranger's visage
would be discovered, though the forn, gesture, and voice
were those of Mr. Hooper.
At the close of the services, the people hurried out
with indecorous confusion, eager to communicate their
46 TWICE-TOLD TALES.
pent-up amazement, and conscious of lighter spirits, the
moment they lost sight of the black veil. Some gath-
ered in little circles, huddled closely together, with their
mouths all whispering in the centre; some went home-
ward alone, wrapt in silent meditation; some talked
..1.il.. and profaned the Sabbath day with ostentatious
laughter. A few shook their sagacious heads, intimating
that they could penetrate the mystery; while one or two
affirmed that there was no mystery at all, but only that
Mr. Hooper's eyes were so weakened by the midnight
lamp, as to require a shade. After a brief interval, forth
came good Mr. Hooper also, in the rear of his flock.
Turning his veiled face from one group to another, lie
paid due reverence to the hoary heads, saluted the mid-
dle aged with kind dignity, as their friend and spiritual
guide, greeted the young with mingled .,li,.,; and
love, and laid his hands on the little children's heads to
bless them. Such was always his custom on the Sabbath
day. Strange and bewildered looks repaid him for his
courtesy. None, as on former occasions, aspired to the
honor of walking by their pastor's side. Old Squire
Saunders, doubtless by an accidental lapse of memory,
neglected to invite Mr. Hooper to his table, where the
good clergyman had been wont to bless the food, almost
every Sunday since his settlement. He returned, there-
fore, to the parsonage, and, at the moment of closing the
door, was observed to look back upon the people, all of
whom had their eyes fixed upon the minister. A sad
smile gleamed faintly from beneath the black veil, and
flickered about his mouth, glimmering as he disappeared.
"How strange," said a lady, that a simple black veil,
such as any woman might wear on her bonnet, should
become such a terrible thing on Mr. Hooper's face "
"Something must surely be amiss with Mr. Hooper's
THE MINISTER'S BLACK VEIL. 49
intellects," observed her husband, the physician of the
village. But the strangest part of the affair is the
effect of this vagary, even on a sober-minded man like
myself. The black veil, though it covers only our pas-
tor's face, throws its influence over his whole person,
and makes him ghost-like from head to foot. Do you not
feel it so ? "
"Truly do I," replied the lady; "and I would not be
alone with him for the world. I wonder he is not afraid
to be alone with himself! "
Men sometimes are so," said her husband.
The afternoon service was attended with similar cir-
cumstances. At its conclusion, the bell tolled for the
funeral of a young lady. The relatives and friends were
assembled in the house, and the more distant acquaint-
ances stood about the door, speaking of the good quali-
ties of the deceased, when their talk was interrupted by
the appearance of Mr. Hooper, still covered with his
black veil. It was now an appropriate emblem. The
clergyman stepped into the room where the corpse was
laid, and bent over the coffin, to take a last farewell of
his deceased parishioner. As lie stooped, the veil hung
straight down from his forehead, so that, if her eyelids
had not been closed forever, the dead maiden might have
seen his face. Could Mr. Hooper be fearful of her
glance, that he so hastily caught back the black veil?
A person who watched the interview between the dead
and living scrupled not to affirm, that, at the instant
when the clergyman's features were disclosed, the corpse
had slightly shuddered, rustling the shroud and muslin
cap, though the countenance retained the composure of
death. A superstitious old woman was the only witness
of this prodigy. From the coffin Mr. Hooper passed
into the chamber of the mourners, and thence to the
VOL. 3 D
head of the staircase, to make the funeral prayer. It
was a tender and heart-dissolving prayer, full of sorrow,
yet so imbued with celestial hbpcs, that the music of a
heavenly harp, swept by the fingers of the dead, seemed
faintly to be heard among the saddest accents of the
minister. The people trembled, though they but darkly
understood him when lie prayed that they, and himself,
and all of mortal race, might be ready, as he trusted this
young maiden had been, for the dreadful hour that should
snatch the veil from their faces. The bearers went heav-
ily forth, and the mourners followed, saddening all the
street, with the dead before them, and Mr. Hooper in his
black veil behind.
Why do you look back ? said one in the procession
to his partner.
"I had a fancy," replied she, "that the minister and
the maiden's spirit were walking hand in hand."
"And so had I, at the same moment," said the other.
That night, the handsomest couple in Milford village
were to be joined in wedlock. Though reckoned a mel-
ancholy man, Mr. Hooper had a placid cheerfulness for
such occasions, which often excited a '"1 ,.oh. i.. smile,
where livelier merriment would have been thrown away.
There was no quality of his disposition which made him
more beloved than this. The company at the -..,.i,..
awaited his arrival with impatience, trusting that the
strange awe, which had gathered over him throughout
the day, would now be dispelled. But such was not' the
result. When Mr. Looper came, the first thing that
their eyes rested on was the same horrible black veil,
which had added deeper gloom to the funeral, and could
portend nothing but evil to the wedding. Such was its
immediate effect on the guests, that a cloud seemed to
have rolled duskily from beneath the black crape, and
THE MINISTER'S BLACK VEIL.
dimmed the light of the candles. The bridal pair stood
up before the minister. But the bride's cold fingers
quivered in the tremulous hand of the bridegroom, and
her death-like paleness caused a whisper that the maiden
who had been buried a few hours before was come from
her grave to be married. If ever another wedding were
so dismal, it was that famous one where they tolled the
wedding knell. After performing the ceremony, Mr.
Hooper raised a glass of wine to his lips, wishing happi-
ness to the new-married couple, in a strain of mild pleas-
antry that ought to have brightened the features of the
guests, like a cheerful gleam from the hearth. At that
instant, catching a glimpse of his figure in tie looking-
glass, the black veil involved his own spirit in the horror
with which it overwhelmed all others. IIis frame shud-
dered, his lips grew white, -lie spilt the untasted wine
upon the carpet, -and rushed forth into the darkness.
For the Earth, too, had on her Black Veil.
The next day, the whole i 1: of Milford talked of
little else than Parson Hooper's black veil. That, and
the mystery concealed behind it, supplied a topic for dis-
cussion between acquaintances meeting in the street and
good women gossiping at their open windows. It was
the first item of news that the tavern-keeper told to his
guests. The children babbled of it on their way to
school. One imitative little imp covered his face with
an old black handkerchief, thereby so affrighting his
playmates that the panic seized himself, and he wellnigh
lost his wits by his own waggery.
It was remarkable that, of all the busybodies and im-
pertinent people in the parish, not one ventured to put
the plain question to Mr. Hooper, wherefore he did this
thing. Hitherto, whenever there appeared the slightest
call for such interference, he had never lacked advisers,
nor shown himself averse to be guided by their judgment.
If he erred at all, it was by so painful a degree of self-
distrust, that even the mildest censure would lead him to
consider an indifferent action as a crime. Yet, though
so well acquainted with this amiable weakness, no indi-
vidual among his parishioners chose to make the black
veil a subject of friendly remonstrance. There was a
feeling of dread, neither plainly confessed nor carefully
concealed, which caused each to shift the responsibility
upon another, till at length it was found expedient to
send a deputation of the church, in order to deal with
Mr. Hooper about the mystery, before it should grow
into a scandal. Never did an embassy so ill discharge
its duties. The minister received them 'with friendly
courtesy, but became silent, after they were seated, leav-
ing to his visitors the whole burden of introducing their
important business. The topic, it might be supposed,
was obvious enough. There was the black veil, swathed
round Mr. Hooper's forehead, and concealing every fea-
ture above his placid mouth, on which, at times, they
could perceive the glimmering of a melancholy smile.
But that piece of crape, to their imagination, seemed to
hang down before his heart, the symbol of a fJarful se-
cret between him and them. Were the veil but cast
aside, they might speak freely of it, but not till then.
Thus they sat a considerable time, speechless, confused,
and shrinking uneasily from Mr. Hooper's eye, which
they felt to be fixed upon them witl an invisible glance.
Finally, the deputies returned abashed to their constitu-
ents, pronouncing the matter too weighty to be handled,
except by a council of the churches, if, indeed, it might
not require a general synod.
But there was one person in the village, unappalled
by the awe with which the black veil had impressed all
THE MINISTER'S BLACK VEIL.
beside herself. When the deputies returned without an
explanation, or even venturing to demand one, she, with
the calm energy of her character, determined to chase
away the strange cloud that appeared to be ..-ri1
round Mr. Hooper, every moment more darkly than
before. As his plighted wife, it should be her privilege
to know what the black veil concealed. At the minister's
first visit, therefore, she entered upon tile subject, with
a direct simplicity which made the task easier both for
him and her. After he had seated himself, she fixed her
eyes steadfastly upon the veil, but could discern nothing
of the dreadful gloom that had so overawed the multi-
tude; it was but a double fold of crape, hanging down
from his forehead to his mouth, and slightly stirring with
"No," said she aloud, and smiling, there is nothing
terrible in this piece of crape, except that it hides a face
which I am always glad to look upon. Come, good sir,
let the sun shine from behind the cloud. First lay aside
your black veil: then tell me why you put it on."
Mr. Hooper's smile glimmered faintly.
There is an hour to come," said he, when all of us
shall cast aside our veils. Take it, not amiss, beloved
friend, if I wear this piece of crape till then."
Your words are a mystery too," returned the young
lady. Take away the veil from them, at least."
"Elizabeth, I will," said he, "so far as my vow may
suffer me. Know, then, this veil is a type and a symbol,
and I am bound to wear it ever, both in light and dark-
ness, in solitude and before the gaze of multitudes, and
as with strangers, so with my familiar friends. No mor-
tal eye will see it withdrawn. This dismal shade must
separate me from the world: even you, Elizabeth, can
never come behind it!"
"What grievous affliction hath befallen you," she
earnestly inquired, "that you should thus darken your
eyes forever ? "
"If it be a sign of mourning," replied Mr. Hooper,
"I, perhaps, like most other mortals, have sorrows dark
enough to be typified by a black veil."
But what if the world will not believe that it is the
type of an innocent sorrow ? urged 1L .I. 1h "Be-
loved and respected as you are, there may be whispers,
that you hide your face under the consciousness of secret
sin. For the sake of your holy office, do away this
The color rose into her checks as sle intimated the
nature of the rumors that were already abroad in the
village. But Mr. Hooper's mildness did not forsake
him. He even smiled again, that same sad smile,
which always appeared like a faint glimmering of light,
proceeding from the obscurity beneath the veil.
"If I hide my face for sorrow, there is cause enough,"
he merely replied ; and if I cover it for secret sin, what
mortal might not do the same ? "
And with this gentle, but unconquerable obstinacy
did he resist all her entreaties. At length Elizabeth sat
silent. For a few moments she appeared lost in thought,
considering, probably, what new methods might be tried
to withdraw her lover from so dark a fantasy, which, if
it had no other meaning, was perhaps a symptom of
mental disease. Though of a firmer character than his
own, the tears rolled down her cheeks. But, in an in-
stant, as it were, a new feeling took the place of sor-
row : her eyes were fixed insensibly on the black veil,
when, like a sudden twilight in the air, its terrors fell
around her. She arose, and stood trembling before
THE MINISTER'S BLACK VEIL.
"And do you feel it then at last ?" said he, mournfully.
She made no reply, but covered her eyes with her
hand, and turned to leave the room. He rushed for-
ward and caught her arm.
"Have patience with me, Elizabeth! cried he, pas-
sionately. "Do not desert me, though this veil must
be between us here on earth. Be mine, and hereafter
there shall be no veil over my face, no darkness between
our souls It is but a mortal veil, -it is not for eter-
nity! 0, you know not how lonely I am, and how
frightened, to be alone behind my black veil! Do not
leave me in this miserable obscurity forever! "
"Lift the veil but once, and look me in the face,"
Never It cannot be replied Mr. Hooper.
"Then, farewell!" said Elizabeth.
She withdrew her arm from his grasp, and slowly
departed, pausing at the door, to give one long, shud-
dering gaze, that seemed almost to penetrate the mys-
tery of the black veil. But, even amid his grief. Mr.
Hooper smiled to think that only a material emblem
had separated him from happiness, though the horrors
which it shadowed forth must be drawn darkly between
the fondest of lovers.
From that time no attempts were made to remove
Mr. Hooper's black veil, or, by a direct appeal, to dis-
cover the secret which it was supposed to hide. By
persons who claimed a superiority to popular prejudice,
it was reckoned merely an eccentric whim, such as often
mingles with the sober actions of men otherwise rational,
and tinges them all with its own semblance of insanity.
But with the multitude, good Mr. Hooper was irrepara-
bly a bugbear. He could not walk the street with any
peace of mind, so conscious was lie that the gentle and
timid would turn aside to avoid him, and that others
would make it a point of hardihood to throw themselves
in his way. The impertinence of the latter class com-
pelled him to give up his customary walk, at sunset, to
the burial-ground; for when he leaned pensively over
the gate, there would always be faces behind the grave-
stones, peeping at his black veil. A fable went the
rounds, that the stare of the dead people drove him
thence. It grieved him, to the very depth of his kind
heart, to observe how the children fled from his ap-
proach, breaking up their merriest sports, while his
melancholy figure was yet afar off. Their instinctive
dread caused him to feel, more strongly than aught
else, that a preternatural horror was interwoven with
the threads of the black crape. In truth, his own an-
tipathy to the veil was known to be so great, that lie
never willingly passed before a mirror, nor stooped to
drink at a still fountain, lest, in its peaceful bosom, he
should be affrighted by himself. This was what gave
plausibility to the whispers, that Mr. Hooper's con-
science tortured him for some great crime too horrible
to be entirely concealed, or otherwise than so obscurely
intimated. Thus, from beneath the black veil, there
rolled a cloud into the sunshine, an ambiguity of sin
or sorrow, which enveloped the poor minister, so that
love or sympathy could never reach him. It was said,
that ghost and fiend consorted with him there. With
self-shudderings and outward terrors, he walked con-
tinually in its shadow, groping darkly within his own
soul, or gazing through a medium that saddened the
whole world. Even the lawless wind, it was believed,
respected his dreadful secret, and never blew aside the
veil. But still good Mr. Hooper sadly smiled at the
pale visages of the worldly throng as he passed by.
THE MINISTER'S BLACK VEIL.
Among all its bad influences, the black veil had the
one desirable effect, of making its wearer a very efficient
clergyman. By the aid of his mysterious emblem-
for there was no other apparent cause-he became a
man of awful power, over souls that were in agony for
sin. His converts always regarded him with a dread
peculiar to themselves, ihi........, though but figura-
tively, that, before he brought them to celestial light,
they had been with him behind the black veil. Its
gloom, indeed, enabled him to -....l1i; with all dark
affections. Dying sinners cried aloud for Mr. Hooper,
and would not yield their breath till lie appeared;
-I .. ,i. ever, as he stooped to whisper consolation, they
shuddered at the veiled face so near their own. Such
were the terrors of the black veil, even when Death had
bared his visage! Strangers came long distances to
attend service at his church, with the mere idle pur-
pose of gazing at his figure, because it was forbidden
them to behold his face. But many were made to quake
ere they departed Once, during Governor Belcher's
administration, Mr. Hooper was appointed to preach the
election sermon. Covered with his black veil, he stood
before the chief magistrate, the council, and the rep-
resentatives, and wrought so deep an impression, that
the legislative measures of that year were characterized
by all the gloom and piety of our earliest ancestral
In this manner Mr. Looper spent a long life, irre-
proachable in outward act, yet shrouded in dismal sus-
picions; kind and loving, though unloved, and dimly
feared; a man apart from men, shunned in their health
and joy, but ever summoned to their aid in mortal an-
guish. As years wore on, shedding their snows above
his sable veil, lie acquired a name throughout the New
England churches, and they called him Father Hooper.
Nearly all his parishioners, who were of mature age
when he was settled, had been borne away by many a
funeral: lie had one congregation in the church, and a
more crowded one in the churchyard; and having
wrought so late into the evening, and done his work
so well, it was now good Father Hooper's turn to
Several persons were visible by the shaded candle-
light, in the death-chamber of the old clergyman.
Natural connections he had none. But there was the
decorously grave, though unmoved physician, seeking
only to mitigate the last pangs of the patient whom lie
could not save. There were the deacons, and other
eminently pious members of his church. There, also,
was the Reverend Mr. Clark, of Westbury, a young
and zealous divine, who had ridden in haste to pray by
the bedside of the expiring minister. There was the
nurse, no hired handmaiden of death, but one whose
calm affection had endured thus long in secrecy, in
solitude, amid the chill of age, and would not perish,
even at the dying hour. Who, but Elizabeth! And
there lay the hoary head of good Father Hooper upon
the death-pillow, with the black veil still swathed about
his brow, and reaching down over his face, so that each
more difficult gasp of his faint breath caused it to stir.
All through life that piece of crape had hung between
him and the world: it had separated him from cheerful
brotherhood and woman's love, and kept him in that
saddest of all prisons, his own heart; and still it lay
upon his face, as if to deepen the gloom of his dark-
some chamber, and shade him from the sunshine of
For some time previous, his mind had been confused,
THE MINISTER'S BLACK VEIL. 59
wavering doubtfully between the past and the present,
and hovering forward, as it were, at intervals, into the
indistinctness of the world to come. There had been
feverish turns, which tossed him from side to side, and
wore away what little strength he had. But in his most
convulsive struggles, and in the wildest vagaries of his
intellect, when no other thought retained its sober influ-
ence, lie still showed an awful solicitude lest the black
veil should slip aside. Even if his bewildered soul could
have forgotten, there was a faithful woman at his pillow,
who, with averted eyes, would have covered that aged
face, which she had last beheld in the comeliness of man-
hood. At 1. .- li, the death-stricken old man lay quietly
in the torpor of mental and bodily exhaustion, with an
imperceptible pulse, and breath that grew fainter and
fainter, except when a long, deep, and irregular inspi-
ration seemed to prelude the flight of his spirit.
The minister of Westbury approached the bedside.
"Venerable Father Hooper," said he, the moment of
your release is at hand. Are you ready for the lifting
of the veil, that shuts in time from eternity ?"
Father Hooper at first replied merely by a feeble
motion of his head; then, apprehensive, perhaps, that
his meaning might be doubtful, he exerted himself to
Yea," said he, in faint accents, "my soul hath a
patient weariness until that veil be lifted."
"And is it 'ii,'.." resumed the Reverend Mr. Clark,
"that a man so given to prayer, of such a blameless
example, holy in deed and thought, so far as mortal
judgment may pronounce, -is it fitting that a father in
the church should leave a shadow on his memory, that
may seem to blacken a life so pure? I pray you, my
venerable brother, let not this thing be Suffer us to
60 TWICE-TOLD TALES.
be gladdened by your triumphant aspect, as you go to
your reward. Before the veil of eternity be lifted, let
me cast aside this black veil from your face !-"
And thus speaking, the Reverend Mr. Clark bent for-
ward to reveal the mystery of so many years. But,
exerting a sudden energy, that made all the beholders
stand aghast, Father Hooper snatched both his hands
from beneath the bedclothes, and pressed them strongly
on the black veil, resolute to struggle, if the minister
of Westbury would contend with a dying man.
"Never!" cried the veiled clergyman. "On earth,
"Dark old man!" exclaimed the lli,.-ll, minister,
"with what horrible crime upon your soul are you now
passing to the judgment ?"
Father Hooper's breath heaved; it rattled in his
throat; but, with a mighty effort, grasping forward
with his hands, he caught hold of life, and held it
back till lie should speak. He even raised himself in
bed; and there he sat, shivering with the arms of death
around him, while the black veil hung down, awful, at
that last moment, in the gathered terrors of a lifetime.
And yet the faint, sad smile, so often there, now seemed
to glimmer from its obscurity, and linger on Father
"Why do you tremble at me alone?" cried he, turn-
ing his veiled face round the circle of pale spectators.
"Tremble also at each other! Have men avoided me,
and women shown no pity, and children screamed and
fled, only for my black veil? What, but the mystery
which it obscurely typifies, has made this piece of crape
so awful ? When the friend shows his inmost heart to
his friend; the lover to his best beloved; when man does
not vainly shrink from the eye of his Creator, loathsomely
THE MINISTER'S BLACK VEIL.
treasuring up the secret of his sin; then deem me a
monster, for the symbol beneath which I have lived, and
die! I look around me, and, lo! on every visage a
Black Veil "
While his auditors shrank from one another, in mutual
affright, Father Hooper fell back upon his pillow, a veiled
corpse, with a faint smile lingering on the lips. Still
veiled, they laid him in his coffin, and a veiled corpse
they bore him to the grave. The grass of many years
has sprung up and withered on that grave, the burial
stone is moss-grown, and good Mr. Hooper's face is
dust; but awful is still the thought, that it mouldered
beneath the Black Veil!
'- j-r(:_L Q^ ~tj
THE MAYPOLE OF MERRY MOUNT.
There is an admirable foundation for a philosophic romance, in the
curious history of the early settlement of Mount Wollaston, or Merry
Mount. In the slight sketch here attempted, the facts recorded on the
grave pages of our New England annalists have wrought themselves, al-
most spontaneously, into a sort of allegory. The masques, mummeries,
and festive customs, described in the text, are in accordance with the
manners of tle age. Authority on these points may be found in Strutt's
Book of English Sports and Pastimes.
S 11iii i' were the days at Merry Mount, when
I hi. -laypole was the banner staff of that gay
S' -I.. i.-, They who reared it, should their ban-
ner be triumphant, were to pour sunshine over New Eng-
land's rugged hills, and scatter flower-seeds throughout
the soil. Jollity and gloom were contending for an
empire. Midsummer eve had come, bringing deep ver-
dure to the forest, and roses in her lap, of a more vivid
hue than the tender buds of Spring. But I .., or her
mirthful spirit, dwelt all the year round at Merry Mount,
sporting with the Summer months, and Ii with
Autumn, and basking in the glow of Winter's fireside.
Through a world of toil and care she flitted with a
dream-like smile, and came hither to find a home among
the lightsome hearts of Merry Mount.
Never had the Maypole been so gayly decked as at
sunset on midsummer eve. This venerated emblem was
a pine-tree, which had preserved the slender grace of
THE MAYPOLE OF MERRY MOUNT.
youth, while it equalled the loftiest height of the old
wood monarchs. From its top streamed a silken banner,
colored like the rainbow. Down nearly to the ground,
the pole was dressed with birchen boughs, and others 6f
the liveliest green, and some with silvery leaves, fastened
by ribbons that fluttered in fantastic knots of twenty dif-
ferent colors, but no sad ones. Garden flowers and
blossoms of the wilderness laughed gladly forth amid
tile verdure, so fresh and dewy, that they must have
grown by magic on that happy pine-tree. Where this
green and flowery splendor terminated, the shaft of the
Maypole was stained with the seven brilliant hues of the
banner at its top. On the lowest green bough hung an
abundant wreath of roses, some that had been gathered
in the sunniest spots of tile forest, and others, of still
richer blush, which the colonists had reared from Eng-
lish seed. O people of the Golden Age, the chief of
your husbandry was to raise flowers !
But what was the wild -i ..... that stood hand in hand
about the Maypole ? It could not be, that the fauns
and nymphs, when driven from their classic groves and
homes of ancient fable, had sought refuge, as all the per-
secuted did, in the fresh woods of the West. These were
Gothic monsters, though perhaps of Grecian ancestry.
On the shoulders of a comely youth uprose the head and
branching antlers of a stag; a second, human in all
other points, had the grim visage of a wolf; a third, still
with the trunk and limbs of a mortal man, showed the
beard and horns of a venerable he-goat. There was the
likeness of a bear erect, brute in all but his hind legs,
which were adorned with pink silk stockings. And
here again, almost as wondrous, stood a real bear of the
dark forest, lending each of his fore-paws to the grasp of
a human hand, and as ready for the dance as any in that
64 TWICE-TOLD TALES.
circle. His inferior nature rose half-way, to meet his
companions as they stooped. Other faces wore the simil-
itude of man or woman, but distorted or extravagant,
with red noses pendulous before their mouths, which
seemed ofawful depth, and stretched from ear to car in
an eternal fit of laughter. Here might be seen the Sal-
vage Man, well known in heraldry, hairy as a baboon,
and girdled with green leaves. By his side, a nobler
figure, but still a counterfeit, appeared an Indian hunter,
with feathery crest and wampum belt. Many of this
strange company wore foolscaps, and had little bells ap-
pended to their garments, tinkling with a silvery sound,
responsive to the inaudible music of their gleesome spir-
its. Some youths and maidens were of soberer garb,
yet well maintained their places in the irregular throng,
by the expression of wild revelry upon their features.
Such were the colonists of Merry Mount, as they stood
in the broad smile of sunset, round their venerated May-
Had a wanderer, bewildered in the melancholy forest,
heard their mirth, and stolen a half-affrighted glance, lie
might have fancied them the crew of Comus, some
already transformed to brutes, some midway between
man and beast, and the others rioting in the flow of tipsy
jollity that foreran the change. But a band of Puritans,
who watched the scene, invisible themselves, compared
the masques to those devils and ruined souls with whom
their superstition peopled the black wilderness.
Within the ring of monsters appeared the two airiest
forms that had ever trodden on any more solid footing than
a purple and golden cloud. One was a youth in glisten-
ing apparel, with a scarf of the rainbow pattern crosswise
on his breast. His right hand held a gilded staff, the
ensign of high dignity among the revellers, and his left
THE MAYPOLE OF MERRY MOUNT.
grasped the slender fingers of a fair maiden, not less
gayly decorated than himself. Bright roses glowed in
contrast with the dark and glossy curls of each, and were
scattered round their feet, or had sprung up spontane-
ously there. Behind this lightsome couple, so close to
the Maypole that its boughs shaded his jovial face, stood
the figure of an English priest, canonically dressed, yet
decked with flowers, in heathen fashion, and wearing
a chaplet of the native vine-leaves. By the riot of his
rolling eye, and the pagan decorations of his holy garb,
lie seemed the wildest monster there, and the very Co-
mus of the crew.
"Votaries of the Maypole," cried the flower-decked
priest, "merrily, all day long, have the woods echoed to
your mirth. But be this your merriest hour, my hearts!
Lo, here stand the Lord and Lady of the May, whom I,
a clerk of Oxford, and high-priest of Merry Mount, am
presently to join in holy matrimony. Up with your
nimble spirits, ye morris dancers, green men, and glee
maidens, bears and wolves, and horned gentlemen!
Come ; a chorus now, rich with the old mirth of Merry
England, and tile wilder glee of this fresh forest; and
then a dance, to show the youthful pair what life is made
of, and how airily they should go through it! All ye
that love the Maypole, lend your voices to the nuptial
song of the Lord and Lady of the May "
This wedlock was more serious than most affairs of
Merry Mount, where jest and delusion, trick and fantasy,
kept up a continual carnival. The Lord and Lady of the
May, tlhogh their titles must be laid down at sunset,
were really and truly to be partners for the dance of life,
beginning the measure that same bright eve. The wreath
of roses, that hung from the lowest green bough of the
Maypole, had been twined for them, and would be thrown
over both their heads, in symbol of their flowery union.
When the priest had spoken, therefore, a riotous uproar
burst from the rout of monstrous figures.
"Begin you the stave, reverend Sir," cried they all;
"and never did the woods ring to such a merry peal, as
we of the Maypole shall send up "
Immediately a prelude of pipe, cithern, and viol,
touched -with practised minstrelsy, began to play from
a neighboring thicket, in such a mirthful cadence that
the boughs of the Maypole quivered to the sound. But
the May Lord, lie of the gilded staff, chancing to look
into his Lady's eyes, was wonder-struck at the almost
pensive glance that met his own.
"Edith, sweet Lady of the May," whispered he, re-
],.-.,. il,,i "is yon wreath of roses a garland to hang
above our graves, that you look so sad ? O Edith, this
is our golden time! Tarnish it not by any pensive
shadow of the mind; for it may be that nothing of
futurity will be brighter than the mere remembrance of
what is now passing."
"That was the very thought that saddened me How
came it in your mind too ? "said Edith, in a still lower
tone than lhe; for it was high treason to be sad at Merry
Mount. Therefore do I sigh amid this festive music.
And besides, dear Edgar, I struggle as with a dream, and
fancy that these shapes of our jovial friends are visionary,
and their mirth unreal, and that we are no true Lord and
Lady of the May. What is the mystery in my heart ?"
Just then, as if a spell had loosened them, down came
a little shower of withering rose-leaves from the Maypole.
Alas, for the young lovers No sooner had their hearts
glowed with real passion, than they were sensible of
something vague and unsubstantial in their former pleas-
ures, and felt a dreary presentiment of inevitable change.
THE MAYPOLE OF MERRY MOUNT.
From the moment that they truly loved, they had sub-
jected themselves to earth's doom of care and sorrow,
and troubled joy, and had no more a home at Merry
Mount. That was Edith's mystery. Now leave we the
priest to marry them, and the masquers to sport round
the Maypole, till the last sunbeam be withdrawn from its
summit, and the shadows of the forest mingle gloomily
in the dance. Meanwhile, we may discover who these
gay people were.
Two hundred years ago, and more, the Old World and
its inhabitants became mutually weary of each other.
Men voyaged by thousands to the West; some to barter
glass beads, and such like jewels, for the furs of the In-
dian hunter; some to conquer virgin empires; and one
stern band to pray. But none of these motives had much
weight with the colonists of Merry Mount. Their lead-
ers were men who had sported so long with life, that
when Thought and Wisdom came, even these unwelcome
guests were led astray by the crowd of vanities which
they should have put to flight. Erring Thought and
perverted Wisdom were made to put on masques, and
play the fool. The men of whom we speak, after losing
the heart's fresh gayety, imagined a wild philosophy of
pleasure, and came hither to act out their latest day-
dream. They ,H...ii followers from all that giddy
tribe, whose whole life is like the festal days of soberer
men. In their train were minstrels, not unknown in
London streets; wandering players, whose theatres had
been the halls of noblemen; mummers, rope-dancers, and
mountebanks, who would long be missed at wakes, church
ales, and fairs; in a word, mirth-makers of every sort,
such as abounded in that age, but now began to be dis-
countenanced by the rapid growth of Puritanism. Light
had their footsteps been on land, and as lightly they came
66 TWICE-TOLD TALES.
across the sea. Many had been maddened by their pre-
vious troubles into a gay despair; others were as madly
gay in the flush of youth, like the May Lord and his
Lady; but whatever might be the quality of their mirth,
old and young were gay at Merry Mount. The young
deemed themselves happy. The elder spirits, if they
knew that mirth was but the counterfeit of happiness,
yet followed the false shadow wilfully, because at least
her garments glittered brightest. Sworn triflers of a
lifetime, they would not venture among the sober truths
of life, not even to be truly blest.
All the hereditary pastimes of Old England were
transplanted hither. The King of Christmas was duly
crowned, and the Lord of Misrule bore potent sway. On
the eve of Saint John, they felled whole acres of the
forest to make bonfires, and danced by the blaze all
night, crowned with garlands, and throwing flowers into
the flame. At harvest-time, though their crop was of
the smallest, they made an image with the sheaves of
Indian corn, and wreathed it with autumnal garlands,
and bore it home triumphantly. But what chiefly char-
acterized the colonists of Merry Mount was their ven-
eration for the Maypole. It has made their true history
a poet's tale. Spring decked the hallowed emblem with
young blossoms and fresh green boughs; Summer brought
roses of the deepest blush, and the perfected foliage of
the forest; Autumn enriched it with that red and yellow
gorgeousness, which converts each wildwood leaf into a
painted flower; and Winter silvered it with sleet, and
hung it round with icicles, till it flashed in the cold sun-
shine, itself a frozen sunbeam. Thus each alternate
season did homage to the Maypole, and paid it a tribute
of its own richest splendor. Its votaries danced round
it, once, at least, in every month; sometimes they called
THE MAYPOLE OF MERRY MOUNT.
it their religion, or their altar; but always, it was the
banner staff of Merry Mount.
Unfortunately, there were men in the New World of
a sterner faith thai these Maypole worshippers. Not
far from Merry Mount was a settlement of Puritans,
most dismal wretches, who said their prayers before
daylight, and then wrought in the forest or the cornfield
till evening made it prayer-time again. Their weapons
were always at hand, to shoot down the straggling sav-
age. When they met in conclave, it was never to keep
up the old English mirth, but to hear sermons three
hours long, or to proclaim bounties on the heads of
wolves and the scalps of Indians. Their festivals were
fast-days, and their chief pastime the singing of psalms.
Woe to the youth or maiden who did but dream of a
dance! The selectman nodded to the constable; and
there sat the light-heeled reprobate in the stocks; or if
he danced, it was round the whipping-post, which might
be termed the Puritan Maypole.
A party of these grim Puritans, toiling through the
difficult woods, each with a horse-load of iron armor to
burden his footsteps, would sometimes draw near the
sunny precincts of Merry Mount. There were the silken
colonists, sporting round their Maypole; perhaps teach-
ing a bear to dance, or striving to communicate their
mirth to the grave Indian ; or masquerading in the skins
of deer and wolves, which they had hunted for -that
especial purpose. Often, the whole colony were playing
at blind-man's-buff, magistrates and all with their eyes
bandaged, except a single scape-goat, whom the blinded
sinners pursued by the tinkling of tlie bells at his gar-
ments. Once, it is said, they were seen :-..i1..i a
flower-decked corpse, with merriment and festive music,
to his grave. But did the dead man laugh ? In their
quietest times, they sang ballads and told tales, for the
edification of their pious visitors ; or perplexed them with
juggling tricks; or grinned at them through hors-col-
lars; and when sport itself grew wearisome, they made
game of their own stupidity, and began a yawning match.
At the very least of these enormities, the men of iron
shook their heads and frowned so darkly, that the revel-
lers looked up, imagining that a momentary cloud had
overcast the sunshine, which was to be perpetual there.
On the other hand, the Puritans affirmed, that, when a
psalm was pealing from their place of worship, the echo
which the forest sent them back seemed often like the
chorus of a jolly catch, closing wi1lh a roar of laughter.
Who but the fiend, and his bond slaves, the crew of
Merry Mount, had thus disturbed them? In due time,
a feud arose, stern and bitter on one side, and as serious
on the other as anything could be among such light spir-
its as had sworn allegiance to the Maypole. The future
complexion of New England was involved in this impor-
tant quarrel. Should the grizzly saints establish their
jurisdiction over the gay sinners, then would their spirits
darken all the clime, and make it a land of clouded visages,
of hard toil, of sermon and psalm forever. But should
the banner staff of Merry Mount be fortunate, sunshine
would break upon the hills, and flowers would beautify
the forest, and late posterity do homage to the Maypole.
After these authentic passages from history, we return
to the nuptials of the Lord and Lady of the May. Alas !
we have delayed too long, and must darken our tale too
suddenly. As we glance again at the Maypole, a solitary
sunbeam is fading from the summit, and leaves only a
faint, golden tinge, blended with the hues of the rainbow
banner. Even that dim light is now withdrawn, relin-
quishing the whole domain of Merry Mount to the even-
THE MAYPOLE OF MERRY MOUNT. 71
ing gloom, which has rushed so instantaneously from the
black surrounding woods. But some of these black
shadows have rushed for hl in human shape.
Yes, with the setting sun, the last day of mirth had
passed from Merry Mount. The ring of gay masquers
was disordered and broken; the stag lowered his antlers
in dismay; the wolf grew weaker than a lamb ; the bells
of the mo'ris dancers tinkled with tremulous affright.
The Puritans had played a characteristic part in the May-
pole mummeries. Their darksome figures were inter-
mixed with the wild shapes of their foes, and made the
scene a picture of the moment, when waking thoughts
start up amid the scattered fantasies of a dream. The
leader of the hostile party stood in the centre of the circle,
while the rout of monsters cowered around him, like evJl
spirits in the presence of a dread magician. No fantastic
foolery could look him in the face. So stern was the
energy of his aspect, that tile whole man, visage, frame,
and soul, seemed wrought of iron, gifted with life and
thought, yet all of one substance with his headpiece and
breastplate. It was the Puritan of Puritans; it was
Stand off, priest of Baal!" said he, with a grim
frown, and laying no reverent hand upon the surplice.
"I know thee, Blackstone Thou art the man, who
couldst not abide the rule even of thine own corrupted
church, and hast come hi her to preach iniquity, and to
give example of it in thy life. But now shall it be seen
that the Lord hath sanctified this wilderness for his
Did Governor Endicott speak less positively, we should
suspect a mistake here. The Rev. Mr. Blackstone, though an
eccentric, is not known to have been an immoral man. We
rather doubt his identity with the priest of Merry Mount.
peculiar people. Woe unto them that would defile it!
And first, for this flower-decked abomination, the altar of
thy worship "
And with his keen sword Endicott assaulted the hal-
lowed Maypole. Nor long did it resist his arm. It
groaned with a dismal sound; it showered leaves and
rosebuds upon the remorseless enthusiast; and finally,
with all its green boughs, and ribbons, and flowers, sym-
bolic of departed pleasures, down fell the banner staff of
Merry Mount.. As it sank, tradition says, the evening
sky grew darker, and the woods threw forth a more
There," cried Endicott, looking ti ....... oi''l onl his
work, "there lies the only Maypole in New England !
The thought is strong within me, that, by its fall, is
shadowed forth the fate of light and idle mirth-makers,
amongst us and our posterity. Amen, saith John En-
Amen! echoed his followers.
But the votaries of the Maypole gave one groan for
their idol. At the sound, the Puritan leader glanced at
the crew of Comus, each a figure of broad mirlh, yet, at
this moment, strangely expressive of sorrow and dismay.
"Valiant captain," quoth Peter I'Pl. -.. the Ancient
of the band, what order shall be taken with the prison-
ers ? "
I thought not to repent me of cutting down a May-
pole," replied Endicott, "yet now I could find in my
heart to plant it again, and give each of these bestial
pagans one other dance round their idol. It would have
served rarely for a whipping-post! "
"But there are pine-trees enow," suggested the lieu-
"True, good Ancient," said the leader. "Wherefore,
THE MAYPOLE OF MERRY MOUNT. 73
bind the heathen crew, and bestow on them a small
matter of stripes apiece, as earnest of our future justice.
Set some of the rogues in the stocks to rest themselves,
so soon as Providence shall bring us to one of our own
well-ordered settlements, where such accommodations
may be found. Further penalties, such as branding
and cropping of ears, shall be thought of hereafter."
How many stripes for the priest ? inquired Ancient
"None as yet," answered Endicott, bending his iron
frown upon the culprit. "It must be for the Great and
General Court to determine whether stripes and long
imprisonment, and other grievous p. .. i1 may atone
for his transgressions. Let him look to himself! For
such as violate our civil order, it may be permitted us
to show mercy. But woe to the wretch that troubleth
"And this dancing bear," resumed the officer. Must
he share the stripes of his fellows ?"
"Shoot him through the head!" said the energetic
Puritan. "I suspect witchcraft in the beast."
"Here be a couple of shining ones," continued Peter
Palfrey, pointing his weapon at the Lord and Lady of
the May. "They seem to be of high station among these
misdoers. Methinks their dignity will not be fitted with
less than a double share of stripes."
Endicott rested on his sword, and closely surveyed the
dress and aspect of the hapless pair. There they stood,
pale, downcast, and apprehensive. Yet there was an air
of mutual support, and of pure affection, seeking aid and
giving it, that showed them to be man and wife, with the
sanction of a priest upon their love. The ....l, in the
peril of the moment, had dropped his gilded staff, and
thrown his arm about the Lady of the May, who leaned
VOL. I. 4
/4 TWICE-TOLD TALES.
against his breast, too lightly to burden him, but with
weight enough to express that their destinies were linked
together, for good or evil. They looked first at each
other, and then into the grim captain's face. There they
stood, in the first hour of wedlock, while the idle pleas-
ures, of which their companions were the emblems, had
given place to the sternest cares of life, personified by
the dark Puritans. But never had their youthful beauty
seemed so pure and high, as when its glow was chastened
"Youth," said Endicott, "ye stand in an evil case,
thou and thy maiden wife. Make ready presently; for
I am minded that ye shall both have a token to remember
"Stern man," cried the May Lord, "how can I move
thee ? Were the means at hand, I would resist to the
death. Being powerless, I entreat Do with me as thou
wilt, but let Edith go untouched "
"Not so," replied the immitigable zealot. We are
not wont to show an idle courtesy to that sex, which
requireth the stricter discipline. What sayest thou,
maid? Shall thy silken bridegroom suffer thy share
of the penalty, besides his own?"
Be it death," said Edith, and lay it all on me! "
Truly, as Endicott had said, the poor lovers stood in
a woful case. Their foes were triumphant, their friends
captive and abased, their home desolate, the benighted
wilderness around them, and a rigorous destiny, in the
shape of the Puritan leader, their only guide. Yet the
deepening twilight could not altogether conceal that the
iron mani was softened; lie smiled at the fair spectacle
of early love; lie almost sighed for the inevitable blight
of early hopes.
"The troubles of life have come hastily on this young
THE MAYPOLE OF MERRY MOUNT.
couple," observed Endicott. "We will see how they
comport themselves under their present trials, cre we
burden them with greater. If, among the spoil, there
be any garments of a more decent fashion, let them be
put upon this May Lord and his Lady, instead of their
glistening vanities. Look to it, some of you."
And shall not the youth's hair be cut ? asked Peter
Palfrey, looking with abhorrence at the love-lock and
long glossy curls of the young man.
Crop it forthwith, and that in the true pumpkin-shell
fashion," answered the captain. Then bring them along
with us, but more i..l than their fellows. There be
qualities in the youth, which may make him valiant to
fight, and sober to toil, and pious to pray; and in the
maiden, that may fit her to become a mother in our
Israel, bringing up babes in better nurture than her own
hath been. Nor think ye, young ones, that they are the
happiest, even in our lifetime of a moment, who misspend
it in dancing round a Maypole "
And Endicott, the severest Puritan of all who laid the
rock foundation of New England, lifted the wreath of
roses from the ruin of the Maypole, and threw it, with
his own gauntleted hand, over the heads of the Lord
and Lady of the May. It was a deed of prophecy. As
the moral gloom of the world overpowers all systematic
gayety, even so was their home of wild mirth made deso-
late amid the sad forest. They returned to it no more.
But, as their flowery garland was wreathed of the bright-
est roses that had grown there, so, in the tie that united
them, were intertwined all the purest and best of their
early joys. They went heavenward, supporting each
other along the difficult path which it was their lot to
tread, and never wasted one regretful thought on the
vanities of Merry Mount.
THE GENTLE BOY.
NT the course of the year 1656, several of the
people called Quakers, led, as they professed,
by the inward movement of the spirit, made
their appearance in New England. Their reputation, as
holders of mystic and pernicious principles, having spread
before them, the Puritans early endeavored to banish,
and to prevent the further intrusion of the rising sect.
But the measures by which it was intended to purge the
land of heresy, though more than sufficienty vigorous,
were entirely unsuccessful. The Quakers, esteeming
persecution as a divine call to the post of danger, laid
claim to a holy courage, unknown to the Puritans them-
selves, who had shunned the cross, by providing for the
peaceable exercise of their religion in a distant wilder-
ness. Though it was the singular fact, that every nation
of the earth rejected the wandering enthusiasts who prac-
tised peace towards all men, the place of greatest uneasi-
ness and peril, and therefore, in their eyes, the most
eligible, was the province of Massachusetts Bay.
The fines, imprisonmentls, and stripes, liberally distrib-
uted by our pious forefathers, the popular antipathy,
so strong that it endured nearly a hundred years after
actual persecution had ceased, were attractions as power-
ful for the Quakers as peace, honor, and reward would
THE GENTLE BOY.
have been for the worldly-minded. Every European
vessel brought new cargos of the sect, eager to testify
against the oppression which they hoped to share ; and,
when shipmasters were restrained by heavy fines from
affording them passage, they made long and circuitous
journeys through the Indian country, and appeared in
the province as if conveyed by a supernatural power.
Their enthusiasm, heightened almost to madness by the
treatment which they received, produced actions contrary
to the rules of decency, as well as of rational religion, and
presented a singular contrast to the calm and staid de-
portment of their sectarian successors of the present day.
The command of the spirit, inaudible except to the soul,
and not to be controverted on grounds of hunma wisdom,
was made a plea for most indecorous exhibitions, which,
abstractedly considered, well deserved the moderate
chastisement of the rod. These extravagances, and the
persecution which was at once their cause and conse-
quence, continued to increase, till, in the year 1659, the
government of Massachusetts Bay indulged two members
of the Quaker sect with the crown of martyrdom.
An indelible stain of blood is upon the hands of all
who consented to this act, but a large share of the awful
responsibility must rest upon the person then at the head
of the government. He was a man of narrow mind and
imperfect education, and his uncompromising bigotry
was made hot and mischievous by violent and hasty pas-
sions ; he exerted his influence indecorously and unjusti-
fiably to compass the death of the enthusiasts ; and his
whole conduct, in respect to them, was marked by brutal
cruelty. The Quakers, whose revengeful feelings were
not less deep because they were inactive, remembered
this man and his associates, in after times. The histo-
rian of the sect affirms that, by the wrath of Heaven, a
blight fell upon the land in the vicinity of the "bloody
town" of Boston, so ihat no wheat would grow there ;
and lie takes his stand, as it were, among the graves of
the ancient persecutors, and triumphantly recounts Ilie
judgments that overtook them, in old age or at the part-
ing hour. He tells us that they died suddenly, and vio-
i. ,rI and in madness ; but nothing can exceed the bitter
mockery with which he records the loathsome disease,
and death by rottenness," of the fierce and cruel gov-
On the evening of the autumn day, that had witnessed
the martyrdom of two men of the Quaker persuasion,
a Puritan settler was returning from the metropolis to
the neighboring country town in which lie resided. The
air was cool, the sky clear, and the lingering twilight was
made brighter by the rays of a young moon, which had
now nearly reached the verge of tile horizon. The trav-
eller, a man of middle age, wrapped in a gray frieze
cloak, quickened his pace when lie had reached the out-
skirts of the town, for a gloomy extent of nearly four
miles lay between him and his home. The low, straw-
thatched houses were scattered at considerable intervals
along the road, and tle country having been settled but
about thirty years, the tracts of original forest still bore
no small proportion to the cultivated ground. The
autumn wind wandered among tile branches, whirling
away the leaves from all except the pine-trees, and moan-
ing as if it lamented the desolation of which it was the
instrument. The road had penetrated the mass of woods
that lay nearest to the town, and was just emerging ilto
an open space, when the traveller's ears were saluted by
a sound more mournful than even that of the wind. It
was like the wailing of some one in distress, and it seemed
THE GENTLE BOY.
to proceed from beneath a tall and lonely fir-tree, in the
centre of a cleared, but unenclosed and uncultivated field.
The Puritan could not but remember that this was the
very spot which had been made accursed a few hours
before by the execution of the Quakers, whose bodies had'
been thrown together into one hasty grave, beneath the
tree on which they suffered. He struggled, however,
against the superstitious fears which belonged to the age,
and compelled himself to pause and listen.
"The voice is most likely mortal, nor have I cause to
tremble if it be otherwise," thought he, straining his eyes
through the dim moonlight. Methinks it is like the
wailing of a child; some infant, it may be, which has
strayed from its mother, and chanced upon this place of
death. For the case of mine own conscience, I must
search this matter out."
He therefore left the path, and walked somewhat fear-
fully across the field. Though now so desolate, its soil
was pressed down and trampled by the thousand footsteps
of those who had witnessed the spectacle of that day, all
of whom had now retired, leaving the dead to their lone-
liness. The to.or-.L' :it length reached the fir-tree, which
from the middle upward was covered with living branches,
although a scaffold had been erected beneath, and other
preparations made for the work of death. Under this
unhappy tree, which in after times was believed to drop
poison with its dew, sat the one solitary mourner for in-
nocent blood. It was a slender and light-clad little boy,
who leaned his face upon a hillock of fresh-turned and
half-frozen earth, and wailed bitterly, yet in a suppressed
tone, as if his grief might receive the punishment of crime.
The Puritan, whose approach had been unperccived, laid
his hand upon the child's shoulder, and addressed him
"You have chosen a dreary lodging, my poor boy,
and no wonder that you weep," said he. "But dry
your eyes, and tell me where your mother dwells. I
promise you if the journey be not too far, I will leave
you in her arms to-night."
The boy had hushed his wailing at once, and turned
his face upward to the stranger. It was a pale, bright-
eyed countenance, certainly not more than six years
old, but sorrow, fear, and want had destroyed much of
its infantile expression. The Puritan, seeing the boy's
frightened gaze, and feeling that lie trembled under his
hand, endeavored to reassure him.
"Nay, if I intended to do you harm, little lad, the
readiest way were to leave you here. What you do
not fear to sit beneath the gallows on a new-made grave,
and yet you tremble at a friend's touch. Take heart,
child, and tell me what is your name, and where is your
"Friend," replied the little boy, in-a sweet, though
faltering voice, they call me Ilbrahim, and my home is
The pale, spiritual face, the eyes that seemed to mingle
with the moonlight, the sweet airy voice, and the out-
landish name almost made the Puritan believe that the
boy was in truth a being which had sprung up out of
the grave on which lie sat. But perceiving that the ap-
parition stood the test of a short mental prayer, and
remembering that the arm which lie had touched was
life-like, he adopted a more rational supposition. The
poor child is stricken in his intellect," thought he, hut
verily his words are fearful, in a place like this." lHe
then spoke soothingly, intending to humor the boy's
Your home will scarce be comfortable, Ilbrahim,
THE GENTLE BOY.
this cold autumn night, and I fear you are ill provided
with food. I am hastening to a warm supper and bed,
and if you will go with me, you shall share them! "
"I thank thee, friend, but though I be hungry, and
shivering with cold, thou wilt not give me food nor
lodging," replied the boy, in the quiet tone which de-
spair had taught him, even so young. My father was
of the people whom all men hate. They have laid him
under this heap of earth, and here is my home."
The Puritan, who had laid hold of little Ilbrahim's
hand, relinquished it as if he were touching a loathsome
reptile. But he possessed a compassionate heart, which
not even religious prejudice could harden into stone.
God forbid that I should leave this child to perish,
though he comes of the accursed sect," said he to him-
self. Do we not all spring from an evil root? Are
we not all in darkness till the light doth shine upon us ?
He shall not perish, neither in body, nor, if prayer and
instruction may avail for him, in soul." He then spoke
aloud and kindly to Ilbrahim, who had again hid his face
in the cold earth of the grave. Was every door in the
land shut against you, my child, that you have wandered
to this unhallowed spot ?"
They drove me forth from the prison when they took
my father thence," said the boy, and I stood afar off,
watching the crowd of people; and when they were gone,
I came hither, and found only this grave. I knew that
my father was sleeping here, and I said, This shall be my
"No, child, no; not while I have a roof over my
head, or a morsel to share with you! exclaimed the
Puritan, whose sympathies were now fully excited.
"Rise up and come within me, and fear not any harm."
The boy wept afresh, and clung to the heap of earth,
OB TWICE-TOLD TALES.
as if the cold heart beneath it were warmer to him tlan
any in a living breast. The traveller, however, continued
to entreat him tenderly, and seeming to acquire some
degree of confidence, he at length arose. But his slen-
der limbs tottered with weakness, his little head grew
dizzy, and lie leaned against the tree of death for support.
My poor boy, are you so feeble ? said the Puritan.
" When did you taste food last ? "
"I ate of bread and water with my father in the
prison," replied Ilbrahini, but they brought him none
neither yesterday nor to-day, saying that he had eaten
enough to bear him to his journey's end. Trouble not
thyself for my hunger, kind friend, for I have lacked
food many times ere now."
The traveller took the child in his arms and wrapped
his cloak about him, while his heart stirred with shame
and anger against the gratuitous cruelty of the instru-
ments in this persecution. In the awakened warmth of
his feelings, lie resolved that, at whatever risk, lie would
not forsake the poor little defenccless being whom
Heaven had confided to his care. With this determina-
tion, lie left the accursed field, and resumed the home-
ward path from which the wailing of the boy had called
him. The light and motionless burden scarcely impeded
his progress, and he soon beheld the fire rays from the
windows of the cottage which lie, a native of a distant
clime, had built in the Western wilderness. It was sur-
rounded by a considerable extent of cultivated ground,
and the dwelling was situated in the nook of a wood-
covered bill, whither it seemed to have crept for pro-
"Look up, child," said the Puritan to Ilbrahim,
whose faint lead had sunk upon his shoulder, there
is our home."
THE GENTLE BOY.
At the word "home," a thrill passed through the
child's frame, but he continued silent. A few moments
brought them to the cottage-door, at which the owner
knocked; for at that early period, when savages were
wandering everywhere among the settlers, bolt and bar
were indispensable to the security of a dwelling. The
summons was answered by a bond-servant, a coarse-clad
and dull-featured piece of humanity, who, after ascer-
taining that his master was the applicant, undid the door,
and held a il11i..; pine-knot torch to light him in.
Farther back in the passage-way, the red blaze discov-
ered a matronly woman, but no little crowd of children
came bounding forth to greet their father's return. As
the Puritan entered, he thrust aside his cloak, and dis-
played Ilbrahim's face to the female.
Dorothy, here is a little outcast whom Providence
hath put into our hands," observed he. "Be kind to
him, even as if lie were of those dear ones who have
departed from us."
"What pale and bright-eyed little boy is this, Tobias ?"
she inquired. Is lie one whom the wilderness folk have
ravished from some Christian mother ?"
"No, Dorothy, this poor child is no captive from the
wilderness," he replied. "The heathen savage would
have given him to eat of his scanty morsel, and to drink
of his birchen cup; but Christian men, alas! had cast
him out to die."
Then he told her how he had found him beneath the
gallows, upon his father's grave; and how his heart had
prompted hliin, like the speaking of an inward voice, to
take the little outcast home, and be kind unto him. IHe
acknowledged his resolution to feed and clothe him, as if
lie were his own child, and to afford him the instruction
which should counteract the pernicious errors hitherto
84 TWICE-TOLD TALES.
instilled into his infant mind. Dorothy was gifted with
even a quicker tenderness than her husband, and she
approved of all his doings and intentions.
Have ou a mother, dear child ? she inquired.
The tears burst forth from his full heart, as he at-
tempted to reply; but Dorothy at length understood that
he had a mother, who, like the rest of her sect, was a
persecuted wanderer. She had been taken from the
prison a short time before, carried into the uninhabited
wilderness, and left to perish there by hunger or wild
beasts. This was no uncommon method of disposing of
the Quakers, and they were accustomed to boast, that
the inhabitants of the desert were more hospitable to
them than civilized man.
"Fear not, little boy, you shall not need a mother,
and a kind one," said Dorothy, when she had gathered
this information. "Dry your tears, Ilbrahim, and be my
child, as I will be your mother."
The good woman prepared the little bed, from which
her own children had successively been borne to another
resting-place. Before Ilbrahim would consent to occupy
it, he knelt down, and as Dorothy listened to his simple
and ill.. ,. i- prayer, she marvelled how the parents that
had taught it to him could have been judged worthy of
death. When the boy had fallen asleep, she bent over
his pale and spiritual countenance, pressed a kiss upon
his white brow, drew the bedclothes up about his neck,
and went away with a pensive gladness in her heart.
Tobias Pearson was not among the earliest emigrants
from the old country. Ile had remained in England
during the first years of the civil war, in which lie had
borne some share as a cornet of dragoons, under Crom-
well. But when the ambitious designs of his leader
began to develop themselves, he quitted the army of the
THE GENTLE BOY.
Parliament, and sought a refuge from the strife, which
was no longer holy, among the people of his persuasion
in the colony of Massachusetts. A more worldly con-
sideration had perhaps an influence in drawing him
thither; for New England offered advantages to men of
unprospcrous fortunes, as well as to dissatisfied religion-
ists, and Pearson had hitherto found it difficult to provide
for a wife and increasing family. To this supposed im-
purity of motive, the more bigoted Puritans were inclined
to impute the removal by deatl of all the children, for
whose earthly good the father had been *-... -i .... ,i i-l
They had left their native country blooming like roses,
and like roses they had perished in a foreign soil. Those
expounders of the ways of Providence, who had thus
judged their brother, and attributed his domestic sorrows
to his sin, were not more charitable when -i,. saw him
and Dorothy endeavoring to fill up the void in their
hearts by the adoption of an infant of the accursed sect.
Nor did they fail to communicate their disapprobation to
T;bias; but the later, in reply, merely pointed at the
little, quiet, lovely boy, whose appearance and deport-
ment were indeed as powerful arguments as could pos-
sibly have been adduced in his own favor. Even his
beauty, however, and his winning manners, sometimes
produced an effect .il ;,,, ,i ... i 1i ... i.1. ; for the bigots,
when the outer surfaces of their iron hearts had been
softened and again grew hard, affirmed that no merely
natural cause could have so worked upon them.
Their ii, ;., ,ito the poor infant was also increased
by the ill success of divers theological discussions, in
which it was attempted to convince him of the errors of
his sect. IIbrahim, it is true, was not a skilful contro-
versialist; but the feeling of his religion was strong as
instinct in him, and he could neither be enticed nor
86 TWICE-TOLD TALES.
driven from the faith which his father had died for. The
odium of this stubbornness was shared in a great meas-
ure by the child's protectors, insomuch that Tobias and
Dorothy very shortly began to experience a most bitter
species of persecution, in the cold regards of many a
friend whom they had valued. The common people
manifested their opinions more openly. Pearson was a
mal of some consideration, being a representative to the
General Court, and an approved lieutenant in the train-
bands; yet within a week after his adoption of Ilbrallim,
he had been both hissed and hooted. Once, also, when
walking through a solitary piece of woods, lie heard a
loud voice from some invisible speaker; and it cried,
" What shall be done to the backslider ? Lo! the scourge
is knotted for him, even the whip of nine cords, and
every cord three knots !" These insults irritated Pear-
son's temper for the moment; they entered also into his
heart, and became imperceptible but powerful workers
towards an end which his most secret thought had not
On the second Sabbath after Ilbralim became a mem-
ber of their family, Pearson and his wife deemed it proper
that lie should appear with them at public worship. They
had anticipated some opposition to this measure from the
boy, but he prepared himself in silence, and at the ap-
pointed hour was clad in the new mourning suit which
I' ....ii- had wrought for him. As the parish was then,
and during many subsequent years, unprovided with a
hell, the signal for the commencement of religious exer-
cises was the beat of a drum. At the first sound of that
martial call to the place of holy and quiet thoughts,
Tobias and Dorothy set forth, each holding a hand of
little Ilbrahim, like two parents linked together by the
THE GENTLE BOY.
infant of their love. On their path through the leafless
woods, they were overtaken by many persons of their
acquaintance, all of whom avoided them, and passed by
on the other side; but a severer trial awaited their con-
stancy when they had descended the hill, and drew near
the pine-built and undecorated house of prayer. Around
the door, from which the drummer still sent forth his
thundering summons, was drawn up a formidable pha-
lanx, including several of the oldest members of the con-
gregation, many of the middle aged, and nearly all the
younger males. Pearson found it difficult to sustain
their united and disapproving gaze ; but Dorothy, whose
mind was differently circumstances, merely drew the boy
closer to her, and faltered not in her approach. As -i.
entered the door, they overheard the muttered sentiments
of the assemblage, and when the reviling voices of the
little children smote Ilbrahim's ear, he wept.
The interior aspect of the meeting-house was rude.
The low ceiling, tile unplastered walls, the naked wood-
work, and the undraperied pulpit offered nothing to ex-
cite the devotion, which, without such external aids, often
remains latent in the heart. The floor of the building
was occupied by rows of long, cushionless benches, sup-
plying the place of pews, and the broad aisle formed a
sexual division, impassable except by children beneath a
Pearson and Dorothy separated at the door of the
meeting-house, and Ilbrahim, being within the years of
infancy, was retained under the care of the latter. The
wrinkled beldams involved themselves in their rusty
cloaks as he passed by; even the mild-featured maidens
seemed to dread contamination; and many a stern old
man arose, and turned his repulsive and unheavenly
countenance upon the gentle boy, as if the sanctuary were
polluted by his presence. He was a sweet infant of the
skies, that had strayed away from his home, and all the
inhabitants of this miserable world closed up their impure
hearts against him, drew back their earth-soiled garments
from his touch, and said, We are holier than thou."
Ilbrahim, seated by the side of his adopted mother,
and retaining fast hold of her hand, assumed a grave and
decorous demeanor, such as might befit a person of
matured taste and understanding, who should find him-
self in a temple dedicated to some worship which lie did
not recognize, but felt himself bound to respect. The
exercises had not yet commenced, however, when the
boy's attention was arrested by an event, I|'I- 111 ..rl of
trifling interest. A woman, having her face muffled in a
hood, and a cloak drawn completely about her form,
advanced slowly up the broad aisle, and took a place upon
the foremost bench. Ilbrahim's faint color varied, his
nerves fluttered, he was unable to turn his eyes from the
When the preliminary prayer and hymn were over, the
minister arose, and having turned the hour-glass which
stood by the great Bible, commenced his discourse. IIe
was now well stricken in years, a man of pale, thin
countenance, and his gray hairs were closely covered by
a black velvet skullcap. In his younger days lie had
practically learned the meaning of persecution from Arch-
bishop Laud, and lie was not now disposed to forget the
lesson against which he hlad murmured then. Introducing
the often-discuss d subject of the Quakers, he gave a
history of that sect, and a description of their tenets, in
which error predominated, and prejudice distorted the
aspect of what was true. He adverted to the recent
measures in the province, and cautioned his hearers of
weaker parts against calling in question the just severity,
THE GENTLE BOY.
which God-fearing magistrates had at 1 ....li been com-
pelled to exercise. He spoke of the danger of pity, in
some cases a commendable and Christian virtue, but in-
applicable to this pernicious sect. He observed that
such was their devilish obstinacy in error, that even the
little children, the sucking babes, were hardened and
desperate heretics. He affirmed that no man, without
Heaven's especial warrant, should attempt their con-
version, lest while he lent his hand to draw them from
the slough, he should himself be precipitated into its
The sands of the second hour were -.;. ;I. 11. in the
lower half of the glass, when the sermon concluded. An
approving murmur followed, and the clergyman, having
given out a hymn, took his seat with much self-con-
gratulation, and endeavored to read the effect of his
eloquence in the visages of the people. But while voices
from all parts of the house were tuning themselves to
sing, a scene occurred, which, though not very unusual
at that period in the province, happened to be without
precedent in this parish.
The muffled female, who had hitherto sat motionless in
the front rank of the audience, now arose, and with slow,
stately, and unwavering step ascended the pulpit stairs.
The quiverings of incipient harmony were hushed, and the
divine sat in speechless and almost terrified astonishment,
while she undid the door, and stood up in the sacred desk
from which his maledictions had just been thundered.
She then divested herself of the cloak and hood, and
appeared in a most singular array. A shapeless robe of
sackcloth was girded about her waist with a knotted
cord; her raven hair fell down upon her shoulders, and
its blackness was defiled by pale streaks of ashes, which
she had strewn upon her head. Her eyebrows, dark and
strongly defined, added to the deathly whiteness of a
countenance, which, emaciated with want, and wild with
enthusiasm and strange sorrows, retained no trace of
earlier beauty. This figure stood gazing earnestly on the
audience, and there was no sound, nor any movement,
except a faint shuddering whicl every man observed in
his neighbor, but was scarcely conscious of in himself.
At lnigth, when her fit of inspiration came, slle spoke,
for the first few moments, in a low voice, and not in-
variably distinct utterance. Her discourse gave evidence
of an imagination hopelessly entangled with her reason;
it was a vague and incomprehensible rhapsody, which,
however, seemed to spread its own atmosphere round the
hearer's soul, and to move his feelings by some influence
unconnected with the words. As she proceeded, beauti-
fuil but shadowy images would sometimes be seen, like
bright things moving in a turbid river ; or a strong and
singularly shaped idea leaped forth, and seized at once on
the understanding or the heart. But the course of her
unearthly eloquence soon led her to the persecutions of
her sect, and from thence the step was short to Iher own
peculiar sorrows. She was naturally a woman of mighty
passions, and hatred and revenge now wrapped themselves
in the garb of piety; tlhe character of her speech was
changed, her imiags became distinct though wild, and
her denunciations had anl almost hellish bitterness.
"The governor and his mighty men," she said, "have
galthred together, taking counsel among themselves and
saying, A\ I. shall we do unto this people, -even unto
the people that have come into this land to put our in-
iiuity to the blush ?' And lo the Devil entereth into
the council-chamber, like a lame man of low stature and
gravely apparelled, with a dark and twisted countenance,
and a bright, downcast eye. And he standethl up among
TIE GENTLE BOY.
the rulers; yea, he goeth to and fro, whispering to each;
and every man lends his ear, for his word is, Slay, slay '
Baut I say unto ye, Woe to them that slay Woe to
them that shed the blood of saints Woe to them that
have slain the husband, and cast forth the child, the
tender infant, to wander homeless, and hungry, and cold,
till he die; and have saved the mother alive, in the
cruelty of their tender mercies! Woe to them in their
lifetime, cursed are they in the delight and pleasure of
their hearts Woe to them in their death-hour, whether
it come swiftly with blood and violence, or after long and
lingering pain Woe, in the dark house, in the rotten-
ness of the grave, when the children's children shall rc-
vile the ashes of the fathers! Woe, woe, woe, at the
judgment, when all the persecuted and all the slain in
this bloody land, and the father, the mother, and the
child shall await them in a day that they cannot escape!
Seed of the faith, seed of the faith, ye whose hearts are
moving with a power that ye know not, arise, wash your
hands of this innocent blood Lift your voices, chosen
ones, cry aloud, and call down a woo and a judgment
with mei! "
Having thus given vent to the flood of malignity which
she mistook for inspiration, the speaker was silent. Her
voice was succeeded by the hysteric shrieks of several
women, but the feelings of the audience generally had
not been drawn onward in the current with her own.
They remained stupefied, stranded as it were, in the midst
of a torrent, which deafened them by its roaring, but
might not move them by its violence. The clergyman,
who could not hitherto have ejected the usurper of his
pulpit otherwise than by bodily force, now addressed ler
in the tone of just indignation and legitimate authority.
"Get you down, woman, from the holy place which
you profane," he said. Is it to the Lord's house that
you come to pour forth the foulness of your heart, and
the inspiration of the Devil ? Get you down, and remem-
ber that the sentence of death is on you, yea, and shall
be executed, were it but for this day's work "
"I go, friend, I go, for the voice hath had its utter-
ance," replied she, in a depressed and even mild tone.
" I have done my mission unto thee and to thy people.
Reward me with stripes, imprisonment, or death, as ye
shall be permitted."
The weakness of exhausted passion caused her steps
to totter as she descended the pulpit stairs. The people,
in the mean while, were stirring to and fro on the floor
of the house, whispering among themselves, and glancing
towards the intruder. Many of them now recognized
her as the woman who had assaulted the governor with
frightful language, as lie passed by the window of her
prison; they knew, also, that she was adjudged to suffer
death, and had been preserved only by an involuntary
banishment into the wilderness. The new outrage, by
which she had provoked her fate, seemed to render fur-
ther lenity impossible ; and a gentleman in military dress,
with a stout man of inferior rank, drew towards the door
of the meeting-house, and awaited her approach. Scarcely
did her feet press the floor, however, when an unexpected
scene occurred. In that moment of her peril, when every
eye frowned with death, a little timid boy pressed forth,
and threw his arms round his mother.
I am here, mother, it is I, and I will go with thee to
prison," lie exclaimed.
She gazed at him with a doubtful and almost frightened
expression, for she knew that the boy had been cast out
to perish, and she had not hoped to see his face again.
She feared, perhaps, that it was but one of the happy
THE GENTLE BOY.
visions, with which her excited fancy had often deceived
her, in the solitude of the desert or in prison. But when
she felt his hand warm within her own, and heard his
little eloquence of childish love, she began to know that
she was yet a mother.
"Blessed art thou, my son," she sobbed. "My heart
was withered; yea, dead with thee and with thy father;
and now it leaps as in the first moment when I pressed
thee to my bosom."
She knelt down and embraced him again and again,
while the joy that could find no words expressed itself
in broken accents, like the bubbles gushing up to vanish
at the surface of a deep fountain. The sorrows of past
years, and the darker peril that was nigh, cast not a
shadow on tle brightness of that fleeting moment. Soon,
however, the spectators saw a change upon her face, as
the consciousness of her sad estate returned, and grief
supplied the fount of tears which joy had opened. By
the words she uttered, it would seem that the indulgence
of natural love had given her mind a momentary sense
of its errors, and madam her know how far she had strayed
from duty, in f..ll .. .... the dictates of a wild fanaticism.
Il a doleful hour art thou returned to me, poor boy,"
she said, "for thy mother's path has gone darkening on-
ward, till now the end is death. Son, son, I have borne
thee in my arms when my limbs were tottering, and I
have fed thee with the food that I was fainting for; yet
I have ill performed a mother's part by thee in life, and
now I leave thee no inheritance but woe and shame.
Thou wilt go seeking through the world, and find all hearts
closed against thee, and their sweet affections turned to
bitterness for my sake. My child, my child, how many a
pang awaits thy gentle spirit, and I the cause of all! "
She hid her face on Ilbrahin's head, and her long
raven hair, discolored with the ashes of her mourning,
fell down about him like a veil. A low and interrupted
moan was the voice of her heart's anguish, and it did not
fail to move the sympathies of many who mistook their
involuntary virtue for a sin. Sobs were audible in the
female section of the house, and every man who was a
father drew his hand across his eyes. Tobias Pearson
was agitated and uneasy, but a certain feeling like the
consciousness of .n;Ih oppressed him, so that he could
not go forth and offer himself as the protector of the
child. I.. .0ii however, had watched her husband's eye.
Her mind was free from the influence that had begun to
work on his, and she drew near the Quaker woman, and
addressed her in the hearing of all the congregation.
"Stranger, trust this boy to me, and I will be his
mother," she said, taking Ilbrahim's hand. Provi-
dence has .... II marked out my husband to protect
himi, and he has fed at our table and lodged under our
roof, now many days, till our hearts have grown very
strongly unto him. Leave the tender child with us, and
be at ease concerning his welfare."
The Quaker rose from. the ground, but drew the boy
closer to her, while she gazed earnestly in Dorothy's
face. Her mild, but saddened features, and neat matron-
ly attire harmonized together, and were like a verse of
fireside poetry. Her very aspect proved thia she was
blameless, so far as mortal could be so, in respect to God
and man; while the enthusiast, in her robe of sackcloth
and girdle of knotted cord, had as evidently violated the
duties of the present life and the future, by fixing her at-
tention wholly on the latter. The two females, as they
held each a hand of Ilbrahim, formed a practical alle-
gory; it was rational piety and unbridled fanaticism
contending for the empire of a young heart.
THE GENTLE BOY.
Thou art not of our people," said the Quaker, mourn-
No, we are not of your people," replied Dorothy, with
mildness, but we are Christians, looking upward to the
same Heaven with you. Doubt not that your boy shall
meet you there, if there be a blessing on our tender and
prayerful guidance of him. Thither, I trust, my own
children have gone before me, for I also have been a
mother; I am no longer so," she added, in a ',l. ;,
tone, "and your son will have all my care."
But will ye lead him in the path which his parents
have trodden ? demanded the Quaker. Can ye teach
him the enlightened faith which his father has died for,
and for which I, even I, am soon to become an unworthy
martyr ? The boy has been baptized in blood; will ye
keep the mark fresh and ruddy upon his forehead ? "
"I will not deceive you," answered Dorothy. "If
your child become our child, we must breed him up in
the instruction which Heaven has imparted to us; we
must pray for him the prayers of our own faith; we
must do towards him according to the dictates of our
own consciences, and not of yours. Were we to act
otherwise, we should abuse your trust, even in complying
with your wishes."
The mother looked down upon her boy with a troubled
countenance, and then turned her eyes upward to Heav-
en. She seemed to pray i.l .. .II and the contention
of her soul was evident.
"Friend," she said at length to Dorothy, I doubt
not that my son shall receive all earthly tenderness at thy
hands. Nay, I will believe that even thy imperfect lights
may guide him to a better world; for surely thou art on
the path thither. But thou hast spoken of a husband.
Doth lie stand here among this multitude of people ?
96 TWICE-TOLD TALES.
Let him come forth, for I must know to whom I commit
this most precious trust."
She turned her face upon the male auditors, and after
a momentary delay, Tobias Pearson came forth'from
among them. The Quaker saw the dress which marked
his military rank, and shook her head; but then she
noted the hesitating air, the eyes that struggled with her
own, and were vanquished; tile color that went and came,
and could find no resting-place. As she gazed, an un-
mirthful smile spread over her features, like sunshine
that grows melancholy in some desolate spot. Her lips
moved inaudibly, but at length she spake.
"I hear it, I hear it. The voice speaketh within me
and saith, 'Leave thy child, Catharine, for his place is
here, and go hence, for I have other work for thee.
Break the bonds of natural affection, martyr thy love,
and know that in all these things eternal wisdom hath its
ends.' I go, friends, I go. Take ye my boy, my pre-
cious jewel. I go hence, trusting that all shall be well,
and that even for his infant hands there is a labor in tle
She knelt down and whispered to Ilbrahim, wlho at
first struggled and clung to his mother, with sobs and
tears, but remained passive when she had kissed his
cheek and arisen from the ground. Having held her
hands over his head in mental prayer, she was ready to
Farewell, friends in mine extremity," she said to
Pearson and his wife; "thle good deed ye have done me
is a treasure laid up in Heaven, to be returned a thou-
sand-fold hereafter. And farewell ye, mine enemies, to
whom it is not permitted to harim so much as a hair of
my head, nor to stay my footsteps even for a moment.
The day is coming when ye shall call upon me to witness
THE GENTLE BOY.
for ye to this one sin uncommitted, and I will rise up
She turned her steps towards the door, and the men,
who had stationed themselves to guard it, withdrew, and
suffered her to psss. A general sentiment of pily over-
came the virulence of religious hatred. Sanctified by her
love and her affliction, she went forth, and all the people
gazed after her till she had journeyed up the hill, and
was lost behind its brow. She went, the apostle of her
own unquiet heart, to renew the wanderings of past
years. For tier voice had been already heard in many
lands of Christendom ; and she had pined in the cells of
a Catholic Inquisition before she felt the lash, and lay in
the dungeons of the Puritans. Her mission had ex-
tended also to the followers of the Prophet, and from them
she had received the courtesy and kindness which all
the contending sects of our purer religion united to deny
her. Her husband and herself had resided many months
in Turkey, where even the Sultan's countenance was
gracious to them; in that pagan land, too, was Ilbrahim's
birthplace, and his Oriental name was a mark of gratitude
for the good deeds of an unbeliever.
When Pearson and his wife had thus acquired all the
rights over Ilbrahim that could be delegated, their affec-
tion for him became, like the memory of their native
land, or their mild sorrow for the dead, a piece of the
immovable furniture of their hearts. The boy, also,
after a week or two of mental disquiet, began to gratify
his protectors, by many inadvertent proofs that lie con-
sidered them as parents, and their house as home. Be-
fore the winter snows were melted, the persecuted infant,
tile little wanderer from a remote and heathen country,
seemed native in the New England cottage, and insepara-
VOL. I. 5 G
ble from the warmth and security of its hearth. Under
the influence of kind treatment, and in the consciousness
that he was loved, Ilbrahim's demeanor lost a premature
manliness which had resulted from his earlier situation;
he became more childlike, and his natural character dis-
played itself with freedom. It was in many respects a
beautiful one, yet the disordered imaginations of both his
father and mother had perhaps propagated a certain un-
healthiness in the mind of the boy. In his general state,
Ilbrahim would derive enjoyment from the most -,;;."
events, and from every object about him ; lie seemed to
discover rich treasures of happiness, by a faculty analo-
gous to that of the witch-lazel, which points to hidden
gold where all is barren to the eye. His airy gayety,
coming to him from a thousand sources, communicated
itself to the family, and Ilbrahim was like a domesticated
sunbeam, brightening moody countenances, and chasing
away the gloom from the dark corners of the cottage.
On the other hand, as the susceptibility of pleasure
is also that of pain, the exuberant cheerfulness of the
boy's prevailing temper sometimes yielded to moments
of deep depression. His sorrows could not always be
followed up to their original source, but most ^:,'. .-. 01,
they appeared to flow, though Ilbrahim was young to
be sad for such a cause, from wounded love. The flighti-
ness of his mirth rendered him often guilty of offences
against the decorum of a Puritan household, and on
these occasions he did not invariably escape rebuke.
But the slightest word of real bitterness, which lie was
infallible in distinguishing from pretended anger, seemed
to sink into his heart and poison all his enjoyments, till
lie became sensible that he was entirely forgiven. Of
the malice, which generally accompanies a ",.1 ih1>.
of sensitiveness, Ilbrahim was altogether destitute; when