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ruins, and looked more like heaps of rubbish and straw than houses. They were so low that the inmates, if they wished to look out, ran their heads through the chimney instead of through the door; and around them no gardens or fruit-trees could be seen, no joy or bustle of industry be heard. The children sat silent, leaning their heads against the wall, and dreaming of food; and close by stood the old work-horse, dumb and sleepy, and eating the straw from the roof. Only the ravens croaked loudly in the air with eager desire. The fields were in a like deplorable condition. The meadows and low grounds, undrained of the water rained upon them, grew into swamps; and the stagnant pools and mud infected the air with malaria. Forests, groves, and thickets grew up unrestrained, a shelter to beasts of prey and a harbor for large herds of deer, which destroyed the standing corn, a whole county often lying uncultivated, while the inhabitants roved about in bands as beggars. Thus it was evident to every one that the actual state of affairs, if not improved, would soon ruin the whole nation. At the same time, certain new ideas as to the way to make society happier, emanating from Rousseau's and Montesquieu's writings, and from the American war of independence, were spreading over all Europe, and taking root everywhere. The ancient idea that the State was analogous to a household, had become a sentimental and ridiculous fogyism. Men began to understand that, in society, there can be no right without a corresponding duty, and no duty without a corresponding right. It seemed not impossible to realize this scheme in Denmark, at least to a certain degree, without a revolu
tion. It was possible to make the peasant a free man, simply by transferring the power of enlistment from the hands of the lord to the hands of the king; and it was possible to make him independent of the lord so far as to secure to him the right of having property, by changing the tax-system, and establishing the relations between the lord and his tenants in the form of a contract.
This was done. When the crownprince Frederick, though but fourteen years old, took the reins of Government, in 1784, his father, the king, being imbecile, he appointed a committee of intelligent and magnanimous statesmen to regulate all matters concerning the peasantry. Edicts upon edicts were issued, and, as they had all been well considered, they were cautiously but firmly enforced; and the whole innovation was consummated without any tumult or disorder before the expiration of twenty years. Soon the fruits appeared. Houses arose, and the condition of the people arose with them. The exportation of corn doubled within ten years, and the taxes could be doubled also, for the country was blooming. Where, twenty years ago, a crowd of dirty little ones crawled about a drunken father and a scolding mother, happy-faced children played around their respectable parents, or listened to the mother reading the Bible, or the father telling the history of Christian IV. Where, twenty years ago, the bondman strolled in rags, to beg and to borrow, the tenant rode in a carriage with his family, to feast in the grove. And he who, in 1784, had sat a coward in the swamp, in 1801, when the English had fallen upon Copenhagen, flew voluntarily into the town to fight for his native land.
YOUNG Tom Collins, law-student, had just come into a strange inheritance. He sat solitary in his little boardinghouse room, trying to realize it.
"If the poor child hadn't me," he said to himself, "it could go and apply for admission to some institution. If I hadn't it, I could; but Lord! that is not the idea. I must decide what I am to do." Tom had solemnly promised to care for the new-born baby of his only sister, who had just died.
He tried to meditate. He had often before, during his life, made the same attempt, but had never to any extent succeeded. He did not seem like one born to take things into very serious consideration. But this case seemed to require it. No good joke came to the rescue. Tom really had never in his twenty-two years felt such an awful sense of gloom. His natural hilarity could only suggest to his mind the rather poor consolation that he "had at least over night to consider on the business."
Here Tom was interrupted by a knock on the door-an occurrence unusual enough in the little upper room where he had long since ceased regarding even the bell-pull as a resort in any extremity, so completely was he accustomed to be let alone.
Before Tom could respond to the knock it was followed by a cry of mingled entreaty and command, such as only hungry babies know how to emit.
"I've fetched the poor little dear around, sir!" remarked a woman whose marvellous rotundity of person showed to fine advantage as she waved her screaming parcel as though it were incense wherewith to purify Tom's bachelor-room.
"Good Lord!" he ejaculated.
"You'd ought to git a cow," said nurse, still brandishing her charge. "There! there! there! It's got wind this
minute, mixin' milk. Have you found a nurse, sir? And baby wants clothes."
"It's got on too many clothes now," said Tom. "I think that's what it's crying about; see how red and hot it is!"
Poor inexperienced Tom! he had offended the woman-cast recklessly overboard his only anchor!
She dropped her shrieking charge upon Tom's bed, and started towards the door.
"Very well, sir!" she said solemnly, "I see you know all about babies—I may go!"
"Oh! oh!" gasped Tom, "do not! In the name of mercy do not! It shall have clothes! Why do you say I want a nurse? Are not you one? I assure you I know nothing, absolutely nothing of babies!-I never to my knowledge touched one!"
Real despair is impressive. The woman was mollified.
“I am, sir,” she said, turning confi. dentially to Tom, "a monthly. I am willing to stay with you while I can. But, sir, a person in my position is no dependence. My summons may come any day or hour. It's impossible to calculate. Day and night is all the same to me. There ain't on earth to me a thing so inscrutable as this impossibility of calculating when we shall be sent for. I'll work for you while I can, sir, but when my call comes, no earthly thing can keep me."
Tom took all these remarks in a religious point of view. From a person of Mrs. Primmins' robustness, they amazed him. He felt a vague fear lest, as he mentally expressed it, there might be "a bee in the old lady's bonnet."
"Oh! cheer up! cheer up, Auntie," he said, "you look hale and hearty. You've overtired yourself with my poor sister. If you'll stay and take charge of that little thing for me, I'll risk your getting a 'summons.'"
"Your poor sister found great consolation in your promise for her child," remarked Mrs. Primmins pathetically. "It's a desperate resort leaving a baby to a young man, but in her strait she was fain to catch at any straw."
"Can you," said Tom, looking gloomily at his now silent prize on the bed, "can you give me any advice? You couldn't have waited till to-morrow before bringing it, could you?" he added half reproachfully.
"Of course not," said Mrs. Primmins. "Well! you're no account! Now let me think."
"To think of living always with death grinning one in the face like that," he muttered.
In the night Tom's dream of peace was again dispelled.
Another knock on his door.
"Am I under a ban?" growled Tom; "what's the matter now?"
"I'm called," said the voice of Mrs. Primmins, "my summons has come!"
"Oh, the devil!" cried Tom, lost to. all sense of the importance of conciliating the nurse. "Go to bed! Hold on till morning!
In the morning Tom, who, happy fel
Do, in Heaven's name," ejaculated low! always slept soundest under a Tom.
Mrs. Primmins placed herarms akimbo. Tom fervently prayed for light on the meditations.
"I have it," cried Mrs. Primmins; "Malviny's got to take it!
"Bless your dear soul," responded Tom. "Malviny's the very one! What a talent you have for managing, auntie dear!"
There was Tom, his very self! He had hit on exactly the right compliment to pay the old nurse. He was actually floating through life on this instinct he had for saying the most pleasant thing to every body. Mrs. Primmins of all things desired the reputation of a manœuvrer, as it was, of course, the one of all others that she did not deserve.
"Yes," she cried, chuckling, "I can manage. Let me alone! And first thing in the morning, I'll go there with you. Now," said she, seizing her charge, who was beginning to squirm, now I'll see what's to be got out of your landlady.".
Winking violently with first one eye and then the other, she started to go; then, with a sudden solemnity, she reinserted her head in the doorway.
"If I'm summoned," she said, "it's above all else. If I'm called, I must go, day or night! "
"Certainly," said Tom, much puzzled, "but you won't be, Auntie!" As the young man walked abroad to get his dinner, he felt impressed with an almost mysterious awe of the old nurse.
sense of depression, did not make his appearance until nine o'clock. He found that Mrs. Primmins had actually disappeared for parts unknown. In the arms of his hitherto stern landlady he found his charge nestling. A new light-that of love-was beaming in the solemn woman's eye, that woman, thought Tom, who would see any one of her boarders starve and rot for ten cents a-day saved! He looked at his little responsibility with a feeling of awe, almost a suspicion of witchcraft. It is customary to shake the head, and wonder at the amazing Providence that sometimes removes a mother and throws a young infant upon the charity of others! Why not also consider reverently the innate instinct of motherhood that rises in every female heart at sight of a baby so bereaved!
"I have undertaken," said the landlady, giving Tom a smile such as he had never dreamed could rest on her features, "I have undertaken to go with you in search of Mrs. Primmins' niece, Malviny!
Several hours later, Tom Collins sprang from a light wagon in which he had driven to the door of a pretty cottage.
"We will make one last effort by inquiring here," he said to his landlady, who held the baby.
With his usual impetuosity he pushed directly through into the little rear kitchen. There, he forgot his errand, forgot every thing except what he saw. A young girl, plump, neat, and rosy,
stood, with round arms bared, before a table. She was assiduously occupied in caressing, with her white hands, little lumps of dough into shape. Then she placed them in rows in a big black pan. For a moment she did not see Tom. He, unreasoning, impulsive fellow, forgot his errand-forgot every thing, in short, and began envying those lumps of dough. He felt instinctively that he, too, possessed a great capacity for being moulded by some such hands as those.
Suddenly she turned. Such a dimpling smile! such rosy embarrassment! Tom, great black-haired, jetty-eyed giant that he was, thought this little plump blonde an angel. Thought! why, he was sure of it!
After a while he came partially to his senses, and said, "I'm looking for one Malvina Barker."
"And that is me," said the rosy lips. "Then I've brought you a baby," he said abruptly.
A good deal of astonishment can be put into a pair of bright blue eyes without spoiling them-and so there was. Fortunately, at this point the landlady appeared, and so, a moment later, did Malvina's mother, called up from the cellar by the voices.
Negotiations were soon completed. Tom again in his little room, found it the loneliest, dreariest place he had ever in his life looked upon.
A couple of days later he concluded that it would be inhuman not to go and inquire after his little charge. In an incredibly short space of time he was seized with the same impression again. Then he went to take to baby, who had not yet learned that the moon is more distant than the door-knob, a box of geographical blocks. Then he went to inquire if it needed pocket-money; and he told Malvina that he knew she was not kept awake nights with it, because her eyes were so bright.
This time Malvina's mother told Tom that of course they were very plain people, and no fit associates for a young 66 'gent" like him, but that if he wished to stay, there was plenty of strawberries and cream for tea.
Tom stayed, and after tea the moon came out. Oh! that wicked, shameless moon! Tom, by its light, told Malvina right out that her eyes were bluer than Heaven-her lips sweeter than rosesand all that.
When they parted, Malvina went to her room and cried.
What could such a perfect king of a man mean by talking like that to her? Of course, he could not mean to marry a little school-mistress only home on a vacation!
Tom acted queerly, too, when alone in his room. He took a pencil and paper, and figured and calculated. He made a list of all the little properties he possessed. He added them up and he added them down. Then he set down a list of all the things he was accustomed to spend money upon that could be dispensed with. Then he brought out a book on economy, where it tells how a man can live cheaper with a frugal wife than he can alone. He was astonished to find that book so intensely interesting!
The next day Tom went again to see the baby. In fact, it had seemed to him as though the afternoon never would come. He had more waiting to do at the cottage,for Malvina's mother received him, and she did not appear. At last his impatience spurred him to ask.
"I don't want you to see her again, young man. I will be frank with you and tell the truth!"
"Oh! Mrs. Barker," cried Tom.
"She's a simple child, sir, and is in danger not to understand that attentions from one like you can mean nothing."
"Dear Mrs. Barker, you mistake me entirely. I must see her this once. I must indeed! If she sends me away, I will never come again."
Tom conquered. When he explained to Malvina about his small income and consulted with her about its sufficiency, she told him that he ought to be ashamed indeed to waste such heaps of money on one. He should have sent half to the heathen.
Tom's income has thus far held out better than when he was single. Young men, try it!
SOCIETY versus INSANITY.
ON the 10th of November, 1854-as related by M. Devergie in a memoir read before the Imperial Academy of Medicine at Paris-a young man aged nineteen, the son of a prominent merchant of Bordeaux, dined with his father, to whom he was much attached, and his stepmother, whom he had regarded with gradually increasing aversion for several years.
The dinner passed without any unusual incidents till dessert, when young Julius left the table and repaired to the drawing-room to warm himself. Not finding a fire kindled, he went to his own chamber, took his fowling-piece and started out for a stroll through the country, as was his custom. He had not left the house, however, before the idea of suicide, which had haunted his mind for several weeks, suddenly recurred to him, and was as suddenly changed into the thought of killing his stepmother.
Without stopping one instant he threw aside his fowling-piece, and going to his brother's room took two pistols which had been loaded three weeks. He had pistols of his own which he might have taken, and which had been charged only the day before.
He descended into the dining-room, approached his stepmother, who was still at the table with his father, and pointing a pistol at her head, discharged it with instantly fatal effect.
Madame X. fell to the floor, and the young man recoiling, rested motionless against the wall. His father rose to seize him, but a temporary feeling of self-preservation being aroused in Julius, he fled across the kitchen, through the midst of the terrified domestics, and escaped from the house, crying, "I am a madman, an idiot; I have killed my stepmother!"
He soon, however, changed his mind, and surrendered himself to the commis
sary of police, to whom he related all the circumstances of the crime.
Before and until the murder, the life of this young man had been exemplary. He had performed his duties in the counting house of his father with assiduity, and was an excellent son and brother. Though rich, he had studiously avoided dissipation of every kind.
Such were the obvious features of the homicidal act. Julius was tried before the Imperial Court at Pau. Calmeil, Tardien, and Devergie, the most eminent alienists in France, testified in favor of the insanity of the prisoner, and he was acquitted on that ground.
But it was mainly through the evidence of the last of the physicians named that this result was brought about. Instead of confining his testimony to abstract theories, Devergie dwelt at length upon the concomitant circumstances of the homicide, the antecedents of the accused, his several characteristics, and his conduct subsequent to the deed. From the inquiries which he made he ascertained that the young man had among his ancestors a maternal uncle who had a propensity to suicide, and who died insane; another maternal relative who had all his life been eccentric, and a paternal aunt who had actually killed herself.
It was also developed that the accused had always been subject to motiveless outbursts of passion. One day he struck a servant with his whip for not being sufficiently active in obeying an order, and another day he became furiously angry because he could not at once enter a room where his stepmother was taking a bath. "When he became very angry," said one of the witnesses, "he always seized upon something or some one."
He had also been contemplating suicide, and a month before the offence, had given his views at length upon the subject to Dr. Brunet. He was taciturn