As a merchant seaman in New England, Randolph was registered for insurance as recorded August 15, 1845. This novel and its companion Ravalette reflect the author’s experiences at sea.
THE DOUBLE DREAM.
.——. ” and saw within the moonlight of his room——— An angel, writing in a book of gold. “LEIGH HUNT.” [These lines are from Abou Ben Adhem, a poem about a Sufi saint published in 1834 by English Romantic poet Leigh Hunt (1784-1859)]
AND so you like the text, do you? Very well, I will now see how much better you will be pleased with the sermon. Listen: “‘I cannot and will not stand this any longer. Here am I, yet a young man—in the very prime and heyday of life, and I do believe that I shall be a regular corpse in less than no time, if a change for the better don’t very soon take place in my family; that’s just as certain as “open and shut.” She, ah, she, is killing me by inches—the vampire! Would that I had been thirty-five million of miles the other side of nowhere the day I married her. Don’t I though, Betsey—Betsey Clark is killing me! No love, no kindness, not a soft look, never a gentle smile. Oh, don’t I wish somebody’s funeral was over; but not mine; for I feel quite capable of loving, of being happy yet, and of making somebody’s daughter happy likewise. People may well say that marriage is a lottery—a great lottery; for, if there’s one thing surer than another, then it is perfectly certain that I have drawn the very tallest kind of a blank; and hang me, if it wasn’t for the disgrace of the thing, if I wouldn’t run off and hitch myself for life to one of the Hottentots I have read about; for anything would be better than this misery, long strung out. Oh, don’t I wish I was a Turk! When a fellow’s a Turk he can have ever so many wives—and strangle all of ’em that don’t suit him or come to Taw[Wake snakes and come to Taw” was an Appalachian folk expression] as they ought to. Bully for the Turks! I wish I knew how to turn myself into one. If I did, I’d be the biggest kind of a Mohammedan afore mornin’!”
“Such was the substance of about the thousandth soliloquy on the same subject, to the same purport, delivered by Mr Thomas W. Clark, during the last seven years of his wedded life. The gentleman named delivered himself of the contented and philanthropic speech just recited, on the morning of a fine day, just after the usual morning meal—and quarrel with his wife, de jure—female attendant would better express the relation de facto. Mr. Clark was not yet. aware that a woman is ever just what her husband’s conduct makes her a thing that some husbands besides himself have yet to learn.
“Every day this couple’s food was seasoned with sundry and divers sorts of condiments other than those in the castor. There was a great deal of pickle from his side of the gay and festive board, in the shape of jealous, spiteful innuendoes; and from her side much delicate sauce piquante, in the form of’ sweet allusions to a former husband, whom she declared to have been ‘the very best husband that was ever sent to’—a premature grave by a vixen—she might have added, truthfully, but did not, finishing the sentence with, ‘to be loved by a tender, gentle wife’—like her! The lady had gotten bravely over all her amiable weaknesses long ago. Gentle! what are tigresses? Tender! what is a virago? So for the man. Now for his mate.
“Scarcely had her lord— Mr. Thomas W.,’ as she was wont to call him—gone out of the house, and slammed the door behind him, at the same time giving vent to the last bottleful of spleen distilled and concocted in his soul, than ‘Mrs. Thomas W.,’ or poor Betsey Clark, as I prefer to call her—for she was truly, really pitiable, for more reasons than one, but mainly because she had common sense and would not exercise it sufficiently to make the best of a bad bargain— threw herself upon the bed, where she cried a little, and raved a good deal, to the self-same tune as of yore. Getting tired of both these delightful occupations very soon, she varied them by striking an attitude before a portrait of the dear defunct—badly executed—the portrait, not the man—whose name she bore when she became Mistress Thomas W. This picture of a former husband Tom Clark had not had courage or sense enough to put his foot through, but did have bad taste sufficient to permit to hang up in the very room where he lived and ate, and where its beauties were duly and daily expatiated upon, and the virtues of its original lauded to the skies, of course to the intense delight of Mr. Clark.
“Madam had a tongue—a regular patent, venom-mounted, back-spring and double-actioned tongue, and, what is more, knew well how to use it when the fit was on, which, to do her justice, was not more than twenty-three hours and a half each day. Never did an opportunity offer that she did not avail herself of to amplify the merits of the deceased, especially in presence of such visitors as chance or business brought to their house, all to the especial delectation of her living spouse, Mr. Thomas W. Clark.
“Just look at her now! There she is, kneeling at her shrine, my lady gay, vehemently pouring forth the recital of her wrongs—forgetful of any one else’s, as usual with the genus grumbler— dropping tears and maledictions, now on her own folly, then on the devoted head of him she had promised to love, honor, and obey, Mr. Clark, fruit-grower, farmer, and horse-dealer. Exhausted at length, she winds up the dramatic scene by invoking all the blessings of all the saints in all the calendars on the soul of him whose counterfeit presentment hangs there upon the wall. “If this couple did not absolutely hate each other, they came so near it that a Philadelphia lawyer would have been puzzled to tell t’other from which, and yet nobody but themselves had the least idea of the real state of things—those under-currents of married life that only occasionally breach through and extensively display themselves in the presence of third parties. In the very nature of the case, how absurd it is for outsiders to presume to know the real status of affairs— to comprehend the actual facts which exist behind the curtains of every or any married couple in the land. Hymen is a fellow fond of wearing all sorts of masks and disguises; and it often happens that tons of salt exist where people suppose nothing but sugar and lollypops are to be found.
“Tom and his wife—the latter, especially—pretended to a vast deal of loving—kindness—oh, how great—toward each other—and they were wise—in the presence of other people you would have thought, had you seen them billing and cooing like a pair of ‘Turkle Doves’—to quote the ‘Bard” of Baldwinsville’ [a town in upstate New York]—that there never was so true, so perfect a union as their own; and would not have entertained the shadow of a doubt but that they had been expressly formed for each other from the foundations of the world, if not before. No sooner did they meet—before folks, even after the most trifling absence—than they mutually fell to kissing and ‘dearing,’ like two swains just mated, all of which made fools wonder, but wise people to grieve. Physical manifestations are not quite Love’s methods; and it is a safe rule that those who most ape love externally, have less of it within— and in private, so great a difference is there between Behind and Before, in these matters of the heart. Billing and cooling before folks acts as a nauseant upon sensible men and women, and in this case it did upon a few of the better class of the city of Santa Blarneeo, [San Francisco, as evident in later references to Telegraph Hill] within a few miles of which Clark lived.
“Betsey Clark gave a last, long, lingering look at the portrait, saying: the while: ‘Don’t I wish you were alive and back here again, my love, my darling, my precious duck? Lucky for him was It that such could not be for had it been possible, and actualized, he would have been finely plucked, not to say roasted, stewed, perpetually broiled, and in every way done brown. ‘If you were here, I should be happy, because you was a man; but this one (meaning Tom), bah!’ and the lady bounced upon her feet and kicked the cat by way of emphasis. She resumed: ‘I can’t stand it, and I won’t, there! that’s flat! I’m still young, and people of sense tell me I am handsome—at least, good-looking. I’m certain the glass does, and no doubt there are plenty who would gladly link their lot with mine if he was only dead!’ And she shuddered as the fearful thought had birth. ‘Dead! I wish he was; and true as I live, I’ve a great good mind to accomplish my wish!’ And again she shuddered. Poor woman, she was indeed tempted of the devil! As the horrible suggestion flashed across the sea of her soul, it illumined many a deep chasmal abyss, of whose existence, up to that moment she had been utterly unaware.
“The human soul is a fearful thing, especially when it stands bare before the Eternal Eye, with myriad snakeforms—its own abnormal creation, writhing round and near it. A fearful thing! And Betsey Clark trembled in the ghastly presence of Uncommitted Murder, whose glance of lurid flame set fire to her heart, and scorched and seared it with consuming heat. Its flashful light lasted but for a moment; but even that was a world too long, for it illumined all the dark caverns of her soul, and disclosed to the horrified gaze of an aerial being which that instant chanced to pass that way—an abyssmal deep of Crime-possibility, so dense, black and terrible, that it almost shrivelled the eyeballs and shrouded the vision of the peerless citizen of the upper courts of Glory.
“Suddenly the radiant Heaven-born ceased its flight through the azure, looked pityingly earth and heaven-ward, heaved a deep and soul-drawn sigh, and stayed awhile to gaze upon the Woman and the Man. Long it gazed, at first in sorrow, but presently a smile passed across its face, as if a new and good thought had struck it, and then it darted off into space, as if intent upon discovering a cure for the desperate state of things just witnessed. ‘Did it succeed?’ ‘Wait awhile and see.
“Human nature is a very curious and remarkable institution; so is woman nature, only a great deal more so—especially that of the California persuasion. Still it was not a little singular that Tom’s wife’s mind should have engendered (of Hate and Impatience) the precise thought that agitated his own at that very minute—that very identical crime-thought which had just rushed into being from the deeps of his own spirit—twin monsters, sibilating ‘Murder!’ in both their ears.
“There is as close a sympathy between opposites and antagonists, indeed far greater, than between similarities—as strong attractions between opposing souls as in those fashioned in the same mould. True, this affirmation antagonizes many notions among current philosophies and philosophers; but it is true, notwithstanding, and therefore so much the worse for the philosophers.
“The same fearful thought troubled two souls at the same time, and each determined to do a little private killing on their own individual and separate accounts. As yet, however, — only the intent existed. The plans were yet crude, vague, immature, and only the crime loomed up indistinctly, like a grim, black mountain through a wintry fog.
“The day grew older by twelve hours, but when the sunset came, ten years had fastened themselves upon the brows of both the Woman and the Man since last they had parted at rosy morn.
Bad thoughts are famous for making men grow old before the weight of years has borne them earthward. They wrinkle the brow and bring on decrepitude, senility and grey hairs faster than Time himself can possibly whirl bodies graveward.
The rolling hours and the circling years are less swift than evil thoughts of evil doing. Right doing, innocence and well-wishing make us young; bad thoughts rob us of youth, vivacity, and manhood! Let us turn to Mr. and Mrs. Thomas W.:
“‘Night was on the mountain, Darkness in the valley,
And only stars could guide them now In the doubtful rally. [From The Missionary’s Burial by James Montgomery, 1824.]
There was a star hung out in the sky, and she had already determined to watch their destinies; with what success, and in what manner, will be apparent before finishing my story, every word of which is true in one sense, if not precisely in another.
“The sun had set, and slowly the moon was uprising—blessed moon! God’s Left Eye, wherewith He at night overlooketh the thoughts and deeds of solitary men and solitary women—for only such are capable of crime—those only who are, and live alone—and many such there be, even at their own firesides, surrounded by their own families, own flesh, own blood—fathers, mothers, wives (as times go), husbands (as they are conventionally called). Many there be who exist in dreadful solitudes in the very midst of human crowds—Who live alone and pass through life, from the cradle to the grave, perfect strangers, perfect hermits, wholly unknowing, totally unknown, like interlopers on the globe, whose very right to be here all the world disputes. Friends, I have seen many such—have you? These lonely people, these exotics, these insulars in the busy haunts of men—the teeming hives of commerce—alone in earth’s well-paced market-towns—in the very saturnalia—of TRADE’S gala days; and they are to be pitied, because they all have human, yearning hearts, filled to the brim with great strangling sorrows; and they have high and holy aspirations, only that the world chokes them down—crushes out the pure, sweet life God gave them. These are the Unloved ones; yet ought not to be, for are they not somebody’s sons and daughters? Yes! Then they have rights ; and the first, greatest, highest right of all is the right of being loved—loved by the people of the land— our world-cousins, for what we do, are doing, or have done; and to be loved, for the sake of the dear soul within, by somebody else’s son or daughter.
“So think we of the Rosicrucian Order; so, one day, will think the world.”
At this point of the Rosicrucian’s narrative, Captain Jones, one of his auditory, interrupted him with:
“Why, I thought the Rosicrucian system had been dead, buried, and forgotten two centuries ago.”
He replied: “The false or pseudo—Rosicrucian system has ceased to be. Truth herself is deathless. I cannot now stop to explain what interests you concerning the revived system of Rosicrucianism. You will now please to allow me to proceed with my story,” said he, and then resumed, saying:
“I repeat that only those who live alone, unloved, unloving, are they who, becoming morbid, having all their kindly feelings driven back upon themselves, daily, hourly eating up their own hearts—brooding over their wrongs, their social and other misfortunes—at length engender crime, if not against their fellow-men, then against themselves.” Oh, for something to love, and be loved by, if but a little pet dog! The unloved ever are wrecked, the unloving ever wreck others. It is sweet to be loved by even a dumb brute! But, ah, how inexpressibly, how infinitely better to be endeared for yourself alone—for your integral wealth of soul—by a Man, a full, true Man; by a Woman, a full, gushing-hearted Woman; or, sweeter, dearer still, a child—some glorious hero of—a hobby-horse, some kitten-torturing Cora! Ah, what a chord to touch! I am very fond of children dear little Godlings of the Ages. Those who reciprocate affection truly, are too full of God to keep a devil’s lodging house. It is a dear thing to feel the great truth—one of Rosicrucia’s truths—that nothing is more certain than that somewhere, perhaps on earth, perhaps in some one of the innumerable aromal worlds—star-spangles on God’s diadem or from amidst the mournful monodies in material creation—some one loves us; and that there goeth up a prayer, sweet toned as seraph-harps, to Him for you, my weary brother, for you, my sister of the dark locks turning prematurely grey; for all of us whose paths through life have been thickly strewn with thorns and rocks, sharp boulders and deep and frightful pit-falls—great threatening, yawning gulfs:
“‘Oh, the little birds sing east, and the little birds sing west, Toll slowly. And I smile to think God’s greatness flows around our incompleteness, Round our restlessness His rest.’
“Somebody loves us for ourselves’ sake. Thank God for that!”
And the pale, silver shield of the moon hangs out in the radiant blue, and myriad gods look down, through starry eyes, upon this little world, as it floats, a tiny bubble, on Space’s vast ocean; and they speak through their eyes, and bid us all love the Supreme, by loving one another; and they say, ‘Love much! Such is the whole duty of man.’ The moon, God’s night— eye, takes note of all ye do, and is sometimes forced to withdraw behind cloud-veils, that ye may not behold her sweet features while she weeps at the sad spectacle of thy wrong doing! Luna, gentle Luna, dote not like to peer down into human souls, and there behold the slimy badness, which will ere long breed deeds of horror to make her lovely face more pale—things which disfigure the gardens of man’s spirit, and transform them into tangled brakes, where only weeds and unsightly things do grow. And Luna has a recording angel sitting on the shield, whose duty is to flash all intelligence up to His deific brain, in whose service she hath ever been. He is just, inexorably just, ever rewarding as man sinneth or obeys. And so it is poor policy to sin by night. It is equally so to sin by day; for then the Sun—God’s Right Eye—fails not to behold you, for he is always shining, and his rays pierce the clouds and light up the world, even though thick fogs and dense vapors conceal his radiant countenance from some. He sees man, though man beholds him not; and he photographs all human thoughts and deeds upon the very substance of the soul, and that, too, so well and deeply, that nothing will destroy the picture; no sophistical ‘All Right’ lavements can wash it away, no philosophic bath destroy it. They are indelible, these sun—pictures on the spirit, and they are, some of them, very unsightly things to hang in the grand Memory—Galleries of the imperishable human soul; for, in the coning epochs of existence, as—man moves’ down the corridors of Time, these pictures will still hang upon the walls, and if evil, will peer down sadly and reproachfully, and fright many a joy away, when man would fain be rid, but cannot, of pain—provoking recollections, when his body shall be stranded on the shores of the grave, and his spirit is being wafted over strange and mystic seas on the farther brink of Time!
“Night had come down, and Mr. and Mrs. Thomas W. retired to bed, each with thoughts of murder rankling in their hearts. Not a word was spoken, but they lay with throbbing pulses, gazing out upon the night, through a little window at the foot of the bed, whose upper sash was down, gazing out upon the starry lamps that skirt the highways of the sky, beacons of safety placed there to recall and guide all stray and wandering souls back on their way to Heaven and they silently looked at the stars as they twinkled and shimmered in the azure.
“The stars shone; and strange, horrible, ghastly thoughts agitated the woman and the man. ‘Tom might get sick, and he might die! Isn’t it possible to feed him with a little arsenic, or some other sort of poison, and not get caught at it?
I think it is. He, once dead, I shall be. free—free as the air, and happy as the birds! Happy! Think of it!
“Is it not possible to push Betsey over the cliff, accidentally, of course, and thus rid myself of her and misery together, and forever!’ Forever! Picture it! And thus they lay as the night wore on, two precious immortal souls, with rank Murder for a bed—fellow.
“At the end of an hour’s cogitation, both had reached the desperate resolution to carry their wishes into execution, and attempt the fearful crime.
“‘Come down in thy profoundest gloom— Without one radiant firefly’s light, Beneath thine ebon arch entomb Earth from the gaze of Heaven, O Night. A deed of darkness must be done, Put out the moon, roll back the sun.’ [From The Missionary’s Burial by James Montgomery, 1824]
“Betsey was to ‘season’ Tom’s coffee; he was very fond of coffee. Tom was to treat Betsey to a ride in a one-horse shay, and topple the shay, horse, and ‘Mrs. Thomas W.—all except his mother’s only son—over a most convenient and inviting little precipice, a trifle over four hundred feet deep, with boulders at the bottom rather thicker than autumn leaves in Vallambrossa, [a Benedictine monastery near Florence to which Milton refers in Paradise Lost] and a good deal harder. All this was to be the result of ‘accident,’ and ‘inscrutible Providence,’ as a matter of course. Afterwards he was to buy a’ slashing suit’ of mourning, bury what was left of her in grand style, erect a fine headstone of marble, announcing that—
“‘The Lord gave, and the Lord took away, Blessed be the name of the Lord an inscription many a spouse would like to read in their own cases!”
The proposed locality of the fall of woman ‘luckily’ lay right on the road between their house and Santa Blarneeo. Each thought, ‘I may not be able to achieve the exploit upon which I am bent, but one thing is certain, which is that it shall not fail for want of trying. Once fairly accomplished, freedom comes, and then for a high old time!’ So thought the woman; so thought the man. “Night has various and strange influences, which are altogether unknown to the day. The Magi, on the plains of Chaldea, the astrologers of early Egypt, and the whole ancient world duly acknowledged the power of the astral bodies. The whole interest of Bulwer’s ‘Zanoni’ hinges on the soul—expanding potentiality of a star upon Clarence Glyndon, one of the heroes of that Rosicrucian story. Indeed, the whole august fraternity, from the neophyte of last week to Ross and Henri More, down to Appolonius of Tyanoe, and away through the Ages to Thothmes, and down beyond all the Egyptian dynasties to Zytos, and still away into the very heart of the Pre—Adamite Eras, we know, held strange doctrines concerning stars; and if the historian of the Order, the great Mirandolo, be not mistaken, our Brotherhood possesses the key that reveals the nature of the starry influences, and how they may be gained. Of my own knowledge—for I am but in the fifth degree, therefore do not know all these mysteries—there are Destinies in the stars. Well, on this particular night, the star known as Hesper, she of the pale mild eye, was looking straight into the room where lay the precious pair, and it shone through the little window at the foot of the bed. The night was sultry—a little window—summer was in the ascendant—and the upper sash was down. Remember this, the upper sash was down.
“And now a strange thing occurred, a very strange and mysterious thing. Just as Tom Clark and his wife had been magnetized into a sort of restless sleep from gazing at the star—an uneasy, disturbed, nervous, but dreamless sleep—as if a heavy, thick and murky cloud just floated off a stagnant’ marsh, there descended upon—the house a pestilent, slimy mist, and it gathered over and about the roof; and it entered, rolling heavily, into the chamber, coming through that little window at the foot of the bed.
“It was a thick, dense, iron-greyish mist, approaching blackness, only that there was a sort of turgid redness, not a positive color, but as if it had floated over the depths of hell, and caught a portion of its infernal luminosity. And it was thick and dank, and dense and very heavy; and it swept and rolled, and poured into the room in thick, voluminous masses—into the very room, and about the couch where tossed in uneasy slumber the woman and the man. And it filled the apartment, and hung like a pall about their couch; and its fetor oppressed their senses; and it made their breath come thick, and difficult, and wheezing from their lungs. It was dreadful! And their breath mingled with the strange vapor, apparently endowing it with a kind of horrid life, a sort of semi-sentience; and gave it a very peculiar and fearful movement—orderly, systematic, gyratory, pulsing movement— the quick, sharp breath of the woman, the deep and heavy breath of the man. And it had come through the window at the foot of the bed, for the upper sash was down.
“Slowly, and with regular, spiracular, wavy motion, with gentle undulations, like the measured roll of the calm Pacific Sea, the gentle sea on which I am sailing toward the Pyramids and my Cora—six years old, and so pretty! Pyramids ten thousand years old, and so grand! Like the waves of that sea did the cloud begin to move gyrally around the chamber, hanging to the curtains, clinging to the walls, but as if dreading the moonlight, carefully avoiding the window through which it had come, the little window at the foot of the bed—whose upper sash was down.
“Soon, very soon, the cloud commenced to change the axis of its movement, and to condense into a large globe of iron—hued nebule; and it began a contrary revolution; and it floated thus, and swam like a dreadful destiny over the unconscious sleepers on the bed, after which it moved to the western side of the room, and became nearly stationary in an angle of the wall, where for a while it stood or floated, silent, appalling, almost motionless, changeless, still.
“At the end of about six minutes it moved again, and in a very short time assumed the gross but unmistakable outline of a gigantic human form—an outline horrible, black as night—a frowning human form—cut not sharply from the vapor, but still distinctly human in its shapeness—but very imperfect, except the head, which was too frightfully complete to leave even a lingering doubt but that some black and hideous devilry was at work in that little chamber. And the head was infamous, horrible, gorgonic; and its glare was terrible, infernal, blasting, ghastly— perfectly withering in its expression, proportions and aspect.
“The THING, this pestilent thing was bearded with the semblance of a tangled mass of coarse, grey iron wire. Its hair was as a serried coil of thin, long, venom-laden, poison distilling snakes. The nose, mouth, chin and brows were ghastly, and its sunken cheeks were those of Famine intensified. The face was flat and broad, its lips the lips of incarnate hate and lust combined. Its color was the greenish blue of corpses on a summer battle-field, suffused with the angry redness of a demon’s spite, while its eyes—great God!—its eye—for there was but one, and that one in the very centre of its forehead, between the nose and brow—was bloodshot and purple, gleaming with infernal light, and it glamored down with more than fiendish malignance upon the woman and the man.
“Nothing about this Thing was clearly cut or defined, except the head—its hideous, horrible head. Otherwise it was incomplete—a sort of spectral Formlessness. It was unfinished, as was the awful crime—thought that had brought it into being. It was on one side apparently a male, on the other it looked like a female; but, taken as a whole, it was neither man nor woman, it was neither brute nor human, but it was a monster and a ghoul—born on earth of human parents. There are many such things stalking our streets, and invisibly presiding over festal scenes, in dark cellars, by the lamp, in the cabinet and camp; and many such are daily peering down upon the white paper on the desks where sit grave and solemn Ministers of State, who, for Ambition’s sake and greed of gold, play with an Empire’s destiny as children do with toys, and who, with the stroke of a pen, consign vast armies to bloody graves—brave men, glorious hosts, kept back while victory is possible—kept back till the foeman has dug their graves just in front of his own stone walls and impenetrable ramparts—and then sent forward to glut the ground with human blood. Do you hear me, Ministers of State? I mean you! you who practically regard men’s lives as boys regard the minnows of a brook. I mean you who sit in high places, and do murder by the wholesale—you who treat the men as half foes, half friends, tenderly; men whose hands are griped with the iron grip of death around the Nation’s throat—the Nation’s throat—do you hear?—and crushing out the life that God and our fathers gave it. Remember Milliken’s Bend, Port Hudson, Fort Wagner, and the Black Heroes of the war—Noble men— Black, too, but the bravest of the brave—yet treated not as heroes ought to be. Forget not Fredericksburg! And bear in mind that this gorgon of your own creation will not quit you, day or night—not even on your dying day, when it will hiss into your ears, ‘Father, behold, embrace me?’—,and its slime will fall upon and choke you, as you have choked our country. And the sheeted ghosts of six hundred thousand heroes, slaughtered by a whim, will mournfully upbraid, and—perhaps— forgive you. Will the weeping widows and the countless orphans—pale, blue—cast women, pale with grief, blue with want; orphans, poor little shrivelled, halfstarved orphans—will they forgive you? will your own conscience? will the Eternal God of Heaven? Why did you sacrifice these six hundred thousand men? Why did you not put your guns and swords in the hands of six hundred thousand men—men who had God’s best gifts to fight for and maintain—Liberty and their wives? Black men, too brawny, brave, strong—hearted, Freedom—nerved, God—inspired black men. No black man yet ever sold his country! Why don’t you first remove their disabilities here in the North? Why don’t you bid them rise and be men? Why grudge freemen the pay of other free men; the bounty, the pension, of other heroes of the same rank? Do this, let the Negro understand that you concede his manhood, and appreciate his prowess; let him once know that you are grateful for all he does for the country, and proclaim it to the world, and Black men will flock to your standard, not only from your own soil, but from every spot on earth where civilized black men exist.
“See, yonder is a plain, miles in extent. In its centre there stands an obelisk. Go, Ministers of State, and plant on its top a banner, upon which shall be emblazoned this magic sentence: ‘Freedom—Personal, Political, and Social, to the Black man—and protection of his Rights forever, and there will be more magnetic power in it than in ten thousand Ministers, with their little whims; ten thousand ‘Fancy Generals,’ with their ‘pretty little games,’ and such would be History’s record when she handed you down the ages. If you would live in the sacred page, and have your names shine brightly, act, act at once, cut the cords that now bind the Black man. Say to him: ‘Come as a man, not as a chattel! Come with me to Enfranchisement and Victory! Let us save the Nation!’ and the swiftwinged winds will bear the sound from pole to pole, from sea to sea, and from continent, island, and floating barks, from hills, valleys, and mountains, from hut, hovel, and dismal swamps, will come a vast and fearful host, in numbers like unto the leaves of the forest; and they will gather in that plain around that obelisk, rallying around that banner, and before their victorious march Rebellion will go down as brick walls before the storm of iron ; and if France, or England, or Austria, or all, combine against them—they, too, will go out of the battle, nevermore to enter it again.
“This is possible destiny! Think of it, O Ministers of State!”
And so the fearful spectre in Tom Clark’s room had its origin then and there—had been created by the morning’s wicked thought—a creature fashioned by their human wills, and drawing its vitality from their life and pulses—drawing its very soul from out those two beating human hearts. Tell me not that I am painting a picture, limning the creature of a distorted fancy. I know better, you know better, we all know that just such hideous creatures, just such monstrosities, move, viewless, daily, up and down the crowded streets of Santa Blarneeo, up and down the streets of the Empire city and Puritanic Boston; but there are crowds of them in Pennsylvania Avenue, and they wear phantom epaulettes upon their spectral shoulders! You and I know that just such and other
‘Monstrous, horrid things that creep from out a slimy sea,’
exist all over the land—but principally in high places begotten of Treason. and lust of Gold.
“Soon the lips began to move; it spoke: ‘Father! mother! I am yet weak; be quick; make me strong! feed me; I am hungry; give me blood—hot streams—great gouts of blood! It is well. Kill, poison, die; it is well! Ha! ha! It is well; ho! ho!’ and then the Thing began to dissolve into a filmy mist, until at last only the weight of its presence was felt, for it floated invisibly but heavily through the room, and, except the gleam—the fiery gleam of its solitary eye—nothing else of it was discernible.
“Ten minutes elapsed after it had found voice, and faded away, when suddenly a fleecy cloud that had for some time past obscured the sky in the direction of Hesper, shutting out her silvery smiles, broke away, and permitted her beams and those of the moon to once more enter the chamber and flood it with a sheeted silver glory—the room where still lingered the hateful Thing, and where still slept the woman and the man.
“Simultaneously with this auspicious event there came sighing over the landscape, the musical notes of such a song as only seraphs sing—came over the wastes like the mystical bells that I have heard at sunset often while sailing on the Nile—mystical bells which thousands have heard and marveled at—soft bells, silvery bells, church bells—bells, however, not rung by human hands. I have often heard them chiming over Egypt’s yellow arid sands, and I believe they are rung by angel hands on the other side of Time. And such a sound, only sweeter, came floating o’er the lea, and through the still air into the little chamber. Was it a call to the angels to join in prayer—midnight prayer, for the sinful souls of men? But it came. Low it was, and clear; pure it was, and full of saintly pity, like unto the dying cadence of the prayer that was prayed by the Sufferer on the stony heights of Calvary; that same Calvary where I have stood within a year, midst devout lovers of their Lord, and the jeering scoffs of Mussulmans! And the music came— so sweetly, as if ‘twould melt the stony heart of Crime itself. And it proclaimed itself the overture of another act of the eventful drama then and there performing. And see I look there! the curtain rises. Woman, Man, behold! Alas! they slumber insensibly on. Gaze steadily at that upper sash—above it—for it is down; see, the clear space is again obscured by a cloud; but this time it is one of silver, lined with burnished gold, and flecked and edged with amethyst and purple. Look again! What is that at the window? It is a visible music—a glorious sheet of silvery vapor, bright, clear, and glittering as an angel’s conscience! It is a broad and glowing mantle of woven gossamer, suffused with rose-blushes, and sprinkled with star-beams; and it flows through the space, and streams into the chamber, bathing all things in holy tremulous light, soft, sweet, balmy, and pure as the tears of virgin innocence weeping for the early dead! That light! It was just such a light as beamed from your eyes, Woman—beamed from out your soul, when after your agony, your eye first fell upon the angel you had borne—the man-child whom God gave to your heart a little while ago; just such a light as flashed fitfully from your soul, and fell upon the cradle, O father of the strong and hopeful heart, wherein the little stranger lay; just such light as beamed from your eyes, in pride, and hope, and strange, deep prophecies, as you—bent over her languishing form, heartfully pressing her first-born to her dear woman’s bosom, when you looked so tenderly, kindly, lovingly down through her eyes into her spirit—the true heart beating for you and it, beneath folded—contentedly folded, arms— contented, too, through all the deep anguish, such, O man, as only a woman and a mother can undergo. That light! It was like that which fell upon the babe she had given you, and the great Man-wanting world—given first for its coming uses, and then to Him who—doeth all things very well—well, even when He taketh the best part of our souls away, and transplants the slips in His eternal and, infinite gardens, across the deep dark gulfs that hide the dead; just such a light as gleamed from her eyes and thine own, when your hearts felt calm and trustful once more, after the great, deep grief billows had rolled over them—grief for the loss of one who stayed but a little while on earth—all too coarse and rough for her—some little, cooing Winnie—like mine—whose soul nestles afar off, on His breast, in the blue sky, and whose body they laid in the cold grave, there in Utica, after they—he—had let her starve, perish sadly for want of proper food and medicine, while I was on the deep—winsome Winnie [Winnie, born around 1857, was a lifelong invalid who died of neglect and starvation while Randolph was away in Europe; he blamed Gerrit Smith]child of my soul, gone, lost, but not forever!—just such a light played in that little room as streams from angel eyes when God takes back at the hands of Azrael and Sandalphon, the beautiful angels of Death and of Prayer, the things you had learned to love too well—to forgetfulness of God and all true human duty. But they will give back what they took: they will give back all, more in the clear sunshine of a brighter and a purer day, than these earthly ones of ours!
“And the light streamed through and into the chamber where lay the woman and the man; and it radiated around, and bathed every object in a crystalline luminescence; and it carried a sadness with it—just such a sadness as we feel when parting from those who love us very well; as I felt on the day I parted from —— , Brother of my soul! when we parted at the proud ship’s side— the ocean courser, destined to bear me over the steaming seas to Egypt’s hoary shrines. It bore a sadness with it like unto that which welled up from my soul, tapping the fountains of friendship— and tears upon its way, in the memorable hour wherein I left the Golden Gate, and began my perilous journey to the distant Orient—across the bounding seas. What an hour!— that wherein our bodies move away, but leave our sorrowing souls behind!
“Well; a holy light, sadness-bearing light, like this now rested on the bodies of the sleeping pair. At first, this silvery radiance filled the room, and then the fleecy vapor began to condense slowly. Presently it formed into a rich and opalescent cloud-column, which speedily changed into a large globe, winged, radiant and beautiful. Gradually there appeared in the centre of this globe a luminous spot, momentarily intensifying its brilliance, until it became like unto a tiny sun, or as the scintilla of a rare diamond when all the lamps are brightly shining. Slowly, steadily, the change went on in this magic crystal globe, until there appeared, within it the diminutive figure of a female, whose outlines became more clear as time passed—on, until, at the end of a few minutes, the figure was perfect, and stood fully revealed and. complete—about eighteen inches high, and lovely—ah, how lovely!—that figure; it was more than woman is— was all she may become—petite, but absolutely perfect in form, feature and expression; and there was a love-glow radiating from her presence sufficiently melting to subdue the heart of Sin itself, though robed in Nova Zembla’s icy shroud. Her eyes!—ah, her eyes!—they were softer than the down upon a ring-dove’s breast!—not electric, not magnetic—such are human eyes; and she was not of this earth—they were something more, and higher—they were tearful, anxious, solicitous, hopeful, tender, beaming with that snowy love which blessed immortals feel. Her hair was loose, and hung in flowing waves adown her pearly neck and shoulders. Such a neck and shoulders!—polished alabaster, dashed with orange blossoms, is a very poor comparison; it would be better to say that they resembled petrified light, tinted with the morning blush of roses! Around her brow was a coronet of burnished, rainbow hues; or rather the resplendent tints of polarized light. In its centre was the insignia of the Supreme Temple of the Rosie Cross—a circle inclosing a triangle—a censer on one side, an anchor fouled on the other, the centre-piece being a winged globe, surmounted by the sacred trine, and based by the watchword of the Order, ‘TRY,’ the whole being arched with the blazon, ‘ROSICRUCIA.’ To attempt a minute description of this peerless fay, on my part, would be madness:—her chin, her mouth, her bust, her lips! No! I am not so vain as to make the essay. I may be equal to such a task a century or two from this, but am not equal to it now.
“There, then, and thus stood the crowned beauty of the Night, gazing down with looks of pity upon the restless occupants of that humble couch; for during all these transactions they had been asleep. She stood there, the realization and embodiment of Light; and there, directly facing her, glowered, and floated the eye of that hateful, scowling, frowning Thing—scowling with malignant joy upon the woman and the man. Thus stood the Shadow: thus stood the Light. But soon there came a change o’er the spirit of the scene; for now an occurrence took place of a character quite as remarkable as either of those already recounted; for in a very short time after the two Mysteries had assumed their relative positions, there came through the window the same little window at the foot of the bed—the tall and stately figure of a man—a tall and regal figure, but it was light and airy—buoyant as a summer cloud pillowed oi the air—the figure of a man, but not solid, for it was translucent as the pearly dew, radiant as the noontide sun, majestic as a lofty mountain when it wears a snowy crown !—the royal form of a man,, but evidently not a ghost, or wraith, or a man of these days, or of this earth, or of the ages now elapsing. He was something more than man; he was supramortal; a bright and glorious citizen of a starry land of glory, whose gates. I beheld, once upon— a time, where Lara bade me wait; he was, of a lineage we Rosicrucians wot of and. only we!—a dweller in a wondrous city; afar off, real, actual— whose gates are as, the finest pearl—so bright and beautiful are they.. . . The stately figure advanced midway of the room, until— het occupied the centre of a triangle formed by the shadowy Thing, the — female figure, and the bed.; and then he waved his hand, in which was
—a staff or truncheons—winged—at top and bottom; and he spake saying:
“‘I, Otanethi, the Genius of the Temple, Lord of the Hour, and servant of the Dome, am sent hither to, thee, O Hesperina, Preserver of the falling; and, to thee, dark Shadow, ands to these poor blind gropers in the Night and gloom— I am sent to proclaim that mansever reacheth. Ruin or Redemption—through himself alone—strengthened—by Love of Himself—sought— reacheth either Pole of—Possibility as he, fairly warned, and therefore fully armed, may elect! Poor weak man!—a giant, knowing not his own tremendous power! Master both of Circumstance and the World—yet the veriest slave to either!—weak, but only through ignorance of himself!—forever and forever failing in life’s great race through slenderness of Purpose!—through feebleness of Will!—Virtue is not virtue which comes not of Principle within—that comes not of will and aspiration. That abstinence from wrong is not virtue which results from external pressure—fear of what the speech of people may effect! It is false!—that virtue which requires bolstering or propping up, and falls when left to try its strength alone! Vice is not vice, but weakness, that springs not from within—which is the effect of applied force. Real vice is that which leaves sad marks upon the soul’s escutcheon, which the waters of an eternity may not lave away or wash out; and it comes of settled purpose—from within, and is the thing of Will. The virtue that has never known temptation—and withstood it, counts but little in the great Ledger of the Yet to Be! True virtue is good resolve, better thinking, and action best of all! That man is but half completed whom the world has wholly made. — They are never truly made who fail to make themselves! Mankind are not of the kingdom of the Shadow, nor of the glorious realm of Light, but are born, move along, and find their highest development in the path which is bounded on either side by those two eternal Diversities—the Light upon this side—the Shadow upon that:
“‘The road to man and womanhood lies in the mean:
Discontent on either aide—happiness between.’
“‘Life is a triangle, and it may be composed of Sorrow, Crime, Misery; or Aspiration, Wisdom, Happiness. These, o peerless Hesperina, are the lessons I am sent to teach. Thou art here to save two souls, not from loss, assailing or assoilings from without, but from the things engendered of. morbid thought—monstrous things bred in the cellar’s of the soul—the cesspools of the spirit—crime-caverns where moral newts and toads, unsightly things and hungry, are ever devouring the flowers that spring up in the heartgardens of man—pretty flowers, wild—but which double and enhance in beauty and aroma from cultivation and care. We are present—I to waken the wills of yonder pair; thou to arouse a healthy purpose and a normal action; and the Shadow is here to drag them to Perdition. Man cannot reach Heaven save by fearlessly breasting the waves of Hell! Listen! Thou mayest not act directly upon the woman or the man, but are at liberty to effect thy purpose through the instrumentality of DREAM! And thou, addressing the Thing, ‘thou grim Shadow—Angel of Crime—monstrous offspring of man’s begetting—thou who. Art permitted to exist, art also allowed to flourish and batten on human hearts. I may not prevent thee—dare not openly frustrate thee—for thus it is decreed. Thou—must do thy work. Go; thou art free and unfettered. Do thy worst; but I forbid thee to appear as thou really art— before their waking senses, lest thy horrible presence should strike them dumb and blind, or hurl Will and Reason from their thrones. Begone! To thy labor, foul Thing, and do thy work also through the powerful instrumentality of DREAM!’
“Thus spoke the genius of the Order and the Hour; and then, turning him toward the couch, he said, yearningly, with tearful mien and outstretched arms: ‘Mortals, hear me in thy slumber—let thy souls, but not thy senses, hear and understand. Behold, I touch thee with this magic wand of Rosicrucia, and with it wake thy sleeping wills—thus do I endow thee with the elements, Attention, Aspiration, Persistence— the seeds of Power—of resistless Might, which, will—if such be thy choice, enable thee to. realize a moral fortress, capable of defying the combined assaults of all the enginery Circumstance can bring to bear against thee. The citadel is Will. Intrenched within it, thou art safe. But beware of turning, thy assaulting power against thyselves. Will, normal, ever produceth Good: Abnormal, it hurls thee to the Bad! Remember! Wake. not to the external life; but—in thy slumber seize on the word I whisper in thine ears; it is a magic word—a mighty talisman, more potent than the seal of Solomon—more powerful than the Chaldean’s wand—but it is potential for ill as for Good.
See to it, therefore, that it is wisely used. The word is “‘TRY!” As thou shalt avail thyselves of its power, so be it unto thee. I now leave thee to thy fate, and the fortunes, that may befall thee. Two dreams each shalt thou have this night; one of them shall be overruled by thy good. The other by thy evil genius. God help thee! Farewell!’ and in another instant, the tall and stately figure passed through the moonlight out upon the deep bosom of the Night; and he floated, accompanied by the same soft music was heard before, away off into the blue empyrean; and he passed through the window—the little, window at the foot of the bed, whose upper sash was down.