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Introductions to Novels by James Fenimore Cooper

by Susan Fenimore Cooper

The Water-Witch (1830)

Return to Susan Fenimore Cooper

Introductions to novels by her father, with significant biographic and literary information, were written by Susan Fenimore Cooper as prefaces to excerpts from 25 Cooper novels in Pages and Pictures from the Writings of James Fenimore Cooper, with Notes by Susan Fenimore Cooper (New York: W.A. Townsend and Co., 1861). She also wrote introductions to 15 (not all the same) novels published between 1876-1884 as the Household Edition of the Works of J. Fenimore Cooper (New York and Cambridge: Houghton, Mifflin and Co. [Hurd and Mifflin]).
These introductions are collected for the first time on the Cooper Society Website. Lengthy quotations have been reproduced in indented form, but retaining the quotation marks of the original, and their sources have been indicated in [square brackets].

Topics Covered:

I: From Pages and Pictures
Villa outside Florence at St. Illario [quotation]; journey by boat to Naples [quotations]; Sorrento and the Casa Tasso [quotations]; idea of The Water-Witch; winter in Rome; friendship with Adam Mickiewicz; Roman attempt to censor The Water-Witch; travel to Munich and Dresden; publication of The Water-Witch; romantic but less serious than usual.

II: From Household Edition
Cooper in England; sojourn in Switzerland; Florence; villa outside Florence at St. Illario [quotation]; journey by boat to Naples [quotations]; Sorrento and the Casa Tasso [quotations]; idea of The Water-Witch; winter in Rome; friendship with Prince Buonaparte, Adam Mickiewicz, etc.; Roman attempt to censor The Water-Witch; travel to Munich and Dresden; publication of The Water-Witch; romantic but less serious than usual.

I. Pages and Pictures, pp. 220-231

Contents: THE WATER-WITCH -- St. Illario -- Leghorn -- Naples -- Casa Tasso -- The terrace -- Sorrento -- The Scaricatojo -- The third nautical tale -- Rome -- Obstacles to printing -- Dresden -- Extract, Fire!

[220] WITH the early spring of Italy came longings for the freedom of the fields. A villa was secured, on a side-hill, just beyond the walls of Florence. The dwelling was trim and spruce rather than picturesque, and received its name of St. Illario from a little rustic church, which would have touched its walls but for a very narrow lane which lay between them. There were two square projecting wings to the villa, each crowned with a belvedere and roofed terrace, one of these last being connected with the author's study. We give a sketch of the spot in his own words: "Among other recommendations the Villa St. Illario has two covered belvederes, where one can sit in the breeze, and overlook the groves of olive-trees with all the crowded objects of an Italian landscape. The valley of the Arno, though sufficiently wide, and cultivated chiefly with the spade, is broken by many abrupt and irregular heights, the advanced spurs of the ranges of the Apennines which bound it. On nearly all of these eminences stands a stone building, topped by a belvedere, with or without terraces, here and there a tree, and olive-groves beneath. The whole country is intersected by very narrow roads leading up to the heights, and these lanes usually run between close and high walls. They are commonly paved, to prevent the wash of the rains, and nothing can be less attractive, though we find the shade of the walls beginning to be necessary as the season advances. To obtain a view one is obliged to ascend to some one of the look-outs on the hills, of which there are many; though the rides and walks on the level land, above and behind us, occasionally furnish glorious glimpses. We are much in the habit of strolling to one of the heights, [221] rightly enough called Bellosguardo, for a better bird's-eye view of a town is not often had than this affords of Florence. In addition, we get the panorama of the valley and mountains, and the delicate lights and shades of the misty Apennines. These mountains are generally to be distinguished from the lower ranges of the Alps, or those whose elevation comes nearest to their own, by a softer and more sunny hue, which is often rendered dreamy and indolent by the sleepy haziness of the atmosphere. Indeed, every thing in these regions appears to invite to contemplation and repose, at this particular season. There is an admixture of the savage and the refined in the ragged ravines of the hills, the villas, the polished town, the cultivated plain, the distant chestnut-covered peaks, the costumes, the songs of the peasants, the oriental olive, the monasteries and churches, that keeps the mind constantly attuned to poetry..... The songs of Tuscany are often remarkable. There is one air in particular that is heard in every key, used to all sorts of words, and is in the mouths of all of the lower classes of both sexes. The soldier sings of war to it, the sailor of storms and the seas, the gallant of his adventures, and the young girl of her love. The air is full of melody. It is, withal, a little wild, and has a la ral, lal, la to it that just suits the idea of heartiness which is perhaps necessary, for the simplicity of such a thing may be hurt by too much sophistication. I first heard this air in the town, at a particular hour, every evening. On inquiry, I found it was a baker boy singing it in the street as he dispensed his cakes. I often hear it, as I sit in my belvedere, rising from among the vines or olives, on different heights: sometimes it is sung in falsetto, sometimes in a deep bass, sometimes in a rich contralto. Walking to Bellosguardo the other evening, I heard it in a vineyard, and getting on a stone that overlooked the wall, I found it came from a beautiful contadina who was singing of love as she trimmed her vines; disturbed by my motions, she turned, blushed, laughed, hid her face, and ran among the leaves. This is not our only music. One of the very narrow lanes separates my end of the house from the church of St. Illario and the dwelling of the priest. From the belvedere communicating with my own room we have frequent passages of civility across the lane with the good old curato, who discusses the weather and the state of the crops with great unction. The old man has some excellent figs, and our cook, having discovered it, lays his trees under contribution. And here I will record that I conceive to be the very perfection of epicurism, or rather of taste, in the matter of eating. A single fresh fig, as a corrective after the soup, I hold to be one of those sublime touches of art that are oftener discovered by accident than by the investigations of science. I do not mean that I have even the equivocal merit of this accidental discovery, for I was told the secret, and French ingenuity [222] had come pretty near it already, in the way of melons. But no melon is like a fig; nor will a French fig, certainly not a Paris fig, answer the purpose at all. It must be such a fig as one gets in Italy. At Paris you are always offered a glass of Madeira after the soup, the only one taken at table; but it is a pitiful substitute for the fig. After communicating this improvement on human happiness, let me add that it is almost destructive of the pleasure derived from the first, to take a second. One small green-coated fresh fig is the precise point of gastronomic felicity in this respect. But the good curato, besides his figs, has a pair of uneasy bells in his church-tower, which are exactly forty-three feet from my ears, and which invariably ring in pairs six or eight times daily. There are matins, noon-tide, angelus, vespers, regularly, to say nothing of christenings, funerals, weddings. The effect of bells is delightful when heard in the distance, and they are ringing all over the valley, morning, noon, and night; but these are too near. Still I get now and then rare touches of the picturesque from this proximity to the church. Lounging in the belvedere lately, at night, we saw torches gleaming in a distant lane. Presently the sounds of the funeral chant reached us; these gradually deepened, until we had the imposing and solemn chant for the dead echoing beneath our own walls, as if in the nave of a church. It is necessary to witness such a scene, to appreciate its beauty, on a still and dark night beneath an Italian sky." [James Fenimore Cooper, Gleanings in Europe: Italy [1838] (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1981), Letter IX, pp. 67-70]

The sight of the Mediterranean, enjoyed during the winter journey to Marseilles, had suggested the idea of another tale of the sea; a return of the fever, [223] however, from which the writer had suffered at home, and which was now brought on again, though in a milder form, by exposure to the summer sun of Italy, prevented the progress of the work. About midsummer an entire change of air was planned. There was a longing for the sea-breezes, a wish to find a dwelling somewhere within sight and sound of the blue waves of the Mediterranean. A movement southward, and by the water, was decided upon. Leghorn was the first step:

"After passing the night at Pisa, we galloped across the plain to Leghorn. The salt sir was grateful, and I snuffed the odor of this delightful sea with a feeling that was 'redolent of joy and youth.' We hurried off to the port. Here we feasted our eyes on the different picturesque rigs and peculiar barks of those poetical waters. Long years had gone by since I had seen the felucca, the polacre, the xebec, and the sparanara, with all the other quaint-looking craft of the Mediterranean. As we strolled along the mole and quays, we met several men from the Levant; and an Algerine Rais was calmly smoking his chibouque on the deck of his polacre. A good many Sardinians lay scattered about the harbor. Of Tuscans there were few, and these all small. Three Russians were laid up on account of the war with Turkey! Rowing under the bows of a Yankee, I found one of his people seated on the windlass, playing on the flute -- as cool a piece of impudence as can well be imagined for a Massachusettsman to practise in Italy! The delicious odors of the sea-port were inhaled with a delight that no language can describe. I had been living in an atmosphere of poetry for many months, and this was truly an atmosphere of life. The fragrance of the bales of merchandise, of the piles of oranges -- of even the mud, saturated as it was with salt -- to say nothing of the high seasoning of occasional breathings of tar and pitch, to me were pregnant with 'odors of delight.'"
[Gleanings in Europe: Italy, Letter IV, pp. 32-33]

At Leghorn a Genoese felucca was engaged for the voyage to Naples. "La Bella Genovese" was a craft of about thirty tons, and of beautiful mould; she was latine-rigged, carrying two sails of that description, and a jib; her crew numbered ten men! "I myself," continues the author, " have been one of eleven hands, officers included, to navigate a ship of some three hundred tons across the Atlantic ocean; and, what is more, we often reefed topsails with the watch. Having engaged the felucca, we passed another day in gazing at the hazy Apennines, whose lights and shadows, particularly the noble piles that buttress the coast to the northward, render them pictures to study. The entire northern shore of this luxurious sea, in summer, is one scene of magnificent nature, relieved by a bewitching softness, such as perhaps no other portion of the globe can equal. 'I can best liken it to an extremely fine woman, whose stateliness and [224] beauty are softened by the eloquent and speaking expression of feminine sentiment." [Gleanings in Europe: Italy, Letter XI, pp. 83-84]

The voyage in the "Bella Genovese," along the Coast of Tuscany, Romagna, and Naples, lasted some six days -- a week of great enjoyment to one who, though now numbered among men of letters, was ever a sailor at heart, and who felt so deeply the charm of Italian nature. The very atmosphere of Italy was a perpetual delight to him.

After two or three weeks passed in a hotel at Naples, the family party were again housed in a temporary home of their own, on the cliffs of Sorrento.

"This is a town of a few thousand inhabitants, directly opposite Naples, at a distance of some eighteen miles across the bay. The fertile plain on which Sorrento stands is surrounded by mountains, in a half-circle, facing the sea. The whole formation is volcanic, large fissures of the tufa appearing, in the shape of deep ravines, in various places. Advantage has been taken of the accidental position of these ravines, to form a deep natural ditch around the place, which stands on the margin of the plain overlooking the sea. This plain is six or seven miles in length, a continued village, very fertile, and extremely populous. Its elevation above the bay varies from one to two hundred feet, the verge being a perpendicular cliff of tufa, nearly the whole distance. The house we have taken is said to have been the one in which Tasso was born; it stands on the brow of the cliffs, within the walls of the town, and in plain sight of every object of interest on the bay, from Ischia to the promontory of Vico, Castelamare and a short reach of the shore in that vicinity excepted. The foundation of the house rests on narrow shelves of the cliffs, which just at this spot are about one hundred and fifty feet in perpendicular height, or possibly even more. It has a treacherous look to see the substratum of a building standing on a projection of this sort. There are two or three stories below us down among the cliffs. All the dwellings along these rocks, many of which are convents, have subterraneous communications with the sea, the outlets being visible as we row along beneath the heights. The government, however, has caused them to be closed, without distinction, to prevent smuggling. We occupy the principal floor only, though I have taken the entire house. There is a chapel beneath the great sala, and I believe there are kitchens and offices somewhere in those lower regions; but I have never visited any portion of the substratum but the chapel. We enter by a heavy porte-cochère into a court, which has a well with a handsome marble covering, or curb, and a flight of broad marble steps fit for a palace. These two objects, coupled with the interest of Tasso's name, have been thought worthy of an engraving. Seaward, two or three large. ante-chambers lead to the sala, which [225] faces the water, and is a room fifty feet long, with width and height in proportion. The floors, or rather pavements, are of a mud-colored composition, resembling pudding-stone; the furniture is no great matter, being reduced to the very minimum in quality, but it is not unsuited to the heat of the climate and the villeggiatura; there are old-fashioned gilded couches and chairs, with a modern lounge or two. There are several marble medallions and busts of merit -- one, on what authority I cannot say, is declared to be an antique of Alexander the Great. The windows of this sala, facing northward, open on the sea. A narrow street, that leads among convents, winds downward toward the great landing and the bay. Toward the water there is a terrace -- the great charm of the house; it is only fifty feet long, and perhaps half as wide; but it hangs over the blue Mediterranean, and, by its position and height, commands a view of three-fourths of the glorious objects of the region. It has a solid stone balustrade to protect it, massive and carved, with banisters as big as my body. This renders it perfectly safe, as you will understand when I tell you that, hearing an outcry from P--- the other day, I found him with his head fast between two of the latter, in a way that frightened me, as well as the youngster himself. It was like being imbedded in a rock. Immediately below the terrace runs a narrow beach, where our children delight to play, picking up shells of the Mediterranean -- and more than shells: among the treasures gleaned here by them are fragments of ancient mosaics, small semitransparent and glass-like squares of different colors, chiefly blue, green, and red -- relics, no doubt, of some ancient villa of the Romans, many of which once lined these shores. The foundations of some ancient edifice said to have been a temple of Neptune -- are still seen, at times, by us, as we look down upon the sea from the terrace; they lie wholly beneath the waves, and when the water is still and clear, may be distinctly traced. The sea limits our view from the terrace to the west. Ischia, dark, broken, and volcanic, but softened by vegetation and the tints of this luxurious atmosphere, rises at the farther entrance of the bay; then Procida, low, verdant, and peopled. The misty, abrupt bluff of Mysenum is the first land on the continent, with its memories of the Elysian fields, the port of the Roman galleys, and the 'Hundred Chambers.' The site of delicious Baiæ is pointed out by the huge pile of castle on the hillside, and by the ruined condition of all those surrounding objects of interest. Behind yon little island, called Nisida, the bark of St. Paul must have sailed, when he landed at Puteoli on his may to Rome. The Palace of Queen Joan, the grotto of Posilippo, the teeming city, and the bay, dotted with sails, follow. Then the eye passes over a broad expanse of rich level country, between Vesuvius and the heights of the town. This is the celebrated Felice Campagna, with Capua [226] in its bosom; and the misty background is a wall of broken rocks, which in form are not unlike our own palisades, but which, a grand range of the Apennines, have probably six or seven times their elevation. These mountains, at times, are scarcely visible, just marking the outline of the view, in a sort of shadowy frame, and then again they come forth distinct, noble, and dark, the piles they really are. The base of Vesuvius, a continued hamlet of white edifices, including palaces and cottages, with its cone for the background, follows; and a pile of dingy earth, or ashes, marks the position of Pompeii. There is a little room partitioned off from the terrace, which I use for writing, and where I can sit at the window, and see moat of these objects. The distance impairs the effect but little; so great is the purity of the atmosphere, at times, that we may faintly hear the din of Naples, across the water."
[Gleanings in Europe: Italy, Letter XIII, pp. 112-113, Letter XIV, pp. 118-120]

* * * * * * *

"Our daily excursions under the cliffs are peculiarly Italian. We cannot move until the day is drawing to a close; but shout four, the shadows of the rocks are thrown so far on the waters as to form a complete protection against the rays of a fierce sun; and we glide along, sometimes with a boatman, but oftener by ourselves.
"We as much affect the inland walks, however, as this lazy navigation. Our excursions are of two sorts -- the 'donkey,' and the 'non-donkey.' In the 'non-donkey,' we roam over the hills near the town, which are covered with fruit-trees, and intersected with narrow paths; the kind and gentle peasants smiling as we pass, never offering rudeness of any kind. The Capo di Monte, overlooking the landing of the town, is a favorite resting-spot in these walks. The view of the beach, strewed with crafts of different sizes, including boats to the number of a hundred; the domestic groups between them and the houses; the children sporting in the sands; the costumes and gay colors of the female dresses; the nets spread to dry, and all the other little accessories of such a spot, that you can so readily imagine, make a perfect picture. The men usually wear a shirt, and loose trowsers that reach to little below the knee, and they have a Phrygian cap, oftener red than any other color.
"The great number of beggars, that torment one like gnats, was at first a drawback to our pleasure. It was no unusual thing to have dozens of them in chase. We are now relieved of their assiduities, however; and as the means of relief are characteristic, they may be worth knowing. Walking one day on the terrace that overhangs the bay, I happened to cast my eye over the balustrade into the street, where there is a public seat -- a long stone bench, immediately beneath our sala windows. It was occupied, at the moment, by an old fellow [227] with a lame leg, as fine an old mendicant as one shall see in a thousand. This man was enjoying himself, and keeping an eye on the gate, in expectation of our daily sortie. Seeing me, the beggar rose, and pulled off his cap. As I had no change I called a servant to bring me a grano. This little ceremony established a sort of intercourse between us. The next day the thing was repeated. As I usually wrote in the cabinet of a morning, and walked on the terrace at stated hours, my new acquaintance became very punctual; and there is such a pleasure in thinking you are making a fellow-creature comfortable for a day, at so cheap a rate, that I began to expect him. This lasted ten days, perhaps, when I found two, one fine morning, instead of the one I had known. Another grano was given, and the next day I had three visitors. These three swelled, like the men in buckram, and were soon a dozen. From that moment no one asked charity of us in our walks. We frequently met beggars; but they invariably drew modestly aside, permitting us to pass without question. We might have been a month getting up to the dozen; after which the ranks increased with singular rapidity. Seeing many strange faces, I inquired of Roberto whence they came; he told me that many were from villages five or six miles distant, it having been bruited that at noon, each day, all applicants were accommodated with a grano apiece by the American admiral! By this fact alone we may learn the extreme poverty and the value of money in this country. We went on recruiting, until I now daily review some forty or fifty gaberlunzies. As my time here is limited, I have determined to persevere; and the only precaution taken is to drive off those who do not seem worthy to be enrolled on a list so eminently mendicant. A newcomer from St. Agata, a village across the mountains, had the indiscretion, lately, as he got his grano, to wish me only a hundred years of life. 'A hundred years!' repeated the king of the gang; 'you blackguard, do you wish a signor, who gives you a grano every day, only a hundred years? Knock him down! away with him!' 'Mille anni, signor! a thousand years; may you live a thousand years!' shouted the blunderer, amid some such tumult as one would see around a kettle of maccaroni in the streets of Naples, were its contents declared free. 'A thousand years, and long ones!'"
[Gleanings in Europe: Italy, Letter XIV, pp. 122-125]

Among the many charming excursions made over the mountains, and along the shores of the sea, there was one which had an especial influence on the book last planned. The lovely plain of Sorrento forms part of the noble promontory which, projecting westward into the Mediterranean, divides the bay of Naples from the still broader gulf of Salerno. Toward Naples, this promontory bears several beautiful plains, or valleys, on its bosom, divided by different ridges; but to the southward rises a range of high mountains, dark and wild on [228] their southern face. "We had often explored these heights, and had often admired the loveliness of the view, overlooking both bays, and all their radiant scenery. On the present occasion we dismissed the donkeys at the highest point of the road, and prepared to make a descent on foot. The spot toward which we were descending, and in particular the path which leads to it, has great local celebrity, and that deservedly, among the lovers of the picturesque, under the name of the Scaricatojo, which signifies a place to discharge at, or a landing; and really it is one of the last places where one would expect to find a marine landing. The precipice is very high -- many times higher than that of Sorrento, and almost as abrupt. We went down the face of the rock by a zigzag, half stairs, half path, or what ------ would call an amphibious road, wondering what there could be at the bottom but the sea! We found, however, a landing just large enough to receive a boat or two, and the site of a small house, in which lived several custom-house officers; for so extreme is the jealousy of the government in matters of revenue, that every point at which a boat can throw its crew ashore is closely watched. At the Scaricatojo we took a small boat, with a pair of oars, and launched upon the water, bound for Amalfi, some six or eight miles further up the gulf, toward Salerno. The cradle of old Neptune was lazily rocking, as it is ever known to do, gale or calm. Occasionally, as we rounded the cliffs, the send of the sea would carry us close in, giving us the appearance of one of the bubbles, though in fact there was no risk. I had often rowed under mountains in Switzerland; but not often so immediately beneath rocks of the same elevation; for some of these peaks between the Scaricatojo and Amalfi are said to be six thousand feet high. In Switzerland one sees cottages, even churches, convents, and chateaux, on the spurs of mountains, but I do not remember to have ever met with habi[229]tations of the same pretension so crowded on rocks so nearly perpendicular as was the case to-day, a few miles before we reached Amalfi. some of the country-houses seemed absolutely clinging to the rocks; but no doubt there was ample room for safety; and even for gardens. Just before reaching the town, a convent appeared built into the cliffs, in a most picturesque manner, the wall of rock rising above the buildings, half-way to the clouds." [Gleanings in Europe: Italy, Letter XVIII, pp. 155-156]

This excursion to the Scaricatojo, coming after other glimpses of the same nature, all uniting to prove the extreme watchfulness of these European governments on points connected with the customs, led to the idea of introducing a smuggling craft into the new book. The scene, however, was laid in American waters, on the shores of Staten Island, while the time chosen was the period shortly after the English had taken possession of New Amsterdam -- the Dutch element of the colony figuring largely in the book. A great portion of the Water-Witch was very rapidly written, in the little study on the beautiful terrace of the Casa Tasso, in sight of Vesuvius. Mr. Cooper lingered on the cliffs of Sorrento until the latest moment possible; but when, at length, not only the dark tufa mountains, but the green orange groves of the plain also, were powdered with snow, it became necessary to abandon a dwelling so vast and open, in which but one fire could be kindled. Braziers, after the regular Italian fashion, albeit of elegant workmanship and great size, and filled with choice charcoal of olive-wood, were not to be endured by such a votary of the Yule-log. A most reluctant adieu to the beautiful plain of Sorrento was forced from the traveller by the chill tramontana, and a movement northward was made. The morning of the departure from Sorrento, the mendicant corps, to the number of ninety-six, paraded in the court of the Casa Tasso.

The winter of 1830 was passed at Rome. Travellers have written so many volumes about Rome -- where every fallen column and time-worn stone has found a hundred pens to describe it -- that the few passages allowed us shall be given rather to other ground. Laying no claim whatever to the honors of high scholarship in the field of antiquity, the American traveller was yet most deeply interested by the present aspect of the great city. So much has been given to the world, in connection with its ruins, by learned men, that even without profound erudition the intelligent traveller may easily comprehend and appreciate much which would otherwise be dark to him. It was the especial delight of the American author to ride for hours over the Campagna, lingering here about some ruin, now pausing a moment to enjoy an impressive view, or dismounting, perchance, to examine more closely a statue or fragment of ancient days. He seldom rode alone; ever social in feeling and tastes, he generally found some agreeable companion for the morning ride among [230] the European friends who, at Rome, as at Florence, took pleasure in the cheerful American fireside. Among those who rode with him, there was none, perhaps, whose society gave the author more pleasure than that of the distinguished Polish poet Mickiewicz, a man whose appearance, manner, and conversation, were full of originality and genius, while the sad fate of his country enlisted Mr. Cooper's warmest sympathies in his behalf. The two writers were constantly roaming together over the Campagna, or amid the ruins of Rome.

The new work being nearly finished, the author was desirous of printing a small edition at Rome. The usual applications were made, and several Italian friends, gentlemen of influence, very kindly interested themselves in behalf of the American writer. Some encouragement was given at first; the nature and character of the book were explained, and the preliminary permission was granted. The Italian friends were quite sanguine as to the success of the little enterprise -- and as such it was considered by them. The first chapters of the book were copied, and placed with all due form in the hands of the authorities -- the official censor of the press. Days passed. No answer was received. Anxious to know the result, a renewed application was made to the gentlemen in authority. At length came a very polite, very dignified, but slightly severe communication; a particular passage on the second page of the book was referred to as wholly unfit for publication:

"It would seem that, as Nature has given its periods to the stages of animal life, it has also set limits to all moral and political ascendency. While the city of the Medici is receding from its crumbling walls, like the human form shrinking into the 'lean and slippered pantaloon,' the Queen of the Adriatic is sleeping on her muddy isles, and Rome itself is only to be traced by fallen temples and buried columns, the youthful vigor of America is fast covering the wilds of the West with the happiest fruits of human industry." [James Fenimore Cooper, The Water-Witch [1830] (New York: W.A. Townsend and Co., 1860), Chapter I, p. 10]

This passage was utterly condemned. It was declared to be false in principle -- untrue, in fact. There were hints also that nothing at all similar could possibly be received. The whole book must be rigidly revised, this ominous opening having excited the gravest fears as to the nature of subsequent pages. Foreseeing constant annoyance from an attempt to carry out the plan, Mr. Cooper abandoned immediately all idea of printing at Rome. The MS. was finished, and laid aside for a few weeks, until in the spring the author left Rome, and commenced his migration northward. Passing along the shores of the Adriatic to Venice, he proceeded through the Tyrol to Munich. After a brief pause in the capital of Bavaria, where he much admired the works of art collected by the king, he moved onward to Dresden. Here some months were passed very [231] pleasantly, in a cheerful apartment looking out upon the Alt-Market, and the quaint and busy show of homely German life, so different from that of Italy, seen there at the weekly fairs. The town was admired, its fine public grounds, noble river and bridge, and, above all, its gallery, worthy of Italy. Still there were regrets for the country south of the great mountains; the author frequently observing that every traveller should visit Germany before crossing the Alps. One object of his residence in Dresden was easily accomplished. The book, chiefly written in the Casa Tasso, was printed without the least difficulty -- the obstacles which wrecked "The Water-Witch" on the Tiber, forming no impediment to her being safely launched on the broader waters of the Elbe. The book was published in America in 1830, by Messrs. Carey & Lea. This was rather a drama of the coast than a tale of the sea; the movements of the vessels being confined entirely to the waters connected with the harbor of New York. If less brilliant than "The Red Rover," the spirit and interest which pervade "The Water-Witch" are still very striking; there is an atmosphere of romance infused into the narrative, singularly different from the sober coloring of Puritan life in "The Wish-ton-Wish." It is strikingly picturesque also, more so than most works from the same pen. But on the other hand, there is less of high moral tone in the book than was usual with Mr. Cooper; it carries a carnival aspect about it; the shell was gay and brilliant, the kernel was less nourishing than usual.

Excerpt: "Fire!" [James Fenimore Cooper, The Water-Witch [1830] (New York: W.A. Townsend and Co., 1860), Chapter 32, pp. 423-434]

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II. Household Edition, pp. ix-xxiii

[ix] The year 1828 was one fraught with varied delight to the traveler. Early in the winter he went to England, passing several months in London. Here he was received with great hospitality, as he had already been in Paris. The social atmosphere, however, was one less agreeable to an American than that of Paris. The English of that date were still a very "insular" people. They seldom met an American on equal terms. In this respect they differed widely from the educated classes in other European countries, who made no difference whatever between a gentleman from beyond the Atlantic and one born beyond the nearest national boundary. The author of "The Spy," however, knew how to make himself and his country respected within the sound of Bow Bells. Occasionally it became necessary, to effect this purpose, to make a sharp speech; but the anecdotes at one time related of him in this connection, by unfriendly critics, were many of them absurd exaggerations, while many more were utterly without foundation. His society was much sought after by the first men in England; he made many agreeable acquaintances among them, and not a few lasting friendships also.

Re passed through Holland on his return to Paris, and greatly enjoyed the peculiar aspect of that country, reviving many recollections of old Dutch customs in New York. Early in the summer he removed his family from Paris, and all traveled southward. There was a long halt in Switzerland, where his delight was great indeed. He was, as he [x] himself declared, in a state of perpetual toosy-moosy -- a word borrowed from Lord Byron, and which became a favorite expression of his own, conveying, in a modest form, the impression of an indescribable amount of poetical enjoyment. In October the Alps were crossed, and another temporary home was found in the Casa Ricasoli, Florence. Here the winter was passed most agreeably; he greatly enjoyed the society, became very partial to the Italian people, and had great delight in the works of art. Much of his time was passed in exploring the churches and galleries. He had for many years felt a interest in painting and sculpture, more so than was common at that date in America, having had many personal friends among the artists of New York before leaving the country and now he appeared to fancy that not only architecture, but a fine painting, or a noble piece of sculpture, derived an additional charm from the glowing atmosphere of Italy. during the winter he completed the "Wish-ton-Wish," an Indian tale, commenced in Switzerland. It was less successful than many of his works, though assuredly not without merit.

With the early spring of Italy came longings for the freedom of the fields. He always disliked a summer in a large town, and avoided it as far as possible. From the Casa Ricasoli the American family removed at the approach of warm weather to a villa, on a side hill, just beyond the walls of Florence. The dwelling was a new one, trim and spruce rather than picturesque, and received its name of St. Illario from a little rustic church, which would have touched its walls but for a very narrow paved lane which ran up the hill between them. There were two square projecting wings to the villa, each crowned with a roofed terrace, or belvedere, and one of these last was connected with the author's study. We give a sketch of the spot from his own words:--

"Among other recommendations, the villa St. Illario has two covered belvederes, where one can sit in the breeze and overlook the olive-trees, with all the crowded objects of an Italian landscape. The valley of the Arno, though suffi[xi]ciently wide, and cultivated chiefly with the spade, is broken by many abrupt and irregular heights, the advanced spurs of the ranges of the Apennines which bound it. On nearly all of these eminences stands a stone building, topped by a belvedere, with or without terraces, here and there a tree, and olive groves beneath. The whole country is intersected by very narrow roads leading up to the heights, and these lanes usually run between close and high walls. They are commonly paved, to prevent the wash of the rains, and nothing can he less attractive, though we find the shade of the walls beginning to be necessary as the season advances. To obtain a view one is obliged to ascend to some one of the lookouts on the hills, of which there are many; though the rides and walks on the level ground above and behind us occasionally furnish glorious glimpses. We are much in the habit of strolling to one of the heights, rightly enough called 'Bellosguardo,' for a better bird's-eye view of a town is not often had than this affords of Florence. In addition we get the panorama of the valley and mountains, and the delicate lights and shades of the misty Apennines. These mountains are generally to be distinguished from the lower ranges of the Alps, or those whose elevation comes nearest to their own, by a softer and more sunny hue, which is often rendered dreamy and indolent by the sleepy haziness of the atmosphere. Indeed, everything in these regions appears to invite to contemplation and repose at this particular season. There is an admixture of the wild and the refined in the ragged ravines of the hills, the villas, the polished town, the cultivated plain, the distant chestnut-covered peaks, the costumes, the songs of the peasants, the oriental olives, the monasteries and churches that keeps the mind constantly attuned to poetry..... One of these very narrow lanes separates my end of the house from the little church of St. Illario and the dwelling of the priest. From the belvedere communicating with my own room we have frequent passages of civility across the lane with the good old curato, who discusses the weather and the state of the [xii] crops with great unction. The old man has some excellent figs, and our cook, having discovered it, lays his trees under contribution. And here I will record what I conceive to be the very perfection of epicurism, or rather of taste, in the matter of eating. A single fresh fig, as a corrective after the soup, I hold to be one of those sublime touches of art that are oftener discovered by accident than by the investigations of science. I do not mean that I have even the equivocal merit of this accidental discovery, for I was told the secret, and French ingenuity had come pretty near it already in the way of melons. But no melon is like a fig; nor will a French fig, certainly not a Paris fig, answer the purpose at all. It must be such a fig as one gets in Italy. After communicating this improvement on human happiness, let me add that it is almost destructive of the pleasure derived from the first to take a second. One small, green-coated, fresh fig is the precise point of gastronomic felicity in this respect. But the good curato, besides his figs, has a pair of uneasy bells in his church tower which are exactly forty-three feet from my ears when sitting at my writing-desk, and which invariably ring in pairs six or eight times daily. The effect of bells is delightful when heard in the distance, and they are ringing all over the valley, morning, noon, and night; but these are too near. Still I get now and then rare touches of the picturesque from this proximity to the church. Lounging in the belvedere, lately, at night, we saw torches gleaming in a distant lane. Presently the sounds of the funeral chant reached us; these gradually deepened, until we had the imposing and solemn chant for the dead echoing beneath our own walls, as if in the nave of a church. It is necessary to witness such a scene, to appreciate its beauty, on a still and dark night, beneath an Italian sky."
[James Fenimore Cooper, Gleanings in Europe: Italy [1838], (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1981), Letter IX, pp. 67-70]

The new tale of the sea, planned during the printing of the "Wish-ton-Wish," was commenced in the belvedere of the villa St. Illario; but a touch of fever, brought on by exposure to the summer sun of Italy, prevented the progress [xiii} of the work. The situation of St. Illario was close and warm, and about midsummer an entire change of air was planned. There was a longing for the sea breezes, a wish to find a dwelling somewhere within sight and sound of the blue waves of the Mediterranean. A movement southward, and by water, was decided upon. Leghorn was the first stage:--

"After passing the night at Pisa, we galloped across the plain to Leghorn. The salt air was grateful, and I snuffed the odor of this delightful sea with a feeling that was 'redolent of joy and youth.' We hurried off to the port. There we feasted our eyes on the different picturesque rigs and peculiar barks of those poetical waters. Long years had gone by since I had seen the felucca, the polacre, the xebec, and the sparanara, with all the other quaint-looking craft of the Mediterranean. As we strolled along the mole and quays we met several men from the Levant; and an Algerine reis was calmly smoking his chibouque on the deck of his polacre. A good many Sardinians lay scattered about the harbor. Of Tuscans there were few, and these all small. Three Russians were laid up on account of the war with Turkey! Rowing under the bows of a Yankee, I found one of his people seated on the windlass playing on a flute -- as cool a piece of impudence as can well be imagined for a Massachusetts man to practice in Italy! The delicious odors of the seaport were inhaled with a delight that no language can describe. I had been living in an atmosphere of poetry for many months, and this was truly an atmosphere of life. The fragrance of the bales of merchandise, of the piles of oranges, -- of even the mud, saturated as it was with salt, -- to say nothing of the high seasoning of occasional breathings of tar, and pitch, to me were pregnant with 'odors of delight.'"
[Gleanings in Europe: Italy, Letter IV, pp. 32-33]

In a few days arrangements were made for the voyage to Naples. A Genoese felucca, a craft of about thirty tons and of beautiful mold, was chartered for the purpose; she was lateen-rigged, carrying two sails of that description, and [xiv] a jib; her crew numbered ten men! "I myself," continues the author, "have been one of eleven hands, officers included, to navigate a ship of some three hundred tons across the Atlantic Ocean; and what is more, we often reefed topsails with the watch. Having engaged the felucca, we passed another day in gazing at the hazy Apennines, whose lights and shadows, particularly the noble piles that buttress the coast to the northward, render them pictures to study. The entire northern shore of this luxurious sea, in summer, is one scene of magnificent nature, relieved by a bewitching softness, such as perhaps no other portion of the globe can equal. I can best liken it to an extremely fine woman, whose stateliness and beauty are softened by the eloquent and speaking expression of feminine sentiment." [Gleanings in Europe: Italy, Letter XI, pp. 83-84]

The voyage in the Bella Genovese along the coast of Tuscany, the Romagna, and Naples lasted some six days, -- a week of great enjoyment to one who was not only a sailor at heart, but who felt so deeply all the charm of Italian nature. The very atmosphere of Italy was a perpetual delight to him.

Two or three charming weeks were passed in the hotel of the "Tre Crocelli," on the Chiaja, at Naples, and then the family party were again housed in a quiet, temporary home of their own on the cliffs of Sorrento. Again the author speaks for himself:--

"The house we have taken is said to have been the one in which Tasso was born, bearing the name of the "Casa Tasso;" it stands on the brow of the cliffs, within the walls of the town, and in plain sight of every object of interest on the bay from Ischia to the promontory of Vico, Castellamare and a short reach of the shore in that vicinity excepted. The foundation of the house rests on narrow shelves of the cliffs, which just at this spot are about one hundred and fifty feet in perpendicular height, or possibly even more. It has a treacherous look to see the substratum of a building standing on a projection of this sort. There are two or three stories below us down among the cliffs. All the [xv] dwellings along these rocks, many of which are convents, have subterraneous communications with the sea, the outlets being visible as we row along beneath the heights. The government, however, has caused them all to be closed, without distinction, to prevent smuggling. We occupy the principal floor only, though I have taken the entire house. There is a chapel beneath the grand sala, and I believe there are kitchens and offices somewhere in those lower regions; but I have never visited any portion of the substratum but the chapel. We enter by a heavy porte-cochère into a court which has a well with a handsome marble covering or curb, and a flight of broad marble steps fit for a palace. These two objects, coupled with the interest of Tasso's name, have been thought worthy of an engraving. Seaward three large antechambers lead to the sala, which faces the water and is a room fifty feet long, with width and height in proportion. The floors, or rather pavements, are of a mud-colored composition, resembling pudding-stone; the furniture is no great matter, being reduced to the very minimum in quantity, but it is not unsuited to the heat of the climate and the villeggiatura; there are old-fashioned gilded couches and chairs, with a modern lounge or two. There are several marble medallions and busts of merit -- one, on what authority I cannot say, is declared to be an antique of Alexander the Great. The windows of this sala, facing northward; open on the sea. Here there is a terrace -- the great charm of the house; it hangs over the blue Mediterranean and by its position and height commands a view of three fourths of the glorious objects of the region. It has a solid stone balustrade to protect it, massive and carved. Immediately beneath the terrace runs a narrow beach, to be reached by boats only, where our children delight to play, picking up shells and bits of coral of the Mediterranean, and, more than these,-- among the treasures gleaned here by them are fragments of ancient mosaics, small semi-transparent and glass-like squares of different colors, chiefly blue, green and red, -- relics, no doubt, of [xvi] some ancient villa of the Romans, many of which once lined these shores. The foundations of an ancient edifice -- said to have been a temple of Neptune -- are still seen at times, as we look down upon the sea from the terrace; they lie wholly beneath the waves, and when the water is still and clear may be distinctly traced. The sea limits our view from the terrace westward. Capri is concealed by the promontory of Capo di Monte, close at hand on our left. Ischia, dark, broken, and volcanic, but softened by vegetation and the tints of this luxurious atmosphere, rises at the farther entrance of the bay; then Procida, low, verdant, and thickly peopled..... There is a little room partitioned off from the terrace which I use for writing, and where I can sit at the window and see most of the objects of interest surrounding the bay. The distance impairs the effect but little. So great is the purity of the atmosphere at times that we may faintly hear the din of Naples, eighteen miles across the water."
Gleanings in Europe: Italy, Letter XIII, pp. 112-113; Letter XIV, pp. 118-120]

At that date the only regular communication between Naples and Sorrento was by means of boats. There was no carriage-road from Sorrento to the villages on the same line of the shore -- only rude bridle-paths. A pretty little felucca, however, the Divina Providenza, made daily voyages across the bay to Naples, thus keeping up communication with the outer world, and often bringing American papers and letters in the mail, for the author's benefit. As usual, Mr. Cooper's writing hours were in the morning, after breakfast. Later in the day there was always some pleasant excursion, in which his wife and children were his companions. These Sorrento excursions were very varied in character -- a row under the cliffs, followed often by a bath in one of the many caves beneath the rocks, a sail on the bay, a donkey-ride to some of the many beautiful views on the heights surrounding the plain, a walk among the orange-groves of the rich gardens, or, what was singularly characteristic, a stroll through the deep, narrow fissures in the old lava rocks, or tufa, which form the natural moat of [xvii] the town. These wild and peculiar ravines are of great depth, the natural, abrupt walls being, it is said, at some points one hundred feet below the level of the town; one descends by steps cut in the rock, a tiny stream wanders in the bed of the ravine among small trees and shrubs and green turf, while the walls are garlanded by many vines and climbing plants, the verdure being unusually bright and fresh from the shade and moisture. There was a tiny chapel, with crosses and religious niches, or stations, here and there. These daily excursions were always on foot or on donkeys -- some of those pretty white-and-gray creatures, with whom one soon grew as intimate as donkey nature will allow. Every donkey was invariably accompanied by a full grown man, nay, at times by two, acting as guides and squires. So that every riding party consisted of four or five donkeys, as many riders, and more than the same number of stalwart, picturesque, dark-skinned peasants acting as escort. There mere very few horses on the plain, and at that date but one carriage, which belonged to the bishop, and appeared only on great occasions, Sorrento being an Episcopal See. In addition to the body-guard of peasants, there was always on one of these excursions a train or following of beggars.

"The great number of beggars, that torment one like gusts, was at first a drawback to our pleasure. It was no unusual thing to have dozens of them in chase. We are now relieved of their assiduities, however; and as the means of relief are characteristic, they may be worth knowing. Walking one day on the terrace that overhangs the bay, I happened to cast my eye over the balustrade into the street, where there is a public seat -- a long stone bench immediately beneath our sala windows. It was occupied at the moment by an old fellow with a lame leg, as fine an old mendicant as one shall see in a thousand. Seeing me the beggar arose and took off his cap. I called to a servant to bring me a grano. This little ceremony established a sort of intercourse between us. The next day the thing was repeated. As I usually wrote in the cabinet of a morning [xviii] and walked on the terrace at stated hours, my new acquaintance became very punctual; and there is such a pleasure in thinking that you are making a fellow-creature comfortable at so cheap a rate, that I began to expect him. This lasted ten days perhaps, when I found two, one fine morning, instead of the one I had known. Another grano was given, and the next day I had three visitors. These three swelled like the men in buckram, and were soon a dozen. From that moment no one asked charity from us in our walks. We frequently met beggars, but they drew modestly aside, permitting us to pass without question. We might have been a month getting up to the dozen, after which the ranks increased with singular rapidity. Seeing many strange faces, I inquired of Roberto whence they came; he told me that many were from villages five or six miles distant, it having been bruited that at noon, each day, all applicants were accommodated with a grano apiece by the American admiral! By this fact alone we may learn the extreme poverty, and the value of money in this country. We went on recruiting, until I now daily review some forty or fifty gaberlunzies. As my time here is limited, I have determined to persevere, and the only precaution taken is to drive off those who do not seem worthy to be enrolled on a list so eminently mendicant. A new comer, from St. Agata, a village across the mountains, had the indiscretion lately to wish me only a hundred years of life. 'A hundred years!' repeated the king of the gang; 'you blackguard, do you wish a signore who gives you a grano a day, only a hundred years? Knock him down! Away with him!' 'Mille anni, Signore! A thousand years, may you live a thousand years,' shouted the blunderer, amid some such tumult as one would see about a kettle of maccaroni in the streets of Naples, were its contents declared free. 'A thousand years, and long ones!'"
[Gleanings in Europe: Italy, Letter XIV, pp. 123-125]

Among the many charming excursions made over the mountains and along the shores of the sea, there was one which had an especial influence on the hook last planned. [xix] The lovely plain of Sorrento forms part of the noble promontory which, projecting into the Mediterranean, divides the bay of Naples from the still broader gulf of Salerno. Toward Naples this promontory bears several beautiful plains or valleys on its bosom, divided by different ridges; but to the southward rises a range of mountains dark and wild on their southern face.

"We had often explored these heights, and had often admired the loveliness of the view overlooking both bays and all their radiant scenery. On the present occasion we dismissed the donkeys at the highest point of the road and prepared to make a descent on foot. The spot towards which we were descending, and in particular the path which leads to it, has great local celebrity among the lovers of the picturesque, under the name of the Scaricatojo, which signifies a place to discharge at, or a landing; and really it is one of the last places where one would expect to find a marine landing. The precipice is very high, many times higher than that at Sorrento, and almost as abrupt. We went down the face of the rode by a zig-zag, half-stairs, half-path, or what ------ would call an amphibious road, wondering what there could be at the bottom but the sea! We found, however, a landing just large enough to receive a boat or two, and the site of a small house, in which lived several custom-house officers; for so extreme is the jealousy of the government in matters of revenue, that every point at which a boat can throw its crew ashore is closely watched. At the Scaricatojo we took a small boat, with a pair of oars, and launched upon the water, bound for Amalfi, some six or eight miles farther up the gulf, toward Salerno. The cradle of old Neptune was lazily rocking, as it is ever known to do, gale or calm. Occasionally, as we rounded the cliffs, the scud of the sea would carry us close in, giving us the appearance of one of the bubbles, though in fact there was no risk. Some of these peaks between the Scaricatojo and Amalfi are said to be six thousand feet high. In Switzerland one sees cottages, even churches, convents, [xx] châteaux on the spurs of mountains, but I do not remember to have ever met with habitations of the same pretension so crowded, on rocks so nearly perpendicular, as was the case to-day, a few miles before we reached Amalfi. Some of the country houses seemed absolutely clinging to the rocks. Just before reaching the town a convent appeared built into the cliffs, in a most picturesque manner, the wall of rock rising above the buildings half-way to the clouds."
[Gleanings in Europe: Italy, Letter XVIII, pp. 155-156]

The new nautical work was already sketched, so far at least as to its general character, and laying the scene in American waters. The vessels were to be a brigantine and a sloop of war, and the narrative was to be a drama of the coast, rather than a tale of the sea, the movements of the vessels being entirely confined to the harbor of New York and the adjacent waters. The excursion to the Scaricatojo, coming after frequent visits to the caverns and subterranean passages at Sorrento, all strongly walled off or closely watched landward, proving the extreme watchfulness of these European governments on points connected with the customs, led to the idea of introducing a smuggling craft into the new tale. The scene was to be laid on the shores of Staten Island, while the time chosen was the period shortly after the English had taken possession of New Amsterdam, the Dutch element of the colony figuring largely in the book. A great portion of "The Water-Witch" was very rapidly written in the little study, on the beautiful terrace of the Casa Tasso, in sight of Vesuvius. Mr. Cooper lingered on the cliffs of Sorrento until the latest moment possible; but when, at length, not only the dark tufa mountains, but the green orange-groves of the plain also, were powdered with snow, it became necessary to abandon a dwelling so vast and open, in which but one fire could be kindled on the principal floor. Braziers, after the regular Italian fashion, albeit of elegant bronze workmanship and of great size, filled, too, with choice charcoal of olive-wood, were not to be endured by such a votary of the yule-log. A most reluctant adieu to the beautiful plain of Sorrento [xxi] was forced from the traveler by the chill tramontana. A movement northward was decided upon early in December. The morning of the departure from Sorrento, while the Divina Providenza lay at the Marina awaiting the American family, the mendicant corps, to the number of ninety-six, paraded in the court of the Casa Tasso.

The winter of 1830 was passed at Rome, where it was the especial delight of the American author to ride for hours over the Campagna, now lingering about some ruin, now pausing to enjoy an impressive view, or dismounting, perchance, to examine more closely a statue or fragment from ancient centuries. He seldom rode alone. Ever social in feeling and tastes, he generally found some agreeable companion for the morning ride, among the friends, either European or American, who enjoyed his society. Prince Charles Buonaparte frequently accompanied him, and occasionally M. de Bunsen, or Lord William Russell, or other Englishmen whom he had met in London. M. Mickiewicz, the celebrated Polish poet, a man whose appearance, manner, and conversation were full of originality and genius, was very frequently his companion. The two writers were constantly wandering together about the Campagna or the ruins of Rome. Professor Morse was also often with him. Seldom, indeed, was he alone. Here, as in the other large cities of Europe, his society was much sought after.

The new book being nearly finished, the author, for his own convenience, was desirous of printing a small edition at Rome. Several Italian friends, gentlemen of influence, kindly interested themselves in behalf of the American writer. The nature and character of the book were explained, some encouragement was given, and the preliminary permission was granted. The Italian friends were quite sanguine as to the result. The first chapters of the book were copied. and with all due forms placed in the hands of the authorities, the official censors of the press. [xxii] Days passed. Weeks passed. No answer was received. Anxious to know the result, a renewed application to the authorities was made by the Italian friends. At length, after prolonged delay, came a very polite, very dignified, but slightly severe communication. The book was evidently considered dangerous. The whole volume must be rigidly revised, the opening pages having excited grave fears as to the nature of the subsequent chapters. Foreseeing constant annoyance from an attempt to carry out the plan, Mr. Cooper abandoned all idea of printing at Rome. The manuscript was finished and laid aside for a few weeks, until the author left Rome in the spring, and commenced his migration northward. Passing along the shores of the Adriatic to Venice, he proceeded through the Tyrol to Munich. After a brief pause in the capital of Bavaria, where he much admired the works of art, he moved onward to Dresden. Here some months were passed very pleasantly, in a cheerful apartment looking out upon the Alt-Market, and the quaint and busy show of homely German life so different from that of Italy -- seen there at the weekly fairs. The town was admired, its fine public grounds, noble river and bridge, and far above all its gallery, worthy of Italy. Still there were many regrets for the country south of the great mountains, the author frequently observing that every traveler should visit Germany before crossing the Alps. One object of visiting Dresden was easily accomplished. The book chiefly written in the Casa Tasso was printed without the least difficulty -- the obstacles which wrecked "The Water-Witch" on the Tiber forming no impediment to her being safely launched on the broader waters of the Elbe.

The book was published in America by Messrs. Carey & Lea, October 30, 1830. If less brilliant than "The Red Rover," the spirit and interest pervading "The Water-Witch" were considered very striking; there is an atmosphere of romance infused into the narrative singularly dif[xxiii]ferent from the sober coloring of Puritan life in its predecessor the "Wish-ton-Wish." It is strikingly picturesque. But on the other hand there is less of high moral tone than was usual with the writer; it carries a carnival aspect shout it; the shell was gay and brilliant, the kernel was less nourishing than usual.

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