Abbildungen der Seite

"Come unto mo, all ye that labor «nd fire heavy laden, and 1 will give you rest.—Matt. 11: 28.

Away into the for, d[m wood from her,
His shadow full upon tlic dying leaves,

And autumn hilltops, lying faint and fair, Beneath the sun spread out their silent sheaves.

O'er faulds and meadows old the wild bco flow, And idle brooks sang endlessly and long;

The naked willows waved; and evening grew Above the mallow banks and marsh weeds strong.

Majestic trees above her waved, and stood
And dropped their crimson ashes at her feet;

A passing breeze stirred through the silent

wood, And left behind the moist, dull autumn heat.

She saw his last departing shadow fall,
And from along the dark and dismal way

Faded at last, while sadly over all
A moveless shadow fell across the way.

Upon her hands she laid her aching head,
And weariness of darkness o'er her fell.

"I do not understand my life," she said;
"My soul is lost in woo unspeakable."

We cannot conquer the great world within;

Our ceaseless pulses beat day after day, And souls arc filled with sorrow and with sin;

They labor without faith, and do not pray.

And who shall help them in their dreadful need *
And who is Lord of all our souls within?

Of far-off folds, forever fair, we read,
Where quiet sheep in peace, remote from sin,

Arc guided safely by a Shepherd's love,
And ever calm are all their nights and days,

Forever calm is all their sky above,
And joy doth follow all their winding ways.

But, Lord, some are too weak to come to thee;

They stumble and fall down in deep despair; Their tearful eyes so blind they cannot see,

And hearts too heavy with their earthly care.

Redeemer, shall they lay their woes on thee?

Wilt fold their weary souls upon thy breast? Thy yoke is easy and thy bondage free;

Oh, lead them home to thine eternal rest.

I know that only thou canst give them peace,

And only thou canst calm their restless souls. Dear Saviour, bid their hopeless wanderings


Gather us all to thy pure heavenly folds. Eleanok Mailack.

OCTOBER. Falling leaves and falling men!

When the snows of winter fall, And the winds of winter blow,

Will be woven Nature's pall.

Let us, then, forsake our dead—
For the dead will surely wait,

While we rush upon the foe,
Eager for the hero's fate.

Leaves will come upon the trees;

Spring will show the happy race; Mothers will give birth to sons,

Loyal souls to fill our place.

Wherefore should wo rest and rust t
Soldiers, we must fight and save

Freedom now, and give our foes
All their country should—a grave!

N. Y. Evening Post.


"An appeal to the 'Yon' of yesterday, ought ever to be qualified by the perceptions of th» 'You ' of to-day and to-morrow."

"I Saw it with my eyes!" I doubt you not You saw it—yes, your lightest word is true; But whether that same thing which once was

"You," May, can, or should, with retrospective


Stand, like armed sentinel, and bar you out
From later lights of life, demands a doubt .

"You" may be "you : " but was that halffledged thing,

Eyeing from downy nest its strip of sky, The same, in very deed, as that whoso wing

In practised flights now bears it up on high? Or did its quondam world, its first small sweep, Comprise all worlds? the lofty and the deep 1

Or, take a higher parable.—In youth,
Vigorous and bright, you chose some worthy

pnrt, And well you played it:—blessings on your

truth, And blessed your work, of mind, or hand, or


Good roots, well planted; hence the living trees: But Trkes grow on: shall Men be less than


"You" may bo " you,"—th' essential man th«

same, But complex, rich, and full, not lean and

bare; Holding, and rightly, by the dear old name,

Yet not, as erst, a child in eye and car; Be the true thing; the hours their course fulfil; We have no right to say, "Old Time! stand still."

So friend, old friend, more dear, because thai


Has laid its spell upon us; leaving free
The heart's affections, and the thought suhlimo

Of endless growth, and nobler things to be.
In the full light of life, both old and new,
I see, rejoicing see, that "you " are " you."

—Spectator. Ta.

From The Christian Remembrancer. Female Life in Prison. By a Prison Matron. Hurst and Blackett. This work presents an important subject in so new a point of view that to many of its readers it will be a revelation. Others have written of female prisoners—chaplains, philanthropists, lady visitors, persons who have been permitted occasional intercourse with prison life, or who'have stated duties there; but the present writer lifts the veil from the daily, hourly existence of the miserable class of female convicts, and is the first, as far ns we are aware, spending her life among them, and watching them at all hours of every day, who has told her experience; and told it with a distinctness, (traightforwardness, and command of her subject, which enforce conviction, and powerfully impress the reader. Her purpose, beyond the natural wish to record her observations in a form sure to excite interest, seems to be to plead for her class—prison matrons, ac" they are called—whom she endeavors to prove, and, we think, succeeds in proving, to be overworked, their energies unduly tasked, and their services underpaid. Fourteen or fifteen hours a day of incessant 'labor and vigilance, and almost incessant worry, amongst beings wild, crafty, and desperate as their charges are represented to be, must bo too heavy a strain on body and mind for women to bear without such a drain on health and strength, and wearing out of spirits, as government ought not to require of its servants. The term " matron" is a misnomer, for, as a class, they are young women eligible at twenty-five, some having been elected at an earlier age. And she suggests that for these " officers," as they are further designated, the title of " sister "— "if it did not savor too much of Romanism" —would be more appropriate and more suggestive of their work, and of the spirit in which it should be carried out They are, according to her report, in most cases, women of education and refinement, as they should be always; interested in their work, and carrying it out with tenderness and judgment. For the sake of the prisoners, too, she argues that the staff should be enlarged; for women need more individual attention than men, and cannot be treated in masses and by general rules in the degrees possible with men. And this we can readily believe. \

If women cannot be trained in large masses, neither can they be reformed and punished without losing many important opportunities for favorable influence.

Putting aside the example of zealous, useful labor set us by these youthful matrons, and the good worked by them amongst the more tractable of their charges in some few redeeming instances of penitence and reformation, this book must be a sort of shock to the general reader; being, as it is, a long comment on the text, that it is easier for the leopard to change his spots, than for those to do good that are accustomed to do evil; and giving us a veritable glimpse into Pandemonium such as no other systematic review of prison life has done before, for the reason the author gives, that it is only the officials of a prison that can see prisoners at their worst. Towards occasional visitor( they can exercise self-control, but anything like lasting self-control is incompatible with the feminine nature sunk in vice; and lost to self-respect, as the majority of these women are. It is much easier to believe in crimes, the motive to them, the impulses and temptations which hurry men into them, than to realize their effect upon the character, and what an unresisting abandonment to evil influences results in. It is more difficult and painful still to imagine a woman without any of the qualities we attribute to her sex. Not that the worst are wholly unsexed; bad women are not more like men than good ones—in some cases they are less so: all the weaknesses of the fuminine organization are, indeed, concentrated in them, but there is a class of qualities which we are accustomed to think inseparable from womanhood, and it is a shock to find out our mistake. This writer, after her experience of prison life, quotes Tennyson:—

"For men at most differ as houvcn and earth. But women worst and best, as heaven and hell."

Probably the warders on the men's side of Milbank Prison would have something to say in modification of this distinction, yet they agree in the difference being a wide one between bad men and bad women; a thoroughly depraved woman is more lost to reason than a man can become :—

"' How you ladies manage to live, in such a constant state of excitement, is a puzzle to us on the men's side,' a Milbank warder said to me one day; 'our hours ore as long, but the male convicts are quiet and rational, and obey orders. It must be a hard time for all of you.'"—Female Life in' Prison, vol. ii. p. 4.

A woman dead to shame and lost to reason almost ceases to be a human being; it is not easy to distinguish between her state and actual madness; and some delineations of temper in this work are scarcely compatible with sanity, though, because there are no illusions, the culprit is necessarily treated as responsible. Yet in creatures possessed with almost demoniacal fury or malice, we see strange glimpses of tempers and qualities, with which in the germ we are all familiar. The book is a suggestive one. Here are the extremes of vices, to which we only see remote tendencies in ourselves, our friends, our acquaintance in the outer world; but enough to wake painful sympathies, to see horrible likenesses, to make us own a common nature. We begin to realize, more than, in thoughtless security, men care to do, all we owe to the beneficent chains of decorous habit, to immunity from extreme temptation, to training in the humanities of life. There are people, it seems, who have been j cut off from all these. We do not believe of any human beings that they have had no chance, no conscience pleading within, no example different from and above that which they have uniformly followed; but, as com- j pared to ourselves, they have been without i all privileges and advantages. These, as children, have never learnt, and it would have been out of place could they have spoken, the simple lines,—

"Not more thnn others I deserve,
Yet God hus given me more;"

for from the first they have been outcasts of society. Why there are beings so neglected, so lost, why there are these differences, is an inscrutable mystery; our part, as we realize them, is to recognize a work for the more favored to do, and to inquire what the share of each must be. Every prison suggests such ideas — but nowhere so forcibly as in the case of female convicts—and to see this abandonment, this extreme degradation in woman, is at once pitiable and revolting. As art personifies all graces, all virtues, under feminine forms—Justice, Mercy, Beauty, Intellect, — so Satan stamps his mark on this yielding, impressible material; and when he would represent sullenncss, fury, craft,

malignity, shamelessness, impenitence, despair, he possesses with them some woman's nature, trained from her cradle in ignorance and sin.

One matter for encouragement we gather here, where we should scarcely have expected to find it, which is, that good teaching is seldom absolutely thrown away. The mind which, however unwillingly or with however little seeming profit, has received some religious truths in childhood is in a different condition from one whose earliest impressions were all evil. As far as appearances go, a tender mother, a careful home, school, and church, may be all forgotten—their good influences disregarded, their memory trampled upon—yet every seed thus sown is not utterly eradicated. No good early teaching can be quite lost while thought lasts. It asserts itself at chance moments; it enables the besotted intellect to attach meaning to better ideas when they are presented to it; it interposes itself at seasons of softening or repose, striking some chord which is never developed in a childhood restricted to things low and base :—and this record gives us the names, and something of the history, of . many whose knowledge of men and things, has from their birth been exclusively of this sort. Women are perhaps, from their impressible natures, more the victims of ill training than men; and there are women who have all their lives been strangers to the idea which every girl is supposed to be born with of what a woman should be; to the notions of reserve, modesty, self-respect, restraint, decorum, industry, regard for appearances, obedience to custom, deference for opinion, horror of shame, which in some degree we consider inseparable from womanhood, which, whether suppressed or not, we assume sometimes to have been there or they would not be women. There are women in our prisons to whom every appeal on the presumption of this innate knowledge would be as much thrown away as on a lioness, or she-bear, or the pythoness of the Zoological Gardens; who, as far as we can see, have no sense of dignity or purity, and no admiration for them. They seem never to have heard of the power and goodness of God, never to have felt the most transient wotking of religion in the soul. When the chaplain preaches to them, or makes individual efforts to reach the stony and dead heart,

they frankly own themselves perplexed; they cannot tell " what the parson is driving st." It is often objected to the efforts of every order of teachers—whether in pulpits, schools, or by any other systematic mode of instructing and training the less fortunate classes—that the good done bears no appreciable relation to the labor, fuss, and noise in the doing; but it is something if they secure all who come within sound of their teaching from a certain extremity of ignorance, make them, for ever so little time, take in an idea of what religion and goodness are, and what they themselves ought to be; so that they can henceforth understand the language of exhortation, bold some ideas in common with good men, and be open, intellectually, at least, to the working of higher influences than they habitually seek and live amongst.

We learn one thing of woman's natural graces from such extreme instances of the absence of them, which is that they are natural to women if they are trained in them: if a woman is brought up in modest, decorous ways, there is a natural bias in her to approve of them, to fall into certain habits, to follow certain engaging examples; but if people ever act on the notion that the graces of womanhood are inherent and inalienable, and therefore need not be fostered, they will find themselvesmistiik' .i. All education of women, either from neglect or system, which draws them out of the retirement and reserve congenial to what Spenser calls shamefacedness, bears in most cases evident fruit. It is especially the women who have this training in its most flagrant extreme that make the most revolting prisoners ; women who, from childhood, have led a public life in streets, and noise, and idleness, and promiscuous association. It is enforced in this work, that the worst and most unmanageable prisoners are not in for the gravest offences. No doubt dread of shame and fear of man have much crime to answer for, as well as such violent passions and vices as are not incompatible with a grave, decorous exterior and decent habits of life; but it is those who have been subject to least discipline, whose womanhood has been least cared for, and with whom the usual safeguards of the sex have been most systematically defied, that supply the class of, not to say unfeminine, but inhuman prisoners; brought to this pass by audacious

disregard of opinion, loss of all self-respect, craving for notoriety, necessity for excitement, intolerance of quiet, and hatred of all steady occupation.

This writer does not assume that, in the worst cases brought under her notice, there have not been better impulses and memories than found their way to the light, and which might possibly be reached; but of what she has seen she speaks :—

"But to see some of these women, hour by hour, and listen to them in their mad defiance, rage, and blasphemy, is almost to believe they are creatures of another mould and race, born with no idea of God's truth, and destined to die in their own benighted ignorance.

"As a class, they are desperately wicked; as a class, deceitful, crafty, malicious, lewd, and void of common feeling. With their various temperaments there are various ways of harmonizing them into obedience, and here and there a chance of rousing some little instinct to act and think judiciously; but it can readily be imagined that there are all the vices under the sun exemplified in these hundreds of women, and but a sparse sprinkling of those virtues which should naturally adorn and dignify womanhood. . . . In the penal classes of the male prisons there is not one man to match the worst inmates of our female prisons. There are some women so wholly and entirely bad, that chaplains give up in despair, and prison rules prove failures, and punishment has no effect, save to bring them to ' death's door,' on the threshold of which their guilty tongues still curse and revile; and one must let them have their way, or see them die. There are some women less easy to tame than the creatures of the jungle; and one is almost sceptical of believing that there ever was an innocent childhood or a better life belonging to them. And vet, strange as it may appear, there are few, if any, murderesses among tht-m ; they have been chiefly convicted of theft after theft, accompanied by violence, and they are satanically proud of the offences that have brought them within the jurisdiction of the law.

"In the prison the teaching that should have begun with the women in their girlhood is commenced, and exercises, in a few instances, a salutary influence ; but ignorance, deep-besotted ignorance, displays itself with almost every fresh woman on whom the key turns in her cell. It is the great reason for keeping our prisons full, our judges always busy; three-fourths of our prisoners, before their conviction, were unable to read a word; had no knowledge of a Bible, or what was in it; had never heard of a Saviour; and only remembered God's name as always coupled with a curse. Some women have been trained to be thieves and worse than thieves by their mothers—taking their lessons in crime with a regularity and a persistence that, turned to better things, would have made them loved and honored all their lives. They have been taught all that is evil, and the evil tree has flourished and borne fruit; it is the hardest task to train so warped and distorted a creation to the right and fitting way. Praise be to those hard-working, unflinching, prison chaplains who strive to their utmost, and are not always unsuccessful."—Ibid. vol. i. p. 45.

One reason for the pre-eminence in wickedness claimed for these unfortunates is, no doubt, that confinement and compulsory monotonous labor drives them into a sort of frenzy. We can hardly believe that a man is intrinsically better because he takes his punishment with phlegm, and submits to the inevitable, which a different nervous organization chafes against and defies. The great trial to the matrons and everybody connected with the female prisons is the habit of " breaking out," as it is called—a fit of mischief which seizes some caged fury, and spreads right and left from cell to cell, wherever the sound of breaking glass and crash of crockery can reach. Hating thought, and yet driven to think in their unaccustomed dreary solitude—hating work, and yet compelled to labor at the needle, or other even more monotonous employment, hour after hour—life becomes unendurable; they must break out; they feel the fit coming; they know the consequences—worse solitude in the dark, and bread and water; but their own interest, their own future of an hour hence is nothing to them, the present is so intolerable, and the present relief of noise and excitement so irresistibly attractive.

"The male prisoners are influenced by some amount of reason and forethought, but the female prisoner flies in the very face of prudence, and acts more often like a mad woman than a rational reflective human being. Those who are cunning enough to carry on by signs and looks, and tappings on the wall, a correspondence with their neighbors, arc less refractory than those of less experience in evading prison rules. I have known many women, in defiance of a day or two's bread and water, suddenly shout across the airing-yard, or from one cell to another, with a noise all the more vehement for the

long restraint to which they have been subjected; and such a proceeding, if remonstrated with, is generally followed by a smashing of windows, and a tearing up of sheets and blankets, that will often affect half a ward with a similar example, if the delinquent is not speedily carried off to refractory quarters.

"It has been long observed that the force of example in the matter of 'breakings out* is sure to be strikingly exemplified; that for the sake of change even, and for that excitement which appears to be part of their being, without which they must go melancholy mad, two or three women will, in a quiet aggravating manner, arrange for a systematic smashing of windows and tearing of sheets and blankets.

"I have even known women addressing their matrons in a style similar to the following—

"'Miss G , I'm going to break out


"' Oh, nonsense!—you wont think of such folly, I'm sure.'

"Persuasion is generally attempted first, as a ' breaking out' disturbs a whole prison for a day or two.

"' I'm sure I shall then.'

"'What for?'

"' Well, I've made up my mind, that's what for. I shall break out to-night—see if I don't.'

"' Has any one offended you, or said anything?'

» ' No—no. But I must break out. It'a so dull here. I'm sure to break out.'

"' And then you'll go to the " dark."'

"' I want to go to the " dark "!' is the answer.

"And the ' breaking out' often occurs as promised; and the glass shatters out of the window frames, strips of sheets and blanket* are passed through, or left in a heap in the cell, and the guards are sent for, and there is a scuffling and fighting and scratching and screaming that Pandemonium might equal, nothing else."—Ibid. vol. i. p. 52.

This is one form of the malady ; but sometimes the practice is fallen into " on principle," after a sullen vindictive nursing up of fancied wrong, for the sake of destroying government property. It is, again, the sign of a violent ebullition of temper; though constantly temper has nothing to do with it, and it is simply entered upon from a craving for change, or, deliberately, for companionship, when it is known the refractory cells arc full, and they must be put into them by twos and threes. All excitement is infectious. It is easy to imagine that the im

« ZurückWeiter »