They would have rubbed him with oil again, - those fiercely excited, heartless lookers-on, who cared not for two human lives if they could but win their bets, -they would have filled his nose with hartshorn and started him again on Williams, Stevens, and Evarts; but the physician for the insane would not permit it.
" No," said the physician, sternly; " I will not allow it. This great American Proof-reader is already so much weakened in his mind by these Impeachment speeches that I fear the result may be in-Senate-y. He is not strong enough to bear any more, and I shall order him and his opponent to the hospital".
A deep silence fell upon the throng, while a party of attendants lifted the two victims of Impeachment from the ground preparatory to bearing them away; and it was heartbreaking to hear the hapless creatures feebly rave in the delirium produced by entire physical prostration. " Oh! " groaned the Boston Marvel, " I think I see the Common, and Ticknor & Fields' new bookshop through the trees. Am I, indeed, in heaven, and are the angels singing Mrs. Julia Ward Howe's poems to their golden harps ? But no ! what I took for eternity is Mr. Evarts' speech; and the angels are singing Nelson's poetical quotations ! Is that Stanbery coining with another speech; and Bingham too ? Save me from them! Impeach me and let me die! " The great American Proof-reader also struggled weakly with his bearers, and uttered a low wail, and says he: " No! no! I cannot correct the proof of any more directories to-night. But what am I saying? These are not directories,-they are twenty volumes of Impeachment speeches, with a map accompanying each. I have corrected the maps, which show that each speech extends to the last degree of longitude and has no parallels of platitude. Ask me no more, for I would sleep! "
Not being a really bad man at heart, my boy, I felt a guilty consciousness of having been in some way accessory to this harrowing scene by attending as a thoughtless spectator; and I penitently resolved to expiate my inhumanity by visiting and comforting the American Proofreader, in the hospital, instead of attending the Impeachment matinee. So, thither I went, like a masculine Florence Nightingale, and was presently seated beside the low pallet of one who, but a few days before, had been exultant in health and reason. Now, however, he was sick enough to be a principal Impeachment Manager, or leading Counsel for the Defence,* and there was no more coherence in his mutterings than in one of Emerson's lectures. The physician for the insane had already administered one of Timothy Titcomb's poems to him as an emetic, that he might be enabled thereby to disgorge some of the heavier words upon his stomach; but there had been so many repetitions in the Impeachment speeches that it seemed as though a blood-vessel might be broken before all danger from tautology was over.
"Tell me," said I, anxiously, "what I can do to calm and comfort this great American Proof-reader in his present dreadful state, and thus partially atone for my own share in the recent unnatural exhibition. Let me do something to lull his George Francis Train style of raving, or the enemies of human reason will presently combine to make him a European Correspondent of the " New York World".
The aged physician wrapt his saw, chisel, and gold watch in a piece of brown paper again, and says he, -
* Manager Stereos and Counsel Stanbery were sick.
" I at first thought of amputating the os frontis and extracting some of the words from the orifice; but as he seems quieter now, I will wait awhile. What he needs most," says the physician, thoughtfully, "is present sleep. I will therefore leave three of the New York daily journals with you, and you may read to him a leading editorial from each".
Thus speaking, he left me; and, without another look at the moaning sufferer, I read aloud from the " Tribune" * the following able article, entitled "impeachment is peace.
" From Maine to Philadelphia the ears of a nation of freemen are stretched to catch the first note of the fiat by which Andrew Johnson shall be ordered, in the name of the outraged American people, to return to that merited obscurity from which he was bloodily raised by the pistol of the assassin. When General Grant was recently in Philadelphia, he remarked audibly to a friend, that, upon the conviction and emulsion of the President depended the Peace of the whole country. Nor would any man deny such a self-evident fact, save, perhaps, Mr. Horatio Seymour, to whom the designation of Deliberate and Immeasurable Falsifyer has more than once been applied by prominent citizens of Philadelphia. The United States Senate need hesitate no longer in its verdict".
* This excellent moral journal is largly edited by gentlemen from Philadelphia, who miss no opportunity of improving the value of real estate in their native town, by making editorial mention of that growing place.
Already the patient had sunk into a doze when I concluded this excellent "leader; " and I softly took up the " Times," * and read therefrom concerning what it called "in medias res.
" While it cannot be denied that the sympathies of youth are all with the animated counsel for the defence, it must still be admitted that the grave admiration of meditative maturity accords no mean palm to the earnest pertinacity of some of the managers. Good taste may possibly take exception to one or two of Butler's turbulent invectives; yet we question whether more indulgence will be vouchsafed to the petulant parentheses of Mr. Nelson. As the case stands at present, we can only reprobate all attempts to prejudice a verdict not yet fully incubated; nor shall we countenance with our approval the attempt of any party to delay, or be indifferent to, a decision on which hang all the law and the profits".
*In this skilful Conservative-Radical Dem-Repuplican morning journal, of July 16th, 1859, appeared a remarkable article on the French, Sardinian, and Austrian war in Italy, which said, -
"If we follow the windings of the Mincio, we shall find countless elbows formed in the elbows of the regular army, at places like Salianzi, Molini, and Borghetto".
And also, -
" After a battle of several hours' duration, the Sardinians at Goito gave way; and, if we follow up the course of the Mincio, we shall find innumerable elbows formed by the sympathy of youth".
Such is Conservative journalism in the United States.
A gentle snore smote my ear at the termination* of the above discriminating expression of sentiment; but, to make my work complete, I grasped the "Herald," and read about radical ruin and its remedy.
"Intent only upon elevating old Ben Wade to a temporary dictatorship, the Radical Jacobins are prepared to impeach even old Justice Chase, and fetter the hands of old General Grant. With old Thad Stevens as Secretary of State, and old Fred Douglas in the Treasury, we should soon witness all the excesses of old Robespierre repeated. To meet this emergency, let the Democratic party nominate old Admiral Farragut as their candidate for the Presidency, with old General Hancock for Vice-President".
Throwing aside this last paper, I looked at the American Proof-reader, and found that he not only slumbered soundly, but that he was also in a profuse perspiration. "He is safe!" whispered I, joyfully, to myself. "He is safe, despite the awful manner in which he has tempted Providence".
In an almost gleeful frame of mind, I was about to steal from the room, when the physician entered again, looking so gravely that I fairly caught my breath.
"He has had a narrow escape," muttered the man of medicine, glancing at the pallet.
" And how is the Boston Marvel? " asked I, quickly.
The Physician for the Insane turned his solemn eyes upon me, and pointed impressively upward.
"He is dead!"
Oepheus G. Kerr.