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Monsieur Fournier's Experiment by Cornelius Dewees

"La transfusion parait avoir eu quelque succes dans ces derniers temps."

A dejected man, M. le docteur Maurice Fournier locked the door of his physiological laboratory in the Place de l'École de Médecine, and walked away toward his rooms in the rue Rossini. At two-and-thirty, rich, brilliant, an ambitious graduate of l'École de Médecine, an enthusiastic pupil of Claude Bernard's, a devoted lover of science, and above all of physiology, yesterday he was without a care save to make his name great among the great names of science—to win for himself a place in the foremost rank of the followers of that mistress whom only he loved and worshiped. To-day a word had swept away all his fondest hopes. Trousseau, the keenest observer in all Paris, formerly his father's friend, now no less his own, had kindly but firmly called his attention to himself, and to the malady that had so imperceptibly and insidiously fastened itself upon him that until the moment he never dreamed of its approach. He had been too full of his work to think of himself. In any other case he would scarcely have dared to dispute the opinion of the highest medical authority in Europe; nevertheless in his own he began to argue the matter: "But, my dear doctor, I am well."

"No, my friend, you are not. You are thin and pale, and I noticed the other night, when you came late to the meeting of the Institute, that your breathing was quick and labored, and that the reading of your excellent paper was frequently interrupted by a short cough."

"That was nothing. I was hurried and excited, and I have been keeping myself too closely to my work. A run to Dunkerque, a week of rest and sea-air, will make all right again."

But the great man shook his head gravely: "Not weeks, but years, of a different life are needed. You must give up the laboratory altogether if you want to live. Remember your mother's fate and your father's early death—think of the deadly blight that fell so soon upon the rare beauty of your sister. Some day you will realize your danger: realize it now, in time. Close your laboratory, lock up your library, say adieu to Paris, and lead the life of a traveler, an Arab, a Tartar. For the present cease to dream of the future: strength is better than a professorship in the College of France, and health more than the cross of the Legion of Honor."

Fournier was at first surprised and incredulous: he became convinced, then alarmed. After some thought he was horribly dejected. At such a time an Englishman becomes stolid, a German gives up utterly, an American begins to live fast, since he may not live long; but he, being a Frenchman and a Parisian, had alternations—first, the idea of suicide, which means sleep; second, reaction, which is hopefulness.

He chose to react, and did it promptly. A little time, and the rooms in the Place de l'École de Médecine, opposite the bookseller's, displayed a card stuck on the entrance-door with red wafers, "à louer," the hammer of the auctioneer knocked down the comfortable furniture of the apartments in the rue Rossini, while that of the carpenter nailed up the well-beloved books in stout boxes, and the places that had known M. le docteur knew him no more. None but those who have experienced the pleasures of a life devoted to scientific research can understand how hard all this was to him. The fulfillment of long-cherished desires, the completion of elaborate systematic investigations, the realization of pet theories, the establishment of new principles,—all, all abandoned after so much toil and care. To struggle painfully through a desert toward some beautiful height, which, at first dimly seen, has grown clearer and clearer and always more splendid as he advances, and now at its very foot to be turned back by a gloomy stream in whose depths lurks death itself; to reach out his hand to the golden truth, fruit of much winnowing of human knowledge, and as he grasps the precious grains to be borne back by a grim spectre whose very breath is horrible with the noisome odors of the tomb; to choose an arduous life, and learn to love it because it has high aims, and then to give it up at once and utterly!—alas, poor Fournier!

"Nevertheless," he said as he turned his back on Paris, "even idle wanderings are better than dying of consumption."

Behold the student of science a wanderer—sailing his yacht among the islands of the Mediterranean; making long journeys through the wild mountain-regions and lovely valleys of untraveled Spain; stemming the historic current of the Nile; among the nomad tribes, in Arab costume riding an Arabian mare, as wild an Arab as the wildest of them; killing tigers in India, tending stock in Australia, chasing buffaloes in Western America,—everywhere avoiding civilization and courting Nature and the company of men who either by birth or adoption were the children of Nature. By day the winds of heaven kissed his cheeks and the sun bronzed them: at night he often fell asleep wondering at the star-worlds that gemmed the only canopy over his welcome blanket-couch.

His treatment of consumption was certainly a rational one, and perhaps the only one that is ever wholly successful. But, alas! few can take so costly a prescription.

How often had his studies led him to dissect the bodies of animals that had died in their dens in the Jardin des Plantes! Often in the first generation of cage-life, almost always in the second, invariably in the third, they grow dull, listless, the fire goes out of their eyes, the litheness out of their limbs: they forget to eat, they cough, and soon they die. Of what? Consumption. Once our fathers were wild and lived in the open air: they scarcely ever died, as we do, of consumption. Crowded cities, bad drainage, overwork, want of healthful exercise, stimulating food, dissipation,—these are human cage-life. If a man is threatened with consumption, let him go back to the plains and forests before it is too late.

Certainly the treatment benefited Fournier. By and by it did more—it cured him. The cough was forgotten, the cheeks filled out, the muscles became hard as bundles of steel wire, his strength was prodigious: he ate his food with a relish unknown in Paris, and slept like a child.

Nevertheless, his mind, trained to habits of thought and observation, was not idle. When a city was his home he had been a physiologist and had studied man: he made the world his dwelling-place, and wandering among the nations he became an ethnologist and began to study men.

A distinguished professor, writing of the influence of climate upon man, for the sake of illustration supposes the case of a human being whose life should be prolonged through many ages, and who should pass that life in journeying slowly from the arctic regions southward through the varying climates of the earth to the eternal winter of the antarctic zone. Always preserving his personal identity, this traveler would undergo remarkable changes in form, feature and complexion, in habits and modes of life, and in mental and moral attributes. Though he might have been perfectly white at first, his skin would pass through every degree of darkness until he reached the equator, when it would be black. Proceeding onward, he would gradually become fairer, and on reaching the end of his journey he would again be pale. His intellectual powers would vary also, and with them the shape of his skull. His forehead, low and retreating, would by degrees assume a nobler form as he advanced to more genial climes, the facial angle reaching its maximum in the temperate zone, only to gradually diminish as he journeyed toward the torrid, and to again exhibit under the equator its original base development. As he continued his journey toward the south pole he would undergo a second time this series of progressing and retrograding changes, until at length, as he laid his weary bones to rest in some icy cave in the drear antarctics,

Multum ille et terris jactatus et alto,

he would be in every respect, save in age and a ripe experience, the same as at the outset of his wanderings.

Extravagant as this illustration may appear, the professor goes on to say, philosophically, on the doctrine of the unity of the human race, it is not so; for what else than such an imaginary prolonged individual life is the life of the race? And what greater changes have occurred to our imaginary traveler than have actually befallen the human family?

The facts are patent. Under the equator is found the negro, in the temperate zones the Indo-European, and toward the pole the Lapp and Esquimaux. They are as different as the climates in which they dwell; nevertheless, history, philology, the common traditions of the race, revelation, point to their brotherhood.

How is it that climate can bring about such modifications in man? Is it possible that the sun, shining upon his face and his children's faces for ages, can make their skin dark, and their hair crisp and curly, and their foreheads low? Or that sunshine and shadow, spring-time and autumn, summer's showers beating upon him and winter's snows falling about his path, can make him fair and free? Or that the dreary night and cheerless day of many changeless arctic years can make him short and fat and stolid as a seal? Surely not. These avail much; but other influences, indirect and obscure in their workings, but not the less essentially climatic, are required. Food, raiment, shelter, occupation, amusement, influences that tell upon the very citadel and stronghold of life—and all in their very nature climatic, since they are controlled and modified by climate—are the means by which such changes are effected. The savage living in the open air, not trammeled with much clothing, anointing his skin with oil, eating uncooked food, delighting in the chase and in battle, and living thus because his surroundings indicate it, becomes swart and athletic, fierce, cunning and cruel—takes ethnologically the lowest place. Of literature, science, art, he knows nothing: for him will is justice, fear law, some miserable fetich God. Still, in his nature lie dormant all the capabilities of the noblest manhood, awaiting only favorable surroundings to call them into glorious being. It might shock the salt of the earth to reflect that some centuries of life among them and their fair descendants would make him like them.

The arctic savage clad in furs and eating blubber does not differ essentially from his brother of the tropics. So much of his food is necessarily converted into heat that he cannot afford to lead so active a life; but he also, like him of the tropics, partakes with his surroundings in color. The one, living amid snowclad scenery, where the sparse vegetation is gray and grayish-green, and the birds and animals almost as white as the snow over which they wander, is pale, etiolated. The other, under a vertical sun, surrounded by a lush and lusty growth, whose flowers for variety and intensity of color are beyond description, and in which birds of brightest plumage and black and tawny beasts make their home, has the most marked supply of pigment—is dark-hued, black, in short a negro. Between these two extremes is the typical man, fair of face, with expanded brow and wavy hair, well fed, well clad, well housed, wresting from Nature her hidden things and making her mightiest forces the workers of his will; heaping together knowledge, cherishing art, reverencing justice, worshiping God. How startling the contrast between brothers!

Such changes do not take place in a few generations. For their completion hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years must elapse. The descendants of the blacks who were carried from Africa to America as slaves two centuries and a half ago, save where their color has been modified by a mixed parentage, are still black. Already the influence of new climatic surroundings and of association has wrought great changes upon them: they are no longer savages. But their complexion is as dark as that of their kidnapped forefathers. Their original physical condition remains almost unaltered, and with it many mental characteristics: their love of display and of bright colors, their fondness for tune and the power of music to move them, their weird and fantastic belief in ghosts and spirits, in signs, omens and charms, and many other traits, still bear witness to their savage origin. But even these are fading away, and these men are slowly but not the less surely becoming civilized and white.

The point of departure for every structural change in a living organism lies in the apparatus by which nutrition is maintained; and this in the higher classes is the blood. Most complex and wonderful of fluids, it contains in unexplained and inscrutable combination salts of iron, lime, soda and potassa, with water, oil, albumen, paraglobulin and fibrinogen, which united form fibrine—in fact, at times, some part of everything we eat and all that goes to form our bodies, which it everywhere permeates, vitalizes and sustains. Borne in countless numbers in its ever-ebbing and returning streams are little disks, flattened, bi-concave, not larger in man than one-three-thousandth of an inch in diameter, called red corpuscles, whose part it is to carry from the lungs to the tissues pure oxygen, without which the fire called life cannot be sustained, and back from the tissues to the lungs carbonic acid, one of the products of that fire; and larger, yet marvelously small, bodies called leucocytes or white corpuscles, whose precise origin and use to this day, in spite of all the labor that has been spent upon their study, remain unknown. But that which makes the blood wonderful above all other fluids is its vitality. Our common expression, "life's blood," is no idle phrase. The blood is indeed the very throne of life. If its springs are pure and bountiful, if its currents flow strong and free, muscle, bone and brain grow in symmetry and power, and there is cunning to devise and the strong right arm to execute. But if it be thin and poor, and its circulation feeble and uncertain, the will flags, the mind is weak and vacillating, the muscles grow puny, and the man becomes an unresisting prey to disease and circumstance. If it escape through a wound, strength ebbs with it, until at length life itself flows out with the unchecked crimson stream. Thus, then, by acting upon the blood, climate has wrought and is working such changes upon man. But why are constantly-acting causes so slow in producing their effects? How is it that countless generations must pass away before purely climatic causes, potent as they are, begin to manifest themselves in physical changes in the races of men exposed to them?

Fournier, physiologist, as I have said, by the education of the schools, but by the broader education of his travels sociologist and ethnologist, devoted himself again to science, and framed this hypothesis: Climatic influences, acting upon man, bring about physical changes exceedingly slowly, because they are resisted by an inveterate habit of assimilation. This habit pertains either to the blood or the tissues, possibly to both, probably to the blood alone.

To establish an hypothesis experiment is necessary. Physiology is a science of experiment. Hence the frequent uncertainty of its results, since no two observers conduct an experiment in exactly the same manner—certainly no two ever institute it under precisely the same conditions. Nevertheless, let us not decry science. Out of much searching after truth comes the finding of truth—after long groping in darkness one comes upon a ray of light.

An experiment was necessary. To the ingenious mind of Fournier an elaborate one occurred. If he could perform it, not only would his hypothesis be established and confirmed beyond all cavil, but a, field of scientific research also be opened such as was yet undreamed of. However, for this experiment subjects were needed. Brutes, beasts of the field? Not so: that were easy to achieve. Human beings, two living, healthy men, one white, one black, were the requirements. Impossible! The experiment could never be performed: its requirements were unattainable. O tempora! O mores! Alas, for the degeneracy of the age! In the days of the Roman emperors men were fed, literally fed, to wild beasts in the arena—Gauls, Scythians, Nubians, even Roman freedmen when barbarians were scarce. This to amuse the populace alone. Frightful waste of life! In India, a thousand lives thrown away in a day under the wheels of Juggernaut; in Europe, tens of thousands to gratify the imperious wills of grasping monarchs; in America, hundreds to sate the greed of railroad corporations. And now not two men to be had for an experiment of untold value to science, that would scarcely endanger life in one of them, and in the other would necessitate only the merest scratch! To what are we coming? No one complains that tattooed heads are going out of fashion—that the king of the Cannibal Isles no longer flatters a ship's master by inquiring which head of all his subjects is ornamented most to his fancy, and the next day sending him that head as a souvenir of his visit to the anthropophagic shores. It is well that the custom is dead. But is there not danger of drifting too far even toward the shore of compassion? May it not be that there is something wrong with the bowels of mercy when criminals are executed barbarously, while science needs their lives, or at least an insight into the method of their dying; when precise examination of the manner of nerve and blood supply to the organs of a superannuated horse is heavily finable; when charitable but perchance too enthusiastic societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals push their earnestness even to interference with scientific researches, because, forsooth! they jeopardize the lives of rabbits, guinea-pigs and dogs? The legend Cave canem bears a deeper meaning now than it did in the inlaid pavements of Pompeian vestibules. We dare not trample it under foot.

Five years passed, and with restored health back came the old desires in redoubled force. Fournier longed to return to civilization and to work. The life that had been so delightful while it did him good became utterly unbearable when he had reaped its full benefit. I am tempted to quote a line about Europe and Cathay, but refrain: it will recur to the reader. He burned to renew the labors he had abandoned, to take up again the work he had laid down to do battle with disease, now that disease was vanquished. Thus the year 1863 found him in the city of Charleston, homeward bound in his journey around the world.

While still in the wilds west of the Mississippi he could have shaped his course northward and readily proceeded directly by steamer from New York to Europe. But a determined purpose led him to choose a different course, though he was well aware that it would involve indefinite delay in reaching Paris, and great personal risk. The life he had been leading made him think lightly of danger, and years would be well spent if he could accomplish the plans that induced him to go into the disorganized country of the South.

He straightway connected himself with the army as surgeon, and solicited a place at the front. He wanted active service. In this he was disappointed. Charleston, blockaded and beseiged, was in a state of military inaction. Save the occasional exchange of shot and shell at long range between the works on shore and those which the Unionists had erected and held upon the neighboring islands and marshes, nothing was done, and for nearly a year Fournier experienced the irksomeness of routine duty in a wretchedly arranged and appointed military hospital. Nevertheless, the time was not wholly wasted. From a planter fleeing from the anarchy of civil war he procured a native African slave, one of the shipload brought over a few years before in the Wanderer, the last slave-ship that put into an American harbor. This man he made his body-servant and kept always near him, partly to study him, but chiefly to secure his complete mental and moral thraldom. An almost unqualified savage, Fournier avoided systematiclly everything that would tend to civilize him. He taught him many things that were convenient in his higher mode of life, and taught him well, but of the great principles of civilization he strove to keep him in ignorance; and more, he so confused and distorted the few gleams of light that had reached that darkened soul that they made its gloom only the more hideous and profound. He wanted a man altogether savage, mentally, morally and physically. Instead of teaching him English or French, he learned from him many words of his own rude native tongue, and communicated with him as much as possible in that alone, aided by gesture, in which, like all Frenchmen, he possessed marvelous facility of expression. In the unexplored back-country of Africa the negro had been a prince, and Fournier bade him look forward to the time when he would return and rule. He always addressed him by his African name and title in his own tongue. He took him into the wards of his hospital, and taught him to be useful at surgical operations and to care for the instruments, that he might become familiar with them and with the sight of blood, which at first maddened him. Once he gave him a drug that made his head throb, and then bled him, with almost instant relief. He affected an interest in the amulets which hung at his neck, and besought him to give him one to wear. He committed to his care, with expressions of the greatest solicitude, a strong box, brass bound and carefully locked, which he told him contained his god, a most potent and cruel deity, who would, however, when it pleased him, give back the life of a dead man for blood. This box contained a silver cup, with a thermometer fixed in its side; a glass syringe holding about a third of a pint; a large curved needle perforated in its length like a tube, sharp at one end, at the other expanded to fit accurately the nozzle of the syringe; a little strainer also fitting the syringe; and last, a small bundle of wires with a handle like an egg-beater.

For the rest, this savage was crooked, ill-shapen and hideous. His skin was as black as night; his head small, the face immensely disproportionate to the cranium; his jaws massive and armed with glittering white teeth filed to points; his cheeks full, his nose flat, his eyes little, deep-set, restless, wicked. The usage he received from his new master was so different from his former experience with white men, and so in accord with his own undisciplined nature, that it called forth all the sympathies of his character. He soon loved the Frenchman with an intensity of affection almost incomprehensible. It is no exaggeration to say that he would have willingly laid down his life to gratify his master's slightest wish. The latter's knowledge was to him so comprehensive, his power so boundless and his will so imperious and inflexible, that he feared and worshiped him as a god.

Fournier looked upon his monster with satisfaction, and longed for a battle. His wish was at last gratified. On the Fourth of July, 1864, an engagement took place three miles north-west of Legaréville, near the North Edisto River. A force of Union soldiery had been assembled from the Sea Islands and from Florida, massed on Seabrook Island, and pushed thence up into South Carolina. The object of this expedition was unknown; indeed, as nothing whatever was accomplished, the strategy of it remains to this day unexplained. However, forewarned is forearmed. Every movement was watched and reported by the rebel scouts; all the troops that could be spared from Charleston were sent out to oppose the invaders; roads were obstructed; bridges were destroyed, batteries erected in strong positions, everything prepared to impede their progress. Our story needs not that we should dwell upon the sufferings of the Union soldiers on that futile expedition, from the narrow, dusty roads, the frequent scarcity of water, the intense heat. With infinite fatigue and peril they advanced only five or six miles in a day's march. Many died of sunstroke, and many fell by the way utterly exhausted. There was occasional skirmishing; but one actual battle. To that the troops gave the name of "the battle of Bloody Bridge." Picture a slightly undulating country covered with thick low forest; a narrow road that by an open plank bridge crosses a wide, sluggish stream with marshy banks, and curves beyond abruptly to the right to avoid a low, steep hill facing the bridge; crowning this hill an earth-work, rude to be sure, but steep, sodded, almost impregnable to men without artillery to play upon it; within, two cannon, for which there is plenty of ammunition, and six hundred Confederate soldiers, fresh, eager, determined; on the road in front of the battery, but just out of range of its guns, the Union forces halting under arms, the leaders anxious and discouraged, the men exhausted, careworn, wondering what is to be done next, heartily sick of it all, yet willing to do their best; in the thicket on both sides the road, not sheltered, only covered, within pistol-shot of the enemy, six hundred United States soldiers, a Massachusetts colored regiment, one of the first recruited, without cannon, over-marched, overheated, a forlorn hope, sent forward to take the battery! These men, stealthily assembling there among the trees and bushes, are ready. Not one of them carries a pound of superfluous weight. Their rifles with fixed bayonets, a handful of cartridges, a canteen of water, are enough. They wear flannel shirts and blue trowsers; numbers are bareheaded, some have cut off the sleeves of their shirts: they know there is work before them. Many kneel in prayer; comrades exchange messages to loved ones at home, and give each other little keepsakes—the rings they wore or brier pipes carved over with the names of coast battles; others—perhaps they have no loved ones—look to the locks of their pieces and await impatiently the signal to advance. The officers—white men, most of them Boston society fellows, old Harvard boys who once thought a six-mile pull or a long innings at cricket on a hot day hard work, and knew no more of military tactics than the Lancers—move about among them, speaking to this one and to that one, calling each by name, jesting quietly with one, encouraging another, praising a third, endeavoring to inspire in all a hope which they dare not feel themselves.

But hark! The signal to move. Quickly they form in the road, and with a shout advance at a run, their dusky faces glistening in that summer sun and their manly hearts beating bravely in the very jaws of death. Now the bridge trembles beneath their steady tread: the foremost are at the hill, yet no sign of life in the battery. Only the smooth green bank, the wretched flag in the distance, and those guns charged with death looking grimly down upon them and waiting. On they come, nearer and nearer, and now some are on the hill and begin to climb the steep that forms the defence, slowly and with difficulty, using at times their rifles as aids like alpenstocks. Not a word is spoken. It is hard to understand how so many men can move with so little noise. The silence is that which precedes all dreadful noises. It is ominous, terrible. Scarcely twenty feet more, and the foremost will reach the rampart. Haste! haste! The day is won!

Suddenly a figure in gray leaps upon the breastwork: he waves his sword, utters a short quick word of command, and disappears. It is enough. The sleeping battery awakes. The silence becomes hideous uproar. The smooth green line of the sod against the sky is lined with marksmen, and in an instant fringed with fire. Then the cannon bellow and the breezeless air is dense with smoke. The attacking column hesitates, trembles, makes a useless effort to advance, and then falls back beyond the bridge. The officers endeavor to rally their men and renew the attack at once, but in vain: flesh and blood cannot stand in such a storm. Nevertheless, the brave fellows—God bless their memory!—halt at length, and form and charge once more. And so again and again and again; every time in vain and with new losses, until at last they cannot rally, but retreat, broken and bleeding, to the main body of the expedition, carrying with them such of the wounded and dead as they can snatch from under the fire of the rebel riflemen. Such was the battle of Bloody Bridge, and well was it named. Five times that gallant regiment charged the battery, and when the smoke of battle cleared away the sun shone down upon a piteous sight—blood dyeing the green of that sodded escarp—blood in great clots upon the rocks and stumps of the rugged hill below—blood poured plenteously upon the dusty road, making it horrible with purple mire—blood staining the bridge and gathering in little pools upon the planks, and dripping slowly down through the cracks between them into the sluggish stream, where it floated with the water in great red clouds, toward which creatures dwelling in slimy depths below came up lazily, but when they tasted it became furious and fought among themselves like demons—blood drying in hideous networks and arabesques upon the railing of the bridge—blood upon the fences, blood upon the trembling leaves of the bushes by the wayside—blood everywhere! And everywhere the upturned faces and torn bodies of men who had dared to do their duty and to die: side by side the white, who led and the black who followed—all set and motionless, but all wearing the same expression of brave but hopeless determination. That was a brave charge at Balaklava, but, trust me, there have been Balaklavas that are yet unsung.

So the expedition went back, and its brigades were redistributed to the Sea Islands and to Florida; but why it was ever sent out, and why that regiment was sent forward to take the battery without artillery and without reinforcements, God, who knoweth all things, only knows. And God alone knows why there must be wars and rumors of wars, and why men made in his image must tear each other like maddened beasts.

In this battle, heavy as the losses were, the Confederates took but one prisoner. At the third charge a tall, broad-shouldered captain, who seemed, like another son of Thetis, almost invulnerable, darted impetuously ahead of his men and reached the summit of the defence. Useless bravery! In an instant a volley point blank swept away the charging men behind him, and a gunner's sabrethrust bore him to the ground within the works, where he lay stunned and bleeding beside the gun he had striven so hard to take. The man who had captured him, wild with excitement and maddened with the powder that blackened him and the hot blood which jetted upon him, sprang down, spat upon him, spurned him with his foot, and would have dashed out his brains with the heavy hilt of his clubbed sword had not a strong hand grasped his uplifted wrist.

It was Fournier, who had watched the battle with an interest as intense as that of the most ardent Southerner in the battery, though widely different in character. His interest was that of the naturalist who stands by eager and curious to see a rustic entrap some rara avis that he desires to study, to use for his experiment. Better for the bird: it can suffer and die. Afterward what matter whether it stand neatly stuffed and mounted, a voiceless worshiper, in some glass mausoleum, or slowly moulder in a fence corner until its feathers are wafted far and wide, and only a little tuft of greener grass remains to its memory? As our naturalist's game was nobler and destined for more important study, so it was capable of lifelong suffering more subtle and intense. Perhaps Fournier had not fully considered, in his eagerness to prove his hypothesis, the dangers to the subjects of his experiment. Perhaps his mind was so intent upon the physical aspect of the questions that he had overlooked some of the intellectual and moral elements involved in the problem, and did not realize the enormities that would result should he succeed. On the other hand, perhaps he saw them, realized them fully, and was the more deeply fascinated with the research because of its leading into such gloomy and mysterious regions of speculation. Let us do him justice. Science was his god, and this idolater was willing to endure any labor and privation and to assume any responsibility in her service. Would that more who worship a greater God were as devoted!

He was a physiologist, and was simply engaged in an experimental investigation, yet in its progress he had already uncivilized a man whose eyes were beginning dimly to see the truth, had poisoned his mind with lies, and had hurled him into depths of Plutonian ignorance inconceivably more profound than his original estate; and now he was about to debase another fellow-creature of his own race, to tamper with his manhood, to confuse his identity, to render him among his own kindred and people perhaps tabooed, ostracised, despised—perhaps an object of pity. If he should succeed? Surely he had not come thus near success to suffer his splendid Yankee captain to be brained there before his eyes. Like a hawk he had watched every incident of the fight, and was on the alert to act the part of surgeon toward any who might be either wounded in the battery or taken prisoner. He had even resolved, in case of the capture of the place, to represent his peculiar position to the United States officer in command, and to beg of him permission to make his experiment upon a wounded rebel.

The gunner turned fiercely upon him, but dropped his arm and sheathed his sabre at his question, and then walked back to his gun abashed, for he was, after all, a brave and chivalrous man.

Fournier simply asked: "Do Confederate soldiers murder prisoners of war?" And added, "He is a wounded man—leave him to me."

Then he knelt down beside him and examined his wound, and though he strove to be calm he trembled with excitement as he tore open the blue blouse and felt the warm blood welling over his fingers. It was a simple wound through the fleshy part of the shoulder: a strand of saddler's silk and a few strips of sticking-plaster would have sufficed to dress it, but the Frenchman smiled when he wiped away the clots and saw the blood spurting from two or three small divided arteries.

Then he called his African, and they carried the wounded man back to a tent, and laid him on a bed of moss and cypress boughs, and left him there to bleed, while he went out into the air, and walked about, and tossed his hat and shouted with excitement like a madman. But the battle raged, and the gunners charged their guns and fired, and charged and fired again, and the men along the breastwork grew furious with the slaughter and the fiery draughts they took from their canteens through lips blackened with powder and defiled with grease and shreds of cartridge-paper; and no one noticed the doctor's mad conduct nor the savage standing guard before the tent; nor did any other save those two in the whole battery—no, not even the gunner who had captured him—give a thought to the prisoner who lay bleeding there, until the battle was over.

And this prisoner, what of him? Any one, looking upon him as he lay upon the cypress boughs, would have known him to be thoroughbred. Everything about him proclaimed it. His face, manly but gentle, his figure, great in stature and strength, yet graceful in outline like a Grecian god, the very dress and accoutrements he wore, which were neat, strong, expensive, but without ornament, showed him to be a gentleman. And Robert Shirley was a gentleman. Probably no man in all the States could have been found who would have presented a greater contrast to the man standing guard outside the tent than this man who lay within it; and for that reason none who would have been so welcome to Fournier. As the one was a pure savage, the other was the realization of the most illustrious enlightenment; the one fierce, cunning, undisciplined, the other gentle, frank, considerate; as the one was hideous, ill-formed and black as night, so the other was radiant with manly beauty and fair as the morning. Each among his own people sprang from noble stock; the one a prince, the other the descendant of the purest Puritan race, which knew among its own divines and judges brave captains, and farther back a governor of the colony. But the guard and his people were at the foot of the scale, the guarded at the top. The blood flowing out upon the cypress bed was the best blood of America. It was blue blood and brave blood. Generation after generation it had flowed in the veins of fair women and noble men, and had never known dishonor. Yet Fournier let it flow. More, he was delighted that it continued to flow.

Presently, however, he sobered down, and began to prepare for his work. He placed a large caldron of water over a fire; he brought basins, towels and his case of surgical instruments, and placed them in the, tent, and with them the case which he had taught the African to believe contained his god. While thus busied he did not neglect the subject of his experiment. His watchful eye noted everything—the mass, of clots growing like a great crimson fungus under the wounded shoulder, the deadly pallor, the dark circles forming around the sunken eyes, the blanched lips, the transparent nostrils, the slow, deep respiration. From time to time he felt the wounded man's pulse and counted it carefully. Ninety—he went out again into the open air; one hundred—"The loss of blood tells," he muttered, and began to rearrange his appliances and busy himself uneasily with them; one hundred and thirty beats to the minute —"He is failing too fast: I must stop this bleeding" said the experimenter. Then he cleansed the wound, and tied the arteries, and bound it up. But the loss of blood had been so great that the heart fluttered wildly and feebly in its efforts to contract upon its diminished contents, and Fournier, anxious, and pale himself almost as his victim, trembled when his finger felt in vain for the bleeding artery and caught only a faint tremulous thrill, so feeble that he scarcely knew whether the heart was beating at all or not. In terror he threw the ends of the little tent and fanned him, and moistened his lips, and gave him brandy, and hastened to begin the experiment for which he had waited so long and for which both subjects were at last ready.

He told his savage that the Yankee was dying, but that he had communed with his god, who would let him live if blood was given in return. Then he reminded him of the time when he lost blood, and that it had done him no harm. The African, trained for this duty with so much care, did not fail him, but bared his arm and gave the blood. The god was brought forth and caught it, and the sacrifice began. As the silver, bowl floated in a basin of water so warm that the thermometer in its side marked ninety-eight degrees of Fahrenheit, Fournier stirred the blood flowing into it quickly with the bundle of wires, to collect the fibrine and prevent the formation of clots; he then drew it into the syringe through the strainer, and forced it through the perforated needle, which he had previously thrust into a large vein in Shirley's arm, carefully avoiding the introduction of the slightest bubble of air. Time after time he filled his syringe and emptied it into the veins of the wounded man, until at length he saw signs of reaction. The color came, the breathing became more natural, the pulse became slower, fuller, regular. By and by he moved, sighed, opened his eyes and spoke.

He asked a question: "What has happened?"

While he had been lying there much had happened. Life and death had battled over him, and life had triumphed. When he recovered from the effects of his fall and found himself bleeding, he tried to rise and stanch the flow, but, already exhausted, he fell back almost fainting from the effort. He called repeatedly for help, but his only reply was the hideous face of his guard, silently leering at him for a moment, then disappearing without a word, At last it occurred to him that he had been left there to die, and he roused all his energies to his aid. How we strive for our lives! But Shirley accomplished nothing, he could not even raise his hand to the bleeding shoulder, with every effort the blood flowed more copiously. His mind was rapidly becoming benumbed like his body, which shivered as though it were mid winter. Darkness came over his eyes, and as he listened to the din of the battle he fell into a dreamy state that soon passed into seeming unconsciousness again. Nevertheless, while the doctor came and went and did his work, and the savage scowled at him, yet gave his life's blood to save him, though he lay like a dead man and saw them not, nor heard them, nor even felt the needle in his flesh, his mind was not idle. Strange doubts and fears, wild longings and regrets, sweet thoughts of long-forgotten happiness, and fair visions of the future, busied his brain. Memory unrolled her scroll and breathed upon the letters of his story that lapse of time and press of circumstance had made dim, till they grew clear, and with himself he lived his life again, and nothing was lost out of it or forgotten. There was his mother's face again, with the old, old loving smile upon her lips and the tender mother-love in the depths of her beautiful blue eyes—lips that had so oven kissed away his childish tears, and had taught him to say at evening, "Our Father" and "Now I lay me down to sleep," eyes that had never looked upon him without something of the heavenly light of which they were now so full. There before him, bright and clear as ever, were the scenes of his boyhood—the school-forms defaced with many a rude cutting of names and dates, the master knitting his shaggy brows and tapping meaningly with his ruler upon the awful desk while some white haired urchin floundered through an ill-learned task and his classmates tittered at his blunders. Dear old classmates! How their faces shone and gladdened as they chased the bounding football! How merrily they flushed and glowed when the clear frosty air of the Northern winter quivered with the ring of their skates upon the hard ice! How soberly side by side they solved problems and looked up sesquipedalia verba in big lexicons! And how happily the late evening hours wore away as they read Ivanhoe and the Leather Stocking Tales by the fireside with shellbarks and pippins!

Then the college days flew by with all their romance and delight. Again there were bells ringing to morning prayers, recitations and lectures, examinations and prizes, speeches and medals, and the glorious friendships, pure, earnest, almost holy. Would there were more such friendships in the outer, wider world! Commencement with its "pomp and circumstance," its tedious ceremony and scholarly display, its friends from home—mothers, sisters, sweethearts, all bright eyes and fond hearts, its music and flowers, its caps, gowns, dress-coats and "spreads," and, last and worst of all, its sorrowful "good-byes," some of them, alas! for ever! Once more he trembled as he rose to make his commencement speech, but slowly, as he went on, his voice grew steady and his manner calmer, for, lad as he was, and tyro at "orations," he was in earnest. "May my light hand forget its cunning, O my brother! may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, O ye oppressed! if ever there comes to me an opportunity to help you win your way to freedom and I fail you!" He, the aristocrat of his class, had chosen to speak "Against Caste," and though he spoke with the enthusiasm of an untried man, it was with devoted honesty of purpose, of which his earnestness was witness, and of which his future was to give ample proof. Again in vision he stood before that assembly and spoke for the lowly and oppressed. "Let every man have place and honor as he proves himself worthy. Make the way clear for all."

Through the bewilderment of applause that greeted him as he finished he saw only the glad, smiling face of Alice Wentworth nodding approval of the rest, hundreds though they were, he saw nothing. Her congratulation was enough.

Then came tenderer scenes, and Alice Wentworth was to be his wife. Another change, and he is in the midst of ruder scenes. There is war, civil war, and he is a soldier, once more he seems to be in Virginia, and there are marches and counter-marches, camps and barracks, battles and retreats, and all the great and little miseries of long campaigns. The silver leaflets of a major are exchanged for the golden eagles of a colonel, and all the time, amid sterner duties, he finds time to write to Alice Wentworth, and never a mail comes into camp but he is sure of letters dated 'Home' and full of words that make him hopeful and brave, "'Home!' Yes hers and mine too, if home's where the heart is!'" he thinks, and he loves her more dearly every day.

Negro troops are raised, and, true to his principles and to himself, he resigns his commission to take a lower rank in a colored regiment. Now the scenes grow dim, confused sounds far off disturb him, low music, familiar yet strange, now distant, now at his very ear, attracts him, a weird, shadowy mist encloses him, concealing even the things which were visible to the mind's eye, and memory and thought have almost ceased. Yet while all else fades away, clear and beautiful before him are two faces that cannot be forgotten—his mother's face, and that other, which he loves, if that can be, even more. Thus, with the 'Our Father' not on his lips, but fixed in his mind, he feels himself drifting away—drifting away like a boat that has broken its moorings and drifts out with the ebbing tide—whither?

But the rich, warm, lusty blood of the African quickly does its work. The heart, which had almost ceased to beat, because there was not blood enough for it to contract upon, reacted to the stimulus, and as it revived and sent the new life pulsating through all the body the whole man revived, and again:

The fever called living burned in his brain.

Fournier, under one pretext or another, but really by the force of his relentless will, kept his victim by him for years after their escape from the South. He noted from time to time certain curious changes that took place in his physical nature, and recorded his observations with scientific precision in a book kept for the purpose, for the renewal of life had entailed results of an extraordinary character, as the reader may have already anticipated. At length he wrote 'My hypothesis is verified, it has become a theory. My theory is proved, it is a physiological law. Climatic influences, acting upon man, bring about physical changes exceedingly slowly, because they are resisted by an inveterate habit of assimilation which pertains to the blood.'

That day Shirley was free. His rescuer had finished his experiment.

Alice Wentworth had never believed that her lover was dead. She had heard all with a troubled heart, but while his distant kinsmen, who were heirs-at-law, put on the deepest mourning and grew impatient of the law's delay, she simply said, "I will wait until there is some proof before I give him up! Proof! proof! Shall I be quicker than the law to give up every hope?" And in her heart she said, "He is not dead." Even when years had passed and the war was over, and her agent had searched everywhere and found no trace of him, she did not cease to hope that he would yet appear. So, when at length a letter came, it was welcome and expected. Not surprise but joy made her start and tremble as the old familiar superscription met her eyes.

Such a letter!—filled with the spirit of his love, breathing in every word the tender, passionate devotion of an earlier day, and yet so sad. Tears dropped down through her smiles of joy and blurred the lines she read at first, but smiles and tears alike ceased as she read on. He had written many, many times, but he knew she had not got his letters. He had been a prisoner—not only prisoner of war, but afterward prisoner to a man whose will was iron. It could hardly be explained. This man had not only saved his life, but he had also rescued him from the horrors of a Southern prison—would God he had let him die!—and they had been living together in a ranch in a far off Mexican valley.

Then the letter went on:

"In my heart I am unchanged; my love for you is ever the same; yet I am no longer the Robert Shirley whom you knew. That has come upon me which will separate me from you for ever: I cannot ask you now to be my wife. You are free. It is through no fault of mine. It is my burden, the price of life, and I must bear it. God bless you and give you all happiness!


When she had read it all she bowed her head and wept again, and the face that had grown more and more beautiful with the years of waiting was radiant. Who can fathom the depths of a woman's love? Who can follow the subtle workings of a woman's thought? Who can comprehend a woman's boundless faith? Her course was clear. If misfortune had befallen him, if he were maimed, disfigured, crazed, even if he were loathsome to her eyes, she loved him, and she must see him: she would see him and speak to him, and love him still, even if she could not be his wife. What would she have done if she could have guessed the truth? As it was, she wrote upon her card, "If you love me, come to me," and sent it to him. And in answer to the summons he stood before her—not disfigured, not maimed, not crazed, not loathsome in any way, yet irrevocably separated from her for Dr. Fournier's experiment had succeeded, and Robert Shirley was a mulatto!